Sunday, November 28, 2010

I am so stressed

The holiday is over. The weekend is ending. December 1 is approaching. Wednesday is Court.

I can barely breath.

We still don't know what to do or what will happen.

We were given the past month to find a place for him to go. But without funding there was no place. The Multi-Needs team won't even talk to us because with charges pending they won't fund.

We can let DHR take custody again, but the GAL wants to return him to the previous facility and that is NOT a good thing.

We spent the past year and a half fighting to regain custody after refusing to bring him home because he was dangerous.

I do not want to bring him back home (How can we even consider doing that to the other kids!?!?!). But I do not want to lose custody of him either.

I'm his mother. I understand him. I know he is afraid and whether he admits it or not, he needs us.

It shouldn't be this way.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The collapse of the coaster

Roller coasters are precarious creations. They require careful engineering, balance must be exact. The speed calculated to the millisecond. The materials chosen for durability and function. Even the design must be executed scientifically. If anything is off, even a hair-breath off, it could lead to certain death.

A month ago today we were cresting the first of a smaller hill. Three days straight of Middle-one following his goals. Good behavior! Peace!! Hope!!!

Then we dropped into a dip... it was a short dip but a 90 degree drop. Middle went over the edge and tried to get physical with Mr. T. However, the only casualty were Mr. T's glasses and we began to ascend a new and higher crest. Eight straight days of goal following goodness!!!! Heaven in our house! My heart sored. Had we broken through I wondered... hoped...believed. Our AT cautioned not to get too excited as she wasn't seeing the necessary cause & effect thinking yet.

Then there was a move forward in therapy. He cooperated! Middle-One opened up. He looked me in the eye and talked about his birth mom!!!!!!... now it was just for a second, but it was a move... maybe it was the beginning of healing....maybe

Then it all began to come apart... maybe a bolt slipped... maybe the speed was too much... maybe there was a crack in the rail. I don't know, but it all began to crumble.

His behavior began to worsen... just a little more each day. We tried to regain the balance and speed, but we couldn't get a hold on it. The ride was out of control and all we could do was watch and wait for it to come to a stop.

It crashed on Monday evening. Middle was to do extra chores when he got home from school. It was his idea for making restitution to his brothers for some disruptive behavior on Saturday. But when he couldn't convince me he had done the chores and avoid doing them, he got angry and decided that nothing mattered anymore anyway so why try.

After five hours of holding us hostage by doing oppositional, destructive and dangerous things (requiring that we chase him and stop him) while Bright-Eyes hid out behind my locked bedroom door, he got physical and then included knives in his antics... when he pointed a knife at Ebear I called the Sheriff's Department.

He was arrested. We went to court on Wednesday morning. It was decided that he is too dangerous to be here and we were given the arduous task of finding a placement for him in 30 days. We return to court on December 1, hopefully with a plan.

The roller coaster is in pieces now. It lies scattered and piled like the bone pile in a dragon's lair. Our hope twisted in the ragged railing.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Yzma, put your hands in the air!

The ride has left the station... ascended to the first pinnacle and spilled over into that first breath-sucking plunge... but tonight it leveled out around a soft curve and we could see the beautiful scenery and hear the birds...

Tonight, Middle talked to me... No, I meant REALLY talked to me!!!!! He had been horrible. Life here with him had been unbearable. He seemed to be feeding off of our misery and we were ready for him to just be gone again.

Then, without warning, he stepped out of the RAD skin and appeared to me in his true original form. That of a boy. He began to tell me that he was afraid and it was hard not to be. He admitted to not trusting us and that it was hard to trust. He confessed that he wanted to trust us but didn't always know how.

He talked about how he didn't want to make us feel afraid. Especially Bright-Eyes. He cried while he spoke about how he didn't want to hit any of us and how he tried and worked to keep from doing that. He said he wanted to be with us and didn't like to be separated in his room because it reminded him of the time-out room at facilities. He said that sometimes when we got mad at him that it reminded him of staff at facilities and he didn't like that, but he knew he did things to make us mad.

