'Little Cindy' read the caption as Marcela was obviously disturbing her darling, super-opinionated, beautiful daughter Marissa this morning, texting me this photo that I'm gonna use here, and has zero relation to any of the following words in this post.
If anything, I cling to my grandchildren as hope for the next generation because our middle generation was saddled with such heavy strikes against them genetically and neuro-biologically. Claudia and I'd just discussed that on the phone recently.
Marcela was in my first sibling group adoption, 25 years ago, now college educated, employed, married, and a homeowner, - goals I wanted for all of my children.
But around the late 1990s I began adopting way more troubled children - and none of it was any of their fault. Not at all. I remember consulting with special ed professionals as I read the study, asking questions before the kids ever arrived, and, get this, I was picky about who I adopted, I knew which issues I felt I could not parent...yet ended up with some other issues I'd not seen coming, nor had those in which I'd consulted, met with and discussed everything.
I've told three caseworkers in one day yesterday that I believe I adopted the cream of the crop, literally, very, very difficult children, yet the case studies of those coming into foster care nowadays indicate even more serious challenges. That flat out blows me away.
I want to shout out a public, "Thank you for allowing me to be your mama," to the 38 darlings that joined Sarah and I as a family over the last three decades. I really wanna thank Sarah for standing by me for all these years and for not having fled in fear. Preston too, a big ole thank you.
A series of recent studies has established that psychopathic rapists and murderers have distinct brain structures that show up when their heads are scanned using MRI.
There was a time in my once naive, over-protected, Preacher's kid life when I'd have found that statement to be a cop-out. I was too judgmental. No, make that ignorant.
This is only one of the thousand ways in which I've changed by parenting traumatized children, clearly I needed to learn more. So much more.
A study published in the journal Science this month showed that criminal psychopaths in the United States whose lawyers provide biological evidence for their brain condition are more likely to be sentenced to shorter jail terms than those who are simply said to be psychopaths.
Dee had sent me this article, reading it in its entirety helped me to see both sides of the fence and to also come away just as muddled as before. That I've had the privilege of loving some of the defendants since they were young children, I, naturally, look at them as troubled, rather than as straight-up criminals.
After conducting a series of tests on the Algerian, Pietrini and colleagues said they had found abnormalities in imaging scans of his brain, and in five genes that have been linked to violent behavior — including MAO-A.
A 2002 study led by researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London linked low levels of MAO-A with aggressiveness and criminal behavior in boys who were raised in abusive environments.
Well, dang, all of my children came from the foster care system, and before that, very abusive and violent environments, especially several of the later sibling groups I'd adopted.
I hurt for them as they face consequences, and I doubly feel psychic pain in knowing that they are completely unable to link these consequences to their recent behaviors that got them locked up.
I have no answer, but I do know I'm in good company, as so many professionals themselves are baffled as well.
In yesterday's awesome-as-usual therapy session with Dr. Mandy we were addressing an issue that merely grates on my nerves, is even kind of small potatoes compared to the major criminal ones I've faced and endured...that of lying.
Dr. Mandy described it to me as a functional dishonesty, in that the person simply lied to get their way and that this type of lying generally ceases when the liar is an adult and doesn't feel they have to lie to the parent who is only protecting them.
Well less lying should then ensue, there'll be plenty of opportunities for lies to continue in the workplace and in relationships, but for me to not to confuse this with psychopathic lying, because the one we were discussing does have empathy and a conscience, which, of course, gives me great hope for that one's future.
Teenagers in general cannot conceive that the warnings from a parent could actually happen to them.
Their absurd feelings of invincibility, combined with a lack of brain maturity, lead teens into all sorts of dangerously risky behaviors.
This particular teen perceives that I am mad, not comprehending that I am hurt by the deceit. A difference Dr. Mandy pointed out to me to comprehend and thus better understand my teen.
As for the documented criminals, those with lengthy arrest records that are my family members, I've had to disallow their participation in family gatherings for everyone's protection. If one has been charged with meth possession, one can rightly fear they'll be robbed. And this time, I do believe this one who often lies to me, that it really wasn't literally his drugs - a dubious distinction at best.
I believe him because another one who vouched for him, doesn't have a dog in this fight, and was even furious at the one who'd gotten arrested. He'd notified me in outrage before I'd even known of the arrest.
All the occupants of the vehicle were charged. I also though know this kid of mine would easily take some drugs if offered, certainly drinks until drunk, and therefore I just can't allow him into our home, to bluster and to posture gang signs and thuggish behaviors in front of younger kids. I don't think so.
I do love him, I do deeply care for him, yet I grieve over his terribly detrimental choices. He's gonna be a father in a month. Oh dear.
His youngest birth brother is being re-traumatized every time an older sibling either grows up and leaves home (abandonment and rejection is intensely felt), or makes terrible choices and gets arrested, sending this youngest one running to Dr. Mandy who guides him through his very confused feelings of fear, hurt and fury.
There's no way to withhold this damaging information from the younger sib, he hears an even crazier version at school from all the Hispanics who live in the trailer park in which many of these arrests have occurred.
Many of those residents also tend to make sure I'm aware of all of the details as well.
Dr. Mandy again, maybe the millionth time in more than a decade, reminded me that I can not control anyone's choices, not my grown kids, not even the traumatized children at home, I can only continue to lead, to love, and to try and parent them against oh so many odds.
There are already known biological bases for many brain disorders criminals suffer from, including drug addiction, alcoholism and antisocial personality disorder, which is thought to affect up to half of all those in prison.
I'd told Dr, Mandy yesterday that I'm aware she can't 'fix' my kids, that I don't expect her to be a miracle worker. I'm not a parent who will scream in frustration, "Therapy isn't working!" I just expect her to be the very brilliant ear that my children will confide in, that she's not the parent that represents so much conflict, because of that they do trust her, they adore her, which makes it in my favor because therapy is helping.
It's helping me navigate crazy waters, it's helping my children cope with their incredibly difficult challenges, and I do know, from many, many years of experience as a parent to severely troubled children, that they ARE listening to all she tells them, they are storing it away for future reference, and are using some of the many coping techniques they are learning.
The words I've used most often in seven years of blogging are 'I have no answers.' I only report and ponder what I've seen, experienced and observed while searching for answers, help and resources. I'm a self-described know-it-all who knows very little.
I'd budgeted a generous $300 for our electric bill, we've not used AC all month, the pool pump had been shut down, I'm a little dweeb running around shutting off all lights and fans not in use. And dadgum if it wasn't $639. I had a major hissy fit in the kitchen to no one. Highway robbery, crapping up my carefully constructed September budget. $339 that must now come out of another category or three. Gas at $4 a gallon, can't touch that over-stressed category.
Thank God for the $2 outfit I'd got at a yard sale to wear to Daniel's wedding.
I do share blanket financial statements with my kids, we discuss at dinner rather often where each dollar needs to go each month, they see me sacrifice and make tough decisions, but they also see that these sacrifices pay off, that I'm not a martyr, but rather a CEO happily meeting a challenge. The satisfaction at the end of each month when we might be pathetically broke, but the bills have been paid, is priceless and something I'm hoping to teach by example along the way.
Jump over to this non-sugar-coated post on living with FASD. I doubt there's a single child leaving foster care going into adoption that is not either FAE or FAS to some degree. Do you really think the birth parents were sober? Hello? It drives me to tears to think how seriously my own children were sentenced to a life of severe difficulties because their birth parents drank or did drugs while pregnant.