Defending Me to Me

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For those of you who have read my blog for any length of time, you know I tell it like it is. I don’t tell everything (not even close) but I don’t sugarcoat the fact that my adopted children face obstacles and a belief system that stems from their abandonment, neglect and abuse. As I read back through some of my own posts I started questioning my own heart and motives. For some reason I felt the need to defend me to me. I love my children. All of them. It may not always appear so through my own words:

 “There are no ‘consequences’  in our house for ‘accidents’, no yelling, no threats, no physical recourse.” I feel like I should also say that there is no yelling, no threats, no physical punishment for intentional behaviors either. There are moments (though pretty rare) of raised voices in frustration but we don’t yell at our kids. We don’t spank or use any other corporal punishment, although I do believe in it for neurotypical kids with no emotional trauma. It did NOT work with my adopted kids so we had to learn very different therapeutic parenting techniques to help facilitate change in their hearts.

“There is no ‘logical’ reason for him to be afraid of consequences.” I understand that the behaviors that stem from attachment disorder do not appear to be “logical.” I have long since given up “logical.” It just is what it is. I will tell my kids that it doesn’t make sense to me, but that I “get” where their behaviors stem from. That makes it no easier for me to parent the child. This type of parenting is so often “backwards” parenting from what I consider “logical.” Embrace your child, give them expectations, rewards and consequences, spend time with them, connect with their hearts and give encouragement. These often don’t work with our wounded kids. I understand why but my heart still wants these to work while my mind is constantly searching for another option.

What totally frustrates and exhausts me is the fact that my son (who never lived with his birth parents but was in at least three different homes in 15 months) just can’t seem to commit to change, yet my daughter (who we know was neglected the first six months of her life, before living in several different homes) has transformed before our eyes. Same birth parents. Same transitional homes. Same genetics. What makes one child shift and the other not? We are the same adoptive parents to both. I have no answer for my questions.

“I would be an idiot to trust him fully.” As controlling as that sounds it is the truth for our family. We did trust our kids completely and there were deep hurts to work through because of it. Not just to us as parents, but siblings to each other. Keeping ALL of our kids safe is our first priority. A child cannot heal who never believes his home is safe.

“It goes to the definition of his character, and the truth is, that in spite of years of training, coaching, praying and instruction, his character is still questionable.” Sometimes the truth hurts. Wounds reopen and hearts struggle. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) I believe Christ is THE truth and with that relationship my son will be “set free.”

Most of what I write is straight from my heart, but I realize to someone who doesn’t live this life, I may sound hard and jaded. I love my son. I love my daughter. But I cannot live in their pain because one of us has to stand for hope. One of us has to possess the strength to believe that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13) I lay my heart out with transparency in the hope that someone will be encouraged to keep fighting the battle for our kids’ hearts. It matters.

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  1. You always sound like a fabulous mom to me! I can only hope I would have half your insight and tenacity in such difficult circumstances.

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  3. I think you are an amazing Mom!! Oh my gosh, I wish I had the internet and knowledge of RAD years ago when I was raising my traumatized stepson. Just something I thought about when I read your question as to how they could go through the same experiences (for the most part) and one can heal and the other has not.

    Two patients can suffer a stroke in the same area of the brain. They can be the same age, same sex, same basic baseline of health prior to stroke, and same magnitude of damage to the brain. One can fully recover and the other can suffer from consequences for the rest of their life. Brain mapping is different and the way the brain responds to every situation is different. I know you likely “know” this, but it was the mental picture that popped into my mind when I read your question.

  4. Marty,

    I just read a Scientific American (correct title?) article about twins – one who grew up ‘normal’ the other homeless and a drug addict. They didn’t mention RAD, but talked about early bonding with mom and attachment. It was interesting as it was talking about new genetic research.

    You may want to see if you can read it? But with our RAD kids, who knows it we’ll ever see the healing your daughter has worked so hard on.

    And you are beyond correct, someone has to be the strength and hope and reasonable voice….maybe, just maybe he’ll begin to believe it and own it.

  5. You are bang on with this post. I love what you said about your son’s character still being questionable. Who’s isn’t, at least to a small degree, questionable? Are we not all sinful by nature? So to say that he has a ways to come yet sounds like calling a spade a spade. And without an eye to what needs improvement, improvement doesn’t happen and, like you said, people get hurt.

    Great thoughts. I’m glad I stumbled in here through Titus Tuesdays.
    God Bless.

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