So long story short I had to give my boys up for adoption. Their adoptive mother is a relatively sane christian. She and I over two years have been trying to figure out how to get children back into my care. At moment we have settled on blending households. Here is my conundrum how to deal with Hi i'm and atheist and you're a christian. Wrong move could cost me my sons again  Yet don't have an overwhelming urge to find my self in church either. She supports freedom or choice and evolution so not a do this or die type. So any suggestions? 

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Hey Angela, I am OP Angela's mate. Thought I could offer another angle here.

Her Ex is effectively a manchild... see http://www.theonion.com/video/cases-of-shaken-manchild-syndrome-on-... for an excellent example.

After we got together, I have been attempting to provide an environment for Angie's healing. This is emotional, psychological, and even medical. While putting her back together, she now has 3+ years of stability and she has had a chance to get a clearer mind regarding her desires and needs.

Initially, contact with the adoptive mother was re-established primarily to determine the feasibility of her being in contact with the boys. After some careful short visits, things have progressed well, and ironically it was the adoptive mother that brought up the idea of sharing custody / care of them. There are factors of her health, as well as the extra needs of the children directly. Both homes are of the mind that the more loving caretakers helping, the better for the kids.

Over the past 6-12 months, the ideas of moving homes within a short (1-2 block) distance to allow the boys to freely move between for visiting and care. This is a dramatic change, as currently it is a large (8+ hour drive each way) bit of travel for each visit.

I myself am Atheist... My skepticism is a large part of what helped Angela decide on her own views. I believe that she is concerned that at some point the boys will themselves start asking questions due to something innocuous from our behavior (for example, us not praying when not around the adoptive parent).

As a part of my time working with Angela, I have stressed that reason and discussion of fears can help greatly. Ultimately, this likely is what led to her asking for thoughts here, as she has been adapting her thinking to take into account other viewpoints, in addition to working through her fears to logically negate the impossible, and prepare for the possible.

Without getting too deep into the details, her history involves a wide range of abuses, not the least of which was variations on abandonment, trust, and self esteem issues. Now, she has been fighting second-guessing each step dealing with this particular situation.

One bit that may help... last month's visit to their home, we (Angela and I) took the boys out for lunch and 4 hours or so visiting away from the home and adoptive family. This was suggested by the adoptive mother, so I DO feel there is sufficient trust here to overcome the religious aspects. This is more an issue of Angela attempting to avoid issues that could cause trouble in what is otherwise a very promising situation to return her to her son's lives more completely.

My perspective :)

 

Hi Anthony

You seem like a great support for Angela - she is lucky to have you helping her. This is really tough.

Women with BPD are very vulnerable and they are often exploited by men who have narccissistic tendancies, like the "Manchild." Its creates one dysfunction after another. Like a roller coaster of abuse.

Angela wrote re: the BPD

 "Neither one a danger to kids. State disagreed." 

The BPD is the main issue - Is there a case worker involved?

Is Angela having therapy - meds etc. Was there a suicide risk /attempt?

"I myself am Atheist... My skepticism is a large part of what helped Angela decide on her own views. I believe that she is concerned that at some point the boys will themselves start asking questions due to something innocuous from our behavior (for example, us not praying when not around the adoptive parent)."

With the religious aspect - is it really that bad? Because a really good way to form some bonding would be to allow the children to teach you and Angela about things like prayers. Kids love teaching their parents things - would you be open to something like that? It could also work in Angelas favour if she is seen to be supporting the kids with their interests.

For example - My daughter did dancing - I hated those dance moms and the whole dance scene - But i put on the happy face and did the costumes -- you know, because my daughter loved it. Luckily that phase only lasted a couple of years.

Can you tell us more about the fears you have with the boys and the religious influence.

 

 

 

 

 

I personally don't have much in the way of fears really... It's more Angela's concerns. As far as "is it really that bad" for kids + religion... While in this case I am not terribly worried about the fear of hell etc, I do overall believe in the larger picture that heavy religious indoctrination is inherently damaging to a person. I am not the easiest person to get along with typically, and there is a chance that in the longer haul I would get fed up with hearing lies told to these children... not just the "little white lies", but thinking more the exposure to the concepts of original sin, or being told that non-believers will immediately go right to hell. I find these particular notions both damaging and wrong to impose on a child really.

