Thursday, October 29, 2009
He was a different story b/c he decided to go to trial and was proven guilty on most charges. He continued to be his arogant self and explained he was innocent. He refused to accept any responsibility for his actions and wanted to retrial it right there by presenting new evidence. At one point, he said he hoped the real guilty person would go to jail. Moron. The defense attorney only wanted to merge a few of the charges to have their sentence run concurrent and to reitterate he stated he was innocent of all charges. The A.D.A. called me up to speak and I read the following with my hands shaking so hard the words were blurry at times. I managed not to cry but it wasn't for lack of emotion.
I want you to imagine having a parent that did the things this man is guilty of. Most people have parents that tuck them into bed at night but he would wake the children from their beds and bring them to his room to satisfy his sexual needs, making nights extremely terrifying for them. He had all the power in the world over our children. He was more powerful than police, DFCS, the school, and even the courts b/c they kept sending them back to him over and over, 5 times. They couldn't trust they were free from him. They were frightened of him for all the things he did and still loved him b/c he was their father. A role he never earned but was awarded. He dominated them and their mother. They view her as another victim in their home. She couldn't save them b/c she was just like them. Three years after coming into
our home they still do not trust that we are different.
Cyr feels her body is damaged beyond repair. She carries a huge burden of guilt b/c she reinacted the same acts he was proven guilty of doing on our children. She is angry. She lost much of her childhood trying to protect her siblings. She wants him to pay for what he done and taken from them. She feels forever is too short.
Patches is so traumatized she has had to be hospitalized in a psychiatric facility. We have been told numerous times to look for a long term placement in a residential treatment facility b/c she struggles so hard to remain our a family. We will continue to fight her b/c she deserves some normalcy after what she endured.
Ruthie wets herself regularly both day and night. She is terrified she will be stolen by them. We have had to go to great lengths to prove she is safe at school b/c of this fear. She is confused b/c she misses them so much but hates what they did to her. She is desperate to stop thinking about all of this.
Michael has been hospitalized b/c he is filled with so much anger he hurts others. After seeing his father here in court, he had to be hospitalized again. His stress caused him to become more aggressive than normal for him
and feared he would hurt me or himself. He sleeps by the side of my bed b/c night time is too scary for him. He thinks about what happened and can't sleep without medication. He has nightmares and cries in his sleep.
Ella, too, sleeps in my room. She talks constantly about what happened and tries to understand why. She wets nightly and cries in her sleep. She and Ruthie are embarrassed and confused by their physical reaction to the abuse. They are dealing with a great deal of shame.
Ava's way of coping is to ignore it all. She has only been able to talk about it a couple of times briefly.
We have made many attempts to find ways to help them feel safe. We have spent 3 years in therapy, read every book we could get our hands on, attended conferences, sought out support groups, and asked many professionals for ways to help them. It boils down to this, they are forever changed by these events. We can help them cope but we can never take these events back. This will impact their future, their spouses, other children they have contact with, and their own children. Virtually, every relationship they have and will have will be affected by their inability to trust b/c of these horrific events and that it was further damaging b/c he was their parent. Nothing has had the impact that their imprisonment has made. They were able to focus on themselves instead of their fear.
The elementary school our children attend had to change their policy to protect them from taking the innocence from another child b/c of their poor boundaries with others. They can't spend the night out, have friends over for an afternoon, dress out in PE, play hide and seek, hang out in their room on the phone, or share a blanket while they watch a movie. We have to closely supervise them, keep door alarms on their doors, have video cameras in their Playroom, and have strict rules regarding undressing for showers. Normal, every day things they have to miss out on b/c they can't be safe or don't feel safe. They take daily medications to help them control their anger, fear, anxiety, depression, and sleep. Their lives are controlled by these emotions and his abuse. They deserve to know he can never get to them again. They deserve to see that his consequence was as severe as their's. He deserves to serve the same life sentence he gave them. He deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
I went back to my seat and waited for the sentence while the A.D.A. explained that other cases have brought about 60-80 years and she felt at least that much would be appropriate. Then the Judge began some legal mumbo jumbo that was very confusing for the rest of us in the courtroom. He announced a Life sentence for the Agg. Sexual Battery. Seems easy enough, right? Then he started saying something about 40 yrs and 60 yrs, and then something about 20 yrs. A minimum time served of 40 yrs and on and on. I had it explained to me 3 different ways before I understood and the tears started rolling. He will never get out. He received a Life sentence with 40 yrs minimum before being considered for parole plus 60 yrs for the CM charges that will be consecutively run plus 20 yrs probation. Still confused? I was. I thought he would get out in 40 yrs. Probably not. He is eligible for parole but then he has these nasty 60 yrs to serve! They said that will muddy the waters and he should never see the light of day w/o his little jumpsuit.
