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, September 28, 2008

When the past won't stay past!

Yesterday, Bear mentioned that his and Kitty's little sisters would be staying with Biograndma. Of course I had to let them talk to them. I can't say it out loud, but I wish I could just make all the biofamily just go away. It brings up so much for the kids, although they are finally getting to the point that they don't act out as much. Actually yesterday it was the biokids that were trying to drive me insane. Lots of "I wish we still only had two kids." I have to admit that yesterday I was a little cranky and short with all the kids which probably made it all worse.

They hate shopping with me, but when Hubby teaches scuba, they can't stay home so they have to go. We went to Salvation Army as usual and got more clothes (Ponito is growing again and needed jeans. Bob needed PE clothes for school.) Bob and I got in a big argument because I found the shorts she needed in the men's department (have to be plain and long). She hates that men's shoes and clothes fit. Everyone was bored and whiny.

We ate lunch out at Burger King (a big treat), but I made them use coupons so they didn't all get exactly what they wanted. More pouting! Then I told them I had a surprise activity planned. Kitty immediately starts guessing that we're going to the airport to pick up her sisters! *sigh* She knows it won't happen, but she keeps bringing it up. The activity was a children's sewing class. They would learn how to sew on a button and stitch together a felt animal. This went over like a lead balloon!! I used to be a professional seamstress so I want my kids to at least be able to sew on a button, but I know they don't want to learn from me.

I stayed with them, because I didn't feel comfortable leaving the teachers with my whiny, emotionally disturbed... well, brats is the nicest way to describe them at the moment! After about 20 minutes I stepped away. I realized the kids were behaving worse with me around. I went to talk to some of the other moms. Bear was the oldest kid there, but there was a pretty 14 year old girl there with her cousins (she is interested in Project Runway type sewing). He ended up hanging out with his siblings though. I had to keep sending kids back to the sewing tables, they wanted to hang out with me!

Bob has worked on sewing with Grandma a little so she had sewn a button before. She insisted on sewing the felt animal her own way, but was still the first kid to finish. There were about 25 children there. The majority of them between ages 8-10. For the longest time, my two were the only boys. Toward the end, the twin of one of the little girls showed up and he decided to make an animal too. After finishing her animal, Bob proceeded to actually lay on the floor and whine about wanting to leave. I told them we weren't going to leave until all 4 kids were done.

Ponito and Kitty finally finished, but Bear was still plugging away. Looking at his and Kitty's work, fine motor skills are something they definitely need to work on. Ponito ended up going back and reworking Kitty's project! The class was 2 hours. Bear was the last child to finish. We were there 2 hours and 15 minutes!! I had a nice time visiting with the parents and one of the teachers was someone I knew from my past life (pre-kids!). The last time I saw her was a fashion show. I found out later I was pregnant with Bob at the time. The teacher was a little surprised to see all my kids!

So after finishing the shopping (Mrs. Bairds thrift store where I bought them snack pies, Big Lots, and Sam's Club), we managed to squeeze all the stuff in the trunk of my little car, with the bottled water and a couple of other things in the front seat (which meant Bear could no longer sit up front without his knees touching his nose) and more in the back seat in laps.

My car is already very tiny when you include, Big Bear (5'9", 190lbs, BIG shoulders, the inability to keep his knees less than a foot apart, and the constant twitching and shifting his shoulders - nervous tic), Bob (5'8", 170lbs and size 13W feet), Kitty ("only" 5'4", 130lbs and is recently obsessed with sitting up front so she can do the shifting - it's an automatic so she puts it in reverse and drive), and poor little Ponito is required to always sit in the middle of the backseat, because as the smallest/youngest one he is never allowed to take a turn up front, and the middle seat has no head rest so it's not as safe for all the big kids. The other kids rotate who sits in the front seat.

So on the way home, Bear asks to call the Grandparents so they can talk to their sisters. He'd tried earlier, but no one answered. He'd managed to keep my cell phone - something that irritates me since he's already stolen it from me once. He spent a few minutes talking to Grandma and the little girls - actually a pretty perfuctory conversation. Then Kitty got on.

