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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

How Far Would You Go?

Several cyber-friend adoptive parents are going through severe trials at this time, which leads to the question:  how far would you go to help your adopted (or bio) child mentally and emotionally heal?  Would you be willing to:

1.  Lose your other children in the process of helping one child get better?

2.  Have your mate leave you?

3.  Be fired from your job because of needing so much time off for doctors’ appointments and other emergencies precipitated by the child?

4.  Become extremely indebted or bankrupt?

5.  Have your own sanity endangered?

6.  Experience the confusion and pain of everyone from therapists, to extended family and friends, believing that YOU are the problem, instead of facing the child’s dysfunction?

In other words, when is enough, enough?  When is it time to throw in the towel, or do you keep trying as long as you have breath and life?

A family friend (of another family) approached me recently, asking that I intervene in the other family’s business.  The daughter was going downhill fast, and one parent responded by cracking down more, while the other parent tried to be the “friend” and laugh it off.

I had tried to put in my two cents here and there, whether subtly or not-so-subtly.  The parents were in deep denial and my “help” was not needed nor desired.   There were dynamics at work that I might never understand, and truly, it was none of my business.

But what would you do to “save” your own child?  Would you go to the ends of the earth and back again?  What if the child appeared to not want help?  What if they told you, in essence, to get lost?  How long should you keep coming back for more?

The family friend of theirs told me that we should never give up on a child, that there’s always hope.  While she’s not a parent, she’s a pretty perceptive lady, having worked through a bunch of stuff from her own background.  But that being said, she’s not dealing with the child 24/7 and basically believing all that’s being told her by the young person.

To what lengths would you go when trying to help your child?



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12 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Linda says:

    I would do anything for my child, now I only have the one, so I don’t have to choose one child over any other.
    But saying that, sometimes the only way to help your child is to find someone who can hopefully help your child better then you can. If it means the child has to live away from home… It would be hard, but maybe it can help.

    In the end, I don’t know what I would do. Anything, it’s easy to say… But would there be an point when it’s just too much? I don’t know.
    Hopefully I will never have to find out.

    • avatar admin says:

      “…sometimes the only way to help your child is to find someone who can hopefully help your child better then you can.” Beautiful quote, Linda. Thanks for your wisdom on that one!

  2. avatar Greg says:

    Good question. Something I read the other day stated that “you should never give up because the one breakthrough that changes everything could come at any moment.” Its easy to say it but harder to live when all heck breaks loose! For those who have adopted and believe in a higher authority, God has given us an incredible gift. Know that He also gives the strength to handle the situation. Interestingly, I know several families who have really messed up bio-kids that are huge problems. And they haven’t been abused and neglected in their childhood! Our 15 year old adopted daughter has been here 14 months now. I can tell you that we have had plenty of difficulties that caused some of our family members to question what we did. We had ugly behavior, meltdowns that would make a two year old envious and some real defiance to authority, but after about 9 months we really started to see a change. I’d say our “breakthrough” came at about month 10 when she began to understand and trust. Its been a different deal since then. Stick with it if you can…..something this significant and life changing for all isn’t supposed to be easy even though we think it should be.

    • avatar admin says:

      So true, Greg, the good things in life don’t always come easy. I live through our seemingly-small ups and downs, but those who have really been through it, I understand when it all might just be too much. Strength from above cannot be overemphasized!

  3. avatar Gwendolyn says:

    Ah, Alksandra, THAT is the $64 Million question! The situation you describe sounds like classic RAD to me: parents are triangulated, father is in denial (joking) and child is going donhill fast.


    As you know, we go through milder forms of this, on-going, especially with younger DD. It is really, really hard to give up on a child. I think one needs a disinterested, somewhat expert, perspective on this, because it is so easy to convince ourselves that it is all within our control / grasp / reach. That prayer and love and discipline and routine and tecaching and bonding will work the required miracle of healing.

    Once you’ve fallen in love with your children, giving up is almost impossible … at least until there is repeated, dangerous physical injury, or behaviors that are so out of control that the local government starts to notice…

    Beyond this point, different temperaments will make different decisions. The RN mother of my college roommate decided to let her youngst daughter go when the child was finally diagnosed with cancer, 55 years ago. We probably wouldn’t make that decision now because outcomes have improved so much, but then it was a rational, loving decision.

