Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'm talking for myself

I'm a talker...for those that know me - you are laughing as that might be a major understatement. I like to hash it out through words and talk to myself, the dogs, the quiet DH and anyone else who will listen. So, I want to (and sometimes do) talk to my kids. I know that it is more for me than them (at least DS2 and DD)...and I can see the glazed look (well, that's immediate and ever present with DS2), but I have a real issue with shutting up sometimes. DH and I talked to DS2 last night. For him, hearing it from Dad is WAY different than hearing it from mom. Now, there was brutal honesty. DH is trying to protect me and present a united front and he did that last night. I just keep thinking how a "normal" child would handle this and the difference is startling. So, we have this big "come to Jesus" meeting and his reaction was "OK"...basically. It was actually a little more startling than just ok...but I digress.
There are moments of clarity where DH sees that I'm not nuts...that was one of them. The complete lack of remorse or even really the complete lack of giving a crap. I know I shouldn't be shocked, but I still am. I'm heartbroken for him and where we might be headed.
I did call his ped today. Through many great and supportive people I know that medication does work for some kids. This is not the time for my close-mindedness. So, we have the initial meeting on Saturday (hopefully) and we'll either get some meds from him or he'll move us on to someone that can help us. DH and I are not granola, heal thyselves kind of folks at all...I take meds for my bi-polar and am happy and healthy (although I don't sound like it now) on them. So, if there is a 10% chance that our family can survive with meds...I'm going to jump on board and see what happens.
Today we went to a movie. I know you are thinking - "OH, good...give the bad kid a privilege why don't you?" BUT...I did it for me. We had plans with friends and I can not give up all that I want to do, especially now in my very low state. So, I got to see Slumdog Millionaire - little plug here - VERY GOOD (but sad and sometimes hard to watch...bad things happen to kids)! No, kids did not see it - all kids (big and small) in different theater, an actual break!
After movie, came home and talked more to DS2 - again, for me...blowing off the steam. He continues to discuss how I "always" do this or that - pushing off all his bad behavior on me and my choices. I don't let that happen...he even tried to say that I knocked his tooth out!!!!! Holy cow! We get to the end of the talk and I point out (AGAIN) that he can make the choice to do things differently. I'm here to listen and I know it's hard, but there is a wonderful kid inside that I'd like to meet. He looked at me and said "I want to behave, but I need advice on how to do it". He's gotten more advice than a kid can handle...really...BUT, due to being asked I repeated something I've said a thousand times. "If mom was standing beside you, would you do what you are about to do?"'s the easiest way to explain what I want. He does know the rules and he can follow them when it's beneficial to him. He also pointed out that he is good in public - which is true. Besides a little pouting in stores sometimes, he IS good in public! I agreed and gave him big kudos for that...
Anyway, I'd like to say it's day one in the new battle to be good...but I can't honestly say that I've wiped the slate clean.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy freakin' birthday!

