Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lots of Growing

Nick and I have been going through some major growing pains together in the past few months. I have been feeling pretty empty and run down and it was affecting everything and everyone around me. I have been blessed with a pretty patient guy though so we had some long talks and probably longer arguments. I have taken steps to get myself out of my funk and get filled back up spiritually. Of course, school being back in session is really helping also. It has given me some breathing room.

I have a friend whose child was diagnosed with something called RAD - Reactive Attachment Disorder - and it just breaks my heart and makes me think. RAD is essentially where the child doesn't form healthy attachments when they are infants or toddlers. It could be because of changing daycare providers frequently, divorce, or some other similar trauma. The poor child just doesn't know how to form those loving, healthy attachments. It can lead to other symptoms like depression, aggression, and as they get older promiscuity, etc. The truly sad thing is that there isn't a magic pill to make it go away. Years of individual and family therapy can help and there are some drugs that may help as well but the news is pretty discouraging. I love this child and I know her mother does as well. There isn't anything she wouldn't do for her children. The problem is that they need stability and consistency to improve and anyone who is a single mother knows that that is next to impossible. Love and support is no problem but consistency is HARD!

This RAD diagnosis made me really think. I went through similar experiences as a child, why don't I have it? I have baggage for sure. It is part of why Nick and I have been doing so much talking lately. My mother passed away from Cancer when I was 5, I had 5 or 6 au pairs in about 3 years, my dad re-married twice. I became a little mom of my two younger sisters, whether my dad needed the help or not, and they were not impressed with me. I missed out on a lot at school because I had to come home and babysit and get dinner ready. I could easily have developed any of a variety of social or mental health issues. The truth of the matter is that I was in and out of counselors offices my entire childhood. My father knew it was out of his scope and got me help, as much as my friend is doing for her child. What's the difference? I am not sure I have an answer. I had the support of my dad, and an amazing extended family that included actual family, great neighbors, and a few close friends. Maybe I do still have some problems since I NEVER ask for help and truly don't know if I can. I am the "fixer" and have no idea how to let others help. It tends to make my husband frustrated and angry because he can see I need help but he keeps hoping I will ask. I also don't open up about my thoughts or feelings. I am a pretty introverted person and opening up is hard to do. I can see where that would be really difficult for the person on the other end of a conversation.

With all this, there is the added worry that realistically, any older child that we choose to adopt could have this disorder or some variation of it. Are we equipped to handle the emotional aspect of this? In all honesty, I think God has brought these things to light now as part of our journey. By looking into my own baggage and learning how to lean on others and ask for help, I will grow more dependent on God and on my family to help me. By helping my friend through this diagnosis and trying to help her child, we all will have an idea of what we could be in for. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and God gives us exactly what we need when we need it, even if we don't agree. So, thank you God for exposing my flaws and weaknesses and helping me to improve them and challenging me to do something about them now! Thank You for giving me a husband with his own flaws and weaknesses so that we can work on those together as well. Life with You is never boring and we have to trust the You know what You are doing!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13