Friday, March 29, 2013

Putting on My Armor and Calling Oregon to stand up For Me

It has been just over 10 years since my husband and I were selected by Oregon DHS Committee process to become the Best Advocates and Adoptive Parents of Our special needs siblings.

I wish there was more information and help for parents after they adopt children from Oregon Foster Care. I have been living a tragic and long story (this blog started when I met my children) and I am about to get screwed over in Washington Divorce Court.

I feel helpless because our children are HIGH special needs and every decision I have made for 10 years has been ONLY about my children and what I promised the State of Oregon Committee when we were selected us as the adoptive parents for VERY Special needs siblings.

Nothing about MY Agreement and the Agreement my husband made seems to matter and the issues about our adopted special needs children have been made exactly the same as just any other divorce. The kids are high-level, line-of-sight special needs. I do not understand how to get the help I need, in order to continue keeping my agreement with the state of Oregon, and my adopted children.

I have needed to make many choices along the journey, for the Best Interest of my children. For a brief time I lived with my husband in the sate of Washington. When our daughter needed services that were Not available in the state of Washington, I Returned with Her to Oregon and have been providing her with Exactly what I promised. I am now parenting Both children, five days a week, and sending them to public school in Oregon.

I am about to be Divorced by their father and the Man who made it possible for me to Promise the Committee I would do just as I have been for the past 10 years. Because, he still lives in Washington this divorce is being handled as any other divorce situation, Except that somehow personal property was handled under Oregon Laws.

I do have some assets, and so does their father which is Part of the Reasons we were selected as the adoptive parents of our children and need some legal help. I think MY kids deserve to be protected Under that State that Chose me to Be their Mother and my husband to support what we promised the committee we would do. I need to do this NOW and have two-weeks to find a way!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Moving On after Adoption and Divorce

I had planned to work on my Parenting Blog today. Working on my blogs  and talking to other parents,  adoptive parents, and parents of special needs children has been one of the few ways I have found support over the past 10 years. I have found a great deal of hope when my words, or my support has helped another parent, in the stressful situation I can relate to.

There was a time, not that many years ago, when I was confident and believed I had a life that could be the perfect example of a loving couple providing adopted special needs siblings a stable home and loving family.

It is hard to tell now, if I was imagining something that was not real, or if the reality around me just changed. Either way, it has now been 3 years since I had to make the choice to work on my marriage or bring my daughter home from residential treatment and hope for the best.

The good thing is that children are resilient and as much as my mommy dreams were to be a family united with a mom and dad, the divorce statistics are what that are and marriages fail. I could spend years writing all the ways that I feel about this whole situation. I write pages and pages about how it was not my fault. I could write a book about the relationships I have experienced. I could do a lot of things with the experiences I have endured. I could blame everything that is real and did go wrong on others and spend my life suffering in this pain and loss.

I have about 5 different book titles about the choices I have had to make with Husbands, boyfriends and life in general. I am saving those books for when I have finished my college... I will be able to write them with the "Letters" after my name, and therefore be more credible in the advice I have to offer others. It seems that I have been nearly constantly in some kind of therapy or counseling since 1986. The interesting part is that 90% of the therapy and counseling session I have attended have been FOR someone I love or loved and the issues or problems they had in their lives or brought into my life.

The only "therapy" that has been helpful for ME personally, was DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy). If you have never heard of it don't feel bad I had not either until 2010. Right when my second marriage was failing.

From: An Overview of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) treatment is a cognitive-behavioral approach that emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment. The theory behind the approach is that some people are prone to react in a more intense and out-of-the-ordinary manner toward certain emotional situations, primarily those found in romantic, family and friend relationships. DBT theory suggests that some people’s arousal levels in such situations can increase far more quickly than the average person’s, attain a higher level of emotional stimulation, and take a significant amount of time to return to baseline arousal levels. 
I am an emotional person. It is how I found myself twice divorced. My emotional intensity comes in handy for many situations. It was my emotions that made me want to become a mother again, when my biological children were nearly grown. It is my emotional intensity that accomplished nearly every goal I have in my life. My father used to say, "Everything is Always the Most Important Thing in Life for De Anna." And, that is probably true about me. If I am involved it is because it is the most important thing for me.

