WHACK… At three in the morning Gina was sound asleep, yet somehow she was smacked in the head. She looked over at her husband, thinking perhaps he accidentally rolled over and flopped his arm on top of her, but he was sleeping soundly and facing the opposite direction. She turned to the other side and glaring back at her was her eight-year-old child.
“Did you just hit me?”
“Yes, and I’d do it again.”
“Because you took away my video games.”
“That was EIGHT HOURS AGO. And you’re still mad about it?”
“I wish I could kill you.”
This is the true story of the hell one family lived through parenting a child with reactive attachment disorder, a severe diagnosis related to children who experienced early-childhood trauma.
This inspirational story covers over a decade of daily struggles until they finally found resolution and made it to the other side. The family remained intact, and this once challenging son is now achieving things never thought possible.
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“I think I want to be a mom,” I declared one day.
This came as quite a shock to my husband, Aaron.
Marriage itself wasn’t part of my original plan. After going through my parents’ contentious divorce and living with one of my mom’s abusive boyfriends, my view on “happily ever after” was a bit tainted. I wasn’t going to do that. I had dreams of being one of those Sex in the City girls—with a successful career, girlfriends, travel, and a closet full of designer shoes. Marriage and kids seemed so mundane and expected. So it was quite a surprise to me when I met Aaron and realized that the plan had changed.
It happened on our first date.
In college, I went out with one of my best friend’s brothers. I knew the entire family except him, as my future in-law’s home was a hangout spot for us in graduate school. My father-in-law was a professor and had a computer at home, which he generously allowed us to use. This was the early ’90s, so laptops hadn’t been invented and writing a paper for college meant waiting in line for the computer lab to type up the final copy and print. Visits to the Heumann house often meant dinner with the family and sometimes even a load of laundry. Aaron wasn’t living there, so I knew his mom, dad, brother, and sister before I knew him. I loved them all and was starting to see that “successful and single” wasn’t the only way to go. They were a pretty amazing family.
On our first date, we weren’t quite sure if it was a date or not. He thought I was going out with him as a favor to his sister, because he needed a date to a fraternity party that would feature a somewhat big-name band, and he already had two tickets. I thought he thought I was doing his sister a favor and just needed a date. I had met him several weeks prior and thought he was awfully cute, so I was secretly hoping it was a date. Turns out, we both really liked each other the last two times we had met, but each thought the other was dating someone. That first date was magical. I had found my soulmate.
After the party, the hot tub, and a two-block walk in subzero temperatures back to his apartment, he asked me to spend the night to avoid driving me home on black ice. He was gentlemanly, offering me some sweatpants and his bed while he slept on the couch. I took the sweatpants but shared the bed … but I knew in the back of my mind that whatever happened on that date would most likely get back to his sister. So it was a reasonably innocent night together. The next morning, we ordered pizza and watched a football game, and when he dropped me off, I had a somewhat panicked thought that I couldn’t shake:
“Crap, there goes my plan.”
I knew I would marry him and the Sex in the City dream would die. Or change. Or morph into something different.
So the new plan was now marriage to the coolest guy ever, a successful career, couple friends, travel, no kids, and a closet full of designer shoes.
About the Author
Gina Heumann is a true Renaissance woman: wife, mother, architect, designer, instructor, author, speaker, and sales rep for an award-winning Napa Valley winery. She and her husband, Aaron, adopted Landrey in 2001 from Guatemala and then went back for Maddox three years later. Gina’s love of learning and dedication as a mother inspired her research of different treatments and therapies that eventually led to this inspirational success story about conquering Reactive Attachment Disorder.
Her latest book is Love Never Quits: Surviving & Thriving After Infertility, Adoption, and Reactive Attachment Disorder.
WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:
Website Link: www.ginaheumann.com
Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/loveneverquits