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!

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Stripping out Bear's room. I don't have to tell you how it's going... I'm sure you could hear my EEEWWWWWSSS! And if you missed mine, then I"m sure you heard my daughter's when she realized she'd just picked up a used condom with her bare hands. Poor Bob!

Got most of the stuff sorted - one rubbermaid box of stuff he might want to keep. 8 kitchen garbage bags, 20 loads of laundry, only one garbage bag of dishes!, relatively small pile of stuff that's not his (it hasn't been that long since I searched last)... he's definitely got some hoarding issues.

Now to sand down the walls (he spits EVERYwhere), rip out the carpet (same reason), get rid of the fish tank and most of the broken and permanently stained furniture, mend the holes in the wall... then all I have to do is wash all the laundry and figure out what to do with it, repaint the walls, replace the ceiling fan, lay the new floor squares... and figure out what to do with the space. I guess convert it into a guest room when the smell is gone.

Oh and try to reclaim the kid bath that no one else would share with him, but I think for a lot of that we're going to have to hire a professional.

The doors for the playroom came today and Poppy is installing them. Hubby is helping a little, but is mostly frustrated with the way Poppy has decided to do it, but since Poppy paid for the doors he doesn't feel comfortable complaining.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kitty coming home by mid March?!!

Letter to the RTF family therapist:

I guess I’m confused. Is Kitty capable of doing DBT at all? My understanding from our conversation in family therapy was that she could “practically teach” the DBT class, but was unable to access the skills when in the heat of the moment. I also heard from you that emotionally she’s only 6yrs old (which I certainly agree with), and therefore DBT and trauma work is beyond her. Which is it? In your email, you mentioned that the problem might be that the Center crams a year of info in 4 months and Kitty is not able to keep up, and suggested she might be better off doing outpatient DBT. I have several problems with this.

  • I’m still confused as to whether or not Kitty is capable of doing DBT at this time.

  • Another is that you mentioned the Center goes through the DBT skills so quickly because the kids in the center are in crisis, our biggest concern is that when Kitty is HOME, she is in CRISIS.

  • If the Center is going through the course too quickly for Kitty, would it not be better to REPEAT the course while in the Center and not in active crisis from being with family and in school?

  • Another big problem of course is that so far I’ve only found one DBT group for teenage girls and it is at LEAST $50 a session and they meet weekly. $200-250/month is of course NOT in our budget.

I have to tell you I am extremely overwhelmed by Kitty returning home without having made any improvements (as evidenced by her blow up on Friday – and repeated blow ups every family visitation). Another understanding I came away with from family therapy was that Kitty can’t handle trauma work right now so we will need to pull her out of EMDR/ trauma therapy. This means she would drop to therapy just once a week with her attachment/somatic therapist. You guys may not know what “freak out” means for Kitty {therapist mentioned that in a group, Kitty said if she was forced to go to the special school and deal with Bob that she would "freak out," but refused to clarify what "freak out" meant to her} , but we most certainly do, and I’m terrified about what this means for the family.

If therapy and coping skills are not going to work, then it feels our only recourse is medication. As you know, at staffing we decided to add another mood stabilizer to Kitty’s medications. Lamict*l is supposed to be very effective but takes a LONG time to build up in her system because it has to be increased very slowly to prevent a fatal rash. They had started her on it at home, but just before she came to the Center we did a “med wash” during one of her many psych hospitalizations and they took her off of it. I am glad you are acknowledging that she needs to stay at the Center until we can get her up to a therapeutic dose.

We also discussed at staffing starting Kitty on ADHD meds again, but she’s been hyper focused on hiding her difficulties with focus and impulsivity at school (more people pleasing) so the doctor wasn’t seeing a need to add the med. She mentioned her concerns to the doctor as well, but of course the Lamictal is first priority. I do have to wonder if getting her on ADHD meds would help with the impulsivity and give her a few seconds she might need to make a choice to use her DBT skills instead of dropping immediately into fight, flight or freeze mode.

I plan to bring Kitty’s sister (our biodaughter, Bob, age 15), to family therapy this week (tomorrow). If we’re moving up the time table then maybe it would help to deal with some of Kitty’s issues with jealousy about what Bob is able to do/handle despite being younger than Kitty. Somehow we need to get Bob to understand that even though the girls are in the same grade, they do not have the same skills or responsibilities/ privileges. Bob is still out of school with mono (The doctor is not concerned about her being contagious. She’s not showing many signs of mono at all – just a low grade fever, and she’s very conscientious about not getting her saliva on anyone – no licking! *grin*).

