Monday, December 17, 2012

What Help?

This has been a very emotional few days for me, and for everyone in this country. There are no words to express the complete grief most of us are feeling about the Newtown shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Banning guns might make it more difficult, but the reality is someone who is mentally ill and decided to cause harm will find a way to do so.

The way I see it, the problem is the lack of support and respect being offered to Parents of children with emotional and mental health issues. During the last 10 years I have been directly and personally involved with Attempting to find mental health care that is even worth the effort to access.

My daughter has already accessed every level of mental health care, short of Permanent Institutionalization. She was placed in her first Psychiatric Hospitalization at the age of 6! It is a blur since that time and she will soon turn 15. She is classified as a "Line of Sight Child" Still.

Daughters are not usually Shooters so, I am not worried she may one day hurt too many people. In a way that is good... But, when I look to see what her future may be given her Multiple Diagnosis and History it is not a future I have much confidence will be very good for her. No one is talking much about the Young Woman with mental health issues. I think most of us know what they "are" and pretty much consider it to be self-destructive life choices and leave it at that. I have not heard of a woman ever acting alone in any huge violent way. Instead, our daughters grow up to have misplaced behaviors, and offer the world more children and hope they get the help they need.

My little boy is about to turn 11. I have NOT disclosed as much of the story the past few years, here on my blog... It became a situation that I did not want to hurt the children more by writing as much as I did in the past.

I am scared about the future for both children. All the Red-Flags are there and all the signs indicate...

I have not ever stopped looking for help and support for the two of them. The problem is the services I have received are Band-Aids in the moments. Each starting with some optimistic Treatment Plan, to be accomplished over a specific period of time. I have battled with the Personal Health Insurance company, and with the access I have to state services... I have used them all. And they are Nearly all the same.

There are basically two outcomes in my efforts to find and provide mental health services for my children with huge issues. There are those Private Doctors who Love the money, and have all sorts of Drugs to offer up and medicate the situation until the children are of legal age I can choose to do nothing More. These doctors want the whole rest of the time to collect co-pays and sell prescriptions. Long term monthly appointments since one, or more, of the 4-9 medications require personal contact with the Doctor every month. These doctors Love me as a parent, talk nice to me, give me hope, and see me and my child as long-term employment. They like to puff me up and make me feel good about doing the right things to my child. DRUGS.

Or there are the services that are offered for specified periods of time. Those are often the FREE ONES the children get because they Qualify for the State medical plan or Medicaid benefits until 18 or 21. These start off with Lofty Goals most often designed specifically to Train Unable Parents. Typically, a few meetings into it, I am teaching the so-called expert more then they can teach me. It becomes an unbalanced situation and because I have tried the "simple suggestions" that work many times with unable parents, these providers have typically come to a point where they do not have any better idea then I do about what to do. Or how to better handle the situations. Then we go through a period of time where the most ridiculous ideas are thrown around. Many of these ideas have not only not worked, but backfired so badly that more damage has been done. Eventually, a few days or weeks before the specified period of time is about to expire, these people are forced to somehow explain Why No Progress has really been made. The typical way they accomplish this is to document they did their jobs and the parents have failed in some way or another.

If you have not attempted to parent a child with Scary mental health issues, then you would Never know or understand any of this. I did not expect to have the difficulties I have, I had faith in the mental health services I KNOW are out there. I had faith in our school system, faith in law enforcement, child protection services and everyone else who was involved as an outsider in the very real inside issues I have faced parenting children with mental health issues.

It is a lonely world Here.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Growing Older, is Still Growing.

I found the journal I started in 1981. It was interesting to read the words of the 18 year old girl filled with big dreams and an innocent heart. Flipping through the pages, I felt it was like reading a prehistoric Facebook page about myself. I found it interesting how I wrote, the things I wrote and the way in which I addressed whoever my imaginary audience really was. I am not sure why I assumed my words would be public someday, somehow.

It could be interesting to one day, post it as if it was a Facebook page, from the past. There are literally hundreds of pages of my own handwriting--stuffed here or there around my life. I am not and never have been a very private person. Even though others seem to assume there must be some mystery I hide--that has never been the case with me. I hide nothing well, and find it difficult to keep a secret of any kind. I find there are very few secrets in life that are positive when eventually disclosed so, it's really just a best personal policy to Not Hold a secret in the first place.

