Thursday, May 5, 2016

It takes time

This blog has been sloshing around in my head since December, so I guess it's time to get it out! We finalized twin's adoption 12/17/2015. We are 4.5 months into our new season as Piatts. We've seen major improvement in behavior and trust. However, we are still struggling in some areas. I've always vowed to be honest on here, and I try to balance the struggles with respect and love.

I love love love my boys. I do.

Keanu is a completely different child with love and consistency. He responds to praise and words of affirmation. He gives compliments constantly. He is always willing to give hugs and kisses. He says, "I love you" without prompting. He truly is our gentle giant. Something in him changed the day we were able to look into those precious blue eyes and say, "you are a Piatt. You are with us forever and always. This is your home. Forever." I am so proud of him for his willingness to forgive others and his natural empathy towards those around him. I really did not think he would be this sweet. But, oh my, he is the sweetest little boy. I hate to use the word "normal"... but, most of his behavioral outbursts compare to "normal" three year old boy behavior. We still see moments of extreme anxiety or emotional stress, but he is easily comforted by us and very responsive to our love and correction. His healing and coping seems to be moving along quite well. 

I am going to stay fairly vague about Kade. I do not want to speak ill of my child. I do not want to be negative. He has many positive qualities, but we are struggling. Specifically, he and I. But, also still with his teachers at school, teachers and Sunday school, babysitters- others. So, lets start with the best news. He is so fun. His energy and laugh is intoxicating. He is very helpful with babies (Baby B and Baby R *that's another post!). He is smart and likes to draw and "practice" his letters. He is super athletic and makes checking the mail look cool. What we are noticing though, he still has major regressions. He will do well for a while, obedient, overall good attitude, listening, good choices, and then a flip switches and he is verbally disobedient and hateful. He becomes physical towards his brothers and completely pulls away from us. When he's in this state he does not want hugs and kisses, he seems irritated by verbal praise and encouragement. I don't know how else to say it, but it's like he gets in a bad mood and cannot be pulled from it until he is good and ready. There's very little rhyme or reason to the poor choices he makes. He understands consequences, but shows little or no remorse. He fully understands proper behavior and expectations, but refuses to choose the desired behavior. I know people reading this think "well, yea, he's three." This is not the typical three year old opposition/opinionated/bad attitude phase. This is extreme. Honestly, its maddening and frustrating. It's a very manipulative situation, and often a dysfunctional relationship between us. He so desires to be in control that he tries to control emotions and affection as well. I don't want to make it sound like we haven't seen growth. We have. We also still experience major regression and it becomes more difficult to feel the growth. 

So, here's where we are. I see many positive things about where Kade is. I also realized a few weeks ago how angry I was with him. I felt so guilty for the anger, and I never want to be angry towards my kiddos, or angry at all. But, what I realized.. he had a really really hard life before he came to us. He also had a really hard time in foster care. He was torn from his mother and confused, scared, and hurt. He did not fully feel secure and loved in our home until finalization, despite our best efforts. We could not promise him forever before 12/17/15. So for the first 510 days of his life he was neglected and abused, and honestly, who knows what else, and then 517 days in stressful foster care limbo, and I expect him to fully cope with everything in 140 days??? Not going to happen. So, I'm adjusting my expectations, asking for forgiveness, grace, and patience to love him well each day. I'm warring against the thoughts that it will never get better or it will always be this way. Trying not to speak in absolutes and remember, it takes time. I have to allow myself time to heal from the unknown, stress, and heart break of foster care. I realize and confess I'm still angry and hurt from the time we spent in foster care together. The stressful visits and the behavioral regressions, and the outbursts specifically towards me, and most importantly.. I have to remember to give him time to heal. Time to learn to use the tools we've given him to cope and express himself.  And diligently pray for the Lord to change his heart and mine. I desire to be marked by love and I desperately want to love Kade with every ounce of my being... 

"Love is not a feeling but a determined act of will, which always results in determined acts of self giving. Love is the willing, joyful desire to put the welfare of others above your own." 
-John MacArthur 



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