The first is obvious. Being smack in the middle of the process of an adoption (Home Study update post forthcoming) we have been made extremely aware of this. Of how so many children are affected through abuse, neglect, heredity, etc. The likelihood that the addition to our family via adoption will suffer from some form of mental health issue is practically 100%. I mean, regardless of diagnosis, any child who has been through the CPS process will have issues strictly because they have been removed from their family into CPS custody, that's a given. Add on to that any possible diagnosis ranging from very mild to very extreme and you can easily see how this is such an important topic. I am so glad DePelchin has begun and is advocating for this. So there is one reason we are supporting today.
The second reason is something I have been meaning to post about for some time. I just haven't gotten around to it. Working on the right words. The right time. The right information. I have been mentally writing it for a long time. I think that today offers the perfect platform to finally publish this post.
If you know us or have been following this blog for a while you know that Jackson is our active child. He always has been. He's always been the one referred to as "active", "all boy", "headstrong", and "busy". He's been this way since birth. It's just him. He's just Jack. However, as he got older the behavior didn't change or diminish with maturity as we thought it would. This year in Kindergarten it became more evident that he had troubles with self control, impulse control, staying focused, calming down. It also because evident that these troubles were slowing creeping into all aspects of his life, social, academic, emotional. So, working heavily with his teacher this past fall we began the process of evaluation. You can probably guess where this is headed by now.
It came as no surprise really when Jackson received his diagnosis of ADHD. We were expecting it. Not wanting it, but also realistic enough to anticipate it. Being teachers Amy and I have extensive experience with this. We know the signs and symptoms. We know the evaluation and treatment process. We've recommended and supported and advised numerous parents and students over the past decade. But it's different when it's your child. It's different when it becomes your reality. It hits a little harder.
After the diagnosis we tried changing his diet severely limiting the amount of processed foods he ate. Artificial colors and flavors were nearly eliminated from our house. We also worked with his teacher to implement behavior modifications. These all worked. A bit. We noticed changes. A bit. However, it just didn't seem to be enough. So, despite our initial hesitations, we pursued the route of medication.
As we already knew, this was not a choice to make lightly. These medications are serious. The side effects are numerous and can be severe. But in the end Jackson deserved better. He deserved a chance to be just Jack again. He deserved some help where he needed it. From the first day he was on medication a change was obvious to everyone. Even Jackson himself noticed and commented on it. I will spare you the details of our adventures with medications and dosages. Suffice it to say changes and tweaks were made. Side effects came that were undesirable. He is now on his 4th medication and doing well. The morning routine of dispensing his medicine has become second nature to us all. It is just now another part of our life. Neither good nor bad, just us.
As calm as things have gotten (as calm as they can here) we know this is not the end of the road for this. This is just the beginning. Changes will need to be made as he grows and develops. This is something he will have to work with forever. But we have made it clear to Jackson that he is not defined by this ADHD. He is Jackson and he always will be. Wonderfully made by Him. Special in his own way. He just needs a little help in calming down and focusing to make good choices. That's what his pill is for. However, we have also made it very clear that ADHD is not a crutch or an excuse for him. The pill only does some of the work to help him. He is still in charge. He is still responsible for his words and actions. He and the pill are partners, so to speak, working together for one common goal.
So. There you have it. Yet another adventure for us. One we've been experiencing for a while here in Drosche Land, just working through and understanding. So, you can clearly see the way today's awareness hits home with us in 2 very big ways, and it always will. I also want to point out the positives that have come from this adventure, other than the help provided to Jackson of course. We are eating much cleaner and healthier, avoiding processed and artificial ingredients as much as possible (although don't get me wrong, I still love me some junk food, but all in moderation). We've also been educated and enlightened. Knowledge and experience that can be carried with us always and used professionaly for growth and advancement. It's also strengthen our faith somewhat as we have had to rely heavily on each other for support as we pray and grow closer to Him as His plan is made known to us. So, it's not been an entirely bumpy road wever traveled.
I also have to give a shoutout to my wonderful wife. She is amazing and has done so much for our family through this. Researching, meal planning, going to doctors, praying, etc. She is one of the strongest people I know, although she will never admit it. Also, since Jackson goes to Epiphany with her, she deals with the he lion's share of this on a daily basis. She is awesome and continues to be so as we make this our new normal.
Well, I think I've made this post long enough. I'm sure I'll talk about it more in the future and often. But for now I'm finished and my fingers are tired. So, thanks for reading!
All is well, #healyoungminds, in Drosche Land.