Thursday, December 09, 2004

Answering some Questions My Support System Has....

Friend #1 Asked if we have addressed the 'feelings' Makala has during her Treatment?-- We have done a lot of work on the feelings during the therapy. The great thing about Makala is that she never shuts her mouth and has been really able to express her feelings this was true even before therapy started. Makala has written her own book with me and the therapist and it is pretty thick. She is a wonderful artist and she has drawn so many vivid issues of herself and her art work is very expressive of her pain.

She has 'remembered' a lot of abuse and this pictures are very sad---most often she draws her birthmother the same size as herself --and many times they are both babies crying. We have cried together about the things that have happened to little Makala and her little girl mommy..... We have addressd the times when the boyfriend hit Makala and pushed a table on top of her---and broke all of her toys....we have addressed and reinacted HOW she made herself comfie in a shopping cart and what she did when it rained... We have talked a lot about feelings which is wonderful......

Lately we have focused on the fact that mommies and daddies need to be the big people and they need to make sure the kids are safe and not getting hurt by anyone.... We have been talking a lot about the fact that mommies and daddies are supposed to be helping kids grow up to know how to be healthy people so that when they have kids they get to keep them....and they know how to take good care of their kids...

We have talked about how sad it is that birthmom was told she had to go away from her home when she was only 12 and that she needed to live at a Foster Home too...and that it is sad no one could abopt her mother so she would learn to be a healthy mom... We have focused on Breaking the cycle...and making sure that Makala is able to be a great grwon up when the time is right and that her adoptive mom and dad are never going to make her go away--and that no matter what she will have us and her big sister and brother to be an aunt and uncle for her children...

Makala has talked about having dreams that her birthmom is smiling because her bad kids are all gone and now she can adopt good ones---we have been really clear that her birthmother will not be able to adopt any kids and that people who let their kids get hurt do not get to adopt....And that her birthmother did not WANT good kids--she needed to make herself a good mom to the kids she had... We have talked about ALL the things her adoptive mom and dad needed to do so we could adopt her--and that we picked her and so did some other moms and dads--but everyone decided that we were the best mom and dad for her to have....because we love her so much--and that all the kid helpers (caseowrkers) just knew we were the right people to give Makala all she needs to be a great person.

We have worked on grieving and done some 'riturals' both privately and in Church. We have a special day when we break the law and send ballons up in the air with paryers and notes to help birthmom get better.... She has done prayer requests in her church groups for birthmom.... and she is working on doing the things she needs to do to be baptised (Catholic--not my first choice but that is the family I am in and as a Baptist I allow my husband to be the spiritual leader and leave the rest in the hands of the man above...) We have paryed about breaking the cycle and putting a cover over the beautiful babies so that they can find a different life.

The state made the children Lifebooks with every rotten detail in them.... Including the older brother with a picture... (sad but there is a baby picture of him but not one of her). Adoption is a VERY NORMAL thing in our family.... She watched the vedio of one of my Uncles sermons about adoption and his life story and she like the rest of the world feels she knows Uncle Eddie and that he is here with us all the time and that HE knows how she feels...My cousine Julie just reunited with her bio brother and both of them are very positive. Makala knows that my oldest son and Tori's daddy is adopted and that he spends a lot of time looking for his birthmom but hasn't found her.... My oldest son and Tori know what it feels like to be missing big chunks of their own family hisotires... Aunt Laura was adopted at 9 and she is a real part of Makala's life--She is very well adjusted and has never wanted to look for her family--Right now Aunt Laura is looking for an expert who can take Makala and her picture and MAKE a PREtend one of what they looked like when they were new babies...

In therapy we have talked about how she will remember her birthmother but Jeremiah will not. And that he was hurt too in different ways.... We have NOT disclosed the birth of the two new brothers.... Everyone agrees that this is not the time for this and the family who has accepted the brothers is NOT interested in any contact at this time....Both of the new babies were hurt even more then Jeremiah.... The older of the two has had three different opperations to fix sever internal damage and lack of development physically.... The newest baby is most liekly not going to do well at all... He was born about 7-weeks early and addicted to herion like Jeremiah was at birth.... So everyone involved feels it is best not to tell Makala yet--

We have talked about how SAD it is that her birthmother didn't know who the dads are--and how it is Kinda an interesting thing that both her and Jereimah were DNA proven to be full siblings but that no one can find the birth dad. We have joked about how funny it is that Makala's new birth certificate says mommies old name because daddy and mommy were not married when she was born and how funny that is.... But that when she was born mammy and daddy were planning to get married and adopt a little girl...and it was our promise before we got married and that Only a few days after she was born daddy and mommy set our wedding date and made our plan.... And that on the day Jeremiah was born Mommy and daddy were at DisneyWorld and all we could talk about was how it would be when we got to take our kids there--and that while we were their mommy told daddy he needed to think about having a little boy too...and like magice Jeremiah was being born and how sometimes God is working when we are not looking....

