Tag Archives: adoption disruption

Autism: Should Have Learned

Today I went back to edit a post I had written a couple of days ago. Thankfully it hadn’t been released yet. Thankfully I had the time (and wisdom) to really think about it before the information was shared. I had even written about how years ago, when we had our `foster` children, I had shared too much in the emails between myself and the ministry (as well as between myself and an online special needs support group I had been a member of.)

I have a tendency to share too much information – it is difficult for me to understand that not everything needs to be shared, even if I know that to be true.

It is difficult for me to leave out details, for how do I know at which point the omission becomes a lie? How do I know what points of what I am sharing are helpful to other people, or what parts I would be condemned for leaving out?

Since people tend to misunderstand what I am saying, doesn’t it make sense that the more details I share, the clearer my message should be? Yet when I share everything, it seems that people misunderstand me more – as if I am sharing all of this information to hide something else, when in fact I am sharing all this information to try to ensure that all information is shared.

They even try to “read between the lines,” when for me, there is nothing between the lines – maybe that is why they seem to respond better to me when I say very little, for then there is nothing more to look for… I really don’t understand it.

I do know that other people don’t share everything – I just don’t know how I could do that for myself. It feels… manipulative and dishonest.

Yet the information that I edited out of my old post were specific details on what behaviours my children were struggling with the summer before our adoption failure – and I realized as I thought about that how it might be hurtful to my children (who still live in this community, though I don’t see them) if those details were shared.

I wrote, when I had my children, because I was trying to get other people to understand, and because I was looking for (unique) suggestions of how we might help our children better. Instead, I apparently overwhelmed those I was writing too, who believed (unfairly) that I was being negative about my children, and really wished we hadn’t tried to adopt them (untrue.) So they ‘helped’ based on how they interpreted my emails, which really was completely off the mark.

I write now because for so many years I felt alone, and as if everything about me was wrong. Then I found out I had Autism (or more specifically, Asperger’s) and thought that by writing this blog, I might help other people to not feel so alone, or that everything was wrong with them, or…

I write to help – but I still share too much, and I wonder… will all of this be taken wrong, too? In trying to reach out, am I actually isolating myself further? I really don’t know the answer to these questions, for as I said, I really don’t understand.

Vacation July 2016 014


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Autism: Hindsight is 2o/2o

My son was looking for more pictures of China today, so I went through a couple of DVD s which had pictures taken off of old, dead computers several years ago. I found a couple of pictures and sent them to him (most of them were from our trip to Ontario in 2008 with the kids, and Christmas of 2008 and 2009, so didn’t have cat pictures in them as she wasn’t there.)


Looking through the pictures left me once again wishing I could turn back time, and save the adoption before it failed. As I went through them, I stumbled upon a page of emails that I had copied from the months leading up to the first time the children were moved.

I was surprised by how much I have forgotten over the years regarding the children’s behaviours. I knew they did these things, yet with passing time forgot the frequency and intensity through which we experienced them.

There was just so much struggle with all of them, and while I did remember it wasn’t easy, I really did forget how hard it could get.

As I read those emails I realized a few of things that I didn’t notice before:

  1. I should have journaled rather than share our challenges through email during that time – for had I been reading these things about another family I would have thought the children were way too challenging for any family (I also forgot that upon placement we were told the social workers had thought our middle girl was unadoptable) and that the situation was hopeless.
  2. Looking through the pictures doesn’t tell the entire story; so while I knew by looking at the pictures when the children had been struggling just before they were taken (by the pure exhaustion on everyone’s face) and I remembered the struggle they were having, the intensity wasn’t accurately portrayed in the photograph.
  3. If I could turn back time, and do all the social workers told me were essential to a successful adoption with these particular children, and did everything `right,`we would still have been at severe risk of adoption disruption – for the emails, though I know every fact was true in them, tell of a family who was doing all they could to `hold it together,`and couldn’t possibly hold on much longer.
  4. Unless I kept all of those facts presented in the emails to myself, I would have found myself one day standing before the ministry and having them tell me it wasn’t going to work – and it likely wouldn’t have been much longer than we had with them.
  5. If I did everything `right` and never emailed or spoke much on any of our struggles, we might have succeeded in adopting these three children, but I still would have been completely burnt out, and I still would have isolated myself from other people, who would have always judged me, and who I could never please with the children I had. I was doomed to feel I had failed in some way.