It's my birthday and I'm not having fun! Seriously, DS2 has been a total jerk today...that stare saying "I don't care what you say or do...I don't even like you". I asked for an apology and he spit it out (no, literally, I had to wipe my face afterwards)! I want to send him packing...why, oh why, can't he give me a break? One day...just one day. I forced myself to go and get things back on track and it was terrible. He acted remorseful, but I'm not stupid. I find that I rarely, if ever, believe in him anymore. That's sad. I don't like feeling this way toward a child - but he is like an evil mastermind in my house. The dark overlord...
I cried in front of him. I'm not supposed to let him know it hurts, I know that. But, I couldn't handle anymore. I broke. There are times when a human heart can not go on and this morning was it for me. I really hard that DS1 heard me from upstairs and came running down to hug me and comfort me. All the while, DS2 standing about 2 feet away averting his eyes and doing everything he could to stay steely faced. Or, maybe that wasn't hard for him. He hates me. I feel like a raw open wound around him. It's not that I've laid myself on the line...I really protect myself so immensely from the pain he causes me - I'm quite closed off...but I do fake it, I do force it. I don't think there has been a time recently where I wanted to hug him. But, I do. I guess I just wish he'd fake it too. He told me happy birthday this morning and gave me a half-hearted hug...this was before the mess began. That was only the second nonrequested hug he's ever given me in private. He gives good night hugs because it's required and he'll hug me in public to make a good impression on others...but after 3 years I know for a fact that was only number 2.
The whole mess started today because he had blood on his pajama shirt. I (stupidly) asked why and he said "I was grinding my teeth last night to see if I could get one to fall out...I didn't work so I pushed and pulled it real hard and it bled". I ask to look in his mouth and see a very infected gum line and a tooth barely hanging on and it's a PERMANENT tooth. It came out. I will not spend money to correct that problem. I won't...DH won't. What on earth happened to that child to pull a tooth out of your head like that? Is he trying to punish me or himself? He has hurt himself before - pulling skin off his hands, pushing pencils into his fingers and then picking at the sore. I've tried a lot of things and I don't know how else to make him care about himself. And then I don't know if I can save him from that dark place that he must go to. What if I'm really not the best place for him. I'm not looking for sympathy - I'm serious. How do I know when I've done all I can? What if there is another, more prepared, stronger woman or man out there that could turn him around before it's too late? My dreams for his future are bleak - that stinks. You don't want to look at your child and wonder where he'll end up and your only thought out choices are a group home or jail.
Do I continue to sacrifice my sanity, my marriage and my other children? I do see that I can heal will take time and lots of work, but there is a shining part in her heart that comes through more and more. She does reach out to me for hugs and kisses. She misses me when I am not with her. She lies and manipulates, but she can discuss in some reasonable way. Maybe she is all I can do right now. I just don't know anymore.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

my 3 sons

So DD is in a total state of flux and really wanting (maybe even needing) to be a boy. If we let her, she would follow DS2 around so closely that she would be attached to him. Now, I waited a long time for a girl and I'm trying to be a bit understanding...but I don't want my DD trying to pee standing up. I know it's a stage many girls go through - especially with older brothers? - BUT, she's 9.5 years old for heavens sake. I also know that emotionally and socially she is MUCH younger (maybe 5)...but that still seems a bit past this stage. Playing with cars and building castles with legos is not a problem...but we are past that. She literally repeats every word the boys say. She stares and them so amorously. I guess I just don't want to be on Jerry Springer some day!
What a torn feeling - I want her to love them, but I don't want her to want to be them!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

