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Revisit to the Family Hope Center

It’s been such a busy year, that I haven’t posted about our first revisit to the Family Hope Center in May.  (Now it’s almost time for our next one!)

Isaac gained 4 months function in 6 months, and although he didn’t gain in terms of % function (as his peers would typically gain ~ 6 months function in that timeframe), he is doing very well.  He is at the 50th percentile for height and weight on the regular charts, and his energy level is great!

He is honestly one of my favorite people, such a joy to know and care for, making us smile and laugh throughout the day – and I really need that in this season of my life!  We’ve got some work to do socially, as this summer at a swim meet he just walked up to a table (not ours) and started drinking from someone’s cup!  Oops!  But people just seem to love him, and I’ve had a few that wanted to take him home – no way! 🙂

My older son with RAD, ODD, ADD, and developmental delays made great gains, jumping 3 grade levels in Reading and 2 grade levels in Math in just 7 months time!  Behavior and decision-making/logic skills improved, too, and for the first time he seemed motivated to get his work done so he could go play (something that is common in children, but was not with him in the past).

During the 2-day appointment, we got word that the searcher I hired had found his birthmother in Guatemala.  He acted indifferent (typical with him when it comes to relationships), but did want to see the pictures, and asks appropriate questions at times. We received a new program and started some work on laterality (right dominance).

In the spring I attended the “Empowered to Connect” seminar on Trust-based Relational Intervention, a parenting model for hard to reach children and teens from hard places (our son was neglected of food as an infant before he came to us). They have even had success with teens already in residential treatment centers.  We gradually implemented the strategies, and it seems a very good model for him.  I finally learned why he does everything he does (whereas before his behavior was such a puzzle), and have tools to deal with any situation.

In June we attended the Latin American Heritage Camp for Adoptive Families in the Rockies.  It was a fun time, playing games, meeting new friends, cooking some Latin foods, and talking about adoption, too.  The next week we traveled to Ohio to a family wedding and my family reunion.  It was another fun time, but without much therapy at all.  The FHC doesn’t recommend taking so much time off therapy, and I read later that children with RAD do better if a vacation is not more than a day or two!  Well, I love my son and certainly want to do my best to help him, but I/we must think of all the other family members, too.  It means some tough decisions to make at times.

It was after this that our son seemed to go downhill behaviorally.  The summer schedule was a bit more relaxed, but certainly still structured, and included his full program, if we could get it done.  He became increasingly defiant/resistant and violent at times.  Was it the heat?  Hormones? All the adoption issues that were addressed?  The vacation?  The new parenting model (they work at really connecting positively with the child, and that is what they fear, b/c of past neglect and/or abuse, so they can be very resistant, even though it’s done kindly and with respect for the child)?  Or a combination of these?

At one point we were having to restrain him daily.  It was so sad to see him so miserable, and not know how to help him.  All we could do was go on in what we knew best.  It was a very rough summer, but with the structure of the fall things got better.  The violence lessened to once a week, so we were much relieved.  Our eldest daughter is working for us this school year, so she works half days with him, and I work with him in the afternoons.  Since I was really overwhelmed from the summer, this was a real answer to prayer, and has taken much stress off of me.  I am able to teach the other children in the morning, and I have soooo enjoyed that!

Unfortunately, the defiance and violence have increased once again in the past few weeks, and I’m so worn out. My heart breaks for him, and it’s so hard to accept that we don’t seem to be helping him very much, if at all. 😦  I’ve shed so many tears, and prayed so many prayers over this situation. I’ve learned that I can work very hard at it, but I cannot force him to love or to accept our love.  And I cannot make choices for him.  In the past year, I was sure we had found the best brain program and parenting model for him.  We’ve had him annointed, but God has not healed him yet.  But I must just continue to do my best for him, and leave the rest to him and God.  I’ve researched a couple of other options/programs, but for now we will continue in what we’ve chosen, and wait to see how his next evaluation is at the FHC.  Then we will decide how to proceed.

We’d REALLY appreciate your prayers.  My prayer is that he would come to know Jesus, and that God would be glorified through his life.  Thank you!