The Twenty-Four Hour Furlough

Sweetie 4 has made it to her first over night furlough. It has been nearly a year since she spent the night in her own bed. She was so excited to be able to come home.
A typical furlough is quite busy. Just to give you an idea of what it is like; she has to have objectives to achieve and those are worked through during regular family life.
On Saturday evening, we picked her up at 6:30.
She went to her first AA meeting, required by the center. She then went to a job interview and got HIRED! (she can work on furloughs)
We came home, had a snack and by then it was about 10:30. We headed to bed.
In the middle of the night, there she was standing by the bed… “Mom, I can’t sleep.”
I was thinking, REALLY? You have the best mattress in the house! But she was just not used to sleeping in her bed and had a lot of thoughts racing through her head.
Up at 7:45, we readied ourselves for services, and she, Dad and Sweetie 2 headed to get donuts while Sweetie 3 and I prepared for a pot luck.
We all met at church. After church services, Sweetie met her future mentor for Texas Challenge and had lunch with her. She helped clean up and then we headed back home. Those were two objectives that she completed at church. 🙂
Her next objective was family time. We played a game of Apples to Apples and she also went out to the chicken coop to look at more ideas for working on it.
After that, it was almost 5:30 and time to head back.

She did WELL except for a few bumps. She is not used to using her healthy tools for healthy relationship. She didn’t like talking about future schedules, or the idea of some chores (also required elements from the center) so she started to fall back on some old familiar behaviors.
We were able to turn things around, but not without some serious deep breathing.
She was angry with herself for saying something she shouldn’t have said and couldn’t move on. She began saying things like, “Just take me back now!”
We said, “No Sweetie. We need to work this out and learn to use our tools. In the not too distant future there will be nowhere to go back to!”
She calmed and we wound up having a very good talk.
She has some unusable tools that she needs to toss from her tool box so she can use the healthy, useful tools we have all given her, that really DO work! But she reverts to old habits that MUST be broken! She needs to continue to work on establishing new habits, so she can be successful in the community, outside of a detention center.

This is hard work for all of us.
For her, she falls back on old habits. For us, we experience her behavior and for me, I feel panicky inside, like, “oh no…….here we go again!”

So, we have another chance this coming up weekend to do it again and do better.:)

The TWELVE HOUR Furlough

We had 12 hours together yesterday! Oh my heart! It went so well. We picked her up before church services and
she bravely went with us. 🙂 She saw all sorts of familiar faces who welcomed her with open arms. I’m so thankful for that!

We went out to lunch with friends and then headed home to work in her room, go through old clothes and new ones, and spend time together.
She beat dad at Backgammon! And we all played a good game of clue. It was really enjoyable The sisters had a good time also, and
spent some quality time with her.
They left to go study for college and we spent the rest of our time scrap booking and going over the courses I ordered for her to use while she is here.
She has been steady and moving in the right direction now for several weeks and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

She is using the tools she has been given, staying out of drama, which is HUGE for her, and focusing on what she needs to do. 🙂
To say I’m proud of her would be an understatement.


A New Furlough

Yesterday was furlough day again. We had so many praying for us, we could feel your prayers. 🙂
The furlough went wonderfully!
It was 180º from the last one! And we pray the cycle in the right direction continues!

She was pleasant, and met most of her requirements. She forgot about taking pictures of some of her required objectives, but did really well!

We stopped at the grocery store to buy ingredients, and then made pizza together for lunch, played backgammon, she got to meet the cat, we sorted through old clothes to see what fits and what doesn’t, she took a bubble bath and washed hair, and went out to meet the baby chickens.
Then, she went to two places for job applications.

That was a LOT to do in just 6 hours time, especially when it is almost an hours drive there and back!

More good news!
She has an appt. with a recruiter to see a presentation for the school we plan for her to go to in January. Hopefully she’ll make it through the interview process and be able to attend Texas Challenge Academy.

The biggest change we saw this week was that a few things had her worried and instead of pouting or becoming non verbal, she actually shared her fear and we talked through it.

We are so encouraged. 🙂

Borderline Personality Disorder

I just added a link to a good website on BPD.
It can be found on my educational page, but I’ll also put a link here:
Borderline Personality Disorder

A New Day-A New Chapter

I have to say the last few days have been soul searching, as we were writing back and forth with Sweetie’s counselor, and discussing future ideas with our social worker, and then visiting Sweetie at the center. We could feel the prayers of the Saints who pray for us daily and we are so thankful.

I visited Sweetie 4 on Monday night and she was all over the place. Apparently, that visit helped her to settle, pause and think. She spoke with her counselor on Tuesday and by Wednesday was back on board for more furloughs.

Her counselor is great. She told her, “I have clients as young as three. Once a person turns 5, ‘I don’t knows’ are no longer accepted!” 🙂
Sweetie 4 squirmed…. And then shared her thoughts.

She was concerned that if she had shared what was in her head, we would think she had returned to her “old ways”. This makes me think she doesn’t really remember her
old ways very well!

What happened at the restaurant is what triggered her, and that tells me she is very vulnerable right now.
At the restaurant, a young man who was making tortillas right by our table noticed all the Sweeties and started to flirt. It was rather obnoxious how much he was flirting
and he even came to our table a few times. The girls were sweet and smiled but nobody was really out of line, except him, but even then, he was playful.
Sweetie 4 is not used to that. She was also quite insecure because she wasn’t hiding behind a mask of makeup or any of her favorite clothes. So she was caught off guard that somebody would find her pretty.
And then, she was upset that she “liked” the attention. This is NORMAL teenage stuff and she doesn’t understand that.
So she was worried that we would think it was wrong, and she shut down.
There were a few other things that were going on in her mind. She is very black and white in her thinking, but we live in a GRAY world! Things don’t go exactly as planned out in our heads. We all know that!
She thought it was going to be just mom, dad and her, but it was the entire family that visited.

So, she is going to work on accepting when things aren’t perfect in her plan. She is going to work on saying what she is thinking and talking without saying “I don’t know”.
Those are some starters. 🙂

The counselor reassured us that many times when kids start to furlough the reaction is similar.

We clearly addressed our concerns with Sweetie 4 and she responded well.
That is until the issue of schooling came up. Mind you, it is only a few weeks, and then there will be a different plan.
We told her we have a math teacher on line, and how we would work with her, as far as self study and that she can have a place to study in the office while
I work too.
This means “I want to go to Public School”.

Probation would require that. She won’t be having probation thank the Lord. 🙂
EVERY counselor, including the one at the school, her psychiatrist, and Dr’s all agree that PS is off the table for her. She cannot navigate it
emotionally. There are many other options, just not 3 weeks before the semester ends.

We have work to do! This Sunday, she will be coming home for 6 hours. We will be cooking a meal together, sorting clothing, playing a family game, and filling out a
job application.

I will also be checking into Life Path for her, which is formerly DARS.

It has been a productive week!

His Mercies are New Every Morning!