He also took responsibility for the behavior he had demonstrated as of late. He talked about his feelings during the behavior but was quick to say that he was still responsible for acting like he did.

He assured me that he does really love us and he wants to have a good life, but sometimes he acts up and gets mad and gets "lost" in the mad. He said he feels like his day is ruined then so why change.

He said he doesn't want to be a criminal and end up in juvenile detention. He wants to trust us.

He had burned his finger tonight on a hot pan that I had warned him about... he had to touch it when I said it was hot. He told me that if he had only trusted me he would not have burned his finger.

So... the roller coaster took the gentle turn and began another climb... I can't see around the next bend but a friend of mine reminded me tonight that the ride isn't over. While we catch our breath on the slow curves, RADs find them the most frightening part of the ride... so throw your hands in the air and prepare... to... SCREEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAMMMMMMMM!!!!!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The lowest lows and the highest highs

Talk about roller coasters (and yes, we were talking about roller coasters.... RAD *is* a roller coaster!) It has been a non-stop one here, for the past week.

Middle-One had been climbing, dropping, flipping and spiralling out of control for a while now. His behavior had escalated to an extreme state of all-the-time deregulation. Last Tuesday he spent four hours controlling the house while Bright-Eyes holed up in my room behind a locked door and I stood guard. Four... hours........... he watched TV, he played video games, he went through drawers (pulled out a long screwdriver) and ate the ice cream. It was a free for all. Until Wednesday...

On Wednesday Middle came home from school to find that all of the TV and video game stuff had been taken out of the living room and all of his possessions had been removed from his room. No stuff, except what is essential... a blanket, one pillow, deodorant, toothpaste & brush. We told him we would give him clothes daily. We also explained that with each day that he followed his goals, he would get one item back.

"can I pick the one item?"


The next three days were heavenly. It defies explanation. We had a polite, respectful, attentive, caring, remorseful child. I don't know how... but we saw it with out own eyes. He did his chores. He did extra chores. He was given little bits of privileges (10 minutes of outside time, some quiet reading time) no TV, no playing with friends or his brother. He didn't seem to mind. He actually sat and talked to us... astounding!!!!! Our AT just told us to enjoy it while it lasts.

Today was the fourth day. The end of heaven. The day the music died.......

Today he got bored. Oh whoa is meeeeeeeeeee...... there is nothing to do... well there is reading... well he did get to go outside for longer. But, it's not enough. He got bored. It was out fault (isn't everything really?).

We could see things going south and we tried to talk to him and help him stay on track but there was no preventing this train from derailing.

When he exploded he really exploded.

He banged on a Plexiglas window until he pushed out the window frame and bent the pane. He tried to hit Mr. T (Mr. T blocked it)and grabbed Mr. T's reading glasses off his face and crumbled them (yes Really!!!) in his fist.

Mr. T ended up restraining Middle until I came arrived on the scene.

I wonder if we will climb back up now, or go into a spin... I HATE roller coasters!!!!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Today in Attachment Therapy

Middle-One decided he was done. At the end of his rope. Had gone as far as he could go. He came to a hurdle that is too high.

Therapy (for him) is over.

He can not face the emotional darkness that is his birthmother.

Like magic, when she is discussed, he shuts down. Today AT wanted to try again to get him to talk about her and his feelings. He wouldn't. He simply said he couldn't do it.

She explained to him that this means he doesn't want to join his family and get better. He shrugged and reiterated that he couldn't.

You can take a horse to water... you can pour it on him, sprinkle him with it, even submerge him in it...but you can not make him drink.

AT and i discussed ways of keeping the refreshment of the water ever present and available. Waiting for a break in his shield or a chink in his armour. We will hope that one day he will drink.

Until then, therapy (for him) is over. He will go to session and AT will ask him if he is ready yet to work. If he says no, it's no.

We will pray for the day that he say "yes", and hope we make it to that day.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Court and custody

We went to court again yesterday, we had full custody reinstated to us.

