I’m going to be brutally honest here. I sometimes find myself up in the middle of the night, stricken with fear and sadness about some issues regarding Big Brother. I worry about what form some of his troubling behaviors will take as he ages. Can you see me peeling my 10 year old son off of perfect strangers at the mall? It may sound silly to you, but I have talked to other families struggling with this very issue. And I watch Big Brother and know in my heart we are headed down the same path. Over the last couple of weeks, he has displayed such a strange dichotomy of increased attachment to me as well as an increased affinity for inappropriate touching/hugging of strangers, aquaintences and extended family members. He even aggressively tried to leave with a man at the park. I could go on and on about how difficult it has been to keep him from climbing into the laps of every person we see. And the tantrums and meltdowns and destructive behaviors….oh my.
And then there is school. That’s a whole other post about aggression, tantrums and very disruptive behaviors.
So last night is one of those nights where I found myself up at 2 am, fending off a panic attack in response to some of Big Brother’s recent behaviors. I prayed and then the words “don’t give up” kept ringing in my head.
Remember the Empowered to Connect conference where the grown adoptee who was similar to big Brother in many ways stated “don’t give up, your child is in there….”
His statement was echoing in my mind and gave me the encouragement I needed. I finally drifted off to sleep with the comfort of knowing I was not alone in this journey. When I woke up, I put this sticky not on my bathroom mirror to remind me that no matter how defeated I feel, don’t give up the fight for my son:
A few moments later, I sat down to work on a bible study I am currently participating in. The first chapter of this week’s session was all about hurting parents. I nearly fainted when I saw these words:
Ok, ok, I got the memo. Yep. And it was much needed.
I would never give up on him as a mother, but the stresses and disappointments of each day are enough to make me want to throw my hands up in the air and think “what’s the point?!” when it comes to correcting difficult behaviors. “He’ll never get it….it’s been a year and still here we are! In the same place where we started. Is all my hard work in vain? What is wrong with me? Why bother when nothing I do seems to help?”
But those thoughts are fleeting and I quickly remember that just because we are still in the trenches almost a year later, doesn’t mean I can give up on what I’m doing every day to help him overcome his struggles. Yep, it’s hard. Yep, most days I want to just ignore the behaviors instead of lovingly correcting them because it is so hard, so exhausting and it makes being in public so awkward. But. It is working, it just takes time and lots and lots of healing. We will eventually get there even though it feels like we are standing still.
But it is so exhausting, emotionally and physically. I sometimes am tempted to just let him act in ways that I know need to be stopped. But I don’t. I keep on doing what needs to be done–correcting the difficult behaviors with love, compassion and gentleness.
And the biggest lesson I have learned? That I have to take myself out of the equation.
Why doesn’t he love me?
Doesn’t he know that I traveled half way around the world to bring him to a place of love and safety?
Doesn’t he know how much I wanted him to be my son?
Doesn’t he realize what I have sacrificed for him?
What is wrong with me as a mother?
Doesn’t he know that mommy and daddy are the ones who provide for all of his needs?
Can’t he see how much we are trying to help him heal?
I have to remember it’s not about me. It has nothing to do with me and my feelings. It has everything to do with a little boy who was deeply traumatized by countless circumstances beyond his control. For four years of his life, survival was his only concern.
He never gave up, so why would I?