Thursday, September 30, 2004

At this point in time I am starting to think that maybe we should stick it out with the mainstream and not place her into day treatment and this is a

My support system has sure been adding great info to my decision. There is only one point to clear up and that is the fact that the Day Treatment program is only for 6--7--8 year olds.They have another class for 3-5 year olds. And I am not exactly sure that we would be able to "Get In" again in the future. There are only 8 children accepted at a time and these children are in the program for 18-24 months so.......I suspect if we decided to pass that would be the end of this as an option.

We are getting dressed and ready to go see the Attachment Therapist and I am going to ask her again what her thoughts are.

On October 9---I will be doing an all day training for Girls Scouts. There are 16 1st grade girls and the troop needs a leader and 2 co-leaders so I signed up to be one of the Co-Leaders......DH said he knew I would get sucked in---and I said I knew I would too..... and so here we go.... I think Makala will Like Girl Scouts....and it really is a great Mother-Daughter activity.

Anyway--It looks as if we are leaning to the NOT going to day treatment plan. The past several days I have told Makala that she is still too little to go to the OTHER Col-de-sac's and play but that it is fine if other kids want to come and play here in ours. And there have been heards of kids playing with Makala!!!??? It is kind of winding her up---but it is good to see her play with the other children.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Deciding if Day Treatment really is the best idea...or not....hard choices to make.

I really hope we can stop all meds eventually and this is another reason I would like the intensive support that day treatment might offer.

I wish this was an easier decision to make. Part of me feels that with the support and help of the day treatment and the fact that next summer would not include the viod this one did perhaps she and I would have more Quality time together...... I feel sort of on the spot with DH as he does tell me that he will not override the decission I make....which seems unfair for me because then It is ultamatily all on my shoulders.... Another thought I have is that I could become more active with the Homeschool families and perhaps provide some social outlet for her there.

Right now Makala does not appear to be making friendships. She talks about children she likes and plays with at school....however the children appear to be uninterested in play dates or being friends outside of school. She has NOT been invited to a birthday party or play date in nearly a year and we only had two children willing to attend her birthday party last Feb....

Of course, I don't remember my other children having huge friendships in the first grade not really strong outside of school anyway--but they both have the SAME friends today that they made in First grade. They were involved in more activities then Makala has been scouts, and community center activities.... Tori had some significant social problems in early grade school because she skipped Kindergarten and was TAG (talented and gifted) and socailly did not interact with children at the same age.... but, Tori has always been an odd duck and very selective with her friendships. Both of my older ones were reading in first grade and sort of odd balls......still are actually. Tori will have her BS degree two months after she turns 20!!!!! my oldest son is starting his Masters and he just turned 21 so both of them had less concern about other kids--they both have the kinds of friendships that last a lifetime. But were and still are socially strange.... My husband cannot get over how odd they really are.... he thinks it is strange they never rebelled and that they dont seem to care about the things most young people do.... I wish I could take some credit for their sucess but I think it is their nature. Weird kids I suppose I don't know how it happened? After living the life I gave them I sometimes wonder? It is pretty sad when your children are smarter then you are by the age of 10! We just never really had a problem with them....never had to tell them what to do..... my oldest son got his Eagle Scout in the middle of his parents divorce! I suppose they spoiled me and made me think i was a better mom then I actually am.

RAD MOM Denial.... This stuff is just CRAZY.

I still have the days when I think that Makala cannot really be RAD!

And, wonder if we are in fact dealing with Mental Illness issues rather then attachment or adoption related issues.

I guess I get to this point when I see the signs that she does not completely fit into the mold of things that others advise me will be the case. For example when she left the Hospital we did not have worse problems at all--as several of my Internet support friends has suggested. In fact, things have steadily improved from the time we started medication and asked for intervention.

The Psychiatrist, Dr. Joe--also is impressed with some of her behaviors in relation to me. He points out that during our therapy sessions Makala looks to me for approval, and input first and that she gravitates to me in a very healthy way. He also says he finds her "family" attitude to be encouraging. Dr. Joe has a really nice Castle with special pieces that you collect and he has recently added some scary pieces for Halloween, a Ghost. When 'M' was playing with them he asked her about the Ghost and she said it was Big Brother (my oldest son) dressed up for Trick or Treat. The DR noted to me that this was a very positive sign and that she seems very connected to her family.

