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!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bear Behind Bars

I won't go into a lot of detail, but Bear is currently in jail awaiting trial for some very serious charges.

Hubby is taking this pretty hard. He keeps thinking there was something we could have done differently. Honestly I've come to terms with the fact that there's nothing more we could do - the brain damage, the low IQ, the mental illness, the RAD, the trauma... all happened long before we even met Bear (he came to our home when he was 13.5). We had gotten him to a pretty good place, but when he moved out and went off his meds... there was nothing more we could have done. I did worry jail was inevitable and frankly I think he will thrive on the structure.

When Bear called us last Saturday for a bus ticket to Nebraska it turned out he was running from the law, not just a fight with his bio grandfather.  He made it to Nebraska, but after lying to his bio grandmother for several days, he did end up having her drive him back to Oklahoma where he apparently finally turned himself in.  He has burned a LOT of bridges with bio family, and most likely will not be able to stay with any of them when he gets out of jail.  (Lying, property damage, yelling at his 3 yr old sister "for crying", generally exhibiting out of control, aggressive behavior).

I really appreciate how much information Bio Mom and Bio Grandmother gave me.  Otherwise Bear's call from jail on Thursday would have been a big shock, and since he refused to talk about what he's being charged with we would have felt even more clueless.

Bear doesn't seem to understand the seriousness of the charges at all.  His bail is $350,000.  No one can afford the 10% bond (not to mention he's a total flight risk - since he's known the police wanted him to come in since July 8th).  He thinks he can negotiate with the bail bondsman to "work something out" to get him out (using the $600 he and his current girlfriend have saved "for a house").  He has no job and no collateral.

This is a first degree felony and he's basically admitted he's guilty to the police.  The minimum term in prison is 5 years and the death penalty could even apply.  The detective in charge of the case mentioned a 25 to 30 year sentence (didn't say that's what it would be, but kind of implied that was what he expected).  Bear is talking about getting out in a couple of months.  He's talking about all the friends and family he's met in jail - people who know his bioparents, even a first cousin.  These people are "watching out for him" and he's enjoying doing puzzles and hanging out with them.  He's hoping his bio dad will be able to come to court on Wednesday so he can see him for the first time in many, many years.

On Wednesday Bear goes in front of the judge to hear the charges, be asked if he understands them (he'll say yes, although I don't think he really does), and get a packet to apply for a public defender.  I was assured the jail personnel will help him fill this out.

I've told Bear to have the public defender contact me so I can give him information about Bear's IQ and diagnoses which might help his case.  I'm trying to convince Bear this is a good reason to get back on his meds too.  It might also help to have a current psych eval to ensure he really is capable of understanding the charges and trial.  On medication and in a controlled environment, his IQ is 72.  He's been off meds almost 6 months so they are almost definitely out of his system.  His illnesses, issues, processing speed and other issues means his judgment is impaired and he may not be completely accountable for his actions.

I most certainly am not trying to get him out of this. He needs serious consequences, and I'm not totally convinced he won't actually do better in prison than in the "real world."  I don't however think he deserves to be in prison for the rest of his life because of one really bad choice.  I wonder if this is what his stupid psychiatrist had in mind when he told Bear "this is the time of your life to experiment and make bad choices."


Anonymous said...

Yikes. I am really, really sorry to hear that. No parent wants to see her kid locked up. Take care of yourself during this stressful time.

Micheke said...

Hang in there, can't even begin to imagine how tough this must be

j and s (but mainly s) said...

I am so sorry.

Adrian said...

Oh my gosh. I'm so sorry. Even if you saw it coming I can't imagine how hard it must be. My heart goes out to you.
And maybe some good can come of it in getting Bear back on his meds.
Best of luck to you :)

Last Mom said...

I'm so sorry, Mary. (((hugs))))

Lisa said...

I am so sorry Mary. You want him to have steep enough consequences to get him to avoid something like this in the future and impress upon him the severity of his crime, but will he get it even then? The death penalty? Good grief, that sounds so ominous.

It is true that one mistake shouldn't ruin his entire life, but unfortunately, that's the way the justice system could work.

Keep breathing and take care of yourself. I honestly don't think there is any stone you left unturned to help him.

GB's Mom said...

Even if you see it coming, it still feels like a train wreck {{{Hugs}}}

Anna said...

OMG the death penalty. Did he kill someone. I do not think you get the death penalty without killing someone. The police often lie. They are allowed to lie.

