Monday, April 29, 2013


Rest: relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs.

Rest, something I am not accustom to. Until this weekend I do not know if I have ever truly experienced true rest. My life until now has been a journey with many rocks in the middle of the path. This past year has felt as if an avalanche of rocks has fallen on top of me. Each time I can get out from under the rocks, more have fallen on top of me. Leaving me broken physically, emotionally, spiritually. Being Sweetie's mom has been beyond anything I could have prepared for. The depths of pain that her little soul has carried for so long has spilled out of her into me for almost a year now. My mothers heart has been forged by all of the of the suffering she faces daily. The more love I pour into her, the more pain that ruptures out of all of the cracks in her defenses. I have collected all of her traumas in my own heart and there it took over filling every corner. I could only think to myself that I can save her. If I can just love her enough and get her the right therapy she will be healed. Oh, the arrogance I have had to even for a moment believe that I alone could fix her, make her whole. The more I have tried, the more my dear child has pushed away, as if it would surely kill her if she were to face her trauma. Trauma beyond anything I can imagine. The things I know of Sweetie's history causes me so much pain. I know that she has only shared a little, only what she can handle without dying from the pain. When it causes me so much pain, how could she possibly face it. So, I have taken on my child's burden as any mother would. I know there is no way that her little scared heart could begin to face the extensive neglect and trauma  by herself. It fills her with shame and that spreads to me. Creating the very situation she is so desperately scared will happen. The harder she pushes me away the safer she feels. This constant rejection has worn a path right through my heart. Leaving me exhausted, hollow and feeling unlovable.
Just as I reach the point where I felt I could bear no more, I came to the Warehouse 242 women's retreat. The theme was Rest. And how I needed this rest. Physically I needed to sleep. I still feel as if I could sleep for days. I went thinking I would relax, read and spend time with friends. That all sounded good.
But the rest I truly needed was the rest that only God can give by taking my burdens. But I struggled with letting them go. They are as much a part of me as my hair or my skin. I have proudly worn them like badges of accomplishments. This has cost me dearly, it has worn me to the point that I am ill most of the time. That my mind is in so many other places that I damaged my car door when I put the car in Reverse instead of Park. I was desperately in need of this rest. This rest took work and at times was uncomfortable. I had to face my own issues with abandonment and unforgiveness of myself.
 I spent hours in solitude and reflecting on my life, my path. Is my vision of my life what God's vision of my life is?. The song  "Spirit Speaks" resonated  most for me.
With every breath I breathe 
With every song I sing
I want to shout it out 
Lord I am listening
To every word You speak  
I'll go where You will lead

To love the least of these 
My greatest offering

To love the least of these is painstakingly hard. I still believe that adopting Sweetie is what I was meant to do. I believe we are meant to adopt again. I have prayed a lot on this.
I had received an email this past week about the possibility that Sweetie's 4 month old nephew may be needing to be adopted in the future and they wanted to keep communication open  as we are the closest thing to family that they can consider. I did not know the details  at the time until I looked Sweetie's sister up on Google to find her Facebook page again and I saw that she was missing again since mid March. I have gotten word that she is back again but was gone again.
She has started the cycle of abandonment and neglect all over again. But how could she not? This is all she knows of love...that love hurts, love leaves.
 It would not be easy but we could do raise him and Sweetie. If we do not I fear Sweetie will lose one of her last blood relatives. I see that it may also be healthy for Sweetie to have an young child around to help her by having someone young to play with. She wouldn't have to feel shame for wanting to play with young children toys. This could let her have the childhood she never had.On the other hand Sweetie could be extremely jealous and potentially she could try to hurt her nephew. We would have to have all kinds of safety plans in effect. We have to make some major lifestyle changes. But we could do it. I am leaving it in God's hands. If the baby is meant to be with us than he will be. If not than he won't. We have been advised to update our home study and be certified as foster parents. We are going to prepare ourselves in case the situation does arise, we will be prepared. For now I pray for the path I am meant to be on will show itself.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


