A few years ago, I wrote a post about the struggles and joys of adopting children who have mental health needs..."so you want to adopt through the foster care system?" I think it is time to write part two. Now, we have three teenagers with FASD. We have an 8 year old who is out of control. We have other vulnerable children who mimic the attitude, behaviors and the craziness of our life right now.
Two days ago, our 13 year old severed a large part of the tip of his fingertip off. The index finger on his right hand (his dominant hand) was severed when he was attempting to fix the chain on his bike while he was riding. The ambulance ride, the two hour surgery, and the sobering reality that fingertips can rarely be sewed back on with any functional success game me time to contemplate life. It is too bad that it takes a crisis to have a moment to think, but in homes like ours, that is often the case. Our son remained amazingly calm through the whole thing. It was quiet at the hospital and I spent most of the time alone before Mark came to the hospital with several kids. I could not have been thankful for my son and for his friends who handled the emergency so well. I could not have been more pleased with the quick and excellent medical care he received. And I could not have been more grateful that God has spared our kids from accidents such as this...only Aaron has had a broken bone and we have had only a few sets of stitches over the years.
But then the anesthesia wore off and my 13 year old came to. He deserved a present, he said..knowing that when any of the kids spend time in the hospital, they usually come home with something little that we had bought them...a balloon, a stuffed animal..a new book. He wanted a laptop. Not just any laptop, but one with a BEATS sound system. And not just a cheap one but one that is over $800. He has not let up for two days about it. He can't believe that we don't love him enough to buy him this. He can't believe we are so mean and so selfish. He is furious about it. We owe him after all...because he will never be able to anything again. And in the midst of his rants, I hear his grief...his finger will never have feeling in it...it will not look the same way it always did. He is having a hard time with all of that..and he hates to feel different than everyone else. And when I tell you he hasn't stopped begging for this, I mean that...he has not done anything else but fight over this laptop that we are not buying him.
And then there is our 15 year old who has even more severe mental health issues. His FAS and the brain damage that has occurred has impaired his ability to maintain healthy relationships. His issues are too big to even get into in this post, but to sum it up..... There is no reasoning with someone who has significant brain damage. There is no good ending...it is like the song that never ends...it just goes on and on and then....
...and then all the other kids get thrown off. And then I want to caution other parents who have decided, like us, to take on multiple kids with issues, to think about days like this. Think about the teen years. Think about how each of their issues will collide one day. I am a tough cookie...I can handle a lot. But today has been nearly too much. And not everyone could handle this kind of day...
The issues of today will blow over. I know that. I know that God will give me enough strength to make it even though right now..I am not feeling it. As I type, one of the boys is destroying the house and the other is standing outside my door saying mean things. One of the little ones is repeating rude things she has heard, another is crying and throwing a fit and the most of damaged of all is worrying. He is worrying about all the chaos and he is trying to fix things. It breaks my heart.
Today, I feel like I have made a mess of this family. Have we taken on too much? Have we hurt them more by thinking we could do this? My heart feels crushed.
Create in me a pure heart Oh, God...and create in me a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10..Lord I need you now.