Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Have I just forgotten him?

DS1 is struggling. Yes, he's a teenager and I did know it was coming...but I think I've turned a blind eye to a lot that's been going on. Sometimes my plate is just so full with RAD that I assumed he'd get through it. Of course, I ask him questions and try to stay close and available, but lately, he's been pushing away and I let him.
Today he came home from school with scratches on his neck. The story is really unimportant - he was hurt by a kid at school...but hazy is the fact that he started it. His anger is boiling over. When I tried asking about it and looking at it, I was told that I was being stupid and it's no big deal - definitely NOT a fight! Anything that ends in physical injury is a fight to me. I tried to talk, he interupted - because he is smarter than me. I was calm, but hurt. I cried. He eventually told me that he is a bad person because I'm a bad person and he has no one to look up to. He went on to say that he hates living here...hates the stress...hates living with people who constantly are in a state of awareness. There is no relaxation here. He said I'm a bad parent because I haven't been able to make them better.

I have let him down too.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

jump on the mania merry go round

For today, it is DD riding high...but I don't doubt that I'll wake tomorrow with my own level of mania. It seems that I always have a high (not the good kind) after a tough few days with her. We had therapy yesterday and I figured out a few things. One: therapy first thing in the morning does not, in fact, make it easier - it just gives it a chance to ruin the rest of my day and gives her time to figure out a way to make our evening even MORE fun than usual. Two: I believe she is coming to terms with some things - I just wish I could weed out the real from the fabricated. On the way to our appointment she announces that she misses her birth family. Honestly, she's never said that before. She comments on them and compares me to them (I always lose somehow)...but missing has not come up. I wanted to build on it - why am I always driving when this deeper stuff comes up - in snow, in the mountains...my concentration was lacking on our conversation. So, I told her that honestly and by the time I was able to re-address - she's decided it didn't matter. Crap...
Three: She does not like Super X, our therapist. She threw his pillows and got angry and humphed and hawed and basically therapy talked him until we were all blue in the face. She's already too good at therapy - she knows what to say. Four: She'll now lie about me RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Let's see - I don't feed her all the time (she could remember one time that she supposedly didn't have dinner...I do not remember that time) - I hit her with a paddle EVERY day (I'll admit there is a paddle at my house...and it has come out as a scare tactic and she and her brothers were caught spanking each other to see what it felt like...) Alas, I laughed and she turned and looked me in the eye and said "What?"

So, DS1 is doing comparative writing right now in class. His analysis are at a higher level, but when we were driving and DS2 and DD were missing reading/writing at school - I asked them to write a comparative paper. We talked about what that meant. (wait, door opening in other room...must go see) Ok, she is not escaping or running away...back to my thoughts! Anyway, I told them to compare two things they knew a lot about. DS2 came up with Russia and America. That was the 'idea' - I expected things like "Russia has old buildings and America has some newer buildings" - "In Russia, I lived in an apartment. In America, I live in a house." Well...they both went a different direction. The best line was "In Russia my mother was never home or when she was she came home drunk. In America, my mother is ALWAYS home and she's usually not drunk when I get off the school bus."
Good to know...pretty sure I don't start drinking that early! That was DDs paper...

DS2 is doing well - really well - in most regards. Our residual issues right now are stupid questions and answering everything with "I don't know". As Super X pointed out - I don't know really means "I don't care to think about what you are asking me right now". We came up with some plans to help him through that and shared the plans with him. Overall though - I am impressed with his attachment right now. That's bigger than most things I've ever said. I actually have been feeling ATTACHMENT from him. Like coming to me for hugs and kisses and offering kind words and deeds without asking. I can honestly say that most of the annoyance is not attachment based and in fact, there is little annoyance in general with sweet boy right now.

Ah, but don't worry - I still have plenty to write because DD-precious girl is on a tear. BTW, she's in pay back mode right now. Wasted about 45 minutes this morning with drama and lies and so, she's cleaning the dog hair off my couch right now. I hate that chore...and I'm selling the couch tomorrow at my garage sale. Can I also say that this garage sale is partially causing the mania in DD? She can't handle any change - no matter how long or short lived. While it is sad, I'm also tired...

Monday, September 21, 2009

What if they read this?

There was an article here: http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=7955014 from KSL.com. I read the article and then went to comments - expecting to see nothing but hate and anger toward this family. I was surprised to see how many RAD parents were out there - and just other folks who got it. It bothered me to read again and again how 'special' the parents are for 'doing this'...I hear that a lot to and NO, I'm not. I didn't go out and TRY to adopt special needs kids. I fell into this head first. That, does not make me more God-like or special...it just makes me a learner. At any rate...there was one comment the ripped the mother because she had admitted (in writing) that she had hated her daughter at times. This commenter wanted to know how she would answer her daughter's questions someday when she sees that - because it's out there for all time.

