The Bend in the Road

A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn. ~Author Unknown

 


With God, all things are possible, right?! That is what I’ve been telling myself for the last few days. Why, you ask?

At times, while dealing with the healing process of a child with RAD, and a few other things, I often find myself up against a road “block”…..of sorts. I saw this quote today and thought it was perfect for what I’m feeling at the moment. I WANT to do the right thing, but do I always, heck no. I WANT to know how to do the right things, but do I, no way Hosea.

I’m a clump of clay waiting to be molded…..I need to teach myself FIRST and foremost before any healing can be done. If I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, it’s all for naught. And I’m not for that at all. Not saying in any way shape or form that I have to have it all together all the time….no one is perfect…nor should I think that I have to be. I’m human, I’m a mom learning as I go, on this winding crazy ride called life.

I catch myself doing something that isn’t being the theraputic mom that I need to be…..ouch. I don’t want to do anything that would hinder MM’s healing. I don’t think I am…..but when I feel like I’ve hit this danged road block…..or bend in the road……I choose to keep going. And keep going I will!!!

I keep telling myself when MM’s raging, yelling at me, etc, that it is sadness behind all of this…..he’s not really MAD…..he’s sad and doesn’t know what to do with it. That is where I come in…..to help, to guide, to hug, to love. I need to STOP…..and think…..be-fore I even think of reacting!! And boy is that hard to do in the heat of the moment….when you have a RAD child kicking you, screaming at you, etc. But he’s worth every bit of this……I”m his mama and he’s the love of my life….we WILL get through this…together (his daddy too), this family we have together. FAMILY……brings a tear to my eyes and a smile to my mouth. What we longed for, hoped for, dreamed of. Reality…..we ARE a family…..just not the traditional kind. But we are US…..and I love us.

Peace and Blessings to each of you….

~Mama249

Advertisements

Sweet Dreams and Lullabys

MM has always had a time of going to bed at night. He doesn’t do well with any transition at all. Once in bed, he’s asleep in no time flat…..but he’s not willing to go without a fight (crying/fits).

Our nightime routine is like this:

MM lays down on the couch with both of us sitting with him, one at feet and one at his back. We both are either playing with his feet, or are scratching his back…..trying to acheive attachment through healing touch (and just showing him we love him sooo much). We then sing him lullabys, some silly made-up crazy songs that dh does, and then there are some serious ones. After the lullabys, one of us will hold him for a few minutes at the picture window that has a nice view and either sings more lullabys or talks gently about possibilities out in the world, etc. Then we both tuck him into bed. We love our bed time routine.

MM has expressed that he’s scared to pieces that we won’t come back for him when we drop him off at preschool, grandma’s, etc. I believe most if not all adopted kiddos go through some form of this….some more severe. MM is incredibly clingy and has to be pryed off of me at preschool all the while screaming and crying. Breaks my heart in two every time.

Since MM expessed this deep in his heart concern…..I wrote him a lullaby to help ease his fears. I can only hope that he knows that we mean what we say….we’re here forever…..we’re not going anywhere…..we love him more than anything in this world, no matter what…..that he can come to us for anything….anything. Here’s MM’s Lullaby:

 

 

You need not worry your little head, when I lay you down for bed. Mama’ll never go away, Daddy, too, he’s here to stay. A forever family we have now, So turn that frown upside down.

There is more…..but you get the jist of it…….NOTE: please don’t steal this!! This is a personal lullaby that I wrote for us….but I wanted to share it with you, please respect that.

Peace to each of you…..

~Mama249

 

Patience oh Patience, where art thou?

Today I am ashamed to say…..my patience was lacking…..incredibly. MM had a meltdown because of shoes…..simple lil ‘ole shoes. And how did I respond? Definately not how I should’ve and I needed a mama time-out.

DH was there too, so I walked out the door to start the car (we were going somewhere) when I realized my patience was lacking…..and it worked. That mama Time-Out was what I needed to:

REGROUP

REVITALIZE

and

Realized I needed to take a deep breath

before I spoke another word.

Phew….thank you, God, for deep breaths. Thank you, God, for revitalizing me with a renewed sense of tranquility.

DH and I spoke of it later that evening and he said he didn’t understand why I did what I did. I really should’ve explained other than just telling him, “I make mistakes, I’m human.” I’ll tell him in the morning…..don’t want him thinking that I just walked out because I either didn’t care…..or couldn’t take it anymore at that moment, which is what he thinks.