I’ll be honest; I think that if Kittyis released this soon, we’re going to go right back to Kitty being completely overwhelmed by life and right back to spending alternate weeks in the psych hospitals. The Center may not be the perfect place for her, but I’m not sure what our alternatives would be.

Thank you,


I'm done.

I know I've said it before, but I really am done.

It's too much. The stupid pdoc was actually encouraging Bear's plans to move to Hawaii (apparently his latest Kleenex girl has family there) after graduation, was "proud" of him for losing 18lbs in the last 3 weeks because he's overweight, and basically acted as though I was an overprotective mama and Bear was doing great.

I told Bear when he came by tonight I was giving him a week's worth of meds at a time from now on. When he talked about Senior pictures and graduation invitations I was noncommital, and just asked him to give the photographer (our cousin) my love. I'll tell him when to go to the orthopedist for his hand (which he really did fracture), but I'll try to make it so I don't have to go.

I'm done. Maybe I'm overreacting, but I've got too much on my plate, and he could care less. He expects no better anyway. I hate that Hubby doesn't agree, and I feel guilty about continuing to take adoption subsidy money for the next few months (until he turns 19 in July), but we can't afford to not have it.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to stop crying, and focus on getting services in place for his sister before she gets home in a few weeks. NOTHING has changed with her. They're sending her home because the program is moving too fast for her, not because she's healed in anyway.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Validation at a staffing

Kitty would "rather die" than let anyone see her as less than perfect. When you remove some of the stress (family especially), then she can really hide her issues. Plus she really does have major issues with impulse control and processing - so she can't access coping skills when she's "in the moment."

I did a staffing with the treatment team (psychiatrist and nurse) at the residential treatment facility via conference call. I'd asked them to speak to them before Kitty came into the room. I got pretty passionate about it, because I was freaking out about her coming home so soon. Maybe I was too passionate. I think the pdoc started discounting what I was saying.

Good news. I got them to put her on a second mood stabilizer (Lamictal - which takes forever to get in her system) so hopefully that will help when she gets home. The pdoc started to put me off until we saw how she did on a pass, but I informed him that she was HORRID at the last family visit (most of them really), and we were afraid to take her on a pass.

I told the staffing team she also had been complaining about not having an ADHD med to help with focus. The pdoc said, "well, the school and staff say she's fine. She's making As and Bs and doing well." I tried to tell him she was probably doing everything in her power to maintain her "perfect" image. I also argued that this might be why she's having issues with impulsivity and inability to do her DBT skills when in the moment. He still said, "no."

Have to admit I LOLed (quietly) when he asked her about ADHD issues after she came in the room... and she said EXACTLY what I said. They're still going to add the Lamictal first and then focus later on the ADHD meds. She also apologized to me about her behavior at the last family visit. A little validation for me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Going to the doctor with Bear

Bear called me at 7am stating that his hand was "distorted and purple" and he needed to go to the doctor. His friend would take him to school, but didn't have the gas money to drop him off at our house for me to take him in for an appointment. I discovered that he'd injured his hand on Thursday (5 days before!), but he hadn't bothered to tell us or show us when he'd picked up his meds Friday or Monday night (Grandma didn't know any better and let him take most of his weekend meds on Friday - Hubby and I were in Houston when he dropped by to pick them up). He said he hadn't mentioned it because it was "fine" most of the time, but it "fluctuated." It just really hurt this morning.

On the way to the school to pick him up as arranged, I called the doctor's office and the earliest I could get an appointment wasn't until after 11am. So he'd have plenty of time to go to first period of the day, Philosophy, which he's failing... but he'd decided he "couldn't make it." He did look exhausted. He told me he wasn't sleeping well (denied it later to the doctor though).

He also said we "should probably talk," but didn't say much, except to ramble about "getting a fresh start" in Hawaii*. He pointed out he’s been gone for 3 weeks and is doing OK… then just dropped the conversation. Later he was "bragging" that he'd made $147 this week (which he was using to pay for rent and gas money to his work). I pointed out that if he didn’t have health insurance (Medicaid) this visit to the doctor would have cost well over $300.

