Sunday, September 30, 2012

Life and struggles

It appears that making false reports to CPS was not sufficient for the unstable, fired nanny. She has now targetted comments to my blog as well. If such comments show up, I will simply delete them. I will not engage nor respond. We have nothing to hide, and she was so kind as to send a colection of bizarre lies to CPS that I can truthfully state that the truth of my story and my parenting has been very recently vetted by the state with no concerns unearthed whatsoever. Trash calls CPS with false allegations, and trash is what her own actions proved her to be.

I will simply state a few facts. First, the state has vetted my family, compliments of the nanny and her lies. Second, we have passed adoption homestudies in three different states and been licensed as foster parents in two states. We are currently completing our fourth adoption in yet another state. We are an open book and the amazing children we are raising are a testiment to who we are as parents. We are not isolated. We are out and about in the community and more than willing to endure the scrutiny if necessary. Lastly, I have friendships that go back to my childhood. Close friends who are dear and tremendous supports to myself and my family. Though we moved away from support systems to provide the best for Micah, they continue to support us from a distance. Many of them have been in my home more times than I can count and have seen by myself and my nanny in action. Not one of those individuals has contact with the nanny. Not one of those individuals has found any truth in her accusations.

I will not engage crazy in my life. I cannot for the life of me figure out how I continue to attract it with my best efforts to avoid it, but my insane mother did teach me one very important lesson, to never engage it or you will feed it. She also taught me the meaning of the word projection. I've gotten quite good at recognizing projection in crazy when I encounter it. I just need to get better at avoiding crazy in the first place, thus why I established the entire boundary that I cannot and will not open my home again.

In the time since Micah died, I am learning that a broken heart is not a romantic term for mere grief. It is actually a biological response to losing someone you love, and losing a child is the worst kind of pain there is to endure. The children are doing well. Most of them are actually downgrading their therapy and acute loss does not seem to be a daily repsonse anymore. I, otoh, cannot force my tears and only feel free to release them in private and when I truly feel safe to do so. Instead, my grief is having some very frightening physical manifestations. I really thought that the emptiness would subside by this point. I no longer see and hear him except in my dreams. However, I still feel so deeply empty. Micah took so much energy and skills to care for that I often feel lost without his schedule to adhere to in a given day. Having sent all by one school child and the preschooler to school now, that emptiness seems to be magnified in ways I never imagined. I had intended to come and write about a broken heart today, and instead found attacks by my former nanny here. I will save that post for another day, apparently.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A season to rest and restore

I have now been diagnosed with three auto-immune disorders. Two of them have flared in the last year of Micah’s life and the choices I made to continue to reach out to other people, even at a time in our lives when we needed to be closing ranks. My father taught me all my life in a good Mennonite tradition that if you truly love God, then you pick up your cross at all costs and you live the example Christ set forth for us. I have lived my life transparently and always willing to give my last shirt to someone in need. I am no different in real life than who I am online, except I am tremendously shy until you get a chance to know me. For my faithfulness, I have been richly given nine amazing children, a family that doesn’t know what to make of me and a circle of friends I know I could trust my life with, as well as those of my children. Yet, I also have a set of enemies who either choose to not believe I am who I say I am, or who scorn the help I have offered them over the years. Sometimes, it seems those who wish me harm come in waves, waves that sometimes overwhelm me. In all of my years, I have only had a friend betray me twice. The friend from middle school and I reconciled years ago and I learned her betrayal had everything to do with her own struggles and not us. We are good friends now. So, in trying to figure out how to recover from this last year, its easy to realize that I must never again open my home in an offer to help someone. Many times I have offered the gift of hospitality both to friends in need and to struggling adoptive families who needed relief. I now realize that the types of people who would accept such an offer are not the kinds I have any business violating my children’s lives to help. What I am less able to find the answer to is how to not turn bitter and refuse to be the person God made me to be BUT still protecting my own health from consequences to those who aren’t always going to be better off because of my offer to help. I want to continue to touch other lives as God brings them to intersect with mine. Yet, I must protect the sanctuary my children need in their lives….and this newest diagnosis is teaching me that I must protect ME as well. I never thought I was invincible. I just thought I had a duty to live my faith in action anytime I could make a difference in the lives of others, and the current reality is that this is precisely what threatens my health, my safety, and my future. I am not super woman and the price I am paying now is my health. We are entering a season where we need to hold my health as precious. I got the lesson to take care of my health ten years ago. I just never got the tangible, real price I would pay for stress. The two things we are certain about is that in addition to considering our home a haven from all of that, we think this is the end of the idea of me returning to nursing and he going to medical school. My spirit may be strong and stubborn, but my body is not. I have grave concerns that if I use my gift of intuition for mental healthcare, I will absorb far too much from those I try to work with. We have just as much concern that I cannot do the solo parenting required for medical school. I don’t know how I get through this too jaded to open my heart to helping people again, but I know my main focus right now is to figure out how to get through this and reclaim my health. I won’t defend my character or my motives. When S attacked me verbally again this week, that is the realization I had. I won’t defend myself to those I thought were friends. I won’t defend myself to hurting teens who hurl misplaced pain at me because I am safe. I won’t defend myself to abusers who used my offers of help to avoid facing the evil they see in the mirror because they treated a child like a piece of trash. I already accepted the stress of mothering a hurt, abandoned and betrayed teenager. However, until my health is stable, the stress he brings is all of the stress I will bring into my life. Like Micah, his pain and brokenness is not his fault. Unlike Micah, he has not given up on healing. (He has a lot of things Micah lacked to heal too though.) Beyond these children, I am going to focus this school year on putting up boundaries and not following my natural instincts to reach out and help others. I genuinely pray that this does not fundamentally change me, but I have to now learn and accept that it’s okay to take care of ME and MY FAMILY and not carry the burden of the world and what I might have been able to do to help them if I had just extended a hand of support to them. I don’t think I have been wrong to live my life that way. I am just coming to accept that God is firmly reminding me the need to rest and restore and the dire price I am paying for not getting this lesson firmly and fast enough. Mentally, I’m in a really good place right now. Physically, I am anything but, and I have to remember my first ministry is to these precious children God blessed me to mother and this family that could not function without me.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Grief denied

