Help Is Here.

For those who have followed me for years, thank you.
It’s always discouraging for someone to unfollow, or not even follow to begin with. But to stick with me, when sometimes my articles haven’t been the best at encouraging—thank you.
Here may be one of those not so encouraging ones…or maybe if you find yourself where we were many years ago, this may be your life-saver.
Enough chit-chat.

Many of you know we adopted our niece’s son. He was a drug baby.
That effected how he thinks.
I never could classify him as ADHD. He was never hyper. But ADHD, without the H, ADD would fit his processing.
We hesitated to diagnosis or “LABEL” him, but it was helpful for understanding him. 
He is not unique.

Here are some of the characteristics of ADHD, some or all may be present.
Daydreaming/zoning out
Emotional sensitivity
Easily distracted
Obsessive tendencies
Low frustration tolerance
Frequently losing things
Sleep problems
Hyper focus
Interrupting others
Difficulty prioritizing
Chronic time blindness
Socially withdrawn
Rejection sensitivity
Intense mood swings
Difficulty maintaining focus

Not inclusive by any means, but gives a picture of issues involved.

What we have learned:
LOVE cannot fix this.
People who have adopted these children find love isn’t enough to change how they think.

DISCIPLINE can’t change it all.
I can truthfully say, I’ve been consistent with enforcing rules, yet my son has told us, “What you have done hasn’t helped!”
Seems he didn't want it to help, either. There is always a choice to obey or not. 
I do believe, God’s way is the right way. And our son is farther than he would be without that consistent discipline.
But we can't take him any farther.

Truth and consequences do not guide them.
They don’t consider risks nor remember consequences. 
Truth does not monitor their decisions. 
They make up their own history and reality—to the point where you may see them do something, yet they convince you—they did not do it, you did.
And almost make you believe them!

TECHNOLOGY will destroy them.
When we allowed our 15 year old to have a phone (out of safety, no land line.) He was texting girls late at night. 
Restrictions did not work. Allowing the phone after school and turning it in before bedtime, did not work.
It was always a fight of “I forgot.” Or "I need to…" 
We took it away permanently. Nor did he have access to computers. 
He borrowed mine, where I could watch him, for his driver’s education.
Of course, we still have no television.
No more giving in, forgetting, conceding.
The constant battle was over—or so we thought.
We were attempting to protect him from the addictive power that technology has,
especially over one who has no discipline nor discernment.

In the next 2 ½ years I felt he had something, but searching his room led nowhere. How could he have a phone?
Do not underestimate their will power, determination, and deceit.
If you can’t trust them to obey the little rules, they are probably not obeying the big rules—right?
But you want to believe, because they seem to be doing so well, well, sometimes.
Then blatant reminders of their disobedience or disrespect, remind you to be wary of deceit.
I include this circular thinking---to let you know as you might be a parent of one of them, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 
This is normal for them.

I’ve shared how we tried supplements for over a year when he was twelve. 
He threw them out.
We watched him take and swallow 30 pills twice a day, every day for over a year.
Did they help?
I can’t say they did.
Most of the issues were heart issues, not health issues.

I read a weighted blanket helped them sleep better. I bought one. 
I found it at the bottom of his bed, unused. No help there.

My son keeps his room dark and covers his night stand and desk with blankets to minimize distractions. 
I tried to help him minimize clothes and items in his room, again to minimize stimuli.
Growing up, he wore only one shirt to church, in spite of owning several others.
Minimizing choices simplifies decision making.
Too much is overwhelming for anyone, especially for them.
Toys are another issue. Less is best.

In looking back, I may have tried eliminating sugar, glutton, dairy, and other things that I’m finding now relate to brain processing and better health.
It may have improved health.
But not the desire to be truthful.

Trust is always an issue.
That is a heart issue.
We found he’d had a phone for over 2 ½ years after we took his away.
He refused to turn it over. 
Would I even believe him if he did? Probably not.
There’s nothing to stop him from getting another one.
Not his conscience.

Knowing he had phone brought explanations for problems we couldn’t answer with his school. HOW was he doing SO WELL?
Although he was required to sit at the dining room table where I could “see” him, much of the time he worked ahead on problems in his room.
How can you cheat with homeschooling? Now I know he used his phone for the answers. 
Would he graduate?
I was more worried than he was. 
We counted credits—previous years’ credits enabled him to graduate—a relief for me.
He seemed oblivious to my concern for him. What's the big deal? 