After looking at his hand, I could tell it hurt, but it didn't seem anything like he'd described, "broken, purple and distorted..." I insisted he put ice on it (he didn't like that because it made it hurt - doctor later told him to put ice on it 2-3 times a day even though it hurt a little at first. I really liked this new doctor!). The nurse asked him if he was coming in for "that old injury."

Bear told me the school athletic trainer had reset it when he did it on Thursday (apparently fooling around with friends and it got slammed in a car door), and it had had to be reset again later... I have no idea whether that was true. He claimed sometimes it hurt and sometimes it was better and that was not why he did not tell me sooner.

He told the school nurse that he hadn't eaten since making a steak lunch for his girlfriend on Sunday (this was Tuesday morning!) so I said we'd stop by the house and pick up some food since we had plenty of time before going to the doctor. He refused, claiming he wasn't hungry in the morning. So I figured if we weren't going home, then I've been putting off going grocery shopping for over a week, and asked if he was OK with that. He agreed so we did a major shopping trip.

During the shopping trip, Bear started to ask me for vitamins to make up for the food he’s not eating (apparently someone is telling him he might be anemic?), but we got interrupted by the mom of one of Ponito's friends – I did bring it up again and tell him he already takes a multi vitamin.

We got back to the house and he helped unload groceries without my having to ask (he likes to carry in as many bags as possible). Then while I unpacked the groceries, he continued texting who knows how many people, like he'd been doing most of the time in the store and car, then fell asleep. I got him to drink a yogurt drink on the way out the door, and after the doctor appointment, on the way to get x-rays, I stopped by a fast food restaurant and bought him a meal... but he didn't finish all of it.

He reeks of cigarettes. When the nurse asked if he smoked, he replied, "No," and I made a derisive noise. After the nurse left, he asked why I'd laughed and I said, "Because you told her you don't smoke." He said, "I don't smoke. I just dip." {I already knew this, but still, Eewww!!} I told him that I know that's not true, and he paused (probably trying to figure out how I knew) and then said, "Well, smoking every now and then doesn't count." I assured him that yes, it does count, and the correct response would have been, "Yes, occasionally." We talked briefly about asthma, the effect of smoking on his nerves/ pain, how bad it is for the body...

Scariest part of the visit?! He's lost 18lbs in 3 weeks!!! We talked about how important eating is for his meds to work, for him to stay healthy, for his overworked kidneys to get what they need... and how weight loss this rapid could be a sign there's something wrong. Once I pointed out the weigh loss to the doctor (who's never seen him before), she became concerned about his weight loss too (although she mentioned it wasn't all bad since he was very overweight before), and seemed to focus in on it possibly being due to an increase in his Conc*rta (which can inhibit appetite) or depression.

She recommended a finger splint (didn't have time to go home and get one), an x-ray (should get results back tomorrow morning), moving up his next psychiatrist appointment (appointment on Thursday afternoon - don't know if I can get him to miss work or taking Senior Pictures, which he'd hoped to schedule for that day). She also fussed at him a little for not taking care of himself and questionned him about why he'd moved out of the house. {Yea!}

I got him back to school just in time for him to go to "work." He didn't come by and pick up his meds this evening.

I hate this. I'm still stressed from dealing with him all day.

*Hawaii - Bear told me he wants a “fresh start” - Is thinking about moving to Hawaii after graduation to “work for a landscaping company”that might want to hire him. Says it’s $1500 for rent/ $500 utilities. After questioning what he needed a "fresh start from?" (no answer), I pointed out he didn’t add food into the equation (expensive!) and a plane ticket out there.

He was asking if the SSI would transfer to Hawaii. I informed him that if he has a job (that makes more than $650/mo) he can’t get SSI. If he doesn’t have SSI or a full-time job with health insurance, then he can't afford meds (which are over $2K a month, and even with just co-pays would be prohibitive). No answer.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

More Good, Bad and Ugly Updates

Could use more prayers (as usual).

Good news: Bear is still living with friends. He's still coming home almost every night for his meds, but...

Bad news: He's no longer going to therapy, starting to skip school, and apparently has decided he's done with family.

Good news: Although Bob has been home with mono for over a month, she has mild symptoms, is keeping up with her school work, and is actually cuddly. I'm really enjoying this mother/ daughter time.

Bad news: The doctor says she can go back to school as soon as she's fever-free (and she's probably not really contagious as long as she keeps her saliva to herself. No licking! *grin*). Still no sign of being ready to go back to school.

