I received the most heart wrenching email from a fellow adoptive mom after yesterday’s post. It broke my heart to read her struggle and her anguish and to listen to the pain and trauma her children are experiencing.
While Ava’s issues are mild on the spectrum and Hannah’s were a little more extreme, nothing could have prepared me for this mom’s daily struggle and for the emotional pain and trauma her son’s, Lyle & James (not their real names) are experiencing.
Adoption is very close to my heart and I get so annoyed when people down play the differences between parenting an adopted child and a biological child. Adopted children, do, on some levels have special needs when it comes to parenting and nobody has any right to take away from that. The trauma and grief these innocent, little beings experience when they are so tiny and defenseless should be acknowledged and treated carefully and with compassion and never just dismissed.
Here is what she had to say, in her words:
I’ve read your latest post. Yes isn’t it sad that no one is talking about it? Everyone just wants to blindly make you believe adoption is this angelic experience.
Myself as well. All I wanted was to become a mom. To love a little girl or boy and shield them from the horrors of life. I wanted to love them and show them a different world to the one I was expose to as a child. I was ready to give unconditional love. Come hell or high water I will give LOVE. The love that was kept from me when I was a child I will pour it out over my children.
What I got is hell. Pure hell. The adoption glow has long gone and I’m feeling guilty about thinking why did I adopt?
James is 9 turning 10.
He has got major depression and ADD, he’s got zero self-esteem, sees the glass always empty, makes up tall tales, lying telling his friends we got an ps4/Xbox/Explorer etc etc…
He lies constantly. And then acts so hurt when you catch him out. He will wail and cry and play on my emotions. It has come to a point where I don’t believe him anymore. James is an introvert. I don’t always pick up when he is depressed. He is good at hiding stuff from us. He is also overly empathetic, he will cry over the littlest thing that will make him sad. He struggles to accept why IF his bio mum loved him, why did she let him go. We told him from the beginning she did it out of love, she could not support you. She did not have a job. He said he loves us, but wants to go and find her when he turns 18. I told him it is his fullest rights to do so and I will support him. He also has Sensory Processing Disorder and is struggling with sight, hearing, touch, smells, tastes and vestibular (inner ear) function, he also has NO filter, he will say what he is feeling then and there, no matter who is in the room.
James’s birth was in a hospital, he was with his mom for an hour or so, and we met her and she kissed him on his forehead and told us to look after him. You could see the pain and longing in her eyes.
Lyle, oh Lyle. He turned 8 in April
He is driving us crazy. He has tantrums and cries non-stop.. It is HELL coming home after work at the end of the day. He is always in a bad mood. Lately ‘I hate you’ has become his mantra. He will curse, he will shout, he will make irritating load noises. He is vindictive, he is violent, he is angry. He’s got NO empathy or a sense of humour. If you make a joke you are teasing HIM and then he will erupt in a massive volcanic outburst.
At school he is a shining star, a happy child. As soon as he gets in the car he explodes, then James is a fat pig, Granny is a stinking old witch, he hates everybody, he screams non-stop.
And all this points to Attachment Disorder.
His bio-mum bound her tummy so no one could see she was pregnant. She did a home birth and left the child with the midwife. The adoption agency struggled for 7 weeks to find her to sign the adoption papers. Lyle’s rejection is basically since conception. When he was a baby he did not want me to put him down, he could not bear to be alone, and would scream 95% of the time he was awake.
We tried sleep training with him to teach him how to self soothe… what a disaster. We tried it for 2 weeks. I think unknowingly I caused more rejection fears in him by doing sleep training. When he was a bit older he used to sit on my lap, and lift my shirt, then he would lift his t-shirt and lie against me for skin to skin contact. Sometimes he wants a blanket over us. The therapist says he was acting out womb caressing. His bio mum did not talk to him and touch her belly to let him know he is loved and wanted. The therapist says his rejection is so bad it is imbedded in his cells. I then used to caress him and talk to him, telling him that he is loved and that he is wanted. Almost as if I was caressing my pregnant belly and he was inside me. We did that till he was about 7 years old. The therapist said when he is ‘full’ of womb love/experience he will move on. We did bonding therapy for almost 6 months, Play Therapy. Sensory Therapy. Act out your anger Therapy name it and we did it. Speech Therapy, occupational Therapy.