the apology game

So, I have one kid that apologizes all the time for every little thing and one kid that never apologizes for anything. The last kid is in the middle somewhere - only apologizes if it's big and it could mean trouble. I could play a little game and let you guess...but I'll break the suspense and spill it.
DD - the always apologizer. If I say "your shoes look tight" - she says "sorry". If I say "you didn't seem very hungry today" - "sorry"..."bummer, you stole something at school today" - "sorry". You can see where I begin to believe that there really isn't much sorrow. It's just her gut reaction and she doesn't even understand when to be sorry and what that means.
DS2 is the never sorry guy. Never. Spill paint all over the basement and clean it with my brand new (spent more than I wanted to) hand sorry. Sell me down the river by saying that I'm evil and mean to sorry. I wonder if I should appreciate the honesty in that...he doesn't even play the game, you know? He's simply not sorry and won't pretend to be.
DS1 - the sorry when he thinks he should be guy. Is he really? Heck, I don't know...but he does apologize at the right moments - sometimes only after he gets in trouble...but it seems sincere and I do see an effort (ever so slight sometimes) to adjust his behavior.
Therapy today was an interesting endevour. DD would NOT agree to any of the trust exercises that XXX wanted her to try with me. He was explaining how it could help her - having real conversation about the fact that she still can't let go of control and how a little "game" could make her feel a little safer - but, no go. She flat out denied any and all of his requests. It made me sad to know that she can't even trust me enough to play a blindfold simon-says type game with me. He says not to push it - if she isn't bought into it, it won't work...
DS2 tried to lie his way out of everything. I'm fine, he's fine the world's fine. Bull...he and I have been in a real low (all except that special day of Christmas). This morning I offered him advice (that he said he wanted) - it was simple "if you continue the same actions, you get the same consequences". He was mad...he hates when it makes sense. He will try the same stuff over and over and seem shocked when the same consequence happens.
XXX also spoke with me about letting go of anger. This will sound hard to understand, yet again, to those who don't deal with this - but, I'm often mad at my kids. Yes, honestly mad. My life is not what I wanted or expected...being a mother is a hard, gut-wrenching, not always full-of-laughter proposition for me. That makes me mad and who is there to blame - my kids. Is that fair? Probably not...but it does feel incredibly personal most of the time!!! So, I will try to work on that.
Strangely, we ran some errands, had some lunch and came home. We played games (the kids and I) and I had a really lovely time. No melt-downs, no anger over losing stupid games...actual laughter and joy. It was nice. Even nicer - DH and I have a date tonight. A very nice meal alone for my birthday. When DS2 found out the kids weren't going to my birthday meal, he looked hurt. I said "yeah, I want to have fun while I'm there eating"...
Do I think it will get through?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas night - all the gifts are torn open and dark has settled in. I would give the day a 85% - solid B. Which really is pretty darn good. NO melt downs...however a lot of droopy faces. Kids seem to really want something, then mess with it for an hour and they are done. We let go of our strict schedule today - thinking they had new things and would be able to entertain themselves. The boys have actually done great...DD...not so great. She hates being alone. I don't mean actually shut off from others - even if she's in the room and we aren't in constant interaction with her, she's miserable. Some see it and think she's just a "ham"...but it's more than that. She does not want to be alone with herself! And, really I think she could find a lot to like about that little girl...I know that I continue to find things!
I ran through some mini time-ins without calling it that...just asking for help when I could see her losing it. The ogres we are, we made her sit and watch "A Christmas Story" - wow, she was such a wiggler I was thankful she hadn't sat on the same couch with me!
DD got a kareoke machine today (I have no clue how to spell that)!!! I LOVE IT! It has all these great songs from the "olden days" (per her) - like Workin for the Weekend (go Loverboy!) and Material Girl (before Madonna was a total freak)! I rocked out with her for a long time today.
DS2 is keeping busy putting together a 700+ piece lego monstocity...but, he's being quite diligent and hasn't had a melt down. I think I will re-direct him in a bit so that we don't get overload.
With all the sweets flowing and total lack of structure today - we did really well!
Here's hoping that each of you also had a Merry day and many more to come!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I wanted to address (and did in that first long gone entry) what happened in the very beginning - like first meetings with our kids! A dear friend asked about this and I think it's a good point to ponder.
DS2 was HYPER and very obviously a favorite in that home. He had learned how to act the way each person liked him to act. He knew that certain caretakers liked girls better and he would act totally feminine with them around. He knew the ones that liked to see him dance and he would dance for them. At the time I thought it was sweet that he wanted to please and I hoped that it would transfer to an easy-going, get-along kid at home. I guess we all know how that worked out. It was his great acting skills in the early phases. We did have a honeymoon period once actually home in the US...but even our first few days with him were full of red flags. He flipped me off more in one day than I'd ever seen in my life. He LITERALLY flipped off the top of the curtain panel (9 feet high) landed with a thud and had no emotional reaction!
DD was quite the opposite. Very unliked by her caretakers and emotionally embattled. They called her the fat kid (yes, they told us this) and would often take her food to try to help her lose weight (they seemed to think this was a kind thing). Of course, we still deal with food issues galore. She wanted so badly to please us and was constantly looking for re-affirmation, but was stiff board when we tried to hug her. Our first few days together were a control battle and she tried to win by crying non-stop. I would fix her hair and she would rip it out (not just the rubber bands, but the HAIR). I would put a shirt on her and she would pull at it until it ripped.
We had spent a total of 3 hours with each child prior to getting custody. We did not have a first trip to meet them (due to a lost referal and a kind judge) and our situation was quite different. I wonder if I would have figured things out better with a bit of time to think about them between two trips. I don't know. A friend of mine mentioned that she wanted to warn us about the crap that could happen before we went down this road. She could have, others did - we listened to all the training and read all the books...but how can you ever think "yep, it'll happen to me"? That's just not human nature.

