Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I was hoping I'd have revived enough to be able to post today with a cheerful heart and a bit of humor, but I am not feeling humorous.

Maxim is pushing the limits of my endurance, and since he has already pushed my husband's limits and he is only with us due to my passionate insistence....he is being one foolish boy.

We had a really ugly incident last night. Yesterday afternoon Maxim came home from school "sick". He called me around one, saying he was ill and begging me to come and get him. I had my doubts. Frankly, he sort of overdid the misery in his voice. However, with the "puking illness" going 'round the state of Michigan (courtesy of Rachael), I couldn't be sure.

As I was cooking dinner he came into the kitchen and asked me to take him to the athletic club. I said no; he couldn't go out since he'd come home sick from school. But he persisted and persisted and when I was firm, began acting out. He was holding two lighters [almost seemed to me that he was even holding them to sort-of flaunt them - Ha! I smoke and you don't want me to do that!] But as I persisted in refusing his request/then order, he began to flick them, lighting them, then he finally held one up to the plastic handle of the dishwasher. I will say this; I didn't respond to this and he didn't persist in doing damage. Instead, he threw my stir-fry skillet off the burner, turned that burner off, then turned on all the other burners, and the oven on Broil.... and it was all done in a defiant and threatening mode. However, I kept my cool.

He continued to persist. Demanded I take him. I said that there was no way I was taking him anywhere and if he thought this attitude would change my mind he was really wrong. Then he went into the laundry room and threw all the clean baskets of laundry all over the room, calling me obscene names while doing it. Then he slammed out of the house.

By the grace of God, Craig was in the living room and he kept a grip on his temper. I've asked him not to over-react, which as a man he is tempted to do, especially in my defense. However, I feel it is better to let Maxim carry on, because he is just acting out, it is not true threat, or true damage. Still....tell my nervous system that! This is NOT what I need at the end of a long day.

He swore he wouldn't eat my food, then stormed out to who knows where. I later had to go to the store, and when I came in he'd put tater tots in the oven and either forgotten them or deliberately decided to burn them up in there. Fortunately, I was able to turn the oven off and prevent something really awful. I went upstairs and he was in Sergei's and Ilya's room. They have recently merged and share a room. I have a rough time getting Ilya to sleep, and having him with Sergei has helped. And they were in bed, but Maxim was playing their x-box and refused to come down. He had to "finish the game" for at least 20 minutes. I was steaming. I knew that if I went up there and demanded he come down that all hell would break loose, and that is certainly not what the other boys needed as a lullabye. So I threatened to put the game player away during the school week. That's not really fair to Sergei; it is his player, which he bought, and he does not ordinarily use it inappropriately. But in my helplessness, I went the extra mile in unfairness and told Sergei as it was his player he must make Maxim quit.

This morning Maxim continued to act as though I'm abusing him. Though I expect it is just to save face. He refused to get up when called, to make his bed or clean up his room. Instead he went up to Sergei and Ilya's room again to play the game player. Now I'm writing this , I expect that was calculated to make me particularly angry, but I was too busy to pick up on it.

We have got to have help if we are going to keep this boy. But - can you believe this? After having both the adoption worker (the person responsible for finding him a home) and the caseworker tell us to find family counseling, and after my going exactly where they said to go, and finding a person who I KNOW would be helpful.... After all that, Oakland County refuses to approve it!

Maxim does not seem to have any sense whatsoever that his behavior matters. I think he believes that I care about him too much to see his future destroyed. But he doesn't realize that I love my other kids, too. MY kids. He has recently said again that he does not want to be adopted by us.... I owe the other four a sane, peaceful home. To say nothing about Craig. This puts a lot of stress on our marriage, frankly. Yet, it would also put stress on it if I had to worry about Maxim forever.....

I am at wits' end!

The worst thing here is that if he is not in our home he will be returned to Oakland County (Detroit). When he was there they couldn't find a foster home for him so they placed him in a dreadful facility primarily for adjudicated youth. There were a few that were labeled "abuse and neglect", but frankly, they didn't seem any more upstanding. The place had its own school and they had Maxim working at something like third grade level - of the rest of the kids appeared to be brought up from inner city slums and that was the best the bulk of them could do.

So, if he is not with us, will he end up in that hole again among the criminal element, with strip searches and attacks in the visiting room? No personal property (the CD player we gave him was confiscated by staff then "disappeared".) He does NOT deserve to be there! But if we cannot get some counseling, I do not think we can stick it out.

But just as I write this, in comes a mom just now whose son is on the track team with Maxim - raving about what a great kid Maxim is. "So funny! So nice!"

I guess he is. I guess we'll get through this and move on..... However, I needed to vent. This is not easy. I just want to love....and I do not know who or how.

"Thou must untangle this, Lord, not I! For 'tis too hard a knot for me t'untie!" (One of the few quotes that stuck with me from my Shakespearean acting days. Viola; Twelfth Night.)


Nataliya said...

I'm so sorry! I can't offer you an advice, but you are in my thoughts and prayers! Hang on there, it will be better tomorrow!

Ginny said...

I am going to persistently pray for Maxim. I wonder if he maybe isn't telling the truth when he says that he doesn't want to be adopted by you...
For a boy, who is still really a child, it must be very difficult to live in a state of limbo-not knowing where he may be next year or the next-not having a true permanent home.
Of course, I have ZERO experience here, just talking off the top of my head. This must be so hard for you-I can't even imagine how I would have handled that behavior. I doubt I would have been calm and graceful like you!

