WHY MY CHILD WITH REACTIVE ATTACHMENT DISORDER ACTS DIFFERENTLY WITH YOU THAN WITH ME

27 09 2017

 

Article

As a heads up to friends and family who may see my son  differently than I do, this is one of the things his doctors are looking into. He may not have it, but he may have RAD like tendencies. Regardless of any future diagnosis, I see a lot of him in this article.

I know there are times that good meaning people think I’m too hard on him. Or that I’m not patient enough. Or that I’m doing it wrong. Or that he just needs a good swift kick in the pants.

 

Thank you for caring, but please understand, his brain processes things differently than the NINE other children I’ve parented. Techniques that worked on NINE OUT OF TEN of my kids DO NOT work for him. We’re forced to think outside the box and try to find things that will work, but won’t do more damage.

The mom too exhausted to make it out of the house? Me.

The mom crying in the shower because I don’t know how to help my son? Also me.

The mom who feels like there are very few (sometimes NO) judgement free zones and just wants to give up and stay in bed? Me again.

The mom who doesn’t know how to quit and will keep trying, keep being judged unfairly, keep pushing for answers and help, keep fighting for her son – ALWAYS ME.

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Jesus Would Give Him Cookies – Lessons Learned as a Foster Mom

1 09 2017

It’s been a long almost 16 months since we received the phone call alerting us that the children we’d recently adopted had a new baby brother. The state asked if we could take him home when he was released from the hospital that night. We rearranged our lives in nine hours to fit in a newborn we weren’t expecting (there was no heads up from the state that bio mom was expecting).

It’s been emotional and hard and terrifying. We just never knew what to expect, but we’d heard the stories of foster families who’d had children in this situation and the child was sent home with the bio parent straight from court. We were going to court every 90 days. It’s wreaked havoc on my nerves.

But going through this situation has changed me in good ways. (Before I go any further, let me say, I’m a Christian. I’m not perfect and have NEVER professed to be) I feel like God has been tutoring me in compassion. Teaching me to not be so judgmental. Opening my eyes to the needs of those around me. Going into this, I didn’t think I needed those lessons. I thought I was doing okay.

Through this journey I’ve had to work with the team from the state to help the bio parents successfully reunify with their child – the child I fell in love with the first day. The child who helped unify OUR family in a way we hadn’t been able to accomplish on our own. The child I felt the need to protect; I had to help facilitate reunification with these parents and their child.

To do this, I had to work to see them the way God sees them. It wasn’t easy. Because I have two of this little one’s older siblings, I had a good idea of what their life was like before being removed from their family and put into the foster system.

I had to work on forgiving these parents for the hurt they caused my children before they were mine. I had to forgive bad decision making that could have lead to catastrophic consequences. I had to forgive times when my children were INTENTIONALLY hurt by, or not protected by these people.

I had to forgive before I could see them in a more compassionate way.

I want parental rights terminated so we can adopt this precious boy, but I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand what a big deal this was to his bio mom because I didn’t care. I didn’t see her as a daughter of God that was just as deserving of compassion as any other woman I know and admire and love.

SHAME ON ME.

Even though all those court dates and all that worry and anxiety were hell on me, I’m grateful for the heavenly tutoring sessions those times provided. I get it now. I understand that this is a HUGE deal. I don’t see her as the bad guy. I got to understand how she might have felt everyday she wondered if she was going to get her son back. I see her as a mother who is facing one of the most profound losses of her life.

I’ve learned that if God finds something redeemable about them, if He, the creator of worlds and universes finds them worthy of His love, His commitment, and His sacrifice, then I have to be forgiving, too. I was reminded that Jesus lived, died, and conquered death for ALL sinners. If he did it for the perfect people it would have been useless – there are no perfect people. The best we can hope for are people who are trying their best.

Today, I saw the change in me that God has been working on. I saw it in my thought process and my actions. And it has nothing to do with my little one’s bio family.

To be as brief as possible – there’s was a misunderstanding. My daughter and I were yelled at, intimidation was tried, and we were threatened (it was very specific to a situation we had today and not just a random thing that happened on the street.)

I was furious. I almost drove away, then decided that it just wasn’t okay. I drove back into the parking lot where this man worked and two giant mama grizzly bears took over my body. I’m a whopping 5’1″ and I tore back into the store and proceeded to yell back at this man (who was an employee). There are more details, and I still can’t believe I did that, but kids are my hot button and you don’t threaten them. Luckily, the man my husband and I usually deal with in the store was able to intervene and we worked everything out (at one point the yeller was on the phone to someone telling them they needed assistance with an angry customer in the store. I was the only customer in the store, so it’s possible I may have been a little scary, but again, it’s not okay to intimidate and threaten my child). In the end it all worked out and I don’t have a mug shot.