Feelings have been the easier side with this little girl. She is creative and dramatic and expressive. She often sings her own songs about her feelings and real tears have come more then once--Lately Makala has talked about her birth grandparents and why did they do mean stuff to her birthmother--and how did her birthmother have any chance to be a great mom when she didn't have a great mom to keep her safe....and how that STOPS with Makala and Jeremiah.... Because God is sick of this and wants the children Makala and Jeremiah have to be safe forever and he is fixing the problems in their history so that happens....

Makala is a very boy crazy gilr and I know what that is like--from my first memeory all I wanted was to be a mom--I just didn't have the details she has... During therapy we have talked about what can happen to girls who try to be moms too fast...and how her adoptive mom made a mistake and tried to make a man who didnt' want to be a daddy have kids and thats why I had to make a different plan....

The terapist has guided some of the talk about my own history as a battered wife and a girl who was hurt by sexual abuse--That was difficult for me and put me back in my shrinks office and on Prozac and redealing with the 15 years of domestic violence i expereinced.... my oldest son and Tori have been involved in some of the support therapy because they also personally know what it feels like to be children who do not always feel safe and what it is like to see their mommy get hurt. The therapists has used my life history to help Makala see that lots of little girls are hurt and have bad things happen to them and are able to get help and do what it takes to keep their kids safe.

I guess most people here do not know my life history or the history of my oldest children and the horrors they witnessed and things I had to do to make a change for them. The therapist has talked about how good it was that I was a mom who was able to do so many hard things to keep her children safe and not let them get put into Foster Care.... Even though we had to eat mac and cheese for a long time and that the three of us had to get a lot of help to feel better about the things that happened to us.... So that I could be healed in my heart and make a better choice and then I met daddy.... I was not happy that the therapist used my ex-husband as an example of a person who was adopted and didn't get the kind of help he needed...It has become very clear my ex has RAD and his life is not okay because no one helpped him.... I was not comfprtable with this direction at all because "uncle Tom" does come around now and then and will be a part of the future as we interact at futre weddings and births of our grandchildren.

Our therapy seeisons for the past 6-months have not been a simple hour long--most have been two or three hours insensively... Jeremiah has been included every other session for the past few months. Makala has been involved in learning about the things that Jeremiah is dealing with.... And part of his attachment process...It has been a great opportunity to re-parent her because she has been permitted to expeerience the things she sees us working on with him....herself.... At home we have used his expereinces in development as a jumping point to give her the same expereince along with some conversations about just in case she never got to do this or have that--now she can.... Our night time ritutal has been consistantly the SAME for both of them... Including things that the NORMAL world would find upsetting... Her size is sometimes an issue...it is difficult to execute some of the things J gets and that she is simply too big to get now--so we have talked about what a bigger person can have that is like what he gets.... Horse rides on dads back are just not the same for her bacuse her legs are too long....

Attachment therapy seems to be running its course and now our sessions really boil down to my demonstrating what we have been doing.... It kinda feels pontless to sit in an office and hold her and read---or play because the reactive nature is changed and she is not displying attachment problems with me in the office. She has NOT kept our private hell private and is now reating to other important people the same ways she was with me in the past.... She has no problem being rude to gandma's and aunts and teachers--in fact at this point my feeling is that the OTHER people in her life are receiving MORE reative behaviors then I am.... She was with Grandma on Sunday for a few hours and felt perfectly free to go ahead and have one heck of a rage there.... She has been doing reative behavior with the other people way more then with me now.... Daddy is now having a few more issues then I am with reacitve behaviors... He now appears to be getting mor of the 'set up' behaviors to illistrate that he is often a bad-guy...

She is no longer telling wild sotries about me being a mean mom... The teacher says that often Makala says things like My mommy said I should do it this way--My mommie says she is your boss you are not her boss... For a long time M had a problem figuring out which adults were in charge of her more then the other adults....It seems to be solid now that she knows that Mom and Dad are the only ones in chagre...

