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!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Where did your blog go?


I discovered that Bear had found my blog, and assumed it was because of the Facebook changes caused by the new timeline.  In reading my blog stats to try to discover how much he'd actually read of the blog, I found that my new anonymous commenter was from the town where Biomom is currently living.  The person had been reading for a few days and I assumed had told Bear about the contents of the blog.  

I freaked out and shut down the blog immediately and completely (I know it said I went private, but I didn't), because over the years I've said some things about Biomom and Bear, especially when I was upset, that I knew would upset them.   I couldn't stop shaking.

I decided to confront Biomom in the hopes that she would talk to Bear and help him understand, what I couldn't seem to - the adoption subsidy, and why I wouldn't just hand it over to him.  Plus I wanted to do some damage control.  While Biomom has no direct impact on my life, she is still in contact with Bear.  I hoped if I could reason with her she would help Bear understand.

To clarify, while none of my children read my blog (until now), they have always known I write one and that it is about them.  Bear hates ANYONE talking about him, and the blog has always bugged him.  Being confronted with it, means he had to see things he wanted to pretend didn't happen.  I honestly don't believe he read a lot of the blog (he's not a reader), but someone could have told him about the contents, and the truth is it didn't matter what was actually written, just knowing I was talking about him would have set him off.

I chose to write my blog for several reasons.  
  1. As a place to vent and get support from other moms who "get it."  When I first started blogging I didn't have access to this amazing community, and the few people I knew who'd adopted, even those who'd adopted RAD kids, had adopted younger children.  
  2. To share and provide support and education for other trauma mamas.  Over the years I've had to acquire a crash course in RAD and trauma and I didn't want others to have to go through what I did and make the same mistakes I made.
  3. To provide information to those in my kids' lives that needed it (like Grandma), without having to repeat myself or chance having the kids over hear it.
  4. To maintain a record of events.
I seriously considered closing my blog permanently after these events.  It had become harder and harder to find the time to blog, and as I was becoming more despondent and hopeless over the fact that Kitty was getting worse and worse and we had fewer and fewer options, I was blogging from a more and more negative place, and that felt awful.  I chose not to stop because:
  1. While I do have other places to vent, most of them don't know the "back story," and therefore most of their support is sending hugs and prayers (which are greatly appreciated!), but less practical.  This group has helped me be a better advocate and therapeutic parent for my children - through support, advice, and even helping me write documents.  It also helps to get validation from people who know I'm not a saint or evil personified.  In the weeks since I've closed down the blog I've realized how much I need and care about all of you!
  2. I get a lot of positive feedback and personal satisfaction out of my role as educator and advocate.  It is extremely helpful to be able to say, "Oh, I learned a lot about that at Katharine Leslie's seminar or here's how we handle discipline at our house - here's a link."  I can't imagine just throwing all those resources away.  When you don't get a lot of positive feedback from your kids, it helps to get it from somewhere!
  3. It helps me maintain my link to this community and it's resources.
So I've decided to remove the personal photos, and continue.

*************************************************************

The following is the letter I wrote to biomom after discovering the anonymous commenter came from her town.  I want to thank all the friends who read my blog (whose e-mail I had) who helped me compose it.  It went through a LOT of revisions.  Thank you!!!  Thank you!!!


Dear Biomom, At first I was upset that Facebook timeline changed my privacy settings allowing everyone to see my private Facebook page and my blog, especially since it upset Bear.  Now I believe God had a hand in this, and I hope it was because in some way God thought you could help the kids.
My blog is a private place for parents like me, dealing with very challenging mentally ill, traumatized teens, needing a safe place to vent feelings of frustration, hurt and anger.  I don’t blog about the more extreme and private of my kid’s behaviors, but I try to be as open as possible to better help other parents. 
As you know, Bear has lots of trouble with trust and he doesn’t like that others know about his problems, because it makes it harder for him to pretend his issues don’t exist.  Of course that means he can’t get any help with his issues. 
At Bear’s request, I’ve always kept my e-mails to you short, and without much info.  Now that’s changed.  I feel I can share my concerns with you so you can better help and support him. Bear has lots of serious problems that will make his life hard for him.  Some you know about, like the Bipolar disorder, others have been diagnosed over the years.  His current diagnoses are: 

  • RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) – which means he has severe issues with trust, especially of parents, and relationships.
  • PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) – this means that he frequently feels as though he is in the middle of a traumatic event, even though thought the abuse/traumatic event is long over.  This has improved over the years.
  • Bipolar Disorder – causes him to be aggressive, violent and extremely moody.  Can be controlled by medication, but he’s stopped all meds at this point.  The psychiatrist says that as the meds leave his body and he cycles, he will become psychotic within 6 months of stopping meds (he stopped mid-March).
  •  Attention Deficit Disorder – Difficulty with focus and impulse control.
  • Cerebral Dysrhythmia – fancy name for brain injuries.  There’s no way to know if this was something he was born with or if it happened later.  It causes problem with memory, reasoning, and relationships.  Bear generally does well with tasks, unless he gets emotionally stressed or upset, then his abilities (decision making, impulse control, reaction times) drop a whole lot.  This is another reason we are VERY concerned about him driving.
  •  Borderline IQ – Bear’s IQ is only 79.  Luckily, his strong verbal and speaking skills help him out, but it’s also the reason people have a hard time realizing he needs help and he’s not always getting what he needs to make good decisions.
  •  Addictive Brain – Bear is VERY prone to addictions.  He has already had some issues with drugs and alcohol, and since he’s moved out, I know he’s started drinking and worse.
Like all kids, Bear doesn’t understand that a lot of the things parents do is in their best interest (like making sure the school and courts give him consequences so that he learns NOW that there are consequences to his actions – instead of later when those consequences will be much worse).  
Bear has made some decisions recently that are going to make his life even harder (stopping taking his medication, moving out, drinking, skipping school…).  He will need all of us in his life providing support, for a long, long time.  We have made that commitment to be there for him.  His recent ridiculous claims that we only adopted him for the subsidy are because that is what his brain is afraid is true.  It will take time for him to believe that we are here for him for the rest of his life.  I will be glad when the subsidy ends so he can finally start to see that. 
You {as the anonymous commenter} asked several good questions on my blog and I’d like to respond to them. “Transfer the funds to Bear. It's techinical "his" money, it's only 2 more months worth and makes the problem GO AWAY.” 
  1. The law says subsidies are “for the support and maintenance of the child and his home.”
  1. Even though Bear has chosen not to live at home right now, we are still providing this support.  Plus, over the years it’s cost thousands to repair and replace all the damage Bear's done.  Bear knows the state is satisfied that we are still meeting our end of the agreement (and they have told him he should “man up and go home.”).  {Bear contacted the state of Nebraska and tried to have the subsidy stopped - which would have stopped his Medicaid and considering he's broken his hand twice in the last 6 weeks...} 
  1. Bear needs family not money. 
  2. He cannot handle his own money and isn’t ready to be independent.  He is spending money on alcohol and tobacco, not food (he lost almost 20lbs in the first month he was gone) and shelter (he’s moving from home to home and often sleeping outside).  He’s not sleeping, is skipping school, and I know there are times he goes days without a shower wearing the same filthy clothes.   It hurts me to watch this downward spiral he's on, and I won’t make it worse by giving him a large amount of money. I'm hoping he can make it to graduation, before he completely falls apart (of course I wish he wouldn't fail at all, but there's not much I can do about that).
  1. The subsidy helps me stay at home. 
  2. Both kids’ severe issues and need for strict supervision for safety reasons means it would be impossible to find a job that would allow me to leave for all the doctor/therapy appointments, meetings, court dates, kids home sick, frequent trips to the hospital, be there when they get home from school...   My husband has had to take a pay cut in order to get health care benefits to try to get Kitty the care that she desperately needs that isn’t covered by Medicaid.
  1. If Bear had been able to stop the subsidy, he would have lost his medical coverage!
  2.  He may not be taking his expensive meds (for now), but in the last 6 weeks he’s had two broken bones requiring trips to the ER/hospital, plus follow up appointments with specialists, and this type of injury is going to happen more and more frequently. 
  1. I know he thinks he’s “fine” without his meds, but you haven’t seen him lately.  He looks bad, and he’s going to get worse.  If you or he were considering having him come live with you after high school graduation, I strongly recommend you reconsider.  He needs to be able to get back on his meds when he hits rock bottom (which he will) and in the meantime he’s going to be dangerous.  This is one reason we haven’t allowed him to get a driver’s license (not that that has always stopped him from driving – I don’t know if you read about him “borrowing” a girl’s car and wrecking it while skipping school with a group of friends).

