Well theres more................
First off thank all of you for your responses. There is a lot of wisdom here and a lot to digest. I think that the reason I struggle with this is because of my own personal situation. I have three children. After my Wife and I had been married six years we found ourselves infertile.She had surgery to open her fallopion tubes, still no success. We did two cycles of invitro fertilization, no luck. The doctors suggested that we might want to consider adoption. Six months later two young men came to live with us as foster children and we were told that more than likey they would be available for adoption in a few months. The oldest boy had just turned five and the younger one was 15 months, they are half brothers, same Mom different Dads. It took about 16 months but we were able to adopt them. Two months later my wife became pregnant with our daughter.
The boys were removed from their birth mother because of neglect there were no real signs of abuse either physical or sexual but I guess we will never know. Birth Mom had a history of drug use and I think it affected the boys however she was in jail most of the time she was carrying the younger boy and had better prenatal care with him.
When the caseworker did our Homestudy to see if we were qualified to adopt children my wife was attending church and I was not. The caseworker said that if we were able to adopt that it would be best if I attended church also. I didn't really have any issues with going to church, was basically just out of the habit. So I agreed.
We had all of the basic childhood stuff with the kids and some of it was because of us going from no kids to 3 kids in about thirty months, add to that a precocious five year old that was having to learn boundaries and constantly testing us to make sure we really loved him. Our church helped us raise our family. We had good support at school. Our families helped alot. We could not have asked for more support from anyone.
Our oldest son to say the least was challenging.but we did OK untill puberty set in. This is the same time that the kids change schools and go from a small warm and fuzzy elementary school to a much larger Middle School with more 'town kids" and all sorts of new mischeif to explore. first was theft, we had noticed some stuff at home and were suspious but then we got a call that another students fundraising packet had come up missing and they found it in my sons locker. I never remember not giving him money for anything he ever needed for school, if it was for a want instead of a need we might have him do some extra chores but nothing that hard just trying to relate money to work. He told the principal that we were poor and that was why he took the money. Grades were awful. I would stand over him to make sure he did homework then he would take it to school but not turn it in. He got kicked out of summer school and I told him that since he had time on his hands he could rototill the garden. Funny thing was after fifteen minutes or so the brand new tiller quit running and someone had either peed or put water in both the crankcase and gas tank. I just had him help me get it out and refill them and flush them a few times. I mean what else did I have to do it was only June in Indiana and I had Nitrogen that needed put on and 7-800 acres of beans to spray but if my boy needs me I make time.
He was in 7th grade when we got internet access. Use your imagination. Porn, Wicca, Gothic crap. He could get around passwords and on one occasion even locked us off of the computer. He was home after school for about 90 minutes alone on days when I was busy in the fields. I changed my schedule as much as I could to supervise him, and if we wanted to go out for an evening we pretty much just took the kids because leaving him home with the two younger ones always ended badly and just who would you get to watch him.
When he was a sophmore he was suspended from school along with a girl for intimidation. In notes they wrote back and forth she didn't like someone and he wrote that he would kill them for her. In order to return to school he had to see a professional. He was enrolled in what they call adolescent day therapy. After he went to school at the mental hospital then they brought together a dozen or so problem teens and counciled them together. They had us as parents participate once a week or so in teambuilding activities. I think maybe it helped some but It was amazing how the kids were deemed cured at just about the same time the insurance ran out, but that is a disscussion for another day. Of course he met many kids with all sorts of different ideas. He never did ask about cars or driving but after he got back in school we gave him an older car at Christmas and helped him get his liscense.
He did better for a while then between 11th and 12th grades he decided to join the Army. It pushed him to Graduate, his grades had been so bad but with alot of help from the school, teachers etc. we all helped him get there.
He made it through Basic Training then six or so weeks into his AIT training he called us with a made up story about his training being discontinued and he could go to the front line in Iraq or come home and go back in 6 months. Well Crap!!!!!!
After being home not very long it became clear that he had no intention to work and was not interested in much except going back to the Drama. He cussed me out after I would not co-sign a vehicle loan for him. Came back later that evening and was impaired. I told him that he needed to leave. While getting his things my wife was watching him to make sure that he didn't take the other kids things, they got in an argument and he threatened to kill her. I called the Sherriff. He has not slept here since then[about four years ago]. He has been in and out of trouble since, we have talked some but it has been pretty superficial. The Bible says something about forgiving someone seventy times seven times. Well I think that I am there!
While all of this was going on there were the two younger kids. They had their plans changed time and time again. Couldn't really have friends sleep over. Had their things taken. Had their homework laying on the kitchen table ready to go when they went to bed but when they got up it was nowhere to bve found. They had to listen to the yelling and I'm sure they wanted it to stop.
After the most recent drama at youth group [leader having a meltdown] I told my daughter that she had been through enough drama for a lifetime, and if she did not want to go back I understood.
Am I too jaded to be involved in the discussion at our church about trying to bring a new leader with stability and foresight to our Youth Group rather than just filling the position. With all of the experiences we have been through I'm considered to be wise about raising kids but I am afraid that I might have trouble being objective. Youth Group was one of the things that my son actually looked forward to and even though he lived in a good place, he wanted to lean the other way. Lots of people helped him and I want to see it continue. Volunteers are getting harder to come by everyday. We are considering a paid position but money is tight. It seems as if part of our problem is when we get someone they might be good at the Bible part but weak at the handling kids part. Up untill now we have had enough volunteers [myself and my wife included] but more and more people are too busy, too involved in other stuff or just exhausted and burned out. Alot of younger people work at a desk and consider themselves management. Some of this is kind of hands on labor intensive.