Self Sabotage

Well, we had our first furlough. I think honestly that it was too long. She did great for about an hour and then it started to slide downwards. It must be surreal being out after being in detention for 10 months. I get that.
We did all we could to make sure she was comfortable and accepted.
To say we are heartbroken, would be a bit of an understatement. Sometimes I wonder, why? What good is it to continue? It is like a continual, eternal game that never ends.
One step forward, two steps back. 10 steps forward 12 steps back. 12 steps forward, almost to the top of the hill and then a rabbit hole. You go tumbling down the rabbit hole and you are in an entirely new game; there is no finish line.

That is how it feels right now.

But God…

To be continued

It is Happening!

Level one. Furloughs. Starting Sunday. Six Hours.

Fine Tuning

Baby_Feet_1809101cSweetie 4 is continuing to do well in detention. We are so pleased. I KNOW that all of us are excited and believe she is going to do well, but we still have 3 months left.

Honestly, I think these are NECESSARY months for her, very much like that of a baby in the womb. They COULD survive at 6 months if they are born early, but it is harder. That last 3 months is a time of fine tuning and putting the finishing touches on very important parts of the body.
In the same way, these last 3 months will be fine tuning for Sweetie 4. The things she has learned, NEED to have those finishing touches in place so that she can live with ease and not struggle.

(this is how I explained it to her during our last visit)

Our “baby” is coming back to us. We don’t want her to come too early. The right time, which will be all in God’s timing will be just perfect. 🙂


Sweetie 4 is moving nicely through the JD program. It has been a LONG 10 months. November is the target date for her to come home, but during the next couple of months, we will be participating together with “furloughs”.

It will start with 6 hours, and then back to JD… Then 12 hours and back to JD. Eventually she will work up to being here.

I am so thankful with how they are progressing her, carefully, so she doesn’t go from no privilege to complete freedom all at once; from no officers and supports to
just her family once again.

We ALL need this “slow and steady get me ready” practice.

We are excited about what the future holds and pray that this dark chapter in our lives has come to a complete close, and that on the other side of it, is a fresh clean page to write on. And what will be written there will be words of life, hope and healing!

When the right time comes, I am going to invite her to be a guest blogger. 🙂 I believe she has a lot to share, that might help others who walk this path, see a bright light of healing.

Stay tuned! 🙂

Being The Steady…

Somebody asked about disrespect from a teen who said they COULD be verbally abusive and there was nothing the parent could do about it. The question was, what do you say when they say this?

First off, ((((HUGS)))) to you. I know this was not a part of the picture you had in mind when expanding your family, and offering love to a child who desperately needed a home.

I don’t know of ANY parent who wakes up in the morning and says, “Honey, I think we should bring a teenager home so they can cuss us out, scream at us, threaten us and hate us.”

WE ALL want to see the best side of the adoption equation. The one that shows our children doing well, being successful, and having that end result of a happy, healthy, functioning adult who is ready to face the world with gusto and not look back, lovingly coming to family dinners and bringing home wonderful spouses and grand kids for us to love on and enjoy.

I think for most of us, the truthful balance lies somewhere in between the last two paragraphs. 🙂

We have daughters right now who have given us ZERO problems whatsoever, and are just adorable. We have daughters on the other EXTREME and I do mean EXTREME who have given us grief beyond belief.

So, I will feebly try to answer your question about what to say when your child is IN YOUR FACE screaming obscenities and you say, “You can’t do that” and they say, “YES I CAN” or worse yet, “TRY AND MAKE ME STOP!”


The MOST POWERFUL THING you can do at that moment is to CALMLY…. say, “YOU ARE RIGHT. YOU CAN, because you are.
And then, let them know that YOU need to take a quick breath.
What ever you do in your private room…. take a shower so you cannot hear the pounding on the door, or go for a drive, or go for a walk…. write in a journal, take a long lingering bubble bath and cry it out before the Lord asking for wisdom beyond what is wisdom….. whatever it is you do… CENTER YOURSELF. CALM YOURSELF…. give yourself permission to cry, but in your pain, remember that PAIN they transferred to you…. that RAGE they transferred to you is how THEY FEEL inside.

So FEEL it… FEEL the despair and then….. take a breath and try a different way.

A few calming statements for your child:
“Wow, you sound really upset.”
“I bet it is confusing trying to figure out family life” or “how you fit in.”
“That must be really hard”
“I’m so sorry things have been hard for you”

THEN….. When things are calmer (not in the moment)
You can ask some thought provoking questions:

“What power do you gain inside when you curse at me?”
“How do you feel afterwards?”

You might be surprised at the answers you get.

Go back to square one…. “You know, you are right, there is not a lot I can do when you choose to be this way. But I can help you to make some new choices. Maybe you have never known anything different? Maybe this is what is “normal” for you.
(For MANY of our kids it is THEIR normal!”

And then, calmly, reassuringly guide them to a different way.
You can have a cursing book. A BIG FEELINGS book! These are modifications of the “Mom Dad and Me book” for an older kiddo.
Anything you can do to get them to WRITE DOWN how they are feeling or what they are thinking in their head is fantastic and helpful not just for them, but informative for you.
When they start to write in the book, (introduce the concept during a calm family meeting) give praise where praise is due!

If they choose to continue to be verbally abusive, offer more ideas for them to have new coping tools.
You can actually write down a tool list and put it on the wall or door. It can be in their room on the wall by their bed or on the back of the door
that just slammed. 🙂 There it is… “IDEAS to calm yourself”!
GET a MENTOR if you can; somebody who they can call, that is TRUSTWORTHY and will not cave to their claims of how horrid you are. 🙂
And somebody who will also offer them the exact same ideas or other ideas for coping with big feelings.

I have to admit, one of the more frustrating things for me personally that I just had to get over, was that our sweetie, in the detention center has been given NOTHING NEW for coping that we had not already offered her. She was however, willing to take that advice from another person that wasn’t us.
As irritating as that was, we are thankful that she is now USING THE TOOLS to help her stay calm and focused.

If you can picture yourself as a light house, stable and calm during a hurricane, that is what our children need. You can shine the light to them, but you also must remain steadfast and steady.
Don’t change things to fit the rage…..( as in, if you don’t let me do what I want, I’ll be abusive and disrupt family life)
Be calm and when the rage calms, you are still there.

Some of the tools offered to our daughter included finding a quiet place to go to outside. She had a favorite area ( we have one acre) To go for a walk, to ride her bike, To take a shower, to read, to write, to listen to music, to spend 30 minutes of the computer,
to take deep breaths WITH ME, to go for a drive and get a coke,
These are not magical things, but they calm the brain and get us into a different part of the brain when we are stuck in a negative feedback loop.
Get out of the loop!

AND THEN…. your real work is when they are settled and calm.
Do NOT harbor anger.. DO NOT allow yourself to be vindictive.
PRACTICE kind words, loving affirmation, compassion, peacefulness etc.

As your child opens up to you about the past, listen…. help them grieve, and then, help them see the big bright future ahead.

I once told our daughter, if we drive a car looking in the rear view mirror, we will crash and never get down the lovely road to see the beauty that lies ahead.

It has been 5 1/2 years with her, and she is finally starting to see things in a different light.

