Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Diagnosis

I just returned from Created for Care, a retreat for adoptive moms that was help at a beautiful lodge in Georgia. I was refreshed, encouraged and enlightened. I have about 10 blog posts worth of material that I can't wait to start writing on.

But for today, I want to share that we have a diagnosis for George. We had a marathon counseling session yesterday with the self-described (although he resisted calling himself this because he really is humble) "top" child psychologist in South Carolina.

He came to a conclusion that I knew was there but had been hoping was not: George has both RAD and ODD.

When the doctor said this, I slumped in my seat (which was already a very slump-able couch!).

I asked one question, "Is there hope?"

He answered with a nod and added, "But it will take a lot of work."

I guess this blog will start taking the form of how this momma tries to parent a child with RAD and ODD. I don't think I will have time to write about my "missional life". My mission is to help this child. I keep reading over and over again that sometimes, simply a different caregiver can help the child with RAD. I don't want to think about dissolving this adoption - but I can't help but wonder if George would have a better chance at life with another parent - one who was a better Momma.

One thing the doctor told me is that I can't take George's behavior toward me as personal. When George is being hateful and mean to me...he is really acting in anger toward his biological mom who abandoned him.

I also have to remain CALM at all times - don't engage in fights with George anymore. But, this is where I get exhausted. He tries to fight all the time. He does something he knows he is not allowed to do. I give him a clear warning and very specifically tell him how I expect him to behave. He usually does it immediately again - this time either laughing at me or with a smirk on his face. I send him to his room. He yells at me the whole way up the stairs. He turns his radio on SUPER loud and I walk in, say nothing, but take the radio away and then explain that he has lost the privilege of the radio. He screams more and tells me how much he hates me. After 5 minutes, he comes downstairs and says he is sorry and asks if he can have a cupcake.

I walk him through how he needs to restore the relationship (state what he did wrong, tell me what he should do next time, then ask for forgiveness), he usually doesn't want to do this and ends up back in his room. I tell him he can come out in 10 minutes. As I walk out he tells me I am stupid. I say he can come out if 15 minutes. He yells that he doesn't care. I say he can come out if 20 minutes. He screams at me that he is running away. I say he can come out is 25 minutes and he finally gets the point and doesn't say anything.

In 22 minutes, he comes down and I remind him that he has 3 more minutes. He stomps up the stairs, screaming at me. I go upstairs and tell him he now has 10 more minutes.

After an hour of this scenario repeated over and over again, he comes down stairs, tells me what he did wrong (by this time, the list has grown) and asks for forgiveness and I tell him I forgive him and love him.

This happened last night. So, I let him join the family for our night time devotions and when it comes time to pray he refuses to pray and tells me, "I can't pray. It's your fault that I can't pray."

I ask why it is my fault.

"Because you make me keep my eyes open."

It's time for bed. George gets out 5 minutes later yelling that he is bleeding. He has YET AGAIN torn off the band-aid that I JUST put on his finger. So, we go through THIS scenario 10 times a day. He has cut his finger. I put a band-aid on and I tell him very clearly that he is not to take it off and that I will take it off when I know it has healed. Within 5 minutes, he is standing at the trash can taking off the band-aid. He gets about 5 band-aids with the same talk each time. He takes it off each time. So, last night, I told George he could not have another band-aid.

He is furious. I help him wrap his finger in toilet paper and then tuck him into bed. I say, "I love you and tomorrow will be a better day."

As I walk out of the room he yells out to me, "Tomorrow will NOT be a better day!"

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Will Bring Praise!

Desert Song

I just got a new CD. A friend "gave" me this song a few years ago. Never in my wildest dreams would I think I would still need it, two years later. But I did. And God knew it. So, I got another gift. I went to buy this at Family Christian Bookstores and found a book I wanted to read. I really could not afford both, but in faith, I decided I needed both. Imagine the shock when the cashier said, "Wow! That book...well, it rang up for $3.00. I guess it was on sale. Big time sale."

I smiled and said, "That's how My God is showing me He still hears me and still loves me."

And as I listened to this song, and let the words soak in, I realized that I can no longer bemoan my circumstances. God did not bless me with George for me to complain. I will bring praise! God created me for this...He decided LONG ago that I would walk through this trial. How I respond to the trial is the key. I do not want to be like the Israelites who wandered for 40 years grumbling and complaining. No...I can't do that to the rest of my family!

I will bring praise. And yes...this is hard...but God saw something in me that gave Him permission to bless me with a very hurting, broken child. It is a gift. I want to KNOW that God is the God who provides! I want to be refined through the fire! I want to STAND on His promises! And I want to SOW the seeds that I have received in my life. So God...I am yours, and I WILL praise you! You are my victory and YOU ARE HERE!

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

This is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame

I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will

Monday, January 23, 2012

ODD...Is This My Future?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

What is it?