I have not figured out yet, if being an open-book in life is really a good thing or not. For me there have been times as a mother where I have been accused of keeping secrets or lying to my children. They need to understand that while they were young and growing a parent is not required to be accountable to our children for every choice we make in life. Not the same way we will be with them when they grow up and become adults themselves. And, that does not make a parent a liar. We all make choices as adults, some less productive, some less wise, and some that are not the business of our little children. There is nothing wrong with showing the Best Role model we are able, and keeping Adult behaviors out of sight is Not Lying to our children--it is keeping Adult behaviors out of our child's sight and the right thing to do.

There is this point in every child's life where they come to understand their own parents were just as stupid and unable as they are in life--and the truth is, that never changes! Everyday, every step, every breath of life is growing older, getting wiser, and learning. It does not stop. There is just not that moment in time when someone has learned it all, finished the process, and finds all the answers. That is Not what Life is about, and it is not a possible goal. Growing OLD is Still Growing...that is the reality of life.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve

I am pretty sure this is the 30th year I have made all or some part of the Thanksgiving feast for my family. I am fairly certain the majority of these feasts have been held at my dining table. I was taught well--by my mother--how to pull it off in style and with grace.

It's the day of the year--I break all the rules in Healthy Cooking. I think I must have 10 pounds of butter invested in the feast, here and there and everywhere. There are two ways to cook, healthy and Never Forget how good it tasted... Thanksgiving is the day I like it to be all about tasting good! Less would be less and to me that's not what Thanksgiving is about. I love to pull out the recipes my Great Grandmother used back in the day no one knew about heart disease or obesity. I am sure she did not cook this way, every night which might be why she took the time to Type the recipes on 3x5 index cards, a task that was far more difficult then writing a blog post.

I am not a wealthy woman, but when it comes to cooking the FEAST, I take no short cuts. I may not be able to afford all the glitzy and flashy toys or bling-bling my children might desire, and I will Never Ever give money or gift cards for Christmas.... but, I can cook a feast that my children will never forget and cause them to have a desire to take one day a year and be Thankful we can take one day to Feast!

I believe in healthy eating, healthy lifestyles and good clean living. But, when it comes to Thanksgiving Dinner I simply ask myself, "Would this be better with Butter and Cream?" or "Perhaps some Bacon would make this the bomb!" Real, feast food is the Point here--I have the entire rest of the year to Think and Cook Healthy and one day a year, I can honor the past, and cook like my Great Grandmother did for the hardworking members of the generations before me.

So, now it is time for me to go ADD some Sugar to my homemade Applesauce, because it is just a little better that way and it will taste so good next to the Turkey and Dressing... with a Buttered Roll and some Candied Yams....yummy.... 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Special Education -- How Many Trees will be Sacrificed

"No child left behind" that is the federal mandate, and goal of the current special education programs offered at the public schools. It seems to me the whole things has turned into documenting any little effort to help a child and apparently the more paper used the better.

Why does it requires ten pages to identify the need to learn Times Tables....and the goals that are established to reach that goal is beyond me. The reality is that in this world it's all about "cover your butt" and with every step of special education, the papers are all about the public school proving they did what they were supposed to do... and the proof must be found within the thousands of pages of paper.

It seems to me this stack of papers Must Prove the school system is doing everything they can to identify and help my child learn the things he needs to learn. The sad part is that over the years since "No Child Left Behind" started--the only people Learning are the teachers and administrators.... They have Learned How to Cover their Butts and jump the right hoops to be sure they prove they did the most Basic Things....and tried to teach a special needs child. Every new thing the education system learns results in another 10-20 pages to document what they learned about the needs of my child and how they plan to try to measure any sort of accomplishment along the way.

There used to be a time when a teacher could just teach. Now the teachers have to write Novels about the fact "Little Johnny" will be 70% able to read at the 3rd grade level by the end of the second quarter, and 80% by the end of the third quarter....with the goal of 90% by the end of the fourth.... but--What Does That Mean to the Parents?

I sit here with the Sap of 20 Trees on my hands....reading the pages and pages of words written to prove the school is aware and doing what they can to help my child learn....and all I see is meaningless chatter and cover your butt words on page after page of documentation that the Only Problem there is has to be the Child and their special needs....

The fact is that my son's IEP paperwork required two separate trips home. It would have been child abuse to send his whole file home in his backpack, it could have harmed him due to the weight of it all. I sure wish, No Child Left Behind had resulted in that being the issue--instead of making sure No School is Sued seems to be the result.