“Kitty isn't hitting or threatening to hit you, doesn't appear to be a danger to herself at this particular moment, as is being a sulky uncooperative teenager. (A sulky uncooperative teen with mental illness, yes, but one who does not be in immediate danger of hurting herself or others).
Why why why is this causing you to think disruption? After so many years? She sounds annoying NOT dangerous?? “

“She won't change because you won't change. (her words)
So why don't you? You are just as stubborn and convinced that your methods are the right ones. Maybe the are the right ones for a typical child but Kitty clearly isn't typical.
Sounds to me like she hit the nail on the head.”
I want to address these two comments together, because they are related.
 
Kitty is not physically violent right now (although I can feel this coming again soon – if/when she gets upset enough to forget that it means jail), but she is becoming more and more irrational and unstable.  She was hospitalized 8 times before this most recent stay in residential psychiatric treatment.  The good news is we finally got her medications changed, and she is no longer suicidal, but the bad news is that means she can’t go to a psych hospital when she’s losing control and overwhelmed.

Kitty has similar diagnoses to Bear, but hers are more severe. 

·         RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) – Unlike Bear, Kitty’s RAD was healing, but while she was in residential treatment, she lost a lot of the strong emotional attachment to me that took years of therapy to build.  It was one of her greatest strengths that she needed to help her get through this, and it has made it even harder for her to be in the home.   
·         C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) – This causes Kitty to ALWAYS feels like her world is in traumatic chaos, even though it’s not.  She is always on the edge of an adrenaline-pumping fight, heart pounding, fight or flight reaction, as though every situation is life or death.  This is why her reactions are so irrational and extreme. 
·         Bipolar Disorder – This is pretty much controlled by her medications.
·         ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity) – She can’t take medication for this until she is stable, so she has great difficulty with focus and impulse control.
·         Cerebral Dysrhythmia – fancy name for brain injuries.  She also has problem with memory, reasoning/ processing, and relationships. 
·         Learning Disabilities  - particularly in the area of reading, but struggles in math too.
·         Borderline IQ – Kitty's IQ is considered low average, BUT if she gets overwhelmed or feels the room is noisy or chaotic then her IQ drops to well below what is considered Mentally Retarded (56).  She can’t reason or function.  Because of the C-PTSD, and possible Auditory Processing Disorder, this is much of the time.
·         Auditory Processing Disorder – Medicaid won’t pay for testing, but this is suspected by her neuropsychologist.  It causes difficulty understanding things she hears and making connections.  Unfortunately she learns best by listening (instead of reading or doing) so this could explain a lot.
·         Emerging Borderline Personality Disorder – Kitty sees the world in black and white – no shades of grey.  If her sister is pretty, then we think she’s ugly.  If we love her brother, then we hate her.  If her sister does well in school, then she’s stupid.  This all or nothing thinking leaves no room for two sisters to be friends.  One has to be better!  She cannot see that parents can love all of their children equally.  She cannot believe that we treat all our children differently based on what they NEED, not how much we love them.   She cannot believe that we love her BECAUSE of her differences, not in spite of them. 
·         Emotionally Delayed (approximately age 6).  Kitty reacts emotionally the way a 6 year old would to most situations.  I don’t know if you noticed this at our meeting.  She is not a mature 17yo who is separating emotionally from her parents and learning to take care of her needs independently.  She still needs help controlling her emotions, and support and help with things like breaking down tasks so they aren’t overwhelming. 

I was so happy to finally get Kitty into a residential treatment center that specializes in treating trauma and Borderline Personality Disorder,  but when she got there, they found she was too young emotionally (6 years old) and the combination of low IQ, immaturity, reasoning/ processing and memory issues, severe emotional issues, and inability to cope with her trauma issues… meant that Kitty could not work their program (which includes DBT therapy and trauma work).   This is the ONLY therapy that is known to help with her issues!  The Center was my last best hope.   Now that they are no longer an option I’ve lost that hope and now I’m stuck.  I don’t know where to go from here.  