I want to kiss that Judge! He did exactly what needed to be done. He made up for all the other court rulings regarding my children and their safety. These amazing people involved in the entire case saved my children when all others had walked away. This took years of dedication and I am sure they took this home. I am sure they spent nights thinking about how to pull this off, putting aside their own families for my chidlren. We will all forever be thankful for hard work. My children will be safe and more importantly than that, they will feel safe. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Rosemary, Det. Johnson, Det. Bedford, Judge Howell, and last but not least, Jenny.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
It got me going on something I have been procrastinating about. The Victim Impact Statement this Thursday at the sentencing of their parents. The kids have no idea we are still dealing with this. They think they will be locked up forever and that's that. Cyr is smarter than that but the rest are blissfully ignorant to the terrifying date ahead. I will be standing in front of the Judge and a packed courtroom to tell how their life has changed. How they have been impacted by their actions, destroyed is more accurate. You'd think I'd be used to it by now. I'm not. I have a pit in my stomach when I think about what depends on my words. I sure hope I don't let them down.
I am sure I mentioned Patches bus driver and the incident Friday and Saturday. Yesterday she called and apologized to me for the misunderstanding. She is a lovely woman that meant no harm to her and I knew that at the time. She adores Patches. She offered to make it clear to her what her intentions were and how she feels. I am beginning to find so much support in real life that it feels weird. I am used to being defensive and protective but am finding times when our family is appreciated instead of attacked. I could get used to this.
I realized that I have been nominated for a couple of awards. I am so backed up on blogs that I didn't even notice. Jenny had to leave it in a comment and Lisa had to email me. Thank you and I promise to get over there tonight.
I have been asked to be a parent portion of a panel of experts for a local conference by our therapists. They will use videos of our therapy to show different phases and presentations of attachment disorders. They will compile a number of sessions to show different strategies and how they play out. That is all I know. I have many questions. I was a bit preoccupied when they asked and may have been told but missed it. I know it is at a hotel conference room in the giant city we live near but that's it. That's the story of my life, flying by the seat of my pants.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Michael is so proud he was bitten. For some weird boy reason, he acted like it was a Right Of Passage of sorts. It is not something we encourage and take great precautions to make sure it doesn't. There is always a chance with any animal that they may bite. He healed very quickly since they are such tiny teeth marks. It looks much worse than it was.
This is a picture Patches drew of me during the rage above. She will draw pictures or write letters over and over about how he hates me or the other kids. I like my legs in this one.
The kids with some of their loot. They were so excited to have received lollipops in the mail.
More cards and more grins
This is Alyssa's eye after Kiera threw a block at her. It took 10 days to heal. This was not the worst looking day, by far.
Kiera's Mother is holding her, her aunt and her son is next, Nana, and then her Uncles Josh and his son at her birthday party.
Granny, Kiera, her Mother
Kiera checking out her cake. She was hesitant to eat it with the mouse turds on it.
Riding a bike with Cyr
Sunday, October 25, 2009
a mother, you were not banned. I asked that you reveal who you are and not use anonymous. I felt I was respectful to you given your concerns for my children. I tried to address every worry you had. I am sorry you feel I attacked you in any way or that you were not welcome.
I assure you, we are on the same page with radical AT approaches and theories. We do not hold our children in a restraint unless they are violently attacking us, period. They must be a danger to themselves or another and a simple slap or other minor infraction does not mean a danger to anyone. We do not do ANY kind of compression holds in therapy. Therapy consists of my child laying in my lap. I encourage my children to speak their minds, make their own decisions, and have an opinion. I respect their choices, good or bad. For us, it’s all about unconditional love for them. We will love them regardless of their behavior and emotions. Mine couldn’t feel, they were numb. They are now healing, slowly and becoming healthy, happy people that can tell we love them and accept it as the truth. There is no brainwashing or boot camp going on here. I know others have found that helpful. I assure you the parents I know of have tried everything else first.
You all talked about the little boy that “played doctor” and his parents went overboard. You do not know what happened and are adding your own personal experience to it. Playing doctor is completely normal. His mother is well aware of this. She did not share the details of what happened so I will not. I will share that I have a children that had predatory behavior on other children. Predatory being the fact there were threats, promises, and power used to violate my children. My other children were terrified to tell. It has taken years for them to recover and I spent many nights wondering if I did the right thing keeping her here with them. I don’t know many other mothers that would try so hard to keep their family together. I’m not sure it would be right for many other families when a sibling sexually abuses their siblings repeatedly. We had to take incredible steps to keep them safe and we have managed to do just that. We also had enormous support from our therapist to be compassionate and enforce a safety plan. No holding anyone down or forcing them to comply. We supported our children that were victims, we listened, we helped them be more in control of their own bodies, we taught them to stand up for themselves b/c they deserve to be safe. We worked with our other child to feel worthy of a healthy relationship, take responsibility for her actions, we took away her power over the other children, and showed her we would love her no matter her behavior and feelings.
I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have. I try very hard to understand your point of view and the fact you are reading horror stories about this treatment. Those people deserve to go to prison for abusing their children. We do not do those things. One of my children has told me numerous times that she feels out of control when she is raging and she feels safe when I hold her. She has told my other children that it doesn’t hurt and they do not need to worry about her when she is in a hold. Of course this is not at the time of the hold b/c she is thrashing violently trying to hurt me or herself. AT in our lives is gentle and loving. Restraints suck. I avoid them at all costs. They are a necessary part of our lives to keep a couple of my children in our home safely. There is no anger used or rage forced. Only 3 of my children have ever needed to be held, the other 6 have NEVER acted in a way that I worried. Several of them are emotionally disturbed and have attachment issues. They do not attack so they are not held.
