Wednesday, September 25, 2013

STRUGGLES - Being A Vulnerable Adoptive Parent

Being an adoptive parent of a teen who has in their previous life had no one there to guide them or help them discover who they are at a young age, is like a parenting roller coaster on a broken track.  Even I, after years of parenting, just don't know what to do to help them.  In the times that they are overcome with extreme fear and self-worth plummets to a zero while transference of OTHERS past wrongs towards them is dumped on you with no warning, hopelessness can set in as you feel you are back at square one. 
 You can do nothing to suffice them or tell them they are ok.  In their eyes, YOU are the enemy.  Let me tell you, it can get wearisome.

What to do?? Your brain and training knows what to do. Your emotions well, sometimes they don't listen to your brain or training and your fears rise up, your anger rises up and everything gushes like a hot, volcano right back at the teen creating a hot mess burning up everything in its path. If this was a "normal" teen, who had had every emotional and physical need met while a young child, that teen and you, well, most likely would have been ok with each other 10 minutes later. But kids who have the deepest wounds misplace their pain quiet often and have a longer time recouping after an argument. 

Frankly, I don't even know why I am writing this blog. Maybe someone out here is going through or will be going through a similar situation.  Maybe writing it out will help me feel better.  Maybe writing it out will help me find a solution. So here it is. 

Today in the aftermath, even after an apology from me and a couple of private messages on FB, she has decided to stay in survival mode, deciding not to forgive. She left for school this morning dressed in a manner that speaks more than I want to portray, with a huge backpack full. My guess she is contemplating not coming home this afternoon.  Taking her freedom into her own hands.

She's been in the mode for several weeks of distancing herself from us, making comments about freedom and how she needs it, comparing herself to others resulting in self pity, passively aggressively doing little things, saying little things that are just not worth mentioning but are still annoying. Being fake and over the top with things, when I know that is not the real her. 
The beautiful her is hiding somewhere.  
Unconsciously, she is shifting the atmosphere, influencing others in the family to feel and act in mutiny towards the boundaries we have in place, towards the parents who manage the family.
In fact, this shouldn't bother me but it ticks me off at the same time. It shouldn't bother me because I see clearly what is happening.  In my mind, I see Heather Forbes of BEYOND CONSEQUENCES, LOGIC and CONTROL explaining to me about triggers and the stress model, but it is me now who is there right along with my child. We've both been triggered and we are both irrational.  (click on the link above for a great article)
 I just want to shake the irrational stupidity coming out of her! I want to smash the irrational lies that the enemy feeds her.  Can't she see as clear as day that she is loved and is wanted? I KNOW she can't. She is in a state of FEAR.
 When I examine myself, I realize I am ticked off not at her really but at what fuels this dance. Its the same story over and over again, the same dance. This dance is unpredictable but is boring, dangerous and tiring. Its no fun! 
BUT I know she can't see clearly, her experiences in the past have surfaced and her survival instincts have kicked in. Her woundedness gushes forth infected once again. 
My personal mess only makes matters worse. I have thrown gasoline onto a raging fire.  My mess of trying to fix them and control the outcome.  My mess of rejection and my fear that I have failed AGAIN as a parent. My fear that she will be lost. 

I'm getting better, I used to plummet into despair, rejection and anger and stay there for days crying, screaming, making declarations over myself  that I was a failure as a mother. Screaming at God for having me parent these wounded kids. Why did he allow me to love so passionately?  Why did I care so much and why do I have to get so deeply involved? I would get mad at God. Then get mad at myself for not being the best person/parent I should have been.   
Overtime, through attachment and inner healing training and with spiritual development through wonderful mentors, I feel I have grown in my parenting skills and spiritual beliefs. I don't hit that wall very often anymore.

But yesterday I did.  I felt so despondent after our volcano explosion.  Thoughts of worthlessness and hopelessness consumed my mind and I could feel it rushing through my whole being. Rejection joined the party and self pity stopped by.  I literally was in such a high state of alert, my insides were shaking, even hours later.  I had disappointed myself. I had let my daughter down.  Why did I even take in another teen two years ago? Was I stupid? Why did my husband let me do this? Why did God bring her to us? Why? Why? Why?  I am not strong enough.  I'm not quite and calming enough. Blah, Blah, Blah! Why do others even think I'm successful with my kids? I am a failure, AGAIN!

