Not Quite What I Hoped For

 

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Two days at UW, multiple appointments, testing, interviews, and finally a team meeting around the conference table. The final report – Eby’s sensory differences are significant, he has some speech challenges , and trauma is still a big factor influencing his life.

As I listened to the team talk about their findings, my hope drained away. I wanted to hear something I didn’t already know – something I could hang my concerns on, something that would seem solvable. I sat in the room thinking, “I filled out loads of paperwork, waited eight months for an appointment, and spent four days on this trip, only to find out the same old stuff.” I was holding back tears when we left.

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I was so disappointed that I finally cried on the drive back to Kathleen’s. You’ll chuckle, but I told myself, “Feelings come and go. I’ll feel better in a little while.” (Thanks to Dan Siegel and The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind.) It took slightly more than a little while, but I did feel better that evening.

The team meeting was such a disappointment, in part because it was cut short due to a scheduling problem on their end. I had so many questions I was unable to ask. Thankfully each department: OT, developmental pediatrics, speech therapy, psychology, and nutrition, will send us a detailed report of their findings. I’m hoping that many of our questions will be answered.

I recognize that I put too much hope in this assessment. When I got the results, I felt a familiar weight fall back on my shoulders. That feeling that his healing is fully my responsibility crept back into my mind. Then a dear friend reminded me, “Remember, you can’t do it. Just Jesus.”

How right she is.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ my righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest the frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. Cindy
    October 15, 2014

    It is so true, Lisa, that our only hope is in Jesus Christ. Thank you for always pointing back to Him. What kind of appointment did you have at the UW? What kind of resources have you found there? I am curious, and we would love to have this kind of testing, interviews, and reports on our kiddo.

    Reply
  2. sleepyknitter
    October 15, 2014

    Was that a "full-team evaluation" for CP? We had one of those at the end of this summer at Children's in Cincinnati, and we had the same type of specialists that you listed here. In one way, the results were a disappointment because I had wanted to learn so much more. I already knew that my child had significant language delay, speech problems, issues from early neglect, etc., and I, too, felt like crying when I left. But in the long-term sense, the appointment was helpful because it established us with these specialists who could make other recommendations. We have followed through with all of their recommendations so far for further specialist evaluations (that we would not have had without the CP eval) and have seen noticeable improvement in some areas as a result. For instance, one of the evaluators, the PT, wanted us to do a full PT evaluation with a private agency for the possibility of orthotics, and we pursued that and saw instant improvement once the orthotics were in place. Also as a result of the CP eval, we did a full day of neuropshychological testing, far more thorough than what our public school system could have done, and the testing showed that our child actually has NORMAL intelligence for the child's age! That was a huge, huge blessing, because the school's evaluation placed the child's IQ at just above mental retardation, so the new results give everyone more respect for this child (and happily affirms what my husband and I already believed about this child!). So although the "full-team eval" was a disappointment in itself, it has lead to important results. Anyway, I hope these comments are encouraging and not discouraging, and I will pray that your sons' results will lead to more important findings for each of them! Maybe "it ain't over yet." 🙂

    Reply
  3. Jennifer
    October 15, 2014

    Hi Lisa,
    A thought comes to mind when I read this post. I know you have been doing this a lot longer than I have. We brought our son home from the foster system here in the States two years ago. My situation is a little different but I want to share my thought with you as I read this post. I think as a Mom we want our kids to be "normal" or look like our biological children so badly that we look for, research and ask so much in desperation to help our children. I often wonder if we are looking for something that really isn't there or really isn't wrong. Our adoptive children are different and they have a different story than our biological children for obvious reasons. Maybe we as adoptive parents need to find peace in their "different" story.
    Just a thought and something I wonder with my own son.

    Reply
  4. Alex
    October 15, 2014

    Oh, so sorry. It is nice to be reminded where our hope is. But, still difficult. I do want to share: last year, my 8 year old had an assessment by a developmental pediatrician. It wasn't as comprehensive as you're describing. At the end, she told me he's made progress, but he's "a slow learner," and that will continue to be highlighted with time. She also agreed trauma still affects him greatly (very true). This year, my same son got into a great school that exists to work with urban students who often fail in traditional public schools. They have been working with him and charting his progress. They believe, as I do, that while C is very behind and benefits with OT, speech…, with their assistance (working with him where he's at), he is learning at a great pace. They do not believe he is a slow learner and are not treating him like a slow learner. He's in 2nd grade and they are going to work with him as much as they can to get him on track for going to the third in the fall. All this is to say, it helps me when my perspective is, "He needs a lot of the learning and sensory foundation his peers don't have yet and I'll work as much as I can to make sure he gets it, " rather than, "He'll never catch up." Hoping for the miracle with you!

    Reply
  5. Laine
    October 15, 2014

    I'm sorry. It is disappointing you didn't find the answers you were seeking through this evaluation. But, God always provides when we place our trust in Him, even if it takes longer then we expect. Deep breaths. He will provide what you need in His time, which is always perfect. And, there is always hope. Always. Prayers for your family.

