Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Untruthful Child

Hello Again!

Today's topic is one that is difficult to explain and live.

The untruthful child. All children tell tales, untruths, lies, right? Of course they do. But what do you do when that is all the child does?

Let's look at what I'm classifying as an 'untruthful' child.

This isn't just telling little white lies, or even big ones in order to get out of trouble. This, of course, is a big part of it. The bigger part is the child that will not accept responsibility for his/her actions, especially when those actions hurt someone else. This child always blames the victim or someone who was never a part of the situation. 

This is the child that needs therapy/counseling and when it's provided makes sure that the conversation never gets focused on them or the true reason for the sessions. 

This is the child that can convince anyone that they are always telling God's honest truth while fabricating an entire scenario out of thin air. And, that scenario has absolutely nothing to do with the child. They throw someone else under the bus, so to speak.

For a child like this to benefit from therapy of any kind, they first have to acknowledge there is an issue. Their issue. They have to take ownership of their words, thoughts, and actions. Then they have to want to change and become a truthful person. They have to understand that with change also comes consequences and rewards. They have to want that.

Right now I have an untruthful child. I have just found out that my child is speaking with a school counselor (I knew that part) about a sibling and their issues. This is not why the school provided my child with a counselor. The school provided my child with a counselor to help my child see and understand that their actions at school are not appropriate. We, the child's parents, also teach this at home but we all know that children don't always listen to their parents.

So, what do you do with the untruthful child that refuses to change their ways?

In this family mental and physical health professionals are always going to be involved. So the question arises; who needs to know what? Not every professional needs to know all aspects. For instance, does the school counselor need to know about one siblings issues when they have no bearing on the child seeing the counselor? The child seeing the counselor brings up the sibling and their issues to divert the conversation from themselves. The counselor needs to know that the child they are dealing with does this, but do they need to know about the sibling that was used as a diversionary tactic? My answer to that is no. 

What do you do if you explain what your child does to the counselor and the counselor asks to know more about the sibling? Do you share that child's story? Do you explain that there is a family therapist that is dealing with those issues? I don't think the child's story is anyone's business but those who need to know to help that child and the family. 

As I stated, the untruthful child will use anyone and anything to divert blame and conversation away from themselves. 

If the people in an assessment facility had listened to my husband and I when we explained about our untruthful child, and how that if that child were an actor our home would be overflowing with Oscars, we might not be in the situation we are today. But they didn't. The confirmed for our child that their behaviour was acceptable because they didn't see it. They were given the tools to see through the child; not only by us, but by other professionals dealing with the child, and they chose to ignore all of us. They became part of the problem not part of the solution.

If you are a professional that deals with these types of issues, listen to the parents. Hear what the parents are telling you about the child you are trying to help. If you don't, you're not going to do anything more than affirm to the untruthful child that they can keep doing what they're doing and get away with it. 

God Bless and Have a Wonderful Day!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Living With Rages


It's certainly been awhile since we last chatted, hasn't it?

Well, I thought with people watching the documentary "The Boy They Call Chucky" and commenting on my comment and on my blog post, that maybe it was time for a new post. 

With the thought of this young boy fresh in my mind I feel I should write a little about my family's struggles with living with a child like 'Chucky'. 

As I pointed out in my post about this documentary, my family lives with a child like him.

Since we last chatted our child has declined even more. What upsets me the most is the lack of services for children and families like this. Now let me be clear, it's not that the services don't exist, it's that if your child has a complex diagnosis (meaning more than one with possible different causes), it is difficult to get even one service to accept responsibility for providing the needed service(s). 

I can tell you that in our case (and that of many of the families I have worked with) we have specific services (ie. mental health) that are desperately needed for our child. We are being bounced from organization (read: government agency) to organization and receiving nothing. We are constantly being told we have to place our child in a facility for assessment (this facility provides only assessments, it does not provide follow up or treatment services) when all the same assessments have just been completed, and they were all set up by the same organization that has the facility! The facility placement would be redundant. 