No one is our boss now. We saw her caseworker a few months back and she asked him when he was going to come and check us again and he was wonderful in that he said he cannot now because we adopted her and he is not in charge anymore--that we are.I have been able to get family members on board with not undermining things. Grandmas and aunts have become great about asking me if they can give M a hug today--asking me if she can come over for awhile--and making it real clear to M that we are in charge of EVERYTHING. Our local police department has spent a great deal of time with her and taling to her about the fact that unless we do a really bad thing then we are her parents and they will NEVER come and get her because they think we are great parents and don't see a reason for us to get even a parking ticket....

Tori is in her thrid year of college with her plan to get a PHD in child mental health. Tori is already starting her Thisis for her whatever comes later project. Her main research gold is to study the children of adoptees since no one ever has--and to identify the issues the children of adoptees have--since no one thinks they have issues.... Tori was just accepted in a two year research project on Emotional Neuroligical Brian Function whatever that means...but apparently is is a new study that will use brain scans for deep resaerch on how emotional isses chance the brian function...I give my oldest children a lot of heat on this site--but the turth is they are great people.

Friend #2 Asked if we have considered Homeschooling?-- we have talked about homeschooling. While we know that we have what it would take to teach her we are still not sure we would be able to manange as consitatnly as we feel homeschool parents should. The bigggest issue is addressing Jeremiahs needs and how much time he takes to parent. He is non-stop and he demands 100% of one adults attention at all times.... We have an evaluation later today because his issues have become more identifiable and he is seriouly Sensory Disordered it has become very clear. He is requireing so much effort and attention from us this was the reason we decided to have a live in mothers helper....because I cannot even find the time to clean our house and deal with the needs of the household.

He is also going to undergo medical testing as he has dropped from the 70's% in height and weight ot the 20's since we have had him.... Right now we have to feed him pedisure just to keep his weight on...He will be three and he is in size 24 mos...and in the pst few weeks has lost wieght again.... We have frequent fevers with unknown causes....and after he is tested for diabeates and the other known mdeical reasons that might cause his issues if he is not found to have a medical cause we will look into genetic or other possible issues... Right now he does not sleep at night much.... The past five or six weeks he has slept only for two to three hours a night and then is UP and busy.... I am not getting any sleep either because he distroyed the crib tent and now he has a bed.... The past three nights I have been up mearly all night with him.... Last night we fell asleep at 4 am... Andy and I have not slept together for the at least three weeks because we are not allowing him to sleep in our bed until the morning hours.... He is starting to have tantrums--and unable to communicate his needs to us.... I am personally completely out of energy right now... and personally do not see how I could possibly even focus on Makala's needs if we did attempt to homeschool....

I have however become invloved with a unique situation I am investigating. There is a Co-Op homeschool group here with a wonderful group of familes who have rented space to use as a homeschool center... Each family is there at the ceter at all times but each parent is sharing a special skill and they have developed a program that is providing the other things that homeschool often lacks... Several of the families are parentling kids like ours...and We are considering this as a possible choice for our kids... I am actually pretty impressed with the way they have organized and with the dedication I see in these families... We are also checking into the charter schools that have been appearing in our area...Not sure how those are working at this point.

Either way we have decided that for the near future we will be drwing the circle in tighter around our family. We have stopped being concerned about the things most familes are with first graders.... We are not worried that she is not in Soccer or taking dance classes... We are not doing the Play Date thing at all and we are making ourselves and our family the only priority.

We are considering the move to our last house and deciding if we should do so sooner then we had planned. We have found the 25 acears of property on the river in the Gorge where we plan to build the house we will retire.... We are talking about breaking ground in the spring. This area is rural and the schools are very small.... We have decided to keep my old house and fixing it up as our vacation house in the city.... We are thinking that the move to our property in the wildreness might be our best next step and that daddy's commute to work would go from 45 miles one way to 5 mile one way and his stress level would decrease with our move closer to work...Right now EVERYONE in the family lives within two block of each other and we are like Ramonds family with the interaction.... Our move to the Gorge would make that much different and isolate our family but we are starting to view this as a better choice then the constant nearly daily involvements with everyone.... We have spent the past year looking to buy a duplex as an investment and made eight offers which have all fallen thorugh--so we are starting to wonder if the man upstairs isn't trying to tell us something....We think that if we break ground in spring the house would be move in ready by the time M is out of day treatment.... this is sort of new thinking in the house as we had planned not to build for another five or six years in orcer to pad the retirement....but now we are looking at different options. Mialy the schools and the lifestyle that we would have where the property is located... The expereince for the children would be awesome and our life would be what we picture we want... horses to ride and our fake vinyard to pretend we make some wine--A river to raft and fish on and enough lant to run free with the wind.... It is a beautiful location and the view is so awesome... We camped a night there this past summer and everyone was happy. Keeping my house means we would have a place to stay for medical and other reasons for services--and it would mean that we would not always have to drive home to the country after appointments with experts and after family visits... We would have so many options... and be out of the rat race and the influences of one of the most liberal cities in htis country... Makala would be less likely to see pierced up protesters on the drive home...and less exposed to the cultrue here which is pretty wild and crazy. In this city you are the weirdo if you do not have your tounge pierced! And overall it is a radical center--with less focus on family values... Drag Queens are a normal site here--and there is a cluture of children having personal rights that is impossible to aviod....There are attempted abductions of children nearly every singel day and right now there are at least five missing woman in the area...last year we had two dead girls to deal with...and this is impossible to escape the information Makala gets with billobards on the freeway and pretty faces of lost little girls posted on every door you walk into....so our house in the country is seeming like a locgical move......