I wanted my children more than I can express. I loved my children more than I can say. Losing them was a huge trauma I have yet to overcome. But I think now that even if I had done everything `right`, the adoption was still doomed to failure.

I hate that that is true, for I put all of myself into succeeding with them, and it still breaks my heart that I couldn’t do it. It breaks my heart that they are gone. And I miss them so very much.


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Autism: Extended Support

I am not much of a party person; not at all in fact. So I didn’t do much for New Years Eve this year. We were in bed with the lights off by 10:30pm in fact – later than usual, I admit, but not too different from any other night when my husband doesn’t have to work the next day.

At 12:01am, Clara ran up to me whimpering, then both my girls ran barking to their space at the window. The fireworks had begun. I sat with them (no point taking them back to bed like that) petting and calming them for about 15 minutes until the fireworks were over (it was just a neighbour after all, and firecrackers are expensive) then we went back to bed and slept until 9am. I was thankful my girls allowed me the extra rest, for normally we are up so I can feed them and let them out sometime between 7:30 and 8:30am.

I got through their routine, then went through mine: breakfast, tea, surveys and such on Swagbucks, read the news, go through my emails, read through my news feed on Facebook… I haven’t done my ‘lessons’ in a while. No routine seems to last long, even when I enjoy it. It was 11 before I was finished all of that, and then I watched an episode of ‘Angel’ on Netflix while I was waiting for lunchtime to come.

Lunch was eaten, and it was just after noon when I started my Sims game. I have mentioned in the past how much I love Sims, but I haven’t played much in a while as it started freezing up on my old computer, and then I started having all those issues with that computer, and didn’t play at all.

Since this game was on my new (to me) computer, the house and family I built in my last game didn’t transfer over, and I had to start new. I do get attached to ‘my family’ in Sims, and was disappointed when I learned I couldn’t ‘bring them with me’, but I really enjoy building my houses and creating and naming my family as well.

As I said, I started at noon. For the next nine hours I was completely fixated, and was only (with much difficulty) able to tear myself away to walk, feed, and take my girls outside, and to get my own supper. Even at 9pm, I didn’t want to stop playing, and felt the tug back to the game through the night and until the morning when I was able to start playing again.

That was how I spent my New Years. Though I had to start again, it isn’t even a new game. I have been playing Sims since long before I lost ‘my’ foster children – so at least 7 or 8 years – and I always get fixated for days, weeks, even months at a time where it is pretty much all I can think of.

One thing I did notice especially this time was how when creating my family (on Sims 2 pets for the PC at least, because I am allowed a large family there) is that I always include extra adults to help with the care of the children. Always. I know that if those extra adults aren’t there, I have no hope in properly caring for the children, and I will be completely overwhelmed by the game.

I know this for the Sims. Yet when I had my three very high needs foster children, plus my autistic son to raise, I pretty much tried to do it all myself. Sure I had my husband, but he was away at work full time, so basically I just had him read stories to the children as I bathed the girls (separately) and put them to bed. I also flew my mom in to help for a couple of months a year – but most of the time I was alone, and overwhelmed.

What I needed, I think, was not to lose the children but instead to have a larger group of people caring for them. With the ministry, they believe that having more people caring for the children meant having the children taken to respite and school, and daycare, and other places outside of the home. But I think it is better the way I have it set up in Sims – where the ‘extra’ caregivers are family who all live in the same home. Seamless. When a need arises, it is met, and no one is ever on their own with the children.

True, the Sims world moves fast. Much faster than what happens in real life, or so it would seem. But time does move fast for me. So fast, in fact, that it feels like it is moving as fast as it does in the game (and at least in the game I can, and do, pause often to figure out the next moves so all needs are met.)

In life, I am nearly always overwhelmed, even when I have nothing pressing to do. I can’t help but wonder, however, if I could have been successful in the adoption of ‘my’ children if I too could have had a large built in extended family here to help.

I guess I will never know – but I think the way we do it here in North America, where most families – and most mothers especially – are pretty much doing it alone is a recipe for failure. Perhaps the solution isn’t to take, or send out, or struggle alone with the children, but to build larger extended families with lots of support, where no one is ever alone with the kids.

This from an extreme introvert, autistic person who works best on her own.



