Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My sanity ( and none of them are really old enough for me to adopt, so I'm safe)

Aaaaaahhhhhhh, Orlando. You make me whole again. Got home Monday night with my energy and love tank on full! Even that bit that goes beyond the full mark. Last year, I missed what is now BeTA and was then Etaam. I missed it because it is considered quite the no-no to miss days prior to or immediately following a holiday (Spring Break). It sucked. Big ol' dangly bits, miserable.

                                                               (Not my son.)

I almost didn't make it again this year. Son, our radical, decided to pull a drama king event on Feb.4th which led to the E.R., psychiatric hospital, state psychiatric hospital, three days at an emergency shelter and would have been held at the CPS offices, sleeping there, living there,  had we not taken him home while they looked for an RTC. I'm sorry, this is a seventeen year old, hairy-legged, tall boy on the outside but on the inside, it's a child who  moves back and forth between about six and thirteen depending on the stressors. So, no, four placements in less than four weeks while waiting for a fifth one? Our mental health system, especially for kids, needs so much overhaul. Even up to getting on the toll way to head to the airport, I questioned myself. How could I head out to Florida for almost six days when my son could get "the call" about which RTC he would be sent to and I wouldn't be there? How could I leave my husband there to handle it? What if my son lost his shit and things spiraled totally out of control? You know what? I am not. I am a person who has a limit on how much my heart and my brain can handle. I'd already hit it. I also couldn't stay home because if I did, my message to my son would be loud and clear.....happy anything, jack with it, ruin it and they will put aside their needs every time and jump through my hoops. Nope.

I needed my girlies. I needed my house girlies to hug and cry and most of all laugh. I needed the other girlies in other houses to hug and cry and most of all laugh. I needed to tell the stories of our travel through trauma and know that gasps would not be had, shrieks would not be heard and eyes would not look at me as if I'd sprouted an extra head. I needed to go somewhere that I could feel normal. (Meh, as normal as I'd ever want to be.) This was for me. This was for my tribe of moms who "get it".

The goodbyes just suck as we come from all over the U.S. and Canada. The goodbyes suck because as funny as we all know we are on facebook, or blogs, or email, there is so much more conveyed through a nod, a giggle, a guffaw and most of all, a look. These ladies are my sisters. I will never stop going to BeTA until maybe, they can't get my old body out of the nursing home. I declare we need a BeTA assisted living facility so we can all wag our finger at our radicals and their broods and cackle.

                                                                  (Not me.....yet)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Well now.......

I guess it's kinda a good thing. (Oh wait, I cannot type anal.) I haven't posted in a long while. One would think that my life must just be peachy keen. One would be so wrong, I could jack slap one. It's not been all bad just typical life with two teens where one is readjusting to life in a family and not in an institution...again.  The year plus he's been home has been one long hop back on the roller coaster that is life with a kid with mental illness.

 Still waiting on the outcome at his charter school concerning the latest call to the sheriff. He will be seventeen this week. That fact thrills me because, though I love him dearly, he's that much closer to eighteen. It terrifies me because we will no longer be playing the juvie card. This kid really expects all the niceties of life. I hated to tell him that in prison, in Texas, there is no air conditioning. Seriously, that is one of the multitude of things that would hurt my heart is to know he's suffering.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Alone again....unnaturally

     In late spring, our son's CPS caseworker was transferred. That was the first change. Then, the next month, Disability Rights said they could no longer represent him because their grant had run out. Number two. At court in July, I sobbed, (not unusual for me) because "our" judge, who is such a huge advocate for kids with mental health needs, retired. It felt like all of our supports were giving way. Today, I read the mail that came from our local CPS office. They think that our son should be dismissed.

     Let's look at the recent stats, shall we? He was released from an inpatient stay at a psych. hospital EIGHT days ago because he threatened to harm me and himself. He is to go before the committee to see if he will be allowed to stay at the charter school due to inappropriate behavior. We have no insurance coverage for him as he has been covered by Medicaid for four years now.

    I'm guessing if he's dismissed on Friday (oh yes, of course, court with the new judge that doesn't know us at all is this week and his Attorney ad Litum just happens to have not been on the list of Parties/Attorneys/Child's Representatives to get this letter) that even his CASA worker will no longer be involved.

