Monday, November 23, 2009

Sometimes, you just gotta be the advocate.

Today is a difficult post to write. We have entered the realm, as parents, where few believe enough to support us and hopefully few will ever follow. Some will say we are overreacting & looking for problems that aren't there. And believe me, I would have been one of those people a few years ago. And then along came Roman.

The first summer we had Roman home with us was beyond stressful. At first we thought it was because we were just new parents and maybe more unprepared than we thought. Then I began saying things to Doug like "he will not play by himself!" and "he can't stand it when I'm not holding him!" but Doug figured it was me being a helicopter parent. But as Roman grew older, there were just more things that struck us as odd. His excessive clinginess to Dad (explained away as "a phase"). His inability to sit anywhere, whether to play a board game or eat a meal at the table (explained away as "he's a boy"). Sleep difficulties; getting him to fall asleep, or sleep through the night. The list went on and on. We just knew in our gut that his issues were more pronounced than they would be in a "normal" kid.

When school started, his kindergarten teacher called us within the first month with her concerns. Very smart, keeping up with grade level and learning - but some serious hyperactivity issues. It's been a long year since that phone call started us on this road from family counselor to adoption therapist, but today we got the initial unofficial results of psychological testing for Roman by a psychiatrist. It has given us some amazing insight into how his mind works... how he perceives himself, families, & caregivers. An IQ test with many subtests shows he's at grade level or above in almost everything (testing into the 4th grade level in a couple cases).

And then, of course, the confirmations. At first blush, clinical diagnosis is ADHD with anxiety disorder, as well as the insecure attachment his therapist believed he had. He also is borderline on a couple other things that the final report will hopefully tease out once she compares & contrasts a lot of the data. It was an overwhelming meeting with lots of information that brought me to tears sometimes... while ADHD is a true wiring-of-the-brain thing, the anxiety and insecure attachment (along with his general perceptions) are all a product of his emotional & environmental deficits when he was in Russia.

Charlie, strangely enough, has made us recognize and accept this more easily. When we think of Roman's probable life in the baby home & hospital where he spent much of his time, and compare it to what Charlie has had, there's no question that Roman was neglected. In fact, even seeing how Charlie interacts with us versus how Roman interacted at the same age is very telling. It breaks our heart to think of what baby-Roman went through. But now that we have professionals assuring us we're not crazy, it's not just a boy thing, he won't grow out of it, and it's not normal, we're ready to be less irritated and much more understanding & supportive of Roman.


Cat Hoemke said...

I'm glad you guys have got the feedback, even if it is difficult news. I agree. At least you now have a jumping off point for helping him, and help your family together. Really sad for baby Roman, but hopefully not really sad for Roman the adult in a few years.

Wendy said...

Wow. The human heart and mind are amazingly complex, aren't they?

I am sure all the information is overwhelming and heartbreaking, but you're not crazy and it's good you've found someone to help you know why. And I'm glad you're sharing, hard as it may be--you may help another family.