Do you do this too?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Beta, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    My last contact with Josh was last Wednesday when he texted another of his tirades. No word since, and I am still working on detaching. I've come to the point where I feel that contacting him is being disloyal to my husband, whom Josh has called every name in the book.

    Anyway, here's my question. We adopted Josh when he was four months old. At the time, it felt like we had won the lottery. Like we had been blessed beyond our dreams. He was raised with love and support from not only us but other family members, youth group leaders, etc.

    These days, I find images of Josh at different times and ages coming into my mind, memories of happy times, back when I thought life would be "normal." (I feel naive thinking that now). Do the rest of you struggle with having those images of happy times and images of your child at different ages coming into your mind without warning? It's bittersweet and painful because the person he is now--hateful, disrespectful, dishonest, etc.--is like a mockery of the person he once was (or who I thought he was at least). I don't even know anymore what was real and what wasn't. Was it all a facade?

    At times, I struggle with wondering if we disobeyed God in adopting him. Did we rush into something that was not intended? I honestly don't believe we did, just because of the circumstances of his adoption, but there are days that it eats at me. I feel almost "shell-shocked". How in the world did something that was the most wonderful thing that happened to us become something so ugly and painful? And if placing Josh in our home was God's will, why? Was it just God's goodness and grace to him---to give him the best opportunity to make the right choices? Is this just something that God has allowed in our lives to deepen our trust in Him?

    These are the questions that nag at me. Some days I go about life with just a few thoughts and prayers for Josh. Other days, the pain is so intense. I have photo albums and scrapbooks of Josh. I don't know if I will ever be able to look at them again. Too, too painful.
    Thanks for listening to this rant.
  2. 2TiredMom

    2TiredMom New Member

    It is normal for a mother to think of their child no matter how old or what they did. I have detached from one child and I need to detach from the second. Don’t bring God unto this that way. He really has nothing to do with human choice. Our children have choice. Think of God as your rock during this hard time. No one is punishing you, our children are punishing themselves for some reason. God is there for our emotional support. If you believe, he will carry you.
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  3. overcome mom

    overcome mom Member

    I adopted my son at 5 days old and I will say it was the happiest day of my life. My dream come true. I don't think there is a day that has gone by in the last 10 years that I don't try to figure out what I did wrong or what I can do to help him. I too think of him when he was young and the good times we had together. I try to look at them independent of what is going on today. I don't want to forget that joy. Sometimes I can do it sometimes I can't. Sometimes it brings even more grief thinking what a good ,kind, fun boy he was. It makes me feel even worse about what is going on with him now, I just want that little boy back. When I tell friends how I am feeling they say you are a good Mom and he was lucky to have you. Who knows what would have happened with him if he had lived with his birth parents. I try to believe it but it's hard to see how things could be much worse. There are so many things in life that just don't make logical sense. I don't have your faith but I do believe if what we do is from love, that is all that can be asked of us.
  4. 200Meters

    200Meters A real bustard

    We adopted Youngest, the reason why I've come here, at the wee age of 2.5 weeks, & Oldest at 4 months. We were unable to have biological kids (which proves the old adage that G-d answers all prayers, just for some of them His answer is "No."). Sometimes, usually when things are / were going roughly with the boys, I wonder if Mrs. 200Meters and I should have stayed just a couple, if our inability to have biological kids was a message that perhaps we should have stayed just a couple. Then I remember how unhappy we were when we were childless & how happy we were upon adopting our boys. I can't / don't second-guess G-d nor do I have any claims on Him. Mrs. 200Meters and I have been together for over 30 years; what on earth could I possibly gripe about?

    Did you copy this from me? :)

    Mrs. 200Meters & I do this all the time. We know we'll never get our sweet little boy back but we're hoping that we'll get some of the sweetness back instead of the anger & destructive behavior we currently see. We want him to be a mensch.

    Prayer is always good, I never stop praying for Youngest & Oldest. I ask G-d to grant them "maturity and good judgment, guidance and good counsel."