     That's right folks, cut adrift. I'm so stressed out and terrified right now I could punch something.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

With all the talk about the article about "rehoming" kids, my ire is up enough that I even feel compelled to get off of my lazy ass and post here.

XOJane who is an adoptee so I can see where her feelings would be big when finding out about this called anyone disrupting the "Scum of the Earth".

Here's my response to her:

As a parent who came very close to disrupting our son's adoption, I think the Reuter's article shined a light that needed to be shined but was very one-sided. I agree that there needs to be some kind of oversight. As prospective adoptive parents we went through local, state and federal background checks. We had extensive homestudies done by a social worker. We had to have medical releases done that showed we had no diseases of mind or body and anyone who accepts a child into their home should have the same.

I know women who have had to make the devastating decision (they and their husbands, their partners, or by themselves if single-parenting) because they could not keep their other children (adopted and/or bio) children safe from the child perpetrating on them what had been done to him/her in their bio home/former foster home/orphanage. They LOVE their child but if they do not make other arrangements such as psychiatric hospitalization, residential treatment or finding another family that does not have other children, they will be charged by child protection with a crime and risk all of their children removed.
If you have not been kicked in the face/choked by a seatbelt while your husband was driving 70 mph on the highway/punched in the face until you had to have xrays of your cheek bones and eye socket you cannot begin to imagine how desperate a family can become. My husband and I adopted our son from an orphanage in Ukraine (we also had two bio daughters, one in Heaven since 90 at age 13 and one at the time was 23) and one daughter at home who came to us through an open, domestic adoption with ongoing contact.

We did do due diligence. I am a teacher who loves to research and when we were getting ready to make one of the biggest decisions of our lives, I researched up the wazoo. Here's the problem: This child was walked into the room and even though my researcher's brain had said: "ten to eighteen months old so he's old enough that the it would be evident that he was neurologically okay (particularly trying to avoid adopting a child with FAS for the sake of our daughter, our oldest daughter had been born with Spina Bifida and her special needs really, really impacted our second daughter. Amber was a blessing and a privilege, don't get me wrong. We would learn much later how much guilt Heather had about being "normal" and the anger she had that I had to be gone so often to the hospital with Amber, even though they were as close as you can get)  and not so old that he would have a great amount of damage from being in an orphanage.) Well, in Ukraine, you don't know who you're going to adopt until you flip through books and go and meet a child. This 3 years, 10 months old boy walked through that door and his soul just flew into mine. When you are confronted with a child that needs a family (this happens in foster care here too, all too often) where the facts are twisted, the child's health is lied about, your head goes out of the window.

We tried working with two psychologists, three psychiatrists, I quit teaching for five years to give him the mama time he had not had, borrowed against our home to travel out of state for treatment, tried Oprah, Dr.Phil and even Ellen Degeneres for help with no response, contacted my local representatives, senators, governor, the president (Bush and Obama), their wives. Took him for holding therapy (I was always in with him, it was not rebirthing or anything like that), play therapy, sand tray therapy, one on one with a psychologist, family therapy with a psychologist. Tried to find hippotherapy (horse therapy) but none available.

Our son abused and even killed animals, set multiple fires, tried to sexually abuse his older sister. We had alarms on his door and windows. He was stealthily fast and amazingly could wreak havoc within seconds.  All the while he was tried on homepathic remedies, changed diet, and finally, psychotropic meds. He assaulted teachers, parents at his school, was arrested at eleven for assaulting his teachers, spent three stints in the state psychiatric hospital for children where he was exposed to even more trauma. He was only eleven. We'd been working with therapists since he was four.