Good news: My baby turned 13 last week. The fever he had earlier in the week was apparently not Mono.

Bad news: My BABY turned 13 last week. Now all my kids are teenagers.

Good news: While he doesn't enjoy it, Hubby has a good job that pays the bills and while extra income from me working would be great, we can afford for me to stay home and take care of the kids for now.

Bad news: Hubby is feeling guilty about his contract job not having health insurance so is thinking about taking any job he can get so we can have health insurance that will pay for Kitty to go to partial day hospitalization when she gets home.

Ugly news: In a discussion with Kitty's family therapist (without Kitty in the room), we were told that the residential treatment center doesn't think their program is going to work out for Kitty. They plan to start transitioning her back home over the next 4-6 weeks.

The reasons they gave:

  • She's too young developmentally. The therapist mentioned regression to about age 6yr.

  • The removal of some of her major stressors (family and peers) has enabled her to suppress most of her anxiety so that she doesn't have to work on it while in therapy/ group. She just denies having anything to talk about. Plus she's mostly able to control her behaviors/ emotions because she's not overwhelmed (at home, the smallest issue pushes her over the edge because she's always right there on the edge).

  • Sometimes she trots out a trauma from her past in therapy or group, but it's like she's just telling a story. Not actually processing the trauma. My guess is these are events she's already processed.

  • She's so "therapized" she can practically run the sessions, but when she's actually in the moment and gets emotional, that part of her brain shuts down and she goes into fight, flight or freeze mode, so she is unable to access the skills and training when she actually needs it.

After the family therapy session, we had a visitation with Kitty, and basically nothing's changed... except she's a little more angry with us for sending her away. I'm assuming when she gets home we'll get a honeymoon period for as long as she can control her emotions... which might be only minutes.

Everyone has been telling her she's 16 (almost 17) and she's entitled to all the privileges that go with that (watching teen TV shows, hanging out with friends at the mall, learning to drive...)... but she can barely function at a basic level (hygiene, simple chores, maintaining emotional stability...).

She's NOT diagnosed FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) or intellectually disabled (although her processing is well below 70). In fact she's borderline on pretty much everything (including Borderline Personality Disorder) so she doesn't qualify for services and no one sees any obvious disabilities that we can point to and say... "quit telling her she's normal!"

The hardest part is Bob(15) is in the same grade as Kitty. Biodd is smart, responsible, emotionally stable (well, as emotionally stable as any other teenage girl) ... and Kitty is sooo jealous. Just being in the same house makes her worse.

Kitty thinks she's "normal," and therefore we're just being cruel and unusual, love Bob more, and think she's bad and needs to be punished.

After the last couple of weeks having just Bob and Ponito at home, I've realized how hard it's going to be to have Kitty back home; although it will help that Bear is out of the house (assuming he doesn't come back). I worry that both of the kids are going to go back to disappearing and spending all their time in their rooms for the next few years or longer. I worry that we're out of options since the psych hospitals have said there's nothing they can do for Kitty. This was the only treatment center that seemed like it would make a difference.

I'm terrified.

We aren't going to tell Kitty for awhile, in the hope that she'll continue to work hard while she's there.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Adult Attachment Disorders: Preoccupied Attachment

I just realized I never included the 3rd type of attachment disorder (probably because this is the one of which no one in my family is diagnosed).

Children who have an anxious ambivalent attachment often grow up to have preoccupied attachment patterns. As infants and children, they received inconsistent caregiving - caregivers responded to them in an erratic and unpredictable manner. At times parents were under-involved and emotionally unavailable, while at other times they were overly attentive, intrusive and "emotionally merged" with their children's feelings. Because of this inconsistent parenting style, these children learn from a very young age to heighten and exaggerate their attachment signals- they turn it up a notch- so they are seen, heard, and try to get more reliable care. Occasionally it works, so they keep it up.

As adults, these individuals may look self-absorbed, irritable, demanding and angry. But they are often self-critical and insecure. They seek approval and reassurance from others, yet this never relieves their self-doubt. In their relationships, deep-seated feelings that they are going to be rejected make them worried and not trusting. They have difficulty making decisions and sticking with them- they get caught up in a "thought circle," going back and forth in their minds (racing thoughts); it keeps them from feeling deeply. These people's lives are not balanced: their insecurity leaves them turned against themselves and emotionally desperate in their relationships. They tend to act out impulsively.