take off your shoes and stay awhile!
We went to see family for a few days and are back in time for our Christmas celebration. DS2 was in rare form for us and continues to be so...I guess there aren't days off around Christmas for good behavior!
We saw a child at a fast food restaurant today and it got me thinking about something I think about often? What is really my job in raising my children? The kid was wild. Jumping on and off tables, running up and down the rows of chairs around him. His mom (I assume) was oblivious. She even wrapped up his food and took it "in case you get hungry later". Yet, she didn't seem frazzled or annoyed. I don't know if I understand it. I do believe that kids are kids for a reason...they should have fun. But, I do not believe it's my job to make the whole world their playground. There are rules they must learn to follow. I am blessed - my kids are VERY well behaved out in the world (they save the good stuff for home). I constantly feel that I'm being looked at for expecting good behavior. Am I nuts? Does everyone else feel that kids knocking clothes off racks or speeding through a grocery store on those stupid wheelie shoes is OK? Then I think, maybe I'm not having enough fun???
The moment of the day at my house is all about shoes. I love shoes...would buy millions if I didn't have to pay my credit card. BUT, I don't want them on in my house - yuck. So much yucky stuff gets drug in. So, DS2 had on his shoes 2.5 hours after we got home. I joked to him "geez, it's like you are prepared to run out at a moment's notice"...then I noticed. His face that is. It's true - that's what he feels. Fight or flight is true and for him - it's always flight. He finds safety in having his shoes on. Even when they are off...he has them close by...I just never connected it. After some hugs and tugs (on his shoes of course), I think we moved on. But, this will be always comes back. How do you go about convincing a kid that he's safe?
This is a test and only a test - I typed a HUGE entry and lost it all!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Is that good or bad?

So, the iPod was in his desk. Friend has the Nintendo. I drove to the school undecided over whether I hoped to find it in his desk or not find it. Finding it meant he did, in fact, take it. The gray part is whether he took it because he was asked to or because he actually stole it. But, in today's world - it doesn't matter. He is the one caught with illegal stuff that isn't his in his desk. So, crack - two counts. His teacher is being very cool, but the thought is there in all our minds. I tried to think of real life examples and explain to him why it's a stupid choice. During said explanation he simply said "I did it because I didn't think I'd get caught".
HE ALWAYS GETS CAUGHT. How long does it take to figure that one out? I have a team of eyes and ears and really, they are telling me mostly the bigger stuff - who knows how much little stuff happens? Egads...this trip home for the holidays will be ok. I will make it ok...but it won't be fun and I wanted to just sit back and have fun. If I had a threat level colored warning - I'd be on red right now!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

$300 day experiences today abound! The following posts will hold a lot of assumptions. Unfortunately, I've learned to be really on target with my assumptions and in this instance, I'm sorry for that!
DS2 'stole' nearly $300 worth of goods today at school. I'm got a meshed up story for a few sources and am still waiting to talk to more reliable sources...but here is what I believe I know.
Friend came to school with iPod and Nintendo DS...both things that are illegal to have at school. Friend asks DS2 to "hold" these items for her, so that she doesn't get caught and get in trouble. DS2 agrees. Now, did he give these items back? Huh...seems to have had a black out moment. "I can't remember" - "I gave her SOMEthing...but I don't remember what". So, the evening has consisted of searches of backpacks, rooms and body. Next is another home where he spent some time tonight. What a fun event!
While searching his room we found DS1's lock (from school) while putting DS2 to bed I asked about the lock. He starts claiming he found the lock at the park., what lock? He can't tell me. Why does the lock you found at the park have DS1's combination? OH, that lock...yes, that belongs to my brother.
Are you as confused as I am? It seems that when I asked about a lock, his first reaction was to make something up. I believe that he thinks I'm stupid...ok, yes, he does think I'm stupid. No, I need the "I'm with stupid" tee shirt.
I get this eerie feeling of the future...when a man commits murder and asks DS2 to 'hold' the gun...I guess he'll agree. I don't have bail out money saved up - college money, yes - bail out funds, no.
My assumption at this point is that the said items (or at least one of them) is in the back of his messy desk...I think that he believed Friend would forget he had it and I wouldn't notice after Christmas break when he randomly brought home a new electronic. I also suspect that he felt he could hide it from me long term. Again, stupid, right?
I wonder if a bail out fund has any tax breaks attached?

