The Googegs - Strangers in the World

The Googegs - Strangers in the World

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cantata

Jerome and I cannot sing, this may be the only time you see us sitting with the choir:




On Palm Sunday our church choir performed an Easter Cantata and Jerome and I were honored to be chosen as narrators. We were a little nervous -- it may be a small choir, but they can really sang y'all and we didn't want to mess them up. I think it came out quite well -- our kids were even proud to be sitting up front for us.

As soon as we finished the crudded cold entered our house and we have been the home of the hackers this whole week. We are hoping to recover in time for an awesome Easter. We have a lot of activities planned and can hardly wait to celebrate this awesome day of our risen Saviour.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Garment of Praise

I have talked about having a child with attachment issues. That kid is one tough cookie to have around. I have never seen so much anger in one so young. The rollercoaster ride runs so high and low so fast, my stomach does leaps. One moment the kid is happy, smilin' and mommying me all over. Then, should I ask the wrong thing, demand the wrong thing, or appear to be in charge, whammo, the anger is sparkin', the words and various objects are probably flying. It is definitely challenging.

However, this is not my first ride on the coaster. If it is so hard, and the road long; and really, we are totally unsure of where we will end up -- why take the road? First, the call of God was on my life to adopt and adopt again. No question that adoption was the Lord's leading. I saw doors open that shouldn't have and doors close that anyone else walked through with ease. His hand was on my back. The call of God is a mighty thing.

Why? Why if I love the Lord, did he not give me an easy child? Why didn't he give me one so young that adoption issues would be more tame? Why didn't he give me a child who readily loved and transferred attachment with ease and after some adjustment, was really just a typical kid? It happens all the time -- why?

The truth is found in the book of Job. "...Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?" (Job 2:10). As a parent, do we only give our children things that feel good to them? Don't we occassionally give them a hard or unpleasant task to help them grow and learn? Trouble from the hand of God is spiritual education. My children have certainly taught me patience, creativity and, unbelievably, they have taught me to conquer anger and to find joy.

Prior to having children with issues, I was pretty confident that I could handle things. A problem would arise, and I would work hard and solve it. I am a great researcher and I read a lot. These children left me with nothing, but God. I can remember sitting on the wood floor of my office with the phone in my hand and tears on my cheeks. Jerome leaned over and painfully asked, "Deb, who do you think you are going to call at 10:00pm?"

"I don't know! I love so much, I just don't know how to live with that kid." That was the day I learned how to do it. Leaning on God is my only hope. Job again says, "Though he slay me, yet I will hope in him." (Job 13:15). Some days, things look pretty bleak, yet I hope. My hope has not been shown false. One of my most challenging children is "getting it" and flying on a very healthy path right now. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1 KJV) Faith is a substance; evidence. I have faith and hope. I can't see it right now, but my faith is a real thing; a substance and not only that it is evidence.

I don't ask the "why's" because I got my answer, and it astounded me. Before Job was afflicted with any of his trials, the devil presented himself before the Lord, basically saying that he had been roaming the earth looking for trouble to cause. God's response was "...'Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil'" (Job 1:8). Job was allowed to receive affliction from the devil, because the Lord found Job worthy. In our world we tend to think that if we are doing fine then the Lord must really be pleased with us and there may be times when that is true, but don't miss this lesson. Job was afflicted because the Lord found him worthy and not just worthy, but above all others.

Challenging children? the Lord found me worthy. And that has made all the difference. I am beyond words. Isaiah 61:3 says, "... and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." I no longer wear my spirit of despair, I am clothed in a garment of praise that the Lord should find me worthy of such a task. Why? Because, "They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." (Isaiah 61:3)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Re-Vamping

It took me over an hour to put a new picture and title on the blog. Why bother? Well, we have had the same tiny picture in the corner forever. A friend of ours snapped a picture of our whole family one night and it turned out! First of all, we can never remember to get the camera out when we all look decent -- and then who wants to set the silly thing up on a tripod and take 20 pictures to get one usuable one.

Oh, but no! One night after class she snaps ONE picture of us on her cell phone and it turns out decent. I snagged it off of her facebook page -- I can't believe it. (Yes, I am on facebook!)

I have really been thinking about how we (as Christians) are not of this world. Our hope is heaven. We are to walk through this world on our way HOME. I really wanted to reflect that in our blog title.  I just couldn't figure out the whole font thing.

Anyway, an hour later and here we are -- our recent picture and a proclamation to the world that indeed we are strange!

I am sure I could have found something better to do with my time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Battle Zone

Here's the deal about having a kid with attachment issues -- It is not will we have a good day today, or I hope we don't butt heads today -- it really is, "I wonder where the battle will be today." That kid is going to battle every single day. Some days you will cover the same territory over and over again.

I have to wonder, is it important for me to battle this issue? Usually it is... but it's not. Welcome again to the topsy turvy kingdom. It is important that I remain in charge, which occassionally means I absolutely will win the battle. Other times, I have to not care and I have to REALLY NOT CARE, enough to let that kid do whatever they want in that situation.

Here's what I mean. Right now I have a kid that battles continually over school work. I don't mean whining about homework, I mean battling to the point that if I intend to "win" I may get this kid to do one math problem today. That is an all day sit down in front of the books until school is done battle. So I have decided to REALLY NOT CARE. I put that in capital letters, because deep down inside, don't we all care that our children get a good eduation? However, I must not show any care or concern because I really just don't want to battle. What I want more than anything is a healthy kid that can attach and love and feel and live life as a whole person -- then school or whatever will come later. I put the books away.