Wife to the Rockstar said...

Oh Annie... Just reading this post makes me so upset for you!!!!! I wish I knew what to say. MANY HUGS today dear. MANY.

Rachael said...

First off, you have the patience of a Saint.

Could Maxim be pulling out all the stops to rattle you, just because that is what is required to rattle you???

Also, I LOVE your quote at the bottom. I might have to steal that for my little rotating quote widget once I figure that out! :)

But more importantly: How can Oakland county NOT approve counseling???!!!

If Maxim were on YOUR insurance, would it be different? I see that you are fiecely dedicated to him: what about giving him an ultimatum and tell him how very committed to him you are, but that in order to continue caring for him, he has to meet you halfway, decide HE is committed too and then you could work towards adoption. It would get the State of Michigan off your back...

Then, again, I completely see your point about protecting the sanity of your family (and those who wish to be part of it.)

What a mess. If I were you I'D need counseling to keep that hanging thread from breaking.

Hugs to you. You know where to find me if you need to vent.

And, geez, SORRY about that virus.

crispy said...

Annie, I just don't know what to say. I agree with these other gals, you are so patient with him. I don't know what he is testing for. There is hurt in there that must come flying out the moment the surface is scratched.

I will pray for wisdom, discernment, long suffering, God's grace and mercy to be poured out onto you and yours.

You are one amazing loving mom. (((hugs)))

Wish we could meet for coffee.


MoscowMom said...

Oh, wow, Annie... I'm so, so sorry for all you're going through. I frankly have no idea how you manage it.

Is there really, really no way to get the state to change its mind about the counseling? It's got to be cheaper for them to pay for counseling than to have him living in the center and then possibly turning to crime...

I heard a great story on NPR the other day about an army wife who wrote letter after letter after letter for two years to get her husband the counseling he needed after Iraq; politicians in her state ended up making things happen for her. Who could you contact that might be moved to help?

I really don't know what to say other than I'll be praying for you all and I'm figuratively "here" for you!

Christine said...

Oh Annie, how I wish I could give you a hug right now! I'm the last one that should be giving advice since I barely have a teenager, but I do think that God put Maxim in your live for a reason. I would have completely handled things differently, not quite as calm and patient as you, but I am not sure it would have helped. I would have insisted that my child pick up all of the clothing on the floor and would have definitely grounded him or her for that kind of behavior. I admit to being more of an authoritative parent but I also take the time to explain exactly what I am feeling and why I think things need to be different. I cannot let the sun go down with things unresolved.
My only suggestion would be to lay out all of your feelings including those that you shared in this post. What do you have to lose?

Irina said...

My Dima rebelled some time back. He usually quiet boy, but a few weeks he expressed dissatisfaction without every occasion. Now all be well. Possibly, at some instant does a teenager have the not controlled conduct from the change of exchange of matters? When our difficult period made off, I had said itself: "Hormones played" :).
In any case, you are a strong woman, you will survive.

pearly1979 said...

Oh Annie. I am so sorry you are going through this difficult time. It makes me so sad to see what a loving, hard-working mother you are to all of your children and how you treat Maxim as your own, and how you are treated this way is so awful. So unjust!

It seems like Maxim would never want to go back to that live in Oakland county. You must ask yourself, why doesn't he do what he needs to do to stay out of there. I too wonder if I he really doesn't want to be adopted or if saying that is simply a test. A test to see if you still want him even if he claims he doesn't want you. I don't know. It really does seem that counseling is appropriate for working through all of this and that it is not something you all can do on your own.

It seems you are stuck between a rock and a hard place and I wish I knew what would help you get out, or a way to make it happen. They need to pay for that counseling, that is awful.

Salzwedel Family said...

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, "Here I am."
Isaiah 58:9

MyGirlElena said...

Annie, I felt so bad as I was reading this. My heart aches for you because you are such a wonderful mom and are suffering so much right now (I would have "thrown in the towel" a long time ago). I know you hurt for your other kids, but understand that Maxim has been deeply hurt. I'm sure whatever hurtful past experiences he's undergone are what is making him act like this.

I just don't know what to say. I wish I could do something to help you right now. But I will say a prayer for your family.

May God bless and take care of you!

Elli said...

You have a beautiful family !

Lola & Jill said...

I am a new reader to your blog and also a new adoptive mom (please reference (lolacomeshome@blogspot.com. My daughter has a friend from her orphanage in Russia who was adopted a year ago and has been diagnosed with Reactiva Attachment Disorder. I am not sure if you have heard of this or not but Maxim's behavior is so very similar to the boy I know. If you wish to know more about this and would like to correspond with this boy's mother just to learn more, please email me at oceanspirit7@yahoo.com and I'll be happy to provide you with her information.

Annie said...

Jill....we have thought about this, (Maxim was actually in counseling for a while) but he does not have many of the actual key "symptoms" of this diagnosis....though it would make sense that there was some of it. His behavior everywhere except our house is exemplary. And, often around our house he is a joy. But there are "hot buttons". I think that somehow I hit one without knowing it the other night.

One huge difference with Maxim is that he is VERY able to attach....he is extraordinarily (surprisingly) fond of his first adoptive mom, and I do think he is attached to me to some extent. But, the many losses he has experienced in his past do impact his ability to handle some issues now, that's for sure!

Michelle said...

Annie, your family has my prayers. I understand how stressful it can be. Truly.

kate said...

Just getting caught up. And praying.

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