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, October 23, 2013


Posted by a friend of mine:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the children I cannot change,
the courage to help change the ones I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Something I'm still working on!

Kitty remains stable, but during a recent minor meltdown I learned a few things.

One, at one point Kitty yelled at me for not calming her down.  I remember thinking, "How ridiculous!  She's 18.  She's stable.  It shouldn't be my job to calm her down... oh wait.  It is.  I took a deep breath, stuffed down my anger and frustration, hitched up my big girl panties, and calmed her down.  Changed the subject, distracted, and moved on.  Nothing was resolved, but it wasn't going to be anyway.

We officially processed the meltdown a couple of days later in therapy, where she made the second point clearer:

Two, she's deathly afraid of emotions leading her back to being unstable.  This is why she's been isolating more and more.  She's trying to turn off her emotions.  This is a terrifying life or death feeling for her.

Three, she blames me for trying to drag her back to the family and not allowing her to shut herself off.  I'm the evil witch who is trying to force her to be unstable.  No, it's not rational.

And therapy continues...

Kitty is doing great in school, as usual.  She attends a couple of classes at the regular school, including one mostly mainstream math class.  Most of the rest of the time she's at the special school for kids who are emotionally disturbed where she gets a lot of positive feedback as a Merit student (she has the major advantage on not having to overcome acting out behaviors like the majority of the other students).  She has one period every other school day where she is supposed to be at work.  Since the job the school found her is only on Friday and Saturday night, I found her an unpaid job at a neighborhood book store.  She can walk to it during the last period on A days, work for an hour and be back in time to catch the bus home.

She is bored with the part-time book store job.  They have her shelving books for the whole hour (the horror!).  She told me she was going to get her case manager to tell them she quit.  I asked her if she'd told them she'd like to do something else at least part of the time... of course not.  She reminded me that I had relayed a heads up (I'd had a conversation with the book store owner early on in the placement) that the job could be boring at first, but if she hung in there they would trust her with more.  She's decided she can't "hang in there."  I let her know that I understand how hard it is for her to ask for things and stand up for herself, but she needs to at least ASK for a change before she quits.  I also told her that if she still decides to quit she needs to do the right thing and give them 2 weeks notice.  When I asked her what she planned to do during that hour (since the school can't change her schedule until mid-semester and I do NOT want her coming home almost 2 hours earlier with nothing to do and potentially no supervision if I ever get a job), she said a teacher at the special school had a class she could jump in to, but she doesn't need school credit.  She needs job experience.  Need to write to her principal tomorrow.

Bear is still in jail.  It's expected that he will go to prison in about 5 months (don't ask me to explain what's taking so long, I don't get it at all!).  He's still off his meds, but thinks he'll get to see a doctor any day now (of course he's been saying this for over a year).  It changes often, but currently he thinks he might be released about a week after going to prison.

He's told us that he believes someone will come to our home to ensure that it is appropriate for him while he's on probation (no drugs or weapons), but he doesn't think he'll be here long -- just long enough to get a job and a place of his own.  *sigh*  He doesn't understand things like deposits, getting a job as a convicted felon, transportation...

I haven't told the girls yet that plans have changed and he might be coming home before they graduate.  I know they won't be happy.  Kitty has stated several times that she won't live here if he is here.  More therapy work, but honestly, this is a relationship that she really needs to deal with, so I think this is for the best.  Not that I was expecting her to be out of the house before he got home anyway.  Kitty is probably not going to be ready to be independent for a long, long time.

Not sure how we'll get the bathroom finished.  It looks worse now than shown here, because we have now removed all the old tile so it's open to the studs.  We haven't figured out where the money is coming from (I'm still unemployed), and we thought we had more time.  Bear cannot share our bathroom, both because of his history of theft and sheer logistics (6 people sharing one bathroom would be insane - especially since several of them take impossibly long times in the bathroom).

Bob is getting ready to go to college.  She's writing essays, getting recommendations, getting phone calls and letters from recruiters... it's not all she talks about, but apparently it feels like it to Kitty.  Kitty uses this as an excuse to avoid the family.  While I definitely try not to "rub it in Kitty's face," I refuse to avoid the topic.  Bob worked hard to get here, it's a BIG part of her life right now, and she deserves positive affirmation on the subject.

Ponito is not growing much and I'm a little worried.  At 14 he's only 5'4" and less than 100lbs.  Tall and skinny is normal for our family, refusing to eat is not (OK, it was for all the anorexics, but I'm really hoping that's not the issue here).  I'm worried he's stunting his growth and that this might be a sign of a serious problem.  It's hard to draw the line between encouraging him to have a healthy, filling diet and pushing him hard enough to cause an eating disorder (if he doesn't already have one).  He is under a doctor's care, but she doesn't know what's wrong at this point.  Kitty of course doesn't get why he's encouraged to eat calorie heavy snacks when she's not allowed.  Food is such a trauma trigger for her.

Future Kids - negotiations with Hubby are on hold now.  I was hoping to have a child(ren) in our home before Christmas so adoptions would be final before Bear was released (he'd told us it would be 10 months to a year before his release) to avoid complications with the adoption agency, but obviously that's not possible if he'll be home in 5 months, so we'll have to decide if we still want to adopt after Bear moves out again.

Hubby and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in March.  Every year for Christmas pictures we get all dressed - usually in evening gowns if the girls can outvote the boys.  Last year I made their dresses to put in my design book and demonstrate my ability to make prom dresses.  It didn't get me any extra sewing business.  This year I want to wear a wedding dress for my anniversary, and if I'm going to all that trouble, I might as well make it for Christmas pictures, right?  Which means for the girls too.  Which means I have to make 3 evening gowns in the next 3 weeks.  Which means I'm a little overwhelmed so I'm procrastinating.  :(

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