The first thing my kid said was, "Can I have my math book now?" I said no. Since it didn't look like there was a fight on the horizon I guess making one was the next best option. The kid proceeded to battle about everything else all day long. I had to work mighty hard to not engage and I really wasn't completely successful.

Living with kids that struggle so, really teaches me a lot about God. John 16:33 tells us that "In this world you will have trouble." As a Christian I should not wake up every morning and expect everything to just flow. God told us not to be surprised, but to arm ourselves with the armor from Ephesians 6 -- the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness and our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. The verse that speaks to me most is Ephesians 6:13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

In this world we are expected to armor up for the Lord and then to stand. I love my kid so. I armor up and then I stand. I stand in truth and I stand knowing how much it hurts for this kid to feel true love.

Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen. (Martin Luther)

Friday, March 5, 2010

I have a TK

I have a TK and I have had one before. I did not want to admit that I will have to put my toe into these waters again. After all, you can't put a toe in -- once you are, in you are all wet.

What is a TK?  ... THAT KID.

The first one I had ended up with an official diagnosis and two years of therapy. The professionals like to call it Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Do you know what RAD really is? Living with THAT KID. That kid that you just can't figure out. They lie, they steal, they scream... they scream.. oh they scream a lot. They manipulate. The funniest thing happens. You are steaming mad about all these crazy behaviors and then you are not sure. I mean is it really stealing? We are a family, living in one house, maybe TK just misunderstood the whole sharing thing.. maybe she just forgot to ask. Maybe you are the one at fault... maybe you just misunderstood... maybe you are not such a great mom. Before you know it you are living in the Topsy Turvy Kingdom, where you as the parent definitely aren't in charge of anything, everyone is always mad, or at best a little irritated and the THAT KID...is smiling!

After two years of therapy that ended a few years ago, I finally got ahold of this thing -- most of the time. I took charge, I stopped being angry and sometimes I just gave my little TK what she was asking for. If you want to kick, that is great! Give me ten good ones against the wall.

Parenting these children is like parenting the Strong Willed Child times 10. Their will is strong allright -- In fact I don't call it will, I call it steely resolve. My first welcome into the RAD parenting world was a lot of study. I read book after book on the Attachment cycle. Not to mention hours with the therapist. What I had to develop first was compassion -- real compassion for a child so mistreated and ignored that if That Kid doesn't feel in charge of the environment He/she literally feels as if they might die. To the TK this is a life or death struggle. It is likely that nobody was cuddly or lovely or nice in their first family. I heard a foster parent once describe it this way: "Why would my kid want to trust an adult when every one they have ever met has wiped their feet on him." Exactly.

My first That Kid and I, drove two hours one way for at least two years so that I could finally get it. The therapist always talked alone to me first, then later to my kid which I watched on a TV in the other room. As much as I wanted her to fix my kid, I believe she fixed me. I had to learn to be a different mom. That time I spent with the therapist by myself was gold. I will never forget being able to have someone listen to me and not think I was totally crazy.

One thing about these kids is that they really know how to work a room. No one outside the family ever sees any of these negative behaviors. It is very likely that even the Dad doesn't see many of them. Mommy begins to feel isolated and slightly crazy. Thank God my husband never doubted me and saw enough to keep me going. Thank God, we were able to find a good therapist.

One of my favorite phrases from the Bible is "In the course of time.." Things don't happen overnight, but really "in the course of time." Therein lies the story of Attachment. It doesn't happen at a therapists office, through a discipline measure or one great afternoon. It happens, In The Course of Time. The dailyness of life creates attachment. We laugh, we hug, we share, we cry, we argue, we struggle .... and then... finally...we love.

In the case of my first TK (RAD) kid. We made it. Healthy is happening. The strong little personality is still there, but That Kid is happy, whole and livin' instead of fighting. She cries, real tears, She laughs, genuinely. When that kid arrived her will was steel reinforced, but her little spirit was broke all to pieces.

Today I have another TK. Another struggling kid. I am not taking this one to a therapist, I am not seeking to have any further initials added to the name. I have been here before... The first day I began to open my eyes and see the same things again. Lying, stealing, food issues, crazy incessant chatter, constant control of a room. I began to hyperventilate and I just wanted to cry. This road is long and hard ...

I turned to my Bible and found my strength again. "In the Course of time.." we will attach truly. My faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain if what I do not see.(Hebrews 11:1).  I lifted my eyes and pulled out my well-worn copy of Parenting the Hurt Child. I had to stop caring and fighting for things I thought were important. I say "hmm" a lot more instead of engaging in manipulative conversation. I stopped thinking about "age appropriate" and started moving on to what we are "ready for" again.

That Kid -- she's gonna make it... "in the course of time."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fun Stuff

I am sick of the winter. So are the kids. Today they were out riding bikes and rollerblades, even while they had some sleds in the backyard. They are just desperate for spring. Our emotional lives have been in a kind of winter too. Up and down with discipline and my parent tool kit feels like it is running low. I decided to post pictures of the fun stuff we have found to do inside.


Instead of just doing school around the ping-pong table, we decided to actually play some ping-pong. Wokelle wanted to join in so bad, but hitting that little ball proved to be a bit too challenging. This big balloon worked much better.



A friend gave me a box of cast-offs from her son's room. Inside were many treasures, including this little Poo Chi Dog. We had one years ago, which my Mom and I played with and laughed over, but the kids were just too young to really enjoy. Here he is again. This time, I find him a bit annoying and the kids are giggling uncontrollably. Why won't they feed the real dog this much?



You can find anything on the internet -- even PooChi directions!



Riane handling her first dissection for school.



Adela has her own science project moving along.



This is how Mary tends to do school. Forget the desk!



Just in case school... or life ... gets to be too much. Jerome decided to provide us with an outlet.