He is on the road to leave our house when he turns 18.
He does not obey our rules, nor relinquish his phone.
He knows it.
He’s not ready for the world. 
The world shows no grace.
Lessons will be hard. Scars will be deep.
We weep over what he will experience.
God has told Joey, “He’s MINE.”
We hang onto that when we don’t know what to do.
God knows. And will take care of him.
Our son continues to act in ways that remind us, this is what we must do.
This wasn't the answer I wanted.
This wasn't the help I thought I'd get—shouldn't a mom be able to help him best?
Shouldn't His Creator and Savior, know him more?
My self-talk often gets me in trouble, but I end up affirming my trust in His care, both for me and for Jeremiah.

Often I vacillate---am I exaggerating? Over-reacting? but then there are those reminders.
Disregard for our property.
Distain for our rules.
He throws forks in the trash with his paper plate! 
Not an accident, when I dig through his trash and find four in one week’s time.
We’ve hidden the forks so he can’t use them. Makes for a great inconvenience for the rest of us.
Such a little thing. Why should I get so upset?
Because it shows how much he doesn't care.
Recently we compared notes, another issue.
We pray for answers NOW!
Evidence of his disdain.
I could elaborate. 
For those who have these children, you understand.

I’ve recently spoken to one couple who agreed to allow me to share their story. They're from California.
Their 14 year old adopted son was not allowed a phone and technology was limited.
He hacked their phones, engaged in “adult” pictures and used their bank accounts.
They tried everything.
They feared their own safety.
When seeking counsel, the advisor said, “He needs to be gone NOW.” (They didn't wait.)
He has been admitted to a camp. He’s allowed to call home certain times, but only then.
Otherwise there is no technology.
He lives with others with the same issues.
Counsellors help them re-wire their habits. 
He has been gone 3 months. Parents can sense progress.
It will be a long process.
HERE’s the camp’s link
The mother also found a support group.

When I was seeking for a place for Jeremiah, he was too old. 
By the time we found he had his phone, he'd be 18 in less than a year. 
They require one full year.
This has been a LONG year.

Another said they have a range of ages they will take.
I'd ask if they'd consider your exception, or ask for other camps for other ages.
It's a lead, go until you can't.

You are frustrated.
You are not alone.
You are not losing your mind nor your soul.
You are not a bad parent for trying to make them obey.
Remember God, the perfect parent, had two who choose poorly—to the point He kicked them out of His garden, never to return!
Get help.
It’s out there.
Support groups help keep your sanity.
Others have sought counseling, not for the child, but for them.
And PRAY like that’s your only answer.

Displaying all 5 comments

Yes, you described my two adopted grandsons exactly and I can see where they are headed. Incredibly tragic and we so need the Lord to help us keep our own heads on straight. All the time there are more of these drug babies and there is no end in sight. Oh, Lord, come quickly!

My son is 8 and he’s been recently “diagnosed” with ODD Oppositional Defiance Disorder and he shares A LOT of these qualities. Thank you for sharing, it’s nice to feel seen! You’re in my prayers!

Absolutely heartbreaking, as a parent these things hurt and leave deep wounds in everyone involved. You and your husband have raised your boys in a godly home, and have raised an amazing family. You have done everything you can do, keep your head up and turn it over to God! The hardest thing we as parents can do is letting go and trusting God but in the end he will prevail!

thank you for this article, my daughter and i have discussed how we thought my grandaughters and her nieces phone was playing a big part in the issues she was having. Unfortunately, her parents are divorced and when her dad, who was the custodial parent, told her mom, he thought phone was an issue and she didn’t need one, mom went ballistic, stating taking it away would be child abuse. i see such a difference in my grandkids,my daughters 2 year old doesn’t get to sit in front of a tv, has very”limited” screen time, some weeks none, or given a phone to keep them quiet, as the older grandkids. in reading your article, it resonated with me, we try to do the best for them, and we know they are headed for a world of hurt from their choices, but it’s like a train that can’t stop on a dime. hope you are doing well, i miss you

It is utterly heartbreaking. Makes me just weep! God in heaven have mercy on Jeremiah and on his mother whose heart is broken. O God, have mercy on all the parents and children such as these.

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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