Posted by: amica | April 10, 2009

Fine Tuning

The bedrooms are basically cleaned out, a couple of items and I’ll be done.  The door alarms have been ordered, the guided imagery is almost complete, and the kids are cranky at best.  We pick up the baby tomorrow; my parents kept her for me this week so I could get the adjustments done around here. The Easter Bunny has been kind enough to get all the kids fun board games that we can play as a family. More books and DVDs have been ordered. All therapists in a 50 mile radius have been contacted. Three therapists in a 200 mile radius have also been contacted. I am preparing all meals now, even snacks, and I am solely taking care of the dog. I am exhausted! Seems like everything is on schedule.

My son keeps expressing that he doesn’t like the new mom.  He actually said he would rather me be yelling at him because this new stuff feels weird.  He also asked if HE could install the door alarms when they arrive…HA!  I told him I bet I could do it but thanks SO MUCH for the offer. He has this expression that could scare Satan – I personally use to want to knock him out every time he looked at me that way.  It’s a look of pure hatred. I now try to ignore it, seriously not even look at him when I see it coming on – which is usually every time he doesn’t get his way.

Miss H just came in here to tell me her nose is “kinda bleeding”.  She was in bed for almost 10 min this time.  Must have taken her that long to think of it and go through the process of getting it to bleed. At least there are no broken headboard pieces tonight…I am so glad I know about RAD now.  Before I would rack my brain as to WHY she was constantly hurting herself or more honestly, how was physical pain always finding its way TO her.

I know I can do this, I WANT to do this.  I love these kids and I will do anything for them but there is that voice in my mind that reminds me how unorganized I am, how I am not a full-of-energy mom, how I am a Libra and can always see both sides to everything – it will be difficult to not let them explain themselves anymore or allow them to convince me of their innocence. I don’t like that voice because it speaks the truth. How can I fit everything I need/want to do with them in 3 hours a day? Is that enough?  Will I make a difference?  Are they doomed?  What if I don’t have the energy at all some days?  What if they win and make me angry? And what if, God forbid, one of them hurts one of the other two? These are my insecurities currently and I know (hope) each day I will become stronger and better and more confident.



  1. You will have days that you accomplish nothing therapeutic (unless, of course, you count NOT screaming and yelling, which is every day’s great success). You just can’t be “on” every day. Sometimes you just float. That’s the only way to pump yourself back up.

    Two days ago I was numb. I floated for a bit. Today as my husband gave me a break and took over the restraint with our daughter, and she was growling and snapping at me … I was able to look at her with loving eyes and kiss her forehead (holding it very firmly so she wouldn’t headbutt me – she didn’t – she let me kiss her). She screamed at the top of her lungs like I was killing her, but she did nothing to try to stop me. She wanted it.

    Remember that on the really bad days. They are terrified of you, but they really do want you … but they don’t want you because they are terrified of you, but …. makes sense why they act out so much!!! So many emotions in their young bodies. So much fear. The bigger their fear, the more angry and scary they try to look. Your son’s “go ye not to heaven” look is a direct reflection of his fear.

    I have to remind myself of that over and over and over again. Otherwise, I take the outward anger personally. I get frustrated with it. Sometimes they suck me into it. The anger is always masking the fear. By acknowledging that truth, you’ll find an extra dose of patience.

    I’m stopping to say a prayer for your family right now.

    • You have no idea what that means to me…or maybe you know exactly. Thank you.

  2. You are doing an amazing job. Talk about jumping in feet first and just giving it all up for therapeutic parenting. Awesome. And it is exhausting. The first year I had my daughter, I used to take breaks in the bathroom at work and fall asleep on the toilet for short 5 minute stints. It is so hard to be monitoring the kids while cooking. It became much easier for me once I had my daughter help with the meal planning. She used to vomit her food all over me. But once I gave her some cookbooks and told her to pick out meals she liked, then I helped her make grocery lists, and then she would help with whatever prep she could…the puking evaporated.

    Everyone learns their own tricks that work for their kids. For the angry eyes, we have contests when she is happy (or relatively so) of how to look angry. Then when she really is angry and giving me those nasty looks, I cheer her on and say, “OOhhh, you win! That is a GOOD one!” Then I give her a nasty look back and ask her if mine is as angry looking, then bust into a smile quickly. 50% of the time it gets her to break the nast but it took a while to get there.

    I have found that so much of what I do is prevention while she is stable. Once she goes over that cliff, it is like dragging a semi down the road with its breaks on using dental floss.

    It is hard. But after a while, you find your groove and notice that things are not as hard as they used to be. The most important thing is to find the good things in every day. Sometimes it may just be that you got to go to the bathroom and no one hurt each other while were in there…but you still need to savor every good moment, no matter how small.

    • LOVE the angry eyes trick – will implement immediately!!!

  3. Hi there! I just found your blog through some of those fabulous RAD moms here in blog-space. 🙂 I’m not a RAD mom – or even a mom at all! Just a social worker, amazed by the stories, and hoping that understanding your lives better will help me be better at my job. So far, I’m amazed at your willingness to turn your life inside out! Bravo!

    • I appreciate your desire to learn and help – we need more of you out there!!

  4. Amen to everything above. Also, since I’m not very organized, it helped me to have a schedule so that (almost) everything was accomplished every day. I had to divide it up in 15 minute increments so that I made the most of the 3 hours every day. (This is when I was working). Now that I’m a SAHM I have to have one or I’ll get off track and dilly dally all day. 😉

    Count you successes every day. I made a list of 5 every day. Some days it was basic. 1. Nobody died 2. I didn’t get hit today. etc.

    You’re doing a fabulous job! Keep up the great work!

  5. Wow! YOu really are doing great. I second Lisa’s amen to everything said above. I too made a list (less ambitious) of 3 good things that happened but made myself keep going if I had more. Those got me through the tougher times when I struggled. I even posted them in my bathroom and bedroom sometimes. You are in for a ride but you can do it.

  6. Hi!

    I am one of Lisa’s peeps. She asked me to pop in and lend some support! Well, you have it! I have a 9yr old daughter with RAD. She is healing and making wonderful progress. Lisa has been my rock!

    The first year is probably the hardest because our kids don’t want to give up control. The battle is worth it though.

    One thing on the therapist issue. The therapist we use is not an attachment therapist. She is a family counselor that “specializes” in adoption. She is AWESOME! I guess I just wanted you to explore all options. When talking to therapists, make sure they know the names – Nancy Thomas, etc.

    Good Luck, I will be following your journey!


    • Welcome and thanks for the info! Funny that you mention the adoption specialization. I had made an appt for this Friday with a therapist I didn’t know anything about. In response to my question “are any of the therapists there familiar with attachment disorders?” The receptionist said, “I’m sure there are, they all work with kids.”………so I thought whatever and I made the appt. Next day I called and requested to speak to said therapist I had the appt with. I explained my situation and that I didn’t want to waste either of our time if this was something she could not help me with. She agreed that she couldn’t but said she would leave a message for her colleague to call me back. I did some googling and am very excited about this lady returning my call, she too is an adoption specialist and works with many foster children too. I pray she doesn’t have an interest in buying a new Mercedes soon!

  7. You have ALREADY made a huge difference in these kids’ lives. Imagine where they might be if you hadn’t made a home for them?!? And to take on this new challenge now–on your own, with three kids to raise… Well, you’re up for sainthood in my book. It’s not going to be perfect. It’s not going to be easy. But it absolutely WILL be worth it. You are giving these kids the greatest gift anyone can get in life–A CHANCE.

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