I am honestly just happy I won't really have to worry about this particular religious person instilling racism. She herself is of a mixed heritage, and she is well adjusted in that regard.

As for letting the kids "teach" us, this is obvious and already planned. I feel having them teach us religious acts is a bad idea however, as this would magnify chances for them to see us disbelieving, despite efforts, or from our own questions causing them to ask uncomfortable questions of the same topic to the Adoptive mother. I would rather find something tangible instead to concentrate on, like science or activities from school. Sticking with truth is safest with kids I think in these regards.

 

"I find these particular notions both damaging and wrong to impose on a child really."

Everyone here agrees with that but I dont get the feeling that these kids are being heavily indoctrinated.

Anthony - Im an atheist but I deliberately sent my children to a Catholic School. I wanted them to learn about the beliefs of the religious. I allowed them to be involved with all aspects of the teachings, I wanted them to see funerals, Because Catholic Schools have a Church next to them. I wanted my children to learn respect and to be quiet while in Church. But I never told them that they had to believe it nor did I start to run it down because they liked their school and I supported that. All I really ever said to my children when they were little is that - this is what SOME people believe and other people believe other things. Thats all a little child needs to hear.

My daughter is now 13 - she asked me not long ago - why women cant be priests - as soon as I began this sentance "well the Catholic Church" my daughter piped in with - "Ok mum, i get it, say no more",

See - Kids get it - they are just too young to understand our political views -

Umm... You are missing / ignoring some key points here...

#1: These children are special needs... Ages are not an apples to apples comparison for cognitive ability, leading to #2.

#2: Children take adults word "on faith", as for the formative years this is the only thing they have to go on. Things learned during the formative years are MUCH harder to unlearn later, often impossible depending on how it was presented/applied.

Based on those 2 things, I don't feel comfortable with the "Eh, we'll just fix it later" mentality. This is a dangerous proposition, and it like saying "We have a great therapist! That rape will be forgotten in no time!"..

Yes, an excessively exaggerated example, but anyone with a modicum of logic and basic psychology understands that almost ZERO mental damage can be completely 100% recovered from. The best we hope for is an "understand, heal and move on" proposal, leaving scars behind.

Yes, the adoptive mother is a fairly open-minded theist. I am grateful for this, but at the same time am "thinking of the welfare of the kids".

Don't disregard the harmful effects of exposing a child to scary concepts "as fact" so easily. It is one thing for a scary movie, where you can point to the actors and that it's a story, just fiction. It is a COMPLETELY other tale when a child, believing adults AS DEFAULT, is told by some of those very adults that people they love will burn in hell for their beliefs.

Sure, it is likely going to be some sugar-coated version of the tale... but sugar doesn't make it tastes any less like a steaming pile of shit. Just makes it more of a risk to Diabetics. Kids can and DO see through the sugar coating.

 

#2: Children take adults word "on faith", as for the formative years this is the only thing they have to go on. Things learned during the formative years are MUCH harder to unlearn later, often impossible depending on how it was presented/applied.

Not just faith either - if they are Aspie they will take it as fact or, they just wont get it at all because religion involves too many of those pesky emotions. But Aspies are really smart and they do prefere logic - so somewhere down the line - they will figure it out. Like I said - I still dont believe there is any harm in some mild Christian influence. You dont always need to take the hardcore strident approach around the kids.

Do you ever read Tony Atwood - he does brilliant work with Aspergers kids.

I have to go out to walk the dog and when I get back Im going to try to find some reading material on what he says about Aspergers -  Kids and Religion because he is THE MAN to read when it comes to Aspergers children. 

http://www.tonyattwood.com.au/

That all sounds great, the blended household and stuff. All in all I am relatively convinced that your children are in safe hands and everything here is what's best for them.

