Saturday, July 30, 2011

Are They Back?

It's back to school time here! We went to the schools Thursday and Friday to meet all the teachers. Everything went very smoothly except for Ruthie. Poor kid. She is so stressed out that the district is throwing her back into a regular 7th grade class. She will change classes every period and be surrounded by tons of kids. Considering she has an IQ of 56, can't process her thoughts or words, can't remember names or find her way around, gets confused easily, has a history of false allegations against kids/adults, is sexually charged/reactive/predatory, and reads at a 1st grade level, this is a huge disservice to her. The county won't listen to me. They think they know her best since she doesn't share her thoughts and issues with them. She began shaking the minute we headed to the school and until she fell asleep after taking her PRN and sleep meds.

We are being positive in front of her but are very worried. She has worked so hard to get her behaviors under control and to be thrown back into reg classes will be a nightmare. The last time she was in reg ed classes she became extremely sexual at school and home. She had to be hospitalized and eventually had to be placed outside our home for her safety and ours. All that doesn't matter because she didn't rage at school. She held it in. She honeymooned because she was only there a few months. She keeps asking why they are doing this to her. I'm mad. I'm sad. I'm extremely disappointed.

Michael is home this weekend and will probably be home for good in a month or so. We are ready for it. He is excited and nervous, as he should be. With his discharge nearing, we had another mtg w the RTC about transitioning. We will have a team of professionals involved with our children in our home. They will come right on out to us. I'm hoping they are considerate of the kids weariness of strangers/professionals. After DFCS destroyed our family last Fall, they will be even more scared to have people in here, regardless of their intentions.

It was my choice to invite them. They will not be involved forever, only to help Michael, Ruthie, and Patches find a way to cope with all of this stuff. They will assist our entire family but those 3 blow out with every new transition and we want nothing more than to help them manage their behaviors and emotions successfully. With each new success, they build confidence, skills, and trust. They deserve to be successful.

All of this causes my son to become stressed. He took the dog out to the fenced in area off our back door last night. He was on the porch about 5 min when he came running back in when he came running back in as pale as a ghost. It took him a minute to get his words out. He saw a big man crouched down by the fence with a mask on. The man stood up and then ran thru our woods to the main road. If you're fairly new here, you are concerned for his safety, thinking we should call the police and lock all the doors, and move. If you know us better, your heart is breaking for him. Hoping against hope, my hubby jumped in the van and flew down to the road to see if anyone was walking down there. I went to the neighbors to ask them if they had seen anyone. They were on their porch and couldn't have missed the guy. No one saw anything. I must have looked defeated. My lovely new neighbor offered me a glass of wine. I hesitated and accepted. I called the hubby to let him know I was fine, no one saw anything, and I'd be home after the wine. When I returned home, my son asked me if it had been real. I calmly explained the situation and he cried. All he wanted to know is if the hallucinations are back. Unfortunately, I don't know but my heart is breaking for him.

Friday, July 22, 2011

When Will Michael Come Home?

I had a big meeting with the RTC my son lives in this week about discharge. We were told to expect it soon back in March and then we all thought July so he would start school here. Neither happened. They are no where near a date now.

The monthly review we get in the mail says he has been physically restrained numerous times and had to be chemically restrained a couple times this month. His moderate behaviors (4-6 times a week) are aggressiveness, conduct, oppositional, distorted thinking, sexual acting out, impulsivity, anxiousness, depression, and social withdrawal. He is only minimally challenged (3-4 times a week) by self injurious behaviors, hallucinations, poor hygiene, manic, and elopement attempts.

What that boils down to is he has 14 good days a month. He can't manage his emotions and behaviors. He is often easily disregulated. He has significant peer conflicts that stem from him starting the argument, the peer starting it, or more often a misperception of the situation. He is very defensive if it is suggested he has a role in it. He puts himself into others' conflicts not related to him and remains agitated. He refuses to use the skills he can easily describe when calm. To top it all off, he has a nasty habit of running out the door and has to be blocked or chased in this condition.

Remember when I used to talk about how my children hide their issues in school or around outsiders? I have been slammed for that by people claiming it MUST be me causing all this. It took awhile for him to feel like he lives there but now he does. He also feels like he is visiting us. Guess what happened? We don't see ANY of those behaviors here on his weekend visits. NONE! The same thing started to happen with Ruthie before she returned home. It's nuts.