Kitty found out that the baby was at Grandma's house, and so was biomom. They were all getting ready to go to a birthday party. Kitty talked to her sisters about innocuous stuff (how old the girls were, when is their birthday...). When she found out the baby was there, she asked if "Barb" (not her real name) was there. Apparently the girls asked why she said "Barb" instead of "Mom." Kitty gave me a furtive glance and said that since her adoption she had a new Mom. She said "Barb" will always be her mom though. At least she didn't say "real" mom.

This has got to be so hard on Kitty. She misses her biofamily so much. I always make it perfectly clear that I understand and it is OK for her to miss them (and her foster family, and Nebraska) I NEVER run down Barb, although I have had to occasionally point out that some of her choices weren't the best. It's such a fine line. I don't want Kitty (or Bear) to think that Barb just couldn't handle them at the time (and that that was all thier fault) and now that they were "better" she would happily take them back and everything would be fine (although Barb does act like the kids are just out on loan to me.) I don't mind the kids continuing their relationships with their biofamily. Now though Kitty is wanting to know why she can't talk to Barb.

When we first got the kids, we were told by caseworkers and therapists that Barb was unable to accept any blame for what happened and that she actively blamed the children. The fact that her neglectful parenting, choice in men (abusive toward both her and the kids), constantly running away from her problems - usually out of state, etc. was a big factor in why the children had issues was never acknowledged by her. We were told it was in the childrens' best interest to not allow her to communicate with them.

A biofamily member gave Barb my e-mail address and she started communicating with me. It was evident that nothing had really changed in her attitude toward the kids. She seemed to think that they were still "hers."

I have told Kitty that biomom still acted like it was the children's fault that they were no longer in the home. Kitty says she now knows that is not true, and therefore it doesn't matter what biomom says. She wants to know why she cannot talk to biomom. She assures me that she would not say anything she shouldn't. I just don't know what to do. Early on in attachment therapy, we had Kitty pretend that an empty chair was biomom and tried to get her to tell biomom what she wanted to say (to help with closure). Kitty was unable to handle it even for a few seconds and ended up having to be restrained. That was over a year ago though.

EMDR therapy and 1 1/2 years of attachment therapy have helped Kitty a lot. She still does not accept hugs and affection from me unless it is on her own terms, she still has the occasional meltdown, but she no longer rages. Maybe she could/should talk to biomom. Maybe I should set up the conversation to give her some closure (which she never got) - I know biomom wouldn't be pushing for "closure" though.

Kitty has definite symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (as does Bear). One thing that means is that she always sees things as black and white. I worry that she will only remember the good times with biomom and block out the bad stuff. I worry that she will see me as her warden, keeping her from her "real" family. I know she wants the new baby to know her. I know she misses her sisters. Right now she wants to bring her sisters here, but what if she decides she would rather be there?

Right now, as far as I know, biomom is currently single. She bought a house and went back to school. She kicked out her latest abusive boyfriend (the baby's father) months ago. All I know about her life right now makes it seem as though everything is fine. Why wouldn't Kitty think about going back? Bear hates biomom at the moment (actually since he moved in with us), so I don't worry about him wanting to go back. With his RAD (a serious attachment disorder) he will most likely never really want much of a relationship with his little sisters beyone the "Hi. How are you?" stuff. Kitty on the other hand, is definitely torn. She's my little girl for now, but the minute she turns 18 I can see her going back.

OK, enough angst. I don't need to worry about this right now. I'm going to rest my sore arms and catch up on my reading for the last 45 minutes before all the kids get home from school.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You know I don't know anything about all these special needs and circumstances your kids have, but I do know you. You DO know the right answer for Kitty; it's in your post. In everything you describe in Kitty you tell us that she is not quite stable yet. It doesn't matter what Biomom is all about, she is not the issue, Kitty is. If you still arent' sure, check w/ her docs and therapists.

I feel for you, Mary. I'm so glad I don't have your decisions to make in my daily life.