For those "friends" on facebook you may recognize this as my status update a couple of days ago.
If I'm being completely honest here I wrote this at a time when my heart felt a little less than plain. thankful. But, what I have come to realize in this journey I call my crazy life...I do not call the game...in fact sometimes I'm actually sitting on the sidelines just watching it all play out in slow motion and have absolutely NO control. Yup NO control...my very favourite state!
So...in those times I choose to speak these words.... Just. Plain. Thankful.
Thankful that although my house is full of children struggling at different levels with medical/psychological conditions not within their control ....I am NOT alone and I find the patience
Thankful that I have a pediatrician who listens, and carefully treats my children.....I have support.
Thankful that medication is available to at least on most days, minimize the effects of FASD, ADHD, ODD, OCD etc...I have choices
Thankful that after the violent outbursts there is almost always a wonderful calm...I am resilient, I will love unconditionally....I don't do this on my own.
Thankful that the children are becoming a little more aware of the triggers for anger and as best as they can bite their tongue or just go with the flow...I will do my best to model grace
Thankful that any destruction of property is never more damaging than just that.....stuff.....I will keep it all in perspective
Thankful that all of my children are here...where they were meant to be all along...all of us...together....we have been knit together in a very purposeful, specific way....not alone
Thankful that like childbirth, once the acute pain and turmoil of any situation is over, the joy and laughter and love of just holding a child help to erase the tears....I will look forward with anticipation and great expectation to what our future holds.
As our adopted children grow and develop, some of the diagnoses they have, become more prominent and in all honesty...excruciatingly difficult to handle. Sometimes this is because I feel so helpless to affect change, sometimes I am so darn frustrated with the lack of effectiveness of my parenting tools, but mostly because it makes me so desperately sad...for them and the struggles, for us as a family unit and selfishly for me...I am tired.
From the outside looking in....our children are well behaved, polite, well adjusted kids. I'm thankful that we have given them the security of a safe place. Here is where it is safe and no matter what, we are family, forever. Don't get me wrong...it is not easy and for some of us (we are 10) we handle it very well...for others...it is too much and coping manifests itself as isolating, acting out, or sometimes provoking the very child that needs no provoking!
Right now my life is dictated by one of my eight children primarily....I don't speak this out loud usually....I just quietly die a little as I face situation after situation that wears me down. He is the most lovable, compassionate, caring child that has unfortunately been forever damaged prior to his birth by exposure to multiple drugs and alcohol. He has FASD but will one day be whole!! This is the truth I hang on to as together we brace ourselves for a new day.
He rises for the day anytime after 5:15 and thanks to a new schedule is now downstairs with me having breakfast by six....this has actually been a blessing because he used to rise and disrupt/wake everyone else, wrestling, fighting, etc...now he and I start his school before 6:30 because he is incapable of concentrating once the others are awake. We finish the foundational stuff and I am thrilled with that. The rest of the day is filled with excessive hand washing (his hands are constantly bleeding) , organizing, dictating, controlling behaviour that often results in violent outbursts and swearing. He's broken his and others' toys and belongings, furniture and ripped kitchen cupboards off. We have had to remove doors to prevent him putting his foot through it. No impulse control, no rhyme or reason or pattern to his behaviour....just turmoil. No one would believe me! I wouldn't believe it if I wasn't living it!! He regularly refuses to do what he's asked, balking at my authority and then encourages his siblings to ignore me also. He sometimes refuses to come with the family if we are leaving for an event or church...my life is on hold. If I am leaving the house on an errand, he hugs and kisses me demanding eye contact and a routine of blowing kisses and words, often coming out of the house more than once to continue the process...most often it's just easier to take him with me. He refuses to move from a chair, go to bed, or bathe. He doesn`t eat what we eat requiring separate meal preparation every single day.....and then there is the other side.....He is first to offer help to prepare meals, seeks out quality time with me...loves to bake and cook, build and create...He loves to read to his little brother, play cards, cuddle the cat and play Angry Birds. He is destined for something great in this life. His struggle will be his strength...and it's my job to make sure he gets to whatever earthly destination is for him. He is a child of much faith asking in a calm time how it is he could tell people about Jesus because everyone should know... He is adorable and innocent and not to blame and a child of God just like any other. And I love him...unconditionally, forever, fully, no matter what.
Not more than I can handle...there are days I beg to differ ... but most days I do understand this sharpening of my faith...you see my weakness, my incapability to "handle" this, my lack of control, my shortcomings.....all cause me to lean on God. God is using little old, incapable, frazzled, tired, weak me to do great things in my childrens lives. They aren't mine...but His and with that in mind what a privilege to have some who need me as they do!
Just. Plain. Thankful.