Not as pretty as you might think.

So I haven’t really updated on family life in a while. I don’t really know where to begin. So much has changed. I wish I could paint this beautiful picture of how wonderful our lives are and how in awe we are daily of the gifts we’ve been given. I wish I could write that post. But if I wrote that post it would be a fabrication of the truth and I don’t want to do that. And I think since I haven’t been able to write that, I just haven’t wanted to write much of anything. Posting pictures and videos is easy. Then you can paint your own picture of how you think things are with our family. Then I’m off the hook.


I’m on facebook quite a bit. Really, I’m not on facebook looking at other people’s stuff all that much. But I post a lot, mostly about the kids. And really more often than not, it’s Mikey related. He’s just always saying or doing funny or shocking things. I used to write about that stuff on my blog, but since I’ve started writing it on facebook I haven’t really written about much of it on my blog. Talking about Mikey and facebook may seem a bit rambly, but I know where I’m going here.


So at the recommendation of some friends, I’m going back as far as September 2010 right now and copying my Mikey related status updates into a Word document. And a lot of the stuff is really, really funny. He’s an incredibly hilarious and clever kid. He was before we got the girls and he still is. But somewhere around early to mid December he started to change. I don’t exactly know why. It seems that it started before he met the girls, but the change started around the time we found out about the girls. Maybe he sensed changes within me. Maybe I was more distant or more preoccupied with getting two more kids. Maybe I was busier at work. I don’t honestly know when the break started to happen. But as I go back and read over my Mikey posts from before we knew about the girls, to current, my heart hurts. And as I’m typing this tears are streaming down my face because I feel hopeless and like I’ve failed him somehow.


On December 15th I wrote, “Mikey has been throwing tantrums more the last few days. Ahhh….brings back sweet memories of when he used to do this more often than not.”


Now his tantrums are daily. Numerous times a day. I feel like we are at war. I barely remember who he used to be. I barely remember how I used to relate to him. He was never easy. But it seems like he now spends most of his time at home frustrated, tantrumming, abusing, yelling, being punished, angry, saying horrible things. It is truly heartbreaking to see who he is now on a daily basis.


I’m not saying that I regret making the decision to adopt the girls, but I was incredibly naive about how this would affect our family, especially Mikey. Phillip and I both felt like we were sort of doing this for Mikey. Because they are his sisters. They needed to be together. It was the right thing to do for him. And I’m still hopeful that in the great scheme of things that will end up being the case. But right now, I’m afraid that this is just destroying him. I know that sounds extreme and I’m probably exaggerating. But that’s how I feel right now.


I know he’s not the first kid ever to go from being the youngest, the adored baby, to being a big brother. I do know that. But Mikey is a special kid with unique challenges. He struggles with things that the “average” kid doesn’t necessarily struggle with. He was the youngest for almost four years. He was adored, doted over. When we got him as a baby, he saved me. Right or wrong to put that on a baby, he saved me. He pulled me from a very dark pit. He gave me hope. He gave me one more reason to want to get out of bed in the morning. Of course I know it was really God who did these things through Mikey, but you see my point. He was one of the great joys of my life.


And now I cringe when he wakes up in the morning. I don’t look forward to seeing him or dealing with him. I know that it will literally be minutes from the time he wakes up until he starts yelling or throwing something or hitting someone or making demands of me or the other kids. I’ve arranged things so that he’s home as little as possible. I love him dearly, but I am exhausted from trying to predict what he’s going to do next and try to intervene. I’m exhausted from trying to reason with him. I’m exhausted from trying to convince him to just behave. I’m exhausted from feeling like spanking him is the only option anymore.


We’re planning on taking Mikey to a specialist at UTMB in about a month to maybe get some insight into some of his behavior issues. I don’t really know what I’m hoping to gain from this appointment. I don’t really care about a diagnosis. I really don’t want him on medication at this point. Maybe I just need some ideas or encouragement or validation. I don’t know.


But something’s gotta give because the way things are right now with him are just not okay. I think I’m going to start keeping him home with me more often. I’m going to try to start giving him two or three mornings a week to be home without Brittany at home with him. She’s a typical two…almost three year old and the source of most of his agitation. The way it has been he’s never home without her here too, which means that he can’t really relax while he’s here. She wants to be always where he is and doing what he’s doing. And that has made it more difficult for us to bond with Brittany because we see how she’s constantly agitating him and we see what it’s doing to him. I’m going to make myself be more intentional about spending one on one time with him. And that’s hard to even want to do because of how difficult he’s being lately. But I can’t give up on him. That’s not an option.


So please just be in prayer for our family as we try to navigate all of this stuff. We want our marriage to be healthy and our four kids to be healthy and we want our home to be a place of joy and not turmoil. I really want to be able to write the “our life is beautiful and amazing” post, but when I write it I want it to be truth and not just what people want to hear.

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3 thoughts on “Not as pretty as you might think.

  1. Jenny,

    You always have prayers coming for us. My heart aches that you are aching. Does anyone ever get to post “our life is beautiful and amazing” and it really be true? I think not. You have more challenges than most and I know there will be a day will the trials are a faded memory. I think you are doing exactly what you need to. You are finding a way to find insight into Mikey and finding ways to spend one on one time with him which may be the only thing he needs; the reassurance that you are there and he is still your world regardless of your world expanding.

    I wish I was closer to you to be of more help. Love ya!

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  2. I am so glad you are honest about life right now in your house. I will be praying for the continued transition of your family to 6 members, and for answers/encouragement/validation for Mikey’s recent behaviors.

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  3. I read this really amazing article in Better Homes and Gardens about adoptions. It was very hard for the adoptive parents because the kids they adopted had issues, but just as you all have decided, those are your kids and you are going to figure out a way to make it work. I love that you are so transparent when you write. One of the things that the families in the article talked about is that they went to Theraplay and we had one of our kids in play therapy…I don’t know if it’s the same thing. What I do know is that it was one of the best things we ever did for our child. Our sulky sullen child that was developing ticks and obsessive behavior became well-adjusted and calm. It wasn’t overnight but it was lasting.

    Please know that you have people praying for you and your sweet & lively family! You are loved!

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