Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's the little things...

The day to day things that you miss when your child is not living at home but at a facility. Going in and waking him up, seeing all the places at the table taken, watching him play with the dogs. Just little things. And, the little things that grate on your nerves because he's been gone for over two years....the continual changing of the car radio (THAT stopped pretty darn quickly though) the endless chatter and the manipulating or attempt to. All in all though, a really good visit. Even had all three of my Earth kids (one daughter is in Heaven and I feel like a liar if I said all three of my kids...I have four,truly) working on decorating the Christmas tree. True, the youngest daughter and the boy did not interact but as he said,"You know, she didn't get up and leave when I was near her." It's progress, tiny steps, and I'll take them.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ssssssh....he's sleeping.... his OWN bed! For the first time in two years, two months and twenty-one days (not that I'm counting) he slept in his own bed! I think it's appropriate for us that November is National Adoption Month in that our son has had two firsts: first time sleeping in a non- psych hospital/juvenile detention/residential treatment bed and first time back at home. I know these three days will fly, one already has but I intend to soak in as much of the goodness about this visit as I can.

Going today to see Joe's side of the family for Thanksgiving. They have all been pretty supportive of us as our family has gone down this roller coaster experience. I did add to the fb family group that I'd appreciate if those with children (meaning my sister in law with seven kids, homeschooled all...............I would have committed harikari, who oddly enough, people hesitate to have stay at their house because they lack social graces and destroy property...but, I digress) would prep them to come to Joe or myself if they have questions as to where Alex has been for the last two years rather than go to him. He's anxiously waiting to see them and anxious about seeing them. I get it. (Not a homeschool or unschool for many people, just this one that thinks social skills are not important.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Raising Abel....Ya gotta read this!

I was privileged to be asked to review Carolyn's book on my blog. Wow, me, little ol' me, I feel like Sally Field did getting her award! Someone thinks I have something of value to offer! I was thrilled to say the least.

I received the book in the mail yesterday and after getting over my insane jealous feeling that this lady lives in California and I live in Texas, I ripped open the envelope and jumped in. Wow, oh my freaking, crap on a cracker, wow. This book has slightly over three hundred pages and I read it in about six hours. Riveting. Painful, funny, sad and inspiring, all rolled up in one.

That precious face you see on the cover? That is Abel...right after his first really big, "Hey, let me let you know the honeymoon is sure as shoot over, meltdown." I looked at his angelic face and thought of what I'd just read. Just kept flipping back to the cover and thinking,"How could they?!"

If you are parenting a child of trauma, be ready to have many ahha moments where you will be remembering your experiences while reading about theirs. There were so many parallels to our own son's behaviors and our family's experiences. The thing that was most helpful to me is reading that parts where mental health professionals treated Carolyn with kindness, consideration and respect and like they knew she wasn't crazy, permissive, lazy, etc. but was doing all she could possibly do. Validation, we so need that.

If you are considering foster parenting, this should be a primer for you. If you can read this book and say, "Wow, that really is such a horrible experience for him but his mom stuck by him and they worked through it together. Yeah, I can be that for a child," then there is a child out there waiting, you've got the right stuff.

I'm going to include a few quotes from the book that either just hit me like a ton of bricks or mirrored an experience I've had (and then hit me like a ton of bricks).

p.24 This is the day Carolyn met Abel

I let myself out, walked slowly to the car, and started for home.
Is he the one? Is he my son?

I couldn't quite get my brain around it. I go, meet a child, play with him a few minutes and then he's mine for life? I actually tried to argue myself out of it,. I'd wanted a baby girl. This was a three year old boy.
I started to smile.
That sweet, sweet grin.

I shook my head. He obviously had some issues. Did I want to deal with issues in my first parenting experience?
The way his arms came around my neck.

I didn't even know whether he would be my son. What if he went back to his birth parents?
His warm little body snuggling down in my lap.

Yeah, I was lost. There were no arguments that could cut through what had clicked and locked into place when I first saw him walk through that door. He was mine.

p.105 The morning after revealing his birthparents had both molested him.

"Yes-a?" I said cheerfully.
"I was telling the truth last night."
I stopped and looked down at him. "I know," I said solemnly. "You were very brave."

p.183 Abel is in third grade and keeps his room in a state where science could easily happen. Refuses to throw away an empty applesauce cup because it is his friend.

A week later I found the cup on the floor under his bed, little bits of dried applesauce still stuck to the inside. I groaned and reached for it, but as I picked it up, I noticed he'd written something on it in black felt pen: I buleave in you.
I put it carefully back under his bed.
I still have that cup.

Finally, p. 249 The psychiatric hospital intake worker hears a condensed version of Abel's first three years of life.

"You know," he said finally. "I've been doing this for 30 years and that's the worst I've ever heard. That poor kid."

With the help of her trusted therapist and Abel's therapist (along with others in education and the mental health profession that "get it") Carolyn has guided Abel through over eighteen years of therapeutic parenting. Reading about someone who is much older than my son and experienced even worse things than my son did and he's not living on the streets, not in prison, not living in a mental health facility and me hope.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Well, well, well......crap!

Heather and Amber, Happy Hugger I

Heather with the child no longer "My mom's new baby."
Quickly known as her little sister.
Two cool girls.

One of my many catch phrases is ,"Well, crap on a cracker!" I don't know where I heard it but I know it does say it all. I feel like the guy I watched way, way back when I was a kid who would twirl plates. Though he was much more successful at balancing anything than I am. Seems I get one kid twirling away the way I'd prayed for, hoped for and another one comes crashing down. Had the first session with Hannah's old therapist (the one it was suggested we all go to when Alex went away two years ago) and that is one pissed off, ragey kind of girl! This makes me so freakin' sad! We have called her our happy hugger 2 as our first born, Amber, who used a wheelchair, could hug the tea-totalin' stuffin' out of you! And for the last two years, we'd seen that happy hugger come back. My husband even commented late last night that we might end up seeing Hannah move in with our older daughter, Heather, at some point just to get away. They are unbelievably close and I am so grateful for that! For a girl who said when Hannah came to us,"This is my mom's new baby," she rapidly changed her tune to,"This is MY little sister." There are sixteen years and eleven months between them.

I started this post on the 15th, today is the 20th. It took a bit to find pics and boy, howdy, seems BOTH of my girls have major anxiety about Alex coming home. Due to an assault years ago, Heather has PTSD (geez, the family that freaks together...) and so she's had a few panic attacks about Hannah's safety. She also has so much anger at Alex for punching and hurting me. Fear for our animals' safety. Resentment that we sought out treatment for him (we tried to get her to go inpatient but she was an adult and refused, she'd blanked a lot out and I guess that's part of it).

Sometimes, I wish I could go live on an island. By myself. With internet, books, beer and chocolate. I'd allow my friends to come visit but the drama would have to be left at the edge of the sand.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I can do anything, I can do anything...

In just two hours, we will be on the road towards our first full weekend visit with Alex. I'm pretty damn stressed. I keep reminding myself that he's done well, very well with minor issues on our visits so far. Just wondering if he'll be able to keep things together. He does know that if the visit begins to go south, we just take him back. Yeah, right, I'm sure that would be no problemo. I know he wants things to go well, especially so he can come stay at home for Thanksgiving. His social worker called me this afternoon to let me know he was pretty wired up. Oy