The name of my blog, Finishing off my Family, was supposed to be funny. I began it when we were looking for what we felt would be the final members. I had no idea that I would have children with such severe mental illnesses and my life would be in jeopardy today. Kinda ironic that my son has murderous thoughts due to his “real” illness, Schizo-Affective Disorder.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
It took her a minute to go off but she made 2 small holes with her fists, threw a therapeutic toy across the room, kicked the door many times and scared the people in the waiting room, shoved the sofa and stuffed chair around the room, knocked over the video camera, threw her glasses and the therapist's cell, and ripped the speaker system wires out of the wall. What she did do was admit she loves her other mother, she didn't break the glasses, she didn't try to really hurt herself, she didn't try to jump out the window, and she let me hug her and support her at the end. To most this seems ridiculous. This child just destroyed a room and some very expensive equipment. She also said she felt better, she heard me say that I'm not giving up. I do not like to see her get that angry but she does this on her own, no one pushes her to her limit. Life has a way of doing this on it's own. She had been asked if she would sit next to me, something she normally does without hesitation. She was looking for a reason to let her anger out. When I touched her leg she jumped off the sofa and into the corner in a fetal position. As we tried to figure out what was going on she became more aggressive when we hit on something. From what we can tell, after 3 + years with her, she is triggered by the changing of the season. In the past, it has been warmer this month and since the temps dropped lately, her emotional cycle came earlier. I think Michael's recent hospitalization and the trial had some to do with it, too. There is definitely something with the weather.
When all of this was happening this morning at the therapist's office, Ruthie went off here at home. I tried to help Rosa see the bright side of things, she was trying to help her sister practice her take down procedures. They kids were asked to pick up their rooms since they look like a tornado went through there every night. Ruthie went off. She's not even sure what the heck happened. Rosa is the last person to do a restraint. She hates them. I have taught her how b/c it is a necessary requirement in our home to protect the other children as well as the psychotic child. I heard Ruthie in the background when Rosa called, I knew she was escalating and going to require an intervention. You know how you learn the different noises and cries of your new little baby? It's the same with an older child, I know what each sound means and can usually predict which cries will escalate. Ruthie told me later that she feels safe enough around Rosa now that she knows she will hold her to keep her safe when she can't control herself. I'm sure Rosa is so happy about that. LOL When I got home she let me have it a bit and moved on.
My son came in really late last night. He made sure to find me and talk with me about hi experience. He is with older kids b/c chronologically, he is 9. I am sure before long he will be transferred to the younger group where he will fit in much better. He tends to enjoy being considered a "baby" in any situation. It's not a good thing for him.
I was checking my email and accepted a friend request of the sister of my first love. He died in a car accident while we were dating. It was one of those moments that affect you forever. I think of him often and still after all these years, talk to him. Not sure if he is listening or even can, but he has helped me through more in my life than I can tell you. Just the picture of him on her FB brought me to tears, instantly sobbing. It is something that I will never heal from, a loss that shook my world. It's a love that never had the chance to fade and that still aches many years later. He was beautiful, funny, and the most engaging person I have ever met. He had overcome so much in his short life and was an inspiration to me. He was also the person that introduced me to my husband. He insisted in the weeks prior to his accident, I had to meet this guy. He kept telling me how funny he was and how I would love him. Of course not in the way that I do. I didn't actually meet my husband until after he passed. We were friends for many years before dating but I always think back to when he told me all about him and how great he was and smile knowing he'd approve.
I have a lazy weekend planned. I still have 8 boxes of winter clothes to pull in and wash b/c it is getting chilly here. I have to go through the Halloween boxes to pick out costumes. The best part of my weekend will be the naps I plan on taking both days. We are about to go down now.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Michael is being released today! I pick him up in an hour and run him over to be admitted in the partial hospitalization program next door. Ava, Ruthie, and Patches have all been a part of it. He will leave here for school in the morning and be picked up from school by the program. He will stay at the hospital until bed time and they will drop him off. They will do his homework, have group and individual therapy, and feed him. We will get to see him and get a break at the same time. They will monitor his meds and symptoms, too.
Something is about to happen in our home that I never thought would. I believe that everyone has a right to do as they wish int heir own home, with their own family. I just have never been in this position before and given my son's issues, I am a bit freaked out. Rosa will be issued her gun today. She asked if she would be allowed to leave it at the academy but they told her no. They told her she wouldn't have bullets, it comes with 3 safety measures (I think a pin, a chain, and a locked box). She will also be keeping it in our fire proof safe. I am sure it will be fine. They will not have access to it but I am worried their fascination will begin. Rosa turned away from the Director and said, "Perfect. Now all I have to do is keep the kids form burying it in the yard".
