Hello Friends & Family, I am back! Well I didn’t really go anywhere but I had to step back and process some of the events that have brought us to where we are now (more on that later). I am excited to be back to blogging honestly it is the way I stay zen, because the burden is too much to carry without sharing about it. I am sure you are curious of what has gone on over the past year (yes it really has been that long!), well here is where we are.
Our family has had quite the year, when we last left you we were working through in home therapy for C and trying to determine our next move because it wasn’t working. That next move was a huge step out on faith. In May about 7 months after intensive in home therapy started we made the difficult decision to place C outside the home for treatment, it had become unsafe in the home for everyone including himself. Before school let out we had our first meeting with the residential program we had chosen (not an easy decision by any means). We really liked the program and we scheduled our tour of the facility a week later. Two very long weeks later we packed our oldest son and moved him to a residential boys wilderness camp. I would be lying if I said that it was easy, after everything he has put the family through but it was such a bittersweet day. On one hand I had just entrusted my son’s care to people that a month ago I had just met, I knew it was the right decision however it was so hard to leave and make the 2 hour drive home, there were many tears shed prior to drop off, at drop off, on the way home, and still to this day. On the other hand I knew for the safety of my family that this was the right decision, for the first time in 3.5 years my other children will have a chance to feel safe in their own home, yes you read that right, our other children were living in daily fear of what might happen if their brother lost control, it was a miserable way to live. We are 6 months into the program at the wilderness camp, we have home visits every 6 weeks for a long weekend (Thursday – Tuesday) and they are as expected, difficult. We have a very long time to go with this program before he can graduate and transition to living back in the home but we are hopefully on the right path.
Where does that leave us? We have a few new challenges now with our oldest living outside the home.
The first challenge, the questions, people are curious where he is. During the summer it was easy to say he is at camp and they would smile and that would be the end of the discussion. Now that we are out of camp season and back in school when we say camp we are met with lots of confused looks and more questions. While I don’t mind answering questions sometimes those conversations turn awkward or overly personal really quick. I do share as much as I can because I believe in transparency in adoption because no one should go into this journey blindly however sometimes the questions in front of our other children are too much to answer with little ears. Yes I know they lived through it however it has been traumatic for them (yes there is therapy involved to help them through this) and doesn’t need to relived.
Our second challenge has been how our other children have adjusted. We have uncovered some unsettling things that have happened in the home now that C isn’t home and our youngest was able to feel safe enough to share. It turns out that C had been threatening to hurt him, while he had done this in front of us and it was stopped and addressed with out treatment team it had apparently been going on to a bigger extent than we knew so we are working with him to develop felt safety in the house again. This also extends of a lot of mood swings and meltdowns due to anxiety of impending home visits and a lot of crying and begging us not to pick him up due to their fear of him. This is heart breaking as a mother because in trying to do right by all the children I feel as if I am furthering the trauma caused to our younger children.
The third challenge we have and the hardest one by far to deal with has been family & friends. When we adopted and started having troubles our friends & family took a few giant steps back. They didn’t want our trouble child playing with their kids because well he was a bully, a thief, and downright mean. Do I blame them, no, however we need the support, we need the respite, we need that community that isn’t afraid to walk away. We have a few very close friends that have pulled in closer to us over these past few years and they have been such an amazing blessing I can’t even express in words what they mean to us. When we started have severe troubles & behaviors out of our oldest and we made the decision to place him outside the home for treatment most of our family had strong opinions yet no one was there to help us. We had single handily become the black sheep of the family, when we needed help the most those that were supposed to be closest to us walked away. I don’t know if they walked away because they felt we made the wrong decision, because they didn’t know what to do because this is all new, or because they simply didn’t believe this was happening — however they stepped away and we were left to pick up all the pieces by ourselves. This past year has been one of the loneliest I have ever experienced in my life. Again those friends that are our family have been there for us and without them I would not be where I am today in my journey of healing and rebuilding my family.
Where do we go from here? That is a thought that is often on my mind, we are taking this one day at a time. Learning how to help our children gain the feeling of felt safety in our home that was stolen from them by their older brother. We are working on healing ourselves as we identify and name things that we have kept hidden for far too long. We are recovering slowly from the emotional abuse we lived daily with our oldest. We are working on forgiving and repairing any semblance of a relationship with C. At this point I can personally say I do not see myself being able to trust him again, the wounds are too deep and too fresh, I do prayerfully hope that changes some day but at this point in time it is just not possible.
What is next, we keep swimming =) Honestly we are working on building our relationships with our other children. When you live with a child with severe attachment and behavioral issues you will find that the other relationships in your life suffer. We have taken vacations, done family photos, and been able to relax and enjoy life. Life around the house isn’t filled with chaos and fear it is filled with love and laughter. While this will likely be now of the hardest decision we have ever had to make I can say confidently that it was the best decision for the circumstances we were in.