Kitty’s therapy sessions (and any time she’s not in public) are full of irrational ranting and venting that she is unable and unwilling to work through.  She won’t/ can’t even use the calming techniques she’s learned.  Kitty can’t see that she is unable to handle stress and is often overwhelmed.  She can’t see that she often contradicts herself and is stuck.  She can’t see that the reason I’m trying to make her world small right now is so we can try to get her stable.  She knows she’s being treated differently as we try to help cope, but she doesn’t really understand why… so she’s blaming me. 

Kitty’s demand that I “change” isn’t rational.  She wants me to give her the freedoms and privileges of a teenager, which even she knows she can’t really handle.  It’s like a kid wanting candy. Parents understand this – candy is yummy, and we’ll give it to them, within reason, but if they are allergic to it, or diabetic, or they are eating candy instead of healthy food… we’re going to limit or eliminate candy for them.  That doesn’t mean the kid is going to like it, and younger kids (which emotionally Kitty is) are going to be mad at the person keeping them from it.  But we do what we think is best for our child… even if we’re wrong sometimes.  Me changing my mind and giving her “candy,” or letting her do whatever she wants, won’t fix what’s wrong, and it could make things a lot worse.

Yes, sometimes Kitty can handle some of the freedoms and privileges of being a teen, but most of the time it is too overwhelming for her.  I don’t always know what all happened to her that day, so I can’t always predict what will overwhelm or trigger her.  Watching this movie, going to that party, or visiting her birth family might not trigger a meltdown this time… but what if it does?  We have no safety net.  No back-up plan.  If she” loses it,” we may never get her back to a stable place again.  That may sound extreme, but that doesn’t make it less true or less scary.

It may be years, if ever, before she’s ready/ able to work on her trauma issues, but they are a very big part of her life RIGHT NOW.  She needs to “change,” to be able to function in the real world.  I know she’s not really capable of that right now, but she doesn’t have a choice. 

So, I’m feeling hopeless and overwhelmed.  That was the place I was blogging from that day.  I don’t have an answer, or even a next step and that scares me.  HOWEVER, that blog post was me upset and venting in what I thought was still a safe, private place.  I will NOT dissolve our adoption of Kitty.  I didn’t even mean it when I wrote it.  I just don’t know what to do next.

If you read anything else in my blog that bothered or upset you, please let me know so we can talk about it.  I hope you value our relationship enough to understand that what I wrote was venting, which we all need to do sometimes, and that you and I can continue to have a positive relationship in the future.  I think our kids need that, and I know I do.  Sorry this letter is so long, but I’ve never been able to tell you a lot of this stuff before, and I wanted you to understand.

I love our kids.  I want what’s best for them, and I know you do too.  I’m not expecting anything from you.  I just wanted you to know why I’m making the decisions I’m making and maybe support me in helping Bear.

Thank you,
Mary

" Saying "no" is not being negative.  Negative is saying "yes" to things that are destroying you."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Full of Poo

This was a draft from a couple of weeks ago.  Since this Kitty's physical health issues have improved somewhat.  Every time we go in though they find something new, but nothing that explains all her symptoms.


Symptoms:

  • Double vision and dizziness - started about a month ago.  Still has it, but claims she's just going to "get used to it."
  • Passed out once or twice. - claimed to anyway.
  • Intermittent vomiting.  Vomited on a Sunday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday and then nothing.  Probably not a lot, and no more than twice a day
  • Side pains - intermittent
  • Anorexia - says she's not hungry and refuses to eat.  Started not long after the doctor mentioned this was a symptom of appendicitis she didn't have, but the doc also changed her meds.
  • Congestion/ Constipation - chronic
  • Right eye not tracking correctly



She's currently diagnosed with:

  • Sinus infection/ bacterial infection - doc can't figure out how a child taking as much nasal stuff as she is (Patanese, saline and Flonase switched to Nasonex) could be so congested.
  • Compacted "poo" - according to x-ray.  Ultrasound says everything else looks "normal."  Started her on Miralax instead of stool softeners - no noticeable difference.
  • Her optic nerves are slanted funny and thin (has a fancy name) -  which could cause the double vision when she's tired and her right eye drifts inward and doesn't track... except she was born with this and it's a new symptom.
  • Acid reflux - she's taking Nexium for this... might be why she can't tolerate acidic foods rather than an allergy to citric acid.
  • Hyper tension - blood pressure 126/90
  • Rule out - Ocular myashenia gravis {ruled out!  Yea!}
  • Rule out - Auditory Processing Disorder - waiting to get referral to ENT.


888888888888888888888888888888888888888888



Kitty’s new thing is refusing to eat. She’s always wanted to be anorexic, but never had the willpower. Now she’s on Miralax twice a day and I think it’s filling her up just enough to take the edge off her hunger. She wants to be thin, and explaining healthy eating to a six year old with mental health issues… all I get is “NO” and “I’m not hungry.”






Me: “Have you had breakfast yet?”


“No, and I’m not going to.”


Me: “You need to eat so your meds work properly.”


“I’m not hungry.”


Me: “I understand that, but you know that your body doesn’t always tell you what it’s feeling. You need to eat a little bit, because your body needs food.”


“No.”


Me: “Our bodies were designed for food.”


“I’m not hungry.”


Me: “I know, but you still need to eat a little bit. Your body was designed to need small meals all day.”


“No.”


Me: “If you don’t eat, then your body will get sick. You will have to go to the hospital and they will make you eat.”


“No.”


Me: “No is not an option. You need to eat. I understand that you want to lose some weight, but not eating won’t work. You will get sick. You’ll end up in the hospital and they will make you eat. Plus, you know if you don’t eat, your body thinks you’re starving so it actually hangs onto the fat.”


“I’m not hungry. If you make me go to the hospital, I’ll kick and scream.”


Me: “I understand that. That will be the ambulance driver’s problem not mine. You still have to eat a little bit so you don’t need to go to the hospital.”


“No.”


Me: “No is not an option. You need to eat a little so your body and your meds work and you stay stable. You don’t want to end up back in the psych hospital.”


“I’m not hungry”


Me: “I get that, but your body needs food.”


“No.”


Me: “I’ll pick you up from school at 11 to take you back to the doctor.”






This has been a problem for years, and we’ve always tried to focus on healthy eating (no diets). In the past, she’s never been able to follow through on threats to never eat again, and if not closely supervised usually ended up gorging, but for the first time I’m seeing some actual willpower. I know trying to force a child to eat is not the right thing to do, but she’s teetering on the edge of unstable and I just can’t take a wait and see attitude. These conversations are not while sitting at the dinner table – they’re at random places when she’s “calm.” I’m not arguing with her, I’m just making calm, empathetic statements. Variations of this conversation have been going on for 4 days (since we started on Miralax twice a day). She’s eaten a very small amount, when forced, but I’m not with her all the time so she’s barely eaten. She’s under a doctor’s care, but I’m scared. This doctor doesn’t get the big picture and Kitty has so much going on that treatment is confusing.




She’s got a sinus infection. Her sinuses are completely clogged up despite taking saline and two nasal sprays daily for months. She’s seriously constipated, despite taking megadoses of stool softeners for years and now Miralax. Her urinalysis showed signs of a bacterial infection. She was vomiting off and on for a week. She’s still dizzy and complaining of double vision (but she’s decided she’s just going to “get used to this.”) She’s had a very low grade fever off and on. She has side pains. And now, a loss of appetite. They’ve sort of ruled out appendicitis, but other than that have no apparent idea what’s wrong.