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Our new Case Manager from the therapists' office is fantastic. She has a daughter that had a stroke and she was treated the same way we are being treated. We discovered yesterday that she used to work with my Mother and was laid off. She remembers hearing about the kids. She contacted a really cool advocacy group that will help mediate between the school and I. I hope it works. They will help with the IEP process for 5 of the kids. The best part is they are free! I have to meet her there at 9 tomorrow to sign paperwork.
My DH went to see Michael. He was tired and asked to end the visit early. He says he is ready to come home.
Michael's AT called late tonight and we discussed what we need to do to help him. He agrees RTC is the obvious choice but understands my reluctance. He feels that the trial put him over the edge. He feels there shouldn't be any further traumatic events to do this to him. Hopefully, we will be able to decrease his meds again in the future. He thinks I can manage here with a few more precautions in place. We will talk about it over the next month while he is in the partial treatment program and get things in order.
I know most think I am stupid for keeping him here. They think I should listen to all the doctors and professionals but I feel further damage will be done if I make him go. The girls need him here. When he is gone for just a few days, they melt down. Ruthie is in the fetal position when his name is mentioned. Ella and Ava cry when I asked if they wanted to call him. Patches is shutting down in school. They need him. I promised them that I was forever. It is abandonment all over for them. It doesn't matter he will come back or that we go see him, he wouldn't be living here. He will feel I kicked him out b/c of his behavior. He will feel unloved. He needs me. He needs to be reassured by me daily that I love him and he is OK. I am afraid if he leaves his family, he will find it even harder to return to us. Being in a family is hard for him. Especially with the siblings that trigger all his worst fears and worst behaviors. He needs to learn to cope not run. I worry that in the future I will have to agree but for now I will let them go through the process and make my own adjustments here hoping to make it work.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The doctor feels that Residential Treatment is necessary. They want to start the paperwork. I will have the option to change my mind at any time but since it takes so long, they want to start. I am not on board with RTC. I still feel we can adjust his meds here and keep trying. We do share the concern that he is on a lot of meds. He is hesitant to increase them but he agrees with his regular doctor and the therapist and will be increasing his anti psychotic. There are no easy answers. I hate all my choices. I love my son and want him home.
I am so tired I could fall asleep standing. I will update about my son later. All went well last night. He did deny having any murderous thoughts until I reminded him he was safe and not in trouble. He wouldn't unless I would hold hm. He is so scared to tell professionals what is going on. I am sure this is normal but it is frustrating. I am concerned about how the school will react to this. Not concerned enough to call them.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
My son brought home an award this week. It was for Obedience. Anyone else laugh?
Tomorrow we are having a birthday party for Kiera and her birth family. We rented a pavilion across the state, near their home. I am nervous. Both side will be there. The maternal side has not been nice. They feel we stole the baby. The maternal aunt and uncle that had her before us will be there, too. Kiera's mother is worried they will be mean. I have promised to make sure they aren't rude to her or they will be asked to leave. How could I let someone be mean to my child's mother? Won't happen on my watch, I can assure you. I hope things go smoothly but she isn't so sure herself. I am bringing all the kids and both my mother and MIL promise to come. I can't wait for her mother to see her, more than that, to hear her. She talks so much and has changed since they last saw her.
Michael is still sick. He is nice and calm. I am trying to wait as long as he can to take him in. I am sure we will get to that point but he will be heartbroken if he misses her party. I know he can hold himself together there b/c people will be nearby.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
After about 5 minutes, the AT returned. He had heard it all but wanted Michael to tell him himself. Michael was brief but direct. He thinks about killing me and himself. He thinks someone is going to make him do it. He claims he thinks about it all the time, angry or not. He feels really bad about hurting me and wants to be safe.
We agreed to hospitalization in 24 hours, if it continues. He was warm during the session and I realized he was running a fever so I am sure we are good at least until that runs it's course. We went over what we needed to do to make sure we are all safe until then. All the sharp objects are hidden and we informed the kids they needed to turn in all scissors and other related items.
I am worried about him. I am not worried about me. I fear he will think I am abandoning him when he needs me most. He told me he knows I love him more than anyone else b/c I always forgive him and tell him he is still a good boy.
The AT assigned us a case manager. She lives in our direction and will help coordinate efforts with the school. They are very concerned but this is a common situation for them and their clients. I am hopeful this will get better soon.
I have a couple of emails that I keep trying to get to but I am drowning. I promise to try tonight when they are lined up on my floor sleeping.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
We ended the conversation with the promise to continue to hide the knives. We have therapy tomorrow and Michael wants me to discuss hospitalization, again. He has no plan to hurt. He fears he will. I do not think they will keep him. I think the stress of the trial is making him worry about losing me. He begged me to still love him. He sobbed he hates he is mean to me. I rocked him and told him he was such a good boy, that I'll always love him, and forgive him. I only want to see him happy and safe. He is currently sleeping on the floor at my feet. He can't leave my side. I am not worried for my safety. I'll let you know when I am.