After almost a year there, the RTC is thinking this may be his best. He will never be like other boys his age. He is so stunted developmentally that to "catch up" is not a possibility. The damage is done. When you add trauma and mental illness to the mix, his normal will need to be adjusted.

They would like to put all kinds of services in place for us before his release. I was all for it but am beginning to have a few doubts. It will mean we have numerous (6) professionals in our home weekly. While I welcome their assistance and advice, I worry how the kids will react. They freaked when DFCS was stopping by monthly last year for Emma's sibling group. I can only imagine their reaction to 6 people in and out of here. What if they weren't experienced with kids this tough? We have heard it from all of the professionals we have worked with, they are extremely difficult to reach and develop trust with. They run out of ideas. They never give up but there comes a point the kids aren't progressing any further in therapy. We do so much more work at home and bring it to their attention to reprocess. I have an enormous amount of respect and trust in the therapists we have worked with but I know these new people will not be nearly as qualified. Maybe I'm just getting cold feet because it's unknown. I'm not sure which way we will go. I'll have to talk a bit more with them, I think.

Summer is almost over here. Next week we have their open houses and back to school on Monday. I'm over the moon! They are really excited, too. Poor Kiki will be bred to death with just me and the dog.

Speaking of school, I took the kids shoe shopping last night with my sister and mother. All went well until it didn't. Kiki has way too much energy and we switched out the person that had to chase her up and down the aisles. Literally, this person had to run up and down. She paused briefly to be kneed in the nose and I picked her up to comfort her screams. Completely focused on her, I was surprised by the water I felt splashing on my feet. It only took a few seconds to feel the warm sensation on my stomach and I quickly realized she was peeing on me. Good times, people. My mother and sister laughed really hard. They were much more amused than I was. The poor 18 yr old salesperson was visibly relieved when I offered to clean it up, if she would bring me paper towels. On my way out the door, a little old man stopped me to tell me that was the quickest clean up he'd ever seen. He thanked me for the entertainment and wished me a good night. I'm glad every one had a good time. A little pee was worth it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Emma!

Emma and her sisters-Kalee 12, Kyndelyn 11, Gracie 9, and Emma 10

Emma turns 10 this week. I can't believe it's been 10 years! I remember our first night together. She wouldn't stop crying. She had horrible gas and I assume abdominal pain that has continued nearly daily her entire life. I rocked and rocked. I fed her. I changed her. There was no relief until I laid in the guest room with her directly on top of me and rocked. She went out. I drifted in and out, terrified I would roll over. After a couple of feedings and a clean diaper, she all quiet and sweet for my husband when he finally strolled out of bed. He was convinced she just liked him better. Of course, he quickly learned that wasn't necessarily so.

She has grown into such a great kid. She is funny, has a beautiful voice, is thoughtful, tries so hard to do the best she can, worries about others, and has perfected the ability to look busy instead of actually doing anything. I can't imagine my life without her. She is a joy to parent and love. I even love that she sneaks into my room several times a week with a sleeping bag in the middle of the night just to sleep near me.

Ten years later, Emma has a fantasticly open adoption. We live 10 minutes from her Mother, 2 sisters, Nana, Poppy, and Uncle. We coordinate her holidays, vacations, and special occasions with her first family. Some are way more important to them than us so she spends it with them. The 4th of July was one of those. Her birthday is the day after her sister's so we have to plan a bit more. This year she will be with us the day of but will be picked up for dinner with them and spend the night. I love that she has this option.

It's not easy. We've worked hard on this relationship. Some of us are more committed to it. We had a major issue just a few short weeks ago. One that I feared we wouldn't overcome easily. One with screaming, threats, police involvement, and tears. I do not take it personally. I know they have emotional issues that do not allow them to react calmly. I was surprised at how big it got. I remained as calm as I could and as usual, made sure they knew I wasn't ever going to give up, I was here for them, things would be ok, and I loved them.

Things have since blown over. We've talked about it in small doses. They wish it would just go away but I have to make them work through it. They need that and so do we. Our shared child didn't know any details. She became physically ill for days and required medical intervention to regain control over her emotions. She is her Mother's daughter. The difference is that our daughter will grow up with the rules, stability, love, and support her Mother did not have.

