Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An Unexpected Request

I always wondered how I would feel, or what I would think and most of all how I would react if we were ever contacted by the children's mother. Now I know.

This afternoon I received email from the State. At first I thought it must be due to the birth of another baby. Instead, it was an "legal" representative letting us know that our children's birth mother wanted to send gifts and wanted to know if she could have pictures.

It's been Six-years, and seems so strange to be arriving Now. Could it be that my prayers for HER have come true--at least to some degree?

I have often sat an wondered, if she thinks of them, if she has the ability to "care" in a way that wasn't self serving. To me it couldn't be possible to have my rights to 5 children terminated--without having a care in the world.

Sharing pictures is Clearly not an issue to me, I do that all the time. We need to think about the Gifts at least at this time anyway. We need to talk with all the professionals and consider how this might effect the children, especially our little girl.

With things being so ALWAYS hard for her--can she really deal with this out of the blue?

I asked the representative to let birth mom know that the most important gift she could give our daughter would be a copy of any baby picture--any picture before the age of 4! And, maybe the name of someone who might be called birth father.

I'm also not so sure how little brother would take this. He is so confused about all of these things considering his sister has told the story in Not Always the most loving or healthy way I would have wished. Marty is still dealing with so much anger--and asking a lot of the questions that make me know he is dealing with the whole "adoption" matter in some of the less then positive ways. It's been hard with his older sister presenting her side of things...too early, too detailed and with a bit of romance included.

Not sure how presents from out of no place might impact the children.

I do know that it's only a few days before M's birthday--and a few days after the TPR for the Only child of 5 her mother parented for any time at all. It must be difficult I am sure. I wonder if the fact both of the children we adopted have their birthdays right now--prompted this request?

Monday, January 26, 2009

No Surprise just Disgust

It has been well over 90-day since the "last" time we tried again to find the correct care for our daughter... I discovered this morning that our Second Case for "Voluntary Services" with DHS was closed--AGAIN. The only way to access the services she needs, is to relinquish our rights as her parents... That's gonna help.

Just the "list" of "things and issues" since July is longer then my arm, and that list would only include those things worth remembering. We have become so accustom to living in complete chaos with a child controlling everything--we don't even notice the little things anymore... It's hard to keep count or notice when it is 24/7 for six years... After awhile, it's NORMAL.

I am still trying to figure out what "Magic" words or piece of paper is needed to have her placed in residential treatment... Since the state we live in NOW doesn't even have it--I have been able to fall back on Oregon, but--no one seems able to tell me which hoops to jump through to get her placed there...

I have had 5 appointments with her psychiatrist since October. Each costing $112.00 our of pocket under or primary insurance. We have paid over $600.00 for a page and a half letter that May or May not be what's needed.

She will be kicked-off the bus if there is another problem. I'd like to know why anyone thinks WE might have better luck driving her to and from... We hardly made it home the 3 miles from Marty's party the other day. I guess, no one believed me when she was 6 years old and I started telling everyone...She isn't SAFE inside moving containers.

Saturday, I caught her shoplifting and the only feelings she expresses is that I am Evil for being mean--I guess, because I caught her? Not sure and today I don't much care about HOW she is feeling.

I called the so-called Crisis Mental Health line Saturday and heard the same kinds of WRODS I heard when I was a battered wife... "Mam, when you are READY to make a decision we can help you..." The Decision I am supposed to make is to SAY, "I give up my rights as her mother..."

That will only mean they stick her in a Foster Home someplace... So she can Get the Services DHS can only offer children in Foster Care...

Marty continues to suffer, and our marriage is stressed. Actually, not our marriage just every other moment of our lives day and night.

I am disgusted with the system. I thought all these Do-Gooder's wanting money to fund programs REALLY wanted to make a difference for children. Guess, I was wrong to think this since apparently all the rules and laws insure that at some POINT the Parents don't have a part to play in the care of their child.

It's a great way to keep everything that doesn't happen in a file No one ever sees.

It disgusts me that when there is REALLY a child with a CLEAR need of care (normal parents could never deliver) the only way to help a child is to Dump the problem on the State? It's clear to me that the only goal in treating Child Mental--emotional or whatever problems--is to WAIT until the child commits a horrible crime or isn't a child anymore.

The time when help COULD have made a difference has already been lost. Thanks to the approach of "lets just fix it good for now". Band aids don't usually fix broken legs yet the system seems to think just good enough to stop the bleeding is all a child needs.

If we had gotten her the help she really needed in the past--we would not be here today. I think the problem is that there is no help for some children--and NO ONE wants to admit that fact or do anything about it. It's just a lot easier to say, the kid was a messed up Foster Child who turned out to be a Sociopath because of unhealed RAD...

It's easy for the World to NOT see any of this -- no one has any idea how HORRIBLE it is to see a child in such need with a bunch of Stoned-Faced people who don't have answers...

As if the answers will be better if she got them from Foster Parents... pffft! Seems that children only get care if their parents have failed. It doesn't seem to make a difference if the Parents Fail because they are "Crap for Parents" or if the are the parents of a child with one of the Undiagnosable Personality Disorders that COULD JUST HAPPEN to any child. Can't Call it that instead we will call it every other letter in the alphabet and hope something Sticks!

...To help some children with the most serious needs--the parents have to fail. Is that even okay with ANY NORMAL PERSON? Seriously, is there one person any place who will look me in the eye and tell me that isn't EXACTLY what has happened with the adoption and post adoption of OUR BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER!

If all the "so-called" do-gooders actually stood up and Told the Public the truth... Bottom line is that a child with "Mental Health" or "Behavior Problems" should Pop up, the system is ONLY about determining when the Parents have reached the point of Failure. Then... swoop in take a child into "The System" and house them until they become adults... Cuz, that's all the want us to do.

Our system as it is Right NOW should be considered Criminal and Barbaric. All the while wrapped-up in Double-Speak and psychological terminology just so it all sounds important. Bottom line is that the teachers want these kids Doped, the doctors like to give them Dope and everyone spends years saying the same things over and over and over in one big loop of endless--Non Answers.

...It is NOT just ME an Adoptive Mother who feels this Pain! Trust me, in my 6-years of walking this walk the vast majority of Parents and Children I have seen receiving the same "Care" as my child--have Not been adopted children... Truth be told, I believe that a LARGE number of children WAITING in Foster Care had Parents Who Failed--just they Failed in a less Stylish way then I do--as the Saint who would dare to love one of "those kids."

And to top it all off... They actually force the parents to Say the Words out loud. They force the parents who have Failed to say, "I give up:. It's like a Game of Uncle. We either continue to Endure the Torture or we Say we Give Up... The State, police, schools, whomever--don't care because so long as WE Endure--NO ONE Else is obligated. We have to say, "You are NOW Obligated to Care because We Failed and Now Give Up our Right to say we Cared at all..."

At this point OUR family is no different then any other family with the Risk of a Child being placed in Foster Care. We just choose to GET here a different way but, it is the same spot I know parent after parent faces. Has to be because--it is the Only actual answers we find if there was anything different I can assure you I would have found it by Now!

...It makes me wonder how many children are Foster Children just because they had these Mental and Behavioral Disorders in the first place, and parents who were forced to Give Up and agree they Failed. Hopeful the kid would get help. I think it is a bigger problem then most Americans could imagine and I think it's sick.

Yes, I am hostile and upset at this time. Doing the "Phone-nice" routine and really seeing the TRUTH is so hard for a Normal Person to do under this kind of circumstance.

If the Do-Gooders really wanted to make a difference they would try to HELP. Maybe it's good the economy stinks maybe after Mass Lay-offs and cut backs for the services I don't think even exist happens perhaps some of them will start to speak up about the truth...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wow! and Other Exclamatives

Yes, I am aware the title of this blog includes a misspelled word--To You. But, to me the word is just fine as written and means what I think it does.

Thank Goodness Our Holidays will be drawing to a close sooner or later. Three Birthday's down and only one more to go! Now I turn my attention to planning a birthday for an 11 year old. Who has an amazing talent of making it hard to want to make her happy!

As usual, I am behind with my plans for the new year which should be No surprise to anyone! We just don't get a break from celebrating from Thanksgiving to Valentines day and to be honest all this Glitz and Gifting gets pretty old when it all happens at once every year.

It hardly seems any of us have a "special" day all our own. But, that's just the way things turned out. I once knew a woman who had several children and three of them shared her husbands birthday. Wow! That's unusual.

With all the celebrating it's hard to HELP Makala say within the boundaries. For these months things are just not ordinary and we are supposed to maintain a prolonged attitude of celebration. At the same time, teach and guide and discipline. Not easy-and it wouldn't be for any family. For us these weeks are as much a celebration as pure agony!

...a few more weeks and the whole whirlwind will die down--and hopefully we will make a new step of progress. It's hard to see under the circumstances of things I'm not actually writing about in order to respect the feelings of other people.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another year older...

After about 29 Birthday's is it really that important to keep making such a big ordeal about something I didn't even do! Today my best birthday gift was realizing that I wasn't turning 47 but instead 46!!!!

my next best gift was being lazy.

Tomorrow is back to work!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Two Birthdays Down, and Two to Go!

When everyone living in the same house has a birthday during the same 30-day time period... The Month is Declared "Birthday Month" and the celebrations blend and go on for weeks! We always have our Own Party on the Day of the Birthday... and fit in all the other parties somehow during the month.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Small Clique of Control Freaks

As a parent I seem to walk with a crowd along with only a few others. I believe it is true that children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and other serious emotional issues are rare. During my years in support groups and surfing the Internet I seem to run into the same people over and over. I'm sure there are many who hide behind the doors wondering what to do?

I have to look back and ask myself if my reactions or the choices I made have caused things to be worse or better for our little girl? There are those who have told me that, "Unless her RAD is healed--nothing else will help her." and "until the RAD is healed no other therapy or issue will matter!"

I regret buying into this narrow-minded idea. I regret that for a time I was "SEEING" my little girl as only ONE THING, as someone who didn't want to hug me, or wouldn't look into my eyes, and caused all these problems just to "show me" she was in control, not me. I am angry that I allowed myself to feel like I was a victim and that I had to seize control over her--over every part of her--over even her Hugs.

Not that I wallowed around in this way of thinking too long. I thank God for the fact that he made me logical and analytical. That HE gave me a spirit of compassion and understanding. Otherwise, I fear I could very well still be socializing with the small clique of control freaks who make RAD all about themselves instead of their child.

I am the kind of person who could enjoy the position of Control Freak. It's one of my personality traits I do my best to keep at bay. I often hear myself say, "let go of that!" when things are not going MY WAY. So joining the clique was surely a risk for me... and a risk for my little girl.

With the past 6-years under my belt and having searched under every rock I come across a few things are crystal clear to me now.

#1 - It is the "Chicken or the Egg" argument. Did the Unhealed RAD cause the Adult Personality Disorder or Mental Illness... Or did the personality disorder or mental illness cause or contribute to the Reactive Attachment Disorder?

#2 - When there are other diagnosis, (mental illness or medical conditions) that ALSO include attachment difficulties and symptoms on the List of RAD Signs is it WISE to think that unless the RAD is healed the child is doomed? I have decided it's a mistake to think the Attachment disorder must be healed before addressing the fact that FASD has attachment symptoms as well.

and #3 -- It's my job to raise an independent person. A child who will become an adult who IS in Control of their own life. Does it really make sense that a parent would "Take Control Away" just to prove the child can trust them? Or just to have a hug on the parents terms?

It seems that within the small clique of control freaks there are so many wonderful ideas and methods of seizing a child's own independence and control away--but, I fail to find much information about what to do once the child's will has been broken.

When I have hung-out with my fellow RAD Parents whom have joined the clique it seems the prolonged need to Take Control away from the child never really comes to an end. Every independent act their children make appears to be viewed as an assault on the attachment with mommy.

Even the NORMAL independent acts MOST parents would be thrilled to see in their child, are viewed as if the child intentionally deprived their mother's of her right to control them--and prove they can depend on her. Rather than some of my fellow RAD Mothers being excited to see the natural development of a child who knows how to control their world and become independent some view every natural development as a Dagger in their hearts.

or worse, a sign that they have failed to Heal the RAD.

I have yet to read or find anything that would help me figure out if my little girl is Healed or if her normal desire to become independent and control the things she can is ever something to delight over?

I wonder just exactly how many of my Hugs does she need to accept on "My terms" and how many times do I need to PROVE to her that she can depend on me to control her life? How many conversations should we have where she is able to maintain eye contact, before I can say, "She is able to maintain eye contact." ?

When does the mother of a child with RAD step back and say, now that I have proved to you that it's safe to Love, trust and depend on me--it's time to teach you to Love, trust and depend on yourself?

to be continued...

Be very careful about the kind of therapy you find and use if your child has been diagnosed as Reactive Attachment Disorder RAD.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I wish my Child had Cancer Instead...of

If she had Cancer instead of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders -- FASD, and Reactive Attachment Disorder -- RAD, and was not the former foster child we love and adopted, everything would be completely different.

Not one person would Judge us, as her parents if we found the Best Treatment Facility and paid top dollar for her to be kept in the Safe care of a children's full service Cancer Center. No one would judge us if the Best Treatment center was someplace we didn't Sleep every night. It would be fine with everyone to hear us say, "Our little girl was staying at the Children's Cancer Center, in order to get the treatment she needs."

If our little girl had cancer instead, we would have no trouble going for visits and seeing her bald head. No one would judge that we had to come and see her--maybe even from a long distance. The Ronald McDonald house would surely open up a space for our family and provide a nice place to rest with the other families and pay only $20.00 a night. Our Friends would send cards and letters--offer to take care of the other children, make meals for the family, and ask me if I needed anything? The Doctors would talk to us about medications, treatment plans, the future--the odds... And speak to us with compassion, knowing we were Grieving Parents.

Our little girl would be seen with Love and people would feel some natural Pity for the fact such a young person faced such a horrible diagnosis. Our Church would Pray for our child. The local News might run a story, about how we mortgaged everything to pay for her care--and lost jobs because she needed us so much. People would send money, set up a back account, hold a fund raiser. The Make-A-Wish foundation might contact us to let us know if things become terminal--she can have that dream vacation to Disney.

If she lost a leg to Cancer services would jump in line. The Shriner's would give her a New Leg--a High-Tech wonderful leg that would make it possible to join the Special Olympics. And, she would get her invitation, make the news again, and have a story about surviving Cancer as a child.

My little girl is not Lucky enough to have a problem people see as being anything real like cancer. She doesn't have the disposition, appearance or understanding shown to a Downs Syndrome person or a child with a visible disability. My little girl isn't missing a limb, or all of her hair. My child doesn't have Something everyone feels sorry about.

No one can see from the outside what is hurt on her insides. No one can see the damaged caused to her brain before she was born. No one can see the damage caused to her heart when her earliest needs went unmet. No one can see the pain in her heart when she was taken from the only life she knew--and expected to live life as if she had not been someone else. No one can see the broken logic of a little girl who was attached to a life with people who abused her. The only way Love was known, the only connections she had to build on.

No one wants to even give those issues a thought and no one can see it when they look at her beautiful eyes.

"She is Lucky to have you."
"What a wonderful thing you have done." and
"If I were you I would send her back."

...words I doubt would ever be said, if our little girl was in the Cancer Center.

Who would even THINK to say words like this to the parent of a child with cancer? It would be completely inappropriate to say such things! The only words a parent would hear if their child had cancer--would be nice, supportive and filled with compassion... No one on earth would say these words--to the parent of a child with cancer, adopted or not.

It isn't the first time in my life I have been the parent of a child with Special Needs. It is the first time I have loved someone with a very Real Need and faced the stigma of not having a need that can be seen, which is caused by something no one really wants to think about--or believe can't be overcome.

...to be continued.

Stop BAD Therapy! Never forget Candice!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Year 2009 starts with some kind of Progress

If I am going to consider the year 2008 one with little progress and a lot of spinning in circles--It's clear to say, the New Year 2009 has started with some kind of progress... Some forward and apparently some backward! Of course, I have come to understand some progress is measured by how many steps forward--then backward are gained. The way I see it as long as there is at least a gain forward It can be considered a success!

In our world however, January can hardly be counted as a normal month. With every household family member celebrating a birthday between January 5 and February 5 our holidays don't actually end until oh, Valentines day! It's just a little difficult to see what our normal routine is going to be after weeks off school, Santa, and four birthday dinners, parties and cakes! Things around this house won't get back to the normal routine until all of the celebrating is over!

Then when I educate myself and learn about the effects of "life changing" events and factor the life changing history for Makala into the mix... Well, it's just a wonder we even make it through December to March!

It actually very easy to recognize these months as the roller-coaster they really are. When you consider the fact we Met our daughter Makala on January 3rd 2003! We had Dad's birthday during the Transition came home on January 10th and celebrated Marty's birthday a few days later... Left back to where the children had been the end of the first week home and had the Goodbye meeting with mom. The children had been together with their mother for only a few weeks and were placed into Foster Care when Marty was just a couple of weeks old in 2002.

We came back home, and I celebrated my 40th then a little more then a week later Makala turned 5! We finalized in December, Transitioned and had all the major family additions in January. February was apparently not a very safe or happy time for Makala with one of her most Traumatic memories being her 4th birthday shortly after Marty was born. We celebrated her 5th Birthday about a week after her goodbye visit.

All of her life changes seem to be lumped-up into the the three months we are Right in the Middle of! It would be nice for our family if we could just take a month long vacation from January 2 to February something.

For dad and mom this month is something we feel like celebrating and remembering. It's been an interesting and emotional 6 years for us. Our lives changed in ways we never imagined that day we first laid our eyes on the most beautiful little girl we had ever seen.

We will never forget the flood of emotions we had sitting at the booth in the Cafe January 3, 2003 when we saw our little girl walk to the table with her Foster Mother. If I had--had any doubt in my soul that I would feel the same about her as I did my older children, or her baby brother It vanished the moment my eyes saw hers.

When Andrew and I returned to our hotel that morning--it was clear we had both had that Parent moment just as amazing as it had been when I first saw my oldest son at his birth. We were awestruck and in love! Unconditionally and no matter what.

...and, even with Everything about all of the things in the past years, We are still both awestruck and in love, unconditionally... Just much differently then our pre-parent imaginations had dreamed.

At the end of the day, week, month or year--when we reflect on the progress and consider the whole picture we know one thing is 100% true, we are the ones who love her no matter what!

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Sixth Anniversary of the day our New Memories started

Once I publish this post I will need to go and edit the text under my Blogoversary Countdown... Now it will click to year seven. This is also the 6th anniversary of something my husband and I quietly honor... It is one of those days that parents share and remind each other about. It was just about exactly six-years ago right at the moment I am writing this post when I first laid my eyes on the soon-to-be one year old little boy that would be my son...

We had some snow that year during the holidays because I will never forget watching my husband figure out where to get the supplies and how to construct the Swing Set we were told had to be there before we would meet the little girl who had requested only three things of her growing-up family... In her four-year-old mind the only things that mattered were: A Big Sister, A Cat and a Swing set!

I can't even remember Christmas that year... I recall that we attended the OSU Alumni Christmas Party (which ends up being our last real date!) the night before we were to go before the Oregon Adoption Committee and be considered for the adoptive placement for two young siblings a 4 year old little girl and her 11 month old biological brother... By the end of the evening I think everyone in attendance was aware of our anxiety... I talk way too much when I can't write.

It was mid-December and going to committee is an interesting term considering the fact that we didn't Physically Go... Instead, we stayed by the phone like a 16 year old waiting for a call from a hopeful date! I think we finally broke down the month before and got on the cell-phone ball and chain. Either way, we were ready for the call... mostly expecting that on the First trip to committee we would likely Not be selected since the average is 2 and 1/2 times...

Sometime on the day that 7 uninvolved people met--with the caseworker of the children, their CASA ,and the Adoption caseworkers for the three Home Study approved
and interested adoptive parents we were chosen as the people who would be come the Best Advocates for the needs of Makala and Marty... and our Adoption Caseworker called to let us know...

The REST is a Blur to that moment exactly 6-years ago right this moment when I first saw Marty. That Christmas had to have happened, I remember Andrew building the swing... I remember rushing to the Store to find all of the THINGS we didn't have... And the little argument we had when Andrew so foolishly dared to suggest a High-Chair could wait until we got home... NOT!

One of my favorite ways to lovingly remind my husband that as Parents there are some things that cannot wait for the next budget cycle is to remind him, "Left up to your my dear husband we would be getting that High Chair just about Now!" I recall saying this just a few months ago... Thankfully, my husband has come to terms with the fact that waiting to get what you need for a child--means by the time you get it they might not need it anymore...

It was about at this moment 6 years ago when I looked at the beautiful little boy who was shockingly more beautiful then the one and only picture I had seen... was amazing! Feeling so blessed that He would not suffer too long without a growing up family... That he would need a special kind of transition... that he was so young he would have a very different experience then his older sister we would meet in the morning...

It was also at about this same time when I realized we had "Changed" our original plan without actually noticing it... We had planned on Sisters about the ages of 6 to 10 years old... We were surprised to even have the chance for children so young and in some ways didn't really expect to be considered the Best Advocates... Not with the fact that Andrew was turning 41 in a few days and I would be 40 exactly two-weeks later!

.... and OH MY GOD! (for real and in a very Prayerful WAY)... This little boy is very little and still poops in his pants! I had not changed a diaper in something like 15 years! And, after I changed Tori's Last diaper I made a RULE: I don't babysit anyone Younger then Tori...Later, I don't babysit for anyone in a Diaper... And HERE I WAS Looking at a little person who needed me to change his diaper and teach him how to use the toilet... not to mention walk, talk, and pretty much everything else!

... it was about this time when I realized that... it was going to be starting from almost the start... after I had just about finished with two... When I had done it all twice before and they were off to college nearly... And, I was about to turn 40 for goodness sakes! What the Heck was I thinking when I missed the fact that WE had changed our minds... For all of the right reasons?

And, then he smiled at me. What a smile! What a twinkle in his little eye he had... What an amazing Honor it was to be the mother he would know growing up... What a cutie pie he was...

And, then he fussed with the most sweet sounding cry I had ever heard... It was hard to know he would be my little boy and not be there his first Christmas... It was hard to know my Children were not with me on that Christmas morning... It was even more difficult to see his Foster Mother so in love with him and so not wanting to see him leave her arms. It was hard for me not to want to scoop him up and run out the door... Transitions are very draining and it's an emotional ordeal for Everyone...

When the visit at the restaurant 300 miles away from our home was over Andrew and I went to our hotel room... One of the last nights we would spend without being concerned about who was watching the little ones... One of the last nights we would have as just two people who loved each other. This night 6 years ago was one of the last we had as just the two of us... In the morning we would meet the little girl who would be five years old in just a few weeks...

We were so star-struck with her little brother we had no idea of what to expect... It was very difficult to stop thinking and talking about what was going on... Still, the gravity of the way our lives were about to change had not fully set in. We were still so excited about what was happening in the moment that it was still not a reality... It had only been a few weeks since we even learned we would be placed with children, and how old the children would be... We had the big sister, the cat and the swing set... And I made sure we had the high chair!

...Tomorrow will be the first day of the sixth year since we were introduced to all the members of the family we would become. Tomorrow will be the first day of the sixth year of our New Memories.

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