This last month had built up into a swirl of emotions. I wasn't even aware of how much they piled on top of each other until finally I erupted through tears.
My sweet boy, Robert, has been with us for a year now and once before just after he was born. In between our family he moved twice into other foster homes. When we got him back when he was a little over a year old I thought bonding would be easy.
Well, here we are a year later and life can still be rough for our little guy. He is a sweet boy who can also be quite hard to help when he is upset. His frustration will last for hours after a meltdown. He usually takes it out on me, pushes me away.
About a month ago we were in the middle of a week long stretch of really hard days. I was worn down and exhausted. I was weary from being rejected when it came to being held or touched. I struggled to calm him down after huge meltdowns and I felt like I was failing him, doubting every move I made. Were my parenting techniques making it better or worse?
I realized I had started walking on egg shells around him in attempt to not set him off. I was becoming the parent I didn't want to be and I knew something had to change.
I didn't realize how hard it was for me to be rejected by my two-year-old over and over. So after a few days of being weepy from the whole mess and feeling lost like all of my parenting tools weren't working I began praying hard about the issue and seeking help from our therapists. Have I mentioned how much I love them?! I would not be the parent I am today with out their help and support.
Suddenly a few things changed...
First of all, God gave me a glimpse of hope. A wonderful moment with my sweet boy. He asked for me to hold him as we walked to the bus stop instead of his usual walking with distance from me. :) I soaked it up and thanked the Lord. This moment was followed by a handful more. We had wonderful cuddle time one morning while the kids were at school. He woke up another morning telling me "I love you" with out any prompting. These little blessings meant so much to me.
Second, I read an article recently (I am having a hard time finding out who even wrote it, or how I found it). Anyway, it was from another Mom in a similar struggle with her child. The idea she wrote about was giving it to God and letting God love her child through her. She took a step back and parented her child with out expectations, continued to take care of them and love them and provide for them. This idea really struck me as freeing! I didn't need to dwell on the little rejections and frustrations. Robert is my son and I adore him but I can back off and take care of him and show him that I am not going anywhere, he can't push me away.
Third, I realized through simple words in a Bible Study that "God is able." God is bigger than this. I don't need to analyze all of the possible fears with this struggle but believe that God holds Robert and I in His hands and He can get us through this.
And fourth, I started writing down our special moments. There may come a time again when we have a stretch of hard days. I want my attitude to be one of grace and not bitterness. Creating a list of our special moments will keep my eye on the positive. One example is..."Robert put his arm around me and hugged my neck as I carried him on my hip." It took him 9 months to do that instead of his usual push himself away from me as I carried him and begging to get down.
I suddenly became aware that God is bigger than all of my fears and worries. Any worst case scenario I could imagine in my head is nothing compared to what God is capable of redeeming. Once I decided to just keep loving my little man, pray for him and trust God for the rest, life became less heavy.
It is hard to want to be done in a trial and we stay a bit longer. It hurts to see your child in pain and not know how to help them. It is hard to keep going every day doing the same thing over and over with no immediate results. I hope to praise God for the little blessings and glimpses of hope to get us through.
I thank God for each of my kids and I know we will get through this. I have already seen such progress. I needed a reality check for myself more than answers on how to change his behavior.
Praise God for surrounding me with people to support both myself and Robert. :)