Have we shed tears of sorrow? Yes. Has it been hard? YES.
Have there been times of felling hopeless? YES.
Do we feel hope now? YES.
Because in all of it, we have to have a future focus.
If your child NEVER gets better….. it won’t be because you didn’t give it your all.
And if we as parents don’t give it our all, how will they learn to trust?

THIS DOES NOT MEAN you tolerate abuse. I’m not saying that.
It means that abuse can happen, and HOW YOU HANDLE that can lead them to a different direction in life, or not.
It may not even happen on your watch. They may not see it until they are in their 20’s or 30’s…. or they will see it now.
But they WILL see eventually.

If you are in a dangerous situation, as we unfortunately were, then as Karyn Purvis recommends, as well as Heather Forbes, you may need extra outside helps, including law enforcement.
I remember being in shock when we had to resort to that, feeling as if we had totally failed. I was wrong.
It has been the best thing for our daughter. You are not allowed to threaten to kill people. You are not allowed to pull a knife.
These things are beyond dangerous.
So, when the behavior crosses the line into criminal activity, then there are civil laws that must be followed too in order to protect the family.
This is NOT GIVING UP….. BE there.. love them through the process. If they wind up in detention as our daughter has, BE THERE to visit, love, accept, guide,
and listen. And be the authority that they need.
Not authoritarian…. overbearing, but that lighthouse…. “Over here! Remember! You cannot go there. It isn’t safe.” NO “I told you so’s needed”. 🙂

Love Never Fails.

Changing Faulty Thinking

There are so many layers to trauma, neglect, abuse, FAS, PTSD, Borderline, it is amazing how thinking can be so off that you almost can’t figure out how to address it. Almost. 🙂

The other day we had a GREAT visit with Sweetie 4. She seems to be moving in a direction that has all of us cheering her on. Her counselor, whom she sees several times a week and is on call for her was on vacation, and we went to take our grand daughter back to NM, so there were a few days where none of us were there. She handled it well! She didn’t sabotage when we all came back and we all breathed a deep sigh of relief.

YAY Sweetie 4!

During counseling, she was talking about facing her fears, and one of the things she really wants to do is to watch some of the old horror movies she was exposed to in Russia. She believes by watching them now, it will help her to put them into perspective and not have them haunt her as they do now.
A good example of this, is that for years she has been terrified to go into the attic because “The scary lady might be in there.”
“What scary lady?”
“The one from the movie we watched in the orphanage!”
She believes by watching some of these movies again, as an older teen, with her family, she can conquer that fear.

For those of you who do not know, it is not uncommon for orphanage workers to expose the children to extreme violence and horror to keep them in bed at night.
Their systematic frightening of our children is nothing short of child abuse, and our children suffer LONG after they have left the orphanage system.
Yeah, so take away their family, any hint of a nurturing loving parent, make them fall asleep alone, without comfort and don’t forget to add some HORROR to that; all at the age of 7 and many times YOUNGER. 🙁

I am horrified of the thought of her seeing it again, (no pun intended) but maybe it might help. I’m hoping maybe instead, watching how a movie is made and how they use special effects etc. will be enough.

We had the discussion during counseling and all was positive and good.
THEN… it was time for visitation.

During visitation we had a good visit, but then came the twisted thinking.
“If I experience my past abuse, maybe I won’t be afraid of it anymore!”


There is a huge difference between a fictitious scary movie and child abuse that is REAL!
To think that she can over come her fear of abuse by being abused again is
gut wrenchingly sad for us as her parents.
We want her to long for nurture and proper affection. NOT ABUSE!
We want her to come to us when she is afraid, and be comforted and made to feel safe.
She STILL has askewed thinking that SHE must conquer all these things on her own; and that she is truly ALONE. She is saying things about trust and learning to depend upon us to help guide her, but I’m not convinced she is there yet in her deep thinking. Instead her thought process tells us that she may STILL yet put herself into dangerous situations. For now, she is in a safe place; a detention center. But when she gets out, she won’t be. She will be back into the free world again, and that is scary for me as her mom.
I DO realize this time is coming and we cannot keep her where she is until she is older. We have limited time. So we know that there is much work to do before that release date comes!

We immediately wrote to her counselor when we got home so she can address the differences between real and fiction and help her know that going through abuse now OR a long time ago would be equally scary because it IS scary and dangerous!

Oh how we yearn for her long term healing and look forward to her having a healthy self image, and a healthy view on what is real and what is fiction.

We have a ways to go, but we WILL get there! 🙂

An Aha Moment again…..

Over the last several years, we have been learning more and more about what abuse and neglect does to the brain. It changes it.

I have written long ago about chaos being normal and normal seeming like chaos to the newly adopted child, and that IS true.
It is our job as parents to flip that around and help them to see that normal, boring, mundane family life IS the norm and all that horrid chaos of abuse they endured over the years is NOT normal.

But what about when that chaos is so ingrained in them on so many levels? What about when you peel back the layers of the onion of life, the layers never seem to end. You delve deeper and deeper to the core, and at the heart of the onion is not FEAR but true darkness. It is a darkness caused by a parentless void, no direction, no instruction, no love, no grace, no solid foundation; it is nothingness where one did as one pleased or had others do to them as they pleased at the core, the VERY CORE, is emptiness. It is a belief system of emptiness. It is a system that says “You are not lovable. You are worthless. You are bad. You have no hope.”

The FEAR comes, not from the skeletons of the past revealed, but from the changing of the core belief system.
YOU DO HAVE HOPE!….F..E..A..R!!!!!

When sweetie came to us with the big smile, we had NO IDEA the depths she had been through. We THOUGHT we did. We didn’t and neither did her first or second families.
If I have learned anything through being an adoptive parent, or even an adult in this world, it is that the more I learn, the more I realize I do NOT know.
And the more I learn, the more I cling, RUN, CLEAVE to the Savior, because It.IS. SCARY!

So, a couple of years ago when Sweetie 4 realized that what had been done to her was WRONG, not normal, it rocked her world. She was starting to feel safe, but it was too much to accept. EVERYTHING from her old life had been challenged. And now, the most personal of relationships, she found to be abnormal.

IT was too much. Her eyes were opened to the possibility that she was going to have to see things very differently.
And she fell apart.
Honestly, we have written before about this, but we NEVER have seen somebody unravel to the core so fast as she did. It was almost over night. We were making huge progress and it was like tumbling down the rabbit hole to despair.
And we have been there for a little while.

We have taken the bath in the pool of despair, we have rolled in the mud of humiliation, and we have been to some very dark places. But a light is shining.
There is a huge bright light of hope shining.

As Mike and I are learning to deal with mental illness and trauma, in a new way, we feel more empowered to meet Sweetie 4’s needs. Our journey is different, as all journeys are.
This one has taken us to Mars. 🙂 But since we are there, it is time to enjoy what Mars brings. It isn’t where we planned to be. But you know what? There is LIFE on Mars. 🙂

If you are going through your own journey, you will need to pack some very important things in your luggage, and you will also need to lighten your load a bit because Mars is REALLY HARD to navigate.

Things to remove:
Preconceived notions

Things to ADD:

Friends who understand

It is also important to find those who have walked before you, or can walk beside you as you navigate the future.
Our children need us, even when they say they don’t.
They WANT us, even when they say they don’t.
They crave our love and acceptance. They CRAVE that we understand them without words.
Sometimes on Mars there are no words.

