Thank you for your wonderful comments these past few days, and for entering the contest to win a copy of my book, a weekly organizer and a copy of Renee's CD "The Power of a Purpose-Driven Mom." It's always more fun to do something with a friend, and I'm so delighted that Renee thought of this.
I'm happy to announce that "Angel" who posted at 2:53 PM won the gift packet. I've sent an email, but just in case it doesn't get there, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today I'm going to be more vulnerable than usual. It's been a rough weekend.
In my post on Friday, I mentioned we are facing hard times with one of our children. In the past, I've been cautious to reveal too much about my children. I vigilantly protect their privacy. But for some reason, I believe the Lord is calling me to be more open about our struggles with our youngest child, Ruth.
From the outside, Ruth looks like an average child. If you walked in to the back of her classroom, you might see her chatting with a friend, reading a book or drawing on a paper. You'd think she's fitting in fine.
Yet on the inside, something totally different is going on. If you don't know, our daughters Cathrine and Ruth were born in Liberia, Africa. Even though we don't know the details about their early life, we know it was unbelievably horrible. We knew we would need to provide a safe and loving home for both girls to be healthy.
We've faced most of those challenges with confidence. We've dealt with health issues, learning challenges, language barriers, low confidence, sibling conflicts, and so on. Yet we knew we weren't reaching something inside Ruth. For the five years since God chose us as her parents, and placed her in our family, we've known something was going on beneath the surface.
Yet we couldn't put our fingers on what was wrong. Yet every day we were (and are) faced with odd disobedient behaviors, sneaking, lying, things she "found," items missing, and so on. There is always an aura of unpredictability and untruth about her. Every parenting tool we've ever used has been unsuccessful in helping her make healthy, loving choices.
We've shared bits and pieces of our struggles with some family members and our church small group. The hard part about this is the different advice we get. It's been conflicting, so we just plugged away using the biblical parenting tools that have been successful with our other children. And to be honest, I'm afraid of the judgment we might receive. So we've kept much of it to ourselves.
But nothing helps. And our hearts are being shredded.
Just two months ago, we decided it was time to get some therapy. In researching the name of a recommended therapist, I stumbled across the website http://www.attachment.org/. As I read the list of symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), my mouth hung open. There in one list were all the behaviors we'd been seeing for five years. (Except for some of the violent ones, which is why it took so long to identify)
We are now learning a lot about the brokenness inside our daughter's mind and heart. Sadly, if we had figured this out 4-1/2 years ago, we'd been a much healthier place to help her. Now, we are all limping emotionally, but with help.
A child with RAD learns early on that adults can not be trusted. In fact, at a primitive level, they learn adults are dangerous. So at all costs, they choose their own way, without regard to whether it's the honest or obedient thing to do. What makes this difficult to treat is a severely reduced conscience. It's not a personal attack, but it sure feels like it.
Our therapist explained that it’s like a wrong-thinking pathway has been burned into her brain and we have to practice, practice, practice with her until she has a different, automatic response of obedience. No amount of logic helps. It’s infuriating to be so helpless, yet to see how much better her life would be if she would just trust me enough to accept a truth that she doesn’t believe: she can trust me!
This past week, God revealed a truth to me in this principle. I'm not so different from my daughter at times. God is asking me to trust Him, regardless of whether it makes sense to me.
Do you trust me to take care of you?
Do you believe that you are not alone?
Do you believe that I'll bring good out of this for you?
Do you believe that I knew what I was doing when I asked you to love and raise Ruth?
Do you trust me? Really?
I don't know where this whole things is going. I wish I could say I knew what to do. But I don't. So today, I'm choosing to trust God. Of all my options, that's the one things I'm sure of. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be more optimistic, but this is where I am today. Wobbling, but planting my feet and trusting my Jesus.
In need of His peace and wisdom,