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The Adoption Part Three

The adoption seemed to be foreordained when we found out that I had watched the older child in my daycare for 2 years, while he was still living with his birth mom. During that time, he struggled quite a bit, especially with transitions in the beginning, but he quickly settled into life in my home. As a toddler and preschooler, he was often in my care not only during the daytime, but overnights and weekends as well.

To find out that we were now to adopt him and two of his siblings led me to feel a sense of peace that we were doing the right thing.


We received the paperwork with the reports on the children, and it was heartbreaking. To think of how much they had experienced in their short lives, and how it had affected them, just tore at me. I determined to make it my mission to help my children to not only heal, but to thrive in my home.

For me that meant a lot of reading and research on their issues, as well as on how to help them through their challenges. I very much enjoy reading and research, and so by the time they came, I felt I had a good understanding of what we were facing and the best ways to help them through that.

Before placement, we were told that the older two children especially had significant attachment issues. It was the social workers recommendation that I give up my daycare license, and focus on my kids; that because of their attachment issues, we should not leave them in the care of another for the first six months after placement, and that all gifts and food during those early months should come from my husband and I.

Those early days with our children were both highly exciting, and highly overwhelming. There was so much to do. I think it was a mistake, likely, that we spent much of that first summer up at the lake. The girls were too young, and there were too many people up there. That tied with the fact that we were supposed to be providing for all of the children’s care, and relatives at the lake wanted to participate, quickly led people to be dissatisfied with my parenting choices.

I tried to explain that it was at the social worker’s recommendation that we were not allowing them to watch or feed the children, but they didn’t understand. I think that showed the beginning of my downfall. When I am given rules such as these, and reasonable reasons behind them, I follow them. I can’t help it. I suppose they could call me controlling and rigid in this (and they did) but it isn’t even as if I came up with these rules on my own. I was only following what I had been told to do.

Over the next two years we settled into a routine of homeschooling (for which we had permission), crafts, stories, games, outings, appointments… life was full, and rewarding. The children were healing, and settling into our home. I even took them on a cross country trip (by car, camping along the way, no less) to meet with my family.

Knowing my children as I did by this point, I decided to make the trip a long one. Three months, including the 12 days or so of driving. I knew that my middle child would rage at the beginning and end of the trip. That was her response to disruptions in her routine. I knew the others would struggle with her rages, and we would all be exhausted for a while. Still I thought it was worth it, and expressed to others the reasoning behind my plans.

So when we returned, and it was followed by weeks of rages from my girl, it shouldn’t have surprised anyone. I had told them it would happen. Still they blamed me.

Unfortunately I agreed with my husband to take the children to the lake during this time, despite feeling it was too early, and my elder daughter was not ready. I went, and hoped it would work out… but it didn’t.

Having Reactive Attachment Disorder, my girl saved the worst of her rages for me. Others would come up to her, and she would walk with them, smiling. They would look to me as if to show me how it was done, but she would come back and be worse than before. They didn’t see it. They didn’t understand. It was the hardest weekend I had had, both with my children, and with my husband’s family. I felt judged, and misunderstood, when I needed support and understanding.

After we got home, my daughter healed. Things were finally getting back to normal, and I was still thankful that I was able to make the trip.

We had a meeting with multiple professionals in the children’s lives, including their previous foster parents and social workers. All of them commented to me on how well the children were doing, and how pleased they were with our care.

Since things were going so well, I once more agreed with my husband to take the children up to the lake. We did like it there, and it was often a lot of fun for all of us.

Unfortunately, my sister in law was also up there. She has never liked me. I have known this since the first time we met. She is a very intense person, and I don’t do well with intensity. She is also a teacher, and possibly the fact that I was already homeschooling my birth son by the time we first met was seen as a threat to her. Whatever the reason, she never liked me.

The children did very well that weekend, and aside from one instance where I was too paralyzed by her presence to get my children water when they asked for it (we did get it as soon as she got up and left) we did well in our parenting of them that weekend. There was no reason, then, as to why she would call the children’s ministry on us after we had left.

She confronted my husband on that trip, and we fought back. She questioned our parenting, though she neither witnessed my daughters rages, nor any struggles we had with the children, and still she questioned us – so we told her to leave us alone. That is why she called the ministry.

The children were removed from our home that Wednesday, and despite how the social workers and foster parents praised us the week before, they were suddenly all against us. Guilty with no chance to be proven innocent. And that is still how I see the world responding to me. Is it any wonder I have such anxiety?


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