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In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

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“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis


I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Great Chain Breaker

I remember long ago reading about abuse, alcoholism, and any other ism you want to think of. Psychologists and psychiatrists said, these things run in families, they are disorders, they run in cycles; chances are, if you were abused, you will abuse, if your parents were alcoholics, you will be too, etc.

We live in the age of "diagnosis". There is a diagnosis for EVERYTHING! I could probably have a few of those myself if I took a few tests. I'm sure ADD would be at the top of my list.

There is SOME truth to man's wisdom. There always is; otherwise the lie would be easy to recognize and we wouldn't become trapped into a "diagnosis" that offers no hope. Yes, that is what I said.

Let me clarify: I am not anti counseling, or anti therapy IF, the counseling is to give the parent ideas for helping their child and the therapy is also done under the same guideline. Meaning: minimal invasion into the child's life and most of the help to be to given the parent for coping ideas for themselves AND their child.

I am compelled to write this, as after speaking with somebody this a.m. that called very discouraged. They have had a child for all of 4 weeks and have seen GREAT improvements with him, only to be told in a diagnostics situation that his life is a puzzle of a thousand pieces and he will be working on them the rest of his life to put those pieces together and will be lucky if he gets 3 pieces to the puzzle to fit.

This very caring person's heart was shot down to the ground and then some, by some grim, short sighted, test giving, BLIND, counselor.

I have met the child and he is in NO WAY the picture painted. PULEEEZE!!!!!!! And then that counselor charges his money, and says, "NEXT".



I don't know, but the last time I looked, weird was not a mental disorder, nor was it an attachment disorder. Lack of social skills is not RAD. It is lack of social skills.
I am really getting annoyed that RAD is being so overly diagnosed. And that diagnosis is having a backfire effect on the adoption community. People FEAR it.

When one of our daughters came home to us, she was in the "severe" category for emotional diagnosis. SEVERE at 5? Oh my! There is a horrific history in her background of abuse, drug abuse, alcoholism, and abandoning children etc.
Oh were we ever on our knees for a miracle break in that chain that could possibly bind her. This is not just an emotional battle but a spiritual battle as well. We continue on our knees to this day. She is doing awesome, and we pray that she will continue to break free. But it hasn't happened overnight, just as she didn't become neglected and abused over night. It happened over time, and it will take time to heal.
Backtracking to make things right is a lot harder than doing things right in the first place.

Do special children who come from Trauma backgrounds need special parenting techniques? Yes and no. It is probably more like, we all need to parent in a special way that will guide our children to the Lord. Being an example to them, and dropping the commonly seen sinful, angry parenting styles that are easy to fall into might be a good idea for starters. :) And that goes for ALL kids.
There is a big difference between Righteous Anger and Unbridled, you have bugged me and now I'm mad anger. Or Righteous anger and You hurt my feelings anger.
It is also safe to say that being SLOW to anger is a good thing.But GOD is SLOW TO ANGER, not willing that anyone should perish. (Righteous ANGER does not sin)
Also, that does NOT mean SLOW to DISCIPLE our children. We should be quick and and willing at all time to take the opportunity to disciple and teach our children to bring about understanding, correction and stability in their lives.

So when the counselor said, "he will never change", that is SO not right. He already HAS! Will it be on our "schedule" of when he should do things? Maybe not, but he is an individual person, not a cookie cutter person. And the most important things he can learn in life are of eternal value. He is already learning them.

I believe as he begins to unfold the understanding of the "spiritual" in his life, those puzzle pieces will begin to fit into place with greater ease. But he is a kid.

It took me a long time to unfold my life; to understand some things that were very painful, but that is life for everybody. It is a part of growing up.

I am so thankful for Jesus Christ in my life. He is the great Chain Breaker. He is the great intervener, and he takes broken and cracked pots to make them whole again.
Sometimes he crushes them and remakes them altogether, but HE DOES IT!

There is NO SUCH THING as NO HOPE. Man's wisdom says, "You can't." God's wisdom says, "I can Do ALL THINGS in Christ who Strenghtens Me."

And in the case of our own little girl; she is a beautiful, wonderful work in progress and I am EVER so thankful for the lessons she has taught me. :)


Diana said...

This is an absolutely AWESOME post! Honestly, I couldn't agree with it more...even though both my kids are in therapy.

My kids are there because, unfortunately, we're among the way too large group of adoptive parents who "thought" we went into adoption with our eyes wide open and "thought" we knew full well what we were getting into. We'd done a lot of reading and studying and researching beforehand and thought we were as prepared as possible for what we were getting into. Yet we still got blindsighted. Reality is that we were not even close to prepared to take on what we did. Despite our asking lots of questions to lots of different people all the way along during our adoption process, there is still much that was never disclosed to us and we can see now the digusting lengths certain entities went to in order to make sure we didn't find out the truth. We also learned very quickly that reading about the issues and actually living with them are entirely different things.