We need someone who can include everyone as you all have said but knows how to handle them when they get there. Part of our problem lately has been bringing in newcomers and not holding them to the same standards as everyone else. I hope that person exists.
Kay is right when she says that boys need MENtors, girls need them too but men like to do about anything than volunteer for this stuff.
The boy on the bus thing happened a couple years ago, he graduated and has moved on.
Thanks for listening. It has made things a little clearer just typing this and thinking
God Bless you all!!!
Re: Well theres more................
Cap'n, I have seen loving families have problems trying to raise someone else's children in ways that sound way to similar to yours. We've all seen stories about children from foreign countries being sent here, some with serious mental and social adjustment problems, and adopted out to unsuspecting parents. One lady even sent one back alone on a plane, remember?
Had friends back home who tried to help a pitiful child, and finally decided that their three birth children had no choice and no quarter....they had to be protected from the foster child, who was "sent back." I do not know hoe young a child has to be to be unscathed by the early childhood trauma - it is that, not "drama" in my mind.
I taught kids who were sexually abused by older siblings, and I think they never really got over it, as they had serious issues later on in life, much like your older adopted son. If his gestation spanned the trend of crack in yoru community, he very likely had a form of brain damage that was shown then to prevent normal development of a conscience or compassion for others. You could not teach him to conform with those values, with that part of his brain not "there" to develop.
Youth leadership is not wha **bleep** used to be...because so many kids are nto what kids used to be. When I taught in the seventies, I used to estimate that five percent of the students had 95% of the problems...those from the very worst homes.
I stayed home with my babies for a few years, then went back to teach for a while in the eighties. I estimated then that the shift was 15 % with 85 % of the problems...more kids with more problems. Lots more divorce and drug abuse in parents, even in those who were trying their hardest, it was harder than a decade before to raise good kids.
I cannot imagine how many have what-all going on in their little lives today. Acquaintances who home-schooled back when our children were in school (they are 29-33) were overprotective in my mind. Now, when my daughter asks me if I'd teach any children she may have someday here at home, I have to admit that I would consider it in earnest. That is not just a change in me...it is a change in the world I see outside my door.
I can see why,given your history as a family, you woud be even more concerned about the influx of kids from a certain social background. . If the leadership is adequate, things ought to be okay, but if there are questions about its quality, maybe not. The only way to know exactly what is going on there is to be there. You already know that.
I think - no, I KNOW - that if I had real concerns about my child's safety or PEACE - which I think is more what you are concerned about here - I'd keep them home, whether it was from youth group or even a school activity If anyone had the audacity to question my reasons, I'd remind them that as a parent, it is my perogative to make such choices, and no one should cast doubt on my decision.
Re: Well theres more................
I am thinking that religion, like politics, is such a hot button topic that most attempts to discuss it rationally fall into a spiral of opinons that mostly goes no where. Most people's core beliefs about religion are not going to change.
Seems to me that people have either had an incredibily positive experience (even while admitting there may have been moments of doubt or concern along their faith journey) or they pretty much completely reject religious institutions or faith or church or Scripture due to an incredibly negative experience. There does not seem to be a whole lot of folks in the middle with a "take it or leave it" attitude.
Capt I commend you for recognizing that your judgement may be clouded by your personal experience. You are recognizing the need to separate the issues. One issue is the parental responsibiltiy to protect a child from trauma. I hear you on this one. Your child's well being is paramount.
That needs to be separated from the issue of whether a faith community should make judgements on who should or should not be allowed membership and participation. Two totally separate issues.
One is an issue that demands sound judgement and good reasoning. The other is an a issue that requires serious soul searching and reflection on what exactly it means to be a Christian.
Again, I realize that no amount of discussion about something so personal as one's face beliefs is not going to change any minds or win any converts.....
I noted that Capt freely acknowledged that his family had experienced incedible support from his church community that helped them through very difficult times. I would guess that they were a blessing in your life?
After learning the sad story of his son's troubles and bad choices I have to wonder how many members of his faith community acted in a Christian way and prayed for his son, hopeful that he would change his ways. Or did they seek to "protect" their children from him, fearful that his errant ways could harm their kids?
"love one another as I have loved you...."
Re: Well theres more................
I hope that Captina will forgive me for saying this, but I doubt that many of them, if any, would have welcomed this troubled boy dating their daughter. I think virtually everyone has their tolerance limit, and that is usually a pretty safe one to bet upon.
Re: Church Question
I've read this thread with interest taking in all thoughts and my feelings. So with all that I have read. In this situation I'd telll my daughter she did not have to go anymore. She could tell others she has a big report due at school or maybe you can plan some "family time". Then I would talk to the Youth Group leader and have a heart to heart. Make sure they realize the problems this youth has and is bringing to the group. Wait a month and have your daughter get a report from others.
If the drama is gone then tell her the Christian thing to do is to give the kid/s a chance.
My daughter quit going to youth group when the "others" started coming. They'd go upstairs to make out. Leave meetings to go out and smoke. She tried to give them a chance but she had too hard of a time accepting such behavior. She later found out that several of these kids came just to see how much havoc they could create.