Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Giving the Orphan Back

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.
Matthew 18:5

Facts and Figures
            Today I want to talk about why people give  foster/adoptive children back. Sad as it sounds we have all heard the stories of Russia and how when people found out how abused the orphans were they immediately wanted to adopt. The surge of adoptions from Russia to the US grew rapidly and then slowly over the years the horrible stories of people sending the children back came trickling out.
        Adoption stories are not fairy tales. Many of them while they have happy endings are really a continued choice over a lifetime. I don't think the choice to adopt is a one day choice I think it's an everyday choice. As in marriage love is a choice and you choose to love that person everyday if you don't make that choice or if you believe love is an emotional response you will run into a big problem when conflict comes. In the case of the Russian orphans because they were so severely neglected they had attachment disorders. Meaning they had no emotional response to emotional stimulation. For example they didn't know how to care, love, or feel remorse. That is what they say serial killers experience emotionally, no feeling of remorse.
        Granted this is the severity of neglect. Emotional development begins when you're in the womb. When you're responded to, the attachment begins. Adoptive families have the responsibility to re-create the scenarios that help children become attached. I'm going to say right now that this is not something that naturally happens when children come into your home. It's the job of the parents to pursue this in their adopted child. If as a family you're too busy, have a lot of other children, or have commitments that take up a lot of time the child will not become attached automatically. I think this is what mainly happened to these Russian orphans. They needed a lot of time, therapy, attention, and healing and I think the good intentions of the adoptive parents weren't enough.
      I'm not putting blame on anyone I want to however show a cycle that can happen to adoptive parents. This cycle doesn't just apply to adoption but can apply to any relationship that we have. These are called the Stages of Disruption:
1. Diminishing Pleasure
2. The Person is the Problem
3. Going Public
4. Critical Incident #1
5. Ultimatum
6. Critical Incident #2
7. Disruption

