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, January 9, 2009

Therapists' opinions

So I had sent the copy of the letter to Kitty's therapists, past and present, before posting it here, and have now had a chance to talk to them all.

I talked to Kitty's former therapist, B. The one who was her therapist the entire time Kitty was in foster care. B had met with Biomom and tried to work with her. When Biomom told B that she was terminating parental rights (TPR), B was shocked and tried to talk her out of it. B required Biomom to take a class regarding TPR, hoping to change her mind. And B had to break the heart of a 9 year old child on a park bench in Nebraska by telling her that her Mommy had given her away forever.

I caught B up on what was going on (we've sent her the occasional updates). She hadn't had a chance to read the letter yet, but said there was a chance it might work. That if Biomom decided to help, then this might even make things a little better.

Biomom didn't lose the children to the system, she dumped the children in the system, just like her parents did to her. Admittedly having a parent as screwed up as she was (drugs, alcohol, multiple abusive men, 5 children with 5 different fathers, moving at least 2x year...) meant my kids should have been removed, and almost were several times (she hid them). In the last 4 and 4.5 years since each of my children were dumped, she appears to have grown up a little - not completely of course, she did just have a baby with an abusive man she lived with for 3 years and dumped before the baby was born. Still 3 years with one man is a long time for her and she has been going to college for at least a year.

What I'm counting on is the fact that Biomom wants to look like a good person. In all her e-mails to me over the last year and apparently with other biofamily, she has always maintained that she did what she did for the good of the children. That she loved them, but they were out of control and she could not get them the services they needed - which was most likely true. Even I, with access to almost all the services I need, have had times where we almost gave up as well - particularly with Bear. When she dumped him in the system (age 11) he was already 5'9" and over 200lbs (he was fully mature), he had already been in several mental institutions and juvie. Granted she screwed him up in the first place.

In my e-mails to Biomom, I've always stated that I don't judge her and that I know it must have been hard. I've never told her I think she is full of B.S. (though obviously I think she is). Only when she has acted like I am a temporary foster parent have I set her straight. I know that Bear's goal of getting her to admit that she gave the kids up voluntarily will never happen and B agrees. B believes there is a possibility that Biomom might go for my letter idea. She appears to need to have the world see her as a good person. At this point, the worst that could happen is that she doesn't, and then I'm really no worse off then I was right?

Unfortunately, Kitty's AT (attachment therapist) is going to be in training all day and will be unable to be involved with the meeting. She will be the one who helps me tell Kitty of the visit though, and will help us decide what Kitty wants to say (and technically if Kitty wants to see Biomom, although I know Kitty'll jump at the chance.). She agrees that now that we've already agreed to the visit for Bear that it would be more harmful than good to deny it to Kitty.

I started working on the logistics of the visit. Right now we have a meeting with biomom with Bear's therapist from 11am to noon. Lunch separately from noon to one. Then from 1-2 we bring Bear into his therapist's office to meet with Biomom - Hubby and I will be there too at Bear's request.

I had thought about just having Kitty join Bear's session, but Hubby and Bear's therapist had several issues with this. One being that Hubby is afraid Bear will get angry and yell and this might cause a meltdown for Kitty. Two, Kitty doesn't know Bear's therapist and has always ignored any of his few attempts at conversation. Three, and most importantly, Kitty has issues with men (even Hubby), so if she does have a meltdown, I will be the only one there able to calm her. Even if we bring in Kitty's EMDR therapist (a lot of people for this small office!), the EMDR therapist has never had to deal with one of Kitty's meltdowns or do a restraint with Kitty.

So option 2, having the EMDR therapist join the parent/ therapist meeting at 11am. At noon, we can pick up Kitty and have lunch with Biomom, EMDR therapist, Hubby and I. Positives for this - food can be a good distraction as well as a comfort, there's a table between Kitty and Biomom, it's before the meeting with Bear so no one has "gotten upset" with Biomom so she might still be willing to comply with my letter, we would be in public so Biomom might be more willing to try to "present a good face." Negatives - if Kitty has a meltdown - we're in public. Timing is going to be tight - Bear's therapist has a 2pm appointment.

I'm leaning toward option 2. I haven't discussed it with Kitty's AT yet.

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