So is what I say here. My kids know I blog and write for an adoption site. They see me working on my computer and will sometimes ask "are you writing about me?"...they've even commented when they make a bad choice "I bet that will make the blog today". I'm honest with them...they already know pretty much everything I write here. They know that there are sad days and mad days and glad days in our lives. We've discussed that love can live in the background sometimes while anger and yes, even hatred, can seem more out front. They have hated me and I have have hatred towards them. RAD is a hard pill to swallow...you just never know what it's like to live this life, until you do. That is where we are now. Living it and there is no way I know how to live like a liar.

Don't take this that I sit and tell my children daily whether I love them or hate them. I'm not cruel or even living in anger. But, when they've seen me cry (and my gosh, I've become so much more of a cryer than I ever was before RAD), I don't pretend that they didn't play a part. I wonder what will happen if they read this someday - and I will let them if they ask...then I wonder if it will surprise them at all. Much like our daily life - there are good posts, sad posts, funny posts and mad posts...and underneath it all I write about it because I trust that one day - they will be healed and this can be our journal of memories. So, if it's you, my precious children, reading this now...know that I did my best, just as you did and together we found success!

Friday, September 18, 2009

7 good things about today...just because!

  • My kids are ALL getting great grades in school and they are proud of it. My middle schooler actually ASKED me to check the parent portal (where I can view gradebooks) and my daughter brought home a whole folder full of As. DS2 is doing his best and I'm proud of that!
  • Even though I'm sick, I found myself humming today. I got to hang sheets outside to dry (totally illegal in my little HOA hole) and I got to breathe them in as I made clean beds. I love clean beds...it's like a new beginning everytime.
  • I cuddled my daughter BEFORE school today. She's doing her routine so darn well that she ends up with extra time and I just hugged on her...and she hugged back!
  • We celebrated my husband's birthday yesterday and sat and laughed and enjoyed each other's company. It was nice.
  • DS2 achieved greatness in my mind by going on his school trip and having fun without trouble. I'm proud of him and although he's exhausted...he's holding it together and even got up early for running club. That boy can run like the wind and he's getting more into it. I love to see committment in him toward a goal!
  • I bathed the dogs today. In the shower. With all my clothes on. This is a happy point because the dogs smelled bad and now they don't. And...my shower doesn't have a door and no wet dogs escaped to shake all over my room. I do love my dogs and they are devoted to me...that's nice.
  • We are hoping to attend a Russian Festival in the city tomorrow. I'm looking really forward to it - I think it's a small event...but honestly, it's the first time the kids have been willing to do anything related to Russia. It's a step and maybe will lead to good conversation - even if it doesn't...I'll get to see cool stuff and maybe buy some more nesting dolls (I didn't get many in Russia)! Really neat if we could meet some other adoptive families!!!

What no one told me about adoption (or I didnt' believe)

Today the Grown in my Heart blog carnival begins...please read here and then jump in as well. Go to http://www.growninmyheart.com/what-no-one-told-me-about-adoption-carnival-one and click Mr. Linky and get to be next in line. There are so many great lists to read today!

What no one told me about adoption

No one ever told me that a child (who could remember) won't be grateful at all for your love or the life you are giving them. They will continue to feel/see that you took them away from something they didn't want to leave. No matter how bad things were - you could end up being the bad guy in their minds. I didn't want a child full of gratitude for everything - but I hoped and dreamed of a child that was happy with what we could give them and didn't grieve daily for the past painful life.

No one ever told me that I might not love them right away. I had read about attachment on the child's part - but never that MY attachment may not work out. No one told me to talk about it and find support for myself - no one gave me permission to hurt over not feeling what I wanted to feel. Only when I stepped out from complete exhaustion and fear did I hear that SO MANY others go through this too. Call it post-adoption depression or attachment disorder on my end...it's out there big time.

No one told me that physicality could play in. A child's smell or body chemistry can honestly be adverse to what you expected or are used to. Our bodies react to that also.

No one told me I'd meet people in the department of child services and the psych departments at school so that I won't go to jail for my child's false reports!

No one told me that my husband and I could come THIS close to divorce because attachment is so much more strongly placed on the mother and so much harder to understand for the father. I didn't know my marriage could/would suffer so badly.