When we go in for x-rays and things, she keeps insisting that she's "NOT SICK" and she's mad at me for making her do the testing.  When we did the ultrasound on her abdomen the tech gave her a quick list of things to take off and do.  (Take off your shirt, bra and pants, put the robe on with the opening to the back.) She came out for me to tie the robe with her bra and pants on.  I sent her back in to remove the items and she started arguing with me about what the guy said.  I finally asked another tech who told her yes, she did have to take her pants off and she came out saying, "I HATE YOU!" and repeating she wasn't sick.  She wants it to be true so badly that she almost believes it.  It's MY fault that she can't pretend it's true.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Normal teen


It's all my fault, I'm keeping her from her friends and that's making her go "ballistic" so that's my fault too.  I want her to be sick.  I want her to go to the hospital and not be able to go to Nebraska.  She's not going to change, because I won't.  She's WANTS to be mad and refuses anyone's help with calming techniques.  "Whatever," she's just given up on trying to do anything I say because I never reward her with the privileges she wants...

She CAN'T do this.  She is NOT capable of being a normal 17yo.  She can do a lot of the things normal teens do, but she doesn't have the capacity to handle things going wrong.  You could leave a 6yo home alone... as long as nothing goes wrong.  They don't know what to do if a scary man rings the doorbell, or they heat their cocoa in a metal cup in the microwave and it starts a fire, or they forget they turned the bathtub on, or they decide to cross the street and misjudge how fast a car is going, or one of the dogs gets bitten by a raccoon, or a sibling says something mean and "deserves" to be punched...  that's why we don't leave small children unsupervised.

I can therapeutically parent the child that she is, BUT she HATES me for not letting her be a normal teen.  She's getting angrier and angrier as everyone is leaving her behind.  She can see that she's being treated differently, but can't accept that it's because she IS different, and not because we hate her.

After being yelled at for hours I'd had enough.  I told her I was going to change.  She could do whatever she wanted for 24 hours, and I was going to do the same.  I took one of my other kids shopping.  She instantly got on the phone, left the house and met a bunch of boys at the park.  Hubby only knew where she was going because he asked her right as she was leaving.  She left the park with a girlfriend and went to her house.  Right at night fall (10 minutes before room time) the girlfriend's father drove her home.  We'd all eaten pizza, but she chose not to eat.  She stayed up another 2 hours, and overslept the next morning (I told Hubby to go ahead and wake her up so she wouldn't miss the bus, only because she had final exams).

Today I gave her a list of chores and wasn't home when she got home from school.  I told both girls if the chores were done I'd take them shopping.  She did a half-assed job at some of her chores.  Her sister begged off because she needed to study for finals so I said I wasn't going to go shopping because I didn't want to.

I confronted her about her bad choices the day before and she was shocked that they counted against her.  She wants to continue to have the privileges of being a teen, but none of the responsibilities.  She wants to be able to scream and threaten me, and then have everyone act as if nothing has happened.  I get that she's not capable of dealing with the consequences, but the reality is that doesn't mean we can live with her as long as she blames us for treating her like she's mentally ill.

I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place with an avalanche coming.  We can't just stick with status quo anymore.  A big part of me wants to just leave her in Nebraska and drive away, or provoke her until she ends up in the hospital or jail so we don't have to live like this anymore.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Out with the Old, In with the New

Recent events, including a nasty bout of stomach flu, have forced me to re-evaluate my life.

As I look at my life with a new perspective, I realize that I have become more and more negative.  I've been punishing myself for not being enough.  Despite knowing that raising RAD kids is tough, one of the toughest tasks a person can take on, I've always looked at my friends achieving great success like Lisa, and all the hard work she's put into helping her daughter J, and decided that my kids' struggles are because I'm not doing enough.  I had decided that it was a failure on my part.

Since shutting down this blog, I have been avoiding my Google Reader.  Mostly because I've been too busy, but yesterday I felt it was time.  I went to Lisa's blog, and she introduced me to Mary.

Mary is parenting adult RAD kids and in one of her posts she talked about referenced an In Touch article about the prodigal son.  Which talks about how the father of the prodigal son, knew his son was being foolish, but had already left home in his heart.  When his son left, did you notice the "father didn't go to search for his son? Even though he knew that pain and trouble would follow such a foolish decision, he chose to trust God instead of trying to fix the situation and protect his son from the consequences of his unwise choice."

I have been blaming myself and my own issues (like my own attachment disorder) for my attitude toward Bear and his recent action.  The reality is that I can't change the extensive brain damage that he had when I met him, any more than his birth family could.  My feelings about him are understandably conflicted.

