Monday, August 16, 2010

Learning lessons from training a child with ADD

Gabe: what can I say? He continues to provide me with so much blogging material that I often forget the many funny things that come out of his mouth in a single day.

Today, he tried to "trick" Tim by putting a note on the front door that read,"Go to bak dor". Well, the neighbor kid saw it and followed the poorly written instructions and showed up at my "bak dor". I was cooking in the kitchen and just yelled through the door that Gabe was at another neighbors. Well, the little boy was annoyed,"but he said to go to the back door!" Me: well, sorry, but he isn't here. The little kid assumed Gabe was playing a trick on him and stomped off.
Gabe came home later, not seeing the note on the door anymore, asked,"did Dad go to the back door? I was playing a trick on him." Nope, Tim never saw the note. We removed it before we pissed off any other neighborhood kids.

Gabe's ADD is really showing up on many different occasions. At least, I think that's the reason for some of the really irresponsible things he does. Today, Abby tells us that the next door kid did Gabe's homework for him. Gabe said,"No, he just told me the answers, but i wrote them down" I wish my dad were here. He would get such a kick out of that. He would probably have a coughing spasm just trying to retell it to us over and over. Gabe is so proud to come off the bus, his homework completed. He still doesn't get that he actually has to complete it himself, not just have someone on the bus doing it for him. Last year, he enlisted a 3rd grade girl to do it for him. Unfortunately, for him, she moved, so now he uses another 2nd grader.

I'm working on explaining that he is CHEATING. I have tried many different ways of telling him this: "you won't know how to do it on the test and the teacher will figure you are cheating on your homework" "You're not learning anything if you don't do it yourself" But, from my observations, that kid with ADD, whose medication wore off an hour ago, hears,"you won't.." and then is fascinated by the cat that just walked across our fence, the fly that's buzzing in the kitchen, the crayon that just fell off the table, his own fingers, his nose he wants to pick, the fly that now landed on his yogurt, the sister that is whining about how their mother isn't helping her with the homework. It's almost like every moment is exciting and new! I understand some of what he feels. I am easily distracted. My kids say,"mom, Mom, MOM, MOM, MOMMMMMM!" before I answer them. And, I am not on medication.

We are trying to help Gabe understand that the medication can only do so much, and that he still must focus .even if it's not entertaining and learn self discipline. He needs to eat the right foods and not sneak that candy loaded with red dye or lots of sugar, because it will affect his concentration.

I need to learn that too. I used to lecture Ben on how everything can't be a party all the time. You have to buckle down and just finish a task. Good grief! Who just said that? Certainly not me! I live for FUN! I don't want to grow up and be responsible! Darn it! I want everything to be exciting, fun, and entertain me!

I need to learn that with all my kids back in school, I just can't have fun every day, and be lured by every distraction that passes by-the store that's calling my name, the computer, the t.v, the book I could spend all day lost in, the tub that I could soak in until the water is cold. I have to practice that self discipline I'm trying to teach my children, not only to be a good example of a day not wasted on self indulgence, but also because my lack of self discipline shows a lack of obedience to my Heavenly Father, and that lack of obedience shows a lack of trust that He will give me enjoyment even in the mundane, and sense of satisfaction that I am caring for my family by doing all those things that I don't want to do, that aren't fun unless my kids are home to entertain me while I'm doing them. What it really boils down to is that I don't want to trust God to make me content. So, what do I do? I "steal" those moments when they are out of the house, when I could accomplish everything without distraction, and I indulge myself, convince myself that I deserve to sit and read for an hour which drags into a morning, because I got them all fed, dressed (yeah, like they didn't do that themselves), made their lunches, and to the bus on time. I should get a pat on the back, right? For an hour of work? Wrong! Pathetic!

I expect more of my children, more of my husband, so what gives me the right to do nothing? Nothing gives me the right to do nothing. I'm not up in the middle of the night with a baby that needs to be fed. I'm not working outside the home and am tired at the end of the day. My volunteering hours haven't started yet. I have plenty of time to exercise and rejuvenate my body, clean, do laundry, shop for food, fill my soul with God's word, study His word, and even spend a little time enjoying friends. My cup is full. I am blessed with a husband who makes enough money to provide well for his family, so I can stay home and take care of them when needed. I am blessed that I can mentor younger mothers. I am blessed that I can have a membership to the Y to keep my body working (well, at least keep it from falling apart further). I am blessed that I have transportation, a phone, computer to make my life easier, plan meals, shop for discounts, schedule appts. I am blessed with a washer and dryer that work magically to do most of the work for me. I am blessed that I can take a morning each week and meet with other women to study God's word. I am blessed with a terrific school system that does a pretty good job educating my kids and with many Christian teachers in the schools. I am blessed I can meet with other moms to pray about our kids. My week is full. Why wouldn't I grab hold of the many blessings God has given me, instead of chasing after the fleeting things in this world that distract me and pull me away from what He has called me to do? I need to preach these lessons that I drill into my kids each day to myself.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Adoption Day 2010

I clearly remember the day that we went to the courthouse 1 final time to finalize the adoption of Gabe and Abby. We invited friends who had also adopted as well as other friends, and some of our family from out of town were there as well. It was the final step in a 16 month process that had been a roller coaster of being jerked around by the legal system. We had multiple court dates, birth parent visitation initially, lots and lots of tears, mostly on my part. I am convinced that I would have never survived, our marriage would have never survived, our family would have been broken emotionally had it not been for our faith in a sovereign God. He knew all along how long this process would take. Nothing was a surprise or a failure to Him. All of it was orchestrated by Him, even the flawed legal system. God was in control all the time. Would I have done it this way? Never. I would have had those children adopted by the time they were 6 mo. old, like we were promised by our adoption workers, not 16 1/2 months! But, God knew what he was doing.

We had no one to rely upon but each other and God. Our kids saw our weaknesses and our struggles and our fears. But, they also saw us living out our faith-trusting in God like we had never before. We grew so much as a family. There were lots of fun times: watching the older kids get to know their new brother and sister, experience the joy of each new stage with 2 babies! That was lots of fun. Plus, they were so darn adorable!

It was a struggle though, every day through those 16 months not to give in to despair. At first, we had to deal with medical issues and developmental delays with Abby. To watch her now, listen to her read, you would never know those delays existed. There were fears of autism, brain injury, not to mention fears of the unknown years ahead. The medical and delay fears are gone as we see our healthy and developmentally on target kids now. But, it still has not been easy with the twins. We have dealt with issues that we never anticipated and are still dealing with some things that have perplexed us and shaken us. We have read numerous books written by experts on everything from ADD, anger, raising boys, raising girls, discipline, the strong-willed, the explosive, the hurting and the adopted child. We still have questions unanswered, but we know we can trust in the God who made our children to guide us and give us wisdom.
And, we know that He will never leave us alone to make our own way.

Have we ever questioned our decision to adopt? Yes, more than once. Do we know without a doubt that it was God's plan for our family? Yes, absolutely. Has it been easy? No. Has it been worth it? Yes, definitely. Has God used all of our children to bring about our sanctification? Yes, and we know that there are many more trials that He will take us through to make us more like Him and bring us to our knees. And, you know what? It's okay. It's okay that I freak out sometimes, because God never does. It's okay that I'm not in control of my kid's future, because God is and always has been and always will be.

I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because He inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. Psalm 116:1-2.