two years
0 comment Sunday, May 18, 2014 |
It's two years this month since we met the kids and I'm on a bit of a downer. I'm ill with a stupid cold at the moment and that never helps, but in truth I've been dealing with some uncomfortable thoughts for a while.
For the first six to nine months after placement, it was pure survival for us all. There was nothing to enjoy. Then, after our first summer holiday as a family and the kids starting a new school year without being the new guys, things settled. We've had some good family days this past 12 months. We've seen the kids come to relax with our families and do better at school. They've stopped rejecting my Husband. There's some real affection between us all.
But the odd thing is that these children feel less my own than when they first came. I totally took on being their mother at first. I was theirs and they were mine. Well, who else did they belong to? These two virtual orphans, who would have gone adrift in the long-term Foster Care system if Husband and I had not adopted them, were mine forever. Their own birth mother had chosen their father over them, their birth father had wanted it that way. They had been rejected by the two people who should have loved them to death. They were not wanted, or at least not wanted enough, and my heart broke for them.
But, they're not mine. These children are not mine. Their world view is totally alien to mine. Their value system is different. Their way of functioning is unrecognisable to me.
For a while I just thought that was all about them being children and me being an adult. I was used to adult company and I had to come down to their level and see things their way to understand them.
But I don't understand them. How can I? I wasn't there when their core personality, their dysfunctions, their world view, their values were formed. Their many dysfunction, the things that distort who they really are, I don't really know how they got there. I can make half-guesses based on the information we have on their background and from my understanding of trauma, but I don't know. I don't know why these children behave in the twisted way that they do and I can't honestly say that I've made much progress in releasing them from their emotional and behavioural deformities.
The other night, during his bedtime story, son is acting silly and not listening. I give him a warning. He carries on acting silly. I tell him how sad I am that he made that choice, and I'm sorry that I can't carry on reading to him and I calmly walk out. Queue half an hour of screaming from him. It sounds like he's being tortured in there. That night when I go to bed son has left a note under my duvet; he says his dad is an idiot and he hates me.
What did I do? He was not shouted at, humiliated, he did not have anything taken away, no threats were made. I simply called him on his being silly and all this anger spills out of him. It's like that a lot. It's like that all the time.
With daughter, there is little or no real attachment. We get on well, but I am ditched for any other female figure every chance she gets. She doesn't know how to have a mother. She only knows how to impose herself on people and gain pointless bits of control over them.
All this type of stuff creates a distance between me and the children. Despite two intense years, they are in many ways still strangers to me. And when your children feel like strangers you don't get an awful lot from that relationship. I'm sure the children are trying as hard as they are able to be part of a functional family, but they're just not in a place to give back half of what they get. They have never told me that they love me and I suspect they never will. They can't react with excitement or gratitude for all the stuff me and Husband do for and with them. They have no concept of trying to please or make other people happy. They snatch what they are given, reject it, and demand something else. In short, at the heart of this family there is an emptiness where the love should be.
A friend recently said to me that it's still early days, and I keep reminding myself of that. We have years and years ahead of us yet. They were five and six when taken into care. Perhaps when they have been with us for five or six years we will have had as much influence over them as their birth parents and they will feel less alien to me. By then they will be teenagers, facing GCSEs and standing within touching distance of the adult world. I hope That's not too late.
This post from Colleen at the Therapeutic Moments blog is a timely read for me. I'm usually OK at seeing the children's behaviour as communication and teasing the positive out of the bleakest situations. Even so, just at the moment, I am ill. High temperature, banging headache, sick-to-my-stomach ill. And I can't put the work in. I just so friggin want them to just do as they are told and drop all the stupid, pointless, petty control shit.