This summer has seriously kicked my butt. The first two weeks were idyllic. That ended far too early. Illness, finances and, maniacal meltdowns (no not me...well not initially anyway) have taken a toll on my physical health and energy level.
The boy has developed a most horrifying nocturnal disorder sleeping 2 hours a night and then torturing the rest of the family during the day. He hasn't napped since he was three. I am awaiting a call back from the hospital to attempt to get to the bottom of this and hopefully find some medication that works. We are years beyond the Melatonin and Benadryl suggestions.
Unless you live this life you have no clue what mind numbing stress is heaped upon a parent of special needs children whether birth or adoptive. Although adopted kids do come with their unique sets of challenges.
Children damaged beyond repair by in utero drugs, lack of bonding in infancy, poor or no pre-natal care, torture at the hands of the mentally ill sperm and egg donors before removal, beaten by mom's boyfriends, family genetic predispositions including addictions, and mental health issues. These darling children come to you after 5-10 different foster homes ( one friend adopted a boy who was in 27 homes and now has a restraining order against him) and we still expect them to be suddenly happy and grateful to us because we've bought them a Dora quilt, painted their rooms pink and filled their closets with pretty clothes.
Here's a news flash for the naive in the audience. Love is not enough.
And save your well meaning comments because having a man around the house would make no difference. Spanking is not the solution. And sticker charts...well I won't go there as I may be tempted to say the "F' word out loud and this is a g-rated blog.
It is times like this when I cling to the few and far between who understand parenting special needs children like Big Mama Hollers, Elizabeth, my best adoption buddy Mrs. M and The Big City Behavior specialist. It is ONLY those of us in the trenches who truly understand the life.
One blogger who has suffered with the adoption of special needs older children ( which have a 15% failure rate) has recently asked the question, when the puppies and rainbows of the forever family bites the dust then what?
I've seen professionals who should know better rejoicing over "made in heaven forever families" knowing full well the difficulties the former foster families have had with these children for years and the homes they have been moved in and out of yet they continue to perpetuate the myth that love is enough. Many of these kids go on to be placed in residential treatment facilities by the forever families who were unprepared to cope with the severity of the pre-existing damage.
And then there are the birth parents who show up in your back yard or bump in to you at a fishing tournament, walk up to your child and tell them, "I am your mother."
In the Teenagers case it went directly over her head as she knows that I am her mother even if i have blue eyes. She told me at a very young age that I had blue eyes and white skin but in my heart I was really black like she was.
An astute observation probably derived from listening to too much Motown growing up with whitey.
We've been mother and daughter for a long time and I wouldn't have it any other way.
That doesn't mean that there are not challenges with both Baby and Teenager. They have extensive neurological damage and any time you have brain damage you have 3 things that are universal. Seizures. Learning Disabilities. Behavioral Challenges. The gospel according to our Big City Neurologist.
So it was no surprise when The Baby yelled at the cook in the restaurant this week. Due to the cerebral palsy the only discernible words were, "EAT! EAT!" and "FOOD! FOOD!" Apparently, the cook wasn't preparing our order quickly enough. When I told her to use her restaurant voice she poked her little finger towards my face and said quite clearly, "UT UP!" to which The Boy burst out laughing, encouraging her with his heart felt glee.
I could have smacked em' both right off of their booster seats.
The Boy is a different matter altogether. Severe street drug and alcohol exposure in utero, first 6 months of life with little or no bonding. Every time an adult approached him in NICU it generally ended in infliction of severe pain and fractures. Limited physical contact. Carried around on an eggcrate. No skin on skin or warm touches, hugs or cuddling. A lost sleep study which had him lying in his first foster home with severe nocturnal anoxia to the point where when discovered he was emergently trached.
Throw in Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia and you have a crap load of challenges.
And now he doesn't sleep.
I'm not alone.
I just heard from the adoptive mother of the little girl pictured below. She has been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder and is being placed in a residential treatment facility.
It took two years despite multiple abuse complaints to remove her from her prostitute mother who lived on the street with the child and ate out of dumpsters. God only knows what the mothers "friends' did to this child. Two years that formed her future.
She is 5 years old.
No. Love was not enough.
And so i sit here tired and defeated. Exhausted from battle and lack of sleep.My house is messy. My dishes need washing. I have tons of laundry. Meals to prepare. Attitudes to adjust and two dear sick friends to check on. Haggie Maggie has been diagnosed with cancer and just finished one week of radiation and chemo and Mama Mia Maria just had another surgery. That's where my heart is... to encourage them. Bring them soup and balloons and sunflowers.
But...I am paralyzed with exhaustion and can't seem to even move!
Yesterday my dear friend in Alabama lay awake praying for sleep for my family. Now there's an irony!
When the bumper sticker above was sent to me by Big Daddy Dr. Weed today it cracked me up. It was my only smile of the day and oddly enough has become my silly incentive to at least attempt to "look busy" today.
Even if the day is half over...
Thanks to all of my friends who prop me up when I am too weary to stand upright.
You know who you are.