Like most other adoptive parents, I adopted children because I, selfishly, wanted children. (My theory was if I had children to care for, I really didn’t have a lot of extra time to clean the house. I would rather care for a child than mop the floor…) An adoptive parent should never think their child who is adopted is beholden to them. The child didn’t choose to be born into their circumstances, and they certainly didn’t ask to be adopted. And I have had more than my share of emotionally unstable children, (aren’t all teenagers unstable anyway?) and never expected them to be happy about my choice to adopt them, (or at least not to express that feeling.)
But I was wrong. I went to Marie’s award ceremony at school today. Most parents didn’t go, it was during the day and I’m sure it was hard for them to get off work. It was hard for me to get off work, too, and I will have to work on the weekend to make up for it, but I went because I wanted to support Marie, who had been doing phenomenally in school. Marie didn’t know I was coming, and she was sooooooooo excited! She ran over, gave me a big, wet, on the lips kiss, and put her head on my shoulder while she hugged me tightly. She was genuinely happy to see me, (and not just because she knew I would take her out for ice cream after the ceremony.) She dragged me to all of her friends, and announced to them in American Sign Language something that made my heart stop and tears come to my eyes. She said, “This is my mom. She wasn’t my real mom when she adopted me when I was 7 years old, and at first I didn’t like her, but she made me feel safe and she gave me food and clothes. Now I love her very much and she is my real mom because now I have a happy life and I know I will have a happy future. And someday I will have babies and make her a grandmother!” I am her mom, indeed!
To read about our traumatic early years together, please purchase my book, The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane on Amazon.
adoption, Children, deaf, foster care, hard of hearing, parenting, PTSD, RAD, reactive attachment disorder, stress, teenagers
I have been remiss in my writings, basically because I have been involved in the day to day activities of raising three teenagers with serious disabilities. For some reason, these disabilities were not serious before. I could find humor and joy in every day facets of our lives. Now that they are teenagers, humor sometimes escapes me, replaced by more serious concerns such as driving, (yes, every parent’s nightmare has come to me,) and drugs. Well, “only” a little marijuana, used by my nineteen year old son with ADHD, Asperger’s and OCD who has refused to take his more traditional drugs. He says that pot helps control his symptoms better, and although I was mortified, by all standards except the legal one, pot is the lesser of the evils of the strong psych meds he was on. The meds he insisted made him feel “out of it” and nauseous all day. The ones that either plagued him with nightmares and kept him up all night, or made him so tired he could not function well. Steven has tried a boatload of drugs, none of which controlled his symptoms as well as pot. This is a very difficult concept for a sweet little old mother like me to understand. I still tell him NO NO NO NO and I kick him out of the house every time he comes home smelling like…well, YOU know… But I have to admit that his mellow mood also mellows me out, erasing the fear I always had that he would have a violent tantrum at any time, punching a hole in the wall, or throwing the newspapers so they scatter around the living room. Please don’t send the police to my door, my precious door that does not have a mark on it because Steven no longer kicks it.
Steven has reached “adulthood” in the legal sense, (although he will never be an adult in my eyes.) He can refuse to take his medication and I can’t make him. Not that it helped all that much anyway.
His life is in flux. His disability prevents him from doing a regular job because focusing is still an issue for him. The only thing he had been interested in were reptiles, alligators, snakes, turtles. (OCD makes strange obsessions.) He had volunteered at a local facility for such creatures, and loved it, but the facility closed down. Now he struggles daily to find something to do.
I recently visited a friend who lives near the Everglades in Florida. She lamented the ever present alligators, and their risk to her little pups, Scottish Terriers. She told me how the alligators show up in the man made lakes in mobile home parks, and on the banks of the rivers nearby. How Steven would LOVE to live in such a place, I thought. He would make a wonderful critter catcher in that area! It crossed my mind to purchase a small house in Florida, use it as a vacation home, and bring Steven down to live there. He would be in his glory working in a company that catches nuisance alligators. Or he could use his experience as the alligator wrestler he was for the previous reptile facility that had closed. I wonder how many employees fill out an application at the alligator tourist spots having already had such experience as an “alligator wrangler”. I became excited at the idea that the perfect job DOES exist for him, except it is in Florida, 2000 miles away. Maybe, if I am ever able to save any money, I can follow through on that vacation home dream and find a place for Steven where he can live happily. And maybe then he won’t need the marijuana…
adopted, adopted children, Aspergers, autism, autistic, disabilities, disability, disabled, Disabled children, florida, foster care and adoption, kids, mental health, mentally ill, news, obsessed, obsessive, obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD, turtle, turtles, Uncategorized