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.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Why do people call me a....

A saint, or tell me how special I am, or tell me how lucky my kids are to have me? I'm the lucky one! No matter how much you might hear me complain about how hard things are, I'm still just like any one of you. You love and adore your kids, but you're allowed to be annoyed with them, so am I.

I'm telling you I don't like this.

If you are a biological parent do people say these things to you? My guess is no. So what makes me any different than a biological parent? I've had adoptees tell me I'm amazing, special, have the heart of a saint. I appreciate the appreciation. But what is it really for? I get this acclamation for wanting a family and choosing to build my family through adoption? We did try to have biological children too, it just wasn't meant to be. Adoption has been part of my life plan since I was 12 years old. My best friend, CJ, made this my plan. I met her on day one of Grade 7. She told me about her adoption and that was that. I knew then and there that I would adopt kids whether or not giving birth was possible. (Oh yeah, this beauty, also offered to be a surrogate for us. Too much love for her to even express. Saintly is a word for her, not me.)

Let me tell you something. Adoptive parents are not saints. We are not special. We are not any different than any other parent on the planet. Just because our kids weren't born of our bodies and carry our bloodlines, doesn't make them any less 'ours' than a child born to their biological families.

We are not special because we adopted kids with special needs; most first time adoptive parents going through a government agency are expected to fill out a form that says what these people are willing to take on for needs. They have to take courses in adoption preparation, they are expected to participate in workshops about all kinds of different special needs. In short, people think they are prepared for just about anything that a child can come with. It's a fallacy. We are not prepared in any way. Until you've lived with some of these issues you can't be prepared. There is no amount of research that can prepare someone for something like the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. It's called a spectrum for a reason. NO TWO PEOPLE AFFECTED BY FASD ARE EXACTLY ALIKE! Therefore, until you are in those shoes you can't honestly be prepared.

But still, people think that people who choose to adopt must be saintly because they are seeking out children with special needs. There is also a fallacy about private agencies only helping healthy, happy, 'normal' babies find homes. WRONG!

This is the goal I'm sure. But how many 16 year old pregnant and scared girls do you know that would admit to drinking or smoking pot when they are facing having to let go of their unborn child. A child that they would love to the ends of the earth and beyond, and will anyway, were it possible for them to parent their child? Not very many. 

Why does it matter if a child is adopted or born and raised by their biological families? Every child has a chance of being born with special needs even if Mum is the poster Mum for pregnancy. I have a friend that was that poster Mum, and yet her child was born and diagnosed autistic. Are she and her husband saints now because they are raising a child with a special need they had no clue was coming?

My point is, adoptive families appreciate your congratulations on the arrival of our new family members. We appreciate you recognizing that we might be having a hard go of things at the moment, but please, please save the sainthood for someone who truly deserves it. We're no different than anyone else. We're living day to day, going through the good and the not so good and the down right bad, but we're just a regular family, just like you.

In case you're thinking that I'm holding on to a bone that is mine alone, I can assure you I'm not. This is something that puzzles a lot of families. In my 7 years of support groups for adoptive families that I facilitated this was brought up at almost every single meeting. It's kind of annoying. Oh, and if it's done in front of a child with the ability to understand, think about what you're saying to that child. 

I guess, I should also say that there are a few adoptive parents out there that probably are glowing with pride about the sainthood given to them. ;)

God Bless.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Catch Up Time....

Well let's catch up, shall we?

It is now May 2014 and I haven't written since January. Mostly because I haven't had time and when I have I have spent it trying to catch up on rest or helping my other families.

Well over the last few months life hasn't been great. It's been interesting and non stop drama/laughter/crying/sleep deprivation...etc.

So, where do I start? I guess we'll go with after Dee's party. It went so well. We had a blast. She was so thrilled about having the all girl party and that it was almost an English tea party. It was so cute.

Then February came and Valentine's Day. Wow. I have 3 kids that got quite upset that Mum and Dad only do the cards and gifts for eachother. I understand that most parents give their kids gifts and cards on Valentine's Day, but my hubby and I don't. It's one of the two days of the year that we use to celebrate our love. When the kids got home from school they were all loaded down with so many cards and little gifts from friends and classmates, that they actually said they were sorry for getting upset with us. It was cute.

March we had Spring Break. This was the first year my hubby got all 10 days off. We had so many plans to have day trips to do so many fun things together. Unfortunately our oldest decided that this was when he was going to go off the rails and destroy the holiday time. (When I say 'decided' I mean 'decided'. He openly admitted this was when he chose to let it all out.) The benefit of his actions was that after 5 years of begging for help, his actions finally got the medical community to listen to us. So now, we're waiting for the promised treatment to come to fruition. We're still waiting.

April rolled around and we had Easter. It was lovely. We had our typical easter egg hunt and watched the kids doing their hunt. It's always so fun to watch them race around laughing and playing together without any fuss.

Here we are in May. A couple of weeks ago I decided to make a commitment I'd been contemplating long and hard for a few years. My sister had called me one afternoon and was telling me about a show she was watching and that a lady on the show was trying to figure out how to save money on her child's wedding. So she went online and got ordained as a minister. She saved a buck on the clergy. So my sister said she'd been looking online to see if someone in our family could do the same thing, but it turns out it's only legal in the USA. It was me she wanted to do it because her son, my nephew is getting married next summer and she thought it would be cool if I could marry them. I liked the idea. So I went to work researching to see if I could find a way to do this for them. I did. Like I said this is something I had been contemplating for a few years. I found 2 churches that ordain ministers online. And you then have the credentials to marry, bury and baptize.  So I checked it out at length and by that evening I applied, took the oath and received my credentials as an ordained Pastor! I, like my dad, have always considered myself a lay pastor and now I can actually perform ceremonies to unite people. Doing last rites and/or funerals won't be my thing. I will do baptisms and dedications. I know only the joyful ceremonies sounds kind of hypocritical but we'll see what happens. If God calls me then I have to answer. I'm proud to say that when I asked my nephew and his fiancee for the honour of marrying them they were shocked and thought I was joking but I assured them I wasn't, and they said they would be honoured to have me officiate their wedding. I can't wait!

So, now we just cope with the issues going on at home and wait for our son to get the help he needs and then we start the work in earnest to heal the tears in our family fabric. 

No one said having a family was easy or all sunshine and lollipops, but it sure is worth it. Every. Single. Second. of. Every. Single. Day!

God Bless.