When we first adopted our oldest child with significant and complex special needs, we were often greeted with remarks such as “you must be crazy” and “why are you taking on this much” and of course “your asking for a life time of trouble”. We were offended, frustrated and angry that so many people couldn’t see what we did, an amazing beautiful, spunky little girl who was meant to be in our family.
If I'm being honest with myself, part of me felt that I had to prove them all wrong. That adopting a child with extreme behavioural and complex needs was not only the best decision for us and our other children who are adopted, but that its something that we could handle.
So off we went, dove into this unknown world of parenting a child with unique abilities. A child that no doctor or therapist had any experience with. She literally is one of a kind.
As she grew older, so did her needs. Restraining her for hours a day became a new norm for us, appointments, respite, team meetings, med changes was just part of our “normal”. We didn’t dare reach out to our friends and family because to be honest, most of them wouldn’t understand, nor would the be able to help. So we continued this journey, somewhat alone, in the unique little world we build for ourselves.
Fast forward a couple more years and we were faced with a situation that we weren’t willing to admit…perhaps one that we are still trying to hide. We need help. The love we have for our daughter is no longer keeping her safe. As a parent who fought so hard to finalize the adoption of a child with her level of needs, it’s a humbling position to be in finally able to acknowledge that we can’t do it alone. Multiple hospital visits, calling 911 on Christmas day only solidified our biggest fear. She needs more than what we can provide for her right now.
The amount of guilt that follows this feeling is something that is almost indescribable. In so many ways we feel that we have failed her. Questions like, did we make the right decision? Are we going to be enough? Have we failed as parents? Are things that can easily invade our every waking thought.
It wasn’t until I confided into some close friends that I realized the one piece of the puzzle that was missing. Its our complete love for her that has pushed us to get the help that she deserves. To swallow our pride as parents and reach out for the help that we cannot provide her right now.
Is it going to be easy? No! The thought of our daughter living somewhere other than under our roof – no matter how short the stay is, nor the reason, is hard…very hard. But we need to let our love for her move beyond us.
The answers aren’t always easy, but when you make a decision made from a place of love, you can’t ever make the wrong one. For any other parent who may be here, in the thick of the guilt and the difficult place of deciding what the best options are for you children, don’t ever give up hope and no matter what – they will always be our children.