We need a specific type of therapist for our child and this is where the battle is focused. I am achieving a reputation for being assertive (read: witch with a different first letter) simply because I won't back down and stop trying to get my child the help that is needed. You see, it's not just help for the child, but for our whole family. Our 'Chucky' is abusive to all of us, so helping that child will benefit all of us. We do see a family therapist for coping strategies and to keep the rest of us as healthy mentally as possible. But, when you're living in a war zone... 

So how does one survive? Well, you take what you can get. Like I said we have a family therapist. We don't hold back in those sessions. We are brutally honest. If you aren't you won't be helped. It's a choice you have to make. See a therapist and share only what you think is polite, or be completely open and vulnerable and accept the help that is being offered. Our therapist has been a God send. We haven't been able to see her for a couple of months for reasons beyond our control, but we are just about to start up again. And believe me, we are all happy to be going back. Our therapist gave us the tools to get us through the last couple of months cohesively, as one unit. Thank you so much Dr. S.

So, in the moment, how do you live IN the rage? You do whatever is necessary to protect the child in the rage, preventing them from self-harm, and protecting anyone and everyone in the vicinity. Depending on the age and strength of the child, you may need to call in emergency medical resources (ie. ambulance w/paramedics), legal assistance (ie. police), or simply another adult to help remove the child from the situation/area, or to help restrain the child. Whichever you have to do, you do. But in the back of your mind you must keep the thought of all of your reactions to the rage must be for the safety of all involved. You must use the least amount of 'force' necessary. You do not want to hurt anyone.

One of the things I hear a lot from people looking in from the outside is, "Oh that poor child. They can't help themselves." Ok. I used to think that way too. However, you aren't on the inside. On the inside you can see how quite often the rage is a choice. How do you know it's a choice? When they can be in a full blown, kicking down doors (literally), screaming, and hitting, and walk out the door and instantly, and I do mean instantly, stop and go to school skipping and singing, that rage was a choice. Take those hours the child is at school to participate in your self-care. For one simple reason; the rage will more than likely begin again as soon as one foot is in the door after school. Exhibiting such control over one's emotions shows choice. But not every rage is a choice there are times when the child really can't help it, and it's obvious to the primary caregiver(s).

Most people would say that the child that rages at home but not out in the world, views the home as their 'safe space'. True. However, sometimes it's not the correct answer. Our child actually views our home as the place with the people that took them away from their 'real' family. Our child spent the first 6 years of life between birth family and a foster family. By the time the child was 2 years old they were with the foster family until we came along. The child misses those people. That's understandable. Unfortunately, the child doesn't like our home and family because we refuse to inflict the abuse that family did. (One of them is now in jail for it.) Being so young when entering into a world like that, that is what is NORMAL to the child. They know nothing different. So it wouldn't have mattered who adopted this child for these behaviors to come out. Most of the time the rage is not personal against us, but more against the conflicting feelings the child is experiencing. There are times when it IS personal as well. Even knowing the reasoning behind the rages, it doesn't make it any easier to deal with. When you are subjected to these rages on a regular basis it changes you, the family. That's why therapy is an integral part of living with someone who has rages.

Even with therapy there are going to be times when your own emotions are going to take over and be somewhat out of control. The trick there is to recognize it and get out of the situation as fast as possible. It can be done. I've done it myself.

I'm going to close here. I welcome all comments and questions.
I know that not everyone could hang on as long as we have, if you take nothing else from this take this, do what's right for you, your child, and your family.

God Bless and Have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Boy They Call Chucky...

I just watched a documentary on youtube called, "The Boy They Call Chucky". It's a sad, yet informative glimpse into the lives of an English family desperate to find help not only for their son but their whole family.

