|PSU Honors College Graduation|
The past several years have been difficult on many levels, and my life did not go the way I had planned when I become the adoptive mother of Makala and Jeremiah. At the end of the day, however I am glad things have turned out the way they have.
Since October 2010 my little brother, John, and I have been co-parenting our children together. Between the two of us we have a total of seven children. My biological children are now 30 and 31 still doing well in their lives and I am still not a grandmother which means I called it right when I chose to adopt my little ones and continue parenting while I still had the energy. My brother's 20-something son is living around the corner in his own apartment and is working hard. My 20 year old niece moved up this past year and is doing well in her job, and with her classes at Portland Community College--we don't mind keeping her around and in the house as she sets a great example for Makala and we want my niece to have the opportunity to start her life on the right-foot without being entangled with a relationship in order to survive. My nephew David is six-months younger than Makalah--they are both 17 years old now and about to start their senior year of high-school. And Marty is 13 years old now! It has been a long 12 years since the day I met my youngest children and life has included an interesting twist or ten since that day!
I returned in January 2014 to complete the college degree I never finished. I will say it has been one of the hardest things I have ever done in life, but I am thankful I will be completely finished earning my B.S. in Sociology in less than 6-weeks! I am currently working on my requirement as a student of the Portland State University Urban Honors College which is to write and present a Thesis. My thesis will be specific to just one part of what I hope will be a future of research and writing I have planned. I am doing a literature review with an ethnographic style about the Stigma associated with being identified as "Special Needs" at the time of placement for foster children. It will be a published writing in a Scholarly Journal! And, my first step toward what I hope to accomplish with everything about the life and journey I have lived so far.
I will be looking for gainful employment so that I am able to cushion my retirement nest-egg and starting my own research and writing a few books I have had in my mind for a long time. I am happy that the hard work I have done completing my degree will mean that I am able to write more than just another mother's story and that I will have the "qualifications" to write with authority!
Most of all, I can reassure parents out there in the situations of crisis and despair that it IS possible to see miracles happen for our children. It is possible as a parent to make the hard choices and be the best advocate for our children even with the conflicting expert advice and bureaucratic red-tape to plod through and parent our children. EVEN if RAD may always mean the attachment is slightly different than our dreams might have had in mind.
One thing I do know for sure is that Makala is doing well--will always have social issues and will probably face a future where her biggest problems stem from her inappropriate social attitudes and behaviors. My job was to keep her safe and raise her to become an able adult one day! In February she will be an adult and next June she will graduate high school. I have done what is required of a parent and been her best advocate the whole way. I made the Hard Decisions for her best interest and for her brother's best interest and I have sacrificed in order to provide the environment the children needed.
I was right to feel the "RAD CULT" was not a healthy way for ME to view parenting my daughter with Reactive Attachment Disorder and to be honest do not support Attachment Therapy and as many of my readers and friends are well aware I did take a shot at AT Parenting. In so doing, I became a depressed, victimized and controlling bitch which did not result in anything positive at all. What did make a difference was to remove and eliminate the situations that led to the most difficult rages and behaviors my RAD child had developed a pattern of needing. I have made it possible for her to NOT repeat the scripts that she repeated those first nine years of her life and placed myself and her into a situation where there was always at least one other witness to nearly everything! It has been very difficult to live under a "Two Adults, line-of-sight, 24/7 safety-plan" with Makala.... but, my brother and I found a way to pull it off! This has made it possible for the past nearly six years to be free of so many of the "little" and big things I once faced completely on my own.
I understand that most people would not be able to accomplish the safety plan I have accomplished but I could and it has been worth it. Every relationship is unique and my daughter will probably have social issue arise in her future but she has also had years of practicing socially appropriate behaviors in a non-traditional family setting.
I have a lot of ideas, suggestions and insight now. My hope is that I will be able to work and write and help make a difference for parents in the future. I look forward to returning to my blogs and starting my own research!