Adopting children is a huge challenge that only those in the trenches can fully understand. They come with wounds, with pasts, with hurts, with effects from abuse, neglect, often prenatal drug effects. And the truth is, sometimes "love and structure" just isn't enough.
Molly joined our family at almost 6 years old. She had already been through a lot in her young life. We have learned a lot about her past in the time she's been with us, and there is so much more she still isn't telling. The things she has endured have impeded her ability to trust or attach. To some extent, all of our children struggle with that, but none to the same extent as our little Molly. In the severe cases, they call it Reactive Attachment Disorder. And it's a beast.
Molly, from shortly after joining our family, would have screaming rages. She'd spend HOURS screaming and crying (remember, this was no colicky baby... this was a school age child.) She progressed into manipulating and defiant behaviors, kicking holes in walls, and being inappropriate and unsafe with other children. We have sought out every book we could get our hands on, on the subjects of attachment, adoption, early trauma... which only made her issues more certain. We took her to multiple counselors before finding one that really understood and could see past her charming exterior to the rage and fear inside. We drive our children weekly to a counselor nearly 2 hours away... because we love them. Because we want the best for them. Because we will do anything we can to help them learn to accept love, to trust, to truly be part of a family. But sometimes our best efforts aren't enough.
When Molly's unsafe behavior was increasing, and her desire to work on any of it was nil, it became clear we needed further outside help. Trust me when I say this was one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make. Our counselor connected us with a Therapeutic Residential School that works with kids just like our daughter... in Mississippi.
On May 13th, (my 37th birthday), we boarded a plane, just Molly and me. We flew to Nashville. We drove to Jackson, TN, and spent the night. We got up early and drove through Memphis, to Duck Hill, MS. We settled her in, the house mom showed us around, and I hugged and kissed my daughter and started the long journey home, alone.
(Tried repeatedly to insert a picture here of Molly at the school... but Typepad won't let me today.)
Molly will be at Hope Christian Home and Academy for a minimum of one year. Please pray that God reaches her heart in that time, and gives her the desire and ability to make a real change. So she (and the other children) can be safe.
As a friend pointed out, if my child had cancer, or diabetes, or any other physical ailment, we would go to any lengths we could to get her the help she needed. These wounds of the heart and mind are just as ugly... just as threatening to her health and future. We are doing what needs to be done, for her and for our whole family. As difficult as that may be.
I got a letter from her last night...
Dear Mom and Dad and others,
Guess what aly's birthday was on friday. We got cake and ice cream. We got to whatch a movie. Its fine here. We have had big storms lately. one made the power go out. shcool schools been fine my teacher said I'm in 5th grade spelling. I colored a picher pichor pichther for you and Dad, plese share it.