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!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jesus gift - hope!

Just wanted to share a positive story for once. On Christmas Eve we celebrate Jesus' birthday by giving Him gifts. These are spiritual gifts (kind of like New Year's Resolutions) that we know He would want for us (like spending more time with our family, going to church more, having a better attitude...).

This was going to be the first Christmas since Bear came to live with us 7 years ago, which is when we started this tradition, that we were going to celebrate without him. Bear called just as we were getting started, and was able to tell me his (amazing) Jesus' present.  To summarize, he wants to come home, take his meds, get right with God, stay off drugs... I know not to put all my faith in this, but when he moved out almost a year ago, I thought we'd lost him and nothing we'd done had made a difference. Apparently I was wrong!

My Jesus gift:

Dear Jesus,

My gift to you is to get to bed earlier and support my family cheerfully and tolerantly.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Letter to Bear in Prison

Dear Bear,

Everyone here is doing OK.  I've enclosed the pictures you wanted, including the family Christmas pictures.  It seems so weird not to have you in them.  Hopefully next year!  (I was tempted to PhotoShop you in as you mentioned!).

I want to apologize for not writing you sooner.  Part of the reason is that I'm not a letter writer (I prefer e-mail), but also because we talk to you on the phone often, so there's not a lot left to say.  I'm going to try to write you as soon as I receive your letters from now on.  I hope you will write more often now that you have money for letter supplies. {I'm enclosing a money order I've been meaning to send for months} We're going to have to request that you only call in an emergency.  We just can't afford to keep paying for collect calls.  I'm really sorry about that, Sweetie, but money is really tight.  That's another reason I'm promising to be better about writing.  I want to hear about how you're doing and what's going on in your life.

I'm pretty worried about you.  I wish you were back home so I could help you get the services you need - medication, but also therapy.  I've always felt that while it was really good that you were finally on the right meds, but it made for a lot less pressure to work on the trauma and emotional issues you also needed to work on - so you could have close relationships with women and family, and not run away when people get too close or there was a conflict/ argument.

I strongly hope that you'll take the advice of your neuropsychologist and commit to staying "home" for a couple more years, especially now that you've tried being on your own for awhile.  You don't have to live in our house (although you are invited!), but you need somewhere structured while you get back on your meds and therapy and rehab.  Once you're stable I think Gary Job Corp might be good.  I know you don't like the rules and restrictions, but you do so much better when you have them.

Bear, I love you very much.  You are a smart kid with a lot of potential - you just need a little more time before you try to do this all by yourself.  The reality is that God designed humans to need each other.  When we try to be totally independent and self-sufficient, that's when we stumble.  EVERYONE needs other people.  Even now I still go to my mom for support and advice, and so does your dad.  We love you and want to be there for you!


Kitty's IEP meeting

A commenter asked me:

"Just a thought, how stable is she really if life is so hard with her and shes still so... Walking on eggshells emotionally? How could the school district deny she's effectively disabled like this...
Isn't there anyway to get her more stable than that or is it mostly because her personality disorder makes her character under what the medication controls unstable? "

The reality is that Kitty is stable... as stable as she can be.  Her medications seem to be controlling all they can control (specifically the bipolar disorder).  Which means her personality disorder and the brain injury (which effects her emotions in addition to her memory and processing) are what make her still emotionally volatile.  This is why the psychiatrist and treatment centers are willing to say she needs legal guardianship, even though her IQ is over 70 and she probably has enough life skills to live an "OK life" - despite therapy and medications she continues to show signs of instability.

As to why the school doesn't see it?  They don't want to... and she can control it to some extent when she wants.  Also, in public/school her instability primarily shows in socially acceptable ways.  She shuts down.  She gets quiet.  She's extremely compliant.  Her immaturity means she's not interested in experimenting with the type of trouble (sex, truancy and substance abuse) as other kids her age. In other words, she's exactly what the school WANTS.  Of course keeping all that stress and anxiety locked up inside means she has to let it out sometime... and she chooses to do that with us.


We had an IEP meeting recently with a new principal of the special school who really seems to get it.  Kitty was ecstatic with the results, because I decided to trust the principal and let her try vocational classes at the high school next semester.  I don't think she realizes how little time she'll actually be spending at public school, and I hope I'm making the right decision.

For awhile I was thinking that since she's so happy that she's getting what she wanted that maybe we don't have to do the legal guardianship thing right away (her next annual IEP meeting won't be until next December), but the school quickly made it very clear that we did.  They had her sign paperwork that she understood that as soon as she turns 18 (in April), her parents would no longer be voting members of her IEP team, although they still would be invited to meetings.  We knew this, but the problem is that they plan to call an IEP meeting at the end of the school year - in April - to determine her schedule and the plan for the next school year after we see how things go with the vocational program.  I don't think the timing is on purpose, but we still can't take that chance.

Somehow we're going to have to come up with the cash for the attorney.  It's too bad we don't live in a state where you can file the forms yourself for just a few hundred dollars.