I was talking to a counselor recently and told her that the only thing I could compare Sweetie 4’s life to would be if aliens came to Earth and told us that everything we ever believed about life here on Earth was primitive and backwards.
There are galaxies out there with advanced civilizations and all of them are communicating and getting along. It is Earth that is way behind.

That is what it has been like for Sweetie 4. But she is slowly but surely letting go of her fears… and the lies she has believed.

Yes, there is light…. and at the end of that tunnel?
We will be there.

A Mountain Moving Experience

It has been a while since I wrote an update. So much has happened and oh my goodness!

What does that mean? “Mountains have been moved?”
It means what seemed IMPOSSIBLE….

Happened. 🙂

As many of you know, Sweetie 4 has been home 5 years and 4 months and 20 days; not that I am counting. 🙂
When she was first home, and she discovered where Oklahoma was in relation to Texas, after a geography lesson,
she said, “We need to go and see my brother and sister NOW!” “I will break the door down!”

DOWN GIRL! It doesn’t work that way!
So what can we do? We can pray and ask the one who can MOVE MOUNTAINS!
And when HE MOVES that mountain, it will be in HIS TIME, not ours!
And we prayed. Again and again and again and again.

Year after year went by, and she felt hopeless.
We encouraged her to trust.
And soon, she was reunited with her sister.
That was an awesome time, and we have all maintained an ongoing relationship.
Sweetie was in her sister’s wedding 2 years ago and we have spent time together for holidays
and birthdays.

But there was another sibling that was very important to her.
And he was not in contact.

As she began to fall apart over the last two years, this had been an ongoing theme.
And now, she is in detention.

But this week, a mountain was moved. In God’s perfect timing, in HIS will, because HE DOES
LOVE to do GOOD for HIS children, there was a text message.
“Can we all come down for a visit?”

Now mind you, the visits are 30 minutes. So there would be a 5 hour drive, spend the night, get up at
6:00 a.m., visit behind glass for 30 minutes and then a five hour drive home.


We wrote to the counselor explaining the situation… and within an hour
arrangements were made for a “FAMILY SESSION” WITH the counselor and then a TWO HOUR
visit, face to face. No glass, no phones… FACE TO FACE!


We were delighted to be a part of this. I wish we could have seen her face.
But we were told there were squeals of joy, and a lot of emotion, catching up,
talking about things like “do you remember that house?” etc.

My heart is full of joy. I am so proud of these 3 siblings who have been through the unspeakable.
I have great hope in my heart for Sweetie 4.

God Answers Prayer
And Mountains are MOVED!


Pacific ocean waves crash the rocky beach coast by the Pigeon Point lighthouse in California by the Cabrillo highway US 1. It is California's most-photographed light house and the tallest one on the Pacific Coast

Pacific ocean waves crash the rocky beach coast by the Pigeon Point lighthouse in California by the Cabrillo highway US 1. It is California’s most-photographed light house and the tallest one on the Pacific Coast

Be a rock today! Be a lighthouse today! Be immovable in love and compassion towards those who need it most. They are usually the ones who present themselves as being unlovable. But when those waves of fear, control, anger and resentment, come crashing up against you… know that you are the solid rock they need in the moment, and the light you shine, will guide them safely to the shore of peace.

Progress? I Think So. :)

Last night we had a counseling session at the detention center with Sweetie 4.  We all knew 1 week in advance what this session was going to be about.  Mike and I talked all week about what we might say or what she might say and as we were on our way to go to the session we both looked at each other and said, “It may go well, it might not.  There is really no way to know!”

And with that, we walked in.  The counselor spoke with us briefly before going in, asking us our thoughts and offering her much needed advice.
We all agreed Sweetie 4 needs to know we love and support her.

And that was the attitude we went in with.
When we entered, I could see right away the wild look in her eyes.
It was a look of panic.  It was a look of fear.
I could see a very scared child, once again in a position of loss. Hopeless loss.  So she thought.

She was pretty riled up, and fiesty, saying some not so nice things.
“You are only acting this way in front of the counselor so you can make yourselves look good!”
Bounced right off.
I had that “I’m rubber mantra… going in my head”
We had to let it bounce off.

And she said, “I know you have lots of questions, “Ask me!”
We did have a few questions, but not the ones she expected.
And then, we affirmed our love for her.
She cried.
She was ashamed.
And then she was MAD!
The counselor asked her, “Why are you mad, things turned out well!”
She answered, “I can’t say.  I don’t know.”

I offered….
“I think she expected that we were going to talk, she would tell us things, there would be a blow up, we would get mad, she would cut off the relationship, move in with her sister and all would be happily ever after.”

Sweetie confirmed that was exactly what she was thinking.

Oh no! Sweetie4! You have parents who love you. We are still here!
She was frustrated, but at the same time, the wild look in her eyes
went away, she calmed down and we were then able to rub her back and she accepted our affection for her.

We gave her big hugs when it was over, and went on to visitation.
During visitation she was great. All that wall she had put up was gone.
How did we get here?  We have been working on trust for a  LONG LONG time.  She is going to have to take the dive into the trust pool.
And it just has not happened yet.
I looked at some old posts and thought about it taking a year or two years.  But five years? And we still aren’t there yet.

The Lord will give us the energy we need to continue.
Even though last night was sad…. it was productive.
It was sad because she still thinks she can’t live in a family.
It was productive because she experienced unconditional love.
Pressing on.

Defeating Shame

Defeating SHAME  written in 2011

Another BCLC Moment, brought to you……. 🙂

Sweetie 2 and 4  Skating by the Shoppe 🙂
If you understand the concepts behind BCLC (Beyond Consequences Logic and Control) you will know that being in a place of  FEAR_brings about  shame.  A child  can get angry or sullen or shut down.  They may act angry or say something short and stomp off or not accept an apology from a sibling.  And then, they are overcome by SHAME, because it is very obvious they FAILED…… and for some children, who are not secure, not safe, and have not practiced using their life tools enough, FAILURE is inevitable and therefore SHAME overpowers them.

We have seen a few stomp offs to the room to pout. (aka shut down)  And as we are getting to understand each other better and read body language better, it was obvious that our sweetie was not angry, but she was ashamed of herself.  She had not controlled herself like she COULD have, and in turn became defensive and hurt refused to accept an apology…..

The look on her face was Scared, Worried and Ashamed….. I walked into the room and saw a sweet sweet child contemplating her future as she lay on the bed…..There were no tears, because she has had to remain strong throughout her ENTIRE life.
(there is much to say about this later, not now)

A child who is laying on a bed and not crying in sorrow, is typically seen as rebellious, or defiant…..
She was neither.

I asked her if I could lay next to her and actually got a yes….. 🙂 Horray!
I told her she didn’t have to say anything, but could she just shake her head yes or no? She said Yes, with a head shake…. 🙂

Are you worried? yes
Are you angry? no
Are you sad? yes
Do you feel sad that you didn’t accept an apology? yes
Do you want to make things better? yes
Are you worried about whether you get to stay? yes
Do you think we might send you away? yes

This is a little girl who was laying there determining her future all by herself, wondering if yet again she would get sent away….. My heart broke for her.