I am not doing well. I want to be, but I am not.

The effort to remove the nanny that was not safe for our family has taken all of my focus and energy since right after Micah died. Dealing with the aftermath she created has taken even more time. She opted to revert to acting like trash when she was fired, complete with false claims to the state that we have had to defend ourselves from. The state was understanding and has closed the case in record time (2.5 weeks). The worker kept telling me to please not stress. However, only someone who has never had to undergo this nonsense would think it is even possible to not stress under the circumstances.

When I'm not stressed or angry, and I am angry a LOT right now, I almost have to stop and chuckle. II has long said I am my own worst critic. This nanny lived with us for a year and saw me at my most vunerable and worst. Yet, all she had to call the state with was blatant lies. All the things I convict myself for as poor parenting choices, either she didn't seem them as bad parenting or the state didn't see them as worthy of writing down.

I yell. I yell a lot. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed, I tell the children to leave the room so that they don't have to be subjected to the primitive yolps I let out in frustration, even. I have a tendency to monologue at my kids. I try REALLY hard to not, but sometimes I do so anyway. I get frustrated when kids don't listen to me and I overreact. I overreact enough that I frequently have to apologize for overreacting, in fact.

My worst parenting was after I caught II. I wasn't abusive of the kids and technically wasn't neglectful because II was there to care for them. However, I just checked out. For six months, breathing was more than I could handle of life most days. I frequently would be sitting in the living room and simply walk out and go to bed because the chaos of normal life with the kids would overwhelm me so much. Sweet A was so worried about me through that time. I think II was worried about me too. The grief process of that betrayal knocked me off my feet and out of the game for awhile.

This time, the stress of the betrayal of a friend and the removal of this nanny has knocked me down. I haven't checked out. I'm still functioning in every way the kids need me to function. What I am not doing is grieving Micah's death well. It's there. It's buried deep inside. I just don't feel safe to unpackage it and feel the emotions I know will overwhelm me. I can only hope that I can control how I have compartmentalized this so that it doesn't shut me down and I can continue to care for the children until I am safe to bring it out.

Next Wednesday, six of my children go to public school. This change in paradigm is so huge that it threatens to take my breath away. It is not scary as it was the last time I attempted this. Four of my children were in public school this spring with success. A has been in school for 2.5 years now and has thrived. He did most of last year in a virtual academy simply to avoid the ghetto school he was districted for, but he was still not involving me in his education. This year, I add two more children to the school goers.

The only children who will not be in public school is C, who has Asperger's Syndrome, severe Dyslexia, apraxia, Auditory Processing Disorder and an extremely high IQ. This twice gifted child will never fully integrate into a public school environment. I fully expect I will continue to homeschool him until he enters college. The other child still at home is J, who at three is too young to enter public school at this point. I was going to homeschool Ch and L until Micah died and I realized it was just too much for me now.

Given that I have made the leap and put L into kindergarten, I expect once J is old enough, he too will simply enter kindergarten instead of homeschooling. Some of me is sad that these last two babies won't get the same foundations the older kids did. However, life is simply different now than it was back then. I cannot be the mother to these two little caboose cars that I was to the gaggle that came before them. I am not that person anymore.

I need to be safe to grieve. I need to return to work. I need to finish my education and start a career path. I need to be here for the emotional needs of my children. None of those things allow me to be the mother I want to be and continue to homeschool them. I am sad at that change but at the same time I have some excitement as well.

Mostly, I am hoping that I can continue to fucntion until they are all in school so that I can finally be safe to unpack my grief and face it before it takes me down.