Tuesday, January 31, 2012


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!"


Cindee Snider Re said...

Oh, Traci...my heart aches for you and yet rejoices. You are exactly where God wants you. You can't do this in your own strength, but only, every step of the way, with God's.

My oldest son as you know was hard...every single day...hard. And even I didn't know how hard until he left this year for college. We can breathe. It's a quieter, gentler household. I love my son with everything in me, but I was never enough.

Finally, months before he left for college, after a long tear-filled battle, he said, "Sometimes I hurt you over and over and over so someone will understand how I feel, so I won't be alone in the pain."

Suddenly 18 years of "hard" came into focus.

There IS hope, Traci! We had no idea how our son would fare in college, but he's figuring it out. Every one of those hard days, of constant minute-by-minute training, teaching him interpersonal skills, teaching him to "see" others, to "hear" the tones in their voices, to know that I, his mom, will never, ever be enough, but that God is, is bearing fruit. His first semester away was by no means trail free for any of us, but it ended well. His grades blew us all out of the water. He finished and did well, beyond what any of us dared hope for.

God is BIG, so much bigger than we understand and He is enough. I wouldn't have chosen this path we're walking -- hard first child, ill second son -- but God knows and the joy is so much sweeter when we've survived the valleys.

He'll use this in your life and in George's, but also in the lives of your other kids in ways you can't begin to imagine. That's why I'm rejoicing, Traci! Because God has amazing things planned for all of you!

Love you, friend, and holding your aching mama heart close to mine.

Donna-Jean Breckenridge said...

Praying for you often.