Saturday, November 28, 2009

What am I Thankful for?

I'm taking part in the fourth blog 'carnival' at Grown in My Heart ( The topic is "what are you thankful for?"...if you'd like to join in - go to and link up - or just check out what others from the triad have to say.

What am I THANKFUL for?
Boy, this question sure can be tinted by the most recent events in our lives, can’t it? Here is my list – based on where we are right now…
1. I’m thankful that I decided to take part of my life back. I can control my health and my attitude about life and I should have never let someone else – even my children – take over those parts of my life. I’ve lost some weight and go to the gym…even when I should be doing laundry. I figured out that the house will still be standing if there is dust on the tables or dishes to be unloaded…but honestly, I may not if I don’t do this for me now. I’m thankful that I’ve actually done it for over a month now…
2. I’m thankful for finding a med that works for my daughter. We’ve been at a bleak place with her – even considering in-patient treatment. Day 8 of risperdal rolled around and she is a different child. I’ve joked for a long time about there being a golden pill…and I’m not putting all my eggs in this one basket…but when every member of our family notices and comments on her happiness (which we sadly haven’t seen…maybe ever) – it’s making a difference.
3. I’m thankful for my marriage. Even when stress is high and one, or both, of us let off steam at each other…I’m thankful that we’ve stayed through it all. I’m thankful that we can joke about days that might break someone else – or might break us if we weren’t together.
4. I’m thankful that my oldest son is blazing a path to high school. Thankful may not be the right word…since I’m feeling the strain of letting go in that fashion. However, I’m touched daily to see his growth into a young man…when I see a light of life in his eyes and a spirit of determination – I’m so proud it fills me up. When I see the typical teenage angst and maybe not wanting to work as hard as I hope he will…I’m still thankful – because that is normal…and I crave normal!
5. I’m thankful for having a best friend at my age. I remember what a best friend was in school…the person you laughed with, cried with and hung out with whenever you could. I still have that. Through the miracle of where we built our houses – we met. This woman is my strength on days I don’t have any. She is my confidant about the deepest parts of my soul. We have fun together and think of each other. She brings me grapes from the store while I’m dieting…so I don’t head for the chips! She doesn’t have big connections to adoption or RAD…and that helps it all work. She is an advocate for my children at their school when I can’t be there. She loves my family – as I love hers…and if I could have chosen another sister in this world – it would be her.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Four years old

We are four years old...four years as a family of five. Let me tell you something I've learned in the last four years (and shockingly, this will not have to do with RAD).
***The world is not made for families of five****

Come on now - go to a restaurant and look around. Lots of tables for 2 and lots of tables for 4...then the 'big party' know 6 or 8 people. They like to stick 5 people at a table for 4 with a chair on the end. Then you bumb knees throughout the meal - plus you have a child sticking out in the aisle and making it hard for people to pass. They don't want to give you the table for 6 - you have THREE KIDS...that bill won't be big enough to tie up that table and when you ask for it - they look a little shocked!
Don't even get me started on 'family packs' - which are always for a family of four. I'm looking forward to the census in 2010...maybe it will be proven that 4 is not the only number for a family. Vacation deals are for four - two adults and two night deals are for 4...buying season passes to amusement parks? FOUR. And...can you add another one at a discounted rate...Nope. Blank stares when you ask.
Five seats together on a crowded flight - ha. Maybe two here and two there and then a floater. You all know that putting two kids together on a flight of more than 30 minutes would be a kid ends up sitting alone.

So, here is to the family of five (or three or seven or nine...I think all uneven numbers are unfairly treated)...those strange oddities that struggle to survive in today's 4 packs of chicken breasts and 6 packs of cookies (what to do with the last one?)!

If you'd like to read my more 'sappy' ode to four it is!

