Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Dealing With The Sexual Issues
What would you do if someone started acting out sexually towards your child? What would you do if someone hurt your child? I asked some of my closest friends and these were some of their answers.
- Load my shotgun
- Call the police
- Inflict bodily harm
- Press charges
- Raging momma bear would be unleashed
- I would have to hold back my husband
Now what would you do if the perpetrator just happened to share your last name? What would you do if this perpetrator was just a child? What would you do if you had committed to this child for life, yet they constantly act out sexually?
Unfortunately, this is a REAL LIFE NIGHTMARE for many parents. I am one of them, and I cannot even begin to express the complete hell I have been through with this issue. It’s the one topic I despise talking about, probably because I still need some therapy myself due to the traumatic experiences I have had with my own kids. It wouldn’t surprise me to find that I have some kind of severe PTSD from dealing with this issue in my home.
I have mentioned before, but thought I would reiterate that my first six years of parenting were spent in a fetal position crying out to God for help. I wasn’t over exaggerating that statement by any means. It’s been a lonely, exhausting, private, personal hell dealing with all kinds of issues due to adopting children with Reactive Attachment Disorder.
Yes, I am officially exhausted.
The other day someone said they thought my life seemed glamorous, helping all these vulnerable precious children. Let me reassure you….my life is far from glamorous. Don’t let all the cute and vibrant pictures fool you!
Would I do it all over again? Yes.
Was it worth it? Yes.
Was it the hardest thing I have ever done? Yes...
Would I adopt another RADS child? God would have to part the red sea again and SHOW UP IN PERSON for me to say YES. I say this because I feel like I will still have to be “working” on touching my children’s hearts even as adults. Parenting RADS children doesn’t stop at age 18!
Would I wish this life on anyone else? No. Before you adopt a child with sexual issues make sure you fully grasp the level of commitment it will take. It’s not an issue that just magically disappears after one therapy session. You literally have to retrain the brain.
One day I talked to one of my child’s former adoptive parents and they mentioned that they had to get rid of my child due to the fact this child had perpetrated on another three year old child in their home. I was horrified that this was not in my child’s records. I am not sure it would have changed my mind on the adoption, but it would have been nice to know what I was dealing with. Then the first week of this child being in my home they started threatening to rape and abuse the other children verbally. I was blown away by all that my five year old knew sexually, and I couldn’t believe the vocabulary that they already had in this area. I was in shock when I would hear about the sexual acts that this child had witnessed and endured. Can you imagine me as a young 24 year old dealing with this stuff?
I started my child on Reactive Attachment Therapy and we attended counseling for these sexual issues every Thursday. I admit I was scared to let them out of my sight. I put alarms on all the doors, and I spent a lot of time sleeping on the couch and in front of this child’s doorway for almost two years. I set rules in place that would protect the children we hung out with, and the other children in my home. I made sure this child was never allowed to spend the night in another person’s home. It seemed we would have great victories and then this child would eventually regress to the same behaviors. I felt like I was on this constant up and down roller coaster, and one with more downs than ups!
I wish I could tell you that all my methods worked, and we are all living happily ever after. I ended up trying some very creative methods that hopefully one day I will be able to share with you, but I first wanted to make sure they actually worked and my child isn’t going to be in therapy at age 35 because of them! Only time will tell.
I ended up developing a HUGE heart for the children who have to deal with sexual issues and ended up adopting a few more with that same struggle. Crazy? Yes. But I think you have to be a little passionate and a good kind of crazy to take on such behavior issues.
Here are a few things that helped me survive living with the sexual behaviors.
- I made a schedule for myself. I took 15 minutes every day and just rocked my child praying over the specific sexual issues they have. I pretended my child was a newborn baby that I had just brought home from the hospital, and went to great lengths to try and bond with this child and rebuild the mind, heart, emotions, and self-esteem, to overpower all the disgusting memories with precious, pure, and safe memories.
- I spent literally two years giving my child who struggled with sexual issues a bubble bath. During that bath time, we would go over what every part of the body was used for. We began to talk about sexual issues and what appropriate touches were, etc.
- I would sit and do play therapy with the child. We would act out situations and literally practice how to function normally with our bodies and how to behave appropriately.
- We would read books dealing with sexual issues together at night.
- We wrote down all the disgusting things that were done to this child on toilet paper squares and then flushed it down the toilet as a sign of getting rid of the past and starting anew.
- We admitted our own faults and learned about the power of forgiveness.
- We did a 12 step program dealing with sexual behaviors.
- We studied what it meant to be a lady and a gentleman.
- We picked one issue a month and purposely tried to work on that issue all month.
- We tried to avoid any kinds of sexually charged media/ TV/Movies.
- We talked about the God approved plan for sex and how sex can be a beautiful thing in a marriage.
- We set up appropriate boundaries for the child.
- We made a safety plan.
- We educated the other children.
- We sought professional help.
Some other recommendations for dealing with this extremely difficult and heart rending problem:
- Speak life over your child. Surround this child with constant words of encouragement.
- Separate the sexual issues from the child. These sexual behaviors are NOT the child. The child is not the behavior. Most likely these behaviors are not even the child's fault.
- Don't ever call your child a perpetrator, sex offender, or label them with these sexual issues. I remember several times my own father called one of my children a sex offender. Well that is 1 out of a million reasons our relationship is estranged to this day. I still love the precious man, but his constant negative and inappropriate words were not breathing life to me or my children.
- Make sure you surround yourself with a support group and positive people. If there are people in your life that are not supporting you, and constantly criticizing you, take a pair of scissors and cut those relationships out. You can still love them, but love them from a healthy safe distance that will protect your children’s heart.
- Most people just send their child to a hospital or a special treatment facility, but I was determined to bring the treatment facility into the safety of my own home. I was determined to do whatever it took to see this child healed and whole. You don't have to send your child away; learn what treatment facilities do and bring that specialized help into your own home.
- Make sure this child never hears you speak about the sexual issues on the phone or in public. If you are writing about the issues like I am in a blog, make sure to never mention the child's name. Always refer to the child as THE CHILD, not a HE OR SHE so it doesn't give any hint to who the child is. I also want to make it clear that I have only recently begun talking about these issues. This is something I have kept private for over 10 years out of respect for my children. My closest friends don't even know which children of mine have struggled with certain issues, and they will never know, because I will never tell. Keep your child's behavior issues PRIVATE. Respect and honor their privacy.
- Treat your child like royalty and the redeemed child that they are. Don't hold the sexual behaviors over their head like a weapon when you are frustrated with them. Don't ever use the behavior issue against them during family disagreements. Forgive them for the behavior and recognize it’s a sickness not their personality.
- Don't accuse them of the issue unless you 100% are sure.
- Allow your child to change. Don't over exaggerate. For example, if your child gives their sibling an appropriate approved hug, don't read too much into it and pervert their purity. Our children can change! Let's not mark them guilty and force them to wear a scarlet letter the rest of their lives.
I truly believe that as long as a child is still breathing, there is still hope. Now I want to make it clear that the above issues were with children that were 13 and under. I took different precautions and methods with some of my children who were teenagers and acting out sexually, but that’s for another blog, another time.
In the meantime, I want to send a cyberhug to all my dear fellow parents who are struggling with children who are acting out sexually. I know this can be a complete nightmare and I share in your pain. Be encouraged today and I wanted to leave you a list of recommended sites and books that have helped me on my journey.