No, no, no... congratulatory gifts are not necessary.....really! Just donate something in our names to the Get-Rid-of-RAD foundation...What??? No such foundation exists????????


Monday, September 20, 2010

Random RADness

Middle-one needed note cards for school. His teacher told them that they would need to get some for Science class. Middle was so concerned about this that he asked Ms. Teacher to email me to let me know. She did. I confirmed that they were just your average, standard, white, 3x5 index cards. She said, they were.

That was Friday...

All weekend we heard...

"I need note cards for school"
"don't forget to get my note cards for school"
"My teacher said that I had to have note card Monday"
"Can we go get my note cards now?"
"If you go to the store, don't forget to get my note cards"


Trouble trusting son?

So, being awesome parents and all, on Sunday, Mr. T got Middle his note cards. I put them in his backpack.

Sunday night was filled with...

"Did you put my note card in my backpack?"
"Where are my note cards?"
"I have to check to see if my note cards are in my backpack"
"I can't forget to take my note cards to school"


After school on Monday, I'm checking Middle's backpack and low&behold.....there is a lovely, multi-colored, spiral note card book in his backpack...right next to his new, unopened pack of cards that we provided...I take the bait and ask...

"Middle, where did these note cards come from?"

"My teacher bought some in case someone forgot to bring theirs and I asked if I could have one and she said I could"


And the colors do match the large, 5 subject, spiral notebook he conned out of her, so nicely too.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

An eye for an eye, a cone for a cone

Restitution is a great tool for parenting RAD kids (well any kids actually). But after a while having a kid work and work ...and work............and woooooooorkkkkk, to earn money to pay for -fill in the blank-, loses it's power a bit.

Sometimes you just need to cut to the punch.

So this week we learned that Middle-One had been using his lunch account (which is actually the money the school district paid back to us when his free-lunch forms were finally approved) to buy rounds of ice cream in the lunch room...yeah, we're pretty proud of those social skills ;o) Now he has LOTS of friends.

We got the printout from the cafeteria and had the proof and the amount. We could have added it to his work log and given him more chores... but ya know, we just didn't want to.

We talked to our AT and came up with this plan... We calculated the total that he spent. We added in ice cream and cones (to equal the total spent) into the grocery shopping and brought them home.

When it was time for ice cream, Middle said

"I'm going to finish my chore and then have my ice cream"

I replied with...

"Oh I'm sorry sugar, the ice cream is for your brothers"


"Yes, since you have been eating ice cream at school... a LOT of ice cream too, we felt that it was only fair for them to have ice cream too"


"You have been very concerned lately about things being fair. This is only fair after all"


"And sweetie, if you would like a dessert, we have bananas and fruit cups"


He left his chore undone and stomped to his room with the announcement that he was going to bed.

Sweet dreams

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Random RADness

Most of these are humorous. This one is not.

This morning, Middle-One woke up with a stuffy head and a scratchy throat. Normally he doesn't even let on that he doesn't feel good. So when he came in and told me while I was making breakfast I guessed that he REALLY didn't feel well. It was fairly obvious that he was feeling pretty miserable.

We decided he would stay home from church and later, after breakfast, he just broke down in tears saying

"I don't like not feeling good, I don't want to be sick"

Mr. T and Ebear both looked at me and asked what was up with the tears.

My guess.... Being sick makes you vulnerable. You lose control. If you really don't feel well you have to depend on others to take care of you. You have to trust. For a kid who can't trust it can be a pretty scary thing.

Fortunately Middle has a good caring mom who took good care of him while everyone else went to church. ;o)

Inconsistent Consistency

In traditional parenting it is so crucially important to be consistent. Always! Follow through with immediate consequences every time it’s needed. Developmentally normal children will eventually catch on and develop the cause and effect that is part of the natural social and emotional development that God created.