a physical reaction

Here goes the mean stuff...and let me just say that I'm feeling very good right now. Christmas parties were today at school and DD did well at hers. I didn't get to be at DS2's party as I'm the room mom in DD's class. I appreciate all the kind words that parents give me when I plan a party and I like doing it - however, I'll be done after this year! It's just one extra thing on my very full plate.
I, of course, think about our situation a lot. I wonder which came first: my attachment disorder or theirs? Yes, theirs - I know...BUT, I did struggle mightily in my attachment when they came home (yet another thing I wish I could do over). Did I make it worse? So, I was trying to think about what made me struggle and I realized that some of it is physical.
You are single and in a bar (for lack of a better pick up place coming to mind). You see a cute guy, just your type and you're trying to figure out a way to strike up a conversation...suddenly another guy is beside you. You like dark hair - he had light hair. You like beautiful straight white teeth - his smile is from a trailer park. You like a tall guy - he's not tall. So, do you give him a chance? Probably not - but what if you were forced to elope with him right then. You couldn't make another choice - that was it...he's yours forever.
Sadly, it can be like in adoption. DS2 has many physical traits that I actually have a reaction to. Small things: the way he licks his lips to big things: the very hot state of his body at all times. I really have to learn to re-train myself to not react to these things...but it's hard. OK, so most folks are thinking "geez, he's a kid, that's mean"...but, basically I eloped with him 5 minutes after meeting him. There wasn't an out door - he became my son before I could get to know him and the great things about him.
It's my next big frontier...I'm going to figure out how to stop my reactions to those physical things. Wish I didn't have that problem to deal with.

the background

I guess that most that will ever read this know they know our story. But, I'll get a little down just in case.

We adopted two children (DD - dear daughter and DS2 - dear son/youngest son) from Russia in November 2005. Things went smoothly (at least in my head) for a while...perhaps I always knew that a little something was off, but didn't admit it for a long time. Now, I'm forced to admit it. My kiddos have attachment disorder. It's not a fun thing to work through...but we have a great therapist and supportive friends and we WILL get through it, whatever that means for us. There are so many families dealing with this issue. We got the actual diagnosis about 6 months ago and honestly, what a relief! I just felt that I was doing everything wrong. Blessedly, we had been doing a lot of things right. We've always been structured and definitely not what you call coddling parents...that worked in our favor. Parenting these kiddos can make you feel crazy, because you look "mean" and "uncaring". People on the outside don't understand and constantly question. I will answer anything, but I won't cave in because what I'm doing doesn't fit the mainstream. I am healing my kids and it can be a full time job!

We also have DS1 (our oldest) and he is NOT attachment disordered, but is a typical pre-teen/teen...oy vey!

I wanted to blog now mostly for me...but I am sharing this with friends and family because I don't like feeling that I have a "secret" - this is our life. Good, bad and in-between! We are going to make it!!!

My title does not refer to doing over things like bringing my children home. I want a do-over to be smarter and more proactive in working with them...I want a do-over to be sure that I pay attention to my DH (dear husband) and DS1 and MYSELF...I want to do it over and not feel drained all the time...

So, my family is now open...

Tough night...her versus me

I don't mean DD versus me - although it felt like that last night. I mean, DD's birth mother versus me. I know that many adoptive parents do birth parent searchs, but I would never want to know those people. They scarred my children - deeply.
I could tell the moment DD walked in the door that it was 'one of those nights'...I must admit that I tensed up and felt prepared for battle somewhat. I've been doing so dang good...really staying calm and using the techniques the therapist is teaching us. Well, last night was a bust. I think it just builds up. Having a child(ren) that push you and push you and try their darndest to get you to not love them is tiring. I don't think that I could explain to anyone not living it, what it's like. There isn't a lot of common ground, because they will find a way to switch up anything you say. Yes, all kids are argumentitive...this is more. They tell me they like something one day - art for example. Then, when they are bored and I say "why don't you go paint me a picture" they say "I hate art...but if you are going to make me do it..." The glee I sometimes see in them when I'm sad is lonely and isolating.
So, back to last was a small thing, really. She simply was not taking instruction - but it was the seven hundred millionth time and I saw red. Literally had a physical reaction to her smart pants remark. I broke, I yelled, I said some mean things, I took her upstairs and put her in her room and slammed her door. One thing I know I said was "I'm not your birth mother and I never tossed you aside." The therapist says to be honest about their birth families and to not sugar coat what happened there. However, doing it in anger was not my best parental choice. Fast forward and I'm calmer and I go in to talk to her and she says "I know you aren't her". I wish I could say I felt total relief...but I felt manipulated. I just don't know if she's honest when she says those things or if she even is understanding the feelings she has. She cried, I cried...real hallmark movie - you know the ones where the DD stabs the mom (ok, bad joke).

