This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

On the Third Day of New Year

On the third day of the New Year my daughter gave to me, three half-hearted "I love yous"

two five minute conversations,

and 7 hours of waiting blearily.

So on the second day we saw Kitty for a few minutes after meeting the psychiatrist. During "visiting hours" she called and talked to me for a few minutes. She'd tried to call us earlier, but we'd gone out to dinner at one of her favorite restaurants. The nurse called about 20 minutes later to get my approval for a med change and put Kitty on. Kitty didn't really have any more to say so we only talked for a minute or two.

Yesterday we talked to her on the phone for a few minutes during morning visiting hours. Hubby and I both got an "I love you" at the end of the call. We told her we wouldn't be sure if the car would be fixed in time to visit her that night, but we would try.

We've been debating whether or not to tell her all the things we're doing now that she's not around. I admit on her second day we were feeling a little... angry, vindicitive, not quite the right words, but close.

Yesterday when we saw her it seemed pointless so we didn't keep it a secret, but when I mentioned we'd missed her call because we'd gone out to eat, I pointed out that she was absolutely loving all the deep fried foods, "white" bread (we only eat whole wheat noodles, bread etc. Which she constantly complains about), and of course tons of desserts (made with "real" sugar). I did mention that we've been allowing the kids to watch Harry Potter (Kitty cannot handle the violence and issues it brings up for her). I pointed out that I'm still not allowing Ponito to watch it (although more because he'd wanted to play outside instead).

Bob is under the weather so we laid around watching movies all day. Hubby got to walk a mile home after dropping off our only vehicle for repair, and took his bike for the mile ride when we went to pick it up again. I think Bear is a little stressed too and he laid around watching movies with us (not normal for him, but his therapist has asked him to try to spend more time with the family). We had neighbor children in and out of the home the whole day playing with Ponito. I did get the permission of their parents to watch Harry Potter 3 and be around Bob who has a virus (had taken her to the doctor on Friday - not strep thank goodness). Most of the kids only sat inside for a few minutes. It was gorgeous weather and a shame to be stuck indoors.

Kitty's visiting hours were from 5 to 7. We let the kids watch the end of the movie (till 5:30pm) and then asked them to quickly get their stuff so we could drop them off at Grandma's for the night, and be able to squeeze a visit in). Bear immediately went to the restroom - he's been known to spend 45 minutes in there. He has "issues" which he won't discuss and refuses to take treatment for unless they get extremely bad, but I also think he uses this as a controlling manipulation technique.

We got to the hospital at 6:30pm. During the visit Kitty was full of enthusiasm for all of her new friends and activities (coloring, walking outside, watching TV, talking). She is not depressed or stressed out (I know we're going to be questioned as to why she's even there. I'm used to that kind of thing by now). I did make a point to mention to her this was because she didn't have the stress of relationships and schoolwork to deal with, which she actually acknowledged (not that I think it changed anything). I am really dreading the family therapy today.

All the way to the hospital and back Hubby and I continued our debate about whether or not Bear or Kitty is RAD. Bear is the only one officially diagnosed with RAD. After he came out of residential treatment (almost a year ago to the day now!), he was much MUCH calmer and less angry. Treating his bipolar disorder effectively seems to have made a significant difference, and I no longer feel that he is actively fighting us and pushing us away. I do feel that he has made little to no progress in emotionally attaching to us.

I heard Data on Star Trek the New Generation explain it well once. Data admitted to "missing" the crew when he'd been away. Jordie asked how that could be since Data is an android with no feelings. Data said that people that he knew and interacted with on a regular basis wore a "groove" in his neural pathways that he missed when it wasn't there. Ok, that's a major paraphrase of something I heard years ago, but that's how I feel it is with Bear. He does not trust people and therefore he can never truely love/attach/ bond, but he no longer appears to assume we are "out to get him." I think he knows we have his best interest at heart. It doesn't hurt me that he doesn't love me. I know he was already 13 when we met him, and nothing could happen until he got the right treatment at age 14.5. He has matured a lot (developmentally) and I see his mental and emotional skills growing. I believe that Hubby mistakes this for attachment. Obviously I could be wrong and Bear may be attaching, as the mother figure, I could easily be the last to know.

As to Kitty, I feel that Kitty is anxiously attached and is not RAD. I feel that she was emotionally attached to biomom and others and that in some way this makes it even harder for her because she feels loyalty issues and guilt associated with caring for us. After 2 years of attachment therapy with her I do feel that she has bonded to me. I know she has major issues with men and of course this has caused her to not warm up to Hubby much at all (although I've seen some progress). He doesn't see the warmth she shows me and therefore I assume he thinks it's not there. Don't know why this is such a big debate for us. Her EMDR therapist who's known her since July has assumed she's RAD. I'll ask her attachment therapist the next time I see her.

Did I mention I hate to lose an argument? *grin*

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