The following blog is written by “Anonymous”, a Warrior Mom that is amazing and continues to fight to know and understand how to help her children become the young women they were created to be.
As a mother of two adopted girls from Russia now in their teens, I must say, I’ve had quite a ride. I know we all believe we will be the perfect parent before we have kids. And, quickly, we must recant our superiority as soon as that bundle of joy arrives and does not sleep through the night. Parenting can be a rough ride under any circumstances. Then add adoption, trauma, or any special needs and the roller coaster ride becomes wild! ( I wish there were “height” requirements for this ride)! We are fifteen years into this journey and my girls are now 18 and 19 years old.
My two daughters were adopted at 4.5 and 3 years old from Russia as a sibling group. They were not siblings it turns out, but the Russians lied. They lied about a lot of things. And, Yes, My daughters remember. Trauma can do that. Do not underestimate what can happen to a child without someone who loves them around to protect them.
I continue to learn all kinds of things. Like- trauma from the womb can impact our children. Trauma is based on perspective; so many things may have been traumatic for our young or infant children. As our kids mature, they can remember lots of things from incredibly young ages. But, they may not remember the whole story or the details, only pieces.
My adopted kids don’t like the same things I liked as child- for entertainment, interests, and tastes. This may seem obvious but it is very hard to deal with at times. It can be a little mind boggling to me. I’m sure I don’t make sense to my daughters, but beyond the typical teen/parent disconnect, as hard as I try, I just don’t get IT sometimes.
Here are a few things that I wish I had known – Wrong beliefs that I held, coupled with right beliefs that changed everything. Looking back, I can tell you some things I think we did right and many things we did wrong. This list is not exhaustive. And, I’ve been wrong more than I’d like to admit.
Wrong belief #1
* I believed that if I worked hard enough, I could be the perfect parent for my girls.
I almost drove myself crazy with this one. Literally. Everything I thought I knew about parenting was wrong for my daughters. And, everything the professional counselor and doctors told me-was wrong also. We wasted several thousand dollars before we figured this out.
Wrong Belief #2
* I believed that if I loved them enough, they would be okay.
Ok, let me qualify this one. I love my girls, deeply. And, although that has made a difference at least in my perspective, it has not been easy or joyful. As much as I have tried to express love to my daughter’s, they have not been accepting of my love. In fact, they down right refused my love and affections. Bonding issues are real!
My kiddos have been hard to love. For years. Not like a cute little kid that gives you moments of joy then a rough week or month. We have had YEARS, with seemingly no blessings. Now, as teens, we have many blessings. But WOW! It’s been rough, and still is at times.
Right Beliefs That Changed Everything
*Following my “mommy gut”. Since nothing I was doing was working, I had to try some very counter intuitive approaches for my parenting skills.
Many times I made decisions that friends and family questioned but were definitely the right decisions for my girls. Many of those times I could not explain WHY I had made my decision. I just knew. Also, many times my daughters also questioned, and hated me for those decisions, but in retrospect I’m glad I stood my ground. And, my girls have come back later and thanked me for drawing some tough lines.
* I have to remind myself constantly to treat my daughters by their emotional ages and not their physical ages.
* My kiddos have no internal boundaries so it is very important that I draw strict boundaries for my daughters in gentle ways. Those two principles don’t go together very well. And, it’s trickier as they get older.
And finally, *Realizing that EVERTHING my daughter’s say and do is based on fear.
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Stay tuned for more from “Anonymous” Mom of Adopted Teens- What has been Tried and True Part Two -Tools that made a difference.