0 comment Monday, April 14, 2014 |
I had this idea that if adopted children experienced therapeutic, attachment-focused parenting, in the context of a loving and stable home, from a Mother who was always present, then the children would flourish and begin to heal as time went by.
No matter how tough things were, I always had the luxury of thinking they will get better and would imagine using babysitters more, having the odd weekend away just me and the Husband, and a time when I could leave them unsupervised giving me more freedom. It won't always be as intense as this, I would comfort myself. Whilst my children will always have special needs, I could console myself that their needs would become less over time.
So, my thinking has been in need of a reboot. When Son first came to us we learned too slowly that he could barely cope with life. My ideas of fun, action packed weekends doing stuff with the kids had to be revised into plenty of downtime, plenty of rest, plenty of calming jigsaws and boring fucking board games. I wanted their lives to be full of Beavers and acting classes and parks and daytrips. But when it became clear that Son couldn't even cope with the pressure of having to brush his teeth at night, all that had to be revised.
I thought it would get better over time, that he'd settle and want to do more stuff. I thought this because that was what I wanted to happen and because that was what the professionals - who at the time knew my Son and Daughter better than I did - said would happen.
I realised too slowly that that wasn't happening. I see now that he blatantly wasn't coping with a life beyond jigsaws and boardgames at home. All his oppositional behaviour and his infuriating ingratitude was all pointing towards the fact that he couldn't cope with the life we were giving him, but I didn't get it. I even once threatened him with taking away all the treats in his life if he didn't stop being such a little shit (didn't quite put it like that to him, but that was the gist of it), so that he could learn to appreciate just what he had. Little did I realise then that in effect that was what he was asking me to do.
Son's life is once again just about calming little games at home. I have thrown away two plastic bags full of rubbish, containing all the broken crap he had destroyed and had cluttering up his room. I have taken the posters he hadn't yet destroyed down from his walls for safe keeping. I have moved all his books and some toys downstairs. The Memory Box, full of special things, which he threatened to destroy, has been taken away. I am restricting the TV and there is no wii or ds. I have built in times which he and his sister spend apart, sometimes with me or dad, sometimes alone. At weekends he is staying home, and either me or Husband will take Daughter out. I am not asking him to do homework. He can keep his Friday Sports club, but I will stop that if it appears that even with support he can't handle it. We are not inviting people over and we are not visiting others. I am not buying him the treats he used to get and reject. His life has stopped, for now.
For neuro-typical well-attached children, this would be cruel punishment. For my Son it appears a blessed relief. He is calmer.
I find myself grieving for the life I thought we were all going to have. I am depressed. This is not how it was supposed to be more than two years in. He's supposed to be doing Scouts by now, and learning to swim and karate, and we're supposed to be looking forward to do foreign holidays and camping and walks in the country. He can't even handle a trip to Tescos.
So, another great lesson on the adoption journey. Prepare to make your life boring forever for the sake of your children's mental health. They don't teach you that on the preparation course.

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