I Was Thinking…
Tomorrow we are moving our oldest (and most injured) adopted daughter into her own apartment. After the 13 long, rocky years we have been parenting this child you would think we'd be cheering, but reality is that it is just another chapter in this story - not the end of the book. We will be actively parenting her for awhile yet!
I know, we are always our children's parent, no matter how old they get. However, in this case we will still be involved in EVERY aspect of our daughter's life. We are on her lease, have a key to our apartment, share a joint checking with her, hold her credit card and passport and so on. Emotionally she is not prepared to handle all the aspects of this new chapter, but chronologically she feels like she is failing if she doesn't experience some level of emancipation. Her sense of self worth is very fragile; therefore, we put this move in motion.
Let me tell you getting her to this point has been SO much work! She does not have a clue about a lot of things, her memory has big holes in it and she DOES NOT ask for help. Her challenges with doing relationships is most apparent here at home as they are deeper. These deficits come off as a self absorbed, condescending, and a narcissistic point of view. Not good! However, out in the world where relationships are more "surfacey" she looks great!
After weeks of being coached (much against her better judgment) on how to get a job, she did land one! She is doing pretty well at this job even though it is pretty physically taxing. She is making "friends" there and acquiring some self-esteem. This is GREAT! That said, it's about all she can handle.
All the other details involved with the rest of her life including thinking about what she is going to eat off of is just too much. Yes, I know it is her first time living on her own, blah, blah, blah... Her sister who is two years younger then her (also adopted) has been making lists of what she needs and is helping to do that "thinking" for her. This is deficit not inexperience!
So after literally telling her what to say to get the job, her Dad and I have found an apartment for her, opened bank accounts,
figured out the phone situation, dealt with leasing agents, electric companies, rounded up furniture, bought things she needs for her daily living, etc, etc... She just can't do it. At the beginning, we tried to help her by working together to write out a plan she could put into place. She'd still be here tomorrow and extremely unhappy - which never bodes well for the rest of the family - had we let that happen.
We have a contract with her in regards to a variety of things including finances, use of the apartment, and eating healthy that she had to sign before we would co-sign on the lease. She agreed to all of the points, albeit reluctantly.
SO, how long?
Well, her Dad will be meeting with her once a week to do budgeting, she is to call home at the very least M,W,F and has to talk to her Dad or I. She has to make a specified amount of money or we will move her home and sublet the apartment. We have a key to OUR (hers and our) apartment and we have been very clear about our intention to show up at any time. It is our intention to be in her everyday life so that she can continue to be successful. Whether or not she can see she needs help or whether or not she can ask for help we know she does - we have to be there to help her!
I have to share too that this has not been totally easy for my husband and I. It is certainly not what we expected 13 years ago. After the emotional, physical and verbal abuse we have suffered at the hand of this child, it is only by intentional choice that we continue to put this kind of effort in. The easy way would be to tell her to figure it out herself. However, we know that she did not choose to be neglected, abused, and abandoned. We know this is deficit not defiance. We know that she deserves to have a family. We know this is not personal. Honestly, I don't know how long she will need it...we are in it for as long as it takes and No matter what!
As Intentional Parents, this reminds us to remember that there is HOPE! We were advised by many to disrupt this adoption. We wondered if this child might just end up in jail all of her life. We must keep trying, make healing choices despite our emotions, and be so committed to stay in it for "as long as it takes" that our child is convinced too!