I keep having to remind myself that this is real. It has been 9 years of dealing with the behaviors that come with attachment disorder. Truthfully I had resigned myself to 9 more years until I assumed our daughter would follow through on her plan to "run away" at the age of 18 and that would be it. I honestly saw it as a prison sentence at times. I know that doesn't sound "pretty" but believe me not much about these last 9 years has been pretty. So now suddenly, for about a month now, our daughter has started to open up. I see her as slowly beginning to blossom. She has not had one of her outbursts or rants for a month now. I have even gone away for a week with our 2 oldest children on a missions trip and came back expecting her to be angry at me for being gone. (for abandoning her) I've been home for a week and a half now and things are still calm. There have been brief moments, like when she felt like she messed up her summer reading assignment, that she started to get mad at herself, but we were able to talk about it and she calmed right down. Today we even talked about me talking to her new teacher about coming into her classroom and help out. That way if she starts to feel overwhelmed or stressed (usually when she doesn't understand the work or thinks she is going to have a lot of homework that she won't be able to understand or not be able to finish her classwork on time) she will have me there to help her out. She was very relieved at the idea that I would be there for her. (This is counter intuitive to what we had been thinking. She seemed fine in school but then seemed to lose it at home. I had always thought she was just combative with me due to the attachment disorder and the thinking that she felt she didn't need me.)The therapist has recently suggested that our daughter has stress over being separted from me all day and that the reunion at the end of the day is at first a relief but then she is angry over the fact that I hadn't been there for her.)
So here it is 9 years later, and finally there is a glimmer of hope. The other kids are adjusting to having her as a SISTER rather than as someone who lied, stole and pretended to be all nice in public while at home she was a screaming, ranting mess. Suddenly there is giggling, playing together and yes, even normal sibling bickering. ALL of which I welcome.Suddenly family time is truly FAMILY time not 6 of us doing something and she had misbehaved to the point of not being included. Believe me it is not fun to go out for ice cream with 6 of us getting a treat and one (yes the obviously adopted child) being excluded. Talk about feeling like you are being whispered about and judged. Truthfully NO ONE could have judged me harder than I judged myself. I constantly second guessed myself when it came to parenting her. I am sure it will continue. It was so difficult having a daughter that not only rejected me as her mother but also whenever (rare as it was) that we did connect, she felt that love as something she had to protect herself from.
So it has been 9 years in a desert, wandering through this thing called attachment disorder, lost, thirsting for something that could help, seeing mirages and then being bitterly disappointed when the reality of the situation slapped us again, wanting desperately to escape. Today I have tasted the refreshing relief of water. Our daughter is not cured, but there is relief for now. A time of finally seeing her. That has been the hardest part for me. Not knowing HER beyond her pain and defensive wall building that she did to protect herself from feeling loved. Now I am beginning to see her and know her. I realize that there is a long and bumpy road ahead of us. I am trusting that God will continue to walk with us and be in control. This time of coming out of the desert is something I wasn't expecting. I honestly didn't see an end to this feeling of being lost and wandering. Now I can begin to see that we might be coming out of the desert much sooner than I had thought. This is such a blessing. I had hoped she would have some time as a child. That she would not lose her entire childhood to this disorder. That she would feel loved and trust. A few weeks ago she said that she looked forward to a time when she could tell her children about how she overcame this. How it had been a rough time but she got through it and it turned out good. I look forward to that time too.
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