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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…!

Praying for You

(This is an open letter to the many who write to me privately.  They are overwhelmed, exhausted, and discouraged, dealing with great conflicts within and without.  Yet, they are strong, and sincerely attempting to do the best for their children.)

I know it hasn’t been easy, my friend.  This was not what you signed up for when you adopted.  For some, it’s a child with rage, anger, and violence; or cutting, running away, and trying to kill oneself; or lying, sneaking around, and stealing.

It’s not your fault.  You have tried, and tried some more.  You are a good parent.  You have provided every tool and opportunity for success.  That same grief and confused thinking has spilled from your child, threatening to overwhelm and carry away the rest of the family in its own tsunami-like wave.

Just when the storm seems over, it starts up again:  flashes of lightning and ominous rumbles of thunder.  Sent to school detention, or taken into police custody, or whisked away for another psychiatric stay.  The child makes it clear that they’re not ready, willing, or able to be a fully-functioning member of your family.  School doesn’t work, family get-togethers spell disaster, and even fun activities are somehow deep-sixed and spoiled for everyone.

Unless there is pain, the child does not feel alive.  The rawness never abates with time, the wounds are as fresh today as they were months or years ago.  This is not the majority of adoptees, however, it is your reality.

Will it ever get better?  Perhaps.  Will the momentum of time and better moments ever carry the child forward?  Perhaps.  Will the child, hell-bent on destruction, end up dead or incarcerated?  Perhaps.

The social workers have scattered, the therapists no longer know what to think. The child sets their sights on prison, or pregnancy, or pot.  Sometimes all of the above.  They might want to live with lenient relatives, return to Russia, or reside on the streets.  You set your sights on finding a therapist who “gets it”, who can actually help.

This is not working, for sure, but will a new approach bring better results?  Maybe so.  All you can do is all you can do.  If a jumbo-jet crashed in your front yard, no one would blame you.

There are some adoptive parents who give up after five minutes.  That’s not you.  The family has given, and sacrificed, and practically been ripped to shreds after months or years of trying.  And yet, you’re willing to try again.

Don’t beat yourself up.  Don’t let the woulda- coulda- shouldas take over your life.  You’ve tossed out the lifeline and evenually, the child has to take hold.  If they insist on thrashing around and drowning, and pulling down everyone else in the boat, it may be time for Plan B.

There are no easy answers, but much second-guessing and self-doubts on the part of the parents.  If nothing else, be assured:  I’m praying for you, that you would have strength, and clarity, and yes, even a miracle.



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10 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar hoonew says:

    I admire your family’s successes, Alexandra, but am also glad when you share your family’s struggles. Our family has had its own challenges, adoption a relatively small part. I know from reading other’s stories it can get really bad, and few people get the unique challenges with adoptive families. I hope that your struggling blog readers find peace.

    • avatar admin says:

      Thanks, hoonew, the best thing for all of us is to be honest. I’ve been blasted in the past for being both too dark and too light in terms of the ways I portray adoption. It’s all true, and it’s different for every family. Some may cause us to be envious, and some may cause us to offer a hand to those who have it worse. Perspective, and just to know that somebody else cares, may lighten another’s load, and yes, bring them peace. Thanks for being a part!

  2. avatar anonymous says:

    I read with tears streaming down my face. For yes, this is our reality. Our poster child for older child adoption has nearly had her face put on a poster. Somehow, at some moment, something way way deep inside snapped and we started losing her.

    We threw her a life line. She tried to hang herself with it.

    We keep trying. Because we love her. Because we ARE attached to her. Someday maybe she will be able to heal enough to let us in.

    Prayers and hugs to everyone out there who “gets it”.

    • avatar admin says:

      I’m so sorry, anonymous, that you’re going through this. Every day I hear of scenarios that seem to be getting worse as far as severe situations. Folks write to me offline sharing their joys and sorrows. These are such personal issues and some outsiders may never believe the reality of it. I think of little Artyom Savelyev (Justin Hansen) who was “sent back” to Russia. It will be two years in April. The Russians said that there were scores of people lining up to be his family and adopt him there. After all this time, he’s still in an institution. Some of these kids are extremely broken and traumatized by their pasts. No matter how hard you try, some cannot fit into a normal family, often through no fault of their own. They are in the minority, but they do exist. It’s so important that those in the adoption community not turn against those experiencing struggles since it doesn’t make the success stories (if we can even use that term) any less real, either. We’re all in this together.

  3. avatar Linda says:

    I love reading your blog, as it speaks not only about the good things, but about the hard things.
    Our family, has been lucky enough to have it fairly easy, still there has been times when you feel clueless and helpless…
    At that point, to read somebody else’s blog and find that they too have gone through something similar helps, yes it doesn’t solve the problem but at least you know your not alone, it’s nothing you did that caused it… You can only try to be the solution…

    I won’t pretend that I know what it’s like to have it really hard, but for the ones who has it hard, my heart goes out to you! I hope there will be a time that it will be better…

  4. avatar Greg says:

    Wow, thanks Alexandra for sharing this. We need to know when a fellow adoptive family needs our support and prayers and this is a very considerate way to alert us. I have no idea who this person is but I am confident they, like the rest of us, have completely poured themselves into this child. Its not your fault anonymous that this has occurred. Don’t blame yourself. You’ve done the best you can. I’m sure you have persevered long beyond what most people would have. I think God gives us an incredible passion and heart for these children. And it is a good thing that He does because there are many times where things get so ridiculous that nobody else would believe how bad it is. That is, except for those who have faced similar trials. We are praying for you. We are believing that the “breakthrough” or the miracle is right around the corner. We’ll take either at this point!

    • avatar admin says:

      Thanks, Greg, there are a number of families (that I know of) going through difficult times. They are not able to share as freely as the rest of us, so it can make you feel isolated. Some have teens, some have much younger kids. But neglect, abuse, and mental health issues know no age. *Sigh.* I pray for real victory for each one, because it’s such an encouragement to others when you’ve been through similar things, and come out on top. You guys are all great!

  5. avatar Sybil says:

    Today happens to be 14 years to the day that we met our daughter. My husband and I were talking about how “lucky” we are that our child seemed to be what is naturally resilient. We spoke of how uneducated and naive we were when we adopted in 1998. Since then we have learned so much about attachment and FAS. I’m not sure we would have adopted if we had know the extent of the issues it causes a child and their families. Like others who have posted, we offer our prayers and wish we could send those families that are having a hard time, lots of strength for as long as you need it. Mostly, I wish the children would heal so that all of your lives would be as it should. Guilt should play no part in what you have to deal with.

    • avatar admin says:

      Congratulations on 14 years after meeting your daughter, Sybil! I agree, that’s a good point about guilt. We tried to educate ourselves, but probably thought you could “tell” if a child was severely affected. Talk about naive, lol. But as someone in my house constantly reminds me, we have it pretty good compared to many. I believe that anything and anyone who’s broken can be healed– it might not look like the original in terms of wholeness, but who cares about a few battle scars as long as it’s put back together again?

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