AVM Survivors Network

I feel it coming.... What would you do?


Hey all,

A little background to my question. In the last two weeks, my teenagers have had school for two days. We’ve had it all weather wise - 18 inches of snow in 36 hours, windchills reaching -30 below and worse, freezing rain that turned highways into skating rinks, temperatures going from -11 below to almost 50. The freezing rain was so heavy that i was worried some of our big trees were going to drop branches on some of our cars and totally crush them. It has been one of the most unusual and difficult weather times we’ve had in a long time - like since the blizzard of 1978. Oh and my wife flew to Florida during one of the lulls in the storms and is currently somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico on a cruise ship with 7 of her best friends who are also adoptive moms of kids with hard pasts,

Why am I telling you that? It kind of sets the context to my question. I know a lot of it is being stuck at home with my teenagers who are getting bored with being stuck at home. But I’m feeling more of the "why me? Why do I have to get a headache any time I have to go somewhere? Or why do I…? All of the questions that you wrestle with when you have this trifecta of alphabet nastiness. I feel like it is building up and I know it’s not healthy to push those feelings down, but does anyone have any tips on how to navigate the anger that comes up when you look at what is and compare it to what should have been? And how do you deal with it in a way that won’t worry your kids - because my teenagers were adopted which means they were abandoned and they are very sensitive (sometimes in a mean and obnoxious way) to the fear of that happening again, so having Mom gone on vacation and Dad having a bad day while Mom’s gone would not be good,

I do plan on writing a lot today - because that, quite often, is therapeutic for me. Even when it’s writing that I don’t share with anyone but God and my therapist. (Random aside - did you know that it’s okay to be angry with God?) What would you advise as a way to release the “why” in smaller doses? Doses that don’t worry the kids and/or make my wife feel awful when she gets back because she was on a cruise enjoying time with her friends - who also have adopted kids with emotional scars just like ours do?

Thanks in advance and as always, I’m grateful to have all of you in life (well, at least in my computer).



Not sure if this helps but I try to put my mind on the future and things that I am looking forward to. Kind of like seeing the bigger picture and not focusing so much on how I feel at that moment. Best of luck…


Hi, TJ
Instead of “Why Me” try this. Try writing your thoughts and feelings with your non-dominant hand. I was able to get a lot out by doing this-(lots of tears).
What do your teens like to do?
Try old fashioned board games. Promotes healthy interaction. Do “movie nights-or days” and take turns choosing the movie. Get everyone involved in the preparation-making popcorn and snacks, etc.
Lastly-CBD oil has helped my anxiety and panic attacks tremendously. Talk about this with your MD.

Good luck and just remember, the snow will melt eventually.


Wow, that’s a tough one. Something I struggle with also. How to let out some the anger in a healthy way.
I often write a letter that does not get mailed. It might be to a person that I’m frustrated with, or it might be to “ the universe” (those are especially nasty; how dare this have happened to me).
Exercise is also helpful. Although I’m not sure how much you can do outdoor, but even push ups help to release some rage



I don’t know about this stuff too much. I’ve got one teenager who varies between being great and being grumpy but I think would only really be grumpy if the internet was down for the fortnight. Otherwise, always finds things to read or watch online. He’s embarrassingly well educated by that means!

The only thought I’ve got, provoked by your question, is that around “Dad having a bad day” while mum’s away. Can I say you’re allowed to have a bad day while she’s away? I don’t know what ages your kids are but can one or two of them look after the team a bit when youre feeling less well? It may not be the most exciting thing to do but if you’re all locked in from the elements and going stir crazy, being entrusted to sort out a meal could be really positive.

We get served chilli con carne or spaghetti bolognese when we’re not well and the teenager is in charge!

Very best wishes



Hey all, Thanks for the input. It means a lot…

Craig - that’s a good point and that’s something I’m trying very hard to do. But like my therapist says, if you don’t allow the negative feelings, the feelings of loss, the grief out in appropriate ways and at appropriate times, then it will come out when it dang well chooses to and that might not be with as productive of an outcome. So it’s almost more of a question of timing than it is a question of whether. I have lost a lot and that will cause feelings of grief and loss. How do I control when and how I feel those rather letting them control me? It’s the control of the process and the timing that I’m trying to figure out.

Does that make sense?

Cara - your idea about the non-dominant hand makes a lot of sense - but it also made me smile. That wouldn’t work for me - part of the damage that my AVM has done is nerve damage to my left hand (the non-dominant hand). That has left me with tremors in that hand which would make writing with that hand virtually impossible. But I do find writing to be immensely therapeutic. Some of it I share with my wife and my therapist, some is just for me, some I share with you all, some I share on my website. Naming and calling out the struggles is very helpful.

Cancrd - That’s one of the challenges right now. With temperatures below freezing and throat/lung challenges, breathing in cold air would not be helpful for my over all health right now. Like Cara said, the snow will melt eventually (though I do remember having snow days in April when I was a kid). Last fall I couldn’t do walking outside because my balance was screwed up - the neighbors would think I was drunk and cruel to animals because I stepped on my dog while weaving on the sidewalk! LOL

Dick - You are absolutely right. I’m allowed to have a bad day and they usually do pretty well with it. My youngest two are 17 and 18. You’d think, okay, what’s the deal with them - they can handle themselves. Well, both of them at times do well, but both of them have a pretty substantial case of PTSD because they are adopted and from the time they spent in Haiti before we brought them home. So, that changes the game quite substantially compared to our three “vanilla” daughters - who are all in their 20’s or early 30s.

We have come a long ways in the past year with them being able to accept dad’s changes and do much better with, “You know, now is not a good time for dad to help you with algebra - does it have to be done now?” and then discussing it and setting up a time for later. That they have made big progress with.

It’s the Dad needs to have a meltdown type of thing - that usually happens between me and my iPad after everyone else is in bed. The insecurities that are so common with adopted kids would not handle seeing that part very well.

Does that make sense?

I’m happy to report that I’m doing better today. Did a lot of writing yesterday and that took enough steam off of things that I’m back in the “okay” realm.

And I appreciate all of your help with that.



It does. I have nowhere near the challenges you’ve got. You’re definitely in a league of your own! The nearest person I know is @Martin_Brooks.

And I mis-read you initially – best part of a fortnight with kids bouncing round the inside of the house and not being able to get out – is a challenge for perfectly well parents. I thought you’d been on lock-in for maybe a week, not two! I don’t know how anyone gets through that!

If it helps at all, spring is definitely on the way. I am sure I’ve got a new green leaf on the rambling rose. It might take most of the way to Easter for Spring to properly appear but it is on the way.

Best wishes



They are at school today - but tomorrow and Wednesday - 4 to 8 inches of snow and then freezing rain. Not sure my wife will make it home on Wednesday. If the wifi goes out, oh dear…


Hello! First off i applaud you that you have taken on the challenges of raising adoptive children that is very challenging secondly i applaud you for staying home while your wife goes away, and i think that it is ok to grieve, be angry or sad you have that right! Writing in a journal helped me so much through my difficult times being stuck at home , my husband at the time was never home so i was home with my 2 daughters i had so many emotions going through my head and i am sure you do as well and that is ok i tried to remind myself that there are people who have it a lot worse. Stay strong hang in there and keep on writhing, i think that kids are in tune to your feelings , oui know that they have been through trama but maybe if you just talk to them about how you are feeling let them know that it is not their fault and how much they mean to you and how much you love them


Sending you the best thoughts, TJ.