Friend #3 asked if we have any charts or tools for behavior modification and education, and if she has any of this in her class room because their child seems to be doing well with this kind of planning at school? I would love to see your chart. But personally have decided that when winter break starts that will be her last day at the school she attends now. I am tired of the BS and had enough to deal with 15 years ago with my older children to know that this is like fighting a battle that will never end. Public schools are trained to act like every issue is the fault of the parent and that if only we did our job correctly then the child would be just fine. After spending time in the classromm I can see that there are at least three other children in her class with as manyif not more issues then she demonstartes. The minapulation she has mastered is not going to ever be really seen by these educators... No matter how much assistance I have offered or ideas or proof that their plan is not the plan she needs this school is unwieilding and will NOT deviate from what they have decided is the ONLY way they can or will deal with problems. They still do not feel there is even a reason for an IEP.... and they have told me too many times that unless they see something WAY beyond the normal they see no reason to provide her with any special services at all... They do not understand RAD--or the issue that Makala is dealing with and they seem to idealize us as people doing such a wonderful thing for theses poor children--I guess we are supposed to be satisifed with our noble act and call it a day.... There are 750 children in the grade school! This is the same disrict that refused to allow Makala to use our last name until the adoption was legal! They seem to have all the answers and simply want to praise us for doing such a great thing--that is not helping anyone.

They do not understand and are not willing to educated themselves on any of the issues... They refused to use the state created Adoptin sensitivity taining for the staff... They refused to recognise National Adoption Month in anyway. There are no books in the school library that talk about older child adoption and only two that even talk about adoption at all. They seem to think that with time things will be great.... They do not seem to think it is a horrible thing that Makalas behavior has resulted in the little boy being hurt and in Makala learning more...and they seem to think we are over medicating her and that if we just relaxed she would love us and behave well.... I am done beating my head up on that wall....

I wish there was a different choice then the day treatment.... I am scared to death that if we wait we would need and even more disruptive option. I feel she is at such a great risk of continuing to exhibot these behaviors outside of our control... and it seems the tighter we get the more she acts out in areas we have no control over.... I do not see that sitting alone on the bus solves her inablity to interact properly... Short of going with her and spending the whole time at her side I cannot seem to get any other idea about how to help her. i see other children in her class with full time assistants every moment of every day--and for the life of me I cannot see what has made that child qualify for this and Makala gets a Happy face chart and prizes for acting the way she should? Other children are not rewarded for normal expectations...shy should she be?

..........anyway---a talk too much....and know that....but, it is a relief sometimes to dump this stuff here. I think I am hopefull that with all the efforts being isolated in one place maybe we can see changes in these behaviors...? I could be wrong I don't know. It just seems like I am tired of cathing all the people up with all the advice the other expert has and then hearing something contradictory.... I don't feel like anyone is coming up with services that make things more consistant. Half my time seems to be spent educating one side of the system about the other side and trying to see if any two experts will ever agree on one thing... I feel like putting school and therapy together and my being involved will at the least give me a chance to catch my breath and not spend hours trying to keep all the people on the same page.... That has cost so much time and energy I honestly don't think I can deal with it much more... Right now my own health and my own needs have become so unimportant that sometimes I cannot even remember how long it has been since I took a bath! Everytime I think I have one kid set in the right direction the other one has a blow out...and then I have to scramble to figure out and deal with the new situations....get it on track and wake up the next morning to a new blow out... I honestly do NOT know how people deal with more then two children at one time... I admire those of you who do...I simply could never add one more kid to my pile of kids... And just when things feel good with M and J the older children have a crisis!

All I need now is a wedding or grand child to plan for! Andy and I have decided that 2005 is the year we focus on OUR family and OUR personal health and that we make changes to the areas that we have ignored for the past two or more years...

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