Saturday, August 27, 2011

Adoptive Parents Whose Children are Experiencing Emotional Illness

What we would like you to know (geared towards providers of mental health services):

1.  We are doing the best we can.  This is really hard painful work.  It is hard to see our children suffering so, and not able to understand the world like most people do.

2.  No parent wants their child to be emotionally ill.

3.  We are experts on our children.  We know them very well.  Listen to us.

4.  Don't promise us things you can't provide, or promise us that others will provide them.

5.  It is hard to tell our story to the outside world.  Be gentle with us.

6.  We are grieving for lost hopes, dreams and ideals which haven't or won't be reached.

7.  We are tired and sleep deprived.  We are exhausted.

8.  We are isolated.  There aren't many people who understand, and if they do, they are tired too.

9.  Don't ask us to tell our story in front of our children.

10.  We carry a huge burden as the reporter of what is happening with our child.  After all, there is no blood test for mental illness.

11.  If you say you will call us, call us back.  If we leave a message, call us back.

12.  When you have exhausted all your resources, there is still one left.  It is US.

13.  We will often compromise more than we should.

14.  We are competent, and if we become really competent with our child, it is what experience has given us. We still need you just as much.  Don't punish us because we have gotten so experienced at caring for our children and think we don't need you just as much.

15.  Don't finish our thoughts and sentences.  Don't assume you know what we feel.  Please take the time to ask us and let us talk.

16.  Don't forget that this makes us incredibly sad.  We are grieving and some days we feel very raw with emotions.

17.  Experiences like raising an emotionally disturbed child means we find out who our real friends and supports are.  It means we often have to grieve the loss of someone who we thought was there to support us.

18.  Boundaries - we'll keep ours if you keep yours.

19.  We do battle to meet the needs of our kids, please don't put us in the position to battle you.

20.  You can tell us how hard our job is, but don't tell us to quit.  We are not giving back or giving up on our children.  They have already lost at least one family, their birth family, and we are not going to repeat that experience for them.

*Courtesy of

1 comment:

  1. Daniel,
    this is SO true. We need the professional help but sometimes you have to scratch your head at the suggestions.
    "...I don't know how you do it..."
    "...Why don't you just..."
    "...did she miss her meds today?"
    " should't be so strict on them, after all..."
    " more consistent with the consequences..." "...try giving him ice cream to calm him down..." "


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