Sunday, December 16, 2012

How Do You Hug A Porcupine?

I know the cartoon above is cute, but it represents our life. Anyone that gets close enough for Sweetie to begin to love is struck down with quills. I have a child who craves love and affection, but only when she wants it. When she wants it she demands it. Just like a 4 year old,she will interrupt you in the middle of making meatballs (you know hands covered in goo). But then when you want to give her a hug she rejects you and turns her back and says I don't have to hug you, I don't have to love you. Holidays are rough for kids coming out of foster care. And just like all the rest, Sweetie is no exception. Her behaviors are starting to regress. She is at war with herself. I believe that at times Sweetie wants to do the right thing, but it is just so much easier to just do what she wants. During therapy yesterday she is yelling at us that we can not control her, she can do what she wants. She doesn't care what we think and she doesn't need a family. We are stupid and we are liars. All great stuff to hear, right? She continued to try to get a rise out of us in the car on the way home and was unsuccessful. I just turned on my Christian music and sang poorly. Then Sweetie began sobbing and saying that she hates herself, that she an awful human being , that she does not deserve to have us as a family and does not deserve to live. Luckily we were a minute from a gas station, so Cris pulled over and he went in to get a drink so I could work with Sweetie. The rage and the sadness is just her fear coming out. She is so scared I will leave her. So she tries to push away so that she can control when it happens. The thing is, we are not going anywhere. We will always be her family whether she is home or in residential care. We will always love her. Our attachment therapist has prepared us for another potential hospitalization. She actually will be more surprised if she can hold it together and does not have to be admitted again. Sweetie's behaviors have been escalating to involve incidents at school of throwing things, pulling a girls hair and yelling at a teacher in after school care. I am praying that she can hold on to just get through the holidays. I know if she can, she will level out again. So for now we are having to be on top of her for everything. It really sucks, she is beginning to say things like " I can't do anything right". I make a point to praise her for everything I can. Little things like saying "thank you for listening, you did a good job". This form of parenting is exhausting. But we do not have a choice. She needs this to succeed. I have reflected a lot about the tragedy in Newtown,Connecticut. Like most people, I was deeply saddened by the news of all of those innocent children losing their lives in such an awful event. I cried many times for them. But unlike the majority, I wept for the gunman as well. Here was a young man,who obviously had mental issues that were known. The few things i have read about him make him sound as if he had Reactive Attachment Disorder. Especially the symptom of not feeling pain. Sweetie is like that. She will act like she lost a limb if she bumps her arm, but if there is major pain, her body does not even register it. This is a sign of significant RAD. I found myself wondering what his home life was really like. Not the picture perfect picture that the mom was trying to convey. These kids do not just develop RAD, it is the product of not having their basic needs met. Just the fact that a single mom had these weapons sends up red flags to me. Please do not get me wrong, what this guy did was absolutely insane. I can not help but feel if we had not come into Sweetie's life that she could escalate to such acts of violence. However, I do not live in fear. We did come into her life before it was too late. We most importantly have God to navigate us to her recovery. We have safe guards in place. We do not own guns, I do a knife count every night, I keep cleaning products and lighters locked up. We are aggressively treating Sweetie's RAD with medication as well as intense attachment therapy. She is beginning to see right from wrong. She doesn't have it mastered yet, but she at least cares if I am disappointed or not. For that, I am grateful. Do I think my child is capable of such a horrific event? Now that we are involved in her life I can say no. If we had not come into her life, there would have been potential for Sweetie to do similar horrific things. But we did come into her life. Yes, we have our issues with her, but she is developing some empathy for people. She showed some empathy for the families of the children that were killed. She could recognize that their Christmas was going to be awful. But there was no real sorrow for the lost lives. She was business as usual. So tonight like every night, I pray that Sweetie can feel our love for her. That it will make a difference in her heart and she will heal! Here is an article of another mom dealing with the same things we are... I pray for all moms like me out there, that felt that twinge of anxiety of thinking if only for a second that our children could do something so horrific. I am glad God erased that doubt quickly from my heart. I feel awful for feeling it in the first place. But I am not one of those moms with my head up my bum. I know what the situation is with my daughter and I am doing everything humanly possible to help her. A song from the perspective of someone with Attachment Disorder.

Christina Perri "Arms" from Nicole Olson on Vimeo.

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