Finally, at twelve, we knew he needed respite care. Again, we borrowed against our home and flew him up to a women who'd been recommended to us for temporary care to give our family a break. What pushed us over the edge? Our daughter. Our son was what I call and excuse the words, a shit flicker. If you told him to be in his room and not come out...he would put his finger right up to the edge of the threshold of his door just to make his point. When our sweet, loving daughter known in the family as Happy Hugger II (Amber was Happy Hugger I) came flying out of the door with a broom over her head and our son was laughing maniacally, we became afraid that she would get in trouble with the law. That's why we made the heartwrenching decision that we could no longer do this alone and needed a break. This lady was single (no partner for our son to try to triangulate), no children for him to perp on, no animals for him to abuse. They spoke on the phone and online for weeks to begin to build a relationship with and he was excited to go. She and I had spoken at length about doing what was best for him and for our family. If he was happier there with her it would have destroyed me but my husband and I would allow her to adopt him. She lasted thirty hours.  My son and I ended up in Albany Medical Center ER when he assaulted me and tried to assault the police where he stated he would kill himself. The next day under the haze of Haldol (him, not me, I wish) we flew home devastated because we had already visited with Child Protective Services and knew what came next. Because our insurance would only cover five days psychiatric hospitalization and of course, our deductible meant that really they'd pay nothing. Because we did not have $450 to $500 per DAY for paying residential treatment, we had no choice but to turn to the state. He went into care on 9-2-09.

This precious, hurting boy was no longer under our protection. We visited him and he would punch me (he explained that there were two reasons for that: I reminded him of one of the "care" givers at the orphanage who had particularly abused him and he was afraid of my love, he kept trying to see when it would end.)  He destroyed a great deal of property at the psych facility, assaulted many of the female staff, made a false sexual abuse outcry against another boy, (he would do that at every facility he was at). He was transferred after his thirteenth birthday to the facility for "Manifestly Dangerous" teens in March of 2010.

This has been too long but I need for you to see the depth of trauma that some children can visit on their families as payback for those who abused them.

Where is he now? In prison? Dead? Those were our fears.

No, he's downstairs sleeping in his room. It took three years, four facilities, many court appearances, risking my livelihood if they had charged us with RAPR (Refusing to Accept Parental Responsibilities) which would be child abandonment which would have meant I could not teach but the D.A. said it was obvious that we had not done that, we'd run out of resources.

It took him deciding that we were not the people who threw him into doors and walls, that molested him and that beat him all from two to three years of age. It took him deciding he wanted to be a part of his family. Many of the children who go from their adoptive family to another (I'm sorry, rehoming is for pets and even that I don't like) have made no connection at all, they can't because the people they trusted before are the very ones who abandoned them and hurt them and they push, push, push so that if they are abandoned again, they were in control of making it happen.

Please do not paint all families who struggle with the same brush.

Bitch, please think before you type.  (That is for here, not on her page. My mother did at least try to raise a lady.)

Or a cursor that should go with a delete button.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A serving of Seroqu*l with a side of Lithi*m

The doctor calls it treatment. I am calling it chemical restraining. My son's in an RTC, hopefully for not much longer. It's actually a really good one. It's sad that we had to turn to CPS to pay for it but that is the reality. I think on my tombstone it will say," Remember, the brain IS an organ IN the body. The treatment of its ills should be covered the same." We're lucky that due to my copious amounts of documentation, we were not charged with RAPR (Refusing to Accept Parental Responsibility) and are actually in a co-parenting sort of set up.

Next Friday, we have our quarterly court status hearing. I've contacted my son's psychiatrist to ask why, if his dx includes: PTSD, RAD and Conduct Disorder, is he on two, very powerful Bipolar/Schizophrenic (the sero) drugs? Now, he has thyroid issues. Hmmm, very common side effect of the Lithi*m and not uncommon in the other. I understand from an advocacy lawyer that a few of his clients in the same place are on the same meds. What, are they getting them in bulk? Wondering what the doctor who told my son basically this," I don't have to listen to the judge. " Of course, being the radilicious teen he is, and even though he's come so very, very far, he still thinks he has to look out for himself. Still doesn't believe the adults involved will have his back. However, I'll sure as hell take it. To be able to drive, alone, with the kid who once tried to strangle me with the seat belt....that's huge.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

You know you've gone back to work when....

You don't update your blog for over a month.

Your facebook status goes blank for days or weeks.

You have this eternally exhausted look on your face that shows up again at five a.m.

So, here's where we are today....