People who are preoccupied with attachment tend to agree with the following statements: "I want to be completely emotionally intimate with others, but I often find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I am uncomfortable being without close relationships, but I sometimes worry that others don't value me as much as I value them." Compared to securely attached people, people who are preoccupied with attachment tend to have less positive views about themselves. They often doubt their worth as a partner and blame themselves for their partners' lack of responsiveness. They also have less positive views about their partners because they do not trust in people's good intentions. People who are preoccupied with attachment may experience high levels of emotional expressiveness, worry and impulsiveness in their relationships.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bear On His Own?

After being told there would be consequences (losing his iPod for a few days) for not doing his chores, Bear chose not to come home from school last Friday(little over a week ago). He did show up at 8:30am as requested to go to Metro City for Kitty's family therapy that weekend, and complied with our request to not tell her he'd moved out.

For most of the next week he lived with a known drug dealer and that kid's brother and mom. He attended school and showed up every night to pick up his medications (since he was staying with known drug dealers and no responsible adults, plus he can't take meds to school, we'd had to insist that he could only have one day's worth of meds at a time). He has no car, no driver's license, no job so I've been pleasantly surprised that he keeps showing up.

The first night he arrived to pick up his meds, Hubby complimented him on the way he'd handled the disagreement Thursday night. He told Bear that while we would prefer he stay and deal with his issues instead of running away, we were proud of him for not getting violent and for not storming out. Bear was also told that while we would prefer he stay home (which was also recommended by the neuropsych), that maybe it was time he tried living on his own.

We told him we expect him to continue to be part of the family, and that he needs to take his meds regularly and try to attend the majority of family events (Friday night dinners out, lunch at Grandma's and family therapy). We had him return his house key and asked him to call first before coming over at night (at a reasonable hour) to pick up his meds (that night meds and the meds for the next morning - on school days he gets his midday meds at school).

I do think Bear feels unloved because we did not beg or insist that he stay. We've been pretty successful I think at remaining calm, firm and caring. He is handling his own business to some extent and testing his limits too. He has arranged to get free meals at school. He's going to school and he dropped out of the math class we were so proud of him for requesting (he switched to Philosophy which he's now failing). He's moved around several times with different people, and until Saturday he's been managing to get to the house and take his meds. He looks a little ragged, but otherwise healthy. He still has not managed to attend a single family meal, although he said he would a few times.

Late Saturday morning he texted me that he had a landscaping job, but that he would be attending therapy. Hubby was teaching, but I'd scheduled Ponito's birthday party in the morning so I would be able to go with Bear to therapy, so we could hammer out some of our concerns (we want to explain how the adoption subsidy works and why we won't be turning it or his meds over to him, among other things). We have talked about him switching to doing individual therapy some, but not this first one.

At 2:00pm I got a chance to read his text stating that he'd mistyped his original text and would NOT be going to therapy. I let him know I thought that choosing work over therapy was not a good choice, and reminded him to let you know he wasn't coming (I was in the middle of birthday chaos so couldn't do it myself). He said he'd let you know after he got off work at 5:30pm. I texted him back stating that was VERY rude and he should at least text you. Obviously he didn't do so. My sincere apologies for his rudeness.

He also didn't show up for his midday meds on Saturday (which I'd planned to give him when I took him to therapy). At 11pm on Saturday night I got a call from him stating he was coming to get his night meds. I let him know it was too late as we were already in bed (he was apparently in the driveway as we heard a very loud truck leaving). He didn't show up for Sunday lunch (and Ponito's family birthday party) or his morning or midday meds on Sunday either. He finally showed up Sunday night and got his night meds (and Monday morning meds) - meaning he'd gone almost 48 hours off meds.

Frankly we're not totally sure what's going to happen next. We need to sit down and have a good discussion with him, but he tends to only have a few minutes when he comes to get his meds.


Hubby and I are going back and forth about what to do next.

Part of me (probably the Dismissive Attachment Disordered part with PTSD from living with a RAD teen for 5 years) says FORGET THIS! He's 18 now. That part of me wants to just hand him his med box, tell him he knows our phone number if he wants to come to dinner with us sometime, cancel his adoption subsidy, let the MHMR and school know he's homeless and needs a full-time casemanager... and just focus on getting a job and taking care of Bob (still home with Mono) and Ponito (home sick today - praying it's not mono!).