Angela Evangelia was all worried about the children and now that angela kozma has replied and said, "Do to a past history i have Post traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder. Neither one a danger to kids. State disagreed.", and Angela Evangelia seems to accept this response as reasonable... I just feel compelled to add...

in my own case, my mother having BPD was detrimental to me and my younger brother. It's not always 100% personal and not harmful to the children in the care of the person who has the disorder. In fact, even postpartum depression can be extremely dangerous to a baby... and if a court actually disagreed then there is a chance that the court is right and the mother thinking she's of no harm to her children is mistaken. I'm not saying the courts can't be wrong. I've been through the legal system myself when it came to who would have custody of me in addition to witnessing many criminal trials and I know how human and prone to error a judge can be. How quick they are to assume things and judge people unfairly. Etc. But at the same time, my mom has BPD which seems to be the most likely one out of her personality disorder symptoms to make her somewhat delusional - she functions in society while still maintaining surprisingly false beliefs about the state of her relationships with some of the other people in her life. She also has other issues - during the custody battle, a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation revealed she had: (links go to wikipedia articles, I hope that doesn't break any site rules.)


Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Dysthymic Disorder

Alcohol Abuse
A Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified with Borderline, Dependent, Histrionic, and Obsessive Compulsive traits (keep in mind that OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is significantly different than OCPD or Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder, see the wikipedia articles for more info! My mom was diagnosed as having traits of the OCPD one.).

As well as a Global Functioning level of Fifty:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Assessment_of_Functioning

But none of those things would necessarily mean she couldn't take care of us, I suppose, it is clearly a case-by-case basis type of thing that someone would have to carefully analyze and determine.

 

@luvtheheaven 

"it is clearly a case-by-case basis type of thing that someone would have to carefully analyze and determine."

Thats right

 

Can also ask angela or Anthony

Does angela dissociate and if so - how badly?

I guess I wasn't totally clear above, but when I said "stable", I meant including previous symptoms. With the exception of occasional flare ups of fears of abandonment in regards to me more than a year ago, she largely has been a very stable person. She has been systematically analyzing "friendships" from her past, and letting go of the connections that are damaging to her. Instead of letting something push her into a relapse or regression, she is consciously disconnecting from the unneeded stress and focusing on building relationships with people who are healthy to be around.

One physical representation is quitting smoking. She has used this as a "dipstick"... When someone stresses her enough to want to chain-smoke, she starts evaluating why and if she really needs that association.

 

 

I reckon the childrens father is also Aspergers - undiagnosed. Which would also explain his behaviour. He has very low empathy and he is not aware of it.

Aspergers and BPD have similar features when it comes to a severe lack of empathy.

Im not sure if angela understands this condition about herself - does she? Because the lack of empathy is what contributes to the emotional tornados that she experiences - ie the chain smoking, (I get that)

Anthony - are you aware of empathy and how it will effect relationships? Lack of empathy will trigger the symptoms.

 Have a read about it - you will find it very helpful in dealing with all of this. You have to be careful that this doesnt burn you out.

 

Well, I understand all too well. My brother and I are both diagnosed Aspies, and thankfully I have been able to grow beyond many of my issues regarding it, even thriving. My own daughter is high-function autistic. I am VERY well versed on these issues.

Angela empathizes very well, often more than I would in cases dealing with other folks. I can note that one interesting trait in many cases of Aspergers is that there is an exception to this rule for some folks... namely that the effect is reversed in regards to one's children. I myself am that way, and had a huge difficulty for the first year of my own child's life. Not due to trouble empathizing / emotionalizing in regards to her, but due to an excessive level. Literally, I spent months thinking everything in the world was trying to hurt her... a very instinctive response. Thankfully, it is now well tempered, but anyone who knows me and my daughter closely understand not to mess with my kid, and can well relate that my daughter feels very close to me.

Angela has, as a part of her time coming to grips with her past, mentioned that she initially had issues bonding to one of the children when they were an infant. She noted a specific point at about 3-4 months of age when her bond finally took, and the stark slap in the face it was for her. That same recognition I feel is a good example of her coming to terms with the type of attention needed.

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