What do I do?

That picture, that was our dream, wasn’t it, when we adopted?  Those adorable moments of having children, the joy, the perfect photographable moments, the heart moments?  But instead we ended up with something out of a Stephen King novel

What do we do?

That’s what parents keep asking.  What do I do when… my kid keeps hurting my heart?  when my kid refuses to heal?  when I don’t like my kid?  when I’m ready to run away from home?  when I’m ready to give up? when…..

Dear friends, I’m going to get Biblical on you for just a moment.  It doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not, or you are a Buddhist or a Hindu or an atheist… the general principal applies.  The quote just happens to be from the Bible.  “Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself.”  Here’s what I mean:  Believe in a higher power.  Believe in more than yourself.  Believe in the power of healing.  Believe in miracles, for you and your child.  That doesn’t mean throw everything else to the wind, and stop therapy – it means when everything else is failing – keep believing.  It means if you pray – pray.  Ask others to pray.  If you believe in Reiki – have it performed.  Whatever it is – that higher power – use it.  On you, on your children.  Whatever doesn’t harm might help.

The second part is actually a two-parter. Loving your neighbor as yourself.  Well, first that means you have to LOVE yourself.  Sometimes love is a feeling, a fuzzy warm oh look at the kitten or oh-my-god-i-love-red-velvet-cake feeling.  But love is also an action.  A I-can’t-stand-to-look-at-your-face-I’m-so-mad-but-I-am-still-doing-your-dirty-laundry action.  Now apply it yourself.  As parents of trauma kids who manipulate others and beat us up verbally and emotionally and sometimes physically, we get beaten up at home, and we get beaten up everywhere else as the kids make everyone else think we are horrible mean people when we’re not. We are beaten down from all sides.  On top of that we are constantly not just second-guessing but third, fourth and fifth-guessing ourselves that we are making mistakes, that we did something wrong, when we do make mistakes we flog ourselves relentlessly.  We don’t allow ourselves to be human.  Ever.  Well I say LOVE YOURSELF.  Actively LOVE yourself.  Give yourself grace.  Pamper yourself.  Take care of yourself.  Physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, psychologically.  You can’t give what you ain’t got.

Then love your neighbor – aka your child.  It doesn’t say “your nice neighbors, your good neighbors”, etc.  It says all of them.  So… apply that to your children.  Love them equally.  Again back to that sometimes love is a feeling and sometimes it’s pure action.  Loving your children equally does not mean everybody gets a popsicle at the end of the day.  It means providing for them equally according to their needs.  I don’t buy each of my kids a new pair of shoes just because one of them needs a new pair.  Does that mean I am not treating them equally?

Take care of yourself.  Realize you are doing the best you can.  The results are not up to you, only that you do your best and provide all the resources you can for your child to heal.  The rest is up to your child and “that higher power” (even if that higher power is fairy dust).

Hang in there!



The Moon

The moon was very visible today.  Late afternoon even, it was still completely visible in the sky, and I couldn’t help but marvel at it as I walked to my van.  But even when I can’t see it, I know it’s there.  I don’t need to take it on faith, really, because it’s effects are constant: it affects  the earth itself, the tides, and it can even block out the entire sun at times. It is a constant force.

Such is trauma with our kid.  My mostly healed son was ranting at the misbehavior of some foster kids who were visiting our home.  He was going on and on at how the siblings were attacking each other, not listening, etc.  He ended his tirade with “Boy, you guys sure got lucky with us!”  An expression must have crossed my face in that split second, because his big grin faltered and he said, “Didn’t you?  We never acted like that, did we?”  I just smiled sweetly at him, which he knew (correctly) meant oh hell  yeah and he turned way muttering to himself, “We were like that?  Really? Oh my gosh poor Mom and Dad!  I can’t believe we did those things!  Oh boy!”  That’s the first time I think he ever crossed that line of understanding in his mind.  Now in a day, a week, a year, that trauma will raise it’s ugly head again in that child and his behavior will show it and he’ll have yet something else to work through and he’ll forget all about this experience, but for now, he is starting to understand himself by learning through their life experiences.  But the force beneath the surface, for now invisible behind the sunshine, is still there, is still guiding him, driving him to some degree.  Our goal is to weaken the force, but it will never be completely powerless.

As parents of trauma kids, we need to remember and understand the force the trauma will always have in our kids, even when fully healed and attached – it does not mean the force is not still there affecting their decisions, thoughts, and emotions.  Like the moon, it will always be there.  It doesn’t mean we have failed as parents, or even screwed up at all.  It truly is a power in and of itself.

Hang in there –