I will only adopt cats from here on out.

Since I was about 16, I have wanted to adopt children. Not babies, children. I really felt God had called me to it to help fill a niche. Most people want babies so the kids get left behind. I helped my husband get hooked on adoption after I married at 32. Well, before that. He knew that was how it would be well before the wedding. Heck, we had a fundraiser for it at our reception.

I had this incredible dream where I felt I had seen my daughter. It was so different from any other dreams. I remembered details. I still do. She was in Russia. She was 6. She had a little brother somewhere else. He was 2. I found out later that toddlers would be in different orphanages from older children in Russia. But Russia didn’t pan out. It was closing after that lady sent her son back there alone on a plane. I worried that by looking elsewhere, I was turning my back on God’s plan. Others assured me I was not.

Our children came in a way that looked like God had worked in it. Now we see it as dishonest. We heard about an agency that works with Poland. We set up a time to talk with them on the phone. But our cat died that day. So we talked the next. It was Monday. By Friday we had a referral. By the end of the year we were traveling. We only had to make one trip, though Poland is a two trip country. They asked us day 1, if we were sure we wanted to go through with this. The kids we small for their ages. They were 8 & 9 but looked 5 & 6. The boy spazzed out in tantrums. He hit us or his sister. We had heard of R A D. Still, I think anyone might be naive when they first face it. We thought it would get better.

It never got better. He got more violent. Daughter seemed okay by comparison. We were so busy putting out proverbial fires with him, we didn’t see her issues. We finally had him booked for assault when he was 12. He’d been hospitalized 5 times by then and spent six months traumatizing my older sister when she offered to take him in. He broke probation and was removed from out home.

Long story short: group home for delinquents, mostly truants. Got violent there. Very. Detention. MO Baptist Children’s Home. Violence. Hospital. MOBCH. Violence. Hospital. Level 4 security residential. Instigated other boys to attack staff. Fights. Safe rooms. Eventually, he decided to stop being violent. He moved closer to home. A couple different group homes then a residential with a transition program to transition him home. Family therapy with that was a joke. The therapist said just let both kids be verbally abusive to me and lie. At Christmas, he admitted to setting my sister’s house on fire two years before. Still he came home Good Friday of that year. On Mother’s Day, I awoke to him being violent. He went to the hospital and did not come home again.

Daughter: With him gone we could now see her issues. She lied, manipulated, triangulated, left her sanitary napkins in her underwear in the wash or threw them behind the dryer. She got worse with puberty. She stole and binged our food. We’d go to make dinner and find it missing. She is obese but told the school social worker that we didn’t feed her. She stole money, makeup, my underwear and other clothes. She shoplifted at least three times but none would press charges. She cussed us out almost daily, told us what to do, didn’t do as she was told. Didn’t do her homework. Looked up father/daughter porn on her phone and tablet. She was hospitalized twice. The last time was in October. She’d been refusing to go to school. I had to get up and watch her leave. Had to call the cops a lot to get her to school. She snuck back in after I went to work. Police were called to look for her. Found her at home. Said she was looking for something to kill herself with. She got new dxs: ODD and Severe Mood Disregulation Disorder.

In MO, you can legally move out of your parent’s home at 17. She decided in November that she couldn’t wait until April. She wanted to go live with my older sister (same one). She was occasionally violent and she was that day. She was going to be as bad as she had to be for us to say yes and let her go.

Of course now that sister says we threw our children away. That we were too strict and didn’t love them. She forgets that she kicked out my son before she knew it was him who set the fire. She forgets that she kicked my daughter out last month (she let her come back after 3 days). Brother and sister-in-law are adopting our son. Blames me for both their behaviors. Says we kicked son out. He forgets telling me, early on when son was still small, that we should give up, he was a lost cause. We didn’t then, still hoping. Now I’ve lost my brother.

So here we are, no kids at home (that’s the good part) but the loss of a dream, a calling, at least half my siblings. The fall-out is still falling. I lost my job and part of that can be indirectly attributed to our daughter. The trauma she put me through bled into my work.

On the plus side, I’ve gained safety and peace in my home. The only chaos is caused by kittens now.

I will only adopt cats from here on out. They’re my children now. I hope to host foreign exchange kids in the future. Other than that, I want to have only very limited contact with my kids. Son is doing better right now. But I can’t trust he won’t go back to violence as he has before. The wounds from my daughter are still too raw. She’ll be 17 in April. I hope she never moves back home again.

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