Bear was almost 14 when I met him, and a very angry young man.  I do believe that you can love an adopted child as much as a bio child, but I know that it takes two.  I've done everything I can to teach Bear reciprocity, love, and trust.  While I've expressed here my feelings of self-doubt and frustration with him, which have increased over the years, I did try.  I may not have the feelings of unconditional love for Bear that I have for my other children, but I do care about him, and I will always have hope that someday he will be able to allow love to develop between us.

I have chosen to accept this as enough.  If you don't agree, that's your problem.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Honeymood is probably over

SATURDAY

We had our first relatively serious meltdown Sunday.  She cussed a lot, but managed to avoid threatening to hurt herself or me.  I sat outside her door, for awhile, with her on the other side of the door, until I could tell she’d calmed down some.  Then I invited her to join the family when she was ready, and went downstairs.    She came down and apologized to me, but not to the rest of the family or Ponito’s girlfriend who was watching a movie with the family.  Oh well, it’s a start.

It started the day before.  Kitty and I were in the car alone, and we’d been talking about going to Sunday School with her peers. She TOLD me she was going to church the next day.  She also demanded I take her to Grandma's so Grandma could take her to the library (we live outside the city limits so would have to pay for library membership).  We had a conversation about ultimatums (and command statements).  After I explained the definition and gave some examples, she decided to ignore that, and started arguing with me about how I’d “promised” she could go to church this weekend if she was “good.”   (Last weekend since she'd only been home from the Center a couple of days, I'd kept her home with Hubby and I).

She is soooo concrete in her thinking!  She kept talking about how "good" her behavior is, glossing over the, admittedly few, issues we’ve had since she’s been home.  I explained (yet again) that we need to make sure she stays stable and establish a baseline, before we start adding potential stressors.  We canNOT deal with what we were dealing with before she left for the Center.

At a certain point she had to deal with the fact that this is a subjective issue and I’m not changing my mind.  She shut down.  I ran into a small shop to pick up a few things and she chose to stay in the car.  Without thinking about it I'd automatically hit the alarm button as I walked away from the car.   (Kitty later said she should call the police and have me arrested for child abuse for locking her in the car?!)  It’s about 85+ degrees, but she’s not a toddler and I figured she’d come inside the store if she got too hot.   After awhile she set off the car alarm, but I was right on the other side of the store wall, and shut it off.


While I was in the checkout line she came in.  She’d obviously been crying and was hot and sweaty so I told her she could grab a drink or some ice cream (She wants to lose weight since she gained over 10lbs while at the Center, but I knew any suggestion of the better choice would trigger her food issues since she was already on edge).


While shopping, I'd decided to take her to Grandma's and let her go to the library.  I'd called Grandma to confirm it was OK.  I didn't tell Kitty, deciding to make sure she was calm first (and not wanting her to think it was her fit that got her the trip).  On the way to Grandma's she proposed that she be allowed to go to church with the grandparents and stay with them instead of going to her own Sunday School classes.  I told her this was a great compromise and agreed.  


She went on with the rest of her day as though nothing had happened. 


SUNDAY


I get a call from Kitty about 11:30 am saying she had a headache and she'd thrown up in the bathroom  while at church.  I told her church would be over by the time I got there, so she should go lie down in Grandma's Sunday School class until church was over and I would meet her at Grandma's house.  


When Hubby and I got there, she was resting.  I had her come in and eat, but let her read and rest most of the afternoon.  Hubby took the other kids home, and I decided I would work on a puzzle I'd started for a little while before I left.  I alerted Kitty we were leaving soon, and then got sucked in to the puzzle.  Kitty was pretty ticked off that we weren't leaving the second she was ready.


As we were heading home, I decided to take this opportunity to bring up some concerns (repetition is an important step toward acceptance).  Kitty is  mad at me for bringing up issues in the car, and says it is my fault she gets upset.  I tried to explain some of my reasons for having this (and other) conversations in the car:




  • Kitty has been isolating in her room a lot, so we rarely have a chance to talk.
  • Cars can be good places to have conversations - due to less pressure and no eye contact.
  • Talking to Kitty in the middle of a meltdown doesn't work, so you have to find times when she's not upset.
  • No other kids or demands on my time.