We do encourage them to give up control over some things and encourage them to take control over more appropriate things. My children do things like refuse to eat b/c they are mad to have control. They are allowed to eat or not, I expect them to join us at the table or at least, the room. It is still not forced. We do not force control over things like what they wear, their hair, how they do things or what order they do them, and many other normal activities and things in their life. We try to help them learn to trust us by proving we are trust worthy. A day in my home and the last thing you would think is I force any of them to give up their power. We work hard to show them they are in control of themselves. They can not control every one else by raging for hours and holding us all hostage without consequences. We do not spank, threaten to beat, lock them in their room, or restrict them. We wait until THEY are done, unless they are in danger or attacking another person we do not intervene a tantrum physically, they are expected to pay restitution. They will all tell anyone (when they are not tantruming) that the way I restrain them does not hurt them, I am the one that gets injured if any one is hurt and I gladly take that so they aren't further traumatized. I am only holding them to protect them and others. In fact, last night my son threw a plate at my head. He was not restrained b/c he didn't continue to hit, scratch, chase another child to beat them, try to cut himself with a fork, or ram his body into the glass window. Those are all reasons I would hold him, if he tries to kill us, harm us physically, or himself in a deadly way. A hole in the wall is not cause for a restraint. Hollering nasty things wouldn't even get my attention. I try to make sure they are only used when I have to protect us from serious bodily harm. Most of them have seriously injured me in a rage. The guilt they had to deal with was devastating. They have yelled at me that I'm not keeping them safe b/c I haven't moved to restrain them so I must not care about them. Patches is clear, it makes her feel safe. It is hard to accept if you haven't heard it from it from her mouth. If they break something that belongs to someone else, they replace it. They are expected to clean up after themselves and often do w/o a word from me. If they keep us in a public place with a tantrum, they may have to help out with extra chores that needed to be done during the time we were stuck there. Most consider what we require too little. Most want to punish their misbehaving child. We do not. We understand they have problems and have an extremely difficult time regulating their emotions. We constantly tell them how proud we are when they do and point out how much better they did when they lose it. We also talk about how they feel. What do they think they could have done differently to prevent it from happening. We always forgive them. ALWAYS.
It is difficult to understand our life and others like us when you only have your own experiences to draw from. Normal well adjusted children. We do not wish or encourage them to act out at school. It is something I complain about here b/c I can. I am proud they have been able to control themselves there. It wasn't always that way. They have worked hard. My only issue with it is that it makes it even more difficult for people to understand how hard they have it at home. It is b/c they were abused by the very people that were supposed to help them. They are constantly triggered by normal, every day activities that occur in every home. They have severe PTSD from their birth homes. The school secretary is simple. She feeds his baby talk, she bribes him, she rewards him for lying to her, and more. I am not the only one that thinks this woman crosses lines. I want their teachers to like my children. I do not want them to tell them they love them and wish they could take them home. My children think it is an invitation to move in. It has happened to them before. It is confusing for THEM. All kids threaten to run away or want another family, I am never offended by this. I am concerned when they make plans to send me to jail so they can go live with their teacher. Imagine the stress of having to hide a part of you from the rest of the world. Imagine the shame of feeling you can't be yourself with the people you spend most of the day with. They are afraid they will find out. They are afraid they will hate them. I try to teach them there is nothing to be ashamed of. It is very common for children with the issues and background mine have to do this. It is so uncommon in general society that is is not believed by most. It is pushed off as a poor mother or crazy woman trying to make her kids sicker than they are. We all crave to be accepted. I am no different. I wish others could see this side for a moment to understand their struggles better. B/c they don't' see it, they don't think I am credible regarding other things surrounding my children. It doesn't feel good to my children b/c people make it obvious they don't believe me, they go out of their way to "make it up" to my child.
I do not demand obedience. That would be impossible for them to achieve. I give them choices. Usually, a good choice and a bad choice. They can do things at their own pace. I suggest they may want to do it in a timely manner to avoid missing out on such and such. We try to make the consequence a natural one. For example, every one needs to do their chore before we watch the movie. I give them ample time then start it. If they are not done, they miss that part, if they are done, they get to watch. No punishment. No screaming. No anger. They are welcome to take their time. I expect they do their fair share. They each have a small chore. Our chores are things like vacuum the LR, take out the trash, clear off the stairs, pick up the bathroom, wipe off the table, unload the dishes, and sweep the kitchen floor. They are small chores compared to most households b/c they each have one and there are so many kids.
Because of their sexual abuse, we are very careful about their ability to have complete control over their bodies. We do not force anything. We give them the good and bad or why it is needed and wait for them to agree. We teach them ways to feel safe. We practice ways to keep themselves safe and ways to handle situations. The leaps and bounds they have made in this area is shocking. Ruthie alone is one of the more traumatized and yet she is the most confident now. She is a safe child. I couldn't be more proud of her.
Their mental illnesses were brought on early b/c of their traumatic lives. We are focused on the sexual abuse b/c it is what puts all our children at risk today. We have to closely monitor their sexually acting out. They are focused on it all on their own. We do not bring it up. They do. They know other children do not worry about their privates tingling or if the nice teacher will touch them in the bathroom. Other children do not worry they will want to touch their friend's penis or won't be able to quit thinking about it. We let them lead the way. If we see them struggling, we ask what is wrong. We can tell by their body language that they are uncomfortable and we never push them to talk about anything. They want to talk to me. They feel better knowing they can share the tough topics and I never judge them. I accept all their issues, they are not who they are just something they have done or something that has happened to them.