So I talked to her about normal families….. What is a NORMAL family?  People are human, just like you! They get bossy, just like you! They get sad, mad, happy, joyful, just like you!
And when they don’t agree, they apologize and forgive! They don’t worry about leaving their family!
They are SAFE!
Safe is an important word around here.  Safe means exactly that, SAFE! SAFE to FEEL, SAFE to be HONEST, SAFE to LOVE, SAFE to be angry….BUT….. ALSO: SAFE TO BE VULNERABLE, SAFE TO BE HUMBLE, SAFE TO BE LOVING, SAFE TO BE FORGIVING!  You will NOT be REJECTED!

Why am I typing in all Caps! Because I am so HAPPY! I am happy to  tell you that our little sweetie responded so very well to that. She responded with tears and hugs and as I told her that she was safe and secure and didn’t need to be ashamed, she latched on and said, “I love you mommy”, over and over again.  And then came the “I love my sisters, I love daddy, I love ……”  🙂

And then, she said, “You are bossy too!” I said, yes, “sometimes I am..”..  She said, “what is bossy?”  I told her it is when you try to tell others what to do in a way that isn’t as polite as you could be!  She got this shocked look and said, “Oh, you are not bossy!”  LOL  I said, actually sometimes I am….but I do try not to be.
We both had a good laugh.

She is starting to understand the concept of permanence and real functional family, yet she has just been here a month.  I’m sure it will be more real to her in a a year, or two years or 5 years….. right now, it is a new concept. And just like learning a new math concept, for me anyway, it is learn, repeat, repeat, repeat until I get it. I never get it the first time. 🙂

While we were on the bed, I asked her if she would repeat these words before we got up:
“I am loved! I DESERVE to be loved!  The first part was easier than the second part.  When she got through the second part, there were little tears. But they were not tears of sorrow, but of relief, peace and joy.
I also made sure she understood that her standing in the family was that she was a vital part of family, just as if she had always been here. I let her know, she is just as important and loved as all 8 of our children.  Just because she is the newest, doesn’t mean she isn’t just as valuable as everybody else.
She is, and mommy and daddy will do our VERY best to be FAIR and LOVING!  Her ideas and opinion DO matter…. 🙂

When we were finished with our talk, I suggested that she apologize for hurting another little girlies feelings…. by not forgiving.  She got up and went right to task!  And we had a wonderful evening last night…. (We actually have had a great week)
I am so proud of my brave girl!  I cannot imagine having to relearn everything you thought was true about yourself.
The things she thought about herself were so sad…. and now, when I say, “You are smart, you are sweet, you are lovely, you are beautiful, you are nice, you are loving, you are kind, you are amazing!
Instead of a shrug, she smiles. 🙂

A Not So BCLC Moment

Originally Written in June 2011

We can turn our personal failures into successes

A NOT so BCLC Moment: courtesy of ME! Turned into a BCLC moment…. in the end.

Today started out as a great day. Everything was going well… Sweetie 4  was very excited about her treasures from the Euro Deli and said some really sweet things.

Then….all of a sudden…. there was complaining, there was arguing, there was demanding, and it went on and on and on and on……
There was the story cd in the bedroom she insisted she didn’t want to hear because it distracted her from playing. Her sisters did want to hear the story.  When I went into the room to check, she had brought a BOX of dirt into the bedroom to make a “habitat” for her fake frog, onto the white carpet.  LOL

I very nicely told her to please take the dirt outside, we cannot have dirt in the house like that. She pointed out that I have plants with dirt in them all over! “So Why Can’t I?”  I told her it wouldn’t be fair to the old vacuum cleaner.   She then proceeded to pout and pout and argue and argue…. and I was not budging. “Go take your dirt outside. The frog habitat will have to stay outside.”

And then, it was time for chores.  She complained about doing her part and how she always has to do more and that it isn’t fun and that she is tired and how everybody leaves everything everywhere on purpose and…. and…. and……

I also had to purchase crutches for Sweetie 2. She is having trouble with her leg and can’t wear a prosthetic right now. Sweetie 4 asked to play with the crutches. I said, yes, but if Sweetie 2 needs them, she must give them to her.
When Sweetie 2 needed them, she said, “She doesn’t really need them….” So , I had to take them away for good while Sweetie 2  was needing them.
After several hours….

Mama, blew it.  Her voice was getting louder and I got louder…. and I said, STOP!!!! NOW!!!! STOP IT!
AND SHE SAID, “I don’t like it that you raised your voice!”
I said, “I don’t like it that you have been raising your voice all day!”
And she said, “NO! NOT ALL DAY! I played with Sweetie 2 for about  10 minutes and we went to the store! THAT IS NOT ALL DAY!”
And I said, “Since Noon! It is now 4:00!”
She said,
“Well, just because I raised my voice doesn’t mean you should!” Hello!

And then….. I said, “YOU ARE RIGHT…. I SHOULDN’T AND I DID!”
And You are WRONG! You shouldn’t EVER raise your voice to mama!

And so, we went to the rocking chair and started over. WHEW!

So, since she has had so many opinions on my parenting today, I made her the parent and I became her.
I did my best to act like her, sound like her and do all the famous facial movements…..She watched with amusement and when it was her turn to instruct me, she blurted out….. “I have NO IDEA WHAT TO SAY! I’m just a kid! I don’t want to be the mom!” LOL

Yes, she takes her role play seriously. 🙂

We then had a talk about trust. And I was able to tell her how much I love her.  After that we snuggled for a while and we came up with some ideas on how to get out of the bad habits she has formed over all the years.

We talked about how hard it is, because it IS a habit.  She responded well to Bananas, but today I didn’t do it.  She has responded very well to prayer and breathing… but today, I didn’t do that either.
So when the right time came, I told her that I KNOW she CAN do it! She can do VERY WELL, and I also know it is hard work…. just like it is for me to be a mom.  Just like she couldn’t think of one thing to tell me when she was pretending to be me…. sometimes it is just that hard for me to be a mom too.

I want so much to help her see that there are some destructive behaviors that she MUST rule over!
“If you want to control something, control your temper!” LOL

I guess today was a 2 steps back day. 🙂  I know she is feeling anxious about me taking Sweetie 3 and Sweetie 2  to camp on Monday, and that will be the first time we have been separated.
Daddy is making plans for a fun filled week for Himself, Sweetie 1 and Sweetie 4.

Somehow, I think everything will be ok, in spite of my personal failure today.
And since about 5:00, she has been a perfect little angel. It is now 9:20! 🙂

Glad we finished this day off like it started. 🙂

Sweetie 3 is Blooming

My goodness! Sweetie 3 is about to turn 18. We attended her college scholarship acceptance ceremony on Friday. It was wonderful!  The folks at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital are just amazing.  She was paired with a group of ladies who will encourage her throughout her college years and follow her until she graduates. 🙂
We sat at a table with them at the luncheon and they were just precious, and VERY excited to participate with Sweetie 3.