The things we do not know about Makala's history are somewhat concerning. We do NOT know if she was born drug affected? We do suspect that Birth mom had/has some significant mental health issues which were supposed to be addressed as a part of her case plan. Birth mom apparently named her angry side a different name. But, because Birth mom would NOT follow here case plan there is no real concrete information. We do not know anything about any other family members as Birth mom was estranged from her family from her early teens. There is just so little information to go on.

......and since we have been on medication and home from our vacation Makala has NOT had a single RAGE! There have been several moments in time where she was about to get on the floor and start her routine---and she has been able to stop herself when I ask if she really wants to do this right now? It seems that with the medications she is able to control herself.

Even her DIET has been less of a problem then I thought it might be. She is very disappointed when she cannot have sugar or sweet treats but when I explain that with the medications she cannot eat sweets she seems to accept it very well. She has asked me if she will EVER get to have ice cream or pie or sweets again--and I have told her that YES--but only on special occasions and she seemed satisfied with this. She has also asked that if she can learn how to stop having tantrums will she get to stop taking the medication and I have told her that we will see about that at the right time.

I am really impressed with how well things have been going with the meds. I am not sure if I have updated everything but, we are using Risperdal .50 mg a night, Ritalin LA 20 mg a day and 'when needed' a tiny chip of a Clonidine, lately there have been FEW problems.

We did have a stealing event from school this week. Makala came home Tuesday with some small toys from her classroom....and On Wednesday I went into the school and talked with the principal about the fact that this is NOT a typical 6 year old stealing for the first time. That it was actually a test to see if the teacher has control of her classroom. The principal was very supportive and understood what I was saying. The principal had Makala miss Lunch and recess and stay in the office with her--then return the items and apologize to the teacher and her classmates. Makala has been told that if this happens again she will have a bag check everyday before she leaves school.......

Day Treatment We did get a call yesterday that the committee voted 100% in agreement that Makala should be accepted. I was told an opening might come up within a month or as late as January.

Daddy--has some real negative feelings about taking this step. He is worried she will have resentment, that she will not make friends and that she could be exposed to children with even more serious issues. He is also concerned that she will be TAGGED as a problem and that it will follow her..... Thankfully, the Day Treatment center offers family counseling and support now that we have been accepted into the program. We have an appointment next week.

I think that socially she could be even more hurt staying with the kids in her regular class and having problems and that the children may decide to NOT like her and this could follow her even more then being removed 18-24 months and going back later.

I personally would like her to go there for several reasons. First of all it is Therapy for 6 hours a day---everyday and including the summer...... It is intensive and they have great experience with RAD and the other issues Makala has..... It is a WHOLE program her school work and her whole time in the center is designed to meet her needs---and her issues. I just feel that at 6 we have a chance to help her so much more now---if we pass and things were to not improve then we would only have Residential Treatment as an option later. The program is designed for children under 8 and is an effort to keep children out of residential treatment.

I think that we should also accept the fact that people with a whole lot more experience then us have accepted her into the program---and we should take a clue from that especially since space is so limited and acceptance is so hard to get.... My goodness that should be a really big clue. As I have told DH we do not know all of the info that was complied while she was in the Hospital? We were told very little and clearly she qualifies for this treatment---another really huge clue if you ask me.

I keep telling myself that if I were not running ragged to two different DR appointment every week--I would have more 'quality' time to spend with Makala. We could use this time to join Girl Scouts and I might actually have the energy to take a leadership role with a troop. We could find many alternatives for Makala to develop friendships and make social contact if I wasn't so tired from simply organizing all the therapy every week and dealing with all of this on my own......

Jeremiah is also now in attachment therapy with Makala's therapist. We are all confident that we can help him with his issues before they are full blown. He clearly has anxious attachment and at 2 1/2 it is a lot easier to work on then it will be later. And it is so easy to make mistakes right now. For example for the last 6 months he has had not one, not two but three security blankets he carries around---and two pillows and a stuffed Beaver! He will not be in a room without all his stuff even if he doesn't touch it he wants it to be in the same room he is in.... Our natural inclination is to start taking some of his items away to break this habit--but, the therapists advises not to do so....and to let him have his stuff! So there are little things you would do with a child that we are advised to not do....and it is the little things that really can make a difference!