It all works very well for me, until I have to share my life with someone--who does not feel I am important or a value or if I make a mistake. Then, my world falls apart and I live in an intense world of feelings alone. Usually, needing the person I share life with more then they are able to be needed. My feelings are real, deep, and big and when I make a choice in Love and later find the one I loved does not still have an intense love for me--my world falls apart.

That's how a person like me--smart, able, and willing to go the distance--seems to always end up being the only one in the relationship still holding onto the passion and love it started with. Long after the other person in my life has grown past the emotional intensity of love. There I am, still feeling it, and living it, and loving life as I know it. Only to turn around and discover I am the only one of us still living the intensity of love--with someone who has moved past the intensity and onto the routines of life.

Remember, I can write books about how these other people did me wrong and hurt me in ways I will NEVER get over, but right now that doesn't help anything and I am still too emotional to write a rational book about the ways I have been hurt by others. It is never only one persons fault it take two to have a healthy relationship, It can take one to walk away or not care about the relationship anymore. But, it takes two to make it work--giving and taking and working past problems.

I could spend the rest of my life looking back and thinking of the ways I could have reacted differently or said or done something different. I could spend forever reviewing where I went wrong, how I could be blind and not know the emotional relationship I was in--was not the same for the person I loved and built the relationship with. I have learned no matter what I feel, in the end it makes no real difference if the person I love has changed their feelings for me...or become complacent with the relationship in general.

All I know is that on Friday I have to go to a hearing, about the finalization of divorce. Again. Two failed marriages and four children effected by a broken home. This was Never the Dreams I had in mind and certainly not what I had planned 10 years ago when I chose to become the adoptive mother of special needs siblings on my 40th birthday.

The past three years have been hard and I have been as strong as I know how to be. The past 3 years are the farthest from the dreams I had when Everything that mattered was my love for my husband and our building a family together. This outcome was simply not a possibility but it is my reality today.

I was going to write in my parenting blog today. I was going to write about Distress Tolerance and the skills that can be used to help a person through it. DBT was amazing therapy for me because of the skills I learned. Or as I actually found, because of the skills I have always used and didn't know what to call them or that I even used skills. I may still write that blog today because I will be using these skills today intentionally.

Because, today I need to ACCEPT the fact that I am alone in life and I am going to be fine and I am a good mother if that is the legacy of my life I can be happy with that being all.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Teenage and Tween, When one Emotionally Passes the Other.

It has been busy again around here. Between school meetings, special events, and finishing up all the little things around the house times flies and it is officially Spring!

The remodel on the inside is down to the trim and door painting, which is best done when it warms up a little.   Down to decorating and the finishing touches, which is wonderful considering all that has happened!

Makala and Marty are doing well, during the weekdays at home with me. It has never been difficult for me to provide and insist on a routine. There are absolutely consistent expectations around here and routine. This is what so--many--children need. As the mother of my kids I face those times when my heart wishes I could let them be the same as their peers...allow them the freedom other children have, and the opportunity to mess-up and face the consequences other children their age face.

I have chosen instead to be an over protective, over involved, chastity-belt, mother--who recognizes that "Emotionally" my children are about half their chronological age, and that by the age of 26 I might expect to see the emotional maturity of the average 18 year old. I cannot remember where I have learned this rule-of-thumb, but I promised I would not forget it when I learned it. That means, my 15 year old is still only emotionally--7 and a half. That is about right. So, while the world around her--sees a 15 year old, I know she is not on the inside yet, so I do NOT allow myself to feel any guilt for the Protection I have chosen to be in Her Life.

The difficult part of this role I play, is the Judgments from others. There are very few people in my support system that actually understand the parenting situation I face with a Physically 15 year old daughter, with the emotional development of a first grader. If I am over protective, then just remember the NEEDS an average first grade child has. A first grade child is not ready to face many peer situations a 15 year old is expected to understand and make choices that may effect the rest of their lives. Many 15 year old children ARE and Do experiment sexually, and in other ways, and that will be the way of life. But, my child is emotionally 7 and considered to be 100% Line-of-Sight. That has a completely different meaning in every way of life. So far, I am willing to take the judgment and do the right things for my child. That is what I signed up for.