I do a lot of venting here. Most my children did not know most of this ever bothered me or that it was any kind of issue. I do not throw their disabilities in their face. EVER. I do explain why some things are hard for them. They deserve to know. They ask. They do not know most of the terms I use here to clarify things to my readers. I would never tell them they were not normal or suggest they were perfect. They feel they are different. I tell them they are perfect for me, everyone is crazy in their own way, and I assure them nothing can change he way I feel. I point out all their strengths constantly. We have changed strategies many times and what works for one child does not work for the other. They are each a complex little person with their own personality. We let them decide what they don't like about their behaviors and what we focus on. My son tells me all the time he wishes he was nicer to me b/c I am nice to him. We search out professionals with experience and get their thoughts, ideas, and opinions. I am sorry if I haven't been clear but I feel you have grossly misjudged our intentions and actions. Please consider that I only write part of our story. You do not get all the wonderful times we share and all the details of the very bad things. I share a lot here but it is not nearly enough for you to fully understand the complexity of our home and children. They are each praised and adored. They can't accept it. I promise them to keep trying to help them believe. I know I have rambled quite a bit and I apologize. I hope I don't sound like I am attacking back b/c that is not my intention. I see that I need to be more be more clear in the future.
I welcome any comments or issues with anything I say or do. I will not allow anyone to hide behind Anonymous anymore. Tell me who you are. If you want to share your thoughts, it's only fair I know who's doing it. I do not expect or even want every one to agree with me. How could I learn from to hers if I wasn't willing to hear their points? I have noticed in the last few weeks I haven't been as positive as I would like. It is just so hard right now. Obviously, I need to try harder.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The kids are not handling things very well right now. Patches had a very rough night. She destroyed everything. I took pictures. It was very sad. I was impressed that in the middle of the fit she stopped to write a song about me. Of course, it was not something most mother's would like to hear about themselves but I was thrilled she was writing anything. LOL
Ella and Michael are still not eating very well. He is skipping meals completely, up to 2 a day. He is asking for his meds every couple of hours and Ella is asking if I can make her stomach stop hurting. She feels butterflies all the time. Michael, Ava, Ruthie, and Ella are not sleeping very well. For that matter, neither is Kiera. She is having full on nightmares again. It is awful. Michael and Ella are still begging to sleep in our room and are wetting nightly. Ava has had several accidents this week. Life is tough.
They have received an enormous amount of cards! They are so thrilled to check the mail. I took a picture of them opening the first batch. If you could have heard the screams. It was better than Christmas. They think they are famous and popular. Thank you all so much for doing that for them. It has been the only bright spot in a very dark week.
I have been asked by someone how to email me. On the left side of the screen there should be a photo of the kids and it says, "About Me". If you will click on the picture it brings you to my profile and a way to contact me. You may also add me as a friend on Facebook, if you tell me you are from here. I am no longer terrified to be found.
Monday, October 12, 2009
I had to send Michael and Alyssa to school this morning w/ obvious injuries. I am sure they will report me, again. Michael was helping my DH clean out snake cages last night. He loves to do this. He watches the snake on the floor and tells him if he tries to get away. Sometimes, he holds them. One bit his arm when he tried to move him off his leg. They are not poisonous and usually just lay there. He didn't cry or bet upset. In fact, he laughed and said, "He bit me!". He was surprised but acted like it was some kind of right of passage. He asked me to take a picture of it when it was bloody and he has the biggest grin. Alyssa was hit in the eye with Kiera's new wooden blocks. Not hard, she didn't even say anything when it happened. It was an accident. The next morning, she woke with a black eyelid. Rosa laughed and announced she was glad she wasn't the one that would have to home school them all after this. Nice. I guess I will need to document every boo boo for awhile. Oh goodie.
We received another text on her cell this morning. We have taken it and it will be shut off soon. This one asked for a naked picture. Very clear. No "Hey, how are you?". Just "Can I see you naked?". I called the number back and no answer. I asked her about it and she met him in a chat room. She has tried to text him and call him a bunch a few months ago but he never picks up. Wonder why? He probably is afraid his 40 yr old manly voice will give him away. I am amazed a how she is able to do this with so many of us around her the entire time she is on the computer. I am assuming she is appropriate online and then takes it to another level off line through texts. I am so sad for her.
Last night, I spoke with their paternal aunt. They still are holding out for his innocence. It has been very hard on them b/c they went through this 15 yrs ago with his father. A strange comment was made that we were the foster parents of their father's sisters when they were young. This is not true. We are too young and never had sisters. I'm not sure why she would lie like that. Weird, huh?
Sunday, October 11, 2009
My son hasn't really eaten since the trial. He claims he just isn't hungry. Ava, Ella, and Michael are still in my room with nightmares. They can't stop talking about it. Ella is constantly bringing up the trial and that she didn't see her father in the court room.