Anyway--that is the rantings for this week..... And now we are deciding on the day treatment program.... I really feel it is right to send her now..... I think we would regret passing up this chance.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Dealing with the Schools.

For the time being.....

We are going to just let things be at school..... We have had Dr Joe look at a 3-page 'statement' I made outlining the things we feel need to be addressed under the IEP 99% of which are behavior issues.... and have sent copies to the school--the district and that state. Apparently our 'notifying' them this way will make it less possible to have her kicked out--later should something BIG happen. Otherwise I am going to simply keep very good records of the things that go on.

It is so funny because the lead teacher for Jeremiah's EI class is also an adoptive mother her son was 7 when placed and now is 26---Anyway apparently her sons needs where the reason she ended up as a special ed teacher! She has had a great deal of contact this summer with Makala and has asked me at least three times if the school has done an IEP---when I told her the results of the last meeting she was NOT happy--so she hooked me up with the advocate. She says there is no reason not to IEP.

Diet
RAW sugar--Honey and Brown sugar---So I am slightly confused because for me it has always been very black and white--It is either Sugar or not! I guess having a best friend all my life who was type one diabetic and watching her die last year has made me miss understand what the heck the difference really is between SWEET things.....

The Oatmeal Cookies were a real winner--today I am doing Peanut butter

Medication
The Ritalin has been horrible! Either the coming down time is insane and if we give her a little more later in the day she cannot sleep at night. I am starting to feel that she does not need this med.... maybe something else but this is too high and too much for her....

The other day she came home from school and could not shut her mouth....when we went to pick up Jeremiah she was talking 90 miles an hour telling a story as we walked down the hall--parts to one person--parts to another--parts to no one????? It was like she was OUT OF CONTROL and in Overdrive!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Keep on Keeping On

Monday Morning......
Okay it sure has been a draining week! And here it is a new one starting!

School IEP
What a joke that was--right now the position of the school is that "She is NOT having problems there--" so they are simply going to "WATCH" and revisit the whole thing in October.... The general attitude is that if she isn't having problems at school then the problems are ours to deal with at home.

The shrink (DR. Joe) has told me this is the 'common attitude' of the public schools and that they generally make sure to make the parents feel awkward during the meetings by out numbering the parent and diverting everything to being the parents responsibility.

Meds We have been using the Risperdal (.50) Mg at night and the Ritalin 10 mg in the morning.... and truthfully there has been great improvement in every way.

Makala--did have some trouble falling asleep for a few nights but that seems to have passed lately.

This morning she woke up pretty rough and in a bad mood--but by the time the bus came she was herself again.

Diet
Seems to be an ongoing battle but we have changed all the food we have in the house.... This is so hard for us because half the family needs to GAIN weight---daddy and Jeremiah need to eat all they can to just maintain their weights.

So daddy has a stash of his JUNK food which he can eat and eat and still lose weight---and Jeremiah is getting what he needs and Makala is needing to learn that she has to be careful.

I am trying to see this the same way I might if my child were type one diabetic.... My very best friend in all life was and Thank God Makala does not have to take blood tests and receive insulin.... It is difficult for her to understand but my feeling is that we need to do our best so she does not gain 40 pounds this year!

Snacks have become very fun here....

Re-vamping my old recipes:
I learned a long time ago that using Zucchini Milk as a substitute in baking recipes for MILK is great....and substituting Apple Sauce for OIL also works. I have the most splendid Pumpkin Zucchini Bread recipe and have used the substitutes for years.... Now for the Sugar issue.... I plan to try it today.

Zucchini Milk -- Peal all the green skin off the Zucchini and drop the rest of the fruit into the blender and blend it to puree---CAN BE FROZEN. This milk can be used in place of regular milk in MANY baking recipes and as a base for cream soups, and other dishes that use milk.

WE are cutting down on the MILK products only in areas we can due to the CARBS.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

This summer has new meaning for mom

Summer is usually the best time of the year for me..... I love summer.....and hope to forget this past one as the years go forward! Right now the First Day of School is the BEST day of the year....

School OR Day Treatment

We are on the waiting list for the Day Treatment program and it is unclear how long the wait will be so in the meantime we were advised to send her to school as usual. I had been in contact with the school over the summer and I requested a teacher with at least a 'passing interest' in the issues of children who are adopted. As well as someone who WILL email, call, send notes home and otherwise communicate with us. I have a meeting for an IEP tomorrow.