Marty's needs are very different... He is Now a Tween and will go to middle school next year. He has Not had a disrupted education like his sister. He has had learning delays, she did not have. His emotional issues are completely different then her Reactive Attachment Disorder. He is able to handle the social mainstream a little better then she would be. He has been exposed to the "general population" all along. He has the good opportunity to be able to overcome his learning delays and do well in life.

At this point, it seems he is emotionally passing his sister. This has been very clear at home in many ways. This is where he needs some support and help because it is a fact he is likely going to do better in an emotional way then his older sister. This is a difficult thing for a little boy to understand, along with his own knowledge and understanding that he too was exposed. It is time that he learns to understand the differences between his special needs and the special needs his sister has.

He was safe, loved and cared for as an infant and was adopted at the age of one year old. She was Five and those years were completely different for them. No one can ever replace the early years Makala experienced in life. This is the big difference between them, and he will need to learn about what that means and why his issues never have been and never will be the same as his sissy has.

Marty just needs to learn to read, write and have confidence in himself. The rest of it is pretty normal stuff, and he will be able to manage in the main stream if he will accept and understand his whole life has been completely different then his sisters. She has not had a single school year in the main stream. Not one grade without a psychiatric hospital stay, day treatment, residential treatment, containment transition school, special placement school. I believe she has gone no longer then 4 or 5 months in a main-stream setting with an IEP and over 45% special education... She has always seemed to Learn the things that keep her looking normal... She is blessed with survival instincts and an ability to recognize patterns, and memorize anything. It works well for Her and she has hope because she is bright under the damage done to her.

It has been good for Marty to spend the weekdays with Me and his sister. He is learning to understand that He does not have the same issues she does, and he just needs to understand her needs are different than his and he will eventually learn to read and write just fine.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Schools Day off for Budget Cuts

I do my best to keep politics out of my blogs and generally do not like to get into debate on the Internet about political issues. I suppose it's a lot to expect my government will make the same kinds of choices I have to make when I need to cut my budget. Usually, as a mother, when I have to cut my budget I choose to cut out those things that effect my family the least.

When I need to cut my costs I tend to buy ground beef instead of steak, learn to do my own fingernails instead of paying for them to be done. I set the thermostat down a few degrees, find fun things to do near home and focus on those things I can do that don't cost as much money. My children are growing and will need new clothes, hair cuts, shoes and socks... It would be foolish for me to think I should cut my costs in areas that effect my growing children. I can ware the same shoes another month or two, since my kids feet grew another size and we can't ignore that fact.

It seems however, that the Public Schools chose to cut their costs in a different way, and give all the kids another day off school!  Spring break is only 2 weeks away and My kids have today Off for an "Unpaid Budget Cut" This cracks me up because the only money being saved will be for those people being paid by the hour--certainly not those paid by salary! Unless, the pay checks actually, specifically doc the pay by one day? I would love to see proof of that!

Today, the bus drivers, lunch staff and those people paid hourly are all off work and not earning a pay check. And, the children are HOME with or without supervision because there is no school. I could think of a million ways to save some money that would Not have the impact that cutting random school days does on society.

I doubt cutting more school days really saves that much money, considering the majority of the staff responsible for being involved with my kids at the school are salary and paid anyway. To me cutting out the responsibility my children have to go and get a good education is irresponsible and teaching them the wrong priorities. For society I believe cutting school days is risky and leaves countless children without supervision today as I doubt the parents were given a day off to be home.

I do not have any answers, but I will say it is about time some priorities are set! It's very difficult to teach our children responsibility when they are not important enough to account for when the Big People need to save money. I am wondering how many other parents are caught off guard today--and did not realize it was Another Day without School?

Thursday, March 07, 2013

A Parent's Network: Solid Foundation

A Parent's Network: Solid Foundation: We have heard it a million times--It's an old saying, and a fundamental teaching in nearly all mental, spiritual, religious, and build...

New Memories -- Blog Tags

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