Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Up for the Challenge Part I

or not. :)

I really need to do my weekly wrap up before I forget what I did last week (which won't take long :).

But this post has been swirling around in my mind.

I have written some similar posts  (like Gardening RADishes and The Spirited Child in the past.

However, as it is with life, I continue to learn, continue to grow, continue to seek answers. Each and every day.

I want to preface this post with a little background. I find myself on a tightrope sometimes with the blog,  trying to keep my balance. I don't EVER want to embarrass my children or share too much about their lives.  Ever.  At the same time, I feel the need to be transparent for others out there who might be thinking or feeling the same way because that is always one of my greatest reliefs:  "Oh, you feel that way too?"

After I wrote my last post about "coming out of the darkness", I received from very sweet messages as well as some heartbreaking ones.  I cried off and on all day. So many people who said, "I am there right now. I thought I was alone..."

I don't want to hide from these emotions. From these experiences.  From this reality.

It is where I am.  It is where others are.  Sometimes it helps to get together and say, "We are not alone.  We will get through this."

So I am going to share a little here without (hopefully) sharing too much.

I am going to try to stay on that tightrope instead of crashing down into that net below.

So...here goes.

I don't think it will be shocking to you if I say that parenting is a challenging job.

At least for most people.

We all know those people with their perfect children who don't have any challenges other than choosing which scholarships to accept or where to put their child's many certificates and awards.

But for me, parenting is challenging.

I am not perfect. They are not perfect.  All that makes for a perfect storm. :)

I am going to go a little further and say (at least in MY experience) that parenting adopted children is even more challenging.

Please don't get me wrong. There are definite blessings to it.  And I am not saying I regret it.

But it is true.  More challenges.

You see, so much of a child's brain is developed in utero.  And so much of what they experience in utero affects who those children become.

When I was pregnant, I took those prenatal vitamins.  I read books to my child (even before he/she was born).  I tended to every need those first few hours of life.

With my adopted children, I didn't get to do those things.  Nor could I control who did.

So by the time my children came to me, they already had some baggage with them.  Some hurts.   Some anxiety.  Some fear.  Some needs.  Some holes in their hearts that I have learned I cannot fill.  Only God can.

I was naive.  I really was. In my mind, we would bring these children into our family, do the parenting thing we have always done, shower them with love, and within days, we would all be on the same page.

Apparently my children did NOT get that memo.

We brought them home, did the parenting thing we had always done, showered them with love, and...


 Lots of challenges.

Challenges I had never faced.

Challenges I didn't expect.

Challenges that quite honestly I didn't want...

I cringe some days when I get on FB. I see people giving out parenting advice through their own words or those cute little "signs".  Advice like "Just follow through..." or  "Say 'No' and mean it..."  or "If I acted like today's children do, I would never have been here to post this..." or "All that child needs is..."

It all sounds so practical.  So logical.  So matter of fact.

And for two of my children, it is.

But for two it is not.

Don't get me wrong.

I am not saying that ALL kids don't need boundaries.  Or need to hear the word "no". Or need to have consequences.

They do.

But what I have learned parenting challenging children (or as I sometimes say "kids from hard place") is that sometimes the road we took with the other kids does not lead us to the same destination with these kids.

Sometimes we have to do it differently, travel other paths.

We want the same results but we have to use different methods to get them.

Recently an adoptive mom I know posted one of those signs on FB.   "When it comes to kids, set the rules and stick with them.  Let your yes be yes and your no be no." Her comment was if only were done as easily as it was said. I immediately commented that it IS difficult in our situations.  She responded that most people don't get that.  And she is right.  Unless you are in the trenches we are in, you don't get it.  Won't get it.  Can't get it. 

If you have read this far and aren't in this situation, you are probably either feeling pity for me or doubting what I am saying.

And I get that.

I would probably feel the same way.

Except I am in this situation, and I know.

I know what I deal with each day.  I know there are hurts and struggles that I want to fix but don't have the tools to fix.  I know that I fail each and every day to parent the way I should, the way my children need me to.

Don't pity me (well, I wouldn't mind a little pity :).

It isn't all bad.

In fact, there is a lot of good.

And that is what I will be sharing in my next part in the next few days...

What these parenting challenges have taught me.

More soon,

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