When you live in a world that involves constant worries about attachment, bonding and the emotional needs of children who weren’t yours when they entered this world, it can be emotionally draining. People talk about “filling their bucket”, meaning that every once in awhile, they go dry and they have to find ways to recharge. My bucket is currently empty. I’m in desperate need of a recharge. I know many, many other adoptive, and biological, parents of special needs children who feel this way. I want those parents to know they’re not alone, and that even though I have been told many, many times how “perfect” my life looks, I get tired too.
I’m tired now.
We have one child in our home who struggles constantly with behavior and regulation issues due to her past. People who know us well know who she is. In fact, you’ll know after about two minutes of introduction to our children. If you’ve read this blog long enough, you probably know as well. This child is now old enough to understand that her behavior is often beyond her control. She’s old enough to be embarrassed.
She’s not old enough to figure out that in order to change the way to world sees her, she’ll have to change the way she treats the world. It’s rather maddening. She is so, so smart. Academically, she has tested out of reading for her grade level. She’ll be moving on to the next grade level and we’re only midway through the year. Socially, she still acts like she’s 4 years old. Imagine parenting a child who weighs nearly 55 pounds and occasionally throws fits that require that you physically restrain her. She is nearly half my body weight. She has physically injured me multiple times in the last couple of months.
She beats me the way she was beaten.
Emotionally, and physically, I’m burnt out. Tomorrow, FullPlateDad will, for the first time ever, take this child to therapy. I don’t want to talk about her feelings. I don’t want to focus on her needs. I want someone else to do it. I’m tagging out. She is appalled by this. Yesterday, when I told her that her dad would be taking her because I’m tired and need a break, she accused me of “hating her.” I told her I didn’t. Her answer, “Well, you don’t like me!” I answered her honestly.
I love her. I always will. But, I don’t like her right now. She can change that, but she has to want to. I refuse to raise a child that doesn’t understand a relationship, and how it isn’t the responsibility of only one person to make it work. I want to raise a child who knows that in order to receive kindness, you have to give it. I have faith that she will get that one day. But, that day isn’t today, and it won’t be tomorrow.
So, tomorrow, while she is at therapy, I will go and pick up the other children from school and then come home and enjoy the quiet.
–FullPlateMom, who isn’t ashamed to say that, sometimes, her children drive her to drink.