I'm going to talk about a scenario that can be familiar and then one that can apply to foster/adoptive children:
  Lets say one day your talking with a friend and you find out that your best friend has told them a secret about you that you didn't want anyone to know. (Diminishing Pleasure) You start thinking about all the secrets that you told your best friend. Are they going to expose all those private details about your life to the whole world? (The Person is the Problem) After you have stewed about how your friend is going to be the worst back stabbing person you have in your life you start talking about it with your significant other. You "process" about how they are such a horrible person and how every secret that you've ever shared with them is going to be spilled out for the world to analyze. (Going Public)
  True to form your significant other sides with you and tells you to call the whole friendship off. You need to cut them off if they don't apologize! So, you go to confront them. As you're yelling at your best friend (Critical Incident #1) you tell them that if they don't stop talking about you behind your back you're never going to speak to them again (Ultimatum). The next day your best friend pounds on your door, instead of apologizing they lay into you about how you embarrassed them in front of their family (Critical Incident #2). At the end of it all you say something like "I don't care if I never see you again!" (Disruption) Now as adults who have had many relationships in our lives by now we can see a way to avoid all that drama and come to an outcome that maintains our connection to our best friend. Even after all that forgiveness goes a long way but how can these steps lead to adoptive parents calling the adoption/foster agency to come get the child and take them back?
   Children who have been exposed to the violence, neglect, pain, and home environments that are violent  are bound to come with some behaviors that you are not use to. The traditions in their previous birth families stick with them when they enter your family.
    Here's an example I want to share about this model and how it could lead to disruption. The Peters are a newly certified foster to adopt family they have not been able to have children and both are now in their 40's. Their desire is to have lots of children and after years of fertilization treatments have decided to adopt. They went through the process of being certified and were awaiting a phone call to be placed with a child. Their desire was an infant girl but they would be willing to take anything. Late one night they got the phone call they had been waiting for. There is an emergency placement of a 5 year old boy who just got taken out of a house that the cops had raided for meth. He is currently at the police station can you come and pick him up?
       The Peters talked about it for a few minutes and decided that they would take the boy though it wasn't exactly what they were hoping for. They drove to the police station to pick him up, after filling out paper work the look at the frail, dirt filled child and gently took him to the car. When they got home they gave him a bath and put him to bed. When they woke up the next day and looked in his room he had disappeared. Frantic they start calling his name "Shane, where are you?" Finally they hear a rustling sound coming from under his bed. They take a peek and there he was curled in a ball under the bed. After coaxing him out from under the bed they make him breakfast. He eats so fast, stuffing his face with food not using fork or spoon just his hands.
      The Peters are educated adults who know what the signs of abuse and neglect are so they are understanding but somewhere inside of them they were expecting this to go a little differently. After breakfast they decide to go for a walk down to the park. So they dress him, mind you he hasn't said a word since they got him, and take him for a walk. Before they get to the end of the driveway he bursts into a run right into the middle of the street. Mr. Peters screams "no! come back!" which only makes the boy more scared and he runs further. Bother Mr. and Mrs. Peters take off after the boy which they find hours later hiding up in a tree.
      They take him out of the tree gently even though he's screaming and hitting them. Back at home it's past lunch time so they feed him again and again he stuffs his face and even starts putting food in his pockets. Mac and cheese don't really keep well in pockets. All these incidents are (diminishing their pleasure in having a child). Mrs. Peters had decided to have some friend over that night to meet their new son so she started preparing for the BBQ they were going to have. Her husband had to get some work done so she tells Shane he can go play in his room with all his new toys. Shane seemingly obedient goes into his room, while in his room he unloads all the food in his pocket and puts it in a secret stash under the bed. He looks at the toys but doesn't know what to do with them so he picks them up at starts throwing them one by one until they start shattering all over the floor.
      Mrs. Peters hears all this noise coming from Shane's bedroom so she puts down the meat that she was marinading and runs to see what's going on. Before they had Shane they had filled the room that he now currently was staying in with hundreds of dollars worth of toys. Even some old toys they both her and her husband had played with as children where in the collection. When she opened the door h she couldn't believe what she was seeing. Every single toy was laying in pieces on the floor. The walls had huge holes where he had thrown the toys. She felt her blood pressure rising. How could he do such a thing?! She was starting to think this wasn't a good idea after all this kid was a mess!
    After getting her husband they cleaned up the mess and helped him clean up his clothing. Their guests were starting to arrive so they didn't have time to do anything about their walls. As the guests started coming one by one they met Shane. "Oh he's so cute they exclaimed! " "What a sweet boy!"
they said. As Mrs. Peters was in the kitchen finishing up the food her best friend comes in. "So how's in going? Feeling great being a mother?"
       "To be honest Mrs. Peters says he's really got problems." she starts going into all the drama that had happened that day. "Wow, her best friend said that's rough. I hope that he gets over this phase soon. You've waited so long to be a mother it would be so tragic if you had a kid that turned out to be a mess." Mrs. Peters felt like she had waited a long time and had been through hell to get a child so she really did deserve a sweet, loving child. She went public with her feelings and now she was responsible to do something about it.
       As people started hanging out in the back yard smelling the BBQ, Mrs. Peters ask Mr. Peters if he had seen Shane. "No, dear I've been talking business with Mr. Holt here. I'm sure he's around somewhere maybe in his room." Mrs. Peters shakes a few hands on the way to finding her son all of a sudden she starts smelling something like fire. Attributing it to the BBQ she thinks nothing of it. She opens the door to Shane's room and sees him crouched down on the floor. "Hey, Shane would you like to eat some food?"  As he turns around she notices the match too late, somehow he had grabbed one of the matches they used to light the BBQ without anyone noticing. He throws the lit match on to her apron instantly catching it on fire. Mrs. Peters screams, and hearing her screams the guests run into the room. One of the party guest quickly puts out the fire but not before Mrs. Peters is badly burned and in need of medical attention. (Critical Incident #1)
         A week later Mrs. Peters was nursing her 3rd degree burns which where on her thighs, stomach and for arms. Shane was still living with the Peters but right after the incident Mr. Peters had warned Shane if he didn't stop setting things on fire he would have to go live somewhere else (Ultimatum). Mrs. Peters was really heart broken over all of it. The thought of a perfect happy little family was now shattered into a million different pieces.
         One night as Mr. and Mrs. Peters where watching TV in bed they heard the loudest noise they had ever heard. The biggest boom came from outside in the driveway. They rush out side to find their car completely engulfed in flames. They were completely bewildered because they were sure they had taken every match out of the house after the first incident. Behind them hiding in the bushes was Shane. He had hidden a match the day he had thrown one at Mrs. Peters. That was the last straw for Mr. Peters he called the fire department and then the social worker. (Disruption) "What happened the social worker asked I thought it was all going well?" The Peters had thought that they were able to handle all of the incidents on their own and hadn't mentioned the steps that were leading to the disruption of this child.
     This story is just an example of what could happen when you don't communicate with your social worker at stage one. These stories are common in foster/adoptive situations. While we on the outside could say we would never throw Shane out of our house that may not be true. All of us have our buttons and when they are consistently pushed it's not a far jump to sending a child back to where they came from. The point to all of this is know what you are getting into. Understand that your commitment to a broken child can not be fickle it has to be constant and continual.