You would think that the hardest parts of being the mom to a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder would be the major melt downs. But it is not. It is so much harder to deal with the constant rejection.She is completely rejecting me right now. No hugs when she sees me, phone calls are very brief and distracted.  It really does seem that the more love you pour into the child with reactive attachment disorder the more rocks they throw back at you. I know being a parent in general is a thankless job. I don't expect or want Sweetie to thank me for being her mom. In a perfect world I wouldn't have to be because her bio mom would have been a good mom. But this is not a perfect world and I am paying for her bio mom and all the "moms" that failed her over the last 9 years of her life. Why should she believe that I love her? What is love to her anyway? I imagine love means hurt and loss. How many people have said they loved her to just turn their backs. Maybe it is not "I love you" that I should be saying. My friends Megan and Matt have a little thing they say to each other instead of I love you... it is "YOU MATTER". Perhaps that is a better thing to say, because she does matter. Even though others have failed to see it, I see that she matters. I wonder how she would respond to that. I had my second lesson on Theraplay today. While this is usually a treatment used for younger children, we are experimenting with Sweetie, because she is emotionally still just a toddler. Since her basic needs as an infant and toddler were never met, she is stuck their emotionally. The hopes are that a few things will happen during these sessions that I will be facilitating at home. First is for her to be able to develop a feeling of safety and trust. Second is to learn to play and build self esteem. Third is to learn to identify with different emotions. Our sessions can look like may things. I created a box of all kinds of toys and art supplies. I have paint and craft supplies, dolls, bubbles, games, cotton balls, baby lotion... all kinds of things. Once a week for 30 minutes we have to do uninterrupted, completely engaged play time. That will be harder than it sounds. We need to block out all other distractions and she has to do it. AT first it will not be an issue. She will be excited to go through all her new stuff. But once she sees that it is the same stuff every week, she will begin to get bored with it and begin to reject that as well. I am hopeful that this may help. We have nothing to lose if it doesn't work, so I am going to try. I feel like all I do is try and I get shot down constantly. Every detail of  things I do or don't do is scrutinized. What I say or even don't say gets twisted into something that she can fight about. This will be a challenge during our play therapy times because I need to avoid power struggles at all cost during this 30 minutes. She is completely in control during this time, except if she is in danger or getting ready to cause harm to herself or others. It will be interesting to see how she transitions back to not being in charge.
We are going to try a day visit Saturday and take her to the zoo with my Aunt Sandy. I am hoping for a good day. One that we can build good memories on. For now, I will continue to take akk the rejection she can dish out. That is about the only way I can prove that I am here no matter what. For now I have to be as strong as titanium.

Saturday, April 06, 2013


I had forgotten how completely exhausting having Sweetie home can be. We had our first over night visit today and she is trying her same old tricks. I knew this would be a trying visit. They have taken Sweetie off the Risperdol this week. I am glad they did! Not only did she gain 60 pounds on it, but it elevated her cholesterol and her liver enzymes. Now the trick will be finding what she can take that does not have those major side effects. The psychiatrist and therapist think she will have to be on a mood stabilizer. Yesterday she had a pretty significant episode while I was there for a therapy session that Sweetie was not involved in.
I was learning about play therapy and how to facilitate the play therapy sessions myself. Sweetie has never liked it much if I am in with the therapist and she is not. While I was in there, she had a major meltdown that included her running away from her mentor and having an order called to have her restrained. When the mentor went to restrain her she could see the terror that takes over Sweetie when someone is going to touch her when she is in one of her tantrums and decided to not do the restraint. She felt it would cause more trauma to Sweetie. I can agree with that from the one time I restrained her. It brought her right back to one of the bad moments in her life when she was being abused by her father.
Even though it was most likely my presence that brought on this event it was good that I was there to see first hand the process of how they debrief after. Everything that is done by the staff at the PRTF is to keep Sweetie safe, even if it is from herself. She doesn't have rational thinking when she is in one of her tantrums. Sequences of evens get jumbled and she does not pay attention to her surroundings. She easily could have been hit by a car when she darted up the middle of the road to get away from her mentor.
 This was the first time the PRTF has seen this out of Sweetie. I am glad she is starting to show her hurt self to them. She has been "honeymooning" for the last 6 weeks. It was starting to concern the therapist that she would not have enough documentation to keep her there longer than 6 months since she was not having major unsafe behaviors. The therapist has said that Sweetie is the most significant case of Reactive Attachment Disorder she has seen. And that she is worried that if she is discharged in 6 months that we may not get very far with her.  I am pretty sure that now that she has showed them that side of her that she will have no issues doing it more. And that will hopefully get her to be able to stay long enough to get the treatment she needs.
I had no idea how much constant stress I was under before she left until she came home today.
It made me think of a speaker that I really like to listen to Holly Van Gulden. She says if a frog jumps into boiling water, he immediately jumps out so that he will not die. But you can take that same frog and put him into a cool pot of water and slowly increase the temperature and the frog will not move and he will eventually boil to death. That is exactly how it was living with Sweetie from the beginning. The increase in behavioral issues was so gradual that it was really bad before we realized we had to do something. But now I have been out of that boiling water and it feels not right to jump back in. I won't jump back in like it is. Today showed that she really is not ready to come home yet. She can not handle the most basic of instruction with out an argument.
She intentionally tried to sabotage dinner, she tried to triangulate Cris and I . Both things were to create arguments. I wont go for it. I am sure that being back here makes her feel out of control and unsafe.
She has to try to regain that control so that she feels that she will not die. Even though I understand it, it is completely exhausting. It makes me doubt my ability to help here heal in the long run  I know I do not have a choice and I have to try. But I have doubt that I will make a difference. Is the damage that has been done, so grave that she may never recover? Will she ever be able to love me or anyone? Will she ever be able to truly feel safe? I pray she can.