I forced myself into automatic mode. "Take other kids to soccer game. Try to pay attention to game so you can comment." Coming home, I threw myself on my bed and just lay there face down and all I could think to say was Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Help.  
Kids, knock on my door needing something. I groan, they leave. I think, "Good, I have no energy to answer another unnecessary question."  Back in Automatic mode, I force myself to get up to fix dinner for 12 people.  Thoughts slam my brain, "Don't fix dinner. They don't appreciate it anyway.  There is nothing to fix for dinner anyway that doesn't require thinking. You can't fix dinner.  Run away. It would be better. Quit. They don't care. Just live for yourself.  Leave."  Somehow I managed to get dinner together, forcing the crazy thoughts away.
Dinner over, I headed to my room, mentally and emotionally exhausted, wishing the kids were already in bed so I could get there myself.  
Later in the dark, not able to sleep, I lay there, praying, nothing deep. Just calling Jesus' name, because it really was all I could muster. "Jesus, I need an encounter from you." Nothing.  I knew he was there. I knew that he never leaves or abandons. I knew. I knew. "Jesus, help." Verses of scripture that I had previously read earlier in the day, came to my mind. " You are in Me, I am in you. We can overcome this. Greater AM I in you than he that is in the world. Declare it. Keep my love turned on."  So I did.... drifting off to sleep.

The next morning, I got up determined to let her know she was loved, no matter how she acted. Distant. Again.  Though my heart hurt, I chose Joy and clung to the Hope in me. I bit my tongue at her short words and snarl on her face. It has to take a lot of energy to stay mad and unforgiving. She must be tired.  After dropping her and the other kids off for school, I headed to the coffee shop to work on my book but felt like I needed to write all of this down so ended up starting this blog instead. Writing this blog post is not the easiest thing I have ever done. I am being vulnerable. Exposing myself. 
Fast forward to 9 pm. I finally get to open the mail that someone has brought in.  In the mail is a letter from a lady that I met one time several years ago in Uganda. She sent me a book that she had written. We have corresponded on and off through the years.  This letter was totally unexpected. The fact that it came on a day when I particularly needed encouragement as I was coming out of my slump was even more amazing. Questions I had asked God last night and the night before were answered.  I needed that God Encounter. The moment where I knew he saw me, where he knew that my work as a mom mattered. I needed to know that he did not see me as failure. 
He already knew and was answering that request before I even prayed it. I am blown away by the God I serve.  

God encountered me through the mail. He sent me a love letter through a woman, who was in tune with God's heart to be an encourager. 

 I have come to realize that I cannot control my child. Implementing this on my part is one of the hardest things to do without help of the Holy Spirit and knowing the extent of the power of the cross. Too many times I try to lean on my own understanding.
Sometimes I move right into the role of grace, mercy and supernatural love and the thought process of there is no fear in love. Other times I fall back into my own way of doing things. The enemy wants me to stay there to think I am overcome, to think my daughter is overcome.  Its easier to stay there, that is for sure.  But I have to force myself, my soul and my being that I am powerful because Christ lives in me. 
I do have to call on the name of Jesus because when I do, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.  When I do, I can fly like an eagle. When I call on Jesus' name, I can jump off that cliff and know that he is there to carry me on the wings of his messengers of wind and fire.  I can love my child with heaven's love when all of mine seems drained.  I also have to remember that my child has free will on the child's part to participate in their own healing.  I have no control really.  How they see me  in their lives is their view. I can't change that. How I react is my choice and I can change that. I am whole. I am confident that He who starts a good work in me and my daughter will finish it. He has always kept his word with me. Why would he stop now? 

(I am going to post another blog about being proactive in your child's healing (and yours if needed) and steps I take to shift the atmosphere when I get myself out of the stress mode.) 


Angela Crawford said...

I just happened to find your blog today and already posted a comment but not sure it went through! I loved this post and could relate to so much!! We have six children (four bio and two adopted from ET). I see you live in Redding, CA?!! Could NOT believe it!! We have family that live there also and we live by Yreka, CA!! Would so love to meet you and your family! My email address is:

Sherrie said...

Thank you for writing this, with all your feelings and emotions laid bare. We may not all be at the same place you are with a child that is a teen, but some of us are struggling with a child that is younger. Your words help more than you know. I will pray for your emotional wellbeing, and that of your daughter and family, as I am praying for mine.

Kelly and Melissa Carter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly and Melissa Carter said...

Angela, Thanks for your comments, I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Yes, we moved to Redding 2 years ago and love it. We will have to meet sometime. My son has been to YREKA fro some ministry. Blessings,Melissa

Kelly and Melissa Carter said...

Sherrie, Thanks for taking the time to write me, I understand what you mean, i have been through these same struggles with kids who are all ages, 5 , 7, 12 and teens. The wounded heart hurts no matter what age your child is. Know I have lifted you up to the Our Father God and he is proud of you as a parent. He loves your heart of compassion. I pray peace and calm descend on your child and you as you journey together toward wholeness. It is not easy. Love to you. Melissa
You can join us on FB at LET LOVE LOOSE. We try to put inspirational things and healing information there to help parents who have adopted. We love to have you join us and keep in contact.


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