Foster teens who have been in crisis after crisis have a very difficult time adapting and feeling loved. Generally, they are more exposed to lifelong attachment issues than other teens. This is the story of one young lady who has been broken many times and how the foster family wanted her to know how valuable she was. I would suggest having a few tissues handy. It is very powerful.
Having so many losses in a child’s life naturally alters their teenage years into adulthood. The need for love is so traumatic that it doesn’t matter the cost involved in getting that love even if it means deceiving themselves. Teens will crave attention, find themselves involved in addictive patterns, and create problems that can become a danger to their welfare. It doesn’t matter if they are adoptees, fostered or biological.
Before you know it, you are in the midst of a crisis. Is your teen having sex to have a child so that they can retrieve the love that they didn’t get when they were younger? Is your teen gravitating to older men or women for a relationship? Are they constantly on the internet finding and connecting with people to fill that hole of abandonment that they have struggled with for years? Do they show addictive behavior in order to achieve the goal of feeling loved? Or worse yet, crave attention so badly that they would hurt someone else to get it.
Such was the case of 12-year-old Jamarion of Michigan, who stabbed a friend and told a witness ‘I want to die. I don’t want to be on this earth anymore.’ He says Jamarion told him that he lashed out because he had ‘taken many pills’ and nobody loved him. The witness further said the first emergency personnel went to the playground to help the victim. This upset the boy. ‘Hello. I’m right here. You’re going the wrong way,’ Jamarion shouted as officers arrived. Continue reading
“I will find a way to leave. You are not my mom and dad!” she said. Listening and not responding, we let her continue. “You didn’t birth me. You don’t know how I feel. If you did, you would let me go.”
My heart broke for her that day. All I did was correct her in something she did. That is what all parents do. They correct their children and teens for many different reasons, all for the good. But this wasn’t a normal situation, and for many who have adopted or cared for foster children, they understand this.
Sitting around a table of other women at a conference last year, a parent was sharing how she had to buckle down on her daughter and really let her have it for something she did wrong. I was thinking to myself as she was talking that I could never respond to my child in the same manner. But before I even finished my thought, the woman across from her stated my exact words and she began to tell her own story.
They came from orphanages in a far off land. For one child, the back and forth motion helped stimulate her physical and emotional being as if she was rocking to the beat of a song. She cried after each 3 bottled meals a day at 9 months: One bottle of chicken broth, one bottle of tea, and lastly a bottle of bread floating in water.
There were twenty-five to thirty children per worker in a room who hardly touched them other than to change their soiled cloth diapers. This was the most attention they received for the entire day. After laying in the diaper for hours and hours, they would be stripped and rinsed off in ice cold water and left with what looked like cigarette burns below their waist and onto their bottoms from the dirty clothes.
Her sister at 27 months old, didn’t know any language or even how to crawl or walk. Tears would flow after every meal given to her. Her fears of not knowing if she would get more food frightened her and would cause her to hoard and steal if necessary. Continue reading
For the past 5 years our daughter’s relationship with her father was a strained one. Having been left behind in an orphanage at 27 months of age without being able to speak or walk, the toll on her emotions and attachment towards others, especially her father, was not what we expected.
We really noticed the changes when comments were made of how he wasn’t her “real” father and that she wouldn’t accept him as her “real” father until she met her birth father in another country. Only then would she make the decision as to whether or not to carry on a relationship with her adoptive and only father that she has ever known. Continue reading