Saturday, March 23, 2013

Enough . . .

This year's concept  for Orlando was ENOUGHI am Enough.  You are Enough.  We are Enough.  It is Enough.   Our shirts were emblazened with the mantra. We had notebooks and charms with it on it.   Each year it seems that the theme for the weekend was so fitting.  This year more than ever it resonated within me.  Perhaps it is where I am at this time.  Perhaps it is knowing that my son is now 18 and would normally be celebrating turning into an adult had his life been different.  Perhaps it is simply because I am worn out.

I have to come to grips daily that I am a failure.  I go to bed nightly knowing that NOTHING I do can change the trauma that my son suffered in his early, formative years.  NOTHING I can do will change the fact that his brain is missing pieces due to alcohol consumption while in utero.  NOTHING I can do will help him be less impulsive and make better choices.  I can simply do what I can to get him through each day.

I go to bed nightly thinking I could've done so many things differently. I could've tried harder, had more patience, said nicer things.

I lose my cool. I say things I shouldn't. I am not perfect.

The first time I ever voiced my concerns of being a failure to our psychiatrist, he said to me "You are never going to feel like a success with a kid like Dustin.  Getting up in the morning and doing it all over again is success."

I keep moving forward. I have to. For him, for my other kids, for all of us. We start each new day with a clean slate. We start over with a new perspective. We give it one more shot.

We can advocate for our kids. We can fight for services. We can beg and plead for help. When it comes down to it, we are left alone to deal with the aftermath of the trauma they suffered as children. We can make it better, but it will never ever go away. My child's brain damage caused by alcohol in utero will not repair itself. We have to cut them some slack. Why shouldn't we cut ourselves the same slack?

It's hard. It may not be what I signed up for, but I keep going. What other choice do I have? You do what you have to and hope you get another day to do it a little bit better than the last.

It's hard. It's what I do.

My husband is a person who always looks for the bright side.  He is the first one to say that thinks will get better, we will see it differently with a good night's sleep, etc. When I ask him if we made a mistake adopting Dustin into family or if we were the wrong family for him, he always responds the same way . . ."We were the only ones willing to take this on.  We were the only ones who stepped up.  We love him. That has to be enough."

We do the hard stuff.

We do the best we can.

It has to be enough.

Be gentle with yourself.  Even though you feel as though you are ill equipped to deal with your child's issues.  You are enough.  Even though your child fights the love and healing you are helping to get them to accept.  IT is enough.  Even though there are those that don't understand our struggles, our choices and our family dynamics we are enough.

I have to rest in the fact that what we are doing is sufficient.  We hope for the best.  We give the love and the comfort and the understanding and sometimes he chooses to accept them.  That has to be enough. It is better than the alternative.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Quiet . . .

Things have been a bit quiet around here.  The Orlando retreat came and went.  I have a wonderful weekend with 120 women who "get it".  They do the tough job of raising kids from trauma who struggle with attachment issues.  We help one another by offering suggestions, emparting skills, talking about what works for them and what has failed.  We give one another a place to sit and vent but also to learn to help our kids heal.  It truly is an amazing time away.

Since then, I have been hard at work on the website for the organization that is taking over the yearly retreat and offering more in the way of year round support.  The original organizers are stepping down and one brave momma has stepped up in their place.  Beyond Trauma and Attachment, also known as BeTA, ( has been born and we are working hard to fill the gap.  My job is the new website, as well as maintaining the facebook page and support groups.  
Can you do me a favor and share our website with your facebook friends or real life family? You may not know that a family you are close to is struggling. So many families keep this sort of thing quiet because they feel like they are the only ones going through this or that they are dong something wrong. Early Trauma and Attachment issues are not just reserved for adoptive families either. You could be helping hold up a family who are living a life they never imagined! Support groups are now available for moms, dads and siblings.