Maybe you’re thinking that I don’t come off looking all that Christ like. And maybe it wouldn’t be a big deal if I hadn’t just spent five hours opening up and baring my heart to the internet. And I agree, at that moment I probably wasn’t very Christ like. But I’m human. I’m fallible. I’m going to mess up.

I process things by talking them out with friends. The consensus is the same – the man was wrong. Some have said he deserved it.

Maybe.

But maybe he deserves something more. Something better.

I told a friend that I was thinking about taking in cookies tomorrow. I don’t feel like I properly forgave the man. I just wanted out of the building, I didn’t want to be around this man (99% of the time, I go out of my way to avoid confrontation). He heard the insincerity in my one word answer of, “Okay.”

I know at that point, he was probably trying to do damage control and save his job. But you know what? He still deserves my forgiveness.

My friend said he owed ME cookies. But here’s the thing, I DON’T NEED COOKIES. I don’t know what this man’s life is like, or what his story is, but my guess is that it’s harder than mine. There’s a reason he reacted the way he did. Maybe someone showing him a moment of grace will change, even just a little bit, how he sees the world around him and how he treats other people.

Some say he doesn’t deserve cookies. But I don’t deserve all the things Jesus did for me, and yet,  He still did them. I’m so grateful He looked at me and found someone worth saving.

I think Jesus would give him cookies.

 





This Crazy Foster Care Thing Update

11 08 2017

I've blogged a bit about my family and how it's put together. I've shared the books I've made for my foster son's bio mom. I've asked for prayers at crucial times in our case.

Yesterday, 70 days after the state suggested the case goal be changed to adoption (with us), we finally got the news.

The judge CHANGED THE CASE GOAL TO ADOPTION.

So, if you've prayed for us, thank you so much. We're not done, we're on a different path that may still take some time to finish. But we're on it and that's the important thing.

You might think I'm jumping up and down in excitement. I'm not. That sounds odd, doesn't it.

I'm relieved. I'm grateful. I'm conflicted.

This was the right call. But somewhere today, there's a mom, a mom who truly loves her son, who is learning that she will probably not get him back.

A mom who's heart is probably breaking. I can not celebrate my good fortune, not when I understand the magnitude of her loss. And I think that was a lesson I needed to learn. My heart aches for her.

The next goal is for the state to file the appropriate petitions in a timely/quick fashion. So, if you're a praying person, we'd be grateful for more prayers on our family's behalf.

And while you're praying, please remember his bio mom. I'm sure she can use some prayers, too.





A Non-Craft Related Post

24 07 2017

If you’ve been following the blog for a little while, you know our youngest child is a foster son. He’s biologically related to some kiddos we adopted a few years back.

Interesting things are happening in our state under a new governor. The most significant being the Foster Care Bill of Rights he signed into law last month.

The way the process was explained to us a few years ago, the only time the judge can ask the questions – Is this what’s best for the child – is when they were deciding to remove a child from care. The judge said the rest of the laws are written for the adults – the parents.

The very first line on this new Foster Care Bill of Rights states that the best interest of the child should be the top priority for Children’s Division.

54 days ago, all three state representatives involved in my foster son’s case recommended that the case goal be changed to adoption (with us). We’re still waiting to hear what the judge’s ruling is. But we hope that the new Foster Care Bill of Rights gives those workers stronger ground to stand on when they’re arguing for the children. We’re hoping that they can finally use the words – this is in the best interest of the child.





Mermaid in a Bottle

3 06 2017

It was a stressful week. We had court for our foster son and the judge is in the process of deciding whether to change the baby’s case goal from reunification to adoption.

Court was Thursday.

It’s Saturday.

We’re still waiting for an answer.

To help deal with the stress, I colored a mermaid. 

I decided she needed a cozy bottle to hang out it, but it was kind of boring, so I also created a background for her.

But I’m most excited about the cork. Yes, the cork. Below the card in the picture, you can see what the cork looked like compared to the cork on the card.

When I put the card together, I realized the bottle looked kind of funny with the cork on top because the cork should be behind the opening. But when I put it behind the card, it looked funny because there was no cork visible inside the opening.

To fix this, I drew in the bottom part of the cork and colored it with my copics. Then I colored the top of the cork to make it match better.

