Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ups and Downs

As I noted in my last post, I have had a bit of a restored relationship with our youngest daughter. That is a good thing, but I note that my own feelings go up and down. I really try to stay up, so I can support my children as they need it, but it is hard to stay up all the time, even after a seeming success.

Those heading into this route need to realize they may never achieve the true family they are seeking. I am not sure my children really know what a father is at this point.

The birthfather thinks biology is destiny, and it is to some extent. They all are still pulled to him, even though he continually falls short of what they want from him. Their expectations and desires of him are likely a bit high, but many are just "time and attention" needs. Ironically though, they don't always seek that from me, though perhaps I didn't do it right either. We all have our challenges being the ideal parent you see on so many "parenting success" shows, so neither he nor I can meet what they want.

That said, their is an element of respect for a father that is definitely missing in my children. The birthfamily did not really have that, at least not in the manner I was raised.

No solutions here, just some thoughts that hopefully can help someone else out, especially if you are starting this path.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Getting Back Inovlved in Lives

All of our children left home at 17, which is quite legal in Texas. (Though you remain liable for them until they are 18. That is not right.)

I had a feeling our youngest was pregnant when she left home last spring and I was right. She turned 18 in August and it turned out she was pregnant about the time she left. I was able to visit with her and her boyfriend last week and I offered to pay for their marriage license and they took me up on it!

It wasn't quite what I had hoped, but I got to be present at here marriage ceremony with the judge (JP). They were quite happy. I returned home the day before she had her baby.

It also turned out my wife was able to get 3 days off in a row, so I got to bring her to also see our daughter and son-in-law and new granddaughter. A cute child, though one that will face some challenges in this life. I pray they all find God's peace and strength and have direction as they walk through life.

It is nice to have at least some involvement again now. Being 10 hours away isn't great, but is doable on occasion.

She is very upset with the birthfather, but he acted somewhat poorly when they decided to leave. Ironically, he is harming the very relationship he wants by his actions. I believe she still wants a relationship with him (something I encourage, even though he is completely hostile to me now), since that is such a key part of her heart.

More about this in the future.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Everyone is Out Now!

My wife and I are finally empty nesters! Our boomerang son and family moved out Sunday! It is great with a quiet house. Hopefully we can now develop adult relations with everyone, but that is an open challenge.


Friday, September 25, 2009

A Very Empty Nest

As I think I noted before, all 4 of our children have split from home. We had hoped the youngest would avoid some of the troubles, but the pull of a messed up life was too much for her and she is now facing things as an adult, with very minimal contact with us. This is hardest on my wife, who had a fairly close relationship with her, but it is still tough with me too.

You don't go into this expecting to end up with nothing. While they are all better off than they would have been if they were left in the system, none appears to have a close bond to us now. I don't think they have a close bond with anyone right now, and that is ultimately more harmful to them.

We do have my daughter-in-law and granddaughter living with us for a bit more, while my oldest son completes basic training with the Army and possibly his advanced training. That has pluses and minuses. While I am glad to help them out, I also want to make sure I am really helping and not enabling. And while my wife and I want basic ongoing contact (such as phone calls), we are looking forward to a mostly empty house with just the two of us.

Many people tell me that they will "return to us" at some point, at least in the manner of having a relationship. I even had someone at a job I just left tell me (she was adopted at birth) that the birthfamily relationship loses its luster over time. I have a harder time keeping out hope for that now, but hopefully they can get over the past and we can rebuild a bond of some kind. Ironically, they are very unlikely to bond with the birthfamily if they can't bond with us. Even though I believe the birthfather would be happy if I was totally gone, his best hope for a strong relationship is if they can strongly relate to me as well.

Unfortunately, he is stuck in the "regain my family" mode. I don't know all his motivations, but it seems that this makes him much more hostile than he needs to be. It has caused him to do some strong lying and breach our trust of him, but he feels justified for his actions, so he is not sorry at all.