After I watched the documentary, I made a big mistake. I started reading the comments. Take my advice,

DO NOT READ COMMENTS ON CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES. This only leads to upset and the need to set the record straight for the armchair psychiatrists. So, here's my response to one particularly nasty person who put all the blame on the mother, and said that it was her that taught this child to be 'Chucky'. I had to respond. Maybe I am wrong in my beliefs, but as I state, I do have first hand experience. Please watch the documentary and tell me what you think.

The Boy They Call Chucky

With all due respect ******, (name removed) do you, or have you lived with a child like this? I do.
I adopted a child with behaviors exactly like this ( not knowingly though) when the child was 6 years old. (Please don't come at me with 'the child probably suffered abuse in the foster homes'.) The violence and rages cannot be predicted, as triggers can be as simple as saying 'good morning'. Some people are fortunate and triggers can be identified, most cannot. The reactionary behaviors of the mother, are in fact, completely 'normal' for the situation she is living in. I'll bet that when Christian was born these parents weren't anything like this documentary shows today. They were probably very loving, kind, forgiving, doting, and happy.

12 years of abuse (Did you know that children can be the abusers WITHOUT being taught how to be?) can turn a saint into a demon. Speaking now as a mother diagnosed with Acute Traumatic Stress Disorder. (You have to be a minimum of 6 months out of the traumatic situation for it to be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.) The professionals in this documentary are like you and basing their advice and opinions off 14 minutes of these peoples lives. (14 minutes figuratively.) This documentary kept saying 'looking for a cure'. There's no such thing. There is management and treatment. Dyslexia, ADHD, do not, in and of themselves, make for a confrontational and violent personality. They can contribute to it, but aren't the sole cause. There is something much more at play in this child's brain than just a couple of disorders. It goes much deeper than that. Yes I do know what I'm talking about, again, as I said, I have a child exactly like this little boy.
I also have another child the same age as this boy (don't forget hormones are most likely coming into play now too) who also has ADHD, and Dyslexia as well as other diagnoses, yet his actions aren't outbursts but he does hurt people. Mostly our family, too. My child of 12 is much more calculated, manipulative, and an amazing actor so that he can make even the most intelligent person believe he is never at fault. A lie detector wouldn't pick up on him lying. What's my point? Don't judge these people based on one very short glimpse (not even a look) into their lives. It's very incomplete and makes them all look like monsters when I would bet my life they are simply worn out and out of places to turn for help. Contrary to popular belief, there isn't an answer for every question. Have a good day.

Monday, August 17, 2015

I've become disillusioned..

I have a home based business. I am a stay at home Mum and wanted to do something to contribute to my family's well being. 

I was introduced to a cosmetics company that is new (just turned 3 years old) and their products are naturally based. (No, I'm not selling you anything right now, but this helps make my point.) I like that. I love the products. They are incredible. Their price point is a little bit higher than say MAC but comparable to Bare Minerals and Arbonne. More than loving the products, I love the reason for the company. Their mission is to uplift, empower and validate women around the world, while providing opportunity for personal and financial growth. This young company has also started a foundation for women and children of sexual abuse. This foundation provides support and a safe place to heal. 

This is the reason I chose to do something I've never done before. Direct Sales. This company resonated with me. Most people don't know but I was a victim when I was young. I was a victim of opportunity and it didn't happen again, but the damage was still done.  Just a few years ago I got the opportunity to face my abuser and believe me he's sorry. Those who know me know I don't hold back. I didn't realize until that day the real damage that had been done. I can and will support any organization that helps women and children of abuse.

Recently I became aware of another organization that is dedicated to restoring empowerment to children of abuse and teaching them that they never have to live in fear. This is personal to me. This organization needs exposure and awareness and help in funding. (Locally. They are international but the Island Chapter is just a fledgling.)

