Monday, May 16, 2005

Planning a RAD Vacation!

I am not sure how many times I have been told that planning a vacation with a RAD Kid is like getting ready to go visit He!! for a few weeks--but, I just cannot help myself....

My RAD kid just needs to learn that she is going to take vacations...

Of course, I expect my kids (all of them) to get excited and anxious while we get ready to goooooo! I get excited and anxious myself!

So Sunday morning daddy took the kids on a shopping for the trip outing and Makala just could not help it--and she "attempted" to steal something again! URG! Now, daddy thinks it was more about trying to 'trick' him into having to buy more then he said he would--but, I treat it just the same. Daddy told the kids they could pick out a new stuffed animal to ride along in the care--Makala picked hers out but, then wrapped several necklaces around the neck!

Daddy thinks her goal was to get to the checkout stand and for the clerk to just ring the necklaces up and daddy would have to pay--because it would be a hassle to not pay at that point... OK--maybe so. But, things like this have happened before and the fact is that stuffing something into something else or trying to make something "look" like it comes with more then it does is most likely a crime? I am not sure but I think it would be?

So, this time I decided the consequence has to be a good one. Maybe if this had been her first try with this thinking I would let it go with less punishment--but, things like this have happened in the past---and even if she was just trying to 'trick' daddy that is NOT acceptable either!

Makala, spent the rest of her day in "Mom-Jail" People in jail are not free to do what they want--they have to do what they are told to do when they are told to do it. I made sure she was NOT isolated but, she was very unhappy. She ate lunch and dinner in her room. We did some vacation packing but not in a cheery and happy way--in a boot camp sort of way where I made sure to control every step. I had her choose five complete outfits...Pants/shorts, shirt, underpants, and socks. When she tried to add jammies--I made her put them back and told her I had not said anything about jammies--when she wanted to pack dresses, I made her hang them back up because I never said anything about dresses... toys or hair ribbions... Just five outfits and that is all.

She had her One Hour of Outside time in the 'supervised' play yard--just like people in jail get. She got her one phone call, and library books but no radio, tv or other fun stuff while in jail... I did make sure she was not isolated--but, I also made sure she got the point. No One wants to go to jail--and everyone wants to get out when they do. But, if she keeps taking things that are not hers or looking for a way to get things by cheating then she is planning to go to jail...and If she is sent to jail MOM and DAD will not be able to do much about it.

It was a hard day--but, I think Makala is starting to get it. She made several remarks that she does not want to go to real jail--I told her I don't want her to go to real jail either and that is why we are going to see just a little about how real jail feels...except you go to the bathroom in your cell and your mom is not there with you. It was a long day too. I think she started to ask when dinner was at about 2:30!

......anyway, like I told Makala I want her to have our trust and be able to go to stores without us when she is older, and I want to be able to take her to stores now without thinking she would steal things.

I saw some 'hinting' that the stealing issues might be resurfacing last week with the coin banks the kids have. Makala's suddnely seemed very full and when I checked on Jeremiah's his was nearly empty except dimes (which Makala still thinks are the least value because they are smaller) Last week I had to make a rule that mommy would could her money and from now on all of the coins are in Mom's care--If anyone 'gets' more coins mom needs to know how--who--where they came from.

What a Life!

So we have the 'stealing' issue come back around... I am guessing that the next return behavior might be: sexualized or revisiting the birthmom seperation greif???? We will see.... Considering all the kids we will see on vacation are Boys except ONE of the 15 kids--my guess is that the flirty side of my beautiful daughter will need to be watched very closely.... At least I know to watch this year...the first vacation we had no clue and I can just be thankful that as far as anyone can tell--all the children were safe and no one has any issue that will require therapy to cope with!

We leave in less then 48 hours so this may be the last update before we travel! I have made any comments on the journal require my approval until I get back just in case someone decideds to spam this site or journal.

Anna

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Quarter Update at Day Treatment

Today we had the quarter meeting today at the day treatment center. Makala's treatment team have seen great progress in just these past 4 months and in most ways we have seen some wonderful improvements.

No one expects a child to ever be perfect and we don't at all but, the BIG issues that caused so many safety concerns and other worries do seem to be getting worked out....

Makala is always going to be a little sassy and honestly I think a little sassy is just fine... She is always going to be skilled at facial expressions that show her hand and I doubt she ever makes a good poker player... And that is fine.

But at least in these last short four months it has been made very clear to her that her parents care very much and her parents are responsible for everything that happens to her and that the people in her life answer to US.

I can only imagine how MIXED-Up that concept must be after all the things she has expereinced.... At four it was made real clear to her that her birthmother was NOT in Charge! Then the Foster Homes who wanted to adopt Jeremiah and then only agreed to adopt her because it was both or none--she got to see them get NOT VOTE and have NO Control of her life... Even after she was placed with us she had nearly a year of caseworker supervision and visits.....sending a signal that WE were still NOT in charge and that something might change. I don't think it helped that the state mandated we had to have her in pre-school we sure could have used that time to keep her in and tight and make her know this was her LAST family as a child until she grows up--gets married--and has her own children.

Post placement supervision is needed for sure--but, I can see how this is confusing for the child. We the parents want the child to accept us and attach but every 30-60 days the caseworker drops by for a few hours... What message is the child getting out of that?

I am starting to think that the hardest ages for adoptive placement must be the child who is just about or has just started kindergarten. Barely anytime to get to know the people you are supposed to call mom and dad and off to school where the teacher might be in charge of 25-30 children. I has to be hard on the kid and I don't blame Makala for being confused.

