Was there something I should have done differently? What prompted the explosion this time? Was there really any warning? How can he become so angry and violent and in 10 minutes apologize? How do I prevent this from happening again? ...... Will I ever stop questioning and just accept this?
I read many, many books. I listened to all the training. I researched and sought advice from the pediatrician. I equipped myself...I braced myself... I joined support groups...I let my guard down...Nothing can prepare you until you are forced to fall on your face and recognize this is all beyond your control.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term that is used to describe symptoms/effects that present themselves in individuals whose birth mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. It is often described as the "invisible disability". Learning disabilities, physical, mental, emotional and behavioural challenges may be included in this umbrella term.
This spectrum disorder presents in so many ways, manifesting differently in each and every adult and child diagnosed. Parenting children with this diagnosis is...well...the hardest thing I have ever done.
Thankfully our parenting philosophy is wholly based on nurturing each child to reach his/her own potential. Parenting our children with this diagnosis does however go against the grain of almost every other plan or expectation we had before our adopted children were born in our hearts. Gone is the one approach fits all disciplinary techniques. Gone is the one size fits all teaching. Gone too are any expectations that what is taught today will be adhered to and understood tomorrow. Gone is the ability to predict behaviours. Gone therefore is every ounce of preparation for parenthood.
Flying by the seat of my pants is just. not. my. comfort zone. when it comes to leading and nurturing, teaching, guiding, modelling, and dreaming about my children's future. This is my life lesson daily and believe me...I enter into this involuntary teaching kicking and screaming....it's just not the way it's "supposed" to be.
There are so many effects that I see in our affected children that I feel I have capably dealt with over the last eleven years. The warning label did say this would get harder but I pushed through depending on my "I can handle anything" drive. This has been what's saved my bacon many times as I draw on the patience that I am so thankful for. You need to know my prayers multiple times a day start like this....."Oh God....MORE PATIENCE .... please." But...admittedly as time goes on I am humbled daily by the necessity to call out to God ... alot! I am not capable of this alone.
Some days are just. so. hard.
Yesterday I intercepted a raging, violent boy as he ran up the back yard yelling at his brother, calling him an obscenity he doesn't even understand and threatening to kill him. This as the offending sibling stood at the bottom of the yard responding with loud pronouncements of how much of a "jerk" he was and then with complete apathy carrying on with no comprehension of his involvement in the altercation. Today I was screeched at...slapped, kicked and told to shut up. I repeated instructions for proper hand washing four different times after using the washroom to the same child, described why it is we don't advise perfect strangers on the way to the library what our address is and why we also don't tell them where we play and when our Dad goes to work. I made a separate meal for the same child that refuses supper every day, primed and prepped repeatedly as we transitioned through simple things like dressing for the day, packing up toys, meals, play, chores, errands and preparing for bedtime with multiple countdowns as we approached "the time". I doled out multiple medications three times as I do every day....this is perhaps one of the most difficult choices we had to make and... I cried...
I have realized today that I have tried the withdrawal method of coping with this. Quite simply, I have tried to keep everyone here safe from judgement. I was once the guilty one who quietly questioned why a parent didn't have better control over their children, why a child could possibly behave that way if they were being raised in a loving home with appropriate rules and example...
I have chosen to "try" to avoid the explanations...avoid the potential of one of "those" outbursts in public...and perhaps even avoid admitting this is really tough.
The future is unpredictable...I've often said that makes this journey exciting and it does. I am as equipped as I am meant to be and I am doing what I believe I am called to do...not just a cliche but rubber hits the road TRUE! I am so very very thankful for my faith and for the tears that just make me human. God's grace is perfect for me and for those I love...
...so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.