Wednesday, November 20, 2013

 I read this on the blog Aint that Sherific
 and it spoke to me more than about any blog post I have read.   I hope you will take a moment to read it and pass it along. 

Thanks Sheri for being brave enough to put in to words what so many trauma mommas feel.

November is National Adoption Month.

Let's state the obvious, Adoption is life changing.  People focus on the sacrifice that we adopted parents make.  The way we graciously open our home to an "orphan".  The way we give them a better life than they would've had without us.  How generous we are.   Love can and will fix everything.

That, my friends, is a pile of crap.

Adoption is born from ruin.  It is ugly.  It is loss, something that if we were honest we wished would never have to happen.  It comes from pain.  It is unnatural.

All those things being true it is still wonderful and loving.  It is done out of a spirit of helpfulness.  It is kindness and mercy.  It is a necessary evil.

It is not a decision I regret.

It is not at all what I expected.  It is messy.  It is hard.  It is gut wrenching.

Working through the pain that my child suffered and the indelible scars they left behind is not easy.  It is not generous and it does not make me a saint.  It makes me a warrior.  I wish there were things I never knew.  I wish I didn't immediately go to "that place" when someone shares that they are pursuing adoption. 

I fear that they are going in blind like we did.  I fear that they are thinking they are going to have a short period of adjustment and all will be well.   I fear that others in their home will be adversely effected.  I fear that they will lose their ideal image of adoption. I fear that they think that most times love is enough.

And if I am honest with myself, I what I fear most is that their love will be enough while mine wasn't.

I fear that I drew the short stick and their life will be peachy.  I fear that I will share a small portion of our ugly with them to try to prepare them and then the get flowers and hearts instead of stinky fish and garbage to wade through.   I fear they will think I am crazy. 

I also fear that I am right, and they will experience the hard part of loss.  Their child will have attachment resistance and will struggle with e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.  I fear being "right" because that means another child and another family will have to wade through the muck of early trauma.  I fear that their chemistry, their brain is forever altered by the loss they have experienced.   I fear we will add another parent into the "trauma momma" fold and another child will have to live with the repercussions of mistakes the adults in their life have made. I fear that a child suffers.

My family has been forever changed by adoption.   I have learned to be a fighter, an advocate, and a learner.   My children have learned  compassion and tolerance for others.  I have experienced more heartache than I knew existed.  I have also experienced more joy.  I have friends that AMAZE me daily.  I have become a part of an amazing community who hold one another up when we think we can no longer continue.  I have traveled across the country to be in the presence of women who understand.  I have met moms who are warriors and children who are conquerors.   I have met those still deep in the battle and I have met those on the other side.

I have made mistakes.  I have been forgiven.  I have learned it is not about me.  I have learned that no one really knows what we go through unless you live it daily.   I understand that you still think I am crazy.

And that is ok.

I don't really want you to understand.  I want you to reach out and help.  I want you to make a meal for a family in your circle who has adopted.  I want you to ask if you can take their child to a movie.  I want you to understand when they pull into themselves. I want you to not give up on them when they cannot socialize as often as before.   I want you NOT to say they are special, or awesome or a saint, because likely they are feeling precisely the opposite.  I want you to drop by with wine and chocolate and not blink twice when the house is a disaster or smells like pee.   Come over and ask to help with laundry.  Ask to play catch in the yard with their child so they can take a freaking nap without being hyper vigilant.