As is always the norm at my house, DS2 was pretty angelic last night. At least they don't generally gang up on me.

DS1 is another story. Told me last night that he's not "popular or cool"...but refuses to talk about it. There seems to be a mean kid at school picking on him. I want him to stand up for himself, and I wonder what leads to this. He's had numerous bullying issues and I just don't know how he is setting himself up. He isn't a geek - I know that. He wears the right clothes and does the right activities...yet, he ends up in this position time and again. He is VERY immature for his grade...I'm sure that leads to this. I tried to gently point out some things he could do to minimize the differences between him and his classmates. I was met with hostility. I feel like I'm missing the boat with him a lot. DS2 and DD take up so much time and DS1 is supposed to be easy, right? Crud to teen angst!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Santa, where art thou?

This is the first year that all 3 of my kids do not believe in Santa. DD seems very excited for Christmas, although I can tell that she thinks she is cashing in much more than reality. We continue to talk about cutting back and how we are trying to give to others in these tough times. Then, it hit me - she may think she is the person weathering the tough times. She's not a normal, happy-go-lucky kid. She carries a lot of stress and worry about things. Last night I was working with them on Christmas carols. They don't actually know a lot and I try to teach them a couple of new ones each year (like actually knowing the right lyrics...which I often have to look up) she had just finished homework. A deck of cards that she had used for homework was sitting near us on the counter. She could not contain herself. There was no attention to what we were doing and everytime I would even pause for a breath, she would jump up to put the cards away. Many of you are thinking - wow, a kid who cleans up after herself. It's so much more than that - it's control. She wanted to put them away NOW, because that is what she wanted. She didn't enjoy our time together, but I didn't feel I could give in. I try to explain that she shouldn't/can't worry about anything that isn't going to physically harm her and anything that is more than 24 hours doesn't work. I wonder what it must be like in her head and then I wonder if the information about Santa not being real got lost up there. She's expecting a Christmas full of filet mignon and we're having ground beef! should be fun!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

homework hell

It's not even .1 percent as bad as it used to be. I put so much stinking stock into grades. I got good grades, and heavens knows I'm not a rocket scientist - so I expect them to get good grades. DH will point out to me that he didn't do so well in school and yet, does well in life...
I digress.
So, I used to get so caught up in them succeeding that I made it a battle ground. Seriously, shoot me down, chase me back to my foxhole, coming out with guns ablazing...a REAL BATTLE. I'm done with that. In fact, I don't even let them know it upsets me. They do it, I check it and I send a report to their teacher. The consequence should be and is at home. BTW, the teachers are incredible to us this year...very supportive and understanding. However, while I stay emotionally uninvolved on the surface - underneath I boil. DS1 is in middle school and it's tough. He's a bright kid and I see the amount of work he has and the effort it takes him and I'm scared for DS2 and DD. Really. We aren't that far away from those years...yikes!
I constantly think I should hold them back - give them another year to grow and learn. But DD is already old (on the calendar) for her grade...and DS2 is average according to all testing that has been done.
Anyway, the hell is in my head - obviously. At least for now...

Such strong sitters

At our house, for DS2 and DD there are really 3/4 consequences. This is the method you are to use with AD kids. They either have to do a chore, do physical exercise or strong sit. In strong sit they sit with their shoulder blades pulled sharply back, legs crossed and hands in their lap for the number of minutes of their age. It's basically like a time out except they are somewhere that they can see me and action of the house. We also do earlier bedtime - mostly for my sanity. There is so much control, even in strong sitting. DS2 will start wiggling the minute he thinks no one is looking while DD will move her hands continuously and doesn't care if I'm looking. Even though the time starts over...they don't seem to care. They feel they are controlling me and honestly, they sometimes are. My frustration seems to rise as my internal voice screams "SERIOUSLY, you can't just sit there for a few freakin' minutes...just ONE time". That internal voice of mine has a real fun time lately. I question myself about 700 times a I really the best place for them, is my love growing, can I help them heal and still maintain my sanity? I guess these are the questions that I don't have answers for yet. If I could just have a crystal ball and see when this will end...a date to drive towards. But, coming to terms with the distinct possibility that it may not end - that's tough. I don't feel sad too often. I know that seems like a lie, but I really don't. I am sad for them sometimes though. I wonder if they'll ever have a loving relationship with a spouse/significant other. I wonder if they'll have children and if so, will they be able to love them unconditionally? Does AD override what most of us consider normal interactions in life? I'm still learning...but for now, what strong sitters I'm going to have (I'm going to win, I'm going to win...seems to be a mantra around here)!