So where does my disillusionment come in? Well, it comes in when it comes to fundraising. I am limited by my company as to where I can advertise my products and the fact that I'm looking for people (yes I include men in my ads simply because their counterparts would love surprises, and our skin care line is unisex) to host a couple of home parties with the majority of my commission going to this organization I so want to help. I will be making regular donations to my company's foundation when all the red tape is cleared, so I don't think I'm doing anything outside the realm of kindness in supporting another similar organization.
I can not get anyone to host a party. Is it really that difficult to support a friend? I am extremely supportive of my friends and their businesses, yet it seems returning the favour just isn't very high on people's priority lists. Everyone talks about 'paying it forward' but in this type of situation I'm just not seeing it. We have cyber bullies and keyboard heroes. Come to my house, come see all of the products I've bought that I don't use, want, or need, but love my friends and want them to succeed so I do my part. I've spent thousands of dollars just to help them succeed. I also spread the word about them on social media and to anyone who will listen. The big thing for me is, I do it because I care. No one has to ask me to help. I just do. 

Maybe that's my problem. Hmmm, maybe my disillusionment should be at myself.

Have a great day, and God Bless you.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

This Caught My Attention...

This is a page from the book "That Parent's Tao Te Ching" 


William Martin. See: The Parent's Tao Te Ching.

In case you can't read it (I've never attached a picture before) it says:

Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Do not ask your children 

to strive for extraordinary lives.

Such striving may seem admirable,

but it is a way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder

and the marvel of an ordinary life.

Show them the joy of tasting

tomatoes, apples, and pears.

Show them how to cry

when pets and people die.

Show them the infinite pleasure

in the touch of a hand.

And make the ordinary come alive for them.

The extraordinary will take care of itself.

You may be asking yourself how this has anything to do with

my journey through adoption.

Quite frankly I'm not sure yet. Let's see if it comes to me 

while I'm writing my other thoughts on this piece.

This quote by William Martin encompasses so much of what 

parents do without realizing they are doing it. I do not mean 

teaching about the ordinary, rather pushing their children to

achieve greatness. These parents are not bad parents, not at

all. They honestly believe they are doing what's best for their

children. They see themselves as cheerleaders, mentors,

teachers, their children's biggest supporters. They ARE!

However, what they don't realize (and I myself am guilty of 

being one of those parents until recently) is the pressure they

are putting on their child. That strive for extraordinary isn't for 

the child's sake, not really; a little bit yes, but for the parents 

ego. What parent doesn't want to brag about how fantastic

Little Johnny is at hockey? He's going to be the next Wayne

Gretzky, or Trevor Linden. We all do. We all have to stop.

What we have to focus on is our children's true abilities and 

be a real cheerleader, a real supporter in helping them 

achieve what they want, what's going to make them happy.

After all, isn't their happiness what it's ultimately all about?

I remember talking to my husband on our 2nd date about 

how I was going to build my family through adoption. It didn't 

matter to me whether or not I could

give birth to biological children, adoption was always part of 

my life plan. Strange thing to bring up on a 2nd date right?

Not for me. See from our first date (which was the night

before) I somehow knew he was the one. I had been 

married before and it wasn't good, so I decided that should

I ever decide to have another husband he would know every-

thing I wanted, everything I believed in, everything I expected

in a partner. Well, I didn't hold back. He did look at me with 

shock but he also appreciated my candor and complete 

openness. He agreed that he would be willing to look at 

adoption but that he did want to try to conceive a child, too.

Well, we got our wish. We did conceive several times. But

our babies were never meant for this earth. It was after our

3rd miscarriage that we went to meet the adoption worker.

We had looked into all of our options and we decided that

adopting through the foster care system was right for us.

We knew we were headed for children with special needs,

and therefore we got educated. We took classes on anything

we could find, we did hours upon hours of research on every 

kind of special need you could think of. Then we did the AEP.

Adoption Education Program. Then the home study, where 

we found some new conditions we hadn't considered or 

researched so we did. To make a long story longer, we 

adopted 3 highly affected children.

Each child is unique, even though the majority of their 

diagnoses are the same. "Spectrum Disorders". They 

(whoever 'they' are) aren't kidding. Spectrum is right.