Never forget that scars from early trauma and issues with attachment do not show on the outside.  Please, for the love of all that is holy, understand that they will likely be wonderful, kind, perfect children for you because you are not the parent.  You are not trying to take over that spot in their life that holds so much pain, so much loss.  You are not the object of their difficulties.  Please don't judge the parent when you simply can't see it. I promise they are not crazy.  I promise you won't get it.  And that is ok.  Just know it.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

How I wish

How I wish you could see what you are missing out on by being so judgmental. How you won't know how amazing and caring he is for those who are part of his world. How the other one dreams of growing up to do big things with technology so he can make big money and help people in need. How cute and funny she can be once she gets over being an over the top showboat to try and get your attention. How even though he is tiny he will do anything to help you and is so incredibly sweet How much you miss out on because you don't want to be around enough for them to get past trying to get your attention from the others. How much you could learn about them in quiet one on one time. How much you are missing out on because its not easy but it might be worth it. How you are breaking his heart and you should be the last one to do that to him. How you have taught the next one that he is important to you and now he doesn't trust you. How they are growing up and seeing the difference in how you treat them and its you that is going to miss out. They will move on not missing what they don't remember ever having. How it will you looking back and wondering how you could have done things differently so they would still be a part of your life. How you tossed the love they were offering to you to the side because it didn't come easy for you. How I hope you wise up before it is too late to fix the hole you have created

Monday, December 3, 2012


Tonight I go to bed humbled by the love that has been shown to our family this year by expected sources but also unexpected sources of people who just heard our story and stepped up to help even when we said we didn't need it. I am truly touched by the human kindness of people who can empathize and stand up to help give some one a hand or even a moment to say we heard your story and we are here for you. Amazing. Grateful and blessed

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pondering the hearts

Tonight my heart ponders how people who say they love you can be so hard, cold and uncaring to the people they should love the most. I ponder how you can watch people struggling that you say you care about and not offer to help or even a phone call to check up on them but can sit back, cast judgement on us and exclude us. Then justify yourself to appease your guilt. We are trying to do to th
e best we can for what we have been dealt. Can you say you are doing your best to help your family? When you are laying on your death bed and looking over your life you will have regrets for what you didn't do and what you missed out on by excluding your family because it's not easy. I will know that I fought hard and did the best that I could to try and help my family and those who have touched my life.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hanging on

8 years ago we brought home two kids we thought we could love through anything they needed and as long as we were determined we could fix anything that came up. Over the course of the next 4 years we added their two younger siblings to our home and had faith that doing the right thing would allow them to all be together and we could help them all grow up. In the last year I have come to realize
that no matter how much I want things to be different for them that there are things we can't change for them. We can provide them all the opportunities to make progress but nothing is guaranteed to work and all you can do is keep trying. Some times it is very hard to keep trying when it feels like nothing makes a difference and no one that can help takes what you are saying seriously. I worry for their future and wonder how things could be different for them if our concerns were addressed before they got escalated to the point of crisis. Thank you to My family and friends for being there for us, checking in to see how we all are doing and just being there to listen if nothing else. I know this journey would be even harder with out you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Life changing soul searching

I last left you with waiting to hear from the Dr.  Waiting to come to grips with this whole new reality that we were faced with.  One of my friends called another of our friends who happened to know a neurosurgeon.  She got him to talk to us and he looked over the scans and gave us a diagnosis of hemangioblastoma.  It was nice to have a name and some more information.  Thankfully he said it is rarely cancerous.  We set up an appointment to see him and kept the one we had scheduled with the other Dr for another opinion.  I don't remember much but the overwhelming scared and sad feeling. An overwhelming need to be with Jason and not leave him so I would be able to see with my own eyes that he is ok.  We got in to see my the neurosurgeon my friend knew and he was able to answer our questions and tell us what the process was going to look like.  My husband would be having brain surgery.  How is this possible?  I kept waiting to wake up from this and to find it wasn't true.  It never happened. The Dr recommended that we keep our appointment with the other Dr for a second opinion.  We walked out with more knowledge, a little more peace and whole lot of worry.

  We told the kids that Daddy had something in his head that shouldn't be there.  That the Dr's were going to take it out and that Daddy would be in the hospital for a few days.  They all took it pretty well. I am not sure how much they really understood.  However Liam got it.  He processed it and then he came and sat next to Jason's chair at his feet and leaned on his legs.  He never spoke.  I saw him and said you can sit with Dad if you want.  He climbed in his laps and I took this picture.  It speaks to Liam's concern for his Dad and their ability to communicate with out words.  It amazes me still to see this picture. 


