Wednesday 29 June 2011

Archived Post 2011 - Broken

In late April I learned about some boys who needed a family. We applied, it looked positive, it looked like it might happen, it looked like we might be parents to 4 really soon. Then last Friday we got a phone call that let us know that the "team" had decided to place the children in a family without other children because although we had all the skills needed to parent these boys they felt as though we would be unable to do so given that we already had kids.

I was devastated. I had tried to guard my heart against caring about them, I had tried to say it would be okay if it did not happen. Then when it did not happen it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I knew that they might not choose us, I knew that the fact that we already have adopted kids was seen as a strike against us, I knew that they might not understand why we wanted to do adopt again. But, I was hopeful that they would believe that we knew what we could and our kids could handle and that our worker who was supporting us would not say yes to something that we could not do.
Regardless of what I thought, they said no.

I now understand why people walk away from adopting from foster care in this country and go abroad instead. There is no reason that the system needs to work like this. We are qualified, we have a completed homestudy and we have room in our home and our hearts and yet we are waiting because we can not find a worker who will place an attachment challenged child in a home that has kids who had attachment issues.

Yes I just wrote, had attachment issues, they had them, they raged and broke things and rejected me but they are healing, they are learning to love and I am pretty hopeful that we can help other kids heal as well. I know that people do not understand why we would want to do this again, why we would mess with a good thing. Well, we will mess with a good thing because there are kids who need families, there are kids who need to heal and learn that the world is not just an unpredictable and scary place. There are kids who deserve better than they are getting now.

There are kids available, there are kids who have serious attachment issues and need therapeutic parents, parents with experience raising kids like them and yet they will not place those kids in families with other children. It seems to me that it would pretty hard to find parents who were experienced in raising kids with serious attachment issues if it was not something they had already done which would usually mean that there were kids in the home.  It's like desperately looking for an Macintosh apple but only looking Granny Smith trees, it is pretty much an impossible task.
When we began parenting our kids we had no idea how to be therapeutic parents, we had no idea how to make this work. I made a lot of mistakes, I still make mistakes, I am human but I have learned a lot and I am continuing to learn.

As hard as it I will continue to put my heart out there and fall in love with kids that might one day be ours so that eventually one will.

Thursday 9 June 2011

Archived Post 2011 - A love story

I have a story to share today, it is a good one, some of you have heard it before but I share it again because I love that it is our story. 

Twelve Septembers ago, in the fall of my third year of "higher education" I sat in a class at a university were the majority of the students were male ( I called them boys) and female students were few and far between. In this particular class, History of the First 5 Centuries, there were 4 other women. I sat with 2 of them at a table near the back next to the window. Behind me sat 2 men who I had yet to meet. One was my age with a babyface, the other older than I and quick to crack a joke. I took them in as just another couple of guys at a school where that was the norm. As it turned out they were both Roman Catholic seminarians in their first year of studies. 

The semester moved along and we joked with one another and made cracks about other students, professors and life in general. Fall led into Winter and I became friends with those "boys" who sat behind me. We had other classes together and began to meet in the cafe at coffee breaks. They were nice enough boys and the joker made me laugh. The joker began spending more time with me and a few of my friends, he fit right in with our left leaning liberal views and our deisre to change the world.   

3rd year turned into 4th and the joker and I had more classes together, I used to copy his notes when I skipped class. I confided in him about the boy I had a crush on as they were friends and I thought maybe he could hook us up. I invited him to parties at my house, including my 25th birthday party when he gave me a miniature telescope so that I could always see my dreams. He was great friend and I felt lucky to have him in my life. 

In my last year of univeristy I was on a different campus and didn't see him to often, we saw one another at parties and the occasional school function. That summer he and his teenage son helped me move and around the same time he decided that being a priest was not what he wanted and instead began a master's degree.

As I struggled to find a  teaching job we kept in touch and got together with other friends occasionally. When I decided to leave for Asia he stored my stuff, bought my TV and came to my going away party. We kept in touch over email. I confided in a number of friends that if I was older or he was younger I would marry him. He didn't seem interested though and so off I went to Asia with his email address and a miniature telescope.

We kept in touch while I was gone, I missed him but I missed everyone as I was so far away. I came home 18 months later and he was the first one to call and welcome me back. We saw each other soon after for coffee and then a few days later for dinner. I muttered to my friends about him and wondered if maybe I was missing something. Days turned into weeks and we were spending more and more of our free time in one anothers company.

Before I knew it I tripped, fell and was in love with the joker, the one who I told about all the other boys that I liked. The one who laughed at my corny jokes, drove me home on cold winter days and worried about me when I was overseas alone. Fall led into winter again and by the time Christmas came we were engaged.

We were married, enjoyed one another alone for 2 years and then adopted Kevin and Randall. I could not ever imagine doing this parenting dance with anyone else. He gets it, he understand it and more importatnly he is committed to being a therapeutic parent. 

Five years ago today we were married and so, to celebrate the fact that I love the man I married and that I have never been as sure of anything as in my life as I am about him I share with you. 

Friday 3 June 2011

archived post 2011 - Chaos

Randall thrives on chaos. I think that it makes him feel calmer inside to know that everything around him is turned upside down. He has spent a great deal of that last week of his life creating chaos both at home and elsewhere. I am worn out and close to the edge, I have yelled at him more times than is good and now I am paying the price because he knows that he is annoying me so he just keeps doing it.

Luckily for me Jack was home last night and this morning, I was in a good mood this morning and  we out crazied his crazy behaviour and moved on. He was going on and on about being yelled at even though no one yelled at him so I had him close his eyes, I spun him around, put his hands on his head, told him to stick out his tongue and say I love you. It worked, it broke the pattern but oh my he was making me crazy.

Last night he turned a little tiny thing into a huge 20 minute tantrum, it was really just a little thing that he did to annoy Kevin, no one was mad we just wanted him to repeat what he said... you would think that we pulled a gun on him the way he reacted to the simple request to repeat himself. Dinner was late, we listened to him yell, both boys were in tears and Jack and I just stood there looking at one another wondering when we got an invite to live in crazytown - who lives like this - trauma mamas and papas that's who.

I am a better parent when I have had enough sleep, caffeine, food and Jack is home. I can parent just fine without Jack but he helps keep things calm by dealing with Randall's increasing behaviours and at least 3 times this week I have needed him to deal with Randall because other wise I would just yell at him.

Randall can trigger my anger in a way that shocks and worries me. He knows how to push my buttons in a way that I have never encountered in a small person before. I know that, it helps that I know that because it allows me to process his behaviour and it also helps me to step away and let someone else deal with him.

Today when we were at the optometrist I sent Randall in to the exam room alone because I knew that if we were together I would just constantly be telling him to stop playing with things and fidgeting while the optometrist was going to be a whole lot more patient than I was. I sat in the waiting room and knit instead until I had to go in because he needs glasses, like his brother, which is a whole different post for a different day.

It has been hard to learn where my edge with Randall is, but I know now and whenever I can I pass the reigns to Jack. I  need to say that I commend single parents, I do not know how you do it, really I have no idea. I also need to say that Jack keeps me sane and makes me be a better parent. Sometimes we disagree but mostly we are on the same parenting page and that makes being a mother to my boys a whole lot easier.