Second post this year! Huge, emotional, train wreck of a post

You guys, can I get an award for this? Two posts IN ONE YEAR!

This is a dump.  This is the condensed version of our life with our oldest child for the past year or so.  I feel like this needs to get out there, because even though this is so lonely I KNOW I am not the only one going through this.  And maybe this will help others in similar situations.

The past few years have been very hard. Our oldest, adopted at age 13 and living with us since age 11, has really struggled.  We had depression, a suicide attempt, days spent in the psych ward, counseling where he was diagnosed with a mild attachment disorder, and counseling which attempted to remedy that.  His number one goal in life (or so he says) has always been to get AWAY from us and to make his own rules.  Which isn't a bad thing because, hey, no one wants their 30 year old kid sitting on their couch playing video games right? Go spread your wings, little birdy!  But...14, 15, 16, 17, all pretty young for that.

It got to the point where I was terrified he'd come home late (which he almost ALWAYS did) because of the fights that would start. I was scared to sleep with our bedroom door shut because I wondered..what if he is really mad, and he does something to the other kids? Nothing like that ever happened but when he got mad he couldn't even see clearly or think, he was just 100% emotion and it could be very scary.  All of us sleep on the second story, he slept in the basement so that did help.  He would stay out all hours. I couldn't sleep until he got home, and I was trying to keep the peace between he and my husband but the lack of respect and common courtesy for us and the rest of the family was maddening.

D graduated from high school at barely 17.  You can complete high school in 3 years at his school, so long as you pass all your classes and don't really take any extra classes (every course you take has to be a required course). So that is what he did. He graduated May 2016, and I'm going to write more about that later.

I prayed a lot during this time to please, PLEASE just let him graduate from high school, then no matter what happens he will at least have that to help him on his journey to adulthood.

We had called the police on him for being out late, he had run away for 5 days to his biological family at one point, I mean...this was a mess, you guys.  I didn't know ANYONE we could reach out to for help.  We did call the family help line at our state and they came out to meet with us and gave us some things that we could do, one of which included turning him back over to the state for his own safety.  We thought on this a lot but ultimately decided not to do it.

It all came to a head the day before Father's Day, 2016.  D came home in the afternoon, and I was alone.  I can't remember if the little ones were napping or if they were gone somewhere with hubby (he's a good guy like that - he'll take them to the zoo or for a bike ride or something to let me have some time to myself, super important for introverts!).  Anyway, D came home, pretty high on life for some reason.  He then proceeded to pick me up (which we have had so, so many conversations about this - I hate it when he does that to me, because it feels disrespectful and I don't feel he's doing it out of love but as a way to physically control me, and I literally HATE IT). I yelled at him (he is a good 8 inches taller than me plus 70 + pounds of muscle) to put me down and he did. I was so mad, he was trying to talk to me and I just went up to my room to be alone and get away from him. On the way he started screaming how he had such a hard day and just wanted a hug.  Well, he had had problems with his car (that's a whole 'nother story) but not called us to help him...anyway. Very frustrating.  He got mad and left, and I texted hubby about what had happened just so he was aware in case he saw D before I saw him.

Anyway, he came home late that night (shocker, I know).  Hubby confronted him.  D got mad and tried to walk away, hubby put his hand out to stop him (not hitting him or anything, just trying to block him from avoiding the conversation).  D freaked out and said "Don't put your hands on me!" to which hubby replied "NO, you don't put your hands on my wife and make her feel uncomfortable in her own home!" D apologized, hubby said you don't need to apologize to me you need to apologize to her.  Long story short, hubby asked him to leave.

Not feeling so much like the father of the year, by this point.  But he doesn't just have one child to be a father to, we also had 5 little children upstairs sleeping.

So D grabbed some things, and left. I slept so peacefully that night.

Long story short, he has stayed gone. Couch surfed for a while, then found a family to stay with that lets girls spend the night and people can do whatever they want to do.  There has been so much peace in our home, since then.  He would come over and eat lunch and things with us, we chatted via text, a couple of times he just came over for no reason (to hang out with us, what!).  We did meet with a family attorney to see if he could be emancipated and what our responsibilities were in this case to make sure we weren't breaking any laws, this gave us a lot of peace of mind.  He was never emancipated because there is no way to do that in our state.

His plan was to go to college, which started in July, so this would have meant he was out of our home for only a few weeks really before school started. I did all the paperwork etc to get him into college; FAFSA and the amount we had saved for his college was going to cover the full expense of his room and board and school and books, so that is a pretty sweet deal if you ask me.  He would just need to work a part time job to pay for any crap he wanted outside of that, basically.  I had taken him on college visits and we spent a toooon of time talking about this.

After about 7 weeks he dropped out.  Reasons: no girls (he went to a technical school which really does have like 5 girls in the whole school) and he missed his friends (he went to school about 2 hours away).  So that was unfortunate.  This was about September or late August of 2016.

Then he decided he wanted to join the Marines.  We had already discussed this at length.  He didn't want to be told where to live (I know, you are shocked right) so he joined the reserves.  He left for boot camp in January of this year. The evening he left he spent with us and ate dinner with us, and gave me all of his things to hold for him (since they couldn't bring anything with them).

He called a few days after and left a message (it was the middle of the night so I was asleep) saying that he had arrived safely and we'd hear from him again in 2-3 weeks via letter. They aren't allowed phone calls otherwise, all communication is in writing. He also said "I love you" at the end!  I was expecting a phone call saying "Your kid is being a jerk, you need to come pick him up because we are kicking him out" so that was a nice surprise.
 
Then, we got a letter. I was expecting to get exactly 1 letter from him because I had the list of all his friends' addresses, so he would have to write at least one time to get that!  In his letter he said he was sorry for being a bad son, and that he wanted to spend more time with us once he got out of boot camp, and that he wished he had spent more time with his siblings and bonded with them more. He said me and hubby are his mom and dad, and he started calling us both mom and dad.  Overall it was really nice.

We wrote back and forth a few times, and he invited us to his boot camp graduation in California in March.  Hubby and I went and left the kids at home, and made a little vacation of it.  While we were there we actually spent a ton of time with D, even on his days where he had freedom he spent a fair amount of time with us.  He flew home to spend time with his friends and hubby and I spent a few extra days in Cali doing some really fun things.

He turned 18 2 days ago.  He is still doing Marine training stuff, doing combat training right now and then going to welding school which will take 4 more months I think?  He doesn't really have much freedom still so we haven't heard a ton from him.

So, I guess I just wanted to give some hope to anyone who may be going through this. Times were so hard. I spent so much time in prayer, and in tears, and sick to my stomach wondering if what we were doing or had done was the right thing. Like...was adopting him the right thing? Should we have just let him to with his "godmother" like he had asked us to?  Every single decision has been agonized over and questioned.  And I'm still not sure we did all the right things but I do know that God has redeemed this situation and used it for good, definitely for the good of D and I think for our good as well.

I have a ton of love for my oldest son, despite (or maybe because of) the difficult journey this has been. I hope that if anyone is going through something similar they will reach out. I don't have all the answers (I have no answers, actually) but I know that having someone to relate to can make a huge difference!

I will write again, another dump...so be prepared!

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