I will continue to use Mama Time-Outs as needed……

I think it’s what the “Dr. ordered”…….a prescription that will not run out…I just need to remember to take it!!! LOL!

Peace to each of you

~Mama249

You Can’t Be Talkin’ bout My lil Man?! Or Can You?

Yesterday was a very important day in my eyes. An important one indeed. Nope, it wasn’t anyone’s birthday or anniversary. It was a day like any other day….with one exception. MM and I got to go to see the NEW therapist yesterday afternoon.

MM’s first therapist, whom he saw for about 7-8 weeks, continually insisted weekly that we, the parents, do something that we were TOTALLY uncomfortable in doing…..locking him out away from us when he has fits/rages even tho there is NO DANGER involved. Everthing in my gut and all that I’ve read tell me that we are to bring him in closer to us…..not shut him out…alone so that he can feel abandoned once again. Geesh! Dropped her like a bad habit.

MM and I played in the lobby for about 10 min. or so before the thin, pretty, dark-haired therapist came to the lobby for us. First thing she did was NOT to address me….she addressed MM. He liked the attention. We were playing Thomas Trains, naturally as this is about ALL he’ll play (we brought our own toys). She asked him (us) if he’d like to come back with her…..”yeah, but don’t forget my mommy!” he said. He kept a watchful eye to make sure I was right there and wouldn’t abandon him…..he’s so afraid of abandonment….terrified of it.

She went over the rules of her office and what was allowed to be played with, what was touchable and what can be played with but asked for first…and what was totally off limits. Oh boy…..MM tested her BIG TIME on the off limits stuff….the entire time we were there…..about 1 hr and 40 min.

She’s very gentle, soft-spoken and incredibly nurturing without going overboard and yet she’ll be very firm in her “no’s”. I really really like her a lot. She and I went over sooooooo much stuff I think I made her head spin. I had a list of 40 behaviors that I felt were necessary for her to hear about. She so appreciated that and made a copy of it. I just didn’t want to forget anything and one never knows if it’s just “boy stuff” or if it’s Attachment related. Well, come to find out….it’s ALL related. More on that later in this post.

She was talking to me…..and the words came out…..they still haunt me to this moment…to my very core……RAD. For those of you who are most likely reading this post…..you know what RAD is or have dealt with it but for those just glancing through….it’s Reactive Attachment Disorder, the worst aspect of Attachment Disorder. I questioned her on this 3 separate occasions in our conversations. Nope….it’s RAD.

Today I spent a bit of time looking up RAD….but MM already had a diagnosis of Attachment Disorder….just not RAD. I found a wonderful site helpguide.org that helped me see clearly what is laid out in: understanding RAD, what causes RAD, signs/symptoms of RAD, what a parent needs to know on raising a child with RAD, and tips on making your child feel safe/secure (repairing RAD) and lastly, helping your child with RAD feel loved.

Boy did that last one sting a bit…..”helping your child with RAD feel loved.” Are you serious? I love him to pieces and he’s my entire world! I show him this daily all throughout the day…..but I have to put myself in his shoes….he doesn’t trust, doesn’t feel secure, and doesn’t feel loved or worthy of love. I honestly want to cry writing these words. 

There is a reason my son has RAD…..he may not have been able to bond and form an attachment with the FM (Foster Mother) in Guatemala. He was taken away from his BM (birth mother) the very day he was born…..he’d spent 9 months listening to her (in the womb naturally), feeling her…..longing for her. I don’t know the reasons for relinquishment but I have a strong feeling poverty was at play since she had several children already, had adopted out a daughter before MM, and then MM was adopted out to us.  

Let me give you a bit of background on Attachment and RAD:

Children with attachment issues and RAD have great difficulty attaching to others and have a time of controling themselves (emotions). Most often, they lack empathy, self-worth, fear of many things – getting too close to someone so they push them away, anger and a strong need to always be in control. Boy, does that sound like my lil MM.

It’s weird to look back and remember when receiving photos of MM while he was in Guatemala (we received monthly updates,  photos and 3 DVD’s taken by our facilitator) that he rarely smiled in Any of his pictures and not much in the DVD’s either…some in the DVD’s with interaction….but not as much as you’d think. I always thought he was just camera shy….or the person taking the pics just randomly took them whether he smiled or not…lol. If only I’d of known then what I know now….but I cannot and will not beat myself up for the past. It is the past for a reason…..you cannot change it….only move on and learn from it, in all greatest hope that is.

