This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dear Bear,

I wrote this letter while waiting for Kitty, who was at equine therapy.  The 45 minute each way trips, often turn into "Dreamkiller" conversations. :(  I decided to have her read the letters "to make sure it made sense."  I hadn't intended for her to read it out loud, but that's what she chose to do.  We had a pretty decent conversation afterward, so this letter may have served more than one purpose!  

Dear Bear,

I hope you're doing OK.  I talk to you on the phone so often that I almost have nothing left to say here!  :)  I miss you; we all miss you a lot.  We think about you often and there are a lot of people praying for you.

I opened my Bible today to look for a verse about forgiveness for you, since forgiveness is something you ask for often in your letters, and this verse jumped out at me.

Your families... shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.  (Deut. 12:7 NIV)
This may seem like a weird quote to send to your son while he's in jail, but it's true.  While I wish this hadn't happened, I also choose to see it as happening for a reason.  I don't know what that reason is, and I may never know, but I believe God has a plan for you, just like he does for me.

God has allowed me to make big mistakes.  He's allowed others to hurt me; I could believe that that means he doesn't give a crap about me - and for a long time I did.  I threw God, my dad, and a lot of other people out of my life, because they weren't doing what I wanted/expected them to do.  I wanted my dad to be a warm, loving parent, who was always there for me... and he just wasn't capable of that.  I pushed Hubby away because I couldn't/ wouldn't trust him.  Like everyone else, he's human, and made mistakes.  I finally had to accept that no one could love me the way I thought love should be.  I had to learn to love myself, flaws and all, before I was ready to love another imperfect human.

You are lucky.  You accepted God/ Christ into your life at a young age.  He has forgiven you your sins and continues to forgive you for your mistakes.  All you have to do is ask - and believe!

Honey, you don't need to keep asking for our forgiveness either.  We have forgiven you!

Now you need to accept that forgiveness and move on.  Your past is over.  You are a new creature, blessed by God, loved by many.  Learn from your mistakes, and all the ones you will make in the future (as a wonderfully, God-made human), and use them to make yourself a better human, citizen, son, husband, lover, father, employee, brother, mentor, Christian...

We are all sinners.  We have all had horrible things happen to us.  Use this knowledge to be an understanding, caring witness to those around you.  I know you are capable of being a warm, loving, helpful witness to others.  Use your talents:  caring for others, protecting those weaker than you, understanding others who've been through some of the things you've been through and help them.  By doing this, you will become the person I know you to be.  The person you couldn't be if you hadn't experienced all that you have.

I know YOU! - The kid that is smart, funny, helpful, caring... Yes, you've made mistakes and not so great choices.  This does not mean you are a bad person.  You are human!  I know you are strong enough to turn this into a positive, learning experience.

When you come home, be aware that it is going to take time to show everyone that you've changed.  I know you know how hard it is to trust someone who hurt you.  I know you won't use this as an excuse to toss that person out of your life.  I know you will do the hard work to rebuild that trust, make amends (restitution), and feel sympathy toward them as they work hard to trust you.

I believe you are capable of doing the hard work it's going to take to get the help, and accept the help, that you'll need to become the man that God wants/ expects.

I promise to help you in every way I can to achieve this goal.

Because I love you!

I have sent your letters to {ex-girlfriend here in Texas}.  She still cares about you, but Bear, I hope you will give yourself time to work on yourself and learning how to be a strong, healthy person with the skills needed for being in a relationship - FIRST!  I think you need to get back into therapy and work on your past relationships with your family (bio and adopted) before you're ready for a relationship with a woman.  Having had my own attachment disorder, I hope you will believe that this is something I understand, because I've been there.

I want you to have a good, strong, happy relationship and a family of your own, but you have plenty of time for that.  You're not ready yet.  You will be, but please give yourself some time to heal and grow before you become responsible for others' hearts.  I know you're lonely.  We all want the "They lived happily ever after," but that's just a fairy tale.  In real life, Cinderella married a guy with a totally different life, that she met once, at a party.  They now have to deal with her family issues, his expectations (he thought she was a princess so rich and pampered that she wore glass shoes!), her expectations (should she get a job, who will take care of all her rodent friends - RATS! - will they move to the palace?  What if the prince doesn't like her friends?)  This relationship is pretty much doomed... unless they get more help from a genie or fairy therapist. :)

My hope for you is that you'll get back on your meds, get back in therapy, accept help and give yourself some time before you try to become an independent, responsible adult.  Not everyone has the chance to take this time... you do.  Just like the bear in the story they wrote for you at {the place that took months and did a thorough neuropsych almost 2 years ago}, you have a chance to do a little more growing, to make up for the time you lost as a child, not getting to be a child.  I hope you've learned that being a responsible adult is hard work that maybe you weren't quite ready for.

You rushed into adult life; you had to do a lot of growing up fast when you were a child.  That's not fair, and you missed out on some of the important steps and some of the fun stuff too.  Please take this chance with us to wait a little longer before you grow up!

This is a long letter, so I'm going to close with the verse my Bible opened to when I was flipping around, looking for just the right thing to say to close this letter.  Couldn't believe how appropriate it was - normally I don't recommend looking for solutions by randomly opening the Bible, but I think God was trying to send you a message:

The God of All Comfort
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that WE can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we our selves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
I have often wondered if one of the reasons you are there is to help and comfort those around you.

Love always,
(And Hubby, and Bob, Ponito and Kitty)

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