Alyssa, Eddie, and Gia welcomed their new baby brother into the world Tuesday. Their father has not seen them in 2 months. Both of those combined with the stress about the trial makes for poorly behaved children. Alyssa is out right disobedient. Eddie is back to peeing on himself but has added a sweet attitude with lots of compliments to me. Gia refuses to use the potty. She has pooped her self multiple times a day for several days. It's weird watching them regress after so much improvement since they got here. Especially Alyssa. She is driving all the kids insane and embarrassed us at the store the other day. She pushes their buttons by showing her butt to them and even took off her shorts and underwear to pee outside. It freaks them out and she knows it. I am hoping she will talk more about her feelings this week instead of acting out. I can't blame them, I would be angry, too, if my Dad just stopped visiting and had a new baby he found the time to go see.
Friday, October 09, 2009
My kids are having a tough time wrapping their little heads around prison. They feel guilty, happy, sad, safe, and angry. They don't seem to be able to focus on just 1 or 2 an hour, they are flopping all over the place. Lots of tears last night when we told them he was found guilty. We decided against explaining that some were not guilty. It would be too confusing and they might feel like they had not been believed or failed in some way. They didn't have many questions. They cried from dinner to bed time. We still have some in our room. My son, in his usual fashion, screamed, fought, threatened, and destroyed things. After that he crawled in my arms and squalled for half an hour. He wishes, like many of us, that it never happened, they had been able to be good parents so he could live with them, and he didn't have to be so violent like his father. He is terrified he will do the same things he did. So am I. If I am not careful, I can see myself sitting in the courtroom on the other side of the room supporting one of my children at the defense table. We also didn't go into a lot of details about sentencing. We are not sure what it will be so we do not want to get their hopes up or crush them any further.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Later, I was told who said what but it is never everything and each time I ask a new question I hear new testimony. Both of the fantastic detectives were after me. They spoke about the interviews the children had all the evidence they had gathered. They adjourned the first day.
First thing Tuesday, the kids lined up and testified. Cyr, Ella, Patches, Ruthie, Michael, and Ava. Some cried, some didn't shed a tear. One stared at him the entire time sobbing, another never saw him, most looked at the last minute and broke down. One refused to answer the hard stuff and lied to her siblings about it. One cried often and spoke of her own guilt for not protecting them from him. It was very hard to keep my own tears from falling down. I knew I had to be strong for them. If I broke down and sobbed, they would be lost. A few fell but I never lost control.
After they were done, their mother was next. She sobbed. She had a hard time telling all the truth but did manage to back them up. She did deny they had sex around the kids even though the kids all readily admit they did it in front of them.
Both our ATs were next. My DH and every man in the court room stared at Miss C. He swears he heard music as she strutted to the witness stand. He thinks it's so cool that our male AT looks so straight arrowed but loves heavy metal. Both were informational and explained about PTSD, Attachment, and trauma. They are specialists in sexual abuse. Mr. Jeff spoke about the disclosures and Miss C said there had been none in her sessions. She must have forgotten about the one that my child revealed she had been touched and it wasn't just the other kids.
The State continued with one of the ladies that interviewed the children for the officers. The taped interviews followed her. I heard it they were very hard to watch. Michael and Ruthie couldn't sit still in the video. At one point, the interviewer left the room and Ruthie went over and picked up the chair she had been in. Who knows why. It was typical Ruthie. LOL The State rested.
The Defense was pitiful. He was innocent. They called Shirley, their other mother. The woman that tried to keep them together, love them for the time she had them, and to this day keeps in touch to be sure they know they were loved. Without her and her husband, there is no way Patches would be able to live in a family. She opened her home back up to take her when no other foster home in that county would. She was too severe. Shirley didn't think twice. Her testimony was about some pictures she had taken of the kids many years ago in the tub, from the waist up. It was stupid. The CW at the time didn't see anything wrong with them when he had reported it then. She spoke of the sexual acting out the children did in her home and was let go.
He took the stand. He said, "No, Sir" to every question. He denied any involvement. He looked like an idiot. He is an idiot. The Defense rested.
The Defense Attorney tried to convince the Jury that I had told the other kids what I had been told by one child and convinced them all to say it. That it was too incredible to believe their parents put porno on the TV and then had sex in front of the kids. Somehow, they had confused another abuser with him or hallucinated all the abuse. He was grasping.
The A.D.A. was moving. She went through each charge on a chart and showed how many people had collaborated the it. It was clear. She spoke for several minutes about all that had been said there and why they should believe. She said, "The truth is never easy and is sometimes hard to believe". (Or it was close. I was so upset I can't remember her exact words.) It was perfect. My DH and I looked at each other the first time she said it. It explained a lot. She made the mistake of looking at me, her voice cracked and she was visibly upset. Several Jurors left with tears in their eyes just before 3 PM Wednesday.
