Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Here's the Problem

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.

15 comments:

Mary said...

AMEN!

Missy said...

VERY well-said! I'm an adoptive mom of 8 over the last 10 years and had 2 foster children as well this year. Your words said it all...too true!!! (I am a regular reader of your blog through my Google Reader!) Thank you for making this point!

Torina said...

YES!

Nancy said...

Your stories and those of others who blogs I read break my heart. What can a person who is not an adoptive parent do to help you and the others who must face these challenges? I am at a loss on how to make your lives better/easier/less challenging. If there is something the general public can do to help, please let me know.

Mom of 7 said...

So well said, Claudia, and so horribly and disgustingly true!

Meg an Aggie in Frisco said...

Here Here... As a future adoptive parent... This is some of the "stuff" I lay awake and think about. I do not think my parents even fully understand the "issues", and they are adoptive parents of 2 infants.

Donna said...

Amen !!

Lisa said...

Amen, Claudia, Amen.
Thanks for ranting for all of us!

Sandy said...

as I was reading your Blog I was saying AMEN AMEN and AMEN....but I see that many others beat me to the AMEN here. So I will just pose a question instead. How do we teach them? Is that even a possibility? OH MY

Lisa said...

You say it best!! I've had "well-meaning" folks make comments and recently had a CPS investigation because a neighbor was concerned that he ALWAYS saw my son outside doing yardwork and hasn't for the past several months - he was concerned we were locking him in his room all day (how does anyone come to that conclusion??). CPS came out, saw no locks on his door, saw him just fine, interviewed everyone and it's all done - but the trauma done to the kids AGAIN cannot be undone. I wish I could laugh about it but I am just furious at this person. He has nothing better to do than stare at my yard and watch who's outside, and when? I told the CPS worker that I was sick to death of being judged for raising behaviorly challenged children from the foster care system. Instead of someone seeing a potential problem/issue and saying, "Hey, do you need anything? Can I help in any way? Do you need an hour break once in awhile - I can play with your child outside? Do you need a sitter for any reason?" we're immediately judged guilty and CPS is called. Do these well-intentioned (I use that term loosely) people actually think they're helping by calling the government in to help us parent? Do they truly think our kids will "get the help they need" now because someone bigger and better has stepped in? Puhleeze....I'm just really ticked off about being treated this way after all the years of love and sacrifice and WORK I've poured into my kids, only to keep being second-guessed by people who know nothing of our lives and having them actually HURT my kids with the allegations.

Our Family said...

Amen sister! Sometimes I feel I am fighting an uphill battle with everyone who tells me and my husband how to parent. Those we seek support from...our extended family are the worst unfortunately!

Treasured Grace said...

Oh my very well said Claudia. Amen to you.
Praying for you and for others who walk this road every single day. Blessings to you and your family.

a said...

Amen! I just went through similar issues: professionals not seeing the real issues and falling for manipulations, friends not seeing the real behaviors, etc. It really wears you down. I was just recommended 2 books and they actually describe the same scenario! It feels better to know some peple get it. They are "Can this child be saved?" and "Troubled transplants" if anyone is interested.

Scandi said...

Amen and here here.

ttlyeightmom said...

Couldn't have put it better myself. My husband and I were in the middle of an adoption of a 4 sibling group when a well meaning person at a CPS sponsered "holiday" evening called the hotline on us because one of the children told her he hadn't had dinner. Based on this they interogated all of the children(including my 2).
The trauma of the questioning set one child into such a rage that I had to take him to the ER. The CW then decided we couldn't handle ANY of the children and removed them all. THIS is what happens when well meaning people interfere instead of just simply ask the parent "can I lend a hand?"