She does this by rejecting your affection; by attacking you verbally and sometimes even physically; by swearing at you; by lying about you to others; by refusing to engage in the basics of family life (such as eating Christmas dinner with the family without disruption); by getting kicked out of, or quitting, every extra-curricular activity in which she asks you to enroll her; by chronic lying and stealing; by the discord created by secret contact with birth family.
And in the process, you lose something of yourself. And you begin to believe that he is right, you are not good enough. And so you withdraw from friends who don't understand (which is likely all of them). You stop responding and you start over-reacting. You develop a sense of high and anxiety alert just like your child's. You begin to doubt your own reality amidst the lies. Yet, you still love your kid with all of your heart and instead of rejecting him in return, you endure and you keep trying and your heart aches so badly you think it will crack and you feel like your home is the saddest place in the world.
And that, my friends, is where I think the skills development needs to take place. It is in learning how to live with a child who doesn't, and may never, care about you. It's in learning how to live a parallel fate so that while you are offering your child the opportunity to learn that life can have meaning and that relationships can be safe ---- you still have the capacity to enjoy a life of quality and meaning. You need the skills to love your child without surrendering your joy and your own emotional health.
So now you want to know how to do that, eh? Well, I'm working on that. However, to me, the first step in this process is to start talking about it out loud. To start telling others publicly about what our lives are like. We need to make the adoption industry catch up with today's adoption realities. I have feared doing this because I don't want my children to read this or hear me speak at workshops and then think this means that I don't love them or that they are, or were, too much trouble. I have been held back because I know that my children, and yours, aren't responsible for the problems they present and so I don't want them to feel blamed or hopeless. That has kept me silent, and it has kept me from doing anything to change how things are. Well, being silent to protect my kids might have worked for some of them, but it sure didn't work a couple of them, so I'm done with that. I think it's time to shake things up. How about you?
Hey friends, you are entitled to a better day.