The first day of a new month brings about the settling in of our youngest daughter. I’ll be attending a discharge meeting in the morning and take the drive home with someone who hopefully is ready for some form of family stability. The one area that’s tough for all of us on the outside to help with is what seems to be going on inside my daughter’s head that plagues her mind and sets her attitude off into an uncontrollable rage.
Today when she called me, she was very matter of fact about what she wanted (permission to watch a particular movie), and then quickly got me off the phone. We feel like there’s a little bit of a disconnect between what she says to us when she talks to us to open a conversation and how quickly she distances herself by the end of the conversation. It’s as if the words and actions aren’t matching up.
I’m sure she’s on guard- as are we. When you’ve invested years into a relationship and had to spend the past month plus away from home, it’s only natural to have nervousness about how the first day and first week will go back together. We hope that when she feels an outpouring of emotional overload- be it from stresses at school or home- that she learns to handle our redirection, uses appropriate coping skills and recognizes that she doesn’t have to revert back to that aggressive behavior anymore.
I never give up hope on anyone. Whether they have a eureka moment in the next five seconds or it takes someone 20 years to realize it, anyone can decide that they are ready for steps in the right direction and not let past fears, past trauma, past neglect or past abuse control them any longer. You have to be willing to make the total commitment- patience and understanding have to be there in spades, without judgment or disdain.
My wife and I signed up for this journey seven plus years ago when we adopted our oldest, and I’m so impressed with the resiliency and ability to break through both girls have made. We may have set up the safe, secure place for them to thrive- but they are the ones doing the real work and tackling their challenges head on while also growing up.
No one said being a parent is easy- but I definitely know that parenting adopted children makes me realize that anything you read about in the books that exist out there, be prepared to modify on the fly. To those who are afraid and think there’s no hope- look around you and do not be frightened to ask questions of others. My wife attends a great support group that’s very helpful for her. I find that writing about our journey helps me to release energy in a positive way.
The sun will shine tomorrow, even if it feels like today was dark, dismal and dreary. Listen to others, learn from their stories and see if you can apply their experiences to your family. There are strength in numbers and I find the more love you provide and give the better results will occur. Maybe not as quickly as you would like, but even the small sparks eventually ignite the fire for change.
I feel like the next four to six weeks will be taking our therapy world to another level, so I’m prepared to explore what will come out of this.