ODD is a psychiatric disorder that is characterized by two different sets of problems. These are aggressiveness and a tendency to purposefully bother and irritate others. It is often the reason that people seek treatment. When ODD is present with ADHD, depression, tourette's, anxiety disorders, or other neuropsychiatric disorders, it makes life with that child far more difficult. For Example, ADHD plus ODD is much worse than ADHD alone, often enough to make people seek treatment. The criteria for ODD are:

A pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least six months during which four or more of the following are present:

1. Often loses temper
2. often argues with adults
3. often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules
4. often deliberately annoys people
5. often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
6. is often touchy or easily annoyed by others
7. is often angry and resentful
8. is often spiteful and vindictive

Friday, January 20, 2012

Reality Check

I love getting words of encouragement. I love how so many people were thrilled to see how God poured out His love onto George by providing amazing new teeth for him.

But I need to give you a dose of my reality.

When we got home from the dentist, George told me he was so mad. I asked why and he told me he hated the dentist because he didn't give him white teeth on the bottom.

When Eleanor came home from school, she excitedly asked George to show her his new teeth. He replied, "No!" and stormed out of the room.

In the car on the way to the bus stop this morning, George told me he would not be happy until I bought him some new shoes. May I remind you that he has more shoes than I do.

After school, when I presented him with a new binder and a new backpack (because he has ripped his first ones) he stormed off to his room because the binder was red.

George then tells Isabel he hates her. She had done nothing.

We finally send him to bed.

Joe and I pray.

Then I go into George's room, pull him onto my lap to rock him and tell him softly that I love him. After a while, he asks to go back to bed. I tell him I love him and he pulls the covers over his head.

Then, he gets out of bed six times. He need water. He needs a tissue. He needs chap-stick. On and on. I finally tell him no more! He comes down AGAIN and tries to sneak his library book upstairs. I tell him he can look at it in the morning. He then goes to Joe (who has no idea that George has been out of bed six times) and sweetly asks for his book. Joe says yes.

George then comes down, laughs in my face and says, "DAD said I could have my book. You can't stop me." He laughs all the way up the stairs.

Yes...this is my life.

This is the cross I bear. This is the cross I chose to pick up daily and carry. Some days...well most days...I hate this cross. God, give me another cross please! I don't want this one anymore. It hurts too much.

When is enough enough? When is it better for him to move on?

When I was holding him in his room, he quietly said, "I thought you were going to give up on me." I begged him to stop trying to see where that line is.

But, he didn't.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

We Were Blessed



I will never forget the day we walked into the CWA orphanage in Addis Ababa and saw George. The first thing that struck me were his beautiful eyes. The second thing I saw were his yellow teeth. I wasn't sure why they were that color, but the clearly were seriously discolored.


We immediately went to a dentist when we got back home to Wisconsin. I thought a good cleaning and maybe some scraping would quickly remedy the problem. No such luck.


I thought maybe we could whiten the teeth with toothpaste. Nothing happened.


Two dentists had no idea what caused the yellowing and on top of that, they didn't know how to treat the teeth.


So, we lived with it. And we told George over and over again that the color of his teeth wasn't a big deal and that we thought he was handsome just the way he was.


One of the results is that I have ZERO pictures of George smiling with his mouth open - if you have noticed, he is always "smiling" with closed lips.


But at school, he was teased.


At the pool, a girl told him he looked like a bumblebee - all black and yellow.


On the bus, kids told him to keep his mouth closed because they wanted to barf when they saw his teeth.


We knew we must do something. The poor child was having to endure daily questions, weekly teasing and harsh cruelty all because of the color of his teeth.


Today...we were blessed!


Upon moving to SC, I literally signed up for a dentist based upon location. Was he close to our house? Yes. Great, consider him our new dentist. He saw all 6 of the kids and myself over Christmas break. Instantly, I knew this was a good man.


We talked about George's teeth. And he said he would have to really think about it. We told him we didn't want "perfect teeth", or veneers...we simply wanted his teeth, but whiter. He totally understood what we were looking for.


He talked about different ideas, each time naming a price. Each time, we didn't flinch, but honestly said that we might not be able to get all 8 front teeth treated at the same time. He, again, totally understood.


This week, George had a day off school, so we scheduled a nice long visit for the dentist to take pictures, x-rays, make impressions, etc. At the end of the visit, he looked at me and said, "I have an idea."


I said, "Go for it!"


He asked me how many teeth we could cover this first time. I answered that we could definitely cover two teeth, maybe four. Knowing his ideas had been costing around $1000 a tooth, I nervously told him to schedule an appointment for his idea and then said a quick prayer to God.


Lord, you know how horrible George feels about his teeth. And you know, that we don't have extra thousands of dollars sitting around the house. I am trusting You...and if we need to cancel, please let me know right away.