Thoughts and Journal Entries
July 2011 
    Funny things happen when you are on the road of single motherhood. Two months ago I got a camera ticket for making a right on a red light with out stopping. Yeah for the $500 ticket. There's no way on Gods green earth that I can pay for this thing so I went to the police station and they said that I could go to court a year from now and talk with a judge about setting up payments or something. Hopefully in a year I'll have enough money from my books ect. that I can pay it out right. It's really hard feeling the weight of debt. Dear Jesus I want to be debt free amen!
    This month a lot of things happened. I no longer work for my boss they left for England but I taught a soaking seminar last month and this month I'm working at a church camp for kids so that will bring some finances in. I'm really hoping that my soaking manual gets published soon so I can have that as a stream of income.
    We went to visit baby girls siblings for the first time this month. It was surreal not going to lie one of her sisters asked when they were all going to be a family again. I know that they most likely at this point won't all be together just because of the circumstances but it broke my heart to hear anyway. My DCSF worker by the way is a saved, loving Jesus believer and I've gotten to pray over her and encourage her. I can't imagine the case load which is so large and all the pressure it's a lot to deal with. Even though they aren't suppose to take sides I know I have a lot of favor with her. It's really encouraging to have her come and I can chat with her about the case.
     It's baby's first fourth of July and even though I'm exhausted I'm forcing myself to be social and be around people who I can have conversations with. Talking to a baby all day long isn't really socializing. It's kind of hard for me to talk to other people who don't have babies because I'm so baby brain now I don't even think about other things. Dear me there goes my social connections! I do have a foster family group that I'm a part of which really helps. Talking about the status of the cases that we are each in is therapeutic.
       I had a dream about the baby's name. She came with a name but I've decided that when I'm able to adopt her I'll call her Isabella and move her birth name to her middle name. She didn't have a middle name that they told me of so I'll give her the nick name Bella. She's starting to sit up and babble a lot and I'm convinced she will pop a tooth soon.
       In the secret place when I'm with the Lord I keep hearing Him say that everything will be alright. I feel the reassurance that she will be with me for the rest of my life. I've had some of the craziest prophetic words about how I'm going to not be able to adopt her ect. Man I hate when people put their issues into prophetic words drive me bonkers. Anyway, I'm still pastoring but it's getting hard. I really don't have time for crazy people any more. I can't give any more I'm so tired really and everything that I've been giving is to Bella. My seasons have officially shifted and I can feel it. Motherhood is so beautiful, it's the most amazing journey that I've ever been on. Having this baby who is such a representation of God's heart. I'm so loved! What an honor it is to be this baby's mother.
The Patriot

First Swing ride!

Rollie Pollie

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