S made such a great observation about her bio brother M: He acts just like a foster kid. That was profound to me. He still believes, after 11 years, that we are going to give him away, like we did his older bio sister B (which we didn’t because she went into a group home for se*ually abused kids, and never worked to come back home. She didn’t want to). I can’t change his thought process or the wrong beliefs he has. I really can’t. So we muddle along, tolerating each other I suppose. I will always cling to hope but I’m not sure there’s anything that will make him change that we haven’t already done. I firmly believe it will take a real encounter with God.
I have begun to question my ability to love him. I know love takes many different forms and our kids most often won’t let us love them in the “traditional” way: encouragement, big hugs, cuddling, conversation. I have been shut down from M, for him as much as me. Because I can therapeutically talk his head off when I want to. And it’s no good for him (usually) and exhausting (most likely) for me. Today I was able to reach him with questions and a conversation. Started in group time (where S pointed out that M was not listening to me go on and on. Rachel used to tell me, “30 seconds, Mom,” which meant if I couldn’t say it in that time frame I needed to stop talking anyway!)
We continued it at lunch with a (hopefully) heartfelt conversation about the usual, his emptiness and God. For some reason this seemed to reach him deeper than usual. He seems to try to connect with God but has no faith so whenever “life” happens it means God is not there. The idea of relationship is just so difficult for him. He’s a smart kid and “gets it” mentally but his heart is so closed. He was disappointed that I rarely hug him anymore. I told him I had done it for over 10 years, with no improvement in our relationship. I HAVE been withholding from him, which I know is selfish but I can’t stand the oppressiveness of his physical touch. Does anyone know what I’m talking about? It’s the absolute ickiness from a kid that only gives affection to “get” something or to be in control. So since I haven’t been hugging him I must not love him, right? Wrong. Love is revealed in many different ways.
Lately, caretaking love has been the only love I could give M. Today I was able to connect, if only for a moment, with his heart. Do I believe he is changed? Couldn’t tell you. We’ve had tons of these moments over the years. It may take until he’s 50 years old to really let go and let God. But for me, love is continuing to parent when it hasn’t been fun with this child for a very long time.