Saturday, March 3, 2012

Still In The Muck

We are still in the muck.

George was wonderful last weekend. After the fiasco of his birthday, we gave him another chance to behave in order to celebrate his birthday on Saturday. He did. He acted beautifully. He behaved and treated everyone with kindness, including me.

He got his birthday. He opened his presents with glee and smiles. He gave hugs and thank-yous abundantly.

And then...starting Sunday...he crashed. Well, his behavior crashed. He started glaring at me. He was mean to his siblings.

By Wednesday, he was biting Lincoln on the bus, yelling at me that everything bad in his life is MY fault, sulking around the house if I ever asked him to do anything. He is at an all time low now...I ask him to do one simple thing and he glares at me, defying my every word. He has reverted to the Ethiopian way of saying "yes", which is simply raising his eyebrows. He knows I can't stand that...and yet...he is doing more and more every day.

And so, I am being the parent..not the momma. I am parenting him in order to teach him how to function. Too bad he fights me on every stinking thing I say. But, I won't give him the satisfaction of knowing he is hurting me. Not any more.

And...I am trying (with every fiber in my being) to say "yes" to as many things as I can to him. A big part of RAD is TRUST. George simply does not believe that I have his best interest in mind. he does not trust that I am looking out for him or making decisions that are for his good and benefit. He sees me as an enemy who will eventually let him down - he has absolutly NO REASON to trust me.

I realized his entire life with me started with a LIE. His Ethiopian mom dressed him up and told him they were going to get sweet drink. That walk into Soddo changed his life forever. That lie shattered his heart into 10 million pieces that I am left to put back together. He was told he was going to do something fun with his mom...and ended up alone and scared in an orphanage where older boys treated the younger boys horribly. He learned that if he didn't think ONLY of himself, he would be destroyed by the other kids in the orphanage. Then, he was told he was going to America with a new family. I don't know what they told him about life in America...but he is very angry and disappointed with our way of life.

We don't have enough toys. He doesn't have his own cell phone. He doesn't have an electric car in the garage. He has to come home at a certain time. He has to tell me where he is going. He has to ask permission for things. He can't watch things like Sponge Bob or Cartoon Network. He has to do his homework correctly.

And he in NO WAY sees that all these "rules" and "don'ts" are for his own good! He sees me as the enemy who keeps him from doing what he wants. He has no clue what a mom does!

And yet...God clearly led George to us. God has plan in all of this. I can't see it. I doubt it every day. And then, every day, I have to realign my steps with His and ask Him to just get me through the day.

I pour love into George's life and honestly, lately, I have no love left because I just don't see it doing any good. Someone explained it this way. I have been pouring love into his life for three years and wondering why nothing has changed....not realizing that as I pour love into his "bucket" - there is gaping hole in the bottom of the bucket. It doesn't matter what I pour in if there is a hole there!

I need that "hole to be fixed".

And so...I am straddling this line between two prominent schools of thought in parenting RAD kids. There is the one side that is all about structure and firm boundaries teaching children they are safe because of those boundaries will will eventually lead to trust. And then there is the other side which believes you must give you child a voice - help him tell me where he is hurting and broken and help him express that and continue to say yes as much as possible and give him power where he has never had power before.

This is hard because of these two main theories for RAD kids are just so darn opposite. I just wish someone could say - this is it! Go this way! But, unfortunately, parenting a RAD kid could take dozens of years before seeing change - and that really stinks in my 21st century world!

Joe and I have said parenting George is no different than parenting a severely disabled child. It is constant and exhausting....and I have very selfishly said, "But I wish he was severely disabled yet loved me..I think I could do that!" Of course, I don't know! I can't say what that life would be like and clearly God has called me to THIS child.

And so, today, I pick up my cross and pray that I will be used by God is some simple way to teach a boy that he is loved.


Michaela said...

Hi Traci, I am Michaela. I am new to blogger and am just working on blog design, content etc. We have been parenting RADlets for several years.
Thank you for this post. I have four kids adopted from social services and an older one who was foster, not adoptable, but ours nonetheless.
My husband and I so frequently remind each other, "It's a disability." Sometimes it helps!
I wanted to comment about the two different camps being so opposite. I think this idea is why those of us walking this path tend to make up our a family style using our own unique combination of the available methods.
In our home we are very structured with serious accountability. AND, we do the Karen Purvis thing. Incorporating tons of sensory-motor as well as teaching the kids to identify their own and others' experiences and needs. We want them to learn to negotiate their limitations and learn to relate in healthy ways. We also season with some other methods. There is NO way for us to keep everyone safe in our home without the structure, though!
Anyway. Just wanted to say 'Hi', and I so hear you!

Amy @ Literacy Launchpad said...

We had a LONG talk with mary last night about what it means to be a kid, be in a family, and be parented. We have to explain this to her over and over and over. She thinks her life is awful because she doesn't have a dog, or a cell phone, we won't let her sit in front of a screen whenever she wants (but still does an awful lot of it), and we won't let her watch whatever she wants. We have to keep telling her that this is what good parents do; they teach their kids responsibility, they set rules and guideline, and they take care of their kids. Then we talked about her attitude and actions and how they affect the rest of the family. We talked a lot about how she needs to be more responsible if she ever hopes to have more privileges. She seemed to get it. But once again, we were reminded that you cannot reason with her, when she started up with all her usual junk this morning. So frustrating. But we press on.