So here we are nearly 2 1/2 years afer placement and finally things feel like they are NORMAL. It is hard to say if she is just getting older--or if we are just getting used to HER or if day treatment, therapy, medication and any of the other things have or have not made the difference. This is why Attachment Research is so difficult to study--so many factors that it is most likely impossible to determine which make a child look and act normal and healthy? With Makala there simply is NO WAY to decide what has helped the most and what has made the difference..... Is it time? Age? Treatment? or something else?

The one sad fact that really hit my heart today was when I was told that the GOAL for the sexualized behavior is 10% meaning that 10% of the time this stuff will spill out......but, as I was told children cannot unlearn what they have already learned--it is kind of like learning to ride a bike and well there is NOT going to be a 100% cure for this issue.... All I have to say is that I HATE who ever did this to her.... I don't hate very easy but I do HATE who ever did NOT keep this baby safe and I hate even more whoever it was that violated her innocence.... It disgusts me in my soul to know that this kind of evil is everywhere! I hate even more that Jeremiah has had to be affected also--he was not even there and his life has been dramatically changed all because someone sexually abused his older sister.

So 10% is the goal and best hope on this stuff. And now as a mom my job is all about raising a daughter with a healthy life attitude about sexual issues--but also to try and help her not become a mother by the time she is 15! I think this is possibly the most difficult parenting issue I have ever had to face....Even more difficult then when my oldest son had his accident and had to have his left leg re-attached..... Yes, that was painful and changed his whole future and it was even emotionally damaging--but, this is just heart breaking....hard and more then parents should ever even have to think about.

They had never and have decided not to do a physical exam it is felt that could compound her issues and I do have to say I understand and agree on that issue.... I had asked why they wouldn't consider putting her under and then doing an exam--but, I agree that has some huge risks and well, I accept that we are not going to know this for sure. I do sometimes worry about what if something else happens to her later--will an exam be needed and will it be considered valid if there is this background of not knowing? I suppose all I can do is PRAY that my daughter is NEVER EVER hurt by anyone else--and that I never have reason for her to have this kind of exam.....

I am so greatful for the day treatment program. It was so hard to make the decision to place her there but I am thankful I was able to take charge with daddy and sort of insist that this was the best option. I am also very glad that his fears have not been proven true.

We are asking now if Jeremiah might be able to attend the younger program. Now that he is talking a little there are some very concerning things he has to say. Sometimes, it makes me wonder if we were really dealing with RAD--or if there is not some genetic issue. But, again even in his situation how could it be dertermined if this is a genetic issue, or if her has simply seen and expereinced so much with watching his sister that he has not just learned from her? I am farily sure he is not suffereing from an serous attachment disorder--but he is a very anxious child he bites his nails and grinds his teeth. He has one heck of a temper but then this is rather normal for a 3 year old. What bugs me the most is the threats he makes and frankly I have never heard Makala make threats--but Jeremiah has threatened to cut daddy's eye out and bites anyone who makes him mad?

The treatment center feels some of his issues may be related to pre-natal drug exposure?

I figure he isn't doing much right now so why not have him attend the day reatment program and deal with this stuff now--rather then later? Picked up at 8:30 and home by 1:30 five days a week year round for the next severl months might really make a great change. The idea about being around children with problems is not such a horrible idea as I can see several kids with some really big issues right in his pre-school class so he is learning some negative things anyway--and after what he has seen with his sister---goodness I can't imagine what could be worse?

So.....I got to get going, we leave on vacation in exactly ONE WEEK! Can't wait to get going and get back and see how a normal family vacation works with Makala it was last summer during all the vacations and fun when the worst issues showed up....so this could be a great test!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Waiting for the Boom?!?

Another week down and this one was actually very nice!

They say that RAD kids can heal and do fine--is it possible the hard part is behind us and the future is about the normal things parenting is all about? I almost cannot even bring myself to temp fiat by thinking this way...

The shrink was wrong--Makala has not had any ADHD medication in WEEKS and she is just fine.... She has not had any 'mood' stabilizers and she is excited because she can see her feet again! She is looking so cute and back to her positive self--those meds made it hard to have any self esteem when you gain weight in your sleep and feel like you cannot move--you have a hard time being happy.

I feel so much peace--can't wait to test this by going on our vacation!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Update and Great News!

About three weeks ago we took Makala off all the medications except the Clonidine which we wanted to keep until after we get back from the Big Vacation to Disneyland.....

I have to say I was rather worried the Rages would come back after we dropped the Risperdal and in fact we did see some return of the tantrums....the basic drop to the floor and chanting over and over.... BUT--this time around I simply don't have as much energy to address these tantrums and told Makala that Jeremiah is 3 years old and he is at the age where tantrums are pretty common and honestly I don't have time for hers.....besides, now they seem pretty funny because she is so big and well.....too old to act that way! She had a few more attempts and eventually I told her that I am just not going to go there with her and if she decided to try to have a tantrum she is going to have a time out....by now she should realize that a Tantrum will simply NEVER get her what she wants so she needs to find a new way to get the things she wants the most....and a tantrum is just not going to do it!

It must be working because after two or three time outs....I have not seen a tantrum in the past several days!

I had my weekly meeting at Day treatment and was HAPPY because the case team is talking about the fact that Makala is catching up--wants to follow the rules and things seem to be going so much better! The original plan was to have her continue day treatment for 20 months and start 3rd grade in regular school.... WELL--now there is discussion about having her transition into regular school after Christmas and 12 months! Unless there is some huge blow out or return of odd things!

That means she would be back in the second grade.... Day treatment has been a great blessing but it is real clear that education is not the main focus and well--we would like her to NOT fall too far behind!

I am feeling much better! Anyway, more later right now Jeremiah and I have a Mom-Son Tea party to attend!

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