On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Friday, December 18, 2009

some help

I'm reading an insane amount of literature in a very short period of time so I will be adequately prepared to help Sissy when she returns. (ETA is late March - insurance only gives us 120 days wether she's better or not) That means I have to be better. nice.

One of the many texts I'm reading address an issue we seem to be having while trying to help people understand what is happening with our family. It seems that despite our best efforts, our communication is still generating confusion, hurt feelings and misunderstandings. That's not our intent but we are also having problems helping people understand that our intent is not to be hurtful, rather to be 100% invested in our family's needs right now which includes Wonder Girl and Aspie Boy (who has his own set of unique issues) and me and The Dad. It is so easy for parents to overlook themselves but we must.be.first! Always!!!! If something will be an energy drain for The Dad and I, we can.not.do.it. We have to save ALL of our energy reserves for the children and we need to store up insane amounts for Sissy's return. She's going to drain our energy account when she returns and we know that so we have to be prepared with a very full energy account.

Somehow, even typing all of that I know that those words will be lost on our loved ones that aren't walking these miles in our shoes. Despite my best efforts to hone my communication skills, I still feel helpless to express what we need. The Dad said it so perfectly the other day, i wrote it on the white board in the kitchen and have yet to erase it, "We need people to have compassion and empathy even if they don't understand." Well said, Dad!!! xxooxxoo to my excellent spouse.

I was also trying to figure out what it is about The Dad's mom that makes my heart sing instead of turn sour and it's that "she makes no demands of us and trusts us implicitly."

Here's the cruxt of the matter, as parents, we are not doing anything illegal, immoral or abusive to our children. Indeed, those things have already been done to RAD kids. On the contrary, we are doing everything possible to HELP our children. Sure, the help our children need requires unconventional methods but why does that matter if in the long run we have safe, happy, healthy, mentally stable children that eventually become functional adults in society? The end justifies the means and furthermore, I'm not questioning anyone else's parenting skills (provided that they are not doing anything immoral, illegal or abusive.)

Then I read this passage in Katharine Leslie's book, "Coming to Grips with Attachment" (pg 130) I do not know that we can ever hope to have the complete support of people who do not live with an attachment-challenged child. I've gotten over t. I say to my friends and family, "You can feel bad for our children, but I hope you also feel bad for me and my spouse." I explain to them that even though what we are doing may not feel right to them, it is right. And if they can not stick with the plan we won't be able to spend much time together. A lot of parents tell me that even though their family and friends think they are not parenting their attachment-challenged children properly, these smae fmily members and friends are not interested in giving it a try when offered the chance."

[aside: Leslie recommends Dan Hughes' book, "Building the Bonds of Attachment" to help address the challenges famiily and friends pose to us and how to mange these problems. If anyone has this book and would be willing to loan it (I'll pay S&H) please let me know!]

To conclude, the part where Leslie says, "and if they can not stick with the plan we won't be able to spend much time together" really resonates with me. Not because i'm being a meany but because it gives me the freedom and the guilt-free privelege to say that unsupportive responses will drain my energy account and Sissy needs a lot of my energy. I also need to take it one step further and say that if they can not be 100% verbally supportive, I will have to choose the same recourse. That includes no unreasonable requests of our time and energy (it's not like we haven't spelled it out for everyone that Aspie Boy and Sissy can not do conventional things that healthy children of their age can do), no anger, no sighs of discontent or looks of disdain or disapproval and no demands of explanations (I'll just angrily shove a list of books under your nose). All of those things drain my energy account and for mine and Sissy's sake, I can not abide by it any more. Even if that means I'll be stepping on toes and causing other people pain. It's not intentional, it's survival for our family. We are simply taking an unconventional path toward healing for our family that is not illegal, immoral or abusive. I make no further apologies or exceptions.

Lastly, for my readers that are not RAD parents, it might be best to say to you that if you are going to try to figure out RADs, don't. The very nature of this disorder is mental disparity and even insanity. That which is unexplainable or incomprehensible to a sane mind simply can not be explained or rationalized, it is futile to try. The best a RAD parent can do is attempt to rewire the RAD brain with paterning, modeling, love and any unconventional or insane tool at our disposal. The best a RAD parent can do to survive this insanity is to laugh, hug and be reminded 12 times a day that they are amazing, wonderful, beautiful people that did nothing to earn their child's hate and malice or the disdain from the friends and family that do not understand.



Diana said...

AMEN! Well said. Hooray!

I'm having issues with this same thing right now. There's always there, really, but they do seem to become more pronouced with the holidays. I hear all the time "you just need to teach your children this or that." "How are they going to ever learn if you don't let them do these things?" "You just need to spend more time with them and work with them more." And the worst one of all "Lighten up! That's just normal kid stuff. They're just being kids!"

Like @#$% they are! If I lighten up, this adorable, seemingly normal child that you see may well burn your house down or at the very least destroy every square inch of drywall in your house (or more likely mine once they get home.) And of course, all of that will be after they swear, spit, scream, claw, whail, whine, hit, kick, and bite me.

I've already decided that we're not staying for any New Year's celebrations. If my daughter wants to stay with her cousins, that's fine...as long as she's also having a sleep over with them. But the boys will be coming home at bed time and they will be going to bed. Keeping them up or allowing them to stay up and run wild with their cousins all night is a recipe for disaster and 100% guarantees a trip straight through the trenches of Pergatory for the next several days. It simply isn't worth it.

I have the Daniel Hughes book somewhere, but haven't seen it since we moved a few months ago. If your local library doesn't have it, see if your local DCFS office has a lending library. Our state does and they carry all those really good books. You can check them out for free and they mail them to you with a return postage paid envelope so you can mail it back to them. "Attaching in Adoption" is a really good book. It quite literally saved my adoption! I threw it in my bag as a last minute afterthought and read the whole thing while we were in Ukraine. I may well have disrupted my entire adoption and come home without kids had I not had that book with me.

A couple of other really good ones are "The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog" (Can't remember who wrote it) and "Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control" (both volumes - Heather Forbes). "Learning the Dance of Attachment" (Holly van Gulden) is also really good.

Dia por Dia said...

We have been there and are there right now....

I have the book. Let me dig it up and let you know. Will email.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

I think the 5th paragraph says it well and that is what you should tell people.

I also recommend Beyond Consequences books. I have been to a couple of her seminars and the approach works with my daughter.

waldenbunch said...

The scary thing is when kids make false accusations. Our oldest did that and blamed us for things her birth parents did. She was at a RTC at the time and never came back home. We did not disrupt but she never made the effort to live with us again.

No, we are not doing anything immoral, but when social services starts investigating, everything we do seems abnormal. Try explaining that to them. I think SS should get all the training and read all the books we do. Luckily, things turned out okay, but it was a nightmare. So I am really hesitant to talk about any of this with friends, church family, etc. Many don't even know 2 of my kids are adopted or that we adopted a third.