Jason continued to work for awhile. It was hard for me to let him but I knew he needed that norm to deal with everything.  He worked and came home exhausted. It was so hard to not be able to fix it for him.  No pill I could give him to make it go away nothing I could do to make it better

 I had to do something for him and nothing seemed like it was enough.  I came up with starting a facebook page for him to see the support he had as well as an easy way to share the latest news with everyone.  Supporting Jason French Then I had a fun visual idea for him to see.  I took a blank wall in our living room and made it is support wall.  I cut out vinyl letters that say Feel the Love Jason I printed out every comment anyone posted to him, anything that I came across that made me think of him, every card that arrived got stuck to the wall.  It was humbling to him to see how many people care.  He has always been the one to be there for others.  He has always been the one doing things to help and it was hard to step back and let people do it for him.
The love poured in and we hung it on the wall for him to see and feel

Jason volunteers with Animalia animal group and they were having a show at the Children's museum.  He insisted he wanted to volunteer so we all went down and he helped with the show.  I saw that day how hard he was working to try and maintain his day to day norm.  I could see him struggle with his balance and his coordination wasn't what he thought it should be. He loved being with the animals and the kids.  I sat and watched him amazed at his strength and determination.  He was however completely exhausted by the end of the event and thankfully his Dad had joined us for the event and was able to drive us home as I was a nervous wreck.  It was such a turning point to see how much he was being effected even when he thought he was compensating.  He told me on the walk back to the car it was to like to walk across open spaces.  It felt like the ground moved and he did ok if he could touch a wall but crossing parking lots didn't allow for that.  Little did I know how quickly things would change for him over the next few weeks as we waited for his surgery date.   I started driving him to work and picking him up after this.  I wanted to make sure he arrived safe and sound.  He didn't like the idea but understood why I wanted him not to drive.  It was a little hectic getting everyone where they needed to be on time but it was worth it.  Little did I know how short of time it would be before he wouldn't need me to drive him. 
  We finally got in to see Dr. Sloan and as soon as we met him we knew that he was the one we wanted to do the surgery.  He personally walked out the waiting room and met us and walked us to a room.  He asked some questions and did some tests.  It made me want to cry when he struggled with some of them.  He has always been my rock and my strength and to see how much he struggled was horrible.  I know it had to be so hard for him to feel vulnerable like that.   To not be able to do things we all took for granted.  Dr Sloan said he wanted him to get an abdomen scan because this hemangioblastoma can be part of a condition called Von Hipple Lindau syndrome, and he wanted to make sure his kidneys didn't have the cysts.  We set up a date for surgery and the scan and left with a plan and confidence we were doing the right thing.  I still had couldn't believe we now had brain surgery scheduled for my husband but I understood this is what he needed to get back to himself.   It wouldn't be easy waiting till the 25th from the 9th but we knew we were making the right decision.  I told him several times through this that we would do this together and together was exactly where I was going to be. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Coming clean

I haven't blogged because I was torn on how to post happy life posts when things just aren't happy most of the times.  I struggled between if you don't have anything nice to say than don't say anything and honesty is the best policy.  Today I am taking the step towards honesty is the best policy.  The truth is life has been hard this year.  The hardest year I have ever experienced.  It has also been enlightening and miraculous but really hard. 

