Sunday, September 08, 2013
Congratulations Jesse and Lena
Stunned, I stared at the wall. "Really?" I must've screeched. "Tell me about her."
"She's pretty, she's nice, she's Portuguese," and, I'm sure he must've paused, "she's from New York."
I must've really hollered something then about the NY part, shock and incredulity, to which I do remember him telling me it was a very small town with dirt roads, upstate, and not NYC. I did get to meet her fairly soon afterwards, and here they still are, married for 9 years with their adorable son entering Pre-K. Y'all know we've prayed sweet Isaiah through bouts of epilepsy, and he's in tremendously good shape now, probably gonna grow to nine feet tall, as both his parents are not challenged in the height department.
I'm super proud of Jesse. He's an amazing man, a wonderful dad, and super husband to Lena.
I just wish upstate NY wasn't a million miles away. It is, however, close to Cooperstown, NY, and any baseball fan knows why I'd love to visit there someday.
That would be secondary, of course, to getting to be with Jesse and his family. My time's coming.
Jesse and Daniel, Sergi, Jack and CW, Nando and Scotty, and many others, many of my 21 sons have, and will continue to grow up and be very bonded sons of mine.
I do have several sons though that I might not ever see again, might not be able to ever allow on our property, due to assault charges, felonies, and convictions.
Dr. Brenda McCreight, The Adoption Counselor, wrote some haunting words this week, words I've ruminated upon as I spent three days shelling purple hulled peas, a bushel basket full that resulted in four one quart bags for the freezer, plus a pile of good eating right now.
I experience this often when new parents contact me wanting counselling for their newly placed, severely acting out, child. They have been led to believe that as long as they have the right supports and the right therapy then their child will soon become just like a neurotypical child. Oh, they understand maybe it will take a few months or a year, but they are sure I can make it all better. And, if I can’t, then there will be someone else whose books they have read who will know what to do.
I feel sad when I tell them what I believe, which is, that yes, someday your child really may do well in life. But, it won’t be in 6 months because the brain doesn’t change that fast and, some parts of the brain that have been harmed by fasd won’t change at all. I also tell them that if they want counselling services from me, then they need to understand that most of the time and energy will spent with the parents, because they are the ones who will have to a) reduce their expectations of their child b) increase their expectations of themselves c) change the fastest and d) change the most. Really, it kind of makes you wonder how I get any clients at all.
I've been blessed by my own community of support and resources in that they've helped me come to this very same conclusion.
Her entire post can be read here. Her entire blog needs to be memorized by us trauma mamas.
We want our pre-parented children to be normal. That's why we adopted, right? To help them regain a sense of a normal life where all of their needs will be met.
But, Honey, it's just not that simple.
I look at my old self, my old goofy, Pollyanna young self that had a visually optimistic image of how I believed I could help my family all be college graduates in spite of everything. I later lowered the goal to high school grads, finally comprehending even that seemed too loftily impossible.
I ended up unable to get some of them through middle school without psychiatric placements and the Department of Juvenile Justice having to step in.
Now that wasn't in my original technicolor dream.
Heck, we had the deputies called on elementary school age kids several times as well when their uncontrollable temper dysregulation flare-ups put others in danger there at school, or on the school bus.
So do we parents just surrender? Wave that stupid white flag?
No, but we must realistically assess what level our child is capable of reaching.
Jesse would come home to visit and be shocked at what I was dealing with, "Make them help you," he'd bellow, because as a kid, he did help. His own early childhood trauma was very severe, but his resiliency and amazing inner strength carried him far. Some kids just don't have it, and we parents can neither force it upon them, nor expect it out of them.
I can't expect a goat to lay an egg, how can I expect an angry, emotionally disturbed child to not lash out viciously?
Heck, I'm shocked at how little I've learned to expect from some of them. So is adoption pointless? Have we Mamas wasted our lives by our choice to try and help?
We have helped. We've helped some kids just get through childhood well-fed and well-dressed. Maybe that's all we'll succeed at, but succeed we sure did, right? Maybe these mandatory church times we've insisted upon are the only Biblical words they'll ever hear. I believe those words will not come back void.
Well didn't we Mamas pay an awfully high price? Maybe. But someone had to do so, why not us?
"You're just gonna leave me like every other lady did," I've been told by some raging adolescents, who then make their behaviors so unrelentingly dangerous that I have no choice but to get the law involved for everyone's safety. A self-fulfilling prophecy on their part, right? Maybe. Well, clearly so. It's not what I expected, nor what I wanted, it just is.
"My 15 year old keeps running away." I hear from y'all. BTDT, too.They are however, running from their own selves. Don't know if that helps you to cope, but it's a stone cold fact of life in Adoption 101.
"My kid keeps getting arrested, going to jail, assaulting people, stealing, lying, skipping school, vandalizing, doing drugs, sneaking out" - you name it, I've heard it, and/or experienced it. It sucks y'all, this I know.
But our pre-parented kids had many ideas, thoughts, experiences and beliefs shaped in cement before they ever even met us, and this is what is going to happen. It just is. This is why the therapists and caseworkers suggest that we need therapy. We have to learn to cope with what is. We can keep trying, matter of fact, we should keep trying, we're gonna get our hearts broken, our reputations besmirched, our material possessions destroyed, and likely, we will be physically harmed as well. You really think you won't need therapy after all that? You'll need therapy, a home repair crew, and the entire Emergency room staff is exactly what you're gonna need, if I'm any example.
I'm safe now, I live in a much calmer house than I've lived in for a very long time. Looking back I'm shocked at what we endured, and I sure don't know how we survived. I'm a tad resentful at what my other kids endured, I'm struggling with my own emotions over several situations, I'm burnt out and tired, and I know for a fact that my family greatly benefits from Medicaid funded therapy.
I'm extraordinarily grateful that the majority of my kids are great kids.