I have a secret to confess....I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING!
9 years ago I read a book (the name escapes me) about a woman in the mid west that adopted two little girls from foster care. These daughters are traumatized children. They end up having very hard lives and the woman grows more bitter the older the girls get. At the time I was horrified by her seemingly detached and harsh feelings towards these children.
Jump ahead 9 years......I should have listened to her!!!!! I wish I remembered this book so that I could recommend it to parents interested in adopting kids from hard places. It was a reality check! I should have listened to this woman's pain....I should have listened to her heart.
Now we have parented kids from hard places for 9 years. 9 unbelievably challenging years, 9 amazing years, 9 adventurous years, 9 absolutely amazing years. I have come to the conclusion that I really don't know anything. As is the case with most parents, we think we begin to figure it out. We get into a routine that works for us and then BAM. An event happens that knocks us on our butts again. At this point I once again realize that I have absolutely no idea what I am doing.
My Rosie has had some serious behavioral issues at school. It has thrown me for a loop. She is my most challenging child, which is a lot if you knew how much Marie has challenged us. Rosie has a mind of her own and a steel will. She doesn't conform, she doesn't compromise, she has no respect for authority, and she only sees her point of view. Some of these things could be wonderful attributes, should she use them for good. At this point that seems to be beyond her capability. I believe she is living with some sort of conduct/personality disorder. Her therapist tends to agree with us but her psychiatrist is hesitant to label her. I am giving her some time to get to Rosie. They have only been seeing each other for 3 or 4 months. She has begun to see Rosie's oppositional and risky behaviors.
I have gained a very keen insight into my own emotional response to the behaviors/struggles of my daughters. I have learned through my own extended therapy that:
1. I don't have to have all of the answers and that is good since I DON'T!
2. I am not supposed be perfect. I should embrace my imperfection
3. I will feel hate, anger, despair, futility, rage, etc AND that is OK. Own it, live with it.
4. I can only control my reaction, so I need to be concentrated on me.
5. My happiness and contentedness cannot be based on the behavior of someone else. I control it alone.
6. If I am unhappy with something in my life, I need to work on it.
7. Some people are mean, miserable, hateful, etc because that is all they are capable of at that moment. I need to forgive them, love them and concentrate on being the best person I can be and not how awful they are to me.
8. People all have their own battles. Nobody has a larger battle or a smaller battle. It is all a matter of perception. If the person believes that it is an insurmountable issue, it is an insurmountable issue for them. Be kind and empathetic. (I have trouble with this...see I am imperfect.)
9. Unconditional love means just that. Unconditional, no restrictions. As mothers we will love our children no matter what they do or what they have done. Don't expect a mom to feel anything else. Of course, we feel pain, anger, shame, question our own abilities if our child does something that causes other people harm.
10. Life continues. Life will always throw you curves. Life will always present challenges and bring happiness. Face it with courage, love, and always keep hope for the future.
My posts are a lot like my brain, scattered and are very rarely about what I intended to say. Eh...Go with it!
Happy New Year!