When we arrived home, she opened her email and had been granted a second scholarship from another source; The college she has been attending for dual credit! They offered her a full scholarship also!
She will have to turn it down, because she already has one.
WOW…. She applied for 2 and expected nothing. Instead she received 2!  🙂

We went to the Dr. today for a regular check up. I was joking with her that this is the last time I can “force” her to the doctor as she will be an adult soon.   I’m SO glad we went.
We now have a new Dr. appt on Friday to find out about scoliosis treatment.
Life goes on!

A New Phase

We are entering a new phase in life.  Girlies are GROWING UP!  So many unexpected things have taken place in the last 2 years.  We have had our ups and downs…. and that means life is NEVER DULL!

Sweetie 1 has moved in worth her birth mom.  YES…. I just typed that!
This happened last week and I am at peace that Sweetie is in a safe place.  That is a HUGE relief!  Her mama sent me a sweet note today  and I am so thankful that they are getting to know each other once again after nearly 15 years.  When I have permission, I might share more details.

Sweetie 2 and 3 are finishing up school and working at the Local Pizza place.  Sweetie 3 is also finished her college semester.  She is graduating from High School in a few weeks and we will be having a huge BBQ and open house in her honor. 🙂
She ALSO received a FULL SCHOLARSHIP for college next year.
Sweetie 2 is going to start some college classes next year and said she would like to take Dance again!  I would LOVE it if she did!

Sweetie 2 is going to volunteer this summer at a Historical place in the Dallas area and Sweetie 3 is going to volunteer at the hospital and at camp.  Sweetie 2 is GOING to camp for her last time at the end of June.

Sweetie 4 is in a new phase of detention where we are visiting for therapy on a regular basis.  She is working hard, and sometimes does really well, then there are nights like tonight where we leave discouraged feeling like we have made no progress.  I’m sure it will be like this for a long time.

OVERALL… we are all doing really well. Life is full and LILLY BEAN is coming to Texas for some Ya Ya time! 🙂  She is going to be 12!!!!
And she will be starting Jr. High next year.  I can’t believe it! I held her on the day she was born…. I love her so much!

I am so thankful for a wonderful group of ladies that meet together for bible study and prayer.  They are awesome and encouraging.

Soooo, I guess as long as I don’t look at any election results, things are pretty good around here! LOL

An Eventful Week

Wow! What a week!  We had visitation with Sweetie 4,  insurance folks coming around to help with the estimates on our house because of GIANT hail, a scholarship interview for Sweetie 3,
a needle biopsy for me in the bottom of my foot, visiting a sweet friend at Scottish Rite Hospital, as her son graduated from the hospital today, and then family night with our youngest Son.
DUDE!  That was a lot!

Sweetie 3 is a finalist for a scholarship opportunity!  We are so excited for her.  She is finishing up high school this year and we will celebrate with a big BBQ.  And she will have one year of college completed upon high school graduation!

Our sweet friends, we just love them. Their son is in college now and is also from Ukraine.  I love it when we get to visit, as they live in the Houston area and we live in the Dallas area.
So today, I dropped Sweetie 3 off to visit while I went to the doctor with Sweetie 2.
I have had a problem with my foot for more than 6 months but had no time to pay attention to it.  It was time.
I will be having surgery on my foot soon…. I have two small masses in my foot that are most likely benign. We were hoping they were cysts and could be drained, but that didn’t happen, because they weren’t cysts.
The foot numbing experience was rather painful. Sweetie 2 came along with me for moral support.
She sat with her books and when the Dr. started she said, “Oh wow. I’m glad I’m not you!”  LOL

We visited with Sweetie 4 on Wed night and it was a decent visit.
She was back to saying that she only wants us to listen to her and offer no parental input.  She was talking about when she gets out and goes to military school.  I think she is really scared about getting out.  She moved to a new level and we are pleased with that.

Sweetie 1 announced she is wanting to get married.  She wants us to sign a paper giving permission.  We are in the middle of talking with her about this, and could use much prayer!  Lordy!

It has been an evening everybody has looked forward to.  Friday nights are family night and each week a different person gets to choose what to do. Sweetie 2 chose game night, so her brother came over to play Dominion. 🙂
They are still playing and having a great time.

And here I am, foot throbbing and blogging. 🙂
God is Good!

Introducing Sue Ellen

SueEllenSue Ellen is our newest family member. She was born on Feb. 29th, 2016.  She is adorable and sweet!
She is soaking up loads of love from the Sweeties!

“What Is Your Need?”

We visited with Sweetie 4 last night.  It was a good visit. 🙂
All day, I had been pondering a quote from Dr. Karyn Purvis:
“I have never met a child who can’t come to deep levels of healing, if you understand their need.”

I pondered this for a couple of days and it got me to thinking, “What is her deepest need?”     I need to understand her need!
I WANT to understand her need! I’ve TRIED to understand her need!
So, I decided to ask her.  And I did.

I was trying to imagine the answers she might give.  She has told us many times, “I want to do what I want, when I want, how I want, and I don’t want parents!”
So, that was my own fear of what she might say.

Instead, she was in a rather pondering sort of mood.  I asked her and she seriously thought about it.
And then she said, “You have given me what I need.”  It is just that I didn’t receive it.
She then said, ” But there is another need I DO have!”
“What is it sweetie?”
“Don’t give up on me!  Please, don’t give up on me!”

So here we were sitting there, glass between us, her in orange, us in civilian clothing, talking on a phone, yet connecting in a very deep way.

We won’t give up Sweetie.

Karyn’s Work On Earth Is Completed

It is with great sadness that I read this yesterday. But we also rejoice that Dr. Purvis is no longer in pain. She is completely whole, and the work that she did HERE, will forever make a difference in the lives of children from hard places and the families that love them so.
Rest well at the feet of Christ, dear and faithful servant!

Dr. Karyn Purvis

You Raise Me Up

4 years ago Sweetie 2 did this dance for my birthday. 🙂
I am still in love with it. 🙂  Be blessed today! 🙂

From My Heart

I know that this past year has been so very hard on all of us.  One year ago, we started to free fall into unknown territory….
BUT GOD…. HE KNEW.  He knew when we brought all of our sweeties home.
He doesn’t reveal all of our  life to us before it happens or we just might run and hide!

This past year, though extreme and difficult, and we know MOST people do not have these experiences in their families, has been good.  Can you say that a year has been good, even though it has brought unspeakable sadness and heartache?  YES.
But ONLY in Christ.

I am grateful, so VERY grateful for the experiences we have had.
WHY?  Because  pain teaches, and pain sharpens.  We are more focused.  We are more determined. We are TOGETHER as a FAMILY!
We have worked hard over the years to help in the adoption community.  We wanted to spread the message that there is HOPE and there is HEALING in regards to adoption issues within families.
We have wanted to share how our girls have adjusted, learned new languages, accepted their past and looked forward to their future.
And we have….. the triumphs AND the tragedies.

And while things have turned in directions unexpected, we are grateful for the girls who are pressing ahead and doing fantastic,
and for the girls who have challenged us in every way imaginable.
It is our desire to take what we have experienced and  learned, and share with you, our readers in order that we can come together and help our children to heal into adulthood.