Picked up the boy on Thursday evening and will never, EVER do that again directly from teaching all day without one of those energy drinks. Ever.

My son earned a $20 gift card to Wally World from his school at the RTC and he spent it all on baking supplies. He proceeded to make Cheesecake Brownies, Lemon cake, French Vanilla cake with chocolate frosting drizzled with white chocolate and Chocolate Chip cookies. He was the dessert provider for my family at Easter and I very much could see this kid going into culinary arts.

He has come so far that I felt comfortable and confident in asking him if he was okay with the dogs sleeping in his room (they do when he's not here....Sam, the 96 lb. baby howls like his skin is being peeled off, so, for the neighbors' sake, I put them in at night). This is the same child who at one time abused these dogs, mainly Sam (who howled before we even got him btw) who had been abused.

He organized the Easter egg hunt with his little cousins and was so patient in guiding them to where they should "hunt".

This is the same kid who was previously banished from my sister's property....she now tells him she loves him and hugs him. He's helped her greatly clean up her property and even killed several scorpions in the process (the only time I've heard this deep-voiced boy squeal like a girl).

I have to say, each time that I drive away after leaving him at the house he lives in (an RTC, they have house dads for the boys' houses and house moms for the girls) it is so hard and I am so grateful that I miss him. So many times in the past that I thought I wanted to just have him be a memory. So many tears shed over whether I'd ever have the hope of a future with him in it. So many times I just knew it, with certainty, that he'd be in prison and the only contact we'd have would be through glass. (Been there with him, you just cannot hug through a phone.)

Now, they're saying the plan is for him to come home in October. He may need to go to either a half-way house (didn't know those existed for teens) or foster care as part of the transition. He's stressed about that. But today, I have faith in him. He's got this.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Well, okay then

Those crazy Canadians.....they're a little Looney.
Justine, tackling two Radalicious boys and just didn't get enough, so she's getting one more in the female style this time. Roz, this woman is so damn mature, enlightened, grounded and she's only 27. She amazes me how well she has adapted to adding not one, but two siblings of the little guy they already had since last year's Orlando days. Unfreakingbelievable. Melodie, my beer drinking friend who has two daughters. One is a twelve year old drama queen who needs to come down here and move rocks. So she will appreciate her mama more. Amina, who I did not have the privilege of meeting but will definitely make sure of it next year.
Miss Amy, my roommate, such a love for her sons she has. Laura and I share a sad connection of having outlived one of our children. However, watching her with her two girlies, she's so good with them and such a giving woman.
Miss Desi who will soon be off to Kentucky (Rose, did you read that!). Lordy, she has the wit of a razor sharp comedian. She makes you laugh until you cry or feel like you'll puke. She is also raising a genius kindergartener who will someday cure cancer or build a robot dog that does what he wants it to do. Bless her heart.
Mothering...4...Money aka S, who has more shit on her platter right now than she should. I love this lady. Even if her tits make mine look like pimples. Erica, new to our villa, but fit right in just seamlessly. Her son went through unspeakable things in his birth vessel's "care" but he has a mama now that will lay down her life for him. My baby girl Ali. She may talk like a skah mahshull, but she has a such a soft spot for her family. Loved hearing her talk to KenKen and Wubsy each night. She's wicked fun to hang out with even if we did go to bed by ten ....such old ladies.
I wish these were my tits. They are not, mine wouldn't even make one. That is a Canadian Looney coin down the cleavage of a Looney Canadian, so it works. And she's now picking up her third Radalicious kid...sending positive thoughts. Hang onto that coin Justine, you're gonna need it!

Orlando, I heart you. You bring me into contact with such wonderful women and I only wish we'd had more time. For those that might be new to my blog...I'm going to try to add some links here so you can see how far my son has come and what a freaking miracle that is.

These are just some of the old ick. I did not include the one where my face looks like Mike Tyson took me for a spin. Didn't write about when my son kicked me in the face and tried to choke me with the seat belt while my husband was driving 70 mph down an unfamiliar highway following an unsuccessful respite attempt. But, I think it's enough. Especially considering that big boy is sleeping downstairs right now. And, he left us this Saturday night: