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Honour the Child

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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011
I remember hearing a mother of a child with disabilities speak once about her experience.
She talked about parenthood as a journey.

As a trip she had planned.
Her life, she explained, her expectations of motherhood, were like buying a ticket to Rome.
Except that when she took the flight, and got off, she didn't get off in Rome, but in Budapest.
Now Budapest is certainly a fine city, but when one is expecting ROME, well, Budapest takes some getting used to (and it will never be Rome).


I read a similar story again last night.
As I was exploring the world of parenting a child with ADD.

You see, I thought I was going to Rome.
My quirky, funny, sensitive, creative just-turned 6 year old daughter has begun grade one and we are practially finished our adoption home study process for one or two younger children.

And then, last week, I was frustrated again with how slowly Rowan moves every single time we have to leave the house (and dreading the late for the school bus drama 5 days a week) and my anxiety levels were rising apace with hers as she thought about going back to school.

A friend described her older son as losing his homework constantly, and I laughed and thought "that will be Rowan".
And then someone mentioned Attention Defecit Disorder.
And I looked it up, especially as it pertains to girls.
And I read, over and over again, descriptions of MY daughter.
The words that I have said so many times to her or about her.
And the penny dropped.

You see, my husband is VERY ADD (inattentive subtype, no 'H' for hyperactive!), and the likelihood of a child inheriting it from an affected parent is as high as 70%.
And it makes sense.
Rowan doesn't stand out as having 'behaviour issues'. She isn't hyperactive, nor particularly impulsive beyond the normal 6 year old level.
She is a dreamer, out of step with her friends, wildly imaginative and able to focus for hours on some things, and not at all on others.
I knew she was quirky, I just didn't know that this kind of quirky has a name.

We have made the requisite appointments and will begin the process towards diagnosis.
And, I hope, making sense of it will be the beginning of dealing well with it!

And as this sunk in, so did another reality.

NOW is not the time to add more children to our lives~ children who will come with very serious special needs by the very nature of their foster and adoption experiences, their grief and loss issues. Children who will turn our lives (for the better surely! but nevertheless) upside down.

I knew it would be hard on Rowan to make room for siblings, but considering she is entering a phase of her education and life where she will require extra support, attention and resources to fulfill her best potentials, now is not the time for that shake up.

And I may as well lay it all out there (I usually do!)~ as a working mom, with a business 'on the side' that is integral to our finances and my husband still building his young business, as a woman dealing with PMDD and an ADD husband, and as parents who seriously need to work on healthier lifestyles, now is also not the time.

And it all hurts, and I am terribly sad.
The things I have pictured for our family will not be coming to pass.

I worry about my daughter and it hurts to think that life will be harder for her than I would have dreamed.
But I am strong believer in 'kairos' ~ God's time, the right moment, everything in its own time....

It is what it is and what it shall be is yet to be revealed.
And so,  I am resolved.
I am also cleaning my house while I have the resolve to let go of the highchair, the baby clothes, all the paraphrenalia of our hopes in that direction....!

We have this opportunity to do our very best by one child.
To teach her and support her so that all of her abounding creativity and humour and gentleness may be for the good in her life.
We have this clear moment to see the changes we need to make towards more whole and healthy lives as a small family.
It isn't Rome, sure, but Budapest is pretty darn amazing, too.
It is just going to take a little time to get used to the idea and to start exploring all the unexpected gifts it has to offer!

I hope to be able to share this new journey with folks, as we had hoped to share our adoption plans... and I look forward to hearing your stories and leaning on those of you who have been to Budapest along the way! ♥♥

{{Any and all resources and suggestion for reading would be welcomed, I am just dipping my toe into the ADD (inattentive subtype) world}}


Sky @ Capital B said...

What a great, honest, thoughtful post! I've gotta say, I have wondered about ADD with my four year old son, but have gotten really frustrated because everything I seem to find is regarding ADHD- I'm encouraged to hear you talk about ADD and realize that it does in fact still exist without the hyperactivity factor. I admire your selflessness and wish you the very best always! Thanks for sharing :)

arwen_tiw said...

My seven year old daughter has inherited her ADD from me. She is truly just a magical, inspiring person. We haven't taken the route of formal diagnosis, but it has been so wonderful to be able to share with her the things that help me to get through life.

I read Thomas Hartman's "hunter in a farmer's world" book as a teenager, and have always taught her to think of her ADD as just "how her brain works" - it might be different to other people, it might be difficult to live with sometimes, but it's just one little part of her and she can learn to live with it just fine. :)

Shantell said...