I like the bottle much better now 🙂

The mermaid is from a place called Coronado Stamps, but I don’t think they’re around anymore. But a quick search online showed their stamps may be found on eBay 🙂 I used my pixscan mat to cut out the stamped image on my Silhouette Cameo.

The background was done in Craft Artist 2 with the kit called Summer Seaside. The bottle and the letter set are from the Silhouette Store.

Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo





For My Foster Son’s Birth Mother – A Mother’s Day Card

17 05 2017

I think about her a lot.

I wonder how she’s doing.

I wonder if she’s safe and healthy.

I wonder if she’s happy.

And on days like Mother’s Day, I wonder how she’s survived the loss of three children, and potentially a fourth.

I’ve wanted to reach out on previous Mother’s Days to let her know the children she gave birth to are safe and happy. That they’re doing phenomenally well even though we’ve had our struggles.

But I’ve never had a way to reach out until now.

So this is her card. I’m not sure what I’m going to write in it, but I may not get another chance to do this, so I don’t want to squander it.





I’m More than Art…

8 02 2017

…even though you probably can’t tell from my blog because it is so art focused. But I use art to cope with some of life’s stresses.

I’m also a mom to a couple of children I didn’t give birth to. Luckily, six out of my seven children are legally mine. We’re hoping and praying that the seventh (a nine month old we’ve had since he was three days old) will also legally be ours; but that’s still up in the air.

It’s one of the hardest paths I’ve ever had to walk.

I’m not good with uncertainty. I need the control of having things planned out so I know what needs to be done and when so I can make sure everything gets done.

The first two years we were foster parents showed me that I’m really not a great candidate for this. We have to cede too much control to the state, and it rankles. But when we found out about this little guy (he’s a bio sibling to a couple of our other children), there was no doubt in our minds that we needed to bring him home. In nine hours we rearranged our entire lives and at the end of the day we were smitten with this adorable little boy. We knew he needed a family, but we had no idea how much our family needed him. He’s been a huge blessing to us all from day one.

But babies aren’t easy and seven kids is crazy, but we’re managing. But every three months these last 9 months we’ve had court. We have no idea what will happen those days because the commissioner who has our son’s case has not been predictable. It seems everyone leaves the court room scratching their heads and wondering what just happened. Except one of the attorneys who probably walks out thinking, “I can’t believe that worked.”

So every three months my stress levels amp up. Not only am I managing the normal things of life, I have to prepare myself and my six other children, just in case we go to court with a baby, but come home without one. It has happened to others, so we know the possibility exists. Every three months I have to tamp down my anxiety so I’m not a puddle on the floor. I have to find a way to be okay around our court date. I have to find a way to see something good in the people who may one day leave the court house with their son, who has been my son since he was 3 days old. I have to find a way to see something good in the people who were not able to parent three other children well enough to keep them. These children, two of which are now mine, did not have an easy past and these are the people who should have made their lives better but didn’t. I have to find a way to see something good in them because my children carry them in their hearts and heads all the way down to their DNA. When my children look in the mirror in the future, these are the faces they may see looking back at them. My children need to know that there is good in them regardless of who they look like. They need to know that I love them, no matter who’s eyes they have, or who’s DNA. If they see me finding good in those people now, I hope they’ll believe me later.

To help me gain that perspective, I’ve been making books for them each month of what’s going on in the baby’s life. They’re missing so much, I hope this helps them not miss everything. And I find that when I can put my fears aside and do this, it’s easier to see them simply as parents. Parents who are missing out on their child’s life. I put myself in her shoes and I know this is how I would want to be treated. It’s the right thing to do, so I do it. Then my eyes are opened a little bit more and I realize she’s not the enemy. That although I think this precious little one will be safer here, she still deserves respect. And art does that.

Art brings things into focus for me. It distracts me when I’m trying not to think about the upcoming court date, or when I have too much nervous energy to sleep the night before court (I didn’t fall asleep until about 5 am this morning).
When I’m stressing out about all the other things on my plate (I have 4 teenagers – two are graduating this year, a tween, a preschooler, and now an infant, and each one can be classified as special needs) I can sit at my desk and lose myself in the quiet of the night and de-stress.

Art makes life better.

I’m including the book I finished today for his 6th month. I purposefully didn’t include his pictures. I made a deal with myself when I started this blog, that very few, if any, of my childrens’ pictures would show up here. It’s too public of a space. Thanks for understanding and thank you for stopping by.