Friday, April 6, 2012

Kids with Attachment Disorders are like Onions…

YOU mean you leave them out in the sun, and they get all brown and sprout little white hairs?...nope…


I think what hurts the most in this journey of hoping and helping my kiddo’s heal is EXPECTATIONS. Expectations people, family members, community put on them to “hurry up and get better”, “Get over it”, “Change”, “adapt”, “Heal”…and my personal favorite “be normal”.

Yeah, could you kids get on that for me?

Trust me even more than me wanting them to function on a level that takes the shame and sabotage, rejection and fear out of everyday for them, they want it more. Deep down, they do. They just don’t know how to get there.

When Papillion was at her 8th hospital/RTC she had this therapist, the one that finally diagnosed her with Borderline Personality Disorder.
My heart was breaking, the violence was terrifying, and as only a desperate mother can, I asked this woman “WHY?, why won’t she just choose the therapy, choose to get help, choose our family and the life we have to offer her, over this?”

and her answer still haunts me when I get stuck in the SAME “why” with my other hurt children…whether it be new clothes being cut up and destroyed “WHY”, items being stolen they don’t even like “WHY”, random unimportant constant chronic lying “WHY”, urine everywhere “WHY”.

She told me, “What has kept her safe, and alive is this six feet of dilapidated rope she has been clinging to. (the way she controls her environment) and no matter what you tell her, she believes in her soul it is what has kept her safe and alive….
and here you are offering her a professional grade ladder, not only for her to hold onto, but to climb up, and she doesn’t trust it, there is nothing in her being that tells her this will keep her safe, this will change her circumstance, this will make her happy

Because lets be honest, what the hell does she know about happiness anyway?

Our sweet neighbor is doing a neighborhood Easter Egg hunt for all of the kid’s in the surrounding block. Prior to my adoption, prior to the Earthquake, prior to them coming home, this was the stuff of which my adoption daydreams set their stars.
Imagining my darling bi-racial children in matching garb eagerly holding their baskets, lovingly helping one another find Easter Eggs, giggling and in innocent childhood fun, collecting their bounty to come show their adoring mother…

No one mentions the fact that the Easter Baskets have been torn apart or *cough* worse. No one mentions, once they find one egg, they sit and consume the treats so quickly they choke. No one mentions your older child taking younger kids eggs/candy and running off and hiding to eat everything. No one mentions how that evening, or the next day will be fraught with so much anxiety, tears, and hour long tantrums. No one mentions any of these things.

So when my sweet little neighbor dropped by with a flyer and an invite. I wanted to hug her, and thank her for the invite, and honestly tell her, our family would not be able to participate. Her sweet eyes looked confused, “I thought maybe they were doing better?”

 I felt like I lied and said “They are, but they are still not ready, thanks so much though, and let me know if you need any help.”

As I closed the door, jealous, frustrated, selfish tears leaked out.
This wasn’t my kids stuff, it was mine. My sadness in that silly little daydream in my head not being a reality, and I ran a tub, got into it and let the tears loose, and I let my self mourn that for a little while….

I did the “Are they EVER going to get better, whoah is me” sob….and then I started to think. “Ya know, they have gotten better, they have moved mountains in their healing.”

They can now share hurts and feelings, where this time last year they would have just shut down. Rages are not everyday for 6 hours. Stealing, Lying and inappropriate behavior has decreased. Sure new behaviors pop up, some easier, some that make my head spin
…and that is when Shrek popped his green little face into my head.

Perhaps sometimes what we think is digression in our children’s behavior, is a new layer, because we have peeled one of them off?

I know my kids are healing, and trusting more. I know they consider that ladder I have for them more often, than completely rejecting it. I can’t imagine how desperately vulnerable it has to be for them to even consider letting go of what has kept them alive.

The Layers SUCK, the old stuff replaced with the new sometimes makes me miss the old behaviors… “PLEASE go back to peeing, the boogers are grossing me out”…

but change is still CHANGE.

Even if they are a stinky, stinky little onion, I want to keep on working towards that core….and maybe, once we get there…what we have been working towards will feel more like a Parfait instead of an onion…maybe, I doubt it.

As for right now, Layers, onions, and parenting this…stinks....


  1. Oh, you are so right.


  2. I'm right there with you, sweet friend. I've been asked the very same questions about whether or not they're ready. They hurt. They make me look like a hyper controlling mom. My kids are doing WAY better than in the past...but they still have RAD, they still have terrible anxiety, and they are still very fragile. Much as it sucks to be left out at times, I'm simply not willing to undo what we've fought so hard to achieve. Hang in there, precious mama! Love you buckets!!

  3. What people don't realize is that whatever progress they see, whatever calm them see, whatever "normal" they see is exactly ONLY because of the 24/7 their parents, their mothers, spend maintaining a "safe world" for our kids. So. No, everything is not fine now. I have only a fraction of what most of you guys are dealing with, a blip on the screen, and we need to maintain very firm boundaries even at that level.
    I have to laugh at the very lovely school psychologist who has offered to introduce me to a couple classmates' mothers so we could have playdates - our very sweet 2nd grader is very well liked ...
    Why yes he is sweet, really I believe our guy may be 95% "a regular kid". However the other 5% heavily weights our life to - WHAT ARE YOU THINKING.
    We're not even going to that school next year - we're not in district, so umm sure let's think about making deeper friendships so we can miss more friends next year. Not to mention, we don't really do playdates, our world is smaller than the average families world, we live close to home.
    Sadly, she doesn't really know us, much, at all, hardly.

    But then, you mamas know that, and how silly I am to think they actually get it, fully.

    You guys are incredible, dedicated, WISE mothers!
    I was going to say - committed - but y'all might have taken that as an invitation and turn it into a vacation. If you know what I mean. LOL

  4. Oh Lindsay I love your writing. You have such a way of making me feel better.

    By the way, are you the fly that has been flying around my house for the last couple weeks? LOL! Torn clothes, stealing, lying, You hit the nail on the head.

    I hope, in spite of everything, you have a Happy Easter.

  5. Hi Lindsay,
    I've been enjoying your blog for awhile! Didn't put two and two together.
    Hugs - Erika