    The point of prayer, I think, is not to stand in front of the Divine ATM with our hand out but simply to have an ongoing personal dialogue with G-d.

  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My son is adopted too. He was 22 months when he came home. It was a miracle. We bonded instantly and our relationship was filled with love. I too was confused and hurt when things started getting so difficult when he was in his teens. In our case, at first it was mouthiness, mild hostility and bucking up against me. As long as I felt that he was happy and on track emotionally, I was okay. I fell apart when he became depressed. When he had no motivation. When he began to experience his life as very painful and himself to be inadequate. And then he rejected me. The pain was intolerable. The very thing that was the balm, became toxic, when it was withdrawn.
    No. It was not a facade. I will tell you what I think about being human. I think we all have broken parts. I think we are often able to live for long periods, feeling like we work. Like we are able to function, and be effective and to not suffer unduly in our lives. But then things change. For some of us, we hit a developmental stage where we are challenged. It may be hormones, it may be developmental, it may be mental illness that kick in. For others of us, something external happens to us that triggers memories, or that we cannot deal with. And the brokenness that has always been there but heretofore not triggered, comes to define us.

    For most of the parents on this site it is the latter thing that happens: we are hit in the face with an extraordinarily painful circumstance that we cannot bear: our child is suffering and turns against us, or presents us with a reality that we find impossibl eto bear. For our children, it is the former: they are challenged by something internal to them, that triggers early wounds, or genetic patterns are triggered, or mental illness manifests.

    The babies and children they were was a true thing. But they are dealt new cards which they cannot integrate.
    I am most likely of a different faith, so I cannot comment about how you may experience G-d. I will comment upon how I experience this. I believe that the suffering viewed one way is a gift of G-d. My love for my son is a thousand times richer looking back. Oh how easy it was to love my gorgeous boy with blonde curls. I have written thousands and thousands of posts here on this site. Seven thousand? I don't know. Maybe more. Eight thousand? Probably. I could write 100 times more, and this would not exhaust my commitment to him, my desire to find a way to hold all of this pain, fear, anxiety, guilt, dread...and more than find the wisdom in the wound...and to find the way to be in relationship with my son and with myself in a way that contains all of it, with hope, with acceptance and with strength.

    I see this trial as a way to deepen my humanity and to deepen and strengthen the best in me, which is G-d. When I consider myself as I was, I feel I was shallow and to some extent simple. I may be sad and stressed, but I am a better woman. I seek to be the mother that my son needs, who is stronger, more contained, hopeful, rooted, and able to stand on her own, without requiring validation from my son...about my worth or any other thing.
    There is a simple answer which is "life happens." In my faith there is the belief that we each of us in any moment have the capacity to be both good and evil. In all good there is a kernel of evil, that can be corrupted. I think our children pass through times where they become unmoored from the good that is in them, and they get caught up. And that becomes a test for us, too.

    I know in our case, I descended in some moments to some of the deepest pain and ugliness I have experienced in my life, when I felt triggered and challenged by my son's behavior. I think that going through what we go through, that's kind of normal, to touch that kind of ugliness. But we do not have to stay there. Every single second there is an opportunity to choose differently. For us, and for them.

    I can see my son changed. It is a miracle. There are still some very hard things. He is homeless right now. He is not productive. He does not take care of his health as I would like, and I am afraid. His hygiene is not what I would want. He self-medicates with marijuana (which I hate). He is quirky. And the list goes on.

    But his moods have stabilized. He has more self control. He doesn't start yelling at people on the street, like before. He is generally calm. He is learning that he has to accept rules, or suffer the consequences, which is to leave. He can be loving to me, after a very long time, unwilling to be so. He is not spouting conspiracy theories nearly as much or he has learned to contain it to a large extent around me. There was a time I would cut short phone calls when he started in. (Thinking about those calls, there was a time, not long ago that speaking with him was unbearable. The hostility. The dominance. (Let alone the time they were going to throw him off the train, because he spoke aggressively to the dining car attendant.) Most of all, his self-loathing seems to be greatly reduced. He expresses hope, and sometimes, self-acceptance. He speaks about some things realistically, with understanding, and even, occasionally, with wisdom.