Kitty made a random comment, that implied she would be going back to regular school next year. I decided this was a good topic, since she won't be going back to public school next year.  So I let her know this wasn't going to be an option.  Kitty wanted to know why, but didn't want to hear/ believe the answer.      I tried to break it to her gently, and equally gently discuss her limitations without making it feel like criticism, but Kitty instantly lost it.


When we got home she continued the conversation, loudly.  I realized Ponito's girlfriend was over and tried to move the conversation upstairs, and tried to end the conversation, but she'd escalated well past the point of no return.  She did go to her room, but she'd already made some pretty serious threats and I didn't feel comfortable leaving her unsupervised.


She cussed and yelled at me.  Told me to dig a hole, throw myself in and die.  She made threats like, "I want to hurt you, but I'm not going to go to jail."  "My head is going to explode."  


I asked her to use calming techniques, but she was way past those.  Finally after about 15 minutes of me sitting on one side of her door and her sitting on the other (to keep me locked out), she went and got her headphones and shut me out.  I let her know that since she was calm now I'd see her downstairs when she was ready.  About an hour later she came downstairs as if nothing had happened.  She came up behind me on the couch where I was sitting and gave me a kiss on my forehead and a pat/ semi-hug on my shoulder and told me she was sorry.  I think this technique is probably calculated to some extent so that I can't return her hug.




TUESDAY


Therapy was bad.  Really bad.


In the car on the way there, she babbled about a field trip at school and her friends.  She seemed happy, maybe a little manic.  In the lobby she was fine too.  When we walked through the door of the therapist's office, she almost instantly lashed out at me.  The session became all about how mean I was and how I was deliberately torturing her.


It wasn't rational (did I mention wanting to have me arrested for child abuse for "locking her in the car on a hot day"?).  She vented, she raged, she threatened...  I kept my mouth shut and let her get it out.  When the therapist suggested trying some calming techniques, Kitty flat out refused.  She told the therapist it was all my fault, and if I wasn't going to change, then neither was she.  She  very clearly stated that she wasn't going to do any calming techniques (the therapist wanted her to try the side of hand chop).  She wouldn't admit it in so many words, but she said she was going to blame everything on me and preferred to wallow in her misery.




In some ways this isn't really new, but it feels different.  Worse.  Not just the entitlement, the threats, and the increase in blame of me for all her problems, but a general feeling of... hopelessness.  


Not on her part.  


On mine.


For the first time, i'm considering dissolving the adoption.  I don't see this behavior changing and I do see it getting worse.  Much worse.  Hubby is reupping with Legal Shield (aka Pre-paid legal).


I'm scared.

It's too much.


It's too much.  After a grueling therapy session following a bad week full of more verbal abuse, which has finally caused me to seriously think of dissolving 17yo Kitty's adoption for my own protection, I received this text from 18yo Bear who moved out in January.   "U r really screwed up u know that right"

When I texted him back asking what the heck he was talking about since only this morning I'd taken him to the orthopedist to check on the cast he was supposed to be wearing (ripped it off recently) for breaking his hand AGAIN and he was rude, but fine.  After I'd dropped him back at school, he'd called Hubby and asked for $20 for lunch.  He gets free lunches at school, but Hubby had given him $20 last week and I guess he thought he deserved more.

I received this text almost an hour later, "U heard me im taking yall to court by the way"  No response to my texts and it's been over 4 hours.

Hubby is worried because we've continued receiving Bear's adoption subsidy, even though he moved out mid-January.  We've justified it by the fact that I've continued with his case management, and until he went off his meds in March and Kitty came home we would have allowed him to return home and kept his room available (although we've started renovations on it since it was so disgusting, it still has a bed - which he's used once or twice).  We've been driving him places and he comes to dinner with the family every now and then.

Son has got it in his head that he deserves this money (nothing we can say will convince him it doesn't work that way). Hubby is afraid he'll manage to convince someone to let him sue us.

The subsidy ends in July anyway (when he turns 19), and we're already trying to figure out how to deal with that and the paycut my husband had to take to get a job with benefits that will help us with Kitty (who's been out of RTC for less than 2 weeks) and some medical treatments the rest of us need.

It's too much.