One of my children presents (and always has) as extremely

intelligent. Yet when his assessments were done he came

out testing extremely low. It was explained to us that he is 

a good 'actor'. It's true! WE told them to be careful because

he will do whatever it takes to extend one on one time with 

anyone! They didn't listen. By actor they meant he could 

make anyone believe he understood something he didn't.

We already knew that, too. We, with the help of one of our

amazing therapists, had come up with a strategy to make 

sure he did understand. How does this relate to the quote?

Well this is the child I was pushing. I, apologetically now, 

pushed him so hard because I KNEW what he could/can do.

It didn't matter to me that he wasn't happy, I was only think-

ing about how great it was going to be to be able to brag to 

my friends, and strangers, how my son was a doctor, lawyer,

pilot, NASA astronaut, Premier, Prime Minister! Any one of

these would make me so proud. Even more so because he 

has these diagnoses. Of course these weren't 

conscious thoughts, well not constantly. But I never stopped

to ask him what he thought he wanted to be when he grew 


Then one day a very wise person was here when I was 

'helping' my son with his homework. She heard me pushing 

him. She heard me telling him that he could be anything he

wanted when he grew up if he'd just put the effort in now! I 

was angry with him.

She pulled me away and told my son he could go get ready 

for bed. We went outside and she asked me, "What do you

really want for 'S' when he grows up?" I said I want him to 

be happy. She said so don't you think he should be allowed 

to be happy now, too? It was in that moment that the brick 

wall hit me. Not just a single brick, but a whole wall. I was

pushing my son to make up for MY failings. What I believed

were my failings. It had nothing to do with him. I somehow,

somewhere in my mind felt that I could make up for what I

didn't accomplish by pushing my boy to do it. Me. My ego.

I took this child, who had been given to me by God, and

punished him. This precious child who was the answer to all

my hopes and dreams of having a family, this child who loved

and trusted me to be his Mummy, since he was just a one 

year old baby, and crushed his dreams for my own.

Fortunately, that child also has a very forgiving nature and he

forgave me. Now he hears me say things like, 'if you need 

help, I'm right here', 'Way to go Son! I'm so proud of you!'

He doesn't know what he wants to be yet, but it doesn't 

matter, as long as he's happy.

I am now teaching my children the wonder in the ordinary 

world. When is the last time you picked an apple off a tree 

and just took a big bite? Or a plum, or carrots out of your 

own garden? Try it, you'll be surprised how beautiful the 

world is when you look through the eyes of a child.

Have a great day, and God Bless You.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Here we are 8 more months...

Since I've written. Well, let me tell you, this has been one helluva a roller coaster ride!

Since last October there's been occasions, like Christmas Eve at my sister's, Christmas at home with Nana and Papa, New Year's Eve, and of course New Year's Day. Then there's been a few birthdays, Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Daddy's birthday, and next is Father's Day. Whew!

So those are the good things. Like I've said before, not all sunshine and roses. There's been some pretty hard decisions to make, some really huge surprise hurdles to overcome and we're still climbing and getting a bit better everyday, therapy for the whole family.
Turns out when we originally thought the honeymoon period was over we were oh so wrong! But there's no doubt anymore! Our princess trusts us fully now. Some of the things she's told us have been incredible. Some good, some not so good, some down right horrible. But, we're working through it all.

Our oldest is doing better and better all the time. This year was his first year at middle school and next year he goes back to elementary school.  They're (the school district) restructuring our schools. One of our middle schools is being turned into an elementary while they close down the elementary school. So our oldest wasn't all that thrilled to learn that he was moving up, and now his school is being reclassified.  Oh well, like we told him only one more year there and he can move up to the high school.

We're doing OK. I don't think any parents of children with special needs can ever truly say that they are doing GREAT! Maybe for a day or maybe even a week here and there. Our kids aren't designed to work that way. 