I have memories of whole days trying to be the consistent parent while my boys would just go through the behavior chart and do everything they weren’t supposed then come and tell me what I was supposed to do because of their behavior. I was their puppet. I was a confused puppet because all I had learned about parenting was that if we were consistent in our responses to behavior then they would learn eventually.

Guess what… they NEVER learned!! I wore myself out being consistent.

With RAD kids, the 100% consistent and immediate response just provides another avenue of control so we have to flip that to effectively parent.

RAD kids need consistency but they don’t need to always have predictable consequences. It helps them to think and develop cause & effect if we can keep them guessing. So RAD parents sometimes practice consistency, inconstantly.

Simply put that means we will always do *something* but they won’t always know what we are going to do. Our therapist has said we really can do anything. We are the parents and whatever we decide on for a consequence (remaining within the legal and moral realms) is good.

In the times that I have been on top of my game I have provided crazy and humorous consequences. “Stop, or I will tap dance!!” … That almost always elicits a laugh and it does provide cause & effect. And nurturing consequence; “You obviously need to be tickled/hugged/filled with sweetness (given something sweet to eat). During times of extreme frustration (mine) or complete deregulation (theirs) I have just reached into their room and taken something. Even a pencil lost, is a consequence. It doesn’t have to be something of value, it just has to be something that I, the mom, decided to do. The more it leaves them wondering what in the world we are doing, the better. So break the pattern, be inconsistent and make them think.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Random RADness

Last Friday, at therapy, Middle-One was ranting and raving about how mean I was and how I was on his case and expected so much from him (it's a good thing our AT knows both me and the disorder LOL).

AT asked for specific examples so Middle tells her that every day, when he comes in from school I meet him at the door and give him a hug... and expect for him to hug me... he was serious.

It really is hard to contain oneself at times, especially when accused of such horrendous acts!!! ;o)

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Mystery

It was a dark and stormy night... well, ok, it wasn't stormy. But this is the tropic south so it just as easily could have been.

I was awakened from a peaceful sleep by a sharp knock-knock-knock at my bedroom door. Rolling over, I glanced through one open eye, at the clock. 4:34.... ugh!!!


I heard Middle-One call back.


(who else could it be really?)

"Mommy the pantry light is burning."

I stumbled to the door, flipped the hook & eye lock and opened the door. Middle-one was standing in the hallway.


"Precious (the dog) was scratching at my door so I came to get the leash to tie her up and noticed that the light bulb was black"

"Ok... (thinking... thinking...) Ok... go back to bed. you're not supposed to be up tying the dog up anyway. (Ummmmmmmm... really?... Really???)"

Middle goes (a little too) obediently to his room and gets back in bed. I go to the kitchen to check on the light bulb. Yep, burned up alright. It's Cajun-blackened! I remove the bulb with he help of a cleaning rag. Thinking that I will have Mr. T examine it later, I slip quietly back into my room and place it on the bookcase.

Going back out into the hall I notice that the house smells like smoke. The pantry light fixture feels hot to touch. I worry that maybe the wiring in this old house is on fire (It is the middle of the night after all so my suspicious thoughts are still asleep). As I become more conscience, I notice a "smokey" smell throughout the house.

(Is it getting worse?)

I begin to examine every room, feeling walls, smelling, trying lights.

(seems ok, but what is that smell)

I walk through again, discerning that the smell is strongest in the kitchen and the hallway. I return to the pantry and with two open eyes I begin to really look...

(how did that box of matches get on the spice shelf?... and where are all the matches)

I start digging around the pantry.

(no matches. Where did they go?)

I look into the garbage can...

(Ebear's pill bottle?... he didn't finish these. Did he?)

I'm getting more confused. I retrieve the pill bottle and the nearly empty box of matches and add those to the light bulb.

Now I am fully awake and in sleuth mode. I'm seeking the clues because that's how we roll... Yeah, me and Nancy Drew, we tight dude!

There is a Febreeze can on the dining room table

(was that there a minute ago?)

I pick it up...

(Empty!?!?..... where did the Fabreeze go....)

