Monday, September 10, 2012

Here goes

Disruption, re homing, whatever you want to call it, I've SEEN the good. It lives with me:) She's a treasure who I think would have stubbornly held on to her anger forever with first family for things SHE felt they did, not that they were wrong. What if they kept her in her misery and never cared to look for a place for her to overcome? Should they have? Just so people wouldn't judge? Just so they wouldn't be looked down upon?

Someone asked us how we feel about first family. Well, first thought is "GRATEFUL". For giving us this daughter. She's a JOY. It comes up in front of her sometimes, at the doctor's "How long have you had her, did you go to China to bring her home?" And I say "She was adopted from China by a first family and it did not work out. We got her in May and she is doing wonderfully."

Notice, I do not BLAME. It does NO good to teach her blame. On her or first family. It's the plain truth. It did not work out. I will not say "They didn't want her." That would be a lie. They DID. I will not say "She was AWFUL to them and they couldn't bond to her" because I didn't live there.

I think with more and more people adopting older from China, as well as more awareness happening, more about disrupting is coming to light. It's out there. It's not something that people want to talk about, think about but it is HAPPENING. And ignoring it is not going to make it- not happen, go away, not affect you or someone you know.  It is NOT a disease. It can not be passed on.

It's a reality. We are human beings. There are people you meet you take an immediate liking to. You "click" and it can be awesome. Then there's people you meet and you totally CAN-NOT-STAND-THEM. Don't want to be around them.

Maybe they are rude, hitting you, hitting your children, swearing, passing gas, giving you the finger, spitting at you,making fun of others, scaring others,  peeing their pants, and then what if this is a child you just brought into your family as a NEW FAMILY MEMBER??

Ya thinkin' they look really lovable about now? NO?  So you all say "Okay but it's a KID, stick it out, it will get better."  Fair enough. But then WHAT IF IT DOESN'T get better?
Then what? Make said child continue to be miserable, making your whole family miserable? Hurting others, pets, YOU, breaking things, setting fires, running away, lying, stealing, telling teachers you beat them, acting out sexually, etc. Looking even prettier? NO?

Since I don't live anywhere but HERE in my house, I do not project my ideas on others, of how long, what they should/shouldn't tolerate onto others. I WILL support people who don't want to disrupt and just want helpful hints from a BTDT parent, for sure.

 BUT I also will support parents who have decided they may want to disrupt or that they are going to disrupt because it is NOT my place to make that choice, it is- THEIRS.

No one, I don't care WHO you think you are, WHO YOU ARE, unless you were living in the home or standing at the door wanting to raise that child, if a family decides to take the re homing step, no one has a right to tell them they are wrong.

Families who disrupt have enough heartache over not being able to parent a child for whatever reason. I think some of the most SELFLESS parenting is seeing the child's need and giving that child a chance to make it. I don't see it as "giving up" because I know a few families who disrupted and I know for a fact they were 100% drained.

They gave it their ALL. And to say to them by looks, words, whispers "You shouldn't have done that--- ohh, how could you, maybe if you had tried a little longer? Maybe you didn't love them ENOUGH?"  These things are like taking a knife and cutting their wound open a few more inches deeper. It's pain to them.

Because people who disrupt are not "monsters, unfeeling, cold, uncaring people."  They are PEOPLE-- they have feelings, they often went to foreign countries to bring these kids home, they had hopes, dreams, excitement, love for these kids. And they have had all of these things DIE a slow (or fast) death when it didn't work out.

Were they unprepared? Should they do MORE? Maybe. I can't say for sure. I don't live with them remember? But here's the thing---- You are NOT changing MANY of these kids. You aren't changing their personalities. You aren't changing things that happened to them that they remember. One of the HARDEST things about adopting these older treasures is they DO come with pasts. Pasts they remember and sometimes can slam you with the depth of pain they caused when your child shares.

It's ugly. And for some, the ugly doesn't go away. We may NOT be able to heal them. Love doesn't FIX all.  It can be hard to find a happy medium of "We love you, we want you, you are worthy of love and how to move on without being an emotional cripple over that past" for these kids. And I don't just mean TEENS. Sometimes these kids are YOUNG and things happen to traumatize them.

I'll share with you something I have not shared until now. Kat came to us at age 3. Turned 3 with us, in China. She came from a very loving foster home, deeply loved her foster parents. Was with them for 2 years. So orphanage care for first year of life.
When she first came home and started to speak English one thing she said was "I wish I was BOY"  and I thought, WOW, she already knows the cultural preference for boys there?  I assured her we were THRILLED she was a girl, we wanted a girl.