    While I am not convinced he ever had this diagnosis, he has been diagnosed bipolar, too.

    What I am trying to say is that we do not know where this is going. We only see a tiny piece of what's happening. We do not know the meaning or why we are going through what we go through. I have come to see this, all of it, as a spiritual challenge, as well as a developmental one, for me. I needed to develop the resources to stand alone, and to stand in faith and hope. As I have become more able to do so, my son has been too.

    I think that your questions are entirely understandable in the situations we find ourselves. But at the same time, I believe they are very unkind to you. I believe the questions have the effect of stripping away your skin, like a kind of medieval torture, when more than ever you deserve self-compassion. We, all of us do.

    This is not your fault. You do not deserve punishment or self-flagellation. This is the time for us to wrap ourselves in the arms of a loving G-d, if we are believers. But that's how I think and feel, now.

    Let me say it again in a different way. Let's be kind to ourselves.
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Our Difficult Child child is adopted as well.
    She started having symptoms very young. I would say somewhat at age 2 and certainly by age 3.
    She was kicked out of several pre schools.
    I guess (in a way) I had hoped G-d would be a little pleased with me for adopting, although that certainly wasn’t my reason for adopting.
    Then when things were soooo very difficult for decades (and in a way, still are) I wondered if I was being punished.
    I thought of every foolish thing I did in life and there were days I was sure I was being punished.
    I have never tried so hard at anything in my life with such loving and pure intentions and failed so miserably.
    I no longer think that I’m being punished.
    On a positive note, our daughter does seem to have a good heart.
    But, one can’t control another human being.
    And she is very quick to turn on me.
    She can and does go on tirades especially via text. And especially towards me.
    i Do have some nice memories of when she was a little girl.
    I have a huge repertoire of hideous memories.
    Holidays gone awry.
    Stress on top of stress and so forth.
    Today, I’m largely detached.
    It feels like a loss. How could this of happened?
    But, she is mentally unwell.
    I think being mentally ill plus the baggage that often comes with adoption often is a impenetrable combo.
    Bottom line...for me this feels like a loss. What should of been is not. And I have moments that I’m angry and hurt. I try to be kind and patient with her, at the same time, set boundaries and remain largely detached. I will never understand the whys or fully get over it. For the most part, I’ve just accepted it as best as I can.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    At some point I had to give up my asking questions and desire for control. My prayer was simple and very different...”G-d, I cant do this. I give this to you.” No anger. No demands for an explanation. Acceptance.
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    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  8. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    We adopted our two granddaughters when they were 5 an 7. They are now almost 19 and 21. I too, thought this was what we should do, the "Christian" way to do.

    I have second guessed that decision. The oldest is bipolar and the youngest has addiction issues. It's like they each took one of their moms worst defect and made it there own.

    My pastor told me that God doesn't call us to be successful, he calls us to be faithful. I don't understand why things turned out the way they did, but hereditary and DNA plays a bigger part than I ever realized. Childhood trauma, ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) also affects the way they relate to life.

    I have struggled to let go of my dreams for them and accept them as they are. With proper boundaries. That's a lot to follow! But, it's about the only thing I can do.

    Be gentle with yourself and firm with your son. Ksm
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  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    A loving God would never in my opinion turn one away from adopting a child who needs parents. You were just given a difficult path with your child because perhaps God knew you were strong enough to handle it.
  10. 200Meters

    200Meters A real bustard

    I like this.