Added the bottle to the growing pile of clues.

I have a suspect. I have the clues...I'm seeing a possible solution. But I don't think I really have the technology to prove it (got to refill the CSI kit). A confession is unlikely so a confrontation; useless.

It will remain a mystery... for now.

(I think it's time for coffee....)

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I do my best praying and praising while driving. In fact I may do my *only* praying and praising then. My children know that I often cry while I’m driving but they don’t always know what is taking place in my heart and mind. Recently, while driving in the van, feeling particularly bitter and resentful about Middle-One, and this disorder that fills our world, I cried out to the Lord…

Lord, why does he push us away. Why won’t he trust us? We just want a relationship with him, how hard can that be? He spouts bitterness and anger every waking minute but I have not harmed him, in fact I have done nothing but love him. He won’t talk or share anything about his life. He won’t ask or listen. Doesn’t he realize that he can’t keep the secrets? He is a child, we are his parents…Doesn’t he know that we can see into his life. He won’t open up and reveal his hopes, dreams, feelings or thoughts. He won’t spend time with us. He makes petty decisions for himself living in the illusion that he is in control.

It’s silly for a child to think he can take care of himself. He can’t go it alone… doesn’t he see all that we do for him?

We just want to care for him. To love him and bless him. His disobedience robs him of the blessings we plan. We just want to know him. To lead him and guide him.

We have always been here. No matter where he has gone or what he has done, we have been constant and faithful. Does that not count?

We have laid down our lives for this child. Why can’t he see that?

In my heart of hearts, I heard…

Tammy… why have you pushed me away. Why don’t you trust me? I just want a relationship with you, how hard can that be? Why don’t you talk to me or share things about your life? Why do you spout bitterness and anger every waking minute. I have not harmed you, in fact, I have done nothing but love you. You don’t talk to me or share yourself with me, you don’t ask or listen. Yet, you are my child, I am your FATHER…Do you not know that I can see into your life, into the depths of your heart? Do you think you can keep secrets from me? Why don’t you reveal your hopes, dreams, feelings and thoughts to me? You won’t spend time with me. You make petty decisions for yourself, living in the illusion that you are in control.

It is silly child, for you to believe you can care for yourself. You can’t go it alone. Don’t you see all that I do for you?

I just want to care for you… to love you, and to bless you but your disobedience robs you of the blessing I have planned. I want to know you and lead you and guide you.

I have always been here for you. No matter where you have gone or what you have done. I am constant and faithful. Does THAT not count?

I have laid down my life for you, my child. Why can’t you see that?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Therapeutic Parenting Fun!

Parenting a child with attachment difficulties is challenging. It's walking on eggshell, weighing every word and ignoring all of the natural emotions and reaction they provoke in you... every waking minute!! It is tossing all the conventional parenting methods out the window and learning new skills that go against logic and reason.

Occasionally, however, there are moments of fun and humor.

Sometime when we all "join in" a behavior it can be uproariously fun. Sometime prescribing a behavior has been fun. There are times when we have total recall and say just the right thing and see a connect that actually make Mr. T and I high-five in celebration.

The most recent fun we have been having is with nurturing.

When Middle-One is looking for a fight and has that look in his eyes that screams disgust and distrust, we have been moving in and giving him lots of loving eye contact, soft reassuring words, physical contact (a quick touch or squeeze because he recoils).

It has him totally freaked out right now! He is trying for and expecting anger and getting nurturing and comfort. He doesn't have any idea what we are doing and it has him wild eyes and watchful.

This week he was trying very hard to make me angry. We were sitting in chairs facing each other and I reached out and tapped his knee. He "wiped" away my touch. I tapped him again and he "wiped" it away again. So I smiled, laughed, leaned in and began "tickling" him and telling him that I loved him and understood that it was scary to come back home but that it was ok and we were going to take care of him.

It just threw him off completely sitting back, with a baffled, uneasy look he asked.

"WHAT are you doing!?!"

