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!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ground Rules

So last night I told Kitty in therapy that Biomom was coming. Kitty chose, big shock, to get to see Biomom. We told Kitty that we had many concerns, and listed a few of our reasons this might not be a good idea. No effect, but at least we got them out there. Kitty stated, "I know it's strange, but I still love her." We reassured Kitty that that is not strange at all!

We asked Kitty what would she like to get out of the visit. Kitty asked about Bear's rules and goals. I told her that Bear wanted to confront Biomom about putting him in foster care, and ask questions about Biodad. Kitty didn't understand why Bear was angry at Biomom. When we asked her what questions she had, she mentioned Biofather (although she had no ideas on specific questions) and at one point wanted to know if the Grandmother she was named after (birth name) was dead (Bear had told her that she was). She had no intention of asking anything "controversial" or confrontational.

We informed Kitty that there were some things we wanted her to understand.
1. This does not mean she is going to start seeing or talking to Biomom all the time - maybe not until she is 18.
2. This meeting is for closure.
3. We do not want to share a lot of personal information about our family (although biofamily has almost everything and has never shown an unwillingness to share).
4. If we feel that she is getting overwhelmed we will stop the meeting immediately or change the subject (we made that part of the ground rules).

So here's where I ask for input on the "Ground Rules" to send to Biomom (or present in the meeting) from you guys.

This is what we have so far (most of these came from the therapist and I and/or Bear):

1. No lies (Bear specifically wants the truth about TPR).
2. Biomom acts like the adult (no cussing, no yelling, no blaming)
3. This does not mean ongoing contact.
4. The therapist, Hubby and I can change the subject or end the session at any time.
Bear has not finished his list, but so far he has specifically added:
5. No hugging or touching.
6. No talking about the future (he believes it is none of her business).

I think Kitty is more excited about the fact that she gets to eat out then the actual visit. She is disappointed that their younger sisters will not be coming.

Kitty was agitated, but managed to remain calm during the therapy session. She sucked on a lollypop and that seemed to help. It was a late session so she ate dinner, had a shower and went straight to bed. I added a Melatonin (OTC natural sleep aid) to her meds to help her sleep. It seemed to help. She was much less grouchy this morning then yesterday.

Kitty has an appointment with the psychiatrist tonight. I plan to talk to him about possibly adding an anti-anxiety medication. I hope it doesn't look like we're trying to fix these children with medication. They just have so many issues that to help them function and grow requires assistance - otherwise they are too overwhelmed by symptoms and stimulation to cope and develop.

In answer to a question, I explained to Kitty last night that before Bear went to residential treatment his brain stem was constantly going "AiieeeaiieeeAiiee," and telling his body that he needed to go into "fight, flight or freeze" mode. Our bodies don't know the difference between excitement and anxiety. He tends to "fight" when in this mode. The combination of medications that he is on now help his body stay calm and keep from sending the "AiieeeaiieeeAiiee" signals to his brain stem. I tried to explain to Kitty that she has similar issues, but her body tends to say "flight" or "freeze" and she dissociates (distracts herself). That we are working on helping her with this. Kitty asked me to stop saying, "AiieeeaiieeeAiiee," so the conversation ended.

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