Thursday, May 16, 2013


"I have never said 'Do not pee in the trash cans,' so I can't get mad that someone peed in all the trash cans."
     Those words actually came out of my mouth.  After the lengthy clean up that followed the lying, the manipulation and the tears, I wound up with my 69 lb six year old in my arms, rocking.  In my heart of hearts, I know that he can't cognitively understand empathy or consequences to his actions.  I equate it to an 18 month old that thinks it is funny when they hit you in the face.  You don't punish the infant or toddler because you know that they don't understand that they just hurt you; that their little brain can't comprehend their action yet.  So you patiently correct them and move along.  I feel bold sharing this because I know that many, many people would find this idea insane.  But until you live with a child that has been deeply wounded, you probably can't get it.  And that's okay.  I was there and I still find myself wanting to lash out when I am peeling up wet's hard.
     So that is where we are at.  We are trying to condition our brains to give up (for now, and don't judge) consequences, lectures or really much reaction for things like urinating in the trash can.  This means that my boy is doing everything with me or I am doing it for him.  And guess what? He isn't fighting it.
     As we were attempting to rock, this is what I said:
"No matter what you do in this life, I am strong enough to handle it.  There isn't anything you can do that I am not strong enough for.  I can do this because God chose me for you and because my strength is really His strength.  I will freak out.  I will cry.  But I will still be here with you. "
    And then I stumbled and fumbled my way to cradle him in my arms all the way to bed.  That's how we're rolling (for now).


  1. God's strength is amazing. And I'm seeing it through you, right now, in reading this post.

  2. I went to a training this week as part of my foster care license renewal classes on therapuetic crisis intervention. It was very well done by a couple of guys that have each worked for over a decade at the center with the highest level of residential treatment(only thing above would be a hospital psych ward) in our state. And they started the training by saying that their whole philosophy is based on the saying "Kids do well if they can." Basically saying that kids aren't bad to be bad. And said he's always thought of reward/consequence systems for kids like this are as effective as someone offering him a million dollars to play NFL level football. He can't play football. And the million dollars wouldn't be motivating, it would only be frustrating, because he CAN"T play football. And offering someone a reward for something they can't do, or giving a consequence for not doing something that they can't do, will not make them magically able to do it. Your post made me think of this. You're not alone, and your lack of "consequences" isn't crazy. When I was driving home today from a soccer game, and my youngest foster son was trying to break the window by kicking it(I dont remember why), I just kept chanting in my head "Kids do well if they can". And kept reminding myself that as frustrating as those behaviors are for me, they are even more frustrating for him.

  3. Love this!
    Would you be willing to let us feature this post on "We Are Grafted In"? ( It is a Christian adoption website that seeks to encourage adoptive parents and those considering adoption as well as those with a passion for orphan care and foster care.
    If you are willing, I'd just need a brief bio and a picture to use when it is featured so we can direct our readers back to your blog.
    Just let me know!

    abby @ sparrow-fund . org