    Reply
  6. Michele
    October 15, 2014

    I'm so sorry the appointments did not give you more answers or even hope. It often feels like we are the only advocate for our child's healing and it can be a lonely place. Only through hope in Jesus can we find any comfort that His plan is the right one. Christ alone cornerstone weak made STRONG in the Savior's love.

    Reply
  7. Jodi Pizzuto
    October 15, 2014

    Amen to the last. And we can all easily get wrapped up in putting our hope in doctors of one stripe or another. The fact is, they're simply people who are hopefully educated in their area. We serve the true miracle worker.

    Reply
  8. Emily
    October 15, 2014

    Ben and I both say: we love you Ebs, and we wish we were there to play with you!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 16, 2014

      Ebs loves you too.

      Reply
  9. brianandracheldavis
    October 15, 2014

    I asked a dear friend a few months ago whether our kids would ever heal. Here is her response… feel free to change my son Jordan's name for another:

    "Oh, my sweet friend…

    Yes. Our kids heal. Yes, they do! But WE aren't the ones who do it! Who drives your passion for adoption around the world? Who planted the desire to share "relationship" with your child, in spite of the appearance today that connection isn't developing?

    This healing… It's GODS business! He alone can heal!

    I will join you in prayer for Jordan's attachment. Who loves deep relationships more than our Lord Jesus?

    After our move, let's get together and pray for Jordan… Because he's in there! And he deserves the intimacy you are waiting to offer, but he needs healing to enjoy it!"

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 16, 2014

      Thank you for sharing this, Rachel.

      Reply
  10. Carrie Woodard
    October 16, 2014

    Christ Alone, Cornerstone; weak made strong in the Savior's love. Through the storm, He is Lord, Lord of all.
    When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His in hanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.
    Praying His holding of your heart be felt strong in shadow of His wings as you follow Jesus anywhere, no matter the roughness of the road. may God lift your spirit and snuggle you today.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 16, 2014

      Thank you, Carrie.

      Reply
  11. Ann Hodgman
    October 16, 2014

    I'm always disappointed when I feel sick, take my temperature, and find it to be normal. If I'm feeling bad, I want something to show for it! And it's just more interesting to have a fever. Being sent home with no news must be hard partly because it would've been nice to inject some novelty into the same old same old. Re-dedicating ourselves to an all-too-familiar challenge is often harder than facing a new one. Is there a way you could re-frame this situation so as to see it in a new way?

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 16, 2014

      Ann, I’m definitely working on that. It’s not that there was no news, I was just hoping for some new, super helpful ideas and things that seemed more fixable. That’s the tough part with this sort of thing – it’s a long haul, there is no medicine that will heal it. We’ll figure out what to do with the new information ( and confirmation of the old).

      Reply
  12. Acceptance with Joy
    October 17, 2014

    I hear you. I'm sorry.
    I've never gotten any answers that were very helpful. I remember going for a psych eval at Children's hospital in Seattle full of hope to understand my children better. The guy looked at the school testing and the few papers I had, pushed his glasses up and said, "They are mentally retarded, what more do you want to know?" and he proceeded to cancel all the appointments I had so carefully arranged. I was sick to my stomach and had no desire to fight him…. Later we went to the adoption clinic there at the University of WA and after looking through those same stupid papers…. the woman doctor turned to me declared that I would need to see a psychiatrist for myself to survive this, but she gave me nothing on the kids. I'm nearly 5 years in and I have very little confidence in anybody anymore. I feel like the kids need medication but the kids issues are more than the pediatrician knows what to do with… and I have no connections as yet, other than the cranial facial team at Seattle Children's – who are the best, but not mental health care people. It's a lonely place this adoption world.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 17, 2014

      It really is so hard when we hope for answers and find ourselves getting few. I think it is hard for the professionals (and other people) to understand what it takes to coordinate these appointments, get the specialists we need, work out insurance details, travel, get care for our other kids -and not to mention, pay for it all. It can be very lonely. I'm hoping to get better information when I have the written reports in front of me, but more than anything, I need wisdom from God on how to proceed. I'm feeling much better than I did the first day, and I've begun reading a little bit about things they suggested I look into. We'll see where we end up. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – I hope you are getting some answers and support in this journey.

      Reply
  13. Vonzambonie
    October 18, 2014

    I really needed to read this! I have an appointment next week for one of our adopted kiddos that I have been pinning all my hopes on. He will be tested for Neural Developmental Delays. I keep hearing myself say, "If this isn't the answer, I don't know what I'll do". Not only am I praying and hoping for a miracle for Essie, but I am hoping this therapy will help our other four kids that have less significant delays. I think I will spend some more time reminding myself where my hope and peace are found, in Christ alone.
    P.S.- first post for me, but I have been reading for almost two years. Thanks so much for sharing your struggles, you have given me much needed encouragement.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 18, 2014

      Thank you so much for leaving a comment today. I honestly love to hear from everyone. I hope you do get some answers next week – I know how much your heart aches for answers. But, it's good to know that we have a Healer who already knows every detail of our children's unique challenges. Blessings to you.

      Reply

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