No one told me that after 30 months - I would get my first spontaneous hug without being asked and then sit in my chair and cry.

No one told me that my daughter would look at me after 3.5 years of being home and say "I can't believe you love me" or that even today (after almost 4 years) she still shrinks away when I go to hug her.

No one told me that the odds of a child from an orphanage having RAD are so high. No one told me that while medical reports are often wrong about physical limitations, they are nearly always wrong about mental/emotional disabilities. They don’t list them…they probably don’t really even know that something is wrong because all the children there are living through the same thing.

No one ever told me how HARD I was going to have to fight the system. That people I’ve called friends for years would begin to drift away and others who are strong enough to feel my pain and help me with it would step up. No one told me that authority figures would never have heard of RAD and often totally disregard it and me and my children’s needs.
No one told me that they would have so much trouble making friends and not really understand what a friend is.

No one told me that even on the darkest days – when giving up sounds like the sweetest relief, that I would find strength anywhere I could grasp it and I would not give up on myself or them. I’m determined to beat this and bring them with me…no one told me that.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mountain update...

Just in...DS2 is home in one piece and the first thing I can report is that there was NO REPORT from the 'camp'. Maybe even bigger news if that he brought EVERYTHING home that he took with him in the first place. This may seem like a small thing...but from the child who forgets where his shoes are on a daily basis...this is HUGE. He was very proud to unload and watch me check it all off. He's in a good mood - bit of a lost voice and tired...but is being so compliant and loving. What a nice thing!

For the few of you who have commented recently and are 'new' readers - and all my old readers also! I appreciate each and every comment and am too tech non-savvy to know how to reply directly to you!!! It really does help to know there are others who get it and have lived in the trenches with me...it's what gets me through many days. I hope that maybe just reading one thing that 'sounds like your life' can get you through a day a little easier!!!

Tomorrow Grown in my Heart is starting a blog carnival. Look for the Things I wish I Had Known Before Adoption here on my blog as well as checking out all the other writers and please join in on your blog as well...you'll be able to hook up through Mr. Linky! Check it out tomorrow at www.growninmyheart.com!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The coconut game...where's the reality?

The facade of the great year DD was having came crashing down yesterday. I went to school to volunteer and ended up finding out that little has changed...other than her having a teacher that maybe didn't actually understand what I outlined at the beginning of the year. Disappointment really set in. There was such pride at my house both for her and in her...she seemed to be 'doing it' - really making a change. Nope...it was smoke and mirrors.
The teacher met me as we walked to tell me what a turnaround year she felt DD was having. Then, she started listing the 'little things' that are happening. The list included EVERY thing that has happened every year that has made our home life so challenging. I love the idea of home and school being seperate...but when my DD is learning that she can control the information I receive - the she is contolling an adult...it's dangerous territory for her. Heck, I think it is somewhat dangerous for any child to see that they have that control.
DD makes the bad choice and then says "PLEASE don't email my mom, are you emailing my mom...she'll be SO MAD". I believe she's leading teacher to believe that things happen here...once again, ogre mom who takes away food or spanks or grounds for long periods of time because her daughter was out of her seat. So, teacher has NOT been emailing me...reassuring DD that it's 'not a big deal' - as long as there isn't blood, there is no reason for mom to know. Of course, she planned on telling me...but telling me this far after all these things have happened does little good. DD barely 'remembers' what happened that day...she'll feign complete ignorance of any misdeed yesterday.
This has been going on all year (over a month)...and I've never been told. She's still manipulating, lying, trying her best to do everything she's been asked not to do without getting caught. She's not good at it...she gets caught - but it doesn't get back to me.
When she got called on it last night - it was typical answers. NO, I didn't do that! That's not true. I don't know what you are talking about. I could see the anger at her teacher and at us boiling under the surface. She's mad that the control she thought she had didn't work...she's mad to be held accountable...she is mad that maybe, just maybe, the teacher doesn't believe I'm evil.
On the way to tumbling she was crying (please note: no one yelled, there was no consequence set down on her...as you can see, her life was going on as normal...we're at a loss as to what you can do to consequence or change a child that seems to not care at all about basically anything)...and she blurts out "I don't like you because my first mother in Russia was a beautiful woman. She loved me and cared for me and she would bring me toys after she'd been out drinking." Just the craziness of that sentence nearly made me laugh. She went on to tell me that she was deeply loved. I stayed calm and pointed out that adoption doesn't happen because there is nothing wrong in a family. As per our attachment therapist, I used the honest facts that I have in a calm tone. I'm not trying to tear her birth family apart in her mind...in their own way they did love her...but, they couldn't/didn't care for her. They weren't feeding her (yet, I get blamed for that ALL the time)...her mother didn't even come to court to fight for her. I can't truly understand what that must feel like - but I do have an idea.
My biological father stopped coming for visitation one day when I was 8. I had my bags packed for the weekend and he just never showed. He lived 7 miles from me for 10 years and never called, sent a card...didn't even come to my high school graduation when I invited him. I still don't have a relationship with him. But, I allowed my step-father in...he's not my step-dad...he's the man that raised me and tucked me in at night and was there to take my prom pictures and throw me a birthday party. He gave me a few dollars to put gas in my tank...he loved me and still does. There is no genetic tie there - yet, I don't drag it around all day with me. I wish she could do the same. I wish peace for her little heart and soul...
I could hear the tears in the back...it felt like an actual emotional break through. We pulled into the lot at her gym and I actually expected we wouldn't go to class. I thought she was coming to terms with some things, so I turned to tell her we could just go home and cuddle and talk and when I turned...she was jumping out saying "see you in there". Her face wasn't red...there weren't dried tears on her cheeks and I sat wondering "was any of that real?"...I am constantly amazed at how out of touch she is with her emotions. I have cried for her, with her about her past. It stinks and it's not fair and it's worthy of tears and anger and sadness. Yet, I seem to be responsible to cry for both of us...
As for school - I emailed the teacher. While this was happening, I was too shell shocked to know what to say. Now, I wonder how the rest of this year will go. I'm back to looking like a crazy person - I was hoping for one year where we could just sail through and things actually went easily. I guess this may not be that year.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Teen angel