LOL... I'm helping you to attach, dear son... and enjoying the process

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to school: Teacher/School Information on Reactive Attachment Disorder

This is going up a little bit later than I planned but it's still early enough to print and get into the hands of the educators.

There is a risk associated with sharing this information. If the school/educator is going to view this in a negative light and blame the parent, this can backfire on you. A dear Friend of mine had that happen and was subjected to a CPS investigation. She ended up pulling her little munchkin out of school (where he had conned and charmed the teachers so that they thought his parents were abusive). The parents were cleared but they now home school, sacrificing their sanity for their freedom.

That said just to warn you of what could happen. I still advocate educating the masses. Tell them! Scream it from the rooftops. Share share share!!!!! The only way the world will understand is if we speak.

These are links to some wonderful information.

This one helps to really understand where the child is coming from...

This article explains more about attachment...

This is the home page for the national Association for Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children...

This site has great, printer-friendly (professional looking) articles. Specifically one entitled Oil & Water, that is a great resource for teachers.

Another site with teacher/school information

Try not to overwhelm a teacher. They are probably already buried in IEPs and behavior plans if they are taking on your precious cherub ;o) I would suggest asking them what they know about RAD first. Let them lead you. If they are open to learning, share a little more. If they say they don't have time, just offer one good article to be read or skimmed, at their convenience. Try to stick to the articles written professionally, rather than the mom-to-mom web sites. They are just going to be better received.

Happy School Year!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Duck Song

I just HAD to share this... It's a RAD duck!!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Random RADness

RAD kids triangulate. They pit parent against parent, parent against sibling, parent against neighbor (seeing a pattern here?)

On Wednesday Middle-One came home. On Thursday Middle-One began school. Never one to procrastinate and delay hard work, by Friday he had begun to pit parent against teacher.

I received a very concerned email from his sweet teacher. She had noticed that Middle squinted a lot and could not see the board. When she asked him about this he told her that he had glasses but not with him. I don't know what else might have been said but her email to me was a plea to understand how important it is for Middle to have his glasses at school with him and would I please make sure that he had the corrective eye ware he needed.

Hmmmmm... is there any reason why a caring mom would *not* let her child have the glasses he so needed?

The kicker?... He doesn't have glasses :o)

He does need them. He "loses" any pair of glasses that he gets and the last pair was lost (we think) last fall. We were never told that they were missing and no one made an effort to replace them or help keep Middle accountable for them.

Now that he is back home we have an eye appointment set for him with a plan to make sure he has the glasses he needs.

I tried not to be too defensive when I shared that with his teacher, after all, she hasn't realized yet that the harness just clicked locked and the roller coaster car just began it's ascent .

Bless her heart ;o) It's going to be a bumpy ride.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Asking questions....

One of my boys' main goals is *ASKING*. Our motto is; We ask for what we want and need.

However, asking someone for something requires trusting them. It requires being willing to hear and accept whatever answer they will give you. For a child with RAD this is very hard to do. To ask means risking that the person will take control and decide in a way that isn't what they are seeking. They lose control.

Often a child with Attachment Disorder will use manipulation to get what they want. Saying things like

"I sure am thirsty"

This makes most loving adults want to water the dehydrated little creature. Without the child having to trust.

We do get a lot of questions... usually questions for things that we have said "no" to already.

"Can I play a video game?"

"We don't play video games until after our school and chores are done"

" can I play a video game?"


"Why not......?"


(at bed time) "Can I iron my clothes?"

"It's bedtime."

"But, can I iron my clothes?"

"You can't iron your clothes in bed and it is bed time, you should have asked earlier when we told you to get your clothes ready"

"You want me to wear wrinkled clothes!!!!"


See... LOTS of questions. (and obviously very little listening) They just aren't the questions they are supposed to ask. Those questions, when they attempt to ask, sound like this...

"I was going to ask if I could get a water bottle from the fridge"


"I wondered if you have seen my pencil"

Did you see a question mark in there?... Yeah, me either.

A questions would go like this...