Now, we get to Guatemala and it’s day 1 with MM….he’s not with us for more than an hour or two and he starts hitting dh. I knew at that moment something was up….he’d either seen abuse or was a victim of abuse and thought this was ok. It wasn’t playful hitting either….it was downright  hitting with anger behind those eyes. Yeah, one could say he was upset about the situation…but it hasn’t stopped yet (almost daily) and he’s now 4 1/2.

He gets to Daycare after being home with me for about 8 weeks, and the hitting gets MUCH worse, the behaviors esculate, and so on and so forth. To give you an example of the hitting and how bad it was…..we did a hitting chart to see just how much he was actually hitting at Daycare…..WOW….it was a real eye-opener…..he’d hit 25+ times in the morning and even more in the afternoon on a given day.

Thinking back…..he’d “cling” to a particular worker  and wouldn’t let anyone else care for him without a downright fight on their hands. (I’m doing a lot of thinking back…trying to piece this puzzle together) Then we switched to a preschool setting because the one he was in had little to no discipline, no structure AT ALL…..it was pretty much all free play all the time, and we were going through First Steps and she’d fill us in on the warning signs of what was going on there….BTW…they are no longer in business…go figure! The new preschool was great….and yes, he clung to one particular caregiver immediately. She was the ONLY one who could take him to the window to see me off and wave good-bye. If she were busy, it was pandamonium!!!!

I’ve been in denial for a long time….about Attachment. It is clear to me now that he formed a quick attachment to dh and not to me. Now, don’t get me wrong…..he’s affectionate with me….he tells me he “loves” me without prompting. Mind you….he NEVER shows me affection in public, but will daddy. If he’s “told” to hold my hand because we’re in a parking lot, he will….but only when asked. He’s totally different around me at home than in public.

MM gets very angry with me, taunting me, hitting/kicking me, seems to have no remorse for his actions….he’ll say he’s sorry, but you can tell he’s only doing it because we asked him to. And OH….the control…..that is a post in itself. He ALWAYS has to be first, the best, the better of him and I, and boy oh boy is he defiant and argumentative! And a terrible silly liar….lies about the silliest things that are so obvious. I could go on and on. BUT I do want to say that if your child exhibits several of these…..please, please, don’t wait. Talk to someone who can help. The sooner you “get to it” the better results you’ll have and a better success rate, too.

MM also has a few other issues going on too…..SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) and Separation Anxiety Disorder.

I’ve heard that at the point of the trauma…..that is when their brains stopped developing emotionally. They continued to physically grow and can be incredibly intelligent…..but act much less than their chronological age…because of the trauma they’ve experienced. How sad. I’ve got to grieve the loss of this…..I must in order to help heal MM.

First and formost in helping MM develop into the person he can be….I’ve got to give him a sense of felt safety and a sense of security. He doesn’t have that yet. He’s constantly testing me. CONSTANTLY….& it gets OH SO annoying….but I must remember where he’s coming from and not internalize it and make it about ME…..it’s not about me…..it’s about MM. That is so hard in the heat of the moment…..I think I’ll make laminated reminder cards for myself and put them in various places around the house to look at immediately when there’s trouble in the air. Simple reminders that don’t make him out to be the bad guy…he’s not by any means……or to taunt him….no way!! Just daily reminders that (as told to me & others on a group I belong to):

I’m Bigger, I”m Stronger, I’m Wiser, and I’m More Kind.

That should do the trick to remind this girl to take it easy….take a deep breath, blow it out and be calm…..calm….and even more calm in the midst of chaos. THAT will give him a sense of felt safety…..I’m not “losing it” or proving to him that he “won” by showing him that he can’t trust my emotions.

Well…..I’ve practically written a book tonight….thanks for listening to me rant. I’m scared……I’m worried……I’m sad……I’m mad that MM has to live like this because of something that we cannot change. That is exactly it…we cannot change it……we can only change what is NOW and what is COMING. I ask for your continued prayers and we embark on this journey of healing.

Peace to you and yours……

~Mama249

I Was Kicked When I Was Down (quite literally)

Today was tough…..on many levels.

I am sick. Not quite sure if it’s allergies or a cold….but I’m miserable nonetheless.  Then you take a child who rages at any given moment for no apparent reason, and I’ve got pandamonium on my hands!

