Lately I have been thinking about the lives we have chosen here in the land of adopting and fostering troubled children -- especially those of us who have taken on the challenge of many children with multiple issues.
It's not the kids that are the problem. Yes, they are intensely challenging, difficult, infuriating, emotionally disturbed, almost impossible to live with, and sometimes even dangerous to us. But they are not the problem. Other people are the problem. And yes, I feel a rant coming on.
Here's the problem:
The problem is a neighbor who, when offered the opportunity to hear the story of one of my children who has a special need, says "I don't want to know anything about you, and I don't want to know anything about him. I just want you to keep him away from me."
The problem is a church member who explains to other children in a child's class that if the child with special needs really loved Jesus they would sit still and listen.
The problem is well meaning people who do not understand the system but think that they know what is going on in our homes and without confronting us, call and report us so that we can "get some help" not realizing what this might mean to us or to our already traumatized children.
The problem is people making decisions about how we should parent our children without hearing our story or living our lives and making comments or criticizing judgmentally.
The problem is group full of social workers who have been trained to examine the family system and look for ways to make parents the reason for our children's behaviors and then, when we dare to disagree, label us as combative, uncooperative and defensive.
The problem is a system that will not provide the services necessary for severely disturbed children (how many of us have gotten a call saying, "we can't control him in a residential setting, you have to take him home!)
So the problem is not the children. The problem is those around us who are willing to comment, criticize, and add to the problems without being part of their solutions.
Plain and simple.
Thing is, our family is fine at the moment. But there are many others who aren't. So I write for them. And hopefully I'll take some of the brunt from them as well if people are busy commenting on my blog instead of theirs. :-)
But it is really difficult with any integrity to suggest to parents that they might want to jump in and fight the world. Recuitin to parent the children is enough to ask, but the children aren't the problem. It's defending ourselves to the world that depletes of the energy we need to parent them.