This is going to be a long one so grab something hot to drink and get ready for some very real stuff.
It’s been challenging around here the past few weeks and I want to share some of it in the hopes that if any of you are going through the same things you can get some nugget of sanity from it. I listened to a life coach last week, Keith Kochner. He talked about going through these seasons in your life, one being a stressful one. Well, if having four Ukrainian teenagers in your home doesn’t cause stress I don’t know what else could. Hey – gotta keep the humor, right?
Here is a little window into our world – some of the issues that have popped up out of nowhere.
Teen sitting down at a gourmet meal, eating as if he has never eaten anything so good in his entire life, having seconds and thirds, then refusing to help clean up. Yup, one just refuses to do anything we tell him to do. He either just walks out the door or goes up to his room. Yesterday I made a yum breakfast and afterwards told everyone their job to clean up. His was rinsing dishes and he just went to his room. When I walked up there he was reading his Bible. HA! One thing that irritates me more than anything, Christians who read but don’t do.
Stuff like this has been going on for weeks. One week ago Sunday Anna left mad because we told her to help with after dinner clean up and she went out walking all night long. Yup! Gone all night. No sleep for this mama. She walked in on Monday morning at 6:10, ate her breakfast and left for school. Like it was no big deal.
On and on it goes…..
We found out yesterday something that other adoptive parents might find interesting. Ours are from three different orphanages in three different regions and they all believed the same thing. Do yours believe it, too? They were under the impression that when we adopted them that we got money from the government and every month after. Tom and I were open-mouthed at that one. All we could do is laugh. We explained to them that no, we had to pay to adopt them, not only fee’s and money to the government but travel fee’s as well and once we left Ukraine we got nothing from the Ukraine government. They said, OK but the American government now pays you, right? HA! No, no one pays us. All this time they thought we adopted them so we would get money from the government. That the adoption was about us getting money, not about adopting them for them. I think that was an eye-opener for both parents and teens.
Let me back up a few days. And this is where it gets pretty tough to write. My husband is amazing. Everyone who knows him already knows this. He is loving, giving and willing to open his heart and home to teen orphans and just about anyone else out there. He is a great dad and amazing husband and I love him to infinity. The stress in our home has been so great the past few weeks that before we even knew it we were on edge with each other. Picking at little things, then bigger things. Pretty soon it was bad. Worse than we’ve ever been with each other. He withdrew completely from me and the family. Finding projects to do to keep him busy and away. Losing my only anchor made everything worse. My heart was broken. What had we done? Our two bio-teens were feeling the strain as well. Personal things were coming up missing, parents arguing, so much tension in the house. What did we get ourselves into? I was questioning my ability to keep it all together much longer. We were getting hit with things one right after another without even taking a breath in between. What had happened to my life? My marriage? My family? Were my two bio teens going to come through this OK? UGH!
Saturday Tom was gone all day working on a project for robotics. He’d left early every morning and gotten home late every night. We didn’t talk at all. On Saturday I called him around noon and we argued for 30 minutes on the phone. This is just not us. I was so sad that it was coming to this. I was depleted. Just worn out.
The Ukraine teens were in charge of our home and were running it into the ground. I felt like the arcade game where you punch down those gophers. Every time I got one punched down, another one or two popped up. I couldn’t keep up. I felt like a drill Sargent that no one would listen to. I felt like all I was doing was yelling and I hated myself for doing that. Vlad came to me and said mom you never used to yell all the time. Just sometimes when I did something really bad and you had to. Now you every day yell. Ugh. 🙁
Then Saturday night I was sitting at my desk and I was so angry at it all. Angry at myself for bringing this disruption into our family, angry at my husband for not being there to help me with it all, angry at the teens for being so disrespectful and disobedient when we were working so hard to make it right for them, just angry. My plan was to just go up to my room and spend the rest of the evening by myself and go to sleep best I could. Forget it all, I said.
Then I hung my head and prayed. Yahweh please help me. I had no other words. I didn’t even know what to ask for. I was just too spent. I couldn’t even move. I just cried.
I was all set to just get up and go upstairs and then He talked to me. He made me realize that this was not me, not Tom and not even the Ukrainians. This was the enemy, satan. He was at the bottom of it all and we were giving into him and letting him win. His goal is to destroy our family, all families, and even more, to disrupt adoptions. He hates adoption. He hates families. He hates that we are working so hard to bring these teens up to know Yahweh and follow Him. In that instant I realized what the truth of the situation was and why this was all happening. Thank Yahweh for giving me what I asked for – help. He gave me understanding, which changed my perspective on everything. And it gave me the energy to do what I needed to do.
