Thursday, April 23, 2015

Getting Help

This article was posted on the special-needs parenting blog Not Alone last week and couldn’t have been more timely for me: When Mama Needs Help

Because the time has definitely come: this mama needs help.

Our son’s running away unleashed a pent-up deluge of negative emotions that I’ve been pushing aside for a long time. In the days following, I found that I couldn’t interact with my oldest kids without all those emotions getting in the way and preventing happy interactions. I didn’t want to get out of bed and deal with the same problems again. I didn’t want to put food on the table around the clock. Really, I wanted to binge-watch Netflix until they’re grown. (Which, in fact, I’m doing as I write this while my mom has the kids because I’m sick!)

It’s a fine line: our kids need to understand that their sinful choices hurt other people, but they themselves need help and healing before they are going to actually build healthy relationships. As the parent, I have to do whatever it takes to keep myself healthy and able to be a model of Christ-like love, whatever poor choices our kids may make.

Starting this week, I’ll be seeing a counselor who has experience in these types of family/adoption issues and is familiar with the fact that PTSD is a common diagnosis for trauma parents. Seems strange, doesn’t it?

When I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t doing well mentally and emotionally, I took inventory of my symptoms. Hmm, those sound exactly like the symptom list for PTSD. That’s crazy. I’m a mom, not a soldier. I brushed it aside, resolving to try harder, to pray more. And then I started coming across source after source pointing to PTSD as the diagnosis for parents in the trenches. Maybe…I wasn’t so far off? And for sure…it was time to get help.

If you would, please pray that my counseling time would be helpful and productive, and that the Lord would use it to heal my heart.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Crazy Mama Bear Seeks Post-Adopt Services

So finding post-adopt services is proving to be a tough road. Among contacting lots of other resources, we reached out to our agency who has a post-adopt department and told us to use it any time we needed help. Well, we need help. And we were referred to an organization in Midland, TX. Midland is five hours away from us. When I googled the distance from Midland to Waco, I absolutely lost it. And I wrote this to the agency’s post-adopt department:
I have to tell you that this is a really insufficient answer. If you wish you could do more, then do more. I have called that number and left a message, but Midland is not an option for us. My husband has to work (and has already given up a lot of career opportunities to take a remote job that allows us to live in Waco with family support), and I have to care for our four children.  
It's easy to say nice things to people who are struggling, but that's not what we need. The few people who actually understand the urgency and frustration are helping us, but they are family members, not professionals with available resources. And they have jobs other than keeping our family together. 
I really hope that you never find your child missing, that your life doesn't fall apart because you did something crazy like adopt hurting children, and that you are never desperate for help. But we did, and we are.  
I'm not going to keep emailing you like a crazy person. I'm going to keep loving my kids and spending myself in pursuit of their good. I hope to be past this someday and be able to make a difference for adoptive families. I just need you to know that help isn't helpful when it's theoretical or impractical.

To their credit, our agency then made personal contact with the organization in Midland on our behalf, and we are waiting to hear back. We were promised a call on Thursday and hadn’t heard anything by the end of Friday. Perhaps this week. Edited to add: we were contacted on Monday, I turned in the paperwork on Tuesday, and we have a meeting with our case worker this evening.

The whole situation is complicated. I know that the things I need to say are hard things for the real person who runs the post-adopt department to hear. I know that working in social services is often a dead-end road, when you wish you could help but you can’t because the whole thing is an unhelpful, bureaucratic mess. And at the same time, our family won’t make it on people’s wishes that they could do more, and we signed those adoption papers with the promise that we’d have support until the children are eighteen. I have to fight for real help until we get it, and sometimes that means telling a broken system to push past the brokenness and try harder for the sake of these kids who are really struggling.

By the way, this isn’t an an attack on our adoption agency. I’m trying to write with an honest look into older child adoption, and that includes sharing when I lose my mind just a little. I’m writing for the mom who will find my posts four years from now, scared and desperate, and I pray that she’ll be able to read our journey and find hope, knowing that others have struggled in the same ways and have survived. Marty’s Musings and Overcoming Myself have been two such blogs for me. 


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Steadfast

Y’all, it’s been a really tough week in a series of tough weeks and months and years. We woke up last Monday morning to find that our oldest child had run away overnight in a very planned fashion. For about two hours, we didn’t know where he was. Terrifying, I tell you. He was found in a safe place. We were covered in prayer and had excellent help from the police department. The details aren’t for the internet, but you might be able to tell that our kids are struggling deeply. I know so very many of you pray for us and with us. Will you pray for our kids to know Jesus as savior, rescuer, healer, comforter, friend?

My poor friends and family have been the recipients of my frustration this week about the lack of post-adopt support services. Everyone has a website and promises great things, but I’m left with a silent phone, an empty inbox, and a struggling family. Our agency referred us to help five hours from where we live. How we are supposed to keep PJ at work, care for four children, and receive services five hours away is beyond me. I really hope to write a post sometime soon with glowing reports about helpful services, but today my eyes are teary and my keyboard is practically smoking as I email vented frustrations to people who are walking with us and will bear this burden so I don’t lose my mind.

The Lord has been so good to pour scripture over us this week. And He’s giving several of us the same word: steadfast. It’s shown up in verses on steadfast love, and today I found it in Psalm 51, as a prayer for a steadfast spirit. This section of the psalm is my prayer for today: to have joy and gladness, to have my sin cleansed, to be willing to do the work, sustained by the Lord, and to see our kids come to know Christ. Join with me in praying Psalm 51: 8-13?

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.