I have been actively blogging for about two years now. The original intent of my blog was to allow friends, family and any interested folks to follow the adoption journey of our precious Ezekiel. The blog is aptly named.
At times of great joy or distress, I have branched out and blogged about other subjects. I also follow my stats and have found the blog entries that receive exponentially more hits than any others are those centering around our 13 year old son who has been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder. The posts receiving literally thousands of views were the following:
Adoption Disruption, The Down and Dirty
Lemuel's Story, Part 2
Bonding: The Flap and the Facts
I believe there is an unmet need in the adoption community for parents of difficult children to speak out in truth. Many hide in shame. Many blame themselves for not being able to "bond properly". Many are worried about the "I Told You So's" that will come their way. I have worried about those things, too. They are real.
What I am most worried about right now is that I have made myself out to be a liar. I have said countless times in the posts referenced above that Lem is "ours forever" and that he's "home for good" and yet, today, I don't know if I can keep to that. No, he has not been violent or sexually acted out with anyone but the constant lying is wearing me down in a way that I have never experienced. The lies are small and silly in terms of subject matter but they are intentional, ugly and calculated at the same time.
I'm never sure HOW much to share on this blog. I think it's unfair to speak cryptically and in generalities when I know there are families hungry for kinship in this difficult struggle. So I will use plain speak. Lem has lied several times in the last couple of days, and ALWAYS in the evening after a good day of family time together. He is sabotaging himself yet again.
A few nights ago, we all went to a basketball game. Lem was unusually loving to all of us and his efforts were met with great success. After the game, we went to a sandwich shop connected to a gas station (very classy joint - ha ha) and my sons went to the gas station area to buy some candy. Upon return to the table, a younger sibling says "Kuya Lem was breaking candy bars and putting them back on the shelf". Lem quickly pipes up "IT WAS AN ACCIDENT". The younger sibling replies "you went like this" and does a snapping motion with his hand "and you said 'ha ha ha' and you did it lots of times to lots of candy". Lem wilted. "Well, the FIRST candy bar was an accident". We leave immediately. I talk to him on the way home about trustworthiness, about being the same person whether you're being watched by mom and dad or not, etc. etc. etc. I feel like Charlie Brown's teacher . . wah wah wha wha . .. because I have said these things before. We have punished, spanked, grounded, prayed, talked, copied scripture, talked and talked and talked . . . my heart hurts. I want him to evaporate so the rest of us can be happy. Ouch.
The next morning, hubby takes Lem back to the gas station to pick out the amount of candy he believes he ruined and make him pay for it. There was NINE DOLLARS worth of chocolate in his basket. NINE DOLLARS worth of "accidents" . . .yeah, right. Lem paid for the candy and then had to tell the cashier what he had done and leave the bag of candy there for the cashier to give to whomever she thinks might want it. They came home and he sulked but he was in his familiar "cozy" place, the dog house. He was far, in heart and spirit, from the chattering, bustling, fun loving family. He chose to be alone in his room and flog himself for the rest of the day. Fine with me. Perfect, in fact.
Yesterday's lie revolved around him hurting Ezekiel "accidentally" and then, having no idea why the baby was crying. Luckily, he's part of this big family and privacy is as scarce as hen's teeth. The whole incident was witnessed by one of my perfectly trustworthy children who came forth with the truth. Lem did not deny it when confronted but simply said "oh, I didn't feel it". I think a trip to the neurologist is in order to have those synapses checked. He is losing feeling in his extremities, apparently. This,too, happened at the end of a GREAT family day. We cleaned out the shed as a family. We put up the old tent in the backyard and the kids played in it for hours. We even let him watch Ezekiel for about ten minutes when I went in to cook lunch. He was given a bit of trust (yes, I cooked right near the kitchen window but, in THEORY, he was being trusted). He just had to end this yucky closeness and get back to the cozy isolation so he made sure, at 9pm, to end the night with a "bang". I sent him to bed with a very succinct warning about Ezekiel. I confirmed that if he really wants to ruin the rest of his natural life, he will hurt that baby again. I told him using someone who can't talk or understand is shameful. He began to cry. A good sign. There's something rattling around in there. But is it enough? Is there even a baby sprout of conscience that makes all of this family focus worth it? I don't know. I used to think "YES" but now I think "hmmmm?". These seemingly small incidents happen many times each week. Behind closed doors, my husband and I have adjusted a lawyer joke to fit our family.
Me: How can we tell if Lem is lying?
Hubby: Because his lips are moving . . . (cue two drum beats and a cymbal)
I am a huge music lover and there is one song I have listened to dozens of times this week. It is "I Will Not Be Moved" by Natalie Grant. She sings of steadfast devotion to God that can not be shaken by circumstances. I want to have that same devotion. First to my Savior but also to this broken child. I just don't know if I can hang on much longer.
Maybe this whole post is just the result of a couple of hard back-to-back days and I will be back to my positive, hopeful self after church tomorrow. Church always helps. But this time is different. I feel "done". Please forgive me, readers, if the shine has fallen completely off and you feel like giving up, too. It is always my intention to encourage with my posts. I hope to be able to post in a few days that all is well but this time around, I'm just not sure . . .