I get that question a lot.
The quick answer? Yes.
I absolutely, positively do not speak for everyone, and I am not special or better or ANYTHING. It's just how it is playing out for me. I say "yes," while simultaneously thinking, "I really am a complete idiot."
We invited Reactive Attachment Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder into our home. You can read/learn/listen til your eyes pop out, but nothing - zero - zilch - can prepare you for what it is like to fight for attachment when a child is doing everything in their power, night and day, to stop it from happening.
It's sometimes unbearable.
But ... it's possible. Healing is possible. Their potential CAN be reached, and it looks different for every single kid.
Today marks two years since we brought R and M into our home. I will not kid you. It feels WAY longer. The past two years have been a very purposeful, therapeutic intensive. We planned it that way and built our lives around it. We are just now loosening up those boundaries and allowing more freedoms and choices every day ... sometimes realizing they aren't developmentally ready and we have to back up.
I would totally do it again. I don't know if we will. I don't know how, exactly, we need to be using this knowledge and skill set. Not like you apply for a regular job and receive any special nods for, "Well, if someone becomes violent I can restrain them in a safe basket hold, singing 80's love songs in their ear til they calm or get the giggles while holding my pee the entire time," or "I can be spat upon, rub it in, thank the spitter and NOT dry heave until out of the room."
What I do know is that there are children out there who missed something vital, and we know how to give it to them. I know there are parents out there who are willing to try, but also want to jump off a cliff, and need intensive support. I know that one of our children entered our home two years ago having never attached to another human. That child is now attached. That child trusts. Not like the rest of us, but it is there. That child tries. That child has interests. They have uncovered who they were born to be because they no longer spend every waking minute in fear and trying to manipulate every aspect of their world. They can go farther, but they have already climbed mountains.
Another of our children has been freed from a continuous flow of nightmares and daily flashbacks of terror. They are there, but we can count them on one hand now. Still a part of their life, but no longer their ENTIRE life. They do normal, tooty, teenage things. It took 22 months, but they now allow me to kiss them good-night on their cheek, instead of the top of their head. Twenty-two months ... just to allow me to move that six inches. All on their own. They asked to make that change.
I would do it again, because they all so desperately need what my kids have received. We will do SOMETHING. We have not been released from it, by any means. We are meshed with all this attachment stuff. It will forever be a part of our lives. We'll see how it plays out. Adoption? Fostering? Parent coaching? Dragging on this blog for decades?
In the meantime, I continue to be amazed at the bravery and accomplishments of my children.
The only thing harder than parenting them is being them.