Another part of me says, I have a moral obligation to him (and to earn the adoption subsidy) so I should continue to provide case management services and to continue to try to convince him to participate in family activities. This is the part of me that is going to hang onto his med box and dispense them nightly, that will continue to provide case management services, that will go to family therapy with him, clean his disgusting room and bathroom but keep his stuff and room ready for him to return, will talk about him to Hubby all hours of the night instead of celebrating Sexuary, and that will continue to try to convince him to not be an idiot -and to continue to grow and develop, knowing we have no way to enforce this.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Essays written by Kitty for promotion to next level at RTF

Kitty read these essays in therapy last week. She spoke eloquently and I had to fight tears.


{I had a very tough time deciphering this one}

Why me?

Why do I have to Be alive?
Why do I have to deal with stuff my friends what understand? I geuss it Because I have to be stronger then most. Will anyone ever understand what is going on inside or will they make it seem that it is unNatrule? Will I ever Be cared about or is it all alxe? When I was younger my life seeme so prefict. I never had rules. I always got what I wanted. So I thought. I thought I ment the world to mofvz {my family?} I thought wrong my whole life seems to Be a lie from age 0 to age 9. No one careed about what happened to me or what I did. I Know Better Now. I Know what right from wrong is. I Know what love is. I even Know what I need. This might seem Cheesy, But it’s true. Sometime though I know what happened was not my folt I still ask Why me?


{She mentioned she had help with this. OBVIOUSLY rewritten using her best handwriting}

You know some days I feel like a nobody. I know that People say you should Believe in yourself but its eaiser said then done. I think life is precious in all, but What’s the point? I feel like death is sometimes better. I feel that iF I die no one will care. Heck, they may even be better off without me. I Know my Biological mom would not even think about coming to my funeral. Sure people think otherwise, but I know almost for a fact she would not. Sometimes I want to cry about what I did to hurt her so much so that she does not care even the slightest about me. But sometimes I wonder if the hurt that I cause was more physical or emotional. I also wonder if she ever cared For me. It hurts that your own mother, someone who gave birth to you, would give you up For a reason. Such as she can’t handle you. I think there are alot of reasons to over come that. But it does not matter anymore what’s done is done. It does not matter what she think if she loves me or does not. It does not matter what anyone thinks if anyone loves me or does not. I’ll always think the same thing and that is what is the point?

Peer Talk 1/24/12

How have your Tramas effected you life now?
{This question was not written in her handwriting. Scarily enough I think it might have been written by staff.}

My Tramas effect my Life now by making me feel like I’m wrouth nothing, because when I was little my mom gave up on me and she basicly through me out on the street. I thought it was my fiote {fault} at frist and and Now I know Better. But it still Efrat {effects} me some day because I forget and I Don’t want to Belive that it was not my folt.

Treatment Team Letter 1/26/12

Well my week went OK
I went to school and I did my work. I pretiapated in group. I’m trying to work on me and me alone. I even got some reading Done this weeken. My goal for Next week is to improve my urgese and try not to over realled. {overreact?} Try to stay logical about what is going on. Also try to stay culm {calm} in family therapy because my Brother is coming. I desive {deserve} my level because I want to work harder at therapy and at school. This week I went all out to stay colm. When people provoked me. I also tried to earn more points by cleaning more then I wanted to. So that is why I think I need this level this week. I hope you feel the same way I Do. Thank you

Monday, February 6, 2012

ORGANIZE - how do you keep organized?

Primarily I use a 3" 3 ring binder with front and back pockets and a clear covering that I can drop things into.

It's divided into sections with tabs. I add to the sections by putting the most recent information in the front of each section.


SPINE- I've dropped in a label with the child's name - since I've got 2 kids), but I also made sure they were different colors so I could recognize a child's quickly.

FRONT I drop in business cards so I don't lose them.

BACK I have a beautiful crayon sketch done by my mom of my daughter. For my son I have a photo of him. I've found some people in the IEP meeting forget we're talking about MY child, even though my child is usually present I find this important.

(I generally try to keep things in chronological order - most recent items in front - unless it's a summary or needs to be in the front because we use it a lot)

Front Pocket - I keep a copy of her most current IEP since it's too big to fit in the binder sections.


Current Meds and Diagnosis page.