Long road. Think and pray hard before marching down this path, especially if you are adopting siblings. Many parents may be needed, but many parents are also rejected. Hopefully my experience is just an anomaly, but I don't think so and those pushing adoption really need to factor in the long term, not just the need, however great. I don't know that most people are ready for this at all.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Son is Home for the Weekend

My youngest son is home for the weekend (4 day pass from the Army). You wouldn't guess that he left under such rough terms. Still, we keep the expectations low and things generally work out.

His mouth is not what I would pick, but is not as bad as it could be. He has clearly strayed at least some from our guidance, but I will bet more of it is there than we expected.

Time will ultimately tell how much really sank in and how much he reverted to the habits of the birth family. They are not all bad, but a few are, in my opinion, so it is a bit of an emotional hit to realize.

Of course I shouldn't worry, but what true father doesn't have some concern?


Sunday, June 07, 2009

Attachment Trauma Network

One group that we received a lot of help from in the later parts of our journey with our children was the Attachment Trauma Network. This is one group that real does get it in the whole area of adoption and attachment troubles.

They have a lot of free resources to help out and the annual membership is very affordable and worthwhile. I highly recommend anyone dealing with the issues I cover in this blog to check them out.

You really aren't alone!


Keeping in Love

I have been listening to a tape series by Andrew Wommack titled God's Kind Of Love Through You.

His main point is to not let others control you and to always walk in love. That is incredibly hard when you go through the rapids as I have noted here (including ongoing rejection), but I have to agree that it is vitally necessary. This is a good point, whatever your general view on the rest of his teaching or even Christianity in general.

Keeping that love focus is the only way to be open for your children. While it can be hard to believe, they really do need you, even while they are rejecting you. You need to stay in love so that you can be their (in love) when (or if) they decide to return.

This doesn't mean this is easy. It is harder to let things slide when the slide tends to go into a wall!

Nevertheless, you need that love to continue to guide you for your own sake, even it not for them. Holding the hurt and bitterness is not helpful, though it can be incredibly hard to figure out how to not let it rise up with each and every offense, many of which remain intentional.

This is not the road I would have picked, but since I am on it I will keep following it the best I can!


Staying Strong without Good Support

I have written a lot here about my struggles with keeping a positive attitude without firm external support. That has been the hardest part of my journey down the adoption path. This direction didn't bother me when I started, I wasn't all that concerned how children came into my life. Being rejected by all 4 of them was the hardest pill to swallow though. While it is not surprising, it has really shaken me to my core.

While I maintain many of my core beliefs, doing so alone has been a tremendous challenge.

I would say that everyone just starting down this path should find some solid support first, but I am not sure that is easy to find. I may work on some solutions to this in the future, at least for those in my area, but finding support that isn't talked out of it can be incredibly difficult.

Even my own wife got swayed at times by our children because of my firm stance against many bad things. It sometimes seemed like I was just being hard, but in reality, I was seeing what was coming and desperately trying to stop it. Being someone who sees things that are coming is good and bad.

Knowing they are coming leads me to prepare for them, but it also causes me to face them before others are willing to deal with the issues being raised. Many times it seems easier for others to pretend things really aren't going the way I see. While I am not always exactly right, I believe I have been right enough to have validated that I did indeed identify the exact right issue.

Some of that has been validated after the fact, but that still makes for a bumpy ride emotionally.

I will be working through some thoughts on how to do this successfully. I am not sure I did everything exactly right (though I did correctly identify most things ahead of time), but thinking through it here may help someone else work through their own struggle, so it is worth doing.

These children really do need a family, but many will reject it (at least for a while). You are not a saint for doing things (nor was I), but you do need a lot more coming in than you may realize when you are going through the rapids.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Flitting in and Out

My daughter (the one who decided the rules at home were too much, the few that existed) flitted into church today, said hello to everyone and then flitted away after the service was over. She was chipper as ever, though I think she is, unfortunately, very fake right now.

Dealing with reality may be tough, but it is ultimately the only way to go. It is really annoying to be rejected once again, but I can't do much about it so I have to continue on.

I sure hope this gets easier, at least on an emotional level, but only time will tell that.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Fighting Off Depression

Getting to the "end of the road" and having all 4 children leave at 17 is a pretty lousy outcome of our journey. My youngest decided a week or so ago that she couldn't live with the very limited rules we had when she was home, so she is gone now as well. She had been working in a nearby city at a specialized trade and coming home for a day or so most weekends, but she came home with an attitude, especially against me, more and more frequently.

