Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is this my life . . .

As parent's with special needs kids do you ever ask yourself, "Is this my life?" Like seriously, how did this happen. While I would do it all over again and adopt Dustin, I would be much more prepared for what I was getting myself and my family in for. But my "normal" is such a far cry from other peoples. The good thing is that I don't know any different. I had my biological kids after foster care. I don't know how the other part of the world lives, I have never been there. I live with door alarms, locked snacks, IEPs, psychiatrist appointments, therapy, medications, in sight supervision, cameras, false accusations, CPS investigations, Neighborhood Code investigations, triangulation, marital stress, constant chatter, impulse control issues, mad pee-ing, moderately handicapped status, and the hunt for services. I have lowered expectations that I never thought would budge. I have different standards for success than I would've thought possible in my life.

I make do. We do what needs to be done. I come on here and vent. I have a few safe people in real life I can vent to. I have you all to keep me sane and remember that I am not alone. I do it because I have to. I do it because I made a commitment. I do it because a child is not something I can return and receive store credit for.

The first time I ever heard about disruption was a couple years ago. I was appalled. I can remember the rage I felt and the sadness. Recently I have been reading a blog by someone who posts about family's who would like to find a new home for their kids. Now, I know that I do not know the whole story, but one in particular stood out. These children were, by the mother's own admission, not aggressive, pleasant and creative children. They just simply would not attach and were angry. Wow. Ya think?! They are removed from their home, live in an orphanage and flown to another country to live with a stranger, and now you want to move them along for their "own good"?? It just makes me ill. Now, before you crucify me in the comments, I understand there are those times when the child is aggressive, hurtful, a danger, and angry. You know how I know? I live it. Dustin is next to an adult 24-7. He is never more than 3 feet from us while the other two are home, and extends to line of sight supervisions when they are not. I do what I need to do to keep my family (and our animals) safe.

Last week a facebook friend, who has an adopted child from Russia, commented about the story from the news about the mom putting her child on a plane back to Russia. One of her commenters said, "As a good friend of someone else who had a psychotic child dumped on them unaware, I can tell you there are NO resources to help in these cases." Seriously!? First glaring issue, "PSYCHOTIC". Okay, anyone have issue with that? And mama, let me tell you, I am WELL aware there are few resources to help. But, just the same, there are always resources, even if it is the internet. You have to become your child's only ADVOCATE and be prepared to deal with the trauma of being left without parents that these children face. My child is holy-hell difficult and it has been a rough road, but we are making it. When you choose to become a parent that responsibility cannot just end. What if you have a "psychotic" child born to you? There is no where to "dump" them. The problem as I see it is that most people assume that adopting a child from another country comes with less risk than a child who is already labeled and languishing in our foster care system and it is just not the case.

Are these parents unaware of the issues associated with our troubled kids? Yep. Were they misrepresented? Probably. Are they ill equipped to deal with such specific needs? Yep. We all were. What do you do? You promised to provide a home for this child. You promised they were part of a forever family. You educate yourself. You do what it takes to make it work. Will it be the life you expected? Probably not. Will it be easy? No way in Hades. Will you always feel like you love this child? Nope. Will your mourn the life they could've had? Yep.

I look at it like divorce. I made my husband well aware that divorce was not an option for me. I take the "til death do you part" thing seriously. It hasn't been easy. I don't always feel the love I have for him. But I made a commitment. I went into adoption the same way. I am in this for life. My child may end up in an institution or jail, but they will always be my child just as if I gave birth to him. (Dustin's would say "just as if I borned him") If you go into marriage with the agreement that divorce is not an option you find ways to make even the worst of situations work out for you. It is a struggle and it is hard, but you do what you have to do. I believe the same about adoption, maybe even more so!

I am a better person for living this life. Not in the sense that you should be proud of our accomplishment because Lord knows I go to bed each night feeling like an utter failure, but better for what I have learned by being Dustin's mother.

I have learned that education about issues is the best way to understand them.

I have learned that walking in someone else's shoes is priceless in "getting" who they are and what they deal with.

I have learned that I am not alone on this journey.

I have learned that sometimes you just have to laugh or you will cry.

I have learned that YOU are your child's only advocate.

I have learned that everyone does not have your best interests at heart.

I have learned that some people are sympathetic even if they do not know how to show it.

I have learned that I need to assume the best in people if I expect the same in return.

I have learned it is much easier to be patient than sorry.

I have learned that kindness covers a multitude of sins.

I have learned that not all disabilities are obvious and judgmental attitudes can really hurt.

If you have considered or are considering disruption, please don't feel like I am judging you. We all have our own cross to bear. This is how I feel. I know I cannot mandate what people do with
their own lives and the lives of their children. I don't live your life. I don't know what you go through or what your background is. I am simply saying what I feel. I don't judge people for divorcing, even though it is not a choice in my world.


MomInTheTrench said...

This is a very thoughtful, very heartfelt, very encouraging and sad post. I liked reading your take on it.

Anonymous said...