Instead of going upstairs I got into my car to drive to the robotics building. The entire way there I prayed for the right things to say and for Yahweh to give Tom understanding as well. I got there and we had a very long talk, over an hour. It was rough. Now that I knew the truth I knew where Tom’s words were coming from and they didn’t get to me like they had been. I knew it was the enemy who had a hold of my husband and the enemy’s words could not hurt me. Tom came to the same realization that I had, that the enemy was behind it all. It gave us both clarity and perspective and we just looked at each other and said, how could we have let him in like that? No more. No more.
I told him that listening to Keith Kochner the day before he had referred to Ecclesiastes 4:12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. I said we have left one out lately because we’ve been so busy just trying to keep our heads above water. Three strands is Yahweh, you and I. We need to bring Him back front and center and ask for His help. Which we did. What a difference it makes!!
We prayed, got some dinner and a good sleep and got up yesterday renewed to fight the battle for our family. We sat the Ukrainian teens down and had a conversation about what it was going to be like in the family. I told them a little bit about how I grew up. Not good is all I will say at this point. Vlad said, wow you had it worse than I did. I said, yes, but I didn’t let that determine my future. You all have the choice to let your past determine your future or to make it a better one. No one can do that for you.
We gave them a choice. They could either continue to live here and agree to live by our rules and get our blessings or they could find a new place to live. If they choose to live here but choose not to be responsible then we would give them a roof over their head and basic food and clothing but nothing else. That we expected apologies from all of them if they chose to live here and be a part of our family.
We got apologies and an agreement from three of them. The fourth just sat there. Then he went to his room to read his Bible again. He left later to go who knows where, he refused to say. When he came home I had made a baked chicken dinner which everyone ate except him. I made him plain oatmeal. This tough-love parenting is not fun let me tell you. I don’t know what time he ate the oatmeal but the bowl was gone from the counter this morning.
This morning I made egg roll-ups for everyone and oatmeal for him. He walked out the door without it. I shrugged my shoulders, he’ll get pretty hungry. The other three are mad at him for being this way. They’ve realized that when he won’t help out that they just have to do more work and it’s not fair to them. So I will continue to feed him plain food. I hate it, I really do. He is 17 years old and he does understand. He is being very stubborn.
So now I go upstairs to get any glasses left around and notice candy wrappers. Weird we have no candy in the house. Digging further find an entire bag of little chocolate candies empty and another full one hidden. Another mystery. Where did they get the money to buy candy? An entire empty bag of wrappers hidden between one boys bed and the wall. The boy who needs the most good nutrition and whose face is now going backwards…. I now know why. Ugh! All the time and energy spent to get him healthy and now this. Now I know why he is in a bad mood all the time. Sugar. The drug of choice.
I hate this. I’ve never been this kind of mom before. The snooping kind. Now this is making me do things I’ve never done before and that makes me angry. I catch myself. Another of the enemy’s tricks. My anger disappears and I’m resolved to get over this hurdle, too. The enemy wants my son sick and angry. The enemy wants me angry. The enemy wants my son period. Not on my watch. We serve Yahweh and He will help us. The candy wrappers get cleared out. The full bag of candy goes into the garbage. Another talk when they get home from school. One talk, one day at a time.
Perhaps you’re thinking like others that we shouldn’t have done this. This adoption thing. That’s a whole new blog posting about doing the right thing and the hard road. Coming soon. How hard is hard?
In the meantime, we will take this one step at a time. The takeaway from this is that no matter what is going on ask yourself who is behind it? Is it simply hard because that’s the road we are on or is there something more devious going on? Is the enemy attacking you and your family? If so, turn to the one and only who will help. Yahweh is bigger and stronger than the enemy. You can count on Him. Call on His Name – Yahweh. He was there when I needed Him and He gave me the understanding, wisdom and words I needed. I asked, I received.
And hang in there! You’re not alone.
By the way…..
If you would like to know more about mentoring by Keith Kochner please visit mentorfish.com. It’s the best $10 a month we spend. It’s good to spend time giving yourself to the tools you need to do this life well!