"Mom, may I get a water bottle from the fridge?"


"Mom, have you seen my pencil?"

Yep, I think we need to practice asking questions.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Meeting adjourned

The ISP is over.

Middle-One now lives at home again. We will have custody reinstated at the end of next month, in court.

Mr. T went to this meeting because I just couldn't be subjected to the bickery atmosphere of one of them again. Ironically he power dressed in a shirt and tie, went in there without our AT (she couldn't make it at the last minute) and didn't have a single problem with anyone. ....We could analyze that one to death.

We asked for...

Funding for continued therapy, an intensive (with out therapist) and help with tutoring and activities.

We got....

Funding for continued therapy, a possibility on the intensive but no guarantees, funding for extra curricular and tutoring, money for school clothes, vouchers for ALL of the boys. His SS and Medicaid cards, a letter to enroll him in school (ummm... starts tomorrow) and an open door to ask for anything else we think of.

Best part...The FCP is OUT OF OUR LIVES!!!!!!! No contact at all.

The flip side of that...No more safety net.

Four years ago Middle tried to kill Bright-Eyes in a violent rage. We thought he would never come home. He's home.

Tomorrow we will all begin a new season together. Only God knows what's in store. Now if I could just trust Him with my tomorrow like I want Middle to trust us.

Here we go, here we go, here we go....................

Monday, August 09, 2010

And on the bright side

Today was a long, difficult, frustrating day.

It felt like swimming in quicksand, or herding cats or catching clouds. I didn't see any progress for all of my effort... at least not until the day was over and I could look back at the big picture, with a calm mind.

It occured to me that even though Bright-Eyes was totally deregulated, he didn't run away. At one point, after a paticularly explosive moment, he was fuming and kneeling on the couch, glaring over the back of it and out the window. Using a technique that Christine (at talks about on her video; The Power Of Being Present,

I walked in and sat down next to Bright and didn't say a word.... after a few minutes I simply said "I know this is hard" then I shut my mouth and waited..................and waited....................and waited....................... then...his body language began to change................ then he lowered himself into a more relaxed position ............. then he turned around to sit on the couch next to me............. then he moved closer................................... THEN HE LEANED HIS HEAD AGAINST MY SHOULDER!!!!!!!!!!!

OH MY JELLY BEANS!!!! IT WORKED!!!!!!! He calmed down and began to to talk.

Now, he didn't remain calm (I'm all ready to write about a divine miraculous healing, but this wasn't it). He had some other episodes during the day and I forgot the joy of that moment... well...until now.

Then there was Middle... He was, most definatley, hypervigilant. He was, most certainly, full of questions and the need to control. He absolutely did stir up chaos and trouble, BUT.... he did all of his chores and his reading and journaling. He spent time, quietly, in his room while his brothers did their work. He even held it together when he wanted to watch TV or play a game and Bright was having some issues that kept Middle from being able to move on in his day. He almost lost it........ but he didn't....... HE DIDN'T!!!!!!!!!!!! He held it together. *rapturous awe*

And, last but not least, Ebear. Ebear was sick today. He didn't do his chores and he didn't do any school work. He spent the day in bed or on the floor. BUT every time he was in the room with me, he sought comfort from me... this child who used to lock himself in the bathroom when he felt nauseous, push us away when he was hurt and never tell us when he was sick, today, came and leaned against me. He laid his head in my lap, reached out his hand to me and sought hug after hug... WHY?.... because he didn't feel good and he just wanted to be close to his mom.


Man!... sounds like a good day.

A Day of Disregulation

It's not Middle-One!! It's Bright-Eyes.

From the moment he got up this morning and throughout the day, he has been opposed to every thing we ask and stand for.

I am done with the Therapeutic Parenting and at the point of just screaming randomly and pulling my hair out.

Tomorrow is another day

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Random RADness

Mr. T was taking the boys swimming. They had to do chores and get ready, which provided many opportunities for the self-sabotaging behaviors they so enjoy.

