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Fill ‘Er Up

March 5th, 2012

iStock_000014368547XSmallAccording to my brother, the Peace Corps got it right when they said it was “the toughest job you’ll ever love.”  But, I think the phrase could equally apply to motherhood. As an adoptive parent, I never experienced pregnancy and all the fun, pain, and wonder that comes along with it.  Instead, I adopted a daughter from Russia and another from Guatemala with all the fun, pain, and wonder that comes along with that. I love being a mother, but it is the toughest job I’ve ever had…without training.  As I watch them grow into beautiful young ladies, I am struck at how much work goes into raising them. Raising  “normal” child is difficult and challenging enough, but when a child has special needs, such… [more]

Built Up Resentment

February 28th, 2012

failureA friend of mine recently admitted she felt like a failure because her little RADish didn’t seem to be making much progress and it was having an effect on her family, her marriage, and herself.  She was struggling to remain loving and supportive because her RADish was taking everything she had to give. Being the mother of a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder is beyond exhausting.  I would say being a parent in itself is a tiring job, but when the complexities of an emotionally damaged child is added in, exhaustion doesn’t go far enough to describe how you feel at the end of the day. Nancy Thomas wrote a book about RAD called When Love is Not Enough.  This was the first book… [more]

When Your Child Hands You A Lie…

February 24th, 2012

iStock_000014014823XSmall…Buy yourself a cupcake. The start of this New Year has not been an easy one around our house.  With two daughters in full-blown RAD mode, our family life has not been chaos-free. One prevalent behavior of Reactive Attachment Disorder is lying.  All children fib and stretch the truth, but children suffering from RAD have perfected the art of lying to such a level, the lies should be hanging in a museum. Elle, my 13 year old RADish, is so proficient at lying I’m not sure she knows how to tell the truth.  The hard part about the lying is you know they are doing it because your built-in lie detector is flashing red.  But how are you going to prove it?  Should you try? … [more]

Monsters Incorporated

January 10th, 2012

Fur MonsterFor some time, Bunny has been experiencing a reoccurring nightmare.  She dreams monsters come in our house and eat our entire family, except for her.  She is left alone with no parents, no home, and no place to go. The dream follows the same script with a few variations.  Once the monsters burned the house down and roasted us inside.  They have tried smashing the house, but when they were unsuccessful, they went to our barn and ate all of the animals.  The rest of the dream is always the same, we end up dead and Bunny ends up alone. We’ve tried countless times to help Bunny with the dreams that leave her overtired and unsettled.  Once we talked her through a dream… [more]

New Year’s Resolutions

January 5th, 2012

iStock_000016800788XSmallI’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s.  I am not a night person, so staying up until midnight to drink champagne or to kiss has never been a favorite activity of mine.  However, if New Year’s was celebrated at 6:00a, then I’m your gal.  Maybe I should start celebrating New Year’s on Australian time! The start of a new year has always been more of a time of reflection for me.  I don’t make resolutions for the coming year because I know by February I won’t be able to remember what my New Year’s resolutions were.  Plus, I am so exhausted from the Holidays that it takes me until February to get my head around resolutions. This year, I’ve spent a fair… [more]

Bucketful ‘O Feelings

November 1st, 2011

bucketEmotions and feelings shouldn’t be a hard thing, although ask any man in an all-female household and he will tell you he is screwed when it comes to feelings and emotions. My husband once questioned our six-year-old daughter, Bunny, about the outfit she chose to wear for picture day.  His question was less about what he asked and more about how he asked the question.  Bunny took immediate offense to his question and burst into tears. Oh, brother! But, as much as Bunny has no problem expressing some emotions, others are locked deep inside her. Bunny has Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), and as I’ve written before, RAD is a disorder of relationships.  At some point during Bunny’s development, a trauma occurred.  Her particular trauma came from… [more]

Hail to the Chief

October 20th, 2011

iStock_000012764290XSmallAs an American, there are a few things I take for granted, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness being the big three.  I’m also guaranteed certain liberties such as the right of free speech, the freedom of religion, and the right to own a gun. Another right I have as an American that I don’t often think about is the right to be President of the United States.  Growing up, children are told they can be anything they want to be.  If they work and study hard, they can be a doctor, astronaut, or President. But, because my daughters were born in a foreign country, they are ineligible to be President of the United States.  My Russian daughter who plays basketball and my… [more]

Going Home

October 13th, 2011

iStock_000009028466XSmallHome is where the heart is.  But, for my daughters, their hearts aren’t just under my roof. As internationally adopted children, I know a part of them still resides in their birth countries.  As they grow up as red, white, and blue Americans, Elle is still Russian, and Bunny is still Guatemalan. And I love that about them. We recently celebrated Bunny’s Adoption Day, the day we brought her home.  Although I punted on making tamales, I did have cake.  While we enjoyed her red velvet cake, she asked when Elle’s A-Day was.  It’s in June.  Then she asked when her daddy’s A-Day was and then when was mine. We told her we didn’t have A-Days because we weren’t adopted.  Then she questioned our citizenship.  Apparently… [more]

Lost Opportunity

October 6th, 2011

iStock_000014869787XSmallI am disappointed.  Disappointed at a lost opportunity. This morning, over a cup of coffee, I read this headline in the Hollywood Reporter. Jillian Michaels Warns Against International Adoption Unless You Have ‘A Lot Of Money’ In the current issue of Prevention Magazine, Michaels, a former trainer on The Biggest Loser, discusses the difficulties she’s had adopting internationally.  She left the TV reality show last December and this February announced she was adopting a child from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Celebrity adoptions are not uncommon.  Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have adopted children from Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Vietnam.  Madonna controversially adopted a boy from Malawi.  Meg Ryan adopted a baby girl from China, and Katherine Heigl adopted a special needs daughter from Korea. When celebrities adopt… [more]

The Carrot Peeler

September 29th, 2011

iStock_000000331847XSmallSometimes the smallest things can speak volumes. In my house, the disappearance of a carrot peeler doesn’t mean that I’ve misplaced it in the wrong drawer.  It is a red flag that one of my daughters is angry.  Angry at me. Parenting a child with reactive attachment disorder (RAD.) is not easy.  Parenting is not easy, but when your child has attachment issues that result in a lack of trust, simply loving your child is often not enough. RAD is a disorder of relationships, and the root cause of the disorder is the broken mother/child relationship.  Until this basic, fundamental relationship is restored with the adoptive mother, the child will be incapable of forging normal, healthy relationships. I have spent years trying to repair my relationship… [more]