I was in MM’s room on my laptop while he was playing with his train table. MM came over to see what I was up to. He accidentially hit me in the hind end where my “box” is……you see, I have chronic pain and have a spinal cord stimulator implanted and the battery “box” is implanted subcutanously (just under the skin) in my upper rear end. Nice. I told him it hurt and to be careful because that hurts mommy. What happened next took me by surprise….I don’t know why it did, because he does this stuff from time to time. He rared back and kicked very hard on the box….with a look of intent and disgust on his face.

This came from no where. I didn’t “do” anything to illicit this behavior….I don’t have to. He was angry for some reason that I didn’t know. He was happily playing and then WHAM! Anger hits him at any given moment and he rages. Why? Don’t know as I’m still trying to figure this whole thing out.

We went in my room and I made him lay down with me (part of the bringing him closer and part of the “boy you’re in trouble and you can’t do anything” routine)….well, MM fell asleep so I took advantage of that and took a nap too. Remember, I’m sick and feeling miserable so a nap was what the Dr. ordered.

When we woke, things were all back to happy land. Like nothing ever happened. I resent that. But I also know that if I hold a grudge, he’s not going to learn to get through this.

Fastforward roughly 4 hours and out of the blue, as he was playing with his Thomas the Train leaning activity book….he did the sweetest thing. He came to me (without any prompting as I hadn’t said another word about what had happened earlier) and gave me not one, but two prized Thomas stickers and said, “Here mommy, this is for you to say I’m sorry for what I did earlier.”

Huh?! He’s never done anything like this before….giving me something because he’s sorry. I think he was truly sorry. It wasn’t because I was “asking” for an apology……he did it on his own.

WOW!

Maybe we’re turning a corner here….maybe not. But it was nice.

Peace to each of you……

~Mama249

Welcome to Our World!! Three Hour Tour my butt!

Hey there everyone!

Since this is my first post, I thought I should do a intro of our family for ya.  Like I said in my All About Me, I’m a SAHM who was married once before and has 2 bio daughters from that marriage. They are grown and live away from here. I remarried and am married to the best guy in the entire world…I mean that.  He’s an absolute God-send and I truly am the luckiest girl in the world to have him in my life let alone be his wife! We cannot have our own children, (I had my tubes tied right after the youngest daughter, who’ll be referred to as Ginger in this blog, was born) and talked about adoption right from the start of our relationship.

Dh (my husband), and the girls (Ginger and Mary Ann – the oldest daughter who’ll be referred to as this – yes, it is a Gilligan’s Island referrance and I’ll explain later) were living “happily” or one would hope, for quite some time….then we were empty nesters for awhile.

Fastforward a few years, and we started our adoption process. We adopted MM (Munchkin Man, but will be referred to as MM from here on out) from Guatemala in 2008. He was 18 months old at the time we brought him home to where we live: somewhere between hope and crazy lane.

MM has ALWAYS had issues (I call them that) since day one. I guess I was in denial and thought he was just “adjusting”…..well, he must have a time adjusting because he’s still “ADJUSTING”!! In part, I was right….he is adjusting.

We “Knew” something wasn’t quite right after awhile because the fits and tantrums were so severe and over nothing at all and the duration of them were so L-O-N-G!! We realized we couldn’t do it ourselves any longer and solicited  some help. We got “some” help…but it was only temporary….until the day before he turned 3. Then we were on our own AGAIN.

We went a LONG stinkin’ time on our own….tryin’ with all our might to help MM adjust. Well, we felt like we were failing ouselves but mostly failing MM. That is an awful feeling…..failure, especially when it comes to your kiddos.

I started doing a lot of reading and elicited the help of a counselor in our area. MM Saw her for about 8 weeks. She was a joke. She knew NOTHING about attachment or the like……well, she knew some…I’ll give her “some” credit, but only a bit of it. LOL. MM was actually getting worse while seeing her. I believe it was because things were getting stirred up and he didn’t like it one bit. It brought about more anger…..you see he’s got a lot of anger, mostly towards me. A lot of distrust, mostly towards me. Therefore, attachment disorder makes perfect sense….he clings to me because he WANTS to love me….but he can’t quite get there yet….he can’t quite let go yet. He can’t let go of his hurts long enough to trust me yet.

That is ok…..I’ll wait. I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.

BTW….we fired that counselor and found another that we see for the first time this week….more on that later.

BTW again….The three hour tour is lasting MUCH longer than we expected! LOL…This is a lifetime of growth, learning, and more stuff I was oblivious to. But Oh is it worth it!!

Peace and Blessings to you all……

Mama249