But he is still angry. So very angry. He hates everyone, he wishes he was not in our house, he hates James, and he calls James the most disgusting names. He said when he becomes a dad one day he will still hate James. He is vindictive, foul mouthed, impulsive, talks non-stop, screaming hateful things, calling us names, hiding things, hitting his brother, pounding on doors, slamming doors, making irritated noises, disrespects us, his parents & his grandparents, got NO time for James, his favourite thing to say is he hates that fat pig, his gran is a stinking old witch, he demands my undivided attention 100% and will throw a hissy fit if someone talks to me while he wants my attention, he asks the same questions over and over and over again, he needs reassurance over and over and over again, he cannot sit still and he cannot keep still.
When I scold him or reprimand him he will shout at me that I hate him and everyone else is responsible but that HE is getting the blame. I’m not fair towards him and he hates everyone in the house, it is THEIR fault that he gets punished, he WILL NOT admit he is in the wrong.
No one can calm him down, I’m the only one, I will usually take him to my room he will rant and rave and scream about how stupid everyone is then I will calmly talk to him about it, to try and see what triggered it, in those calming talks I will re-direct the conversation to something completely different. For example like we were talking now about Granny that is only giving love to James accordingly to Lyle, so I will try and redirect flow to something like ‘Did you know that Avengers is showing at the movies? Do you think we can go and see it? I hope it is not PG then we will not be able to get in’ what do you think? Must we google it on the tablet, in an instant he will become this chatty lively child who hopes the movie is not PG he would love to see it.
I need to keep my ducks in a row on how to calm him, because what worked last night might not work tonight.
For example, last night what calmed him was when I asked him did he know he’s got a blue gown? He can wear that after he baths? 2 seconds and he was calm. He totally forgets that he owns one, and was jumping up and down on the bed exited to go and get it. NOTE 2 seconds earlier he was still screaming that James is a fat pig, he is an asshole, James pushed him when he was getting out of the bath, and ALL hell break loose…
I’m done. I told Lyle last night that I’m sorry that we adopted him, I shocked myself. It just slipped out. I’m done. I don’t sleep, get constant migraines, fell off the LCHF banting wagon. Fight with my husband all the time, ignoring my mom and gran, strict with James, and just say yes to everything Lyle is babbling on because I don’t have the strength to focus on him. All the therapy is costing us thousands, and we are going to do another assessment 25 November that is R3000 … I’m broke, I’m drained, I’m sad, I’m guilty, I’m at a loss for empathy for my children.
But I know myself, I just need me time, I need to go inside myself. Sooth myself, then I will be ok for the children. Also, my husband got a mental illness. schizophrenia affective Disorder. So he is also leaning heavy on me. Luckily he is stable on his medicine J
Attachment Issues are a bitch, my own dad rejected me. He told me I’m not his child, my mum was sleeping around and then trapped him into marriage. So my own self-defense was always building blocks around my sorrow, and hiding my emotions, I’m the only one who can lift up my spirits again. If I’m down, I pick myself up. If I’m depressed I kick my own butt!
As soon as I’m feeling better I’m going to read more about attachment & trauma therapy.
The ‘cure or treatment’ is to became a Therapeutic Parent
http://www.adoptionsupport.org/res/indexcorea.php (7 Core Issues in Adoptee)
http://www.adoptionsupport.org/res/indexcoreap.php (7 Core Issues in Adoptive Parents)
I think Adoption grief must be treated like any other grief or PTSD.
Much love, light, healing and strength to you M! Thank you for so openly and honestly sharing your story.