November 24, 2005 was a snowy and dreary day in Kemerovo, Russia. In the U.S., families were gathered around tables of traditional food, celebrating Thanksgiving. After court, we became a family of five and rushed right off to pick up our new daughter and son at their respective orphanages. By 9:00 that night, we were sitting in World Pizza having our Thanksgiving meal.
It’s been four years since that long ago memory or a crazy day. These little strangers have become our children. It’s been a long and winding road…
Things never did become the Hallmark movie of the week and I kept waiting. My children were hurt, battered (in mind, spirit and body) and scared. While they showed excitement for all things new and shiny, they had a battle going on inside them. Our oldest son wanted to have instant brother/sister bonds and he may have been the first to realize that “family” was a totally foreign concept to our new children. We overdid Christmas that year – wanting so badly to show them love through the things we could offer them…because at that point, they would not accept hugs or physical affection. That served only to backfire. The toys were broken within hours and the break from school was anything but peaceful.
They learned language quickly and attended school within weeks. There were minor issues at school…but the trouble seemed to brew over at home. I wasn’t a real loving mom…I was in survival mode and my husband probably wanted to hide in a hole somewhere. He told me over and over that he lost me on November 24…and he wanted me back. But, I already knew…I might be gone for a long time.
It was 18 long months before I was able to admit how much help we needed. My children were unable to bond to us…and I wasn’t doing so well in return. They were physically violent to me and to others. Food was a constant issue for DD and being told no about anything sent DS2 into rages. I had read about RAD and just kept thinking it couldn’t happen to us – and it definitely could NOT happen twice. Those are crazy odds. But, it did.
We’ve gotten help…and we are slowly moving forward. Learning about the nuances of healing tiny hearts and souls is a incredibly draining process and our family has suffered immense loss to add to the loss my children felt from their past. I alternated between misery and anger, right along with them. Being told that my daughter sincerely felt that to love me meant she would die…not just literally…but 100% truly…was one of the most changing moments of my life.
I learned so many things about the little people hidden underneath the layers of pain. My son is a fabulous artist. He’s creative and willing to spend quality time making his thoughts become reality. He has built some of the most fantastic things out of trash…cars for his action figures are a favorite. His academic struggles are not behind him – they may always be with him – but he is slowly accepting help and learning to work with the abilities he has. He hopes to be a CIA agent someday and knows the path he must take to achieve that goal (which, by the way, he’s stuck with for over 3 years). Quick to make new friends, he seems happy with his social life. He shares my love of watching HGTV and seems to see that his creative abilities could be used in many avenues!
Little daughter is not quite so little anymore. She has shown such a talent for tumbling and cheerleading and seems to be that type of person in life…always boisterous and ready to cheer others on. She has multiple abilities in academia…shocking everyone with her grades right away. This year she scored perfect on the state testing in Vocabulary…only speaking English for about 3.5 years. Amazing! She is independent, but understanding of boundaries most of the time. Her sense of humor is wicked and she’s willing to make you laugh, no matter what! While we’ve had a desperate struggle lately, I can say that a new medication she is on seems to be a golden ticket. She is calmer and able to focus and has been able to relate interpersonally with us for the first time in years.
We are growing on the healing path. I continue to have faith that my children can create a life so close to normal, that maybe they won’t know it’s not. I pray to use the years I have left with them (where did the time go…they are 11 and in 6th grade and 10 and in 4th grade already) to move closer in all realms. Teaching them to love without fear and to release control to safe people around you is our daily goal. Every time I see movement in that direction…I know it’s going to be OK.
I made a decision on October 25 of this year – I choose my attitude. I shared it with my children. We choose each and every day how to wake up, how to live each hour of that given day and how to show others our feelings. We choose whether to love or hate, whether to cry or laugh, whether to give up or show up…and I’m picking LOVE, LAUGH and SHOW UP. They can choose that with me or they won’t. Either way…I’m hoping to pull them with me…into our futures together!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's finally kicking in

My fabulous parenting skills have won today...or MAYBE it's the risperdal? We are on day 8 of the new med for DD and I have to say that today was totally and completely normal. NOT our normal...but real, family living a standard life - normal. She's been contained (meaning not falling down, yelling...knashing teeth, throwing fits, saying mean things...) and played nicely on her own for a while. She did things with us and didn't try to ruin it every second. She watched a movie - a WHOLE movie...and actually sat there. No major blurting out of comments totally unrelated to the movie.
I looked at DH tonight and said "do you feel normal?" - of course, it's not normal for us...but I sure would like it if it could become so.

