Sunday, February 24, 2013

All of Me

I received the call Thursday afternoon that Sweetie would be getting admitted to PRTF the next day. My friend Megan put it the best that it seemed so far away, yet now it seems too soon. For the last month every time there was a blow up or she was being defiant I would think just another week. But then when I got the call it was like someone hit me with a board. Less than 24 hours and I had to bring her in. Are you ever ready to let your child go? I sit here tonight completely broken, worn down and heart broken. I know we can not go on the way we have been, just barely surviving for the last 7 months. My sweet child's heart is so protected that she has only allowed herself to cry for less than a minute about leaving. Other than that, there has been absolutely no emotion about leaving . I ask her if she is scared, she states she is not. I believe her, with all this little solider has faced in her short lifetime moving again is nothing to her. I worry so much for my daughter. I hope that we are not too late to intervene positively in her life.When I brought her in for admission she was her normal chatty self with the room of complete strangers. The average child would be scared to death to sit at a table with psychiatrist, therapist, nurses, counselors and social workers. But not my kiddo, she tried to command attention. She was asking a million nonsense questions and yelling out in excitement over things she would notice in the room. After the couple hours of paperwork, it was time to unpack her things in her room. The room is large with a twin bed and a desk in it. The girls clothing and toiletries are kept in another room. Here is a picture of her bed, with her own bedding and some of her belongings. She also has her own bathroom. Over all it is comfortable surroundings. They have a tv and wii in the common area. They are allowed to have stereos in their rooms for music and posters for their walls.

They keep the kids busy most of the time and things are very regimented. In the home each child is assigned a mentor who works with her. Each mentor only has 2 children. They are required to do their own laundry and do chores daily. For now she is holding herself together and controlling her anger. She says she has been agitated but does not know them yet so she is keeping it together. I guess that is part of the thing that is hardest to accept as a parent of a RAD kid, they will behave better for any stranger than they ever will for the parents. I know some people say that is true of all kids. But our kids take it to a whole new level. 
Sweetie is withdrawn during our 15 minute phone calls each day. Each time, she is doing something else like watching a movie. Conversation is very superficial. She only wants to talk about what I can bring her or what we will be doing when she comes to visit "my house". She refers to our house as being mine, not hers. Tonight she did not ask about my husband at all. She was more agitated and was trying to argue about what we are getting her for her birthday. She wants a guitar. When we asked about the guitar to the therapist she did not think it was a good idea. I told Sweetie that I thought it would be best to hold off on that, but she wants what she wants. When I said I didn't think we would be getting that until after she got home, she got upset and said she had to go. I wonder when it will be when she refuses to talk to me all together. I know that is coming. Eventually she will become angry at me for admitting her. Even knowing that this will happen, it will still be difficult. 

As for me, I am kind of feeling lost. For over 2 years I have been on this adoption journey. You kind of end up on a constant adrenaline high from all the twist and turns of the adoption process and then the transitioning to being a family. Friday everything came to a crashing halt. Everything is now completely out of my hands. Strangers are taking care of my daughter. Strangers are making all decisions for her. Strangers will be the ones comforting her when she starts to face her demons. Strangers will be the ones bonding with her. I have to remind myself that to Sweetie we are also strangers. So this is nothing new for her. They are just new caretakers. I am committed to doing what ever I need to do to help Sweetie's heart heal. I have a peace that this is the right path for her. I am currently reading a book called "Detached Surviving Reactive Attachment Disorder" by Jessie Hogsett. It is written from a grown up RAD kid about his journey. I am to the part where he is entering a PRTF at the age of 12. The beauty of this story is, I have the pleasure of being part of a group with the author of this book. I know that his story is full of hope. I know that he is capable of love and has a beautiful family of his own. I know that he now pours his heart into supporting families of children with RAD. 
He is my constant reminder that there is hope for healing. 

I am amazed at the favor that God has for Sweetie. There have been so many opportunities that have been available to Sweetie that should not have happened. The program she was accepted to works with girls until they turn 13. Normally they would not have even accepted her, but they made an exception to rules for her. The same thing had happened with her school this past year. During times of trouble it is so easy to turn away from God. I can understand that people would question "why would God allow this to happen?".
But I do not question it. God did not do this, he allows free will and man did this. God has provided a path to healing and that healing starts with me. And I am prepared to give all of me to help her heal. 
This is one of my favorite songs.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sisters (please note some parts are graphic in nature)

Of all the losses that I have worried were the most damaging, losing her sister was the one that I felt was the worst. Sweetie idolized her big sister. And for a few years her sister was on a really dangerous path. Sweetie's social workers felt it was best to split the 2 kids so Sweetie wouldn't follow down the same path.
It had been over a year since Sweetie last talked to her big sister. She was missing her awfully.
The last I had heard, her sister (who I will refer to as Sissy) did not want any contact with Sweetie. After being on the run for almost a year Sissy is finally back living with a prospective adoptive family and just had a baby at age 14. Recently I have contacted Sweetie's social worker to try to get any photos and things from Sweetie's childhood to start working on her Life Book. A life book is kind of a scrapbook that tells an adopted child's story. It is very therapeutic for them. When chatting with her social worker I asked her to pass my info onto Sissy's family, so that maybe in the future we could facilitate communication. I was quite surprised when I received a short email the night before last from Sissy.
I shared Sweetie's email with her (Which I completely monitor). The girls started emailing back and forth. Today Sissy called to talk to Sweetie. It was amazing to see Sweetie light up in a way that I normally do not get to see. It seems like this new home is a good fit for her. They have gotten her caught up in school, encouraged her to get a job and are teaching her to be a mom to her baby. Sissy has had to learn to survive living on her own at the age of 13. She has gotten herself into unspeakable situations. She is aged well beyond her 14 years of age. My heart was breaking as she was telling Sweetie that no matter how she feels to never run away. That life is rough and she shared how people she thought she was friends with loured her into an apartment where they tied her up, drugged her with heroine& and then let random men force them selves on her for 3 days straight. The thought of that happening to sweetie scares the death out of me and nauseates me. She soon found herself living with a grown man who said he wanted her to have his baby, so she got pregnant and he is now in jail for sex with a minor. These are things that 13-14 year old girls should never have to deal with. But then again, she should never have had to deal with her stepfather abusing her for years either. Sissy took the brunt of the abuse to protect Sweetie. I still can't wrap my brain around the situations that both girls faced as children. I am sure there is so much more that has happened that I do not know. I may never know.The physical abuse, the squalor they lived in, the neglect they faced. No wonder they can not trust any adult. How could you ever trust anyone, let alone adults?