Friday, July 08, 2011

She Scared The Shit Out Of Me

Teenagers can really suck big toes. The normal stuff they do is hard on your relationship with them and throw in trauma histories and it's enough to break your heart. I am very disappointed in one of my children. We had a scare last year and since then we have kept her extremely close. We moved an hour and half away and refused to allow face to face visits after such a horrible breach in our trust. I thought we were good. We were until my husband and I took back our social life and began spending a few hours a couple times a month with friends or out alone. We hired a babysitter we love and trusted to sit with them.

Since my kids are early to bed, by 9 PM the house was always quiet. This person thought it would be OK to allow my child to invite the boyfriend we do not allow her to see unsupervised by us over to spend some time alone with her in her room. His parents, knowing we do not want him here, allowed him to get a ride with his uncle. I guess she was trying to be cool. My child is a great kid with so many amazing qualities I couldn't begin to make you understand in a silly blog. She has one major flaw. She can't make the right decision when given a choice if her life depended on it. She has proven numerous times that when faced with a dilemma, she will choose to be cool instead of saying no. She did it again. Unprotected sex.

I tend to be a pretty positive person. I am really calm in a crisis regarding my kids and am able to find some positive in the situation. I amazed myself last year when faced with this issue. I amazed myself this year with a complete loss of control over my voice and emotions. I feel we all make mistakes as young people. We should learn from them. I can handle these mistakes once. It seems I am not so good with twice. I feel like she not only let herself down but our entire family, as well. I am angry that the person that was here to protect my children let us down, too.

I have strong opinions about things that many of you may disagree with. I think that drinking and driving is known to cause serious accidents that kill people and they should be charged with attempted murder. Seriously. I think if you are aware you cold get pregnant by having unprotected sex, having it would mean you are trying to get pregnant. I think women should have a choice to have an abortion and shouldn't be forced into any decision. The last one seems to have flown out the window when it comes to my own child. All of the sudden I couldn't bare the thought of having her raise a child in my home. All I can think of as a solution was abortion. I knew it wasn't fair. None of it was fair. It really shocked me.

I discovered some other things about this child throughout this process that I can't go into too much here. She has not been as open with us as she led us to believe. Of course teenagers hide things from their parents. That is their job. I feel it is my job to investigate and find those hidden truths. I will not be confronting her with them because they are not dangerous. They just show she is so unprepared for a mature relationship. She presents as an extremely mature young woman when in reality she is just a young girl desperate for a boy to love her.

Her test was negative. We though we were doing enough to protect her. We will take further steps to cover her butt until she is truly ready to raise a family in the way they will all deserve. It showed us that we all have a lot of work to do on ourselves and with each other. Even the best kids in the world need us much longer than they want. Even the best supervision can be compromised if they are dedicated enough to finding a a weak link.

Even though I want to keep her even closer now, I know she is going to have to learn to make good choices on her own. There is only one way she can do that and it is with practice. If she is being such a doo doo head and she is so well adjusted, what the heck am I gonna do with the other 7 teenagers? For one year, I will have 7 teenagers all in my home. That will probably be a great year for the blog. Stay tuned....

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Kiki's Version of a Joke

After much practice w her Dad, Kiki tried to tell me a joke.

Kiki-Knock. Knock.

Me-Who's there?


Me-Banana who?

Kiki-Knock. Knock.

Me-Who's there?


Me-Orange who?

Kiki-Knock. Knock.

Me-Who's there?


Me-Apple who?

Kiki-Aren't you glad I'm not a banana?

Of course, I laughed hard.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

I just wanted to check in and let you know, I'm still here. It will be a few days before I post again. It takes too much work to post from my Blackberry and the internet is down until Tuesday. My poor thumbs are arthritic from typing!

Did you know that when you stay with a certain cable co (c0mc@st) for many years, you miss out on all the current deals and they just increase your rate each year? I'm embarrassed to say my cable, internet, and phone was $300 a month for that very reason. I decided to look around and found out how badly we were being made love to and took immediate steps to rid our lives from this beast. My hubby is a little irritated I didn't coordinate the new w the old so we could continue coverage through the holiday. What can I say? I felt robbed. He did get a bit emotional when he found out our new monthly total for the same 3 services will be $114. Wouldn't you?

Kids are all safe and have been coming and going from various aunts and friend's homes. They are having a ball. We have had 2 of my nieces here a couple of times, too. Ava is in FL w her bff for a week! With as little as 5 kids sometimes, our house is super quiet. We've been to the lake too many times to count this year and have many more lazy days there to come.