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!