The biggest truth to tell is that my daughter has reactive attachment disorder.  It is horrible and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  I often wonder what brought it in to our lives but it's hear and we struggle with dealing with it.  For those who don't know reactive attachment disorder comes from an insecure attachment to a caregiver in early years.  We don't know our daughter's first 18 months.  We know why she was placed in to foster care at 18 months and what has happened with her since she joined our family.  Due to her experiences in the first 18 months she struggles with forming attachments to her caregivers, in our case us her parents.  She is great at making superficial attachments with teachers, bus drivers, Sunday school teachers, and the sorts but real bonded attachment isn't there. It is heart breaking to see it and not be able to fix it. If you want to know more about attachment disorder and the causes visit they do a much better job of explaining the details.  What does it mean to our family I can help you better understand.
 It means we lived on the edge, always waiting to see what will set her off. Once she was set off she would rage, like a toddler temper tantrum but worse much worse.  She would rage for hours some times or minutes the next so you never knew what you were going to get and how long it would last.  It means when she gets on the bus you kind of hold your breath and hope today goes well.  That she doesn't go to school and tell some horrible lie about you to the staff.  Then she comes home and you wonder if the story she is telling you about how the teacher didn't let her do her work, or yelled at her, that the kids were being mean to her at recess are true.  Then you ask her to hang up her jacket and on the floor she goes kicking and screaming about how she doesn't feel like hanging up her jacket.  You walk away and try to ignore her.  She eventually gives up and hangs up her jacket.  Then you start making dinner and ask her to start her homework surprisingly she agrees you feel successful.  She starts working on her math and the questions start.  Mom what is 2+3, you reply I bet you can figure that out give it a try.  She whines and says it's too hard you know she knows how to add and you feel yourself being sucked in to this game she is playing.  Well skip that one and try another one since that one is too hard for you.  The game continues until she refuses to do the work and is trying to appear to be crying but no tears just red circles around her eyes where she rubbed them to try and appear to be crying.  Dinner time and we all sit down to eat.  The gorging game begins with her and her brother. They cram food in to their mouth as fast as possible making a mess but intent on being the first one done so they can get more.  After dinner add in showering and bed time and the drama continues.
  Then the end of March my nerves couldn't take the tantrums anymore.  She was spending hours a day yelling, screaming, throwing things, laying on the floor and banging and kicking her floor which is the ceiling of the main level of the house.  I was at the end of my rope.  She kept screaming how much she hated me and her family that she didn't want to live with us and that she was never going to stop screaming and kicking because she hates us.  I asked my sister if she could come there for spring break.  She thankfully agreed and we took her to stay there the week before spring break.  Little did I know that my world was about to go spinning out of control just a few days later. 
  On March 28th my husband had a MRI done on his head for some dizziness he was having.  On March 29th we went and saw his Dr and found out he had a brain tumor.  It was like the world stopped and everything went in to slow motion. I have heard this said before and never understood the impact until I lived it.  I remember sitting across from Jason and the Dr. saying the MRI showed something on his brain.  Then it was like the room got really long and Jason who was sitting right across from me was suddenly down a long tunnel and everything slowed down.  I don't remember what I said.  I don't recall a lot of what the Dr said besides he would set up an appointment with a neurosurgeon for us.  I didn't cry, I was too terrified to cry, I was too numb to cry, I was to confused to cry.  How could this be added on top of all that we are currently dealing with?  How could this be happening to my husband?  We left with an appointment in 2 weeks to see a neurosurgeon.  Jason insisted he wanted to go back to work, I took him back to his office and drove to pick up Rogan from preschool.   I walked in the door and his amazing teachers knew we were going to the Dr. knew immediately that we didn't get good news I must have looked bad.  I am not sure if I kept it together to tell them but they were the first ones to know the news besides us.  They helped me get Rogan ready to go and then I called Jason and told him he was coming home.  I couldn't leave him at work and I didn't want him to drive.  I couldn't imagine what was going through his mind as I knew what I was thinking and I wasn't the one with the diagnosis. We came home that day and started living a new reality.
 Thankfully my sister agreed to keep my daughter as I wasn't capable of managing RAD, 4 other special needs kids and  a sick husband.  We were able to enroll her in school at my sisters with out any problems which was amazing.  Then we began the job of waiting to get in to the Dr.