At 5PM, the Judge called them back in. They needed more time and one juror had to go get her child. He let them go but asked they return the next morning. It was hard to leave without answers. It was a hard night. We returned this morning at 9AM. I noticed the Jurors were making eye contact with me. They were light hearted and were heard laughing several times within their private room. They slipped a note to the Judge about 10:30 AM and asked to have some of the testimony from their mother, one of out ATs and Ella read to them. This technology wasn't available so they went back to work on it. Before they were released for lunch they had a verdict. I was the first to hear they were ready and the first back in the courtroom. I was shaking. My DH and their maternal Gma sat on both sides of me. They didn't make eye contact with us and I was worried. The A.D.A. and Detective looked worried. It didn't look good. The Judge seemed to rearrange the papers for an eternity. Then we heard the each charge being read. The first ones were "Not Guilty" and I had a hard time keeping up. There were so many charges, some Guilty and some Not Guilty. I was upset for a minute. I tried to accept they had fond him Not Guilty on some of the most obvious charges. It then occurred to me that they really never heard all the evidence I knew to be true. They didn't know this was the 4th generation of sexual predators, he had done this to his own sisters, or that his own sister had seen their red bottoms long ago.
When they were done, they filed out single file. Most had tears in their eyes or broke down as they stepped away. One juror walked up to me and hugged my neck. She whispered, "I hope you children find peace with this". I bawled. It turned out these poor people had struggled very hard b/c they knew he had done all the things they were told. They wanted to convict him on all the charges. They couldn't on a few. Their father was convicted of 9 counts of Child Molestation and 1 count of Aggravated Sexual Battery on a child. The Judge mentioned the stiff mandatory sentences, they would be 115 years. He would die in prison. I am not sure what he will sentence them both to but we will fond out October 29th. Stay tuned.
I want to mention a few words about our incredible Victim's Advocate, Jenny. Without her we would have been lost. She is a wonderfully sweet woman that is very good at her job. I think this position is not flashy or given much credit. She was entertaining and supportive. She knew our needs before we did. She was the best part.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
While we were waiting, we were approached by both detectives, investigators, other A.D.As, and family members. Every one feels for the kids. The case is terribly disturbing to hear. The first day there was hardly anyone in the courtroom. By day 3, every row had had people. An investigator told us people were stopping by as the word spread. He is sure the Foreman will make a statement to the media. He is well known in the area, for good reasons. They also told us about a disagreement that almost came to blows between a family member and some lady watching the show.
Kids are hanging in there. I promise to update properly, after the verdict.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Book Lover and Kate offered to send the kids some support via the USPS. It got me thinking and I made a wish on Wish Upon a Hero asking for people to send them a card. They never receive mail and this would be such a surprise for them. I tell them of your well wishes and prayers but to actually see it would make a huge impact. Please click on the link above if you would like to join in their efforts. If you would like, feel free to link this post in your blog. The more the merrier.
I still have 4 sleeping in my room. One of them asked me yesterday if Kiera has nightmares every night. She has been crying and hitting me at night again. They were surprised at how many times it happens.
My MIL will be here this afternoon and plans on staying until it's over. I'm not sure how we would have managed without her. Thank you.
I am still trying to make sure their mother has an outfit for the trial. She looks more credible if she is not in her prison uniform. I am so bad about judging sizes of skinny people. She could be a 6 or 12, I have no idea. I wonder if she will still have the shackles on.
Friday, October 02, 2009
I am sick. My heart hurts. I am not sure I really wanted to know. I am relieved I will not be in the courtroom for her testimony. I think I need to find a way to convince my DH to stay out, too.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
The Judge did his thing. There were a few things that really stuck out to me. He warned her that he didn't have to stick by the agreement she made with the A.D.A. he was free to make his own choice with regards to her sentence. If she plead guilty today, she could be forced to testify next week. He told her she was a lucky woman to have the A.D.A let her drop the 5 charges that could land her in prison for 100+ years. As he went over each of the charges, he described the act and she had to admit guilt. She was sobbing as she did each one.
When she was done, I was called over and I was asked to make a statement to her and to the Judge. I said, "Our children have been crippled by this abuse but through it all they never stopped loving you. They are grateful you have chosen to stand up for them now when you couldn't for all those years." She nearly doubled over sobbing. My voice was breaking and tears came down my face. All I could feel for her was compassion. She was wrong but more than anything, she was afraid to stop him. I went back to my seat and waited. Before they finished, I asked the Victim's Advocate if I could hug her. She walked up and asked the A.D.A. They waved for me to come up and pointed in her direction. I walked over to her and squeezed her tightly. I thanked her for telling the truth and told her they were safe. I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye but paid no attention. She didn't let go so I didn't. After I went back to my seat I found out that the deputies had run from all over the room to tackle me. They thought I was going after her. Luckily her very large public defender stepped in the way to protect me. I overheard the Judge chewing the A.D.A and the public defender out for doing it. Apparently, it is a big no-no. They both smiled at me and the Victim's Advocate told me they all gladly took one for the team.
They are all so moved by the kids. They told us they are well known around there b/c of being in the system for so many years. Sadly, their cousins are the other group that are known by all the court staff. They called just a few minutes ago and told me to keep track of all the mileage and meals with the kids. They want to reimburse us.