Friday, November 02, 2012

November is National Adoption Month.

In just a few weeks, I will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Becoming Makala and Jeremiah's adoptive mother. A journey I am so thankful I have been able to make.

As is true for most people, life is not always what you imagine it will become. With everything in my life the one thing I never regret is becoming the mother of All four of my children.

Being a parent is always more difficult then we imagine...and more rewarding too.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Growing UP

Growing up has sure changed since I did it all those years ago... Or at least that's what a teenager will try to tell me. However, the reality is that growing up hasn't really changed that much at all. Parents are parents and teenagers are teenagers and everyone is still doing just about the same things today--as it was in 1977 when I was Makala's age.
It seems to me the issues are just about the same now, as I felt when I was nearly 15. She wants independence, freedom, true love and to start her own life. I want to see reasons to respect her and trust her as she does so. If there is one thing I want my kids to learn it is that feeling I had as a teenager. I was brought up to feel that the most important thing I could do was earn my parents trust and respect. With that I could count on my parents to support me with the dreams I had in life. If I am learning anything about parenting teenager's it is that sometimes a mother just needs to Shut-Up and let the chips fall where they may. My older kids did not cause me too much stress as teenagers, there were normal rebellion actions, typical growing up mistakes and very few extreme situation that needed me to intervene. I look back and see where I could have handled some situations differently but, overall I am happy with the mother I was for both of them.
Bless her heart, Makala is more like me then either one of the older two were. She is the romantic, outgoing, energetic, bright sunshine of life that I always felt inside too. I am very aware that It is not helpful to see myself in my daughter--but, with Makala it's very hard to ignore. I actually can understand how she gets herself into the social messes she does. It is easy to be a target when you live your life in the spotlight. What I see in her is that outgoing--in your face--personality, I have had to control all of my life.
Some morning when she walks out the door for school, I just remember those 3 inch, multi-colored, platform shoes I had to have so I could ride my bike... and be seen. Her current trademark is Zebra Print. Which would be fine except in True Makala form she seems to push it past the limit and to the extreme. I hope to God she gets through her teens and KEEPS this part of her spirit... I expect her peers will beat her into some kind of submission to an acceptable limit. Makala will always push the boundaries. I think the next few years will be about teaching her to recognize the limits.
I know that growing up is not easy and while the Issue are the same--the World is not. There are some awful risks in life out there today. There is more reason today to teach teens how to navigate the systems and find their way to live life. The next few years should be very interesting and hopefully successful for all four of my children.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Makala is Wow!

To everyone who was a part of the Adoptive Parents Network, my friends--old and new, and to those who doomed her future it is my pleasure to Update how my beautiful daughter Makala is doing!

Reading this blog can be rather painful--for me or anyone else who may stumble upon it. I have not updated it very much during the past few years--because I was not sure what way the story might go. Life became real--and I needed to make choices that affected each one of us. Sometimes the story does not go the way we want to write it.

This is what a mother wishes for regardless of what the world--or our child tells us along the way!

I do not regret any choices I have needed to make in order to be the mother I know that I am for my children. I would not change my choice to become the mother of special needs siblings--way back in 2003!

I do not regret rejecting the kinds of attitudes, forms of treatment or ignoring the judgments of those people around me--or around the world! There is no One Right Way to be a mother--or a wife--or a woman. I know that for myself--and for my daughters. My dream is only for each of us to be our best make our own dreams the reality.

Makala is 14 years old. She will start high school this fall. She has become a beautiful and articulate young woman. She has values and opinions. She has style and class. She is a wonderful daughter. Not perfect but, neither are her mother's! The best dream we can have is a safe life and a strong spirit. Makala has that today.

By the age of 14 it can be rather clear what kind of person one will strive to become. Of course there are still risks for any teenager but it's usually pretty clear by now what the issues might be. I see Makala as a young woman who wants to have a positive life and impact on the people around her. She has very much learned to control the anger that is within her. She has overcome so many things that once cause her rage and uncontrolled emotions. She has a self-control in that area we could all learn from.

If RAD can be healed I would claim today that Makala's RAD is very much in the past. We have managed to overcome this issue between us. To me that is the most amazing thing to realize.

I can say--I look forward to the next few years of Her Life!

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