Monday, December 15, 2008

baby, it's cold outside

Wow...really cold. I think it was -4 at bedtime last night. I feel blessed that we are all still toasty warm in here. We really are lucky.
I just sent a 12 year old to school with no coat. You see, there are no lockers at his middle school and he can't be so uncool as to carry a coat around all day (I kinda get that I guess) he freezes. Granted, they get a ride to school and home from school on these freezing days, but there is still a mom gene inside me that feels guilty when he leaves. I'm supposed to protect him.
Which brings us to DS2 and DD. We have therapy tonight - our second session for the kids. DD wanted to make our therapist, XYX, a picture and note telling him how wonderful he is for helping kids. I wouldn't let her since she tells me she never wants to go back, she doesn't like him, etc. That is fine with me - this isn't supposed to be fun. They have so many things to work through. Last night she shared with me that she hates it when I expect her to talk to me. "I don't know why I feel the way I do and I don't care". Yes, Virginia, there are issues here!
We started looking at photos with her in them...I had an idea that I had noticed a theme and wanted to see if she saw it too. In 90% of the pictures of our family - we all stand together and she is a couple of feet away. In the ones where she is close, you can tell that myself or DH are holding her in. was totally overwhelming. My own DD doesn't want to stand next to us, doesn't want to touch us. Flip side, when she wants something she kisses me a million times, hugs us all over, tells us (in her adorable little girl voice) how lucky she is to have, I question this: how will I ever know that it's true?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The days of my life

Today can be numbered in many ways: day 13129 of my life, day 4478 of being a mom, day 3070 of being a wife, day 1116 of being a mother to two more kids/living with attachment disorder and day 1 of blogging. I've really been meaning to do this for a long time...I do write a lot, but I just never got around to being quite this open with anyone that might find me.

I'm coming up on a birthday soon. I'm certainly not old, but I must admit that the few gray hairs I've found and the fact that my hands look like something I never expected seem to make me feel a bit older than I should. When I was young, did I expect this to be my life? Ummmm...I can say for sure the answer is no. I never thought I'd be a stay at home mom. I never thought that I would be happy with it.

So, happiness - am I happy? My family is physically healthy. For that, I'm thankful. I think I'd describe myself as choosing to be happy in an unhappy situation. I live with attachment disorder. My two youngest children came home from Russia in 2005. I knew about AD, I had read about AD - but I was blind to what was in front of me for a long time. We didn't admit that it was here, in our lives, until about 6 months ago. If you don't know much about AD...well, that's part of why I'm writing. I'm a huge advocate for adoption and specifically, older child adoption. These kids have experienced things that most people cannot fathom. They are survivors and that can be the main reason for AD.

I could give a doctoral thesis description of AD - but instead, let me just tell you how it is in our lives and home and day to day existense. My second son is angry. He's mad that his first family didn't care for him enough to keep him safe. He feels that the complete reason that he is here in our family is because he did something wrong. That anger has to find a place to settle and mostly, that is on me. I stand for everything yucky in his life. The fact that I must set standards and expectations for him is all the more reason for him to think I'm a little bit evil.

My daughter is a mess of control and the inability to assert it. She is terrified of not pleasing me, but is also terrified of not being in control. Obviously, those two things cannot live together. She cannot be alone with her thoughts - there is constant chatter and noise from her. Alone is a nasty word in her life. She is a master at manipulation and therefore most folks that know her think I'm mean and they can't understand why I'd ever be upset with this darling girl.

I'm thinking of getting a tee shirt that says "two of my kids have attachment disorder, go look it up"!