I ran into someone that I hadn’t seen in about fifteen years today. Long story short, she is really going through it with a child they adopted.
The girl is 14 or 15 now, and went back and forth between the birth mother and foster care from a young age. After a neglectful and turbulent early childhood, she was adopted by this friend, whose family had been respite providers during those years.
Good foster families play such an important part in anchoring and providing stability for children that have no stability in their lives. And usually there is no thank-you from the child, who may be unable to appreciate the safe haven that has been provided.
Helping a kid who doesn’t seem to want help, (and is often defiant and destructive to the family unit), is a hard burden to bear. I felt for my friend, because we have been there with Lilly. I feel like we’ve been to hell and back with Lilly.
Has it been worth it? Absolutely! What advice do I have for people in this situation? Here is a mini-list of tips:
1. Take care of your marriage. (I will talk more about this topic in two weeks, so stay tuned.)
2. Take care of your health. Eat nutrient rich foods and be active physically.
3. Have a list of people on your team, and their numbers. An actual list. After you put down the professionals, rack your brain to add helpful people who are not professionals. When in crisis, if you don’t have a list, you may not be able to focus on who to call for help.
4. Know the signals that will tell you that your child is becoming dis-regulated or agitated. With Lilly, she would pace, suck her thumb, and hunch her shoulders. When these happened, I knew we were headed for trouble if there wasn’t an intervention.
5. Think about interventions. Make a list of things that could be used as interventions. More about this in weeks to follow.
6. Don’t hesitate to call for help! It’s when you try to do it all alone that either you get harmed, or something really bad may happen.
7. Document everything unusual and date it. Add names of anyone who heard or saw what you are documenting. I’m talking about unusual or bizarre behavior, harm to animals, self, or others; accusations, fire-starting, running off, breaking items, stealing, etc.
With the holidays coming, it is wise to be proactive if you don’t already have these things in place. Nothing is fool-proof, but you will fail if you don’t think about this seriously.
Love my readers, Nealie