Plus, I have some blank ruled paper for notes.

TAB 1. Medical - (this includes copies of discharge paperwork from psychiatric hospitalizations), a current med list, a med list with all the meds they've ever been on (including when they took it and why it was stopped - if I know), immunizations, hearing and vision, and reports in chronological order of any significant medical issues (surgeries, test results and reports...)

TAB 2. Psych evals - (this includes the school version of a psych eval - called an FIE at our school). I like to use big paperclips to keep each report together rather than staples so they can be copied easily and so I can flip through quickly.

TAB 3. School - this has copies of important e-mails, IEP meeting invitations, printed out attendance, behavior reports, grades... I keep the most recent IEP in a pocket in the front of the binder because it's WAAAYYYY too big to fit in the binder. I only have room to keep a "summary" of important stuff in there (she's had 6 IEP meetings this year), so older stuff from past school years usually gets filed away unless it's really significant. A copy of the Procedural Safeguards.

TAB 4. Legal- this is different per child. For my daughter we filed due process against the school (kind of like a lawsuit) so I keep this information here. Including recommendations of the therapists and psychiatrists regarding her school placement. For my son, it's more about his involvement in the judicial system. This would also be where we'd put

TAB 5. Adoption - just some legal documents needed sometimes because our kids were teens when we finalized, their names are different on documents from before their adoption (my daughter's first AND last name changed from her birth name).

Back Pocket - odds and ends. 

I also have a separate file folder for "current stuff." Stuff I haven't had time to hole punch, stuff that doesn't actually belong in the binders, info on programs we're considering, a calendar, "to do" stuff... whatever.

I bought a pretty, STURDY bag/briefcase that has room for the binder, the folder, a pencil bag and a photo "brag book." It has handles that fit easily over my shoulder since it's HEAVY! It only holds one binder, but carrying 2 is impossibly heavy anyway. My current one is RED so I can find it easily. These totes/bags only last about a year before the weight kills them.

Family Update


Bob STILL has Mono. We thought she was finally better (fever-free for almost 48 hours, but she's got another low-grade fever Saturday night. She's been out of school almost 3 weeks. She's not taking any medications for Mono. It's a virus and she has VERY mild symptoms. I will let the doctor know today that she's still got a fever, but more because the school is complaining (got another notice saying we could be prosecuted because she has too many unexcused absences) than because I think they can do anything.

Everything is available online nowadays so Bob is mostly keeping up with her school work. There's some things she doesn't understand (mostly math which I can't help her with), but she's working hard to keep up. I'm enjoying watching episodes of Quantum Leap and old movies with her. The best part is that she's cuddly when she's sick.


Surprisingly Bear is still keeping in touch and taking his meds regularly.

Bear is staying with a kid from school and the kid's mom and older brother. The mom is rarely there and the kid is a known drug dealer. Not sure why they're letting Bear stay there, but Bear has told them it's temporary. Just untill he gets a job. Of course he's been "looking" for a job since September. As far as I can tell they stay up all night playing video games. Once he gets a job he plans to move into an apartment with two other school friends, who don't have any better reputations.

He came home last night to pick up his night meds and his meds for tomorrow morning. We told him that we expect him to continue to come to family events, go to therapy, keep us in the loop about where he is, and to continue to come home daily to get his meds because he can't have more than a day's worth while living with known drug dealers. We also told him he needed to notify us before he came over and we've taken back his key.

I think he wanted us to order him back, beg him to come home, or at least get emotional about it. He seemed shut down and expecting a scene. Instead we were polite and told him he's welcome back if things change, but for now this seems for the best. He packed a bag of stuff and we told him sometime in the next couple of weeks we'd put the rest in Rubbermaid boxes and store it for him. We talked about what to do with his pet goldfish, but didn't come to any conclusion about them. Thought about dumping them back in the pond in the back yard, but I don't think they'd survive.


Ponito is turning 13 this week which means all 4 of my kids will be teens!

The double doors to convert the playroom into his bedroom are on order and it should be done pretty soon. I've found pre-hung doors that exactly fit the space for just a little over $100 and will match all the other doors in the house

We thought about just giving Ponito Bear's old room, but Bear could be home again tomorrow... and anyway his room is DISGUSTING (spit all over the walls and floors, dirty clothes that were rarely changed and even more rarely washed, holes and grafitti on the walls, unidentified stains and smells, remains of hoarded food...)!


