Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Miss A has been in the program for a week now. Each day she has been away I discover new feeling sprouting from my heart like buds on the Maple trees outside my window, but much less pleasant to witness! Out of the core of me is coming such a rush of anger and bitterness, its taking me by surprise. I had no idea how much animosity had been stored up over the years toward my own dear daughter. It hurts to admit it.
Witnessing our other children bask in the peace and quiet that comes in her absence, makes me realize how much of a hold she had on everyone. She controlled every aspect of our lives. Each day, I woke with the dread of waking her not knowing if she would be in a decent mood or a bad one. If it was bad, our whole day would be a nightmare! The other kids would walk on egg shells all day for fear of arousing her wrath and go to bed at night afraid of what she might do to them in their sleep. All of this became the marshland that I navigated each day. No time to stop and consider or raise my eyes from the path, lest I stray into danger. "Keep to the path, don't lose focus" was the chant inside my head that my feet beat the path to.
Now in relative peace, comes the reality of where we have been and the rush of emotions we held tight in our chest until in safety we dare to look at them.
Thank you Lord for the reminder that now is the time to forgive!
Over the years, my thoughts and energies were fixed on the work at hand. I was careful to establish my heart in the fact that she was hurt and it was my job to minister to her needs. Pouring every ounce I could muster into loving her the best way possible, day in and day out.
When the Psychologist suggested that much of what she does is for attention, that she really does understand what is going on and that she is quite possibly not psychotic as we had been led to believe, something broke, and I think it was my heart.
There's no doubt in my mind that the motivation for her behavior is pain and trauma. That she doesn't 'mean' to do it, but to hear that she continues to hurt, lie and abuse for personal gain...well, frankly, that is so distressing it makes me angry!
BUT, being the season of the greatest example of forgiveness given by our Lord Jesus Christ, there is hope yet for me :)
I long for a restored relationship with Miss A. I hunger for a deeper relationship with Christ. Therefore, I WILL forgive her! Its not my favorite thing to do. Hurt and anger are familiar friends whose company comforts me. Difficult to admit, but true. They whisper to me that forgiving leaves me powerless, that only in holding onto hurt can we really make the other person SUFFER! LIES!!!!!
To hold onto hurt only rots my own heart and gives power to the enemy!
My prayer is now-
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
try me and know my anxious (evil) thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
and lead me in the everlasting way.
So, Gods timing is perfect in that He should expose the depth of my unforgiveness in this season. The same time of year 7 years ago, that He asked me to "walk to the cross" for a hurting little girl and her brother, in the same way He walked to the cross for me (knowing FULLY what I am, a sinful wretch). To lay down my life for her as He laid down His for me. Yep, 7 years ago those were the words that came in confirmation to adopt Miss A and Mr B! And today He asks me to go much deeper in forgiveness!
Monday, April 18, 2011
There's a decent hotel in Silverdale where we can get a huge room with a kitchenette and little living room for a great price. We get there quick and spend the time we would normally be travelling, sitting in the hot tub! It may not be the most exotic get away, but we have lots of "down time" which is critical for us.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
David and I are so emotionally and physically drained that we came right home and went to bed, despite the fact that it is still early evening. I doubt he will go to work tomorrow.
It continues to feel like the right move and we look forward to focusing on the other kids' needs for a change.
Confirmation came for David and I throughout the day yesterday. Parents who had gone through it with their own children called to remind us that there are times we have to make the hard decisions for the good of the group. Even my 18 year old niece, who is also from Ethiopia, called to give her thoughts and suggestions. Normally, that would seem a little strange, except that she has walked a very similar path as our Miss A. She too, struggled to control her anger. In her case, she ended up spending 6 months in Juvenile Detention for assault. A very real potential for Miss A, as the last blow up involved assaulting me and her brother. My niece had some great ideas about how we could stay connected to Miss A while she is away to lessen her feelings that we 'abandoned' her. Things like not forgetting to still make a big deal about her birthday, daily letters to let her know she's not forgotten, and involving her in family events, are all things that meant a lot to my niece. We had already planned on doing all of that, but it was good to be reminded to not let it slack. She really felt like the most important thing she learned while away was how to use positive activities to release anger, instead of bad ones. Practicing those activities daily to make them part of a daily routine makes them something that she would be more likely to choose when feeling stressed, was her advice. I thought that was brilliant and definitely something we would want to work into her behavior plan that they implement in her therapeutic home.