Not getting my hopes up too high...but pretty pleased with just getting a one day break and hoping that maybe more could come???

Thursday, November 19, 2009

There is a fine line somewhere in the sand and I'm digging around trying to find it. Honestly, I've probably covered it up in the destruction I've left behind. Here is my question/dilema:
If I'm supposed to parent my children in a non-emotional manner - YET - I'm also supposed to teach them how to show emotion in a correct way...aren't those blatant opposites?

My kids' attachment therapist has consistently told me to model good emotional choices - like crying when I watch something sad in a movie (in fact, we purposely watch sad movies to work on emotional reactions)...explaining all the while what made me sad, why my body reacts with tears and sadness. However...when my own children hurt me - I'm supposed to NOT show emotion. That is beginning to make no sense to me. Why should I hide that I'm hurt by them and their action towards me?
Yes...I get it. If I show them I'm hurt, they are 'winning' the control battle. There are just sometimes that I wish, I hope, that letting them win will also mean they break through just a little bit. It's still hard - all this time later - to realize that I live with kids who want to see me hurt...they like to see me sad. The weirdest part is that when I cry after a bad interaction with them, I'm usually crying FOR them. I feel so badly for the hurt they are going through that got them to this point...I feel so badly for them that I'm apparently not helping - or not helping enough.
I just want them to be happy...but be able to show emotions that fit the situation.

Last night I attending a meeting with DS1 about advanced placement at high school. The opportunities there are AMAZING. I sat in disbelief that we've gotten this far and trying to measure how much I would/should be involved in helping him choose his path. Not that I would force him to choose a certain 'career'...but I don't see a 13 year old boy real motivated to take a class with extra homework. He can't see far enough in the future to want to take that path. So, DH and I will admitedly give him a shove and hope for the best.

I guess that's all I can do with all my children - shove them in the right direction and be there if they turn around. Maybe I could get a scary mask so turning around would seem worse?

Monday, November 16, 2009

She cut it off

My daugher cut her hair last night. You know the cute stories about a 3 year old getting gum in his/her hair and giving themselves a haircut - well, this is NOT one of those stories. She is 10.5...closer to 11 than 10. In the world that most people live in...a child that age knows better. There are a million facets to this story...just a few:
*Three days ago she was twirling her hair around a comb and I pointed out that the comb could easily get stuck in her hair and she should stop.
*Yesterday she lost 'time' for all kinds of things and therefore went to bed early...apparently not actually to bed...
*She snuck out of her room and got the scissors (that I've been remembering to hide until last night) and did this deed - AFTER getting that exact comb wrapped and stuck in her hair.
*She left the scissors in the middle of the hall and when no one 'found' them...she came out and pointed them out to DH...(that's a story for different day)
*She shoved all the hair she cut into the air vent in her room...wonder what else has gone down there
*AND drumroll please....she came down this morning and told me she had slept funny and that is why her hair looked that way

YES - 3 inch bald spot...another good 5 inch circle of craziness that sticks straight up. OMG.

I didn't do bad this morning with my reaction - but I wasn't spot on either. I cried...I thought I was alone. I cried because I'm sad for her...yet another reason to look weird to all the kids at school...yet another reason to be different...yet another way to take a jab at the people that love her. I, however, wasn't alone. She popped out and laughed at me for crying.

So, she's at school with all that insanity on her head. Her teacher was going to announce it at morning announcements - in order to take the power from her (and the story I'm sure she would tell would involve me screaming with scissors in my hand). This morning DS2 tells me (as we are gathering all scissors and sharp objects) that she held scissors pointed toward her stomach yesterday and said she was going to stab herself...and bleed.

