Reality is, despite appearances or successes outside the home, my boys are complicated and parenting them can be a challenging process. No child comes through the system of being inadequately parented (even during pregnancy), orphanage care or foster care and adoption untouched. NO CHILD. If you are thinking of adopting and you think your story will be different, I will tell you quite clearly that you are wrong. This is the REALITY of older child adoption. Our kids have been hurt and the consequences of that hurt is often life long.
One son in particular tends to cycle through times of brilliance and times of continual opposition. We are in the midst of a continual opposition phase, that seems riddled with absolute seeming stupidity and escalates into continual parental frustration.
This week he carved up an antique desk that was given to me as a child by my grandmother. So being destructive would fall under the label of oppositional behavior. The stupidity? He carved his own initials. The frustration? When confronted he blamed the fact that when his now 8 year old brother was 2 he colored on his comforter and we didn't get HIM in big trouble so he shouldn't be in trouble now.
He had a math test on Monday that he refused to study for on his own, and refused my repeated offers of help over the weekend. He stated repeatedly that it was easy and he understood it all, and he would be just fine. All fine and good except on Monday morning as we were leaving the house I noticed writing on the palms of his hands. The math formulas needed for the test. Trying to cheat? Oppositional Behavior. Using a bright red marker to do so? Stupidity. The parental frustration? Denial that his barely passing grade was unacceptable and that being provided more opportunity to study (aka losing his tv privileges in the evenings) was extremely unreasonable punishment.
He is refusing every request and being severely oppositional all the time. The rest of the family tip toes around him knowing that any interaction will be an excuse for an argument or worse. The only ones getting his good behavior are the babies. With the babies he is happy, engaging, and completely appropriate.
In other words, it's driving the rest of the family insane. This isn't a post that I can wrap up with a quick resolution. Parenting complicated children with complicated histories is difficult. Those going into foster care adoption, older child adoption or adoption in general need to be aware that even with the gorgeous pictures full of beautiful smiles there are many years of hard work.
We regularly examine and re-examine our medication choices for him. We work daily to provide him the structure that he needs. We pay for an education that is unique so that he can succeed. We love him. We struggle. We survive the day and know the next morning will start again with someone being screamed at or screaming.
We don't know the whys or hows. It could be hormones. It could be trauma revisited with the arrival of Miss Precious whose infancy experience mirrors his own. It could be adoption related, brain damage related, or it could be we are just horrible parents. It could be really ANYTHING, and as I said, not so gently, to a support person in our lives this week, I really don't care about WHY anymore because the "why" doesn't really matter at this point. One more diagnosis won't change anything or open up any more doors for help. The reality is, it simply IS. We have to deal with the present and finding blame won't make ANY of us feel any better.Complicated kids. Complicated lives. That is our reality. Some days its smiles and cuddles and precious moments, other days its being the mom of the kid who cheats on his math test and carves his name into a piece of furniture.
And that, I suppose, is the rest of the story.