That's ok.. we decided they could go swimming no matter. It's good exercise, we need to use the Y membership... we both needed them to LEAVE US ALONE!!!!!!!!!!

As they are getting ready Ebear asked...

"Mom, does Middle need to keep using my other swimsuit? He has his here now and I would like mine back"

I looked up and noticed that Middle did indeed have on his brother's navy swim trunks instead of his signature Spiderman trunks.

"Middle, why are you wearing E's swim suit?"

He looks down with surprise...
"I didn't know...I thought these were mine"

"You know that he let you borrow them while your other clothes were at your foster home, but they are his. Go change into yours and give them back"

"But I can't wear the others!"

"Why not?"

"They have holes in them!"

"Really, I hadn't noticed when we went through your clothes... go get them and bring them to me"

(Ooooops... did I just trust him for a second alone?)

After expressing his anger and irritation he retreats to his room where he takes an amazingly long time to grab a pair of swim trunks off the shelf and come back to where I am waiting for him...

Everyone is waiting and we call out to him, he calls back.

"I'm coming, I have to find them"

Mr. T and I head for his room where we see him in the corner holding the swim trunks in both hands.

"Bring them here!"

He holds the trunks up displaying a fresh tear in the crotch
"See, I can't wear these like this"

... Thank goodness there are linings in swimsuits because he DID wear them just like that

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Got my Therapeutic on...Let the games begin!

I have been helped, aided, supported and ministered to by watching Christine's Therapeutic Parenting videos ( ). I feel refreshed and energized in this mission. If you haven't watched them yet skip over there, get yourself something to sip and take a look at some encouraging wisdom.

Here's what happened... Bright-Eyes was helping me in the kitchen, per my request, and Middle was mad because kitchen is his zone this week but his brother was helping me for the moment. So he verbally attacked Bright-Eyes. Bright did not handle it well and threw some words back and suddenly Middle was the victim of a mean and heartless brother (all together now..... Awwwwwwwwww).

"see how he treats me... I didn't do a thing and he is yelling at me"

"What?!?, that wasn't YOU who spoke harshly, to Bright-Eyes?"

"No! I didn't say a word!"

"Wow!!... it sounded just like you!... are you sure you didn't speak?"

"Yes, he just started yelling at me for no reason!"

"Oh MY!!!... someone, who sounds just like you spoke to your brother... do you know what this means?"

... Middle begins looking at me with that "She's grown a third eye" look...


I dropped what I was doing and placed my arms around Middle's shoulders...
"Someone, who sounds just like you, is in our house... we need to find them!!"

I led him to the dining room where Ebear was sitting waiting for breakfast...
"E, did you see someone in here who has your brothers voice?"

Looking a little confused, but playing along anyway...
"um, ... no ma'am"

Leading Middle to the Living room I asked Mr. T the same thing...
"No, no one in here"

We searched the house all the while I continued in a most exaggerated way, to convey my desire to keep him safe and protect him from the impostor even though I made him go into the rooms to look because that was the "gentleman like" thing to do ;o)

By the time we had finished Middle was giggling. I asked him what he thought might have happened.

"I don't know, I guess it was my evil twin"

"Well, I don't think you have a twin, so what do you really think might have happened?"

"I yelled at my brother"

"Hmmmm... I guess that would explain why he was yelling back at you"


... and we sat down and had breakfast (after he apologized to Bright)................... *look of amazement*

This morning when Middle-One began his controlling game playing, I was ready. I did NOT give him the fight he was seeking. We all ended up laughing at the crazy ridiculousness of his argument. Thanks Christine!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Visit #...whatever

I have no idea anymore what number visit we are on. I lost count of them along with the therapy appointments.

At this point everything is blurring together into one fuzzy transition memory.

The most recent visit ended today. Middle-One has gone back to the foster home until Thursday.

It was a terrible, horrible,no good, very bad visit. Middle is now spending every waking minute trying to push us away with all of his might. It must hard being him. It has to be awful to be