  11. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Wow-so much wisdom here. Thank you each so much for taking the time to read and respond.
    Sorry, I've not figured out to copy and paste quotes from other posts, and yes, someone posted how to do it. Just not very good with technology.
    Overcome Mom: I could have written what you wrote. I have always believed that God placed him with us and that his life with his birth family would have been a disaster. Most days I believe that, but occasionally, I struggle. I too have to constantly try to "separate" who he WAS from who he IS and keep those two people separate. There have been moments when I have felt regret that we ever brought him home but then I ask myself, "Would you really have wanted to miss those happy, joyful moments with the sweet boy he was?" No and yes. Hard to say at times. I remember when he was three years old I thought I had a near perfect child, and I thought that this parenting thing wasn't all that hard (I laugh at that now). At the time, I thought all you had to do was give them lots of love and loving discipline and training, and they would turn out fine. It's only been in the last 7-10 years I realize how naive that was. As others have said on this site, if love were enough to prevent our kids from going off the rails or bringing them back, we wouldn't be here in the first place.

    I do know that God used my children to heal many things in myself. As I nurtured them, I indirectly received the nurturing and care I didn't receive as a child. So I know that was one way God used it for good. All I can do now is trust that God will continue to bring good out of evil, just as when Joseph told his brothers in Genesis, "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." I think God knew what his choices would be and where he would end up and put us in his life to pray for him at a time when he himself is incapable or unwilling to turn to God. There are just some days that it gets to me and I start to question if we did the right thing.

    I too have come to the conclusion that DNA/genetics is a lot more influential than what we realize. I think something began to go wrong in Josh and that, coupled with the choices he himself made and the things he has opened himself up to, have led him down a road of destruction. Nothing I say to him makes the slightest difference to him. I am slowly coming to accept that and am detaching bit by bit. The pain will always be there, I know.

    Copa--I agree. We can't know yet what the meaning of this suffering is. We can only grow in faith and hope and find, hopefully, that God is enough for this suffering. In Scripture, God says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." I can say without hesitation that this has definitely drawn me toward God. I couldn't bear it without Him. And yes, you're very perceptive--I do tend to "flagellate" myself. I'm not sure why I think punishing myself is going to change anything, but emotions aren't always logical, are they?

    200Meters- "God has not called us to be successful, but to be faithful." Totally agree.

    Thank you all again for engaging with me in this. It helps so much to see other people echo the same emotions and thoughts I'm dealing with. Such a sad thing to know though that there are so many hurting parents. Hugs to you all.
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Beta. This is how you quote text. (It is easy.) You can do it. Its probably easier to just deal with a few quotes at a time, at least at first.

    Down below you will see a white/grey button, to the left. Just press that. Your quotes will show up just like this:
    The only thing to watch out for is to not fool with the formatting language (the parens and what is between them.) It's easy to do. But each punctuation and letter and number is necessary for the quote to show up right in the post. It's not a big deal. You can keep trying. But it makes it an easier experience, and a richer one to be able to be able to quote.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Copa...I’m on my cell and maybe that makes a difference. I don’t know how to quote either. I see the grey box. I’m typing in it now. I see symbols above. B/ Bokd I/Italics etc Then formatting items. I don’t see where to push for a quote.

    Do you highlight the part you wish to quote?
  14. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Ok. I found the quote tab. Lol. Seems I need refinement. The word quote for me was below to the right.
  15. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    I'm sorry but the only buttons I see are the "Forum/Parent Support Forums/Parent Emeritus" tabs on the bottom left. I'll keep looking and trying but...
  16. Beta

    Beta Active Member

  17. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Hey, maybe I just did it. I suddenly saw a button appear.
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  18. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Not sure how to make this more specific. In other words, slim it down. I’m quoting major portions.
  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I blew it. I forgot to put in the first part, which is to highlight your text. Then a quote button will show up (which is black). You push where it says quote. Then down below where you write your post you push the insert quotes button which is whitish.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  20. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Thank you Copa.
    Beta...Apologies for butting I’m on this thread. I too have been meaning to inquire about how to use the quote function.
    Copa...Your last instruction worked for me.