I want to say without hesitation…..
We are encouraged by recent events with Sweetie 4.  We have GREAT HOPE for her.
We are struggling as we continue to mourn Sweetie 1.  But we are not without hope.
Sweetie’s 2 and 3 are doing fantastic, and soon will be 18 and 17.
They are working hard in school at home and at college.
Sweetie 2 was accepted to a specific Co Op to take Physics next year!
She is excited and nervous about that.

We are so thankful for those who have prayed for us over the years.  We continue to be in the trenches of raising these children to adults.
HEALTHY adults.
We have found that there are seasons of blessing and seasons of rain.
But in the RAIN, there is blessing!
Our hearts hurt and our hearts rejoice.
Adoption is not just raising a family.  It is a calling.
That calling DOES NOT CHANGE when things are hard.
IT makes it all the more confirmed.
And we will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever,
GIVE UP.  NEVER EVER.  Because God does NOT give up on us!
Oh how I love my sweeties, sweeties in law and our grand sweetie’s too!

A Lovely Day!

Sweetie 2 and I headed down to Texas Scottish Rite hospital to pick up her new leg!  She was so excited to get it.  I have to say, these folks are so caring, including    caring about how things look in the eyes of our girls.   Her leg was made contoured and shapely like a real leg and she burst out, “I love it!!!!”  🙂

After we picked up her leg, we had to go to the tire store because of road construction around us.  Nails seem to be prevalent on the road.  Unfortunately, that was abit costly.  We were 1,000 miles OVER our warranty. :/
BUT… while we were waiting, we walked over and had lunch together and just had a wonderful talk about all kinds of things.
Some things on her mind at almost 17 have to do with the future, with not wanting to hurt the feelings of boys, BUT, wanting to have firm boundaries, types of work she likes, and exploring ideas of engineering. “Mom, do you think I’m smart enough for that?”
“On a scale of one to ten, how smart do you think I am?”
I replied, “That depends upon who is at the TEN!  Tesla? Einstein?”
“Trust me, you are smart enough to be an engineer or anything else you choose to do! ”
Then it was off to go “shorts” shopping for summer.
This girl was delighted with everything she tried on.
Easy peasy!   Horray!
What a delight to spend time with my sweetie!

The DEVASTATION of Pornography On This Generation

I went to visit Sweetie 4 tonight.  She was in very good spirits and we had a wonderful talk.  I haven’t seen her so delightful in a very long time, so it was quite refreshing to hear her talk about her art work and how the pod officers believe she should go to the Julliard School of the Arts in NY! 🙂  She is really so very talented!  She said, “No way mom!  I’m not leaving for NY!”  🙂
( I don’t believe Juliard accepts art students anyway… it is more dance, music and theater)

As we talked, it was as if she was very clear headed tonight and able to share things she typically doesn’t talk about.

The subject of Pornography came up, because it had so poisoned her mind, that she didn’t know what the difference was between what a man and a woman do in a loving committed relationship, vs. pornography, which twists and corrupts  something expressed so  beautifully in marriage.
Sadly…. SO VERY SADLY, our daughter was exposed to this when she went to Public School.
She  told me that she had never seen it until then.  She didn’t know anything, and she said the kids at her table all had cell phones and that is what they did at lunch or on the school bus.
The descriptions of what she shared, I cannot share here, but I was in shock at what the children in this generation are being exposed to on a daily basis.  It is SO.STINKING.DESTRUCTIVE!

Sweetie sadly said, “She cannot get it out of her mind.”  Every person she sees is a potential partner and she imagines herself in the worst of ways. 🙁
I am writing this because I was SO NAIVE sending her to school and thinking she would be safe.  We ARE in a “good” school district.
The teachers are committed.  The administrators are committed.
Is it the school’s fault?  I DO understand there is NO WAY they can control what the children do.  There isn’t enough manpower.  But really, can’t they BAN the use of personal devices at schools?
Can’t they scramble the signals so the children cannot have access to this stuff?

Giving a child a cellphone with access to the internet  is like giving a two year old a loaded handgun.  Honestly, I think it might even be more risky.
Cell phones are NOT rights for CHILDREN!
But I see younger and younger children with them.  I have heard people say that their kids will be made fun of if they don’t have them.

Our Sweetie didn’t even have one of her own, but she sure did want one.   Because she was unable to use her computer time wisely and we knew a cell phone would be a problem for her, we didn’t allow one, but it didn’t  seem to keep her from looking at other people’s cell phones.
So not having a cell phone or being monitored on computer is NOT ENOUGH to protect a child who is bent on doing the wrong thing. 🙁
Her innocence was stolen from her.
Our SOCIETY is SICK. After what I was told tonight, I cannot believe the epidemic that has swept the hearts and minds of our children.
They are being exposed to addictive behaviors that HURT their developing HEALTHY sense of sexuality.  It. Is. AWFUL.

I read an article recently by an ex porn star who said she was upset by not getting the respect she felt she deserved in society.  She said she wanted to be seen as a married nurse from Indiana with 3 kids?
She said she had trouble getting jobs because of her former acting career.
She THEN went on to say, “There was nothing wrong with what I did.”  “People act as if I harmed their children or something.”
Maybe if stopped saying there was nothing wrong with porn and society is just not up to speed, she’d get some respect.
Wow.  Is she SO BLIND to think that her actions on screen don’t effect our children?  Seriously?
Our sweetie does not understand that a healthy, committed relationship would include a healthy committed sexual life that can bring about children, after all, that IS one of the purposes for sexual relations between a husband and a wife!

Intimate love between a husband and wife is a tender, sweet, giving act.  It isn’t animalistic, selfish, deviant or just seeing what you can make your body parts do!  How CHEAP! HOW SHALLOW!

We are praying that our sweetie can be renewed in her mind as she learns that human sexuality is healthy, and it is NOT PORN!

Addicted to Trauma? Rejection? Drama?

I wasn’t sure what else to title this.  So, I am wanting to explore some thoughts I had in the middle of the night.
Do you ever just wake up in the middle of the night with “aha” moments and some quiet, clear time to think?
That is what happened to me last night.

I have been pondering the events of the last year in our family, and also the makeup of each of our sweeties, and just sort of comparing notes.
Something STRUCK me and I don’t know if it has been explored carefully by the mental health community.  I’m sure I’m not the first person to ponder it, so if you know of any information regarding this, DO SHARE!

Everybody knows that there is what is called an “addictive” personality.  Folks can be addicted to all sorts of things including, Alcohol, Drugs,Pornography, Sex, Food, Sugar, TV, Video Games, and more.
Some addictions we find socially acceptable, and others not so much, as in Alcohol, Drugs and Porn.
As I was thinking about our girlies who ALL came from extremely difficult backgrounds, two of them came from addicted parents, and two did not.
The two who didn’t are doing fantastic. The two who did, not so much.
Is it possible, that just like with cases of domestic violence, women may not necessarily be suffering from low self esteem as much as an additive problem to emotional or physical abuse?
I know many will say that the REASON they seek emotionally damaging relationships is because of low self esteem.  I’m just exploring the possibility that it may be addition for some and that is why they do not respond to those who encourage them and try to help them in the area of self worth.
IS IT POSSIBLE that kids who have suffered trauma, may become addicted to the drama of the trauma?
I have witnessed personally in my own life at a younger age, and with my girls, the stirring of the pot so to speak during peaceful moments just to get to a point where they can blow up about something or try to cause somebody  else to blow up at them and thus recreate drama.

