I was talking to one of my neighbors yesterday. I think she is one of the coolest people ever. She has two adopted kids and tons of contacts in the world of help because she is a social worker. Although it is her job, I don’t think she can help it, she just tries to connect people with resources. She dropped off a book, The Connected Child, that is about bonding with your adopted child. And a lot of the advice seems similar to another book I have started reading, Transforming the Difficult Child. Both stress how important it is just to notice and love your kids, try to see things from their perspective and discipline from a calm and understanding place. I think that is one thing we succeed at, bonding with our kids. They know and trust us. That is actually why we sleep with them at night. Just so they know, they have us, they are safe, and if we haven’t bonded enough during the day, then we can make up for it at night. Maybe we aren’t so good at staying calm with the discipline, but we are getting better.
Talking to people is something I wrestle with. I want people to understand and I want to see how other people have handled the same situations. I end up learning so much. Then there is the flip side. When you get back things that feel or sound negative. Hopeless. Things like that. That is when talking to people sucks.
If you didn’t know, Charlie was exposed in utero to methamphetamine. His birth mother was hospitalized at 6 months. He wasn’t born addicted. She smoked. Cigarettes and pot.Who knows what else she did. She was a sad girl.
My neighbor wrote to her friend who is the director of child development for one of the universities in the area to ask for advice for ADHD and exposure. The director wrote back this:
This little one who is your neighbor sounds most likely exposed to profound changes in brain development and brain chemistry from substance exposure in utero. Outcomes for these children are often very poor, depending on how badly damaged his brain was and how informed the parents become about early and consistent intervention. I’m copying a favorite article about the changes in utero for children from fetal exposure – drug exposure symptoms and changes are very similar. Both are toxic to brain development.
The article is here – well, part of it anyway. If you want the whole thing, just ask.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for seeing the reality. The reality is that we adopted a kid who needs extra help being the best he can be. Sometimes it’s exhausting to give him the help, but dammit! we will. And he will. I know it. We won’t ever give up, we won’t ever accept that he will have a poor outcome. And advice from someone like that it not very welcome. I stop hearing. I think I am more like my family than I care to admit. When we were voicing the negative, my mother and my aunt would say, “Cancel, cancel.” Believe in the positive and it will be so. Maybe that defines faith, for me anyway.