We have been referred to some good counselors, and are in the process of determining which will be the best fit for our family.
At this point we think some of his issues are related to Reactive Attachment Disorder but some of his struggles could be related to developmental difficulties as well. Some may understand how difficult this is to write because I can't stand labels. I dislike putting "labels" on anyone especially kids - which often just excuses inappropriate behavior that should be dealt with through appropriate love, conflict resolution, affection and consequences.
That said, Ashebir did not have a healthy beginning... he's got a lot of baggage. All I want to do is love my son and help him through the struggles he's unable to navigate in a way that other children are able to.
I wish I would have been more intentional before, so I've got some catching up to do. That said, I am determined to find the help we need. Amy feels the same...in fact she has wanted to seek professional help for Ash for some time now but the magnitude of especially the last several months has contributed to putting this off - no more excuses.
A couple years ago, I wrote a letter from Ashebir to me... all the things that I wished he could say. I believe that someday that we will be able to have those interactions I wrote about, but I want to walk with him one day at a time, one step at a time. Wherever we get, it will be together.
At this point, Amy and I are trying not to feel so discouraged... We just feel like we've not made the kind of progress with him we would like. In fact we feel like we've plateaued and are not sure how to help him get through whatever anger and trust issues he has.
This past year in Kindergarten Ash had his moments, but did make a lot of progress. For that we are incredibly grateful, but there are still some things we can't seem to over come.
Our troubles with Ashebir are related to almost any direction that Amy or I give him. Whether it's the options of cereal for breakfast, a choice of a toy or game to play with, what shoes to wear, what crayon to use, which entree to select or what seat to sit in at dinner time... It doesn't seem to matter... he's wants something completely different. Also, he seems to have a difficult time with any change or transition - regardles of what or where it is. I realize that some kids have issues with healthy perameters or acceptable choices, but this is different and we feel at a loss.
He is often belligerent and seems to go the opposite direction from various instruction he's given. Also, he doesn't seem to understand or exhibit remorse for his wrongdoing (hurting his siblings during play time which may result in an altercation) Further, we've tried a few different forms of discipline and nothing seems to be very effective.
On a more encouraging note, Ash has developed very well physically. He's a strong and coordinated athlete and dancer. We know God has great things in store for him... and He we are confident that God will use Ashebir in some incredible ways as he matures.
As I've been pondering these things especially over the last several days, two verses have come to mind. I trust that they'll be equally encouraging to you as you may be dealing with your own heartaches...
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth he did so to admonish, challenge and love them.. The Corinthians were being disobedient and Paul refused to allow it to go on unaddressed. So he gave them a lot of firm and loving counsel, but in 1 Cor 2, he quotes from the ancient prophet Isaiah (64:4) and says, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him." (1Cor. 2:9)
A few years later, Paul wrote an encouraging letter to the Christian brothers and sisters in Philippi, and in chapter one he said, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:6)
This is my prayer for all my kids... and especially for Ashebir as we walk through this with him. I know God has big plans for Ash because of God's promises - not because Ash (or anyone one of us) deserve God's Grace, but because of how Great and Awesome God is, even through the trials we encounter along the way.