Miss A is incredibly unmotivated! She despises doing anything that takes physical exertion or effort. Therefore, what inevitably happens is that she will sit for hours in a chair near the fire and gradually feel worse and worse about herself and everyone else until she finally blows. Its a pattern we have seen played out time and time again. Any suggestions on our part to get up and do something to derail the train and change the trajectory of the anger, is met by a brick wall of refusal.
As I understand it, this program will be designed around teaching her that she needs to earn the right to do what she wants. In that way, she will need to do a certain number of 'positive' activities in order to earn the right to sit in a chair by the fire. My niece said that it was being forced to do good things each day that got her to really enjoy doing them, but it was a battle at the time!
I know without a doubt that we are not the people that can most effectively teach Miss A those skills. We have tried and tried but it has become a game for her to refuse. She has designed the framework in such a way that she 'has to' push back or accept defeat, which is way too scary!!!! It is our prayer that a change of environment will allow her to change her framework without us hovering over her and watching. Plus, she will have the natural motivation of coming home to spur her on.
Oh, my friends, this will be a day to remember. My heart is aching and I covet your prayers!
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I love my daughter and would gladly give my health and sanity to make her well. But that is not the question we need to ask, it is this...would we give up the health, sanity and safety of all the other children for hers? I have always been the one to take in children that can't stay in their homes, it doesn't just break my heart to send her away, it many ways breaks my conscience.
The only thing that makes this bearable is the way the program is designed. She will go and live in one of their specially trained homes not 40 minutes away, we will meet with her for weekly therapy sessions, she will get to come home for visits, she will get one on one attention in her new home and come back home in 6-9 months better able to manage her anger. Meanwhile, David and I will adjust our parenting skills to be more affective, we will get the other children help with their trauma, tighten the reigns on the unruly behaviors that can be very provocative to Miss A and in the end (hopefully) have a much healthier family.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
"On 12 January 2010, the central region of Haiti was devastated by the strongest earthquake the country had experienced in more than 200 years. Over 220,000 people were killed, 300,000 were injured and 1.6 million were displaced and forced to seek shelter in spontaneous settlements. Children, who make up nearly half the country's total population, have suffered acutely in the earthquake's aftermath. UNICEF estimates that half of those displaced are children, and 500,000 children are considered extremely vulnerable and require child protection services. Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of Haiti's population is between the ages of 10 and 19, and their situation was extremely difficult even before the earthquake." (Unicef-2011 State of the Worlds Children Report)
The latest reports show that there are over 143 million orphans worldwide. With recent devastating events around the globe that number is sure to rise. For a child that lacks the care and protection of a parent, life is incredibly frightening and dangerous, these natural disasters make it even more so.
Children lack the ability to affect change in their environment, they lack understanding, they are weaker, more fragile, have no money, they lack the voice or power to control. Cold, hunger, pain, and fear are felt so much more keenly by a child. What happens today is their entire existence; the future and the rest of the world do not hold meaning in their reality and cannot bring them comfort. Many more dangers threaten their lives than those of adults in the same situation.
Children are easy victims and fall prey to the most devastating atrocities. A child living on the streets must be constantly on guard against those who would like to exploit them in their vulnerable condition.
Unicef documents that children living without the protection of an adult, are many times more likely to be forced into gang activity that includes drugs and violence, captured and enslaved as a child soldier, sold into the human trafficking business which includes slavery and prostitution, and many other evils that are difficult to track and document. These children lack the basic human rights to health, safety and an education. They are robbed of their childhood and hope for a future.
The faces we see on the television are not just commercials; they are not propaganda used to get into our pocketbooks. They are real people, with real names. The circumstances that led to their current condition were forced upon them, they did not choose it. But we can choose what our response to it will be. They may be geographically distant, but in Gods eyes they are our neighbor. What does He want us to do? If we are His body, we are made for motion. Our hearts must be touched, our eyes open, our minds engaged for action. Our commission is clear, to touch the weak and the lonely. But nothing can be done unless we are willing to be moved.