Bus
I have also made it very clear to Makala that ANY PROBLEM on the BUS in ANYWAY her fault or anyone else's fault she will ride to and from with me....ONE STRIKE--ONE CHANCE.

Attachment Therapy
It seems that both the Attachment therapists and the psychiatrist are in MORE agreement then not about Everything lately so for now we are planning to keep on going to both.

Meds
I honestly think there has been an improvement with the medications. The intensity around here has gone WAY down...

DIET
I am learning that apparently the kidneys can be effected by the Risperdal and that CARBS and Sugars are processed differently with the use of this medication. The psychiatrist and I talked about Fruit and the sugars they have and this kind of sugar is NOT the problem....in fact he wants us to offer her as much fruit as she wants.

We made one drawer in the Fridge a 'snack' drawer so that she can access the Oranges, apples, grapes, pears and plums. I am also stocking the drawer with String Cheese and sugar free apple sauce and I have discovered some of the Low Carb foods out now are pretty good substitues as the main thing they do is ditch the sugars! So we have reduced CARB yougarts.

The psychiatrist gave me an Oat Meal Rasin Cookie directions using Splenda and whole grain flur instead of the white--This seems to be WELL liked by everyone. We are supposed to increase her protiens and watch Fats. Breakfast is now about eggs and other non-sugar foods. Anyway---it is busy here I have two college kids getting ready to go off this weekend so I am helping Both have decided NOT to live in the dorms this year (that should be interesting) and there appears to be a fight about who gets the new printer.....urggg.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Back HOME !!!!

Our trip was fantastic!

I am so glad we went The flight in and home was great the biggest problem was Not Makala but the 2 1/2 year old!Makala was Makala the whole time and that was so nice and being with my Mom and Aunt was wonderful.... Both of them understood and helped greatly by treating me as, and allowing me to be "THE MOM" .....with so much extra support... I love them so much! Plus I was given love by people who really do love me.

There were behaviors that Aunt Terrie and mom analyzed and gave me feed back on.... Both with Makala and with myself! And we were there long enough that all the "IDEAS" they had and tried were proven effective or not. The general consensus besides the fact that the BIOS were abnormally passive and quiet children ..... was that Makala is a "little Pill--but absolutely adorable" And that We need to get a grip on things before she is a teen.... Her lovable side--her annoying side--and even THREE raging episodes were seen by others....as well as my way of dealing with things....

Medication Makala did 'seem' to have a better grip on her moods but I didn't attribute this to the Risperdal too much as I felt it had not been long enough to build up and start working. During one of her major rages Mom suggested I use the 'emergency' dose (Risperdal M-TAB 0.5 mg) --The one the doctor told me might knock her out.... Mom and I thought we saw a nearly instant (meaning 15 - 20 mins) change in her anger and attitude... but I thought it might just be our own thinking and not the med.... As sometime it does seem like Makala can switch right over and be delightful??? We noticed that Makala seemed to have a pattern of being great one day and just off the wall the next--every other day....up and down.

TODAY--we saw Dr Joe the shrink--and he said the M-Tab should work that quick and that 15-20 mins was right to see an effect. Then he said the every other day thing is not uncommon so he has increased her daily does to 0.5 mg Regular Tablets of Risperdal. She will have a blood test Friday to check the levels in her system.WE have also added Ritalin LA 10 mg (Lowest dose Long affect) so that Makala might be able to focus on one thing for more then 3 seconds.... At our appointment today she literally played with EVERY single toy in the office for three seconds before moving on...

Dr Joe thinks starting school with the ability to focus will help her.I am liking this doctor very much! He spent a long time with me talking about the fact that RAD and Bipolar have so many of the same symptoms and that in many cases the same treatment of medications is called for.... He is 100% supportive of the other RAD therapy and he seems to know a great deal about RAD and Adoption in general. Makala likes him and sad but true she seems to be 'different' when a man is in the room so in a way this might be good for the sexualized behaviors that I honestly do not think would come out with a female doctor.

Anyway---- Dr Joe also has some recipes for foods as apparently Risperdal can affect the way that Sugar and Carbs are metabolized...? I am working in researching this because I haven't found much info on that issue.

There is tons more but that is it for now....

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