Part Time Interest, Full Time Benefit

You have to love relationships that you can tell the shift in time, effort and energy are not equal. Even if the scales are tipped slightly in one person’s favor, at least you know that both parties have interest in investing to get their needs met. What can be frustrating within our household is the part time interest in relationships, but the desire to get full time benefits without really investing in the people who are your parents.

My youngest daughter admits today in the final 10 minutes of therapy that not only has she been thinking about her birth sister and her birth mother, but essentially she still views my wife, myself and my older daughter as just another foster family- 3 1/2 years after living with us and being fully adopted by us through the state system. She wonders why she isn’t closer to one of her big goals- a visit with her birth mother. I ask her what steps she’s willing to take to show us she really wants this visit. She states she doesn’t know.

I reminded her that if I wanted something that badly and I knew there were people who could help me achieve this goal, I would not only ask for help but I would probably take their advice on how to move forward in pursuit of this visit. She would rather believe that the whole world is against her instead of seeking assistance.

Even this evening when my wife talked tentatively about a future vacation she would like to take away from the family, out comes this gem of a line from the younger daughter- “You’ve ruined a good two years of my life.” Wow- we didn’t know we had the power to cause such a thing to happen!

During the therapy session our youngest stated that she’s tired of the fighting that goes on in our family- but it appears that she’s not willing to be a part of the solution. She views the fighting as a reminder of the fights that happened in her foster care situation. The pain is still raw, and it’s a shame in my eyes that our positive time together is a tightrope that never outweighs the occasional struggles that happen in a natural family environment.

I told the therapist that I don’t think she’ll make a full commitment to change unless she believes in herself and knows that while it may be painful the growth she’ll make will be worth it in the end. I asked her if her current physical growth causes some pains and she admitted it does- so I told her that if you want things to get better, why don’t you start with yourself. Be nicer, take directions without an attitude, show people that you want to complete your chores and responsibilities, and actually take an interest in other members of the family without a direct benefit to yourself.

My oldest daughter believes her ways are set in stone. I have a differing viewpoint- my faith and confidence that change can happen in an instant, and that she still can make a safe road to recovery. The power of choice though is in her court, and her willingness to trust adult caregivers will be the key to unlocking the combination of a good, healthy and prosperous future. I take my multifaceted role seriously, as I want her to understand that those previous caregivers are not me- I am dependable, I will be there in good times and bad and I’m providing unconditional love and support whether she wants to benefit fully or partially from this.

I do see the Law of Attraction stifling her development- like attracts like and what you think about most grows in that direction. She talks about never, always and powerless victim behavior- and I wish she would look at events in her life as not roadblocks but mere stepping stones. As Jim Rohn talks about in his books and audio programs, success leaves clues. Maybe I need to introduce her to an adoptive adult who’s made it through a tough childhood to achieve a healthy, optimistic and trusting outlook on life.

I’ll never give up…

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