Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Tonight's evening has a "Publication Ban"

The balancing act of parenting seems to take more effort for our family as the gap between ages and needs becomes more evident.  Having a large family comprised of both adoptive children with many special needs and birth children the gaps between their abilities seems to increase over the years. 

13 years ago when we adopted for the first time we had 5 biological children ranging in age from 5-12 and the 2 we adopted first were 6 and 11.  At that time both presented with delays but the 11 year old was functioning higher than our then youngest and the children and their differing abilities blended together.  As life evolved we adopted multiple times and the differing abilities tended to blend together up until we adopted our youngest 7, and around the same time that our older children were becoming adults. 

Now that some of our children have become adults the gaps have really become evident.  We have adult children that have graduated college or are attending college/university, ones living on their own, married and with children.  We also have adults that live at home, need a care provider when we are out, need reminders for....well almost everthing, have extreme behaviour challenges, developing mental health issues, etc.  We have adult children that require more supervision now than when they were adopted, due to later onset mental health issues, and they require more supervision than our 3 year old (with significant delays).  We also have our youngest sibling group which have abilities that you would expect for children 10 years old and younger. 

One challenge we have been finding lately is when we are planning an activity with the adult children, not everyone functions as an adult.  Sometimes we want a drama free adult evening or activity were we can all have fun together.  We don't always want to deal with the constant stress and mental health challenges.  Sometimes the adult kids want their Mom and Dad, sometimes they want an activity were they are the center of attention, sometimes we just all need a break.  Don't get me wrong, we truly love all of the family, and the majority of the family activities include everyone, however sometimes not everyone is invited.  We also understand that the individuals in the family with these extra challenges don't have control over some of their issues and if they thought that they are causing stress for us or that we needed a break from them it would upset them.

Recently we had a group gathering with some of the family and everyone that was attending was discrete about attending.  Everyone that attended left home at different times, with different stories about where they were going, the babysitter didn't even know that everyone was together.  We imposed a publication ban on any pictures that were taken.  We feel bad that we need to sneak out but also need to consider everyone else's feelings.  How would you handle this?  Would you have an all or none approach, risking adults refusing to attend?  Would you add further stress to the adults suffering already with special needs and mental health issues and tell them the family needs a break from them?

1 comment:

  1. I always say life actually gets harder as the kids get older when there are special needs involved! Parents do need a break. No doubt about that! Please don't feel guilty about needing a break from your monumental tasks! If you don't get a break you will be the one with the mental health issues and you need to sat healthy in mind, body, and spirit. What you are describing is a constant dilemma for me. I often lament over feeling as if I need to actually lie to Bethany in order to avoid a "situation". An example would be telling her that there is no more (insert food item here) or she would go right on eating and eating until she weighted 300 pounds! It doesn't feel right to lie, but I believe God understands in situations like these.