Friday, September 11, 2009

Building Blocks

This has been a tough week.

I feel stretched very thin right now. My focuses are children, homeschool, husband and then the disaster that was previously known as my house. If you are my friend, please don't think that I put something material ahead of you :) I have a social worker coming over next week for a post-placement checkup, and I don't want CPS called due to the condition of my home.

I have 12 unplayed messages on my phone right now, dating back over a week. I access my email once every few days, because we still have no working computer and the Mister has been traveling a lot this week (no Mister = no laptop). I know that I have about a billion unanswered emails too. If you are someone waiting to hear from me, know that I know, I love you, and I'll get back to you, I promise. Once I regain some semblance of sanity and balance in my life (hopefully before the decade's end, but no promises, lol!)

I'm going to vent by saying that I cannot believe the number of people who have come to me in the past few days asking to join a club, volunteer for a position or otherwise commit time away from family. Like the retired neighbor who spends her days gardening and golfing, who came over and asked me to take over some neighborhood cancer fund raising volunteer position where I would "only" have to address 40 envelopes, mail them, call to follow up, and collect the money. She's "busy" but she knows that I stay home. Seriously?

Maybe because I have willingly chosen to have 5 children people think I'm a glutton for punishment (likely) or superwoman (ha!). Maybe because I don't have a new baby, they think that adding two older ones is a cakewalk and non-deserving of adjustment. Or that because we have homeschooled 3 years now, I don't need any time for getting back into the swing of things. Or maybe they're smoking crack. Or maybe I am. I don't know. But I do know that right now, I can'

This week has been rough and tough with Keenan. Our little guy is past the shell-shock, and he's lessened up on the mourning activities. But now he's in the, okay, here I am, let's see how far up the food chain I can get in this family phrase.

My cute little guy can be charming and adorable. I think he utilized those qualities to become one of the nannies' favorites at the creche. A darling favorite who was very much spoiled. Because our boy can certainly become one major diva at times. And he uses that diva nature to test. And test. And test.

Today, I find my patience wearing thin. And I find my confidence about his attachment at times begins to falter.

Instead of focusing on my fears, I'm trying to focus on two different thoughts.

The first is: Attachment is NOT Keenan's job. He is a hurt, grieving, scared little boy. He doesn't know the first thing about attaching. That's not saying he has free ticket to avoid rules, consequences and boundaries. But what it is saying is that it is MY job to get him to attach to me. My job to keep my emotions in check, my attitude in check and my behaviors in check.

Sometimes, after an entire day of having a child shut down and stare at you emptily, or refuse to listen to anything you say, it is very easy to think, "Why can't this child love me? What is his problem where he won't show love and respect?" Being run-down, exhausted and frustrated can very easily lead to those lines of thinking. It's not pretty, but it's honest.

So I find that focusing on my job description to be helpful. I often write down key phrases on my Motherboard to help me remember when frustation begins to cloud my vision. Silly, but it works.

The other thought that I find myself focus on is one in which my wise bloggy friend Small Town Girl recently shared on her blog. Life is made up of thousands of experiences. Many, many of those experiences with our adopted children are good. Loving. Kind. Fun. Family-building. But when you hit a down-and-out moment, and things have been tough for a stretch of time, it's easy to forget about all those other moments.

But it's important not to let those less-than moments erase the building. Several bad days or having to constantly establish the same boundary (over and over) again does not take away from the foundation we are building. In fact, many times, it's the actual living through those hard times and seeing it through to the other side, which strengthen our foundation even more.

So for the weekend, I'm turning off the phone and focusing on the building blocks of our family. We are still a young family of seven, and it's okay to say "no" to the world for a while and focus only our own little unit here in our little corner of the world. Maybe I'll only have more frustrations on Monday to report, but at some point, things will turn a corner (I think it was around week 5 or 6 with Miles) and I'll be able to say, "We've seen this bump in the road through." Many more bumps will come, but we'll only be all the stronger.

Happy building!


Lisa said...

Enjoy your weekend, see if you can get a long relaxing soak in the tub in & I hope you don't have to wait until midnight to accomplish that!!!

Laurie said...

I hear your frustration & you are not alone in experiencing this. Others do not give adoptive parents of older children time to adjust; like they do with a new born so you just have to take it. Your exactly right, turn off the phone, don't respond to emails & once you all feel a little more stable you can resume life in your "new normal".

Attachment takes a long time. I found the seven month home mark there was a significant turn around. We really struggled up until that point with testing behaviors, sassiness & attitude. Of course we still get that some but now it is normal kid behaviors & not the initial orphanage behaviors they came home with.

It's not easy & my heart goes out to you but take it one day at a time & drop all non essential activities out of your lives.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Hugs, Laurie

ManyBlessings said...

Do what you have to do, no apologies.

Adoption is a blessing, but adoption is tough too.



bbbunch said...

I love you! I am wondering if maybe it isn't just adopting older children, but if people in general don't give people who have more than 1 child time to adjust when bringing more kids in? It's this theory I have...I'll let you know ;) I think you are doing a fantastic job! So good, in fact that I wanted to mention this committee I wanted you to chair...since you're home and everything!!! lol...

LOVE YOU!!! Talk to you soon :)