My oldest son became a teenager on Labor Day. It was fitting for it to come on that day this year, because I actually was, at one time, in labor with him! I just want to take a moment to say a few words about his life in these years.
He is a special young man. I was given this gift at an odd time in my life. Done with college, but not ready for life and obviously not making the best decisions...but what an answer he became. I knew from the first second I found out about him that my life was going to change and I wanted him to be the center of it. His first few years were not that of normal child-rearing books. I was still dating and his 'circle' consisted of my best friends and weekends with Mimi and Ada. My friends and I were like co-parents. DS1 and I were so blessed to have people love us and help us. We had a house with a yard and he became the center of so many people's lives. He slept with me every night (bad momma...tired momma...unwilling to deal with tears momma) and I remember his scent from way back then. He was obsessed with tractors (Ada is a farmer...that's my dad) and trucks - for his third birthday we had hay rides in my backyard using a John Deere lawnmower with a small wagon attached. He was the happiest kid ever. There were times when it didn't feel like there were enough hours in the day to do what needed to be done...but he was happy with fruit for dinner (again, bad momma) and ice cream for dessert.
Right before he turned four...we found DH and life changed again. He was always happy and that dimple in his cheek can still do me in. He went from a little hyper boy who struggled in school, to a relaxed, laid back kid with a competitive drive in everything from baseball to algebra. While the changes he goes through can be hard on a relationship - he's still my baby. I make him sit on my lap sometimes and he does it - and maybe even enjoys it. His scent isn't quite so sweet (why won't he lather on the baby lotion anymore) and his laugh has grown to sound like a man's...but I can still see him running through a park in his diaper and wanting someone - wanting me - wanting his mom.
I am a lucky woman for many reasons and this amazing child is one of them!
Happy birthday to my no longer little boy...may your teenage years be years of happiness, growth and independence from doubt and maybe even from your crazy mom!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I'm not sure I'm a good adoptive parent and what makes me angry is that there has to be differentiation. I read a incredibly moving post today at Grown in my Heart. It's by a woman that works in China at a foster home for special needs children. Her viewpoint is something that I've obviously never lived and the article is poignant and touching. You can find it here: http://www.growninmyheart.com/redemptive-response-to-tragedy
Then I felt an attack. I can't tell if I really felt 'attacked' or if it was internal. Am I really a failure parenting my children because I can't continuously live in a place of tragedy or redemption with them? Does it make me a bad mother because I just want there to be normal in our lives? Does living through their pain, neglect and trauma nominate me for an award in the adoptive parent category?
I really don't know...but I don't do it. Not every day...sure, it pops into my head quite often. I talk with them and try to relate the struggles we are having to the things that have happened. But, I don't come at every situation in the 'you are hurt so badly and I need to nurture your pain' standpoint. So...maybe I'm part of the problem - not the solution.
Boy, that would suck for all involved, huh?