Love does not cure mental illness. You are not responsible for his choices or for his erratic behavior when he is off of his meds.

I am so sorry to hear about these struggles.

marythemom said...

Lisa - no, he does not understand the severity of his crime. I do not think he will ever understand. Maybe after he's 25 and his brain matures... maybe not.

Anna - No he didn't kill anyone. I do not think they're even considering the death penalty. Since this is a first offense, it's even possible that he'll get probation, but I hope not. He's gotten off from almost every major consequence he's ever had to deal with (except being put in foster care and going into juvie once when he was 10).


Unknown said...

I have been reading and praying for your family without knowing why....I followed a link from a blogger (wrong in all the right ways) who reads your blog and was so drawn to your story, I went back and read all of the archives....I pray for your family daily, and have been sending up extra prayers for you lately. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers during this difficult time....

marythemom said...

Thanks Marcia. Thanks everyone!! The good thoughts and prayers are helping. We're still in limbo, but should know more after tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. I can't even imagine what you are feeling. Hang in there and know that there are alot of us out here that do care. Even if it is just "online". Hugs..


Johanna said...

So sorry - praying for you and your family. It is so hard to see people we love choose such destructive paths and feel so hopeless to stop it. Sending lots of love your way!

marythemom said...

Accidentally deleted this comment. Didn't want my friend to think I'd rejected it! Mary

RADMomINohio has left a new comment on your post "Bear Behind Bars":

I'm so sorry Mary. Wow. I can comprehend a little bit of what you are going through since Penelope was charged with 4 1st degree felonies but she was only 12 at the time and being female.. well, they don't have jails for that. I will tell you that I understand the feeling of wanting a consequence but at the same time questioning whether a long term jail sentence is warranting, knowing his mental state and background.
Penelope was found not competant to stand trial. I think that is something they should consider for Bear. Penelope wasn't "punished" for her crime, not to say there weren't heaps and heaps of consequences.
My hope for Bear is that your wish for him from last year (?) where legally he will be found not capable of taking care of himself. And hopeflly he will be required to be a treatment program/facility that will give him what he needs.
I'm so sorry you are going through this.

RADMomINohio said...

No worries! Hugs!!! You've really been on my mind lately. I how you are doing okay. As well as to be expected I'm sure.

Katie said...

Mary, I'm praying for you guys. I hope Bear didn't hurt anyone, and I also hope the system helps him get the help he needs. *hugs*

Miz Kizzle said...

Hang in there and tell Bear not to talk to anyone about his involvement in the crime until he has a lawyer. He can be polite and answer questions about his name, age, etc but that's it. The friendly folks he's met in jail can testify against him (and will jump at the opportunity to do so) if he talks to them about what he did.
With an IQ of 72, Bear can claim diminished capacity, which will improve his chances for a lower sentence. You have the documentation to back it up, never mind his ability to seem "normal" to those who don't know him well.
Good luck.

Diana said...

Just catching up here. So very, very sorry you're having to deal with this. And yet, I can also understand the conflicted feeling that he may actually do better in prison.

Sadly, I also think this is one of the biggest fears any of us who are dealing with this kind of stuff have. I had a state educational advocate ask me not long ago what my long term hopes and dreams were for my kids. My response was "to keep them out of prison and able to hold any kind of a job." She then told me I'm not the first that's given that response and it let her know exactly what we're dealing with. Ironically, it hasn't changed anything with the school.

Sending you all kinds of virtual hugs and prayers for healing.

Anonymous said...

How's bear?

Sunday Koffron Taylor said...

Oh, Mary I am so sorry to hear this…even though this is kind of what I have been expecting. I agree about not trying to bail him out, and also about spending a good chunk of his life in prison for a choice that he really wasn’t capable of making better. We have sent documentation to prosecutors, it has helped lessen the consequences, I feel it is my duty to do so. But much like I am reading from you I also wonder if my grown ward wouldn’t be better served in a more structured environment, too bad that we couldn’t fine one for ours. Maybe this will be Bear’s ticket to a court ordered supervised living program….I am PRAYING for some sort of fair and just resolution.

Anonymous said...

Mary, I've been a lurker on your blog for the past few weeks. Your family's story is captivating.I'm so sorry about Bear. I know you must be shocked and saddened. I can't imagine what you must be going through. I hope he will be found incompetent to stand trial. Could he be placed in a residential treatment facility or a half way house?