I don't want her to be gone and it is not right, but it is what it is. Hopefully she will find her way before she does something that permanently impacts her life for the worse.

This stirred up more feelings for me to process. Blech.

My oldest son, his wife and my granddaughter are living with us for a while now. My son goes into boot camp this summer and they will all move together for his advanced training.

Lots still needs to be fixed, but I should focus on what progress he has made. I will write more later, but I think I have withdrawn almost too much, making it harder to connect. I will have to just keep working through things.


Watch Your Marriage!

While I knew my children were really good at triangulating and splitting people against each other, including my wife and I, I hadn't realized how deep this ability could interrupt my wife and I. Looking back, it almost killed our marriage, literally. I am not sure exactly what I would have done differently, but I would definitely have worked to prevent this had I realized the serious danger.

I thought my wife and I were fairly solid, but it turns out she had been turned very much against me. This is not a general marriage blog, so I won't go into the full details, but she had almost been swayed and I believe ended up blaming me for many things that really weren't my fault.

Our society really needs to figure out how to deal with this. Many children are stuck in the system, but adopting them without firm support for the many troubles that are almost guaranteed is quite dangerous.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wealthy Donors Needed!

I have seen many fund raising efforts to help various aspects of adoption. Perhaps not to the level of other causes, but some key people do have significant efforts underway.

I have seen very little fund raising and funding for those who are working with the results of adoption, most likely several years down the line. This whole area is filled with a lot more mines than most people realize. Many adoptive parents come out of the process with the scars and possibly missing limbs from having had to navigate that minefield on their own.

I do not plan on doing much fundraising for wherever my efforts on this blog and this material take me, but I did think it was worth a single post noting the great financial need in this area.

At the first level, significant support is needed for parents with uncontrollable children, most often teens. Though CPS and other adults may paint the adoptive parents as the villains, they are often just doing whatever they can to make it through. The child is often the problem, but no one wants to admit that, so they suffer alone.

Money could help many of these parents cover the great costs involved with controlling such children. Long term care that can handle such teens is very expensive, if it is available at all. CPS may be glad to come after the adoptive parents for the costs, but they are not truly the guilty party. They were just caught trying to help a child work though issues that may take a lifetime to sort out. If you have lots of money and want to make a real difference, consider some work in this area. You certainly would not have a lot of competition.

I wonder if I would do this full time if I ever had such a patron? I suspect I would not, since I am interested in far too many other things, but feel free to talk to me if you really wanted to explore that. At the least, I have some ideas of places you could put some money, along with at least one solid organization that actively seeks to help parents in these situations.


Why I Write This Blog

I generally love to write, so starting this blog seemed like a very logical thing to do. Why not express my own thoughts and feelings on the subject of adoption, especially since I have gone through it and am still surviving!

It seemed quite obvious that I would be able to fill up many posts with useful information and thoughts that would help make this well worth the time I spent on it. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way.

Though time is always a challenge, I think the ups and downs of the whole process was much harder to handle than I realized. It takes more mental and emotional effort to work through these posts, so I didn't get here as often as I planned, as an early comment noted.

I have mostly used this so far to vent some of the painful feelings I have been dealing with. While I am obviously going to watch what I say to protect both the privacy of my own children and that of myself, I still see this as a place where my struggle to understand and make sense of the whole process can hopefully also help others gain a deeper understanding into the area.

I wish I had known some of the things I know now going into the process. While a great deal of it is still raw, I am starting to get to the point where I believe I have processed at least some of it and could provide useful information to others. I am not sure how that will proceed, especially since I am putting a lot of effort into building other areas of my life and career, but I have learned that my life has a way of taking unexpected jumps at regular intervals.

I am going to start putting down some comments about needed skills, how to prepare yourself mentally and other things over the coming days. I may have spots where I do not post, but I will work to make this a fairly regular forum. I need it to continue my pondering and I think someone may need to read these things to help understand the trials and struggles the find themselves in the middle of.