Wednesday evening, I get a call. "Can George come in tomorrow?"


"Um.....sure...."


"Oh, and the dentist wanted me to tell you that he is going to do George's top 4 front teeth for free."


"Excuse me! Can you repeat that last part?"


"Four teeth...free...he has really has a good heart and he has taken to George."


So, George sat in the dentist chair for 3 and a half hours today. I am not exactly sure what was done...something about making teeth that are glued on to his teeth. I don't care what they are...they simply are gorgeous!



















Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not Today....

Anna did NOT become a Weldie today. There was a huge miscommunication between my lawyer and myself. Apparently, today was about awarding custody and not adoption. So, after many phone calls this week, and an interview with Anna's guardian ad litem, we were granted custody of Anna. Officially, she still has her old name and we are not "mom" and "dad" yet.

But...she IS our daughter! No judge or paper or court can take that away from us. Right now, it is simply a formality.

In the meantime...I received a package in the mail of papers from Anna's first adoptive family. Anna had been sent to many professionals, all giving their opinions on her personality, habits and future hopes. When I read the awful, hate-filled words, I sobbed.

One doctor even labeled Anna a SOCIOPATH.

I cringe as I write that word. The stories that filled these pages are NOT my daughter!

Joe and I talked about this...there are only two possibilities:
1. Anna has done a 180 degree turn-around and became a completely different child in 24 hours or
2. The stories were lies.

Oh, there is so much I want to say about disruption. Again..I feel like I have to wait even longer before sharing the details of this story until Anna is truly a Weldie. But, God has used this story to teach me about His redemptive plan...how He goes to great lengths to rescue a child...and how desperately He loves each one of us.

God simply refused to let Anna remain in that home. And so...He asked Joe and I to rescue her.

Which has made me think...how many times has God asked you to go to the rescue? And how many times do you/we all ignore that plea? On paper, we should have never brought this sociopath child into our home. Right?

Tell Anna that tonight as she gets hugs and kisses from her brothers and sisters. Tell her than when her daddy sings a silly song as she climbs onto the top bunk of her bed. Tell her that when her momma strokes her face, kisses her forehead and tells her softly, "I love you, Anna."

Monday, January 16, 2012

Color



I love this picture...


For many reasons!


Maybe because I have shades of "white" even among the children birthed from Joe and I. You should see us in the summer! Some of us...ok, me...tan so well. Others turn bright red, peel and then remain pretty much the same.


Maybe it is because I see the pure, unequivocal beauty in my "milk-chocolate" son and my "dark-chocolate" daughter. I wish I had their skin...so silky smooth, no pimples or blemishes!


Maybe it is because someone told my son that "brown boys need brown moms".


Maybe it is because at the playground, a little girl told Anna she couldn't play because she was "too dark".


Maybe it is because I just heard an African American mom say that her daughter, who is very light brown, is the "desired color"...like there is such a thing?


Maybe it is because we get stared at everywhere we go.


Who decided which shade of flesh was the best or most desirable or too dark or too pale?


Drives me crazy people! And a lot of this comes from Christians! Seriously...what is God going to say in heaven? Dark skinned over there...pale skinned over there....light brown skin over there...pimpled faces over there...hairy faces over there...


Get real....ALL our skin is beautiful and makes for an exciting world!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hang In There...

I am still here..

I haven't felt like writing much lately....I simply continue to plod along.

But...our finalization of Anna's adoption happens this week - praise God! I am sure after Wednesday, I will want to tell you all about Anna and how she came to us!

Also, I began working two weeks ago. I am loving it. Every time I start talking about Safe Families, that fire and passion well up again and again. I am sure I will start talking all about that as well!

Eleanor turned 15 this week and soon, she goes to the DMV to get her driver's permit! Can you believe it? I can't!

Joe and I started PX90. We are "bringing it!" Can't wait to hit the beach this spring after working out again. Not saying I will look awesome - because I AM 41 now - but saying I am looking forward to being more fit.

As for George - we have had some extremely bad days. And then, we have some very good days. And then, I heard a sermon that put things back into perspective. And then, I have been reading a book that is REALLY bringing things into perspective (thanks Heidi!). I cracked...again...but fell on my knees in George's room and cried out to Jesus that He would heal this boy...not sure how much more I can take. And then, each morning, Jesus nudges me out of bed and reminds me to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. And so, I do.

And finally, we have finally found a home church! I am sure I am going to make both sets of parents a little nervous when I tell them that we meet in a strip mall - ha! No - I would have never seen myself in this unconventional church setting - but Joe and I have finally found that place where we belong and where we see God moving. Oh, we are so excited! Oh, we can't wait until each Sunday! More to come as this as well.

I realize this is just a teaser - but I wanted you to hang in there...I WILL write again!

Are These Your Children?

http://www.beneaththeacaciatree.com/2012/01/biftu-and-you.html