A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely: He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, only the rebellious swell in a parched land. Psalm 68:5-6
Thursday, April 7, 2011
I'm hoping that it warms enough to make viewing Mr. C's baseball game a bit more comfortable, though. It will be the first one this season that I have seen. Between rain-outs and lack of communication on his part, I've missed a lot of action. For some reason, he wasn't telling me when he had a game and I decided not to push it. My hunch is that he was unhappy with how he was playing and waited to have me there until he loosened up a bit. Poor guy, I wish he didn't wrap so much of his personal identity up in his ability to play!
Miss A continues to be stubborn and angry with me. I find it almost peaceful, since she refuses to talk to me. Sounds horrid of me, I know, but typically she nips at me and everyone else all day long. The peace is refreshing, even though you could cut the tension with a butter knife :-P
I spent most yesterday on the phone with the DCFS Family Reconciliation Service Agency, our Psych office, pediatric doctors office, friends that have friends that might be able to help, Kitsap Mental Health....ie-gathering information and resources and trying to put together a plan that will help us have a workable scenario for keeping Miss A home. Like a dog in the garden, I'm digging like crazy to find that hidden bone- a perfect plan that we can grab onto that allows her to remain at home without sacrificing the peace and safety of everyone else in the process. I caught a few sniffs of possible options yesterday, but will need to follow up today. Ir sounds like Group Health may help pay for outside help if they can agree upon a treatment plan with the "outside" provider. This was wonderful news! We really like the Psychiatrist that she has, but treatment has focused primarily on stabilizing her Psychosis with meds and not dealing with the underlying issues or on her behavioral problems.
A workable plan might be one that includes emergency respite care for when she has an "episode" and behavioral therapy/management and treatment for her underlying PTSD. It needs to be with someone who isn't easily manipulated or ensnared by her charms into believing that she's fine, which is what we have struggled with in the past.
So all this = more calls today.
David and I were able to get out for a bit together after the kids went to bed. Living with all this tension has taken its toll on our relationship. Our unshakable unity has always been a source of strength and comfort to both of us in the past. Lately, we find ourselves questioning the other persons tactics or motives in dealing with the children. Its sad how quickly that shakes the foundation of a marriage, thus the family. Living with people who are unstable mentally, creates an atmosphere of instability that taints how everyone thinks. You can't trust your own feeling or anyone else's. No one behaves rationally because they are functioning from a place of fear. One fear that may be helpful for us is the fear of NOT being unified. We are so afraid of having to parent alone that we will do whatever it takes to keep our marriage together and stay unified. I say that with a little smirk on my face, but really, its true.
Our was fun, coupon shopping at Rite Aid and Albertsons! Its become sort of a hobby with us to hunt down the best bargains combining sales with coupons. Toting our "coupon binder" in which we've collected and carefully filed away coupons from the Sunday papers, we head out to the stores with the best advertised deals on products we use. Our big wins last night were- 10 boxes of cereal for $1.25 each, a Venus razor for $2.00 (normally $11), 5 boxes of granola bars for around $1.35 each and Purex laundry detergent, 46 loads for $1.99 each. In the end, we spent around $60 and saved close to $100, plus got $9 off our next shopping trip. Love it! David is like a kid in a candy shop when we find a good deal -so cute! We make it a little competition to see who can find the best deals, high fives and fist pounding to whoever discovers one. Great fun!
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The kids are milling around getting ready for school. Well, most of them, anyway. Miss A is slumped on the couch deciding whether or not to cooperate. I'm trying to decide what my plan will be if she chooses not to go. We already have a few rules established for children who refuse to get up for school-ie, I will not excuse them, so they suffer the consequences laid out by the school and they have to do chores while at home. The challenge today is that David would rather that I not be home while she is here, at least until she decides to respect me. So Mr. M and I will have to find something to do today.
Well....happy to say that I get to stay home and have a "normal" day today :)
She got on the bus after all.
My stress level is still fairly high, so I'm going to suit up for a little fresh air and exercise before I start chores. No music, no phone...just my own huffing and puffing, and the birds singing-ahhhhh, therapy!!!!
Until later, have a blessed day-xxoo