Kids with certain conditions/issues just don't have the ability to be good all the time. It's just not in their genetic make up. Their brains aren't designed not to fight and argue at least sometimes. We all have that, but children with sensory issues, brain injuries, just don't have the ability to regulate themselves on a permanent basis. It's kind of like that senior citizen who's decided that they're entitled to be rude and spew whatever pops into their mind. No self edit button; it's kind of like that. No self edit button for behaviours. They would much rather appear bad than stupid too. That was a hard lesson for me to wrap my head around. But life got easier when I did. What may seem like willful 'bad' behaviour may actually be your child crying for help because they're feeling pressured to be perfect, or right, and right now! We can't do that to our kids. We as parents need to learn the difference between can't and won't. There is definitely 'bad' behaviour that is willful, they are kids after all. But you have to know when they are making an informed choice and when it's because they don't know what else to do. It could be something as simple as 'One of your spelling words is cat. Can you spell that for me please?' Now that child is thinking I know how but I have to think first and Mum/Dad is going to mad if I take too long. What do I do? I'll throw a temper tantrum and distract them. Although that clear thought process isn't there for them it's what's happening without their actual knowledge of it.

Wow, this post took a swift swerve didn't it? *smile*

I guess all we can do is learn the art of patience, acceptance, and empathy. I know that sounds a little more difficult, but it's doable. The real trick is to teach those who don't live in your home to be that way with your kids. Although in my personal experience people without first hand experience with kids like my own, don't tend to believe my kids can be like this (my kids are pretty much perfect angels when we're not home. ) or I get criticized and judged for being too 'hard'. But again they have no clue who my kids really are and what it takes to raise them. It's not like raising neurotypical children. The consequences you could employ with 'normal' kids will not work on a child with a brain injury. They don't have the capacity to put actions and consequences together. 
I should qualify that when I say 'they' I am speaking specifically to my own kids. Children with special needs are definitely not all the same and should never be painted with one brush. (They shouldn't be painted at all, unless of course they're playing. *wink*  )

Well, I'm going to close out with, remember to take care of yourselves first. Without you your family doesn't stand a chance, and it's not selfish!

God Bless,

Sunday, October 5, 2014

And Another Thing...

Here's another gripe. 

When our youngest was entering kindergarten our school had an orientation day. Great idea!
However, it turned sour for us...temporarily.

Everything was going great. Our youngest was having a great time going from the gym to a classroom and then to his future classroom to meet his new teacher. Where it turned sour for us and our son was when the teacher who was taking us around (we weren't the only family either, it was an orientation for all new kindergarten students) introduced us to his new teacher. She should have said this is (insert child's name here) and his parents. What she said was this is (our son) and his ADOPTIVE parents. Why? What purpose does that serve? What if we were like some people, who back in the old days (man do I sound old. lol) didn't tell their children they were adopted? Now, with this person deciding that this was information that needed to be shared with not only the teacher but all the other kids and their families too, this person with the addition of one word, could have caused irreparable damage.  I guess you could say that we were slightly annoyed and did speak to the lady about it after.

Another example: I have had a few people come to my support group and ask questions. Great! It's why we're there. One of the most 'popular' questions was, " When we do bring our child home how do we introduce them? Do we say, this is our new adopted son so and so? Do we say, this is our new adopted daughter that also happens to be asian?" 
Well first off, if you're caucasian and your child is a different ethnicity than you, it's pretty evident that your new addition is from a different ethnicity. No need to point it out. If the people who are meeting your new family member know you were adopting, then again, you should have no need to point out that the child is 'your new ADOPTED son/daughter'. These, I fear, are the people looking for that 'saint' label. One of the people who asked me a question like this was definitely looking to adopt specifically for the recognition, by her own admittance.

This should never be the goal when people are looking into adoption. Adoption is for those who wish to build a family. It is not only for those who have infertility issues either. It is for people who love children and want to provide a loving family for a child who may not be having that experience or unable for whatever reason won't be able to have that with their birth family. 

Adoption is just another word for family. So the next time you are with an adoptive family and have to introduce them to someone remember to drop the 'adoptive' part and focus on the family.

God Bless.