Time went on, we'd hear this maybe once a month? She added on later to the "I wish I was a boy---girls DIE."  And I thought, HUH?  Wasn't sure what she meant, but assured her she was safe, she wasn't going to die.  Later met up with a girl from her orphanage (see Rissa's page here )
 and the girls told us the most AMAZING story, they recalled being crib mates and how they held each other when they were scared and left alone at night. 

Even down to the scrap of cloth Kat held onto as a "security blanket" of sorts. HOW? We wondered. Could they remember that so YOUNG?

My doubts about this were thrown right out when our blessing of Tristan, our foster baby came along. Because a few days after he passed, Kat was in the kitchen and she looked at me with total horror on her face and she said to me "Is that girl, the one the man hurt, oh mommy--- she died, mommy, is she in Heaven with our baby?"  And I KNEW, somehow I KNEW she was there, where ever THERE had been reliving something she saw IN CHINA.  So I asked her what happened and she said "A man, mommy, he swing that girl around and hurt her, she hit her head, mommy, she's dead, girls die, why did he do that?" 

As I looked at my daughter, her face so distraught, I gently told her, "Kat, that man, he was WRONG. What he did was wrong. He should have NEVER done that to her. We never hurt Tristan, Jesus decided to take him because he was born broken, but Jesus also took that little girl and now HE loves her and HE made her whole and not hurt anymore and she is SAFE now in Heaven."

She processed that and her relief was visible. She had just found the words to tell me what she saw when she was too little to have words. She had finally put together what happened and needed to know how to cope with that.  I'm fairly sure I got her there. Because about 1 month later she said to me "Mommy, that girl and Tristan, they are together in Heaven and happy right, they are playing together?" And I told her I had not-one-doubt they those 2 precious babies were together in Heaven playing.

At Tristan's 3 year passing date I asked Kat if she remembered about the "girl" she had told me about, and was surprised but also PLEASED that she did not. Didn't remember a thing. Because it told me that the anger, fear, hurt, shock, pain, the trauma she had bottled up over what she saw was gone. God gave us the insight to it just so we could help her get past this. He loves HER and the little girl who suffered SO MUCH.

We never know what our children have gone through, seen, been exposed to, suffered through. Maybe something in a family or home triggers the pain, the upset, anger,from a past event and within another family it does not. Or a new start is needed, when a child is not told or doesn't want to be adopted and blames first family. Maybe a child has more needs that were disclosed and needs a stay at home parent and got parents who only have 6 weeks off, expected to put child in school and child needs to be home schooled? So do they quit their job, thus lose their home, possibly destroy a marriage to not re home a child?

Where do you draw the line?  I'm personally going to let the family living with a child decide. These people go through a grief process like a DEATH has occurred.  Seriously.  None that I know have taken re homing lightly or with anything but caring and desire for the best for that child / other children in the home, the family, the WHOLE picture. They will grieve, some fast, some slow, they will not forget the child, even with no contact. They may wish to NOT have contact to ease the pain but the memories are still there.  I'm not going to be someone who ADDS to a family hurting like that by looking/saying/doing anything purposefully to make them feel BAD about a choice they are making. AGAIN- I don't live with them, I have NO RIGHT, NO ONE has that right.

And if you are a family blessed with taking on a re homed child, here's some things for you to consider--

Please, I will beg you here, don't ever tell you child their first family did-not-want-them. PLEASE.  They did want them, even if it seemed like in the end they didn't. I don't care if the child is adopted internationally, foster care, it's your sister's kid that she has a drug problem and can't take care of them. DO NOT burden the child with "YOU were not wanted." SO many of our children carry such burdens already and feel unwanted already, don't add to that, PLEASE.

Consider your words. Your actions. We do not WHISPER ( Paisley had a first family) it's said when needed, out front. And that it did not work out. No blaming of her, them, just the facts. It's not shameful. They are not "bad people" we need to shame.  They are loving and caring people who gave her their ALL.

Give first family a name to distinguish families, maybe "your INSERT STATE HERE family" if they came from another state. Especially if you have other children who do not understand how you got this kid from China but didn't go to China and why didn't the family who brought them from China keep them? This can get hairy. Especially if your other kids are adopted as well. 

Allow the new child to guide you in where they need to go for closure. Paisley had already found her closure, she had shut first family firmly from her life, therefore she does not wish any contact with them. If she suddenly came to us and wanted contact we would be fine with that.

