I write, in the beginning, because that's where we are and I don't know, maybe some day I will feel differently.
Before you bring adopted children home, you may hear a lot of: "You have to treat your adopted kids the same way you treat your bio kids. Treat 'em the same, discipline 'em the same."
If I squint, I can kinda sorta see where those people are coming from. It sounds good in theory.
In reality, I have found it anything but helpful.
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So four and six months ago, we brought home two beautiful boys.
And my life tipped Up.Side.Down. And if I'm honest, I don't feel like we're anywhere near righting itself. Yet. (I have great hope.)
When the boys came home, I didn't expect perfect behavior out of them. Nowhere near! I slowly introduced our expectations of them (look at mom when she's talking to you; look at mom while you're talking to her). Once we felt like they got the 'hang' of something, we would slowly introduce another expectation, (say "I'm sorry" after wronging someone; tell the truth; answer when asked a question.)
When a consequence needed to be doled out, we relied on what worked with our original three children. Talks (okay, lectures) about right and wrong; time outs (or time in's); restriction of tv/basement play or toys; and on occasion, a spanking.
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Ask me how it's working so far.
We have replayed many behavior/consequence scenarios OVER and OVER and OVER again.
I know Rome wasn't built in a day. I certainly don't expect my boys' behaviors to diminish overnight.
But my Mommy Intuition has been telling me, "this ain't working" when I've taken the more traditional approaches to consequencing.
Over the past couple weeks I've been reading a ton. Re-read Beyond Consquences, Logic and Control. Found the AMAZING blog Welcome to My Brain and spent hours reading it and all the linkies. Same with equally amazing Corey W's blog. I've googled therapuetic parenting.
We have signed ourselves up for Therapeutic Parenting 101.
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The purpose of this parenting style is to get to the WHY of the child's behavior to help them heal.. To determine where their behavior is stemming from . To treat the cause and not the symptom. To help the child heal from the trauma of their young lives.
A LOT Of it involves me. I know by now that how I react greatly determines the road I will be traveling on with that child regarding that circumstance. Will we be on Control Circle? Defiance Drive? Angry Avenue? Peaceful Parkway?
This is, by far, probably one of the most difficult things I have ever undertaken in my entire adult life.
I'm becoming painfully aware of my own ugly reactions. My shortcomings: my patience issues. My intolerance issues. My control issues.
I'm gaining insight into why I act the way I do. What I'm afraid of. Why I shut down when I'm faced with unpleasantries and why I have such a difficult time at opening myself up emotionally when it's all said and done.
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So far, I am sucking at this. Big. Time.
I am finding that I am re-building a support circle. I'm trying hard to surround myself with people who I don't need to "pretend" with. To find people who understand and can support.
I love these little guys.
I want them to heal.
I want them to have the world of opportunities before them that all children should have. In a perfect world.
I am trying to remind myself that God gave me these children because I am the right Mama for them. Because there were some many points in our adoption road where it could have fallen apart. Where the door could have been slammed in our faces.
But it never was.
There are days when I get mad at this whole thing because it's not easy.
There are days when I am resentful at how up-ended our home is right now.
There are days when I mourn for the normalcy we once had.
And there are days when I'm faced with behavioral challenges and I don't have a stinkin' clue about how to handle them.
So far, in all these failures, I often find myself questioning God's judgment when he gave me these boys. Because, most days, I don't have a clue. Most days, I'm worried that I'm actually adding to the damage.
For now, I'm going to keep the blog public. I might at some point create a separate blog where I can blog freely about these attachment issues and challenges, but for now, I'm going to test the waters here. I know how much reading other blogs by women gracious enough to stay public has helped me. And I'd like to 'keep it real' publicly here. But, there are a good deal of people in my real world who read this, and I'm not sure how comfortable I am with all of that.
I wish I had some profound bit of insight to share here or some elegant words to end this post. But I don't. Instead, I'll just end it awkwardly: We're here in this attachment journey. And I'm going to blog about it. And if you will kindly hold my hand (because putting so much of this 'out there' is scary!), I would be ever so grateful.