    Likewise, parents of children with severe physical injuries or limitations make different decisions about keeping their children at home vs. finding skilled care for them. There is always a gray area, where the parent’s personality and societal/familial expectations overrule the rational consideration of benefit to child vs. cost (emotional, physical, health, financial, marital, social) to the parents.

    The flip side of that is that the people who INSIST there is hope and go out and beat the bushes demanding help finding the hope very often end of changing the course of the disease for those who follow… Only desperate, unreasonable people are sufficiently motivated to buck the system and find new ways of thinking… Think about MADD!

    So, I don’t know where we stop trying… I love my daughters so fiercely that I don’t stop trying, even when one of them clearly has injured me…

  4. avatar anon says:

    As an adoptive parent who is experiencing this decision first hand and on a daily basis, here is my input.
    1. I have four other children. While said dd needs me the most right now, my other kids still need and desrve a part of me, and frankly they are what keeps me going. I can put them on the back burner, but I won’t push them off the stove.
    2. I think my marriage has become stronger. We are trying to be there for each other as much as we can. We pull each other up. He is my rock and my support. And besides if he’s not, I’ve threatened to leave him and NOT take the kids. (Just a little humor there!)
    3. I can’t lose my job. My insurance is ensuring that my child has a chance to get the right professional help.
    4. The bills are scaring us. We are reaching the 6 digits in mental health costs for the past 7 months. Insurance helps, but not enough.
    5. My sanity is debatable. (Another bit of humor…. sort of.)
    6. Having a child with RAD is painful, and confusing, and many of the “experts” do not understand. You have to find someone who does and then advocate for your child with all the rest. I could easily give up daily in my “fight” for our dd.

    When is enough … enough? When do you give up? I think we need to define “giving up”. We are doing everything in our power to get our dd in what we feel is the best residential facility to meet HER needs. She may be there a year or more. Is that giving up? I think not. We hope she comes home again. If not, we will advocate for another placement – foster care, other residential, new family, etc. Is that giving up? No, I don’t think so. Our very loving, sweet and kind daughter who we believed was attached to us after 2+ years suddenly became depressed and has shown outward signs of RAD. She made two serious suicide attempts and says she will try again if she has to go home with us.

    Taking her home before SHE is ready. THAT would be giving up.

    • avatar admin says:

      All of your insights resonate, anon! Two in particular jump out at me:

      1. About your other kids: “I can put them on the back burner, but I won’t push them off the stove.”
      2. About giving up: “Taking her home before SHE is ready. THAT would be giving up.”

      And the fact that your marriage has become stronger…. Wow, wow, wow. For being in a less-than-ideal situation, you’re doing pretty well! We’re here for you.

  5. avatar Sybil says:

    I want to say to the anon Mom who answered your questions that I think she and her husband are awesome as well as others on this site who have expressed their opinions and situations. I hope for tremendous amounts of healing for your children.

    • avatar admin says:

      I agree, Sybil, and am constantly amazed by the daily courage of ordinary people, who get up, and try all over again. The very idea of healing, or letting go, or whatever it is that they are unable for whatever reasons to do, can be very frightening. May the walls come down little by little for those who feel that life can never be good for them.

  6. avatar anon says:

    Thank you admin and Sybil for the kind words. It really helps to see that there are some people who can see how hard we are trying and how much we care.

    Since my post we have found out that our insurance company has denied coverage because they do not see a medical need for further treatment. We’ve contacted an attorney. Yes, more enegery, more time and more money. We are exhausting all of them.

    And all those people who told us, “Help is out there! You JUST need to ASK!” ……..

    • avatar admin says:

      They say it’s the measuring stick of a society: how we take care of our young and our elderly. I’ve lived in countries with socialized medicine and while sometimes that can cause long waits for procedures, and the people with money end up going to private clinics… there’s got to be some kind of better health care for our most vulnerable populations. We just took all of the kids to the docor for regular check-ups and it ended up being much cheaper to just pay out of pocket than use our “insurance”. Maybe more competition where companies could provide across state lines, etc….

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