Friday, September 29, 2017

A picture is worth a thousand words

I've had a few people still wonder how in the world L could have anything wrong with her.  They only see a very obedient, shy, seemingly sweet natured girl.

People still wonder if I am making this all up.

We were able to take some family photos last night, and while I had a dear friend of mine take the family shots, I took the individual ones of each of my children.

In doing so, I was able to take a picture, without L realizing it (as I didn't prepare her first) that shows truly how she looks at me nearly even minute of every day.

I have had people ask me to show them her rages, her violent side, but I struggle to do so, as I don't want to vilify her.  If you saw what we saw, you may not accept her when she heals, you may not want your children to play with her, or invite her to your child's birthday party.  I want the past to be the past with our L.

She is making improvements still.  She is moving forward and trying to overcome this harrowing disorder with the right help from our therapist and her amazing school.

She is healing.

However, that doesn't mean she loves me.  She simply doesn't want me in her life and we are working to help her see that being loved is not life threatening.

Children with RAD literally feel that love will kill them.

So they fight.

They fight hard.

And only those closest to them will ever feel their wrath.


I want to share these two photos, just to give you an idea of what I, her nurturing enemy or mother, sees every day.  I want you to see how quickly she can go from one child to another.  I want you to hopefully see that we are not making this up, we are not seeking attention, we are not in any way, harming our child.

We love our L with a deep love, one that goes beyond this life.  We love her, even though she does not love us.  We care for her, even when she throws that care in our face.  We hope for her, even when some days it feels there is no hope left.

Here is what I see every day, every morning when I greet her, every afternoon when I pick her up, every time I reach out to her, this is her face, this is her reality:

Here is what she did not two seconds later when I told her to smile for the camera. This is what EVERYONE else gets, this is the greeting friends and family get, this is what she shows the world:



This beautiful girl truly has a mental disorder, and even though you may not see it...it is there.  Her world is dark and lonely and we are gently chipping at the cracks to let out her light.  We have to chip slowly and carefully as not to crack her further...but I promise every decision, every step forward or back is for her.




With love,
Niki

Friday, September 1, 2017

I Choose Hope

As I begin this blog post, I am overwhelmed with the notion that I am truly blessed with an abundant and beautiful life.

I am grateful for my blessings.

And, I am grateful for my trials.

I remember a talk given by a man who I truly love and look up to, Elder Henry B. Eyring, a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called, Mountains to Climb.

In this talk he literally tells us that we can and should be thankful for our trials.

When I first heard this, I was taken-a-back as he opened with this statement:

"I heard President Spencer W. Kimball, in a session of conference, ask that God would give him mountains to climb. He said: “There are great challenges ahead of us, giant opportunities to be met. I welcome that exciting prospect and feel to say to the Lord, humbly, ‘Give me this mountain,’ give me these challenges.”
My heart was stirred, knowing, as I did, some of the challenges and adversity he had already faced. I felt a desire to be more like him, a valiant servant of God. So one night I prayed for a test to prove my courage. I can remember it vividly. In the evening I knelt in my bedroom with a faith that seemed almost to fill my heart to bursting."
I honestly thought, "How crazy! Why would anyone pray for more trials?"

As I journey through this trial of having a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder, and as many do not understand or still do not believe our truly heart-wrenching and emotionally and spiritually depleting life, I will honestly say that I am still not able to ask for any more mountains to climb. ;)

The mountain I am on is enough, thank you.

However, on this mountain, I have learned that I can either fall into a deep darkness of hurt and fear, which I have many times...

OR

...I can look to my Savior and choose hope.

L's school is called, New Hope Academy for this very reason.  They teach us and help us on our journey, guiding us up the steepest of hills, coaxing us to CHOOSE HOPE over fear.


And I can tell you right now, it's working.


These past few months have been an awaking for me.  While the trial of RAD is just as hard and painful to navigate through as L gets older and is trying knew and sometimes difficult ways to hurt me or my family...we have also seen some significant improvements.

Imagine a child you love throwing themselves around her room, hitting her head on walls and doors, kicking the door until she takes it off it's hinges, kicking and hitting you, spitting on you, saying horrific things about you, throwing food at you, ripping apart her clothes or bedding, pulling down curtains and any decor in her room, taking toys or other items in her room and throwing them at you or making weapons to hurt you, and screaming at the top of her lungs how much she hates you.

Now imagine your child doing this almost daily, sometimes multiple times a day and nothing you say or do can calm her down for hours.

This is what our L did for nearly seven years.


And now she doesn't.  


We have gone three entire months without a full-blown rage.

Three months!


She is truly making progress in her healing!


Seven years of climbing this mountain and I can finally see the top!


It has been seven years of some of the darkest, most painful days of my life.  Lower than our infertility journey, lower than our failed adoptions, lower than our failed IVF trials, lower than losing a loved one (not including a child, parent, spouse, or sibling), and even lower than my experience of being sexually abused.  

I have never experienced more pain, more loss, more fear, more loneliness, more desire to give up, or more struggle in my faith than I have these past seven years.

But as Elder Eyring stated, that as I have climbed this mountain, I have changed, I have gained courage and empathy in return, I have gained the unshaken faith that my Savior knows me, He loves me, and that there is nothing in this life that I can go through, that He does not understand.  

Nothing.

I have gained a relationship with my Father in Heaven and my Savior that I never want to lose. I have leaned on my Savior more and begged of the Father through Him, I have fallen on my knees over and over again and can now see, clearly, that They were with me all the while.

This is a blessing far greater than I could have imagined.

Now, while I may not be to the point where I ask for more mountains to climb just yet... ;)

...I can truly say that I am grateful for the ones I have been given thus far. 

We still have YEARS of therapy to go with our L, she still is no where near ready to join her peers, but I have truly seen the hand of God in my daughter.  

I have seen what seemed impossible become possible.

Her healing is my greatest hope.  And I choose hope for her.

Lots of love,
Niki


Elder Henry B. Erying's talk:
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/mountains-to-climb?lang=eng