The ability to sacrifice something you really wanted to give a child what they need is the truest definition of a loving parent. Hugs, Lori, and may your life be as blessed as Rowan is to have you as a mother. You are amazing and a true inspiration!

Sunshine Mama said...

Being a parent definitely can bring lots of unexpected! A couple of years ago, I started suspecting my son had ADHD, only to realize, with my doctors help, that his hyperactivity and behaviour issues were actually caused by food sensitivities (to food colouring, some preservatives and processed sugar). Once I removed those things from his diet, wow, what a difference! But in all the reading I had done, I came to realize that ADD descriptions described me as a kid... and still to this day too on some aspects. And though he dropped the "H", he still has some ADD that I notice sometimes.

Children teach us to expect the unexpected, to be flexible, and they teach us about ourselves along the way. I can't imagine how hard it must be for you to have to change your adoption plans, but you an incredible mother, to be willing to change your plans, to ensure that you can give the best to your child right now. She is lucky to have such a positive mom!

Lori @ Beneath the Rowan Tree said...

Thank you for all of your comments. Sharing this sort of thing is always a little uncomfortable~ being vulnerable~ so I greatly appreciate your kind and honest responses and your shared experiences.

I am on board with the 'wired differently' and I hope I can help my daughter grow to appreciate her gifts~ I have always said that she was going to have a tough time growing up but that she is going to be one amazing grown up~ I mean, she is an amazing kid, but it is tough to be out of step with your peers as a child and teen, and she has already experienced that greatly.

But all the joy, humour, imagination and drive are going to serve her well in life :)

MuddyFeet said...

Lori, I know what you are going through! My oldest son was diagnosed when he was 4. He did not have any hyperactivity, could focus exceptionally well, and really was just highly impulsive. I couldn't believe it at first, but the more research that I did, the more I realized our whole both my husband and I have it too. Had I been in school today, I would have been diagnosed in an instant, but back then, the thought was that is was pretty much limited to boys.

We agree that it really is a mindset. Many highly creative and intelligent people have it in some form! I am not familiar with the "hunter in a farmer's world" book, but it sounds interesting. My theory is that there were different skill sets that would have been beneficial to our hunter/gatherer ancestors - some people had the visions for the future (trying things new ways, contemplating), and others made sure the day to day work got done. The first group was likely the ADD group! We just have to try to build on what comes naturally and work through the trouble spots. Now I am at a point where I would not give up my ADD for anything! My oldest son too has learned what amazing things he can accomplish, things that come naturally to him. He is in a highly rigorous academic program and thriving. My youngest is the daydreamer, and is still learning what he is capable of. In the meantime, he is a hoot to be around!

Please feel free to talk to me about it any time! I've been dealing for almost 10 years now and somehow, the kids (and I) have survived!

Rhonda said...

I just today found your blog and am very much enjoying it. I wanted to tell you that my son had/has ADD and is now 25. Honestly, it isn't all as terrible as they make out and is highly overdiagnosed. We did eventually put him on low doses of Ritalin, only to help him in school though if you are lucky enough to find a school environment that is more geared toward learning in the way ADD kids do, then you might not need to do the same. My son was only on medication until the age of 11..the good news is that puberty often will help them to outgrow it (not always) or atleast lessen the symptoms. Above all, remember that your little one is who she is and be mindful of keeping her wonderful imagination in intact, you have no idea where it might lead her one day and the world need more of it! While I see that you may not be ready to add to your family at the moment, please do not lose heart and believe it will be may find that in the future the time will come. Best Wishes!

Lori @ Beneath the Rowan Tree said...

Thanks to you all for sharing your experiences! I am learning how different it is for girls than it is for boys (ie for girls it usually worsens with puberty andhormones and is often only diagnosed at that point). School is going to be a challenge, and we anticipate a move at some point to home schooling to allow our daughter to learn in ways that complement her strengths and abilities, but for now she is coping alright at school.

Sarah said...

What a beautiful, honest, risky post, and I commend you for that! One of the greatest challenges I find in being a mother is finding my boundaries and sticking to them. You have done that by realizing the needs of your own child before you make changes that can affect her. What a hard decision, but a well thought out one that you have made. I hope that your journey continues to bring you such insight and growth - for that is what parenting is all about! said...

I've linked back to this post here

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