Also unfortunately for us was that once the problems with our children surfaced and all that stuff they didn't want us to know started coming to light, which was while we were still in country and before our adoption was final, all our agency did to help us was repeatedly tell us our children would never be normal and we should abandon the ship and come home without kids. That was NOT an option for about a hundred million reasons. When we refused and insisted on completing adopting our children anyway, they dumped us on the street and left us high and dry.

So, I completed the adoption of my adopted my kids knowing it was going to be hard - much harder than I had ever imagined or that I was adequately prepared for. We never got a "honeymoon" with our kids. We came home and immediately started doing even more research and making changes and doing everything we possibly could to make it work. Yet I literally got to the point that I realized I still only had two chioces - seek professional help or disrupt the adoption because I couldn't do it on my own any longer. I didn't have the skills, I didn't have the training, I didn't have the knowlege, I was in WAY over my head, and despite my efforts to change, the parenting style I was using wasn't working for anyone...not me, not my bio daugher, and most certainly, not my traumatized children. We already knew that last one before the adoption and had already started making changes. The boys just put a big rush order on things :-).

Despite all the challenges, the one thing we did know without question is that these are the two children we were sent to find and that God had orchestrated evry single detail of the adoption from the beginning. With that knowlege, we knew that no matter what, the Lord would bring us through the challenges that lay ahead. And He has, and He is, and HE is healing my children...and our entire family.

It took a lot of searching and a lot of praying and a lot of realizing that not just "any" therapist will do - it had to be the right one. I had to play musical therapists and do a lot of waiting in order to finally find the right one. The biggest blessing in all of it I actually didn't realize until we'd actually started seeing her. The reason she's a therapist is because her parents adopted a child with severe attachment issues when she was young. So, not only is she trained professionally, but she has also personally lived with it and sees how it affects his life now and understands the issues from both perspectives, which is a HUGE blessing. Plus, she is also a woman with a lot of faith and she, too, recognizes who the Master Healer really is.

For any of your other readers who may be in my position, (desperately needing help - but not sure where or how to find the right help, but know they can't do this on their own anymore) there is a link on the sidebar of my blog (link is in my profile) called "How to find a good therapist". It details the steps I took to finally find the right help both for us as parents and for our children.

As for RAD and all the other alphabet soup diagnosis - I agree that it is way over inappropriately diagnosed because the vast majority of people are afraid of it, don't really understand it, don't know what to do with it or how to treat it, and it is hopeless to them. However, knowing what I know now, I also believe it is also WAY under diagnosed appropriately and too many families really do live with attachment issues that go unrecognized and untreated, but still put a tremendous amount of really almost unnecessary strain on the family. Attachment issues ARE real, and they ARE very common, especially in older children who come from a less than stellar background, But they are also treatable and children and families can and do heal from them. I guess the moral of the story is don't jump too quickly to any conclusions, but if you need help, get help - get the right help, and let the conclusions be what they are - even if RAD and a few other alphabet soup letters come into the mix. Regardless of what the label is, as long as the child and family are healing and growing, it doesn't really matter.

junglemama said...

You rock! Well written! Have I mentioned how much you and I are alike? BTW, you aren't missing anything on Frua in case you were curious.

Christie M said...

Thanks for the FRUA update Christine. :)

We really gotta meet sometime sister. ;)

Melissa E. said...

We went to hear Dr. Gregory Keck (Parenting the Hurt Child) before we brought our boys home. Two things he said were brought to mind with this post. The first is that he NEVER agrees to counsel just the child--The whole family and especially the parents need to be in on it. I am surprised at the number of counselors willing to counsel with the child and keep his/her comments secret from the parents!!

The second thing that comes to mind is not what he said so much as what he chose to include as his "testimonials" for a video segment he showed. (It was an all-day seminar for social workers that we were able to attend) 90%, if not more, of the
success-story-children spoke of Jesus or God as the pivotal point in their decision to change! And no, he did not present from a Christian perspective--purely a factual one!

We, too, have seen remarkable change in our boys. One year ago today we looked at their file in Ukraine and bought train tickets to Kharkiv. In that one year we have gone from anticipation to frustration to elation to exhuastion to more exhaustion to less exhaustion to a pretty normal existance! We couldn't be happier or more blessed.

The very nature of Christian adoption is that we are changing things--taking the old, the bad and allowing God to work it into His good.

Good post.

Christie M said...

Melissa, every time I see your blogs and see those shining, glowing faces it makes me cry tears. I don't think I have ever shed so much tears over a family that I have never met in person! LOL (and I am just not that weepy of a person, although menopause is helping me along quite nicely) :)

But, what I do know, is visiting our own daughter and holding little Misha, (the cookie monster) and smiling at Max; (never saw Vitali) I longed to just put them all in my suitcase and take them home.
"Lord, PLEASE don't leave them here. Please don't let them stay orphans."

And who was to know, at that very time You and Steve were being prepared for THOSE VERY BOYS! We serve such an awesome God.

I remember when Steve emailed us and said, "that is our new son, on "the Utube video". I can't believe it has been almost a year since they came home.

What an awesome year.

Praise be to our Lord!

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