I have heard Sweetie 4 say many times, “Normal life is boring.”
Meaning, even though there is peace and calm that is something to be thankful for; people may be singing or dancing or playing a game or going boating, or there are endless things to do, it is boring for her, because there is no turmoil or drama!  So the more peaceful the day, the more she would try to create something to sabotage.
In detention she seems to play both sides of the coin regarding drama in the pod she is in.  She complains about it, but there is a sly smile of satisfaction attached to it that we observe when we visit.  She may cry about something happening, but seems to be really “into” the fact that it happened.

It is as if the addictive brain craves that “high” it gets from the chaos.
I have seen that “look” in both of our girl’s eyes when they are doing what I am talking about.  It is a look of power and control, but also a look of being desperately out of control.

If this is an addiction issue, the things we have dealt with are not necessarily  about not feeling loved;  as our two have most certainly responded to unconditional love over the years, and both given and received it.
But there is something in them that draws them away and they begin to try and recreate the atmosphere of trauma, and  the OLD feelings of being rejected and  unloved.  It is like craving a candy bar.
But it is a very negative, unfortunate, dastardly  craving! AND…..It doesn’t work here, because they ARE loved!  They have tried in EVERY way to make that not so.  But it IS so. They both say that they know that we love them, and that they know we are faithful to forgive them. And, it is the very thing that makes them angry.  It is like they hate innocence, or the pureness of childhood joy and are drawn to the dark side of chaos.

So I’m wondering if all those years when I was rocking and encouraging, teaching, lovingly instructing, modeling and trying to create a home of unconditional acceptance and love,  we have actually been dealing with ADDICTION, not low self worth or fear of rejection; or, a combination of both.
As I’m sure there are moments of self loathing, especially AFTER a drama incident, or horrible accusation,  just like the alcoholic probably regrets getting drunk or the drug addict regrets getting high, because there is destruction that occurs and natural consequences of that destruction  are not easy to face.

It is like a light bulb moment here went off and I’m not sure where to go with it.
I do know one thing….. We LOVE our girls and HAVE loved them all along.  One has been home 12 years, the other 5.  It SEEMS that if the issues they face were purely from PTSD or TRAUMA, then healing would be taking root as with our other girls.
I have ALWAYS made the assumption based upon what I have read in from the adoption community over the years, that these behaviors stemmed from fear.  That is, until
both of these girls made similar statements that not only are they NOT afraid, they are happier in more dramatic circumstances, away from us.  Neither of them are depressed.  And I do know depression can look many different ways in young people, but it still LOOKS like a representation of depression!
Addiction to trauma or drama vs. no addiction to trauma or drama, MIGHT,  just might explain why two of them, have responded to that love in every way, even though they have had some of the most horrific neglect and abuse possible yet the other two, who have responded off and on,  are continuing to make choices that are damaging to relationship and family unity; especially family safety, and have spiraled out of control. 🙁
They both live on the “edge” and flirt with dangerous behaviors.

I have written before about children recreating chaos, , because that is what they are used to, and many of those articles are here on this blog.    But after YEARS and YEARS of working through individual  past traumas, it seems there would be change.  And there WAS, for a time.
This post is not about a newly adjusting child who has just come home or the child who is going through the grieving process of loss.  I can totally get those thoughts, and have been there with our other girls too.  And yes, grief can visit in cycles and at different levels;  one cannot discount grief and loss in adoption.
It is however,  about the possibility of  something else going on…..Could it  quite possibly be addiction?

Any thoughts?

The Struggle

When raising wounded children, we do our best to educate ourselves, find new strategies, therapies, psychiatrists, medications and alternative nutritional strategies.  And many times when trying  to navigate a very unknown, limited, and nearly secretive mine field of mental health, we feel blindfolded in a dark room, yet expected to have answers that many times don’t exist.

Both Mike and I are not unfamiliar with mental health issues as we have both had relatives as far back as we can remember with serious mental health diagnosis.  That has proven to be a blessing, as we know that even when doing your best, it isn’t about you, or the next therapy or the next newest and best idea, essential oil or dietary supplement, all of which can be helpful, or not.

We truly struggle through, and it is a struggle wanting to do what is best and not seeing a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.  “Will she ever get better? ”  “Will she be able to navigate in ‘community’?”
“Will she be successful in a family setting?”  “What about marriage and children?”
Folks, you can drive yourself crazy with these thoughts and they are best left to work themselves out in time.
Scripture says that you cannot add 1 day to your life by worrying.
And as my sweet friend JJ pointed out this week as she spent time with me, “Worry is a sin.”
YES, it is .
And I am a sinner.   I worry and I find faith and I worry and I find faith and in all of my flaws, the Heavenly Father lovingly guides me through and says, “Dear daughter, I am here. Settle your heart.”
So at one moment I am at perfect peace, and then  I struggle with being robbed of that peace through worries about the future and things I cannot control.
I am learning; and I am a struggling learner, that I need to look at what is before me that I KNOW and can count on;  My Savior, my family that is intact, friends who DO understand, my church family,
my husband…… and I can rejoice and be so very thankful for each one in my life who points me to TRUTH.

And in my overflow, I can freely love the ones who have so very many needs that I will never be able to fix.  But I know that I KNOW that I can point them to the ONE who can help them truly heal. And I can, in my own  woundedness  lay my struggles  at the foot of the cross.

Resting at the foot of the Cross…..

Blindsided Again…Sort Of

I’m not even sure what to think honestly.  I wrote in the post below about Sweetie calling home saying, “Mommy! I need you!!!”
Then, yesterday happened.

It was visitation time.  Now we have been visiting Sweetie 4 between 3 incarcerations and 2 psychiatric stays, and she has always come to visit.  Not so last night.

When we arrived, the officer told us, “I’m so sorry you traveled so far, she has made it clear she does not want to see you.”
I was thinking, “It’s not personal, it’s trauma!” That has become  my mantra over the last 5 years.  “IT’S NOT PERSONAL, IT’S TRAUMA!
But what does that mean?  Because it sure does “Feel” personal.

As predicted, she was moved to level 3.
There are 4 levels in the detention center, 4 being the lowest.  All the kids start at level 3. Sweetie stayed on Level 3, them moved to level 4, back to 3 then to level 2 where she stayed for 4 weeks.  She is now back to level 3, where she is really more comfortable.
On level 2, that is a step closer to being home, and she is afraid of that. She is afraid of failing, and has expressed that she knows if she comes home she will harm us.
So, I figured it would be a comfort for her to be at level 3, and we would visit as usual.  I guess not.

If I’ve learned to predict anything about Sweetie 4, it is that she is not predictable!
I called our counselor and she recommended the book, “I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me”.  I ordered it a few minutes ago.
It is about navigating  Borderline Personality Disorder.

And so, we march on into the unknown….

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