So...we are left with few options. DH is buying a door alarm today on his lunch break - that's not something you hope to do anytime in life. We'll get her room alarmed before bed tonight. Her room is stripped down to bed with bedding and furniture...nothing else (oh, I left the clothes, but took out hard soled shoes). I've got a call in to the psych to find out more about the in-patient program he recommended and I've spent some time coming to terms with what all this means: for her, for us as a family...for her life. Try not to look too far ahead - what my therapist always tells me. Right now, it's tough to look to tomorrow...and hope that my DD has a lot of those.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

cleanest junk ever

I have the cleanest junk drawer ever...ok, maybe not ever, but it's pretty clean. I got on a bit of a fall/winter cleaning - more like organizing - kick this weekend. I think I've gone through every spot in my house that had the least bit of disorganization and now...ahhhhh...
I got into the storage room today. It's one impressive space. kids helped. Not necessarily out of the kindness of their hearts, but out of the inability to make good choices. I'll tell you what...having little souls that can't, for the life of themselves, make a good choice and continue to end up spending extra time with mommy...well, it makes for a little less work. I ended up with tons of extra space (how many shoes boxes does one family need to keep?) and a feeling of complete satisfaction!
DD has been a little upset with me. Mainly because my attitude is better and that makes her really mad. So, she wrote me a little love note tonight and made sure to leave it out exactly where she knows I would be in her room. The sweetness:
I hate Mommy.
I hate my mother.
Kill, kill, kill.

Now, I'm not actually scared. After I went in and came out...she ran to me expecting me to 'yell' at her for the note...I gave her a hug and asked how she is feeling. That didn't please her. She even asked if I'd been in her room to look at her school clothes (where she left the note). I said yep and walked off, offering for her to join me in helping Dad with a job he was working on. Ha!

Last night as she meandered to bed - early - by her choice, because she couldn't stand to be with me one more minute...I said "night...see you tomorrow" and she dramatically answered "No, you won't...I'm going to die tonight". Again, I'm not scared. But, it does concern me...obviously. No one wants to hear their child say these things. Honestly, most kids who are really going to do severe harm to themselves or someone else DON'T talk about her obsessive discussion about it relaxes me a bit. Not that I'm sitting on my haunches and thinking all is great. I've made these concerns known to the doc and therapist. And doc says...

How about an in-patient program? Yes...I know it's a possibility...but no, I'm not ready for that yet. I just wonder how she would ever gain trust if we do that. So, now I've had a doc tell me to put her in a 'program' and a therapist remind me to get her the birth control shot when she starts her 'womanly time'. AAAAHHHHH...the good life.

At least my junk is clean!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I could feel the hot flush in my face...I felt a little manic. I was talking fast and interupting and I knew it...but I couldn't stop. I wanted them to GET IT...I wanted them to FIX IT. I didn't want to leave without an answer - maybe even wrapped up with a bow. This was my visit to my children's psychiatrist yesterday.
Heck, I share our story with everyone and anyone who might remotely want to listen. But, I knew this mattered more. The meds they're on aren't fact, maybe backfiring and I didn't want to go home and give those to them one more day. If we can't get it right, I just want to go back to before. I'll go back to pretending it's not RAD and they can go back to chaos. Not that they ever left that land.
They sorta got it. They won't make the diagnosis I'm expecting will be made someday - bipolar for DD. As a bipolar adult, I can see's different than mine...but there, none-the-less. They won't name it. They admit it's probably true...but they can't really treat it. It's a frustrating process. Again. I just want to take her off everything and wait until they will. But, I was an untreated child and remember wanting desperately for someone to try to help me. So, I'm trying to help her.
Today I told DS2 that he was arguing with me a lot...and he argued back "NO - I'm NOT"...he didn't get the irony.