You can tell how much Sissy cares for Sweetie and doesn't want her to end up on the same road. She was praising her for good grades and lecturing her to wait to have sex until she is married because being a mom is hard work.She talked about not getting tattoos because it is harder to get a job with a visible tattoos.
One of things I found interesting is Sissy being older sees relationships with families differently. Where Sweetie has a very romanticized memory of her biological family, Sissy remembers them, how mean they were and that they were mean because of the drugs they were doing. All in all it was a good call.
A lot of it didn't sink in with Sweetie for an hour or so. I asked her during dinner (with just her and I) how she felt about the call, she said "Great" I said I thought some of the discussion was pretty heavy stuff. Sweetie didn't really know what I was talking about. When I mentioned the being tied up and all that bad stuff, she said  it made her sad, that she really didn't even think anything of it right away until I mentioned that is it was heavy. We talked for a while about the situation and about how good families are there to protect their kids from these situations. It is our job to teach them how to be safe and avoid bad situations.

We will see how communications continue. In the past the girls relationship has been very volatile. I will continue to monitor all conversations. I feel good about this. I think it is so important to have connection to bio family, as long as the relationship is healthy. I am hoping this will be a good thing.

On the PRTF we are still in the waiting stage. They are saying there should be a discharge this coming week. Monday, I need to get her primary psychiatrist to sign off on her admission and the psychiatrist at the center to sign off on it as well and we should be good to go. I am praying we can get her admitted before the end of the month when Cris goes to Ecuador for 10 days. Last time he went to Ecuador was when Sweetie needed to be hospitalized for 2 weeks. I don't know if I can do this on my own.  I surely don't want to be admitting her to the PRTF by myself. But as I always I will do what I have to do, because I have no other choice.
I continue to pray that Sweetie will understand why we are admitting her to the residential program, that she will find healing during this upcoming part of our journey together.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Steady My Heart

Wish it could be easy 
Why is life so messy 
Why is pain a part of us 
There are days I feel like 
 Nothing ever goes right 
Sometimes it just hurts so much
Steady My Heart~ Keri Jobe

 I can not believe it has been a year since I last saw baby Leah. There are times I just weep for her and for the journey that we were never able to complete with her. What kind of personality would she have if she was still with us? What would her favorite toy be? What would her favorite book or song be? These are things that sadly I will never know. I wonder if this loss will ever become lighter or if I will always carry it with me? Do I even want it to go away? If it does will I forget about her as if she never was? A year later and I can still remember exactly how she felt when I would have her cradled in my arms for her breathing treatments, how she would laugh in the bath tub when she splashed in the water, the mischievous smile she had when she would tug on Oakley's hair. I am so blessed to have the millions of happy memories of her. I hope I never lose them.

And now a year later I am waiting on another loss with Sweetie leaving for treatment soon. I know with all of my mind, heart and soul that we are doing the right thing by admitting her into PRTF, but it still hurts. I feel like we will lose so much more time with her. We already missed out on 12 years of her life. I am happy we were able to experience Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with her. But we will miss out on celebrating her first birthday with us. By the time she comes home she will most likely be 14. But I know if we continued trying to work at home with her each of these big events would be big explosions. We have been on the verge of one of her blow ups all week. You can just feel her tension in the air. She has been holding it together (mostly) because there is a dance at school she wants to go to and she knows that I will not allow her to go if she has a blow up. So instead she is being constantly defiant. She wakes up angry, literally kicking. Every interaction is negatively charged. We walk on eggshells just to keep a major blow up from happening. We are basically prisoners in our house. If Cris and I talk she buts in, if we try to hug she puts herself between us. Every movement is met with a counter move by her. We play this game of crazy chess every day. Just when we are about to win the chess board is thrown across the room into a wall
breaking all the chess pieces. I know it is time pick up the pieces now.

Monday I had a planning meeting for Sweetie's admission to the PRTF. We discussed our initial goals for her treatment, they were so basic. To accept no without a tantrum, to just listen, to trust that we will provide for her and she does not have to control everything. Things that most 3 year old children learn. But no one took the time to teach her. As she evolves in treatment our goals for her will evolve. My number one goal was for her to be able to truly accept love, to let it in, to let it embrace her and become part of her. To truly become our family. In my heart she is our family. I just want that to happen for her, in her heart. For her to deep down know without a shadow of a doubt that I love her unconditionally. I wish for her to just relax and trust that we will meet her needs and she can just be a kid. These are the things we are hoping she can develop in residential. I pray for her heart to begin to heal so that she can accept love.
 Last I heard they are expecting to admit Sweetie mid-month, which is next week. But I have not received an admission date. Which in itself drives me nuts. I am a deadline person. The whole process of adopting and now working the mental health system does not work on deadlines at all. I have to work hard to keep my ocd in check. I try to remain cool and calm, but I am really just a hot mess. But then again, I think we all are.