Kitty is still in the residential treatment program. She's doing OK. At least they don't seem to be planning to send her home yet. I'm not sure if she has the intellectual/ developmental/ emotional capacity for the treatment to help her heal, but she and they are at least trying.


Feels weird to be back down to just the 2 biokids. First time in 5 years. Both of them are pretty responsible too, so I'm thinking about getting a temp job, at least until Kitty comes home or the Summer, whichever comes first. Going to get dressed up tomorrow and go pick up an application at the local temp agency. I hope I can find something to wear, all the traveling back and forth to Metro City means we've been eating fast food a lot. I gained back the 5 lbs I'd lost since the beginning of the year. *sigh*


Hubby is still job hunting. He really hates his contract engineering job. He has no time off and we have no health insurance. It pays well, but we're mostly maintaining, not able to get ahead. His mom's health issues, driving to Metro City to visit Kitty, and the constant issues with Bear are really affecting his health.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bear runs again

Well Bear (18) moved out again. Evil parents that we are, we told him since he hasn't done his chores in weeks, he needed to surrender his iPod. He refused and immediately told us he was moving out. There was some shoving as Hubby blocked Bear from leaving his room right then so they could talk.

Hubby confronted Bear on the fact that he's running away from his issues as usual. There was a rehashing of everything we’ve been talking about in therapy. Bear decided to stay the night, but said he was moving out the next day. He took his meds and a grocery sac of clothes to school his morning, but didn't take his med box (which is good because I probably would have reported him - he can't have major anti-psychotics and stimulants at school - especially since he's tried to sell them in the past). When he's run away in the past we've already established that he can't have more than one day's worth of meds unless they're administered by a med-savvy responsible adult.

When Bear didn't get off the bus, we assumed he'd found a place to stay. He apparently was still sitting around the school at 5:30pm, but at 6pm he responded to my text asking when he was going to come by and pick up his night meds, by saying he was at the nearby Mickey D's. I questioned him about how he was going to pay for Mickey D's, especially since he owed money. I'd just gotten this e-mail in response to my query about all the school he's missed recently:

Just wanted you to know that I tried to get Bear today but somehow missed him. He then came to see me at the end of the day but I was in a meeting.

Also-can you discuss with Bear an issue where he borrowed $10.00 from a student several weeks ago? When I asked him about it he told me he had given the money to another student and had asked the student to get the money back to the student he owed the $10.00 to. I received a phone call today from the parent stating that his son has still not received the $10.00. I will talk with him on monday about it also.

I admit it was probably a little snarky on my part, but he'd been TELLing me what he was going to do all night, and Hubby was feeling sooo badly.

When he responded with this text:

And that's non of ur bis.

So I responded with this text and didn't hear from him until he showed up on the doorstep.

It is when the AP sends me an e-mail about it. And that was a really jerky thing to "say" to me. Love, Mom

He dropped by briefly to pick up his night meds. In the past he's never found anyone willing to keep him for more than a day (so has never been gone more than a day or two). Will be interesting to see how long he'll be gone.

Hubby feels so guilty, like he's failed and screwed up. He can't hear me when I reassure him that this was inevitable. That now is better than later (Kitty is out of the home so doesn't have to deal with it, and he still has school to go to so if he stops taking his meds - as threatened, then he'll be going psychotic at school, not home).

It doesn't help that Hubby's mom is in surgery for cancer this week (removing a kidney among other things), we have major financial issues and he's trying to job hunt, and Kitty is in an RTF.

We're going to visit Kitty tomorrow and Bear is supposed to join us for family therapy. We were already worried about how this was going to go (he can be verbally abusive and intimidating and was physically abusive when they were little. Plus, we've been working on this in his therapy and he's pretty much said this is how he is and if she has a problem with it then too bad).

Bear stated last night and again tonight that he still plans to go to Metro City with us to visit Kitty for therapy, but... no idea what's going to happen. We have to be there at noon and that means picking him up at 8am at the Mickey D's since he "doesn't know" the address of the boy (a druggie) where he's staying.

3 hours in a car with him (though I suspect if he shows that he'll sleep most of the way). Family therapy and family visitation with a volatile Kitty. Plus a 3 hour trip home.

The good news is that we get to visit with some cousins who live in Metro City and Bob is finally over Strep and Mono and can play with the cousins.