We know down the road she will revisit this issue time and time again. She will wonder if she was "unloved" by them, or "unlovable."  And we fully expect to help her understand she is very loved, by very many including her first family. More importantly she is loved by God, she always has been, always will be. She has always been a treasure to Him and is now to us.

I would be happy to share ---- jump in here if you have re homed a child, please!! Let us know how is your family doing now? How do you feel? Share (no names needed) send me an email and I will post only responses with NO identifying info, because I won't help anyone slam you. 

Do you have regrets? Does it help to see the child doing well, or do you take that as an insult?  I'll post what you what to share- whatever that is. Or if you wish, leave comments to this post.

Let's break the silence of this issue, let's get info out there, so parents who are struggling can get help, if it's advice, respite, re homing, whatever, we need to be supportive and not judging. I for one think adoptive families ROCK--- 100% rock.  ALL of you. God calls, you answer. Might not be where you planned, when, or even turn out how you planned but He is still here with us all, getting us through and these children are SOOOO very worth it.


thesleepyknitter said...

Love this post! So powerful, so right on target, so needed to be said. You did a fantastic job with it (as always).

We have re-homed, and we do not regret it, because the girl who was once our miserably unhappy, angry daughter through law is now becoming a happy, thriving daughter through love in her second family! She is starting to shine like the star I knew her to be, deep down under all that anger, and it is her second family that is making that happen. We could not make it happen, though we desperately wanted to. She was in shock over her adoption, in shock over changing countries/culture/food/racial community, in shock over the enormous language barrier (I often think that was the worst part of it for her), in shock over being taken away from friends she had known all her life and who were, for all intents and purposes, her REAL family. She could not shine, because she was depressed and angry and frightened and lonely, and we could not communicate with her, and we had caused all this loss in her life. And we were overwhelmed by the changes to our family that her anger brought. We did not know how to help her, and we did not know how to deal with the raw emotions we felt as our family seemed to be disintegrating before our eyes.

And then God brought us second family for this precious girl, and they were SO. RIGHT. FOR. HER. It brings tears to my eyes even now, so long afterward.

When people ask us, "Well, what about the idea of Forever Family?", I have to say that God used us, with our ready home study and ability to make a fast and very unexpected trip to this girl's home country, to bring her to America where she could eventually join her true Forever Family, and she is happy there and feels safe and loved. We wanted to BE her Forever Family, but God showed us in so many ways, and continues to show us in so many ways, that there was another family out there for this precious child.

Thank you for writing so passionately about this painful issue of re-homing. Like you, we have talked with others who have been through this difficult experience, and some have faced much rejection in their community as a result. We are very blessed not to have faced condemnation, but I think that is in part because we were able to keep our community informed about our circumstances. But we grieve for those who have faced condemnation.

OK, I'll stop -- my "comment" is turning out to be it's own post. Sorry!!!! :-)

Blessings to you and ALL your lovely family, both those at home with you and precious Phoebe waiting to come home! Praying with you for LOA!!!

Rebecca said...

Well said, as usual. Your perspective is always full of grace and wisdom. Truly, you are a blessing to those who have endured so much heartache. Thank you for keeping it real. I'm so glad God sent you to me:)

asianalmondtea said...

"Whatever course of action you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it an end requires courage."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

~Monica Utt~ Itty Bitty Land said...

You are amazing Vickie! Keep up the good fight! Your blog is doing so much to help so many.

I am also glad that Paisley's first U.S. Family has your blog so they can see her grow and see that they made a good choice. Even though, I know they would have loved for her to thrive in their family, as you said, it takes so much love and courage to let go.

Lori said...


Thanks for the post. It is so so hard to be in a position to even think about rehoming. It's a place you never dreamed you'd be and then there you are wondering, second guessing yourself and listening to people give you judgements.

Thank you for all your support.

Sammie said...

I still get very angry that there is so little in the way of post adoption services or support provided to families. Once you get kids home, agencies may call, but do not offer much in the way of help.

Having real post adoption support could make a HUGE difference for so many families.

Amy said...

Wow! A friend of mine sent me to your blog because of your Tough Love post. It made my friend think of me. I LOVE this post about re-homing. You are so right on and so full of grace! Several months ago, I desperately wanted to find a new home for my daughter. 6 months later we're doing much better, but I am so burdened for struggling adoptive families. I recently attended the Together for Adoption conference and one of the classes I went to was about disruption. I wish I could send this post to everyone who was in that session. The comment from Sammie about being angry that there is not much support for post-adoptive parents...I feel the same way. I recently started a prayer blog. If you know of anyone struggling with post adoption issues, please feel free to pass this along to them.