Thursday, May 21, 2009


Recently my husband and I were challenged in regards to respite.  Specifically, that we aren't taking any.   The Lord took time to be with God, to rest, to be alone.  He sets an example of ministering to those that don't understand true love.  But it doesn't seem possible.  I think it is one way I feel like I am parenting a child with a disability.  I feel like I have a medically fragile child.  Sure, from the outside she looks like every other kid.  But the reality is she is vulnerable.  It is just emotionally.  We are parents that need special training, can't leave just anyone with her, are the primary caretaker 24 hours a day without break, that fear the condition may never improve, seek new techniques that may help but aren't readily accepted in the medical world, that are concerned with harm--maybe it is not the respirator failing that could cause damage or death, but the harm they can do to themselves certainly could, that have kids that cannot do what other children do-physically, socially, emotionally, that may never hear the sincere words I love you.  It is hard work.  You need a break.

Aside from moments of emergency/crisis, I can count on one hand the time my husband and I have been out together alone in the last year.  The reasons are manifold.  One, is free, licensed respite does not exist for children that came home internationally.  Second, the trusted circle around us has its own life/issues/challenges.  This makes calling on them regularly impossible.  Third, and most importantly, it is not worth it.  I know that sounds crazy--well crazy to people not dealing with it.  To you, beloved, you are just nodding your heads, I am sure.  We are not a child-centered family.  In. any. way.  We value our marriage.  We know that working on our marriage is essential-for us and for them! But seriously.  It is not worth it.  Even just a couple of hours away with a trusted family member leads to backlash and punishment from the little RADish for days.  It is almost like I would rather have "normal" crazy every day than a little break with super crazy for the rest of the week.  

We have put the children to bed and then gone out.  But it isn't always the easiest or the most convenient for schedules or energy.  But it is one choice, though, when someone is available to watch them.  People have said the more often they are left, the more they get used to it.  But that really scares me.  What are they getting used to, stuffing, trying to do on their own??

I think this is one of the crucial parts of parenting an attachment kiddo.  You do need a break.  not just as a Mommy, but as a couple.  Let's share ideas!!  What's worked for your family?


kayder1996 said...

Even for kids who aren't struggling with the RAD of the attachment spectrum, figuring that out is a challenge. For us, it's about giving our semi attached little guy small doses of our absences. (15-20 minute segments that stretch into longer periods of time) I'm sure those small doses will not be easy for him but he needs practice with us going and coming ALWAYS back and with being upset by our absence but being able to be comforted by someone else. He currently is downright possessed if someone else other than D or I try to comfort him when he is upset as we leave. It quickly escalates into flailing arms and very loud wails. Not something you can just walk away from easily or something you can leave just any old babysitter with. In my heart of hearts, I believe he is ready to allow someone he knows to comfort him and that he is ready to be saddened by us going but thrilled at our return. And again, I think it needs to be short segments of time. We're not ready to do hours away yet. We don't live close to family so we have to rely on friends but as you said that gets tricky. I think we may call on a tag team of a teenager from church and her mom. I do believe they will get the rationale behind what we want to do and will be willing to be flexible and try some short segments and not think we are cruel or spoiling him. That doesn't really answer your question of finding time as a couple because we're currently way lacking in that. But know that even those of us who don't have kids exhibiting the more extreme behaviors struggle with this.

Simply Moms said...
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Simply Moms said...

Hi Kayla,
We did the short times away. But she can't really move past that. Anything more is really emotionally overwhelming.

I think what is so challenging is that they can appear to be doing "well." It is hard for us-being outside of their little brains-to know if it is typical tantrum, control or a deep seeded fear that this departure means you will not be coming back (Most of our kids have had many broken promises, especially the be right back but never do kind).

Hope you find someone that can be a support to you as your little one begins to settle in.

BeckyJoie at Leaders in Learning said...

This is a problem for us as well with older kids (teens) who we cannot leave alone. They can't be trusted to walk home from across the street let alone stay with a babysitter/respite. It's hard to find people to trust and even in the states, once you have adopted there is not respite provided. Providers are few and far between even if we could afford them. The only "respite" we get is by one of us taking them for an hour while the other goes to buy groceries, etc. But both parents are frazzled because one is worn and the other is worried about teh worn one. Or we lock ourselves in our rooms an turn up the TV or classical music so that we can get some rest. But we're always worried about what they are doing while we "relax".

We have to find ways to be present and tune out at the same time;otherwise we will be driven to the absolute brink of insanity.

Ok, I guess I've written a book. Deep subject. Long answer.
At least we can all comiserate online together and get a dose of friendship to ease the stress.

Don't get me wrong. I dearly love my children. They just love me back by sucking the life out of me. :>)

Christine said...

I think it is very important for you to get one on one time with your husband even if you do not feel it is worth it. Your children need to see that the two of you make time for each other, are a team, and will make time for each other a priority-- even if that means simple couch time where they can watch from a distance the two of you spending quality time together on a couch without interuptions.

It may seem worth less than the effort it takes having this together time, but in the long run it will pay off.

Simply Moms said...

We definitely get those little moments. But any real time away together seems impossible.

I do think it is important because it keeps her from having control over that aspect of our lives, too. I just don't know how that really works yet!

Simply Moms said...

Christine-do you have a respite provider? How often?

Christine said...

I have not used respite before, but I have provided it and have about four or five families willing to provide it through networking. I have posted about providing respite for a while now-- so if you are truly interested let me know-- I may be able to help you out depending on what feels comfortable to you.

We are finally at a place where we feel comfortable leaving all of our children for a few hourse once in a while. A few months ago, I would have felt just like you about it not being worth it.