Friday, January 18, 2013

"I DON'T WANT TO BE IN THIS FAMILY!"

My heart is a little sad today and I'm struggling to find forgiveness.  We had our weekly therapy session yesterday with our adopted son's therapist.  It was a rare opportunity that our whole family was able to be there together.  My husband is usually working but had gotten off early.  I think of all the 'bad' days we've had, this ranks up there with the worst.  We are in our 7th month now of adding this 9 year old boy to our family, making us a family of 5.  In the beginning we were definitely faced with many struggles.  As of lately though, things seemed to have improved dramatically.  He has been doing well in school.  We were spending one on one time with him, playing games, going to the movies, etc.  Wednesday we went shopping all day while he was in school, to decorate his new room and surprised him with it when he got home.  But his high of his new room, quickly dropped to a low when it was time to sit down and do his homework.

He had brought home his graded papers for the week, and we were none too pleased.  He had gotten a 27F on a worksheet, that the teacher let him rework, only bringing it up to a 50F.  There was another worksheet she had let him redo also, but still no better, and his teacher had even written a note on his work about him showing very little effort.  These were simple tasks that he was either rushing through or being lazy, not copying the sentences down properly or even finishing writing the sentences.  We decided the best plan of action to solve this problem was to explain to him his mistakes and have him redo the work.  He immediately burst into tears, soaking his paper.  We tried talking to him, trying to find out why he was so upset, but he was shutting us out.  I sent him to his room for 10 minutes to regain control of himself, and then told him to come back downstairs after those 10 minutes, finished crying and ready to work.  When he came back downstairs, my husband was ready to work with him and told him to get his notebook out of his backpack.  Unfortunately, he had forgotten to bring his notebook home for the 3rd day in a row, so my husband began lecturing him, and once again, he burst into tears.

When the crying seized and the homework was complete, it was time to get the little kids in the bathtub and ready for bed.  At this time, our 9 year old son, R, was in his room, sitting on the floor, playing.  As soon as we got upstairs to start baths, our 4 year old son, Bubba, stepped one foot into R's room to say something, but before he could finish, R stuck his arm out and pushed him down.  He did it right in front of me and I was furious.  I asked him why he pushed his little brother down and his response, of course, was, "I don't know!"  I loathe that response.  But not 2 minutes later, when Bubba had thrown his clothes into the laundry basket and was running to the bathroom, he stopped in front of R's door to ask him what he was doing and R slammed the door in his face.  My husband took control of this one, telling him he'll take the door off the hinges and there will be no more door, if he's going to act like that.  Needless to say, R went to bed early this night, because we were all emotionally exhausted after the dramatic evening.

Waking up to a new day, starting over, things seemed to be back to normal.  We picked R up from school at 2:30 to go to therapy at 3:00.  On the way there, we caught him in a lie, and then found toys in his backpack.  Because we were about to walk into therapy, we didn't yell at him, didn't punish him, but he could tell we were not pleased with his actions.  By the way, he loves going to therapy because he gets to talk a lot about himself and play with toys.  But this time he just walked in, plopped down on the couch, slouching to the point of almost laying down, fixed his eyes on the ground and stuck that bottom lip out.  Our 2 year old and 4 year old immediately started playing.  I sat on the couch next to R, my husband sat in the chair next to me, and the therapist sat facing all of us.  He wouldn't speak to any of us.  It was very frustrating and made us very angry, because my husband and I are not sensitive, emotional people.  The therapist continued trying to get him to talk, asking him questions, but all he would say, very quietly and muffled, was, "I don't want to talk about it."  He was being very rude and disrespectful.  Ten minutes before our hour was up, he decided to open his mouth, and that's when things went in a direction we hadn't expected.

He told us he doesn't want us as parents, he doesn't want to be a family, he wants to go back to Florida, he hates sitting at the table eating together, doesn't want help with his homework, doesn't want us to talk about him, wants to be left alone and take care of himself, etc.  I feel like I can't even relay it properly, and it's one of those moments you need to be there to fully understand what it was like.  Mine and my husbands hearts were hurt.  We felt like we had been slapped across the face.  I do realize that kids say things they don't mean some times, and I do realize that some of these feelings of wanting to go back to Florida and what not, are normal.  It's the 'not wanting to be a family,' 'not wanting our help,' 'not wanting to eat with us,' etc. that breaks my heart.  We've been putting forth so much effort, only to be told he doesn't want it.  His life has improved in so many ways and I don't just mean materialistically...only to be told he doesn't care.  To see how much he dislikes having siblings, makes me very sad.  As I sit here writing this, my little boy and little girl are sitting in a chair, snuggled up together, watching Dora.  They love each other.  They love having one another in their lives.  But for him, siblings are just an annoyance and less attention for him.

We didn't talk all the way home from the therapy session.  When we got home, he immediately needed our help, because he had forgotten to bring a pencil home to do his homework.  He acted as if nothing had happened, as if nothing had been said.  We told him he was going to have to find a pencil himself, since he doesn't want our help.  We then proceeded to explain to him how the things he said were hurtful to us and tried to give him examples, by asking him how it would make him feel if one of his friends told him they didn't like him and didn't want to play with him.  At this point, he was just being hateful and mean, saying he didn't care...about anything.  As he worked through his homework, the rest of us sat down to dinner, since he said he doesn't want to eat as a family at the table.  Oh, but wait, he needed help with his homework.  Of course he did!  He always needs help with his homework, and we always help him.  But not this time.  We reminded him what he said, and he was on his own.

He told us in therapy he wanted to be left alone, so left alone is what he was...no help with homework, no dinner, take a shower, and bed early.  Had he shown any remorse, given us some kind of an apology, all of this could have been avoided.  But we got nothing.  My husband and I asked each other, "So what do we do in the morning?  Do we just act like nothing happened?"  We hoped for an apology of some sort.  But of course, nothing.  My husband gave him his breakfast...no 'thank you.'  Then he walks up to me with his daily planner and a pencil, and just stands next to me, not saying anything.  I asked, "Can I help you, R?"  He just points with his pencil, to his planner.  My husband told him if he wants something, pointing is not the proper way to ask.  He then asked me to sign his planner, and I reminded him that he said he didn't need us and didn't want our help, so "No, I'm not going to sign it."  My husband reiterated again how he hurt our feelings and how we had hoped for an apology when he woke up this morning.  Of course he replied, with an attitude, "I'm sorry!"  I couldn't look at him, couldn't talk to him.  I gave him a hug and said "We'll talk about it later."  And off to school he went.

Now here we sit, wondering what to do next.  How do we get past this?  He's a child, and we have to forgive him, but words are something you can never take back and his words did hurt us.

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