Sunday, June 23, 2013

Brighter Days


It has been a while since I was able to write from a place of hope and peace. We have had a good couple of weeks with Sweetie. I am not sure if it her medication changes or that she was able to let off some of her anger during a fight a couple weeks ago, but Sweetie has been in a much better place. 
Whatever the reason, I will take it! This weekend was the first time we went a whole weekend without any issues. It was so nice to be able to just be a family. Sweetie seems to really want to work on things. Reactive Attachment Disorder is many times called an attachment dance. Sometimes it is 2 steps forward, 3 steps back. I am enjoying the dance forward right now, but can't help but anticipate the steps backwards that we will be doing again in the future. 

I am glad that she is starting to have some signs of improvement because whether she is ready or not she will most likely be getting discharged in August. The state has indeed changed the length of stay for all PRTF's to 6 months. This saddens me so much. Not just for us, but for all of the children that this effects.
And as I have written before, their recommendation is to do foster care or a group home. I will not put her back with a foster family. That is not an option for us, so she will be coming home. I am working on lining up resources. My biggest challenge is finding someone to work with her between when school ends and when I get home from work. Finding someone who can be kind, but firm with Sweetie. Someone that won't be able to be manipulated. Finding the right person will be challenging, but I believe God will provide as he always has when we are in need. 

Not sure what is going on with the baby right now. We are still waiting to see if Sweetie's sister returns. Last she talked to her social worker she told them she was in Michigan. They don't believe that story, but it doesn't look like she wants to come back anytime soon. After her being on the run 60 days, the state can start the proceedings for her rights to be terminated. It is harder to not get excited the closer to the 60 days we become. 

I am not sure what will happen, but I have a feeling August is going to be a completely insane month. I better rest up in July! 

Sunday, June 09, 2013

When It Pleases You

                                                               You love me when it pleases you
You want me when it's easy to do 

You hold me when you don't want anybody else to
You love me when it pleases you

We had a good visit with Sweetie the other day. It was the first one in many weeks. It was only for a couple hours, but I will take it as a small victory. I am grateful for the time with her that was not loaded with anger. This was short lived. As soon as we did not give her what she wanted she started to dysregulate. I know it comes from her deep seeded fear of rejection. Sweetie has never been with one family longer than a year and we have been her family now for over a year. She is waiting for the rejection, she is waiting for us to give up on her. She is pushing her hardest to make us leave her to prove that what she knows to be true, that we will not be there for her. So, again we are being pushed out and she will not talk to us. 

It makes me think that we do the same thing to God. When we don't get what we want we feel that God has turned his back on us, given up on us or is not there at all. We refuse to listen for him and then expect his favor when we have been pushing him away with all our might. Like dysregulated children we tantrum because life is not going how we feel it should. We look to God when we want something from him. But we are not always willing to listen to his direction for our life. 

There is such a correlation between a parent and child with attachment disorder and  man's relationship with God. I had never viewed it this way until I was driving home today playing this song. When I first heard it I could feel myself singing it about Sweetie, but as the song went on I felt the song was about me. I think it is how many of us have relationships with one another. Until I took the leap and adopted Sweetie, I had taken the easy route with relationships. If things were hard I could just walk away. I hadn't really invested much anyways, so it was easy to do. But now, I have invested in people and they have invested in me. Not just the fun Jen, but the broken one. The one who does not have anything in life together anymore. I have invested in the life of this child who may never be capable of loving me back. This is scary. This leaves me vulnerable and open to rejection.
 I had the opportunity to meet with another adoptive mom this week for a couple hours of peace before my visit with Sweetie Wednesday. It is so nice to have a community of people who get it, who you can say, yeah this sucks and they truly understand and can say yeah it does. During our conversation she was talking about how when she was first adopting her son that she thought everyone should do this and now she knows that this is a calling. 

Every adoptive parent has their unique challenges. But all of us live with that same vulnerability. We all have that fear that our child will reject us. Even if we were capable of doing everything 100% right, we could be and most likely will be rejected by our children. I have to think how heartbreaking that must be to God, with so many of his children rejecting him, refusing to talk to him or see him... just like my Sweetie rejects me.

On the baby front, Dad's rights will be terminated soon and Mom is still on the run. It has been about a month since she took off, abandoning him. If she stays on the run for over 60 days the state can start the termination process. I am still not sure what will happen with this situation and I am not sure how I feel about the situation. I am leaving it in God's hands.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Keeping Faith

Continuing to keep faith when everything seems to be awful is difficult most of the time. I have tried to hold onto the small glimpses of hope that had been seen in months past. I haven't seen many of those moments in the last couple months. The rare moment is in the middle of a ton of bad moments. Times when I am so exhausted that I can't even appreciate the good moments. I work so hard to try to create wonderful memories for her. Often at my own expense financially,emotionally and physically. This past week I surprised Sweetie with a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge. which ended up costing me more than a night at Disney by the time we were done. She had a great time, but for me it was extremely difficult. Being on crutches and wearing a cast made the 2 days anything but fun. I had purchased a latex cast protector that only worked well for taking showers, not for the wave pool. I did try the wave pool for about 20 minutes. After that my good times were over. The rest of the 2 days was hobbling along after Sweetie being the "wallet". Then like she does every single time I do something really nice, Sweetie had a huge tantrum. This time it was because it was time for bed. She did her normal screaming, cussing and throwing of things. At one point she almost pushed me over trying to get out of her room. I was not letting her get past me. Last time she did was when she ended up in the garage throwing tools at me. As she tried to push past me and jump over the dog gate that is in her doorway to keep the dogs out of her room, I started loosing my balance and pulled myself towards the door frame, she banged her leg on the door frame. She jumped back and started screaming that I kicked her. Now picture this, me in a cast kicking her through a dog gate. Yeah, it can't happen. I can hardly put weight on my ankle let alone kick anyone. This is why we are going to install cameras in the house. The worst part of the evening was not the tantrum, it was when she was calm after and processing her feelings that brought on the tantrum. During this time she told me that she doesn't know if she even wants to come home after residential treatment. That was a big kick to the gut. It makes me want to reconsider a group home for after her time at the PRTF is over. I guess that will really depend on how she is able to regulate once home. Right now she can't even stand to be around me or talk to me on the phone for more than a couple minutes. She is having difficulties with her peers. I received a call this week that she was part of a group of girls who chased down another girl, jumped her and beat her up. According to several adult witnesses Sweetie was the one chasing and screaming at the girl and then the other girls were beating her. I don't care that she didn't hit her, as far as I am concerned what she did was just as bad. She is as much a part of traumatizing that girl as the ones who were kicking & punching her. How terrifying that must have been for this girl. My heart is sad that Sweetie has no remorse for this. She is just angry that I do not believe that she didn't participate in the attack. In her mind she was an innocent bystander. Then again she still swears that she didn't put Darling over the fence for our neighbor dog to maul. 
All week she hung up on us after just a minute or 2 of talking. With that and the past weeks behaviors we did not feel it was good to bring her home this weekend and said we would do a visit there. She told us not to come, she didn't want to see us, but a second later asked if I would bring her sneakers to her. I said "Umm, no, I will not drive an hour and half round trip to bring her a second pair of sneakers and not have you spend time with us." So she hung up again. I think we are still going to go tomorrow, that way she can not say that we didn't come. If we go and she rejects us, that is her choice. 

In addition to her behaviors deteriorating, I have been dealing with just trying to keep her in the program there. About a month ago I was informed by Sweetie's therapist (who was in tears) and cottage supervisor that they didn't know how long they could keep her there. The state funding that helps pay for Sweetie to be there is changing the length of treatment time from 12-18 months to up to just a 90 day program. Crap! She has already been there 90 days. She is just coming out of her honeymoon phase and starting to show her real self there. She is right on track for the long term plan. If she would come out now it would be detrimental. She is just starting to feel comfortable with her therapist. They are just starting to deal with her past. To stop now and have to start over in another place with another therapist would not work. In addition she is also at the stage where she is just Angry at everything and everyone. Which makes her very unstable. Because of these changes,  if they don't have enough documentation to prove that she is unsafe enough to stay there that she can't stay there. Unsafe in their terms is an immediate danger to herself or others. Most of the time, with the exception of being in the home setting she is safe enough. But once home and into a home routine she is not. So she is definitely not safe enough to come home. Their recommendation is to put her back into a therapeutic foster home. Just like the past 17 she has lived in, the past 17 that have only worsened her trust in adults. How does that make sense? Let's put the kid right back into the exact environment that created her mental disorders.That or a group home which is basically a  foster home with 4 kids in it... 4 kids with issues. In my opinion a group home would only be a place to learn more bad behaviors Being the relentless advocate that I am contacted The Council for Children's Rights in Charlotte and they have agreed to help me keep her there. They advocate for children's mental health issues all the time. This gives me such relief. Not just for my child, but for all of the kids that are at the PRTF. This residential program specializes in kids with attachment issues. For most of us parents, this was a last resort. It isn't just my daughter that is effected by this change in policy, it is all kids with severe mental issues. The system is very broken when it comes to children in mental health facilities. I was talking to a friend of mine, who has another friend who had to put their daughter into long term mental health care, now the state is threatening to make her a ward of the state because she has been under state care so long. When that happens, she can be put back up for adoption for someone else to adopt. The system is seriously messed up!!! There isn't a day that goes by lately when I don't hear about another mom or meet another mom going through the exact same struggles. And there is very little help for us and our kids. But then events happen like the Sandy Hook Shooting and the people are more worried about gun control than trying to prevent the mental illness that plagues the perpetrators of these awful crimes. Our prisons are filled with grown up RAD kids. It saddens me because I am here trying to do everything possible to make a difference in the one kids life and there are so few resources. I pray that things become easier for us and other families like us to get our kids the help that they need. If not I fear that all our efforts will be in vain. Without proper support, we can not do it on our own. I am glad I at least have my faith in God. I do not know if her being healed is part of his plan, I can hope for that. But, I can hold onto the peace that he does help me find most of the time. Ok, maybe that is the Effexor working, but God had man create some awesome medications! 

On the baby boy front, the mom is still on the run. She had called the social workers mentioned she may be interested in private adoption, but then they have heard nothing else from her since.We could attempt to privately adopt the baby, but after talking it through we decided it was not worth $7000 to have his mom potentially change her mind last minute and have us lose everything. Adopting him privately would create a financial hardship for us. My husband loves me so much, he said if I wanted to do it, we would find a way to do it. But, I just don't feel right about that. My husband recently started attending Warehouse 242 with me. Even though he tries to act like he is only going for me, he is listening and taking in what he hears. He said to me something we heard a few weeks ago in a message. That things will happen in God's time, not ours. He is so right, I am normally pushing through to make things happen that I often get what I think I want but because the timing is wrong it becomes a mess. So this time I am completely leaving that in God's hands. If we are meant to raise this baby than he will become legally available to adopt through foster care. If not than we won't. As long as he is safe, that is all that matters. At this point things are still looking favorable that he will end up here, but I am not taking on the burden of hoping for something that may or may not happen. The last year and a half has already had enough trauma and loss to last the rest of my life. I won't even allow myself to look at baby stuff online. I haven't filled out the paperwork for our home study, which I really do need to do, in case she doesn't return and they need us to take him. I just want things to be a little more certain than right now. 

I have found myself in this funk since the weekend. Wednesday I realized why. It was Leah's second birthday.We would have had a joyous time with her. She was such a sweet baby. I can imagine the cake and the gifts...everything right down to her Gymboree outfit.. But instead I am sitting in our quiet house, with no 2 year old, no 13 year old...just us. And we are tired. I am finding less and less hope to be had in Sweeties prognosis. I am looking for the littlest things to grasp onto. A year into this and the constant rejection and defiance has really begun to eat away at me. I am losing the fun Jen, the one who can go with the flow. I desperately need a vacation, away from it all, no phones, no internet, no rejection. But with this stupid cast on I can't do anything. I so wish I had something positive to write. It has been so long since I could write happy things. I guess my silver lining is that Cris is stepping up and becoming a better husband. He is being supportive of my feelings and of my physical limitations because of the cast. This summer has also been ruined for him. We normally like to travel and hike. But now we are stuck sitting around. I am grateful for His patience. he is the calm right now and finally he is being the rock so I can be weak. i am always the strong one. it is a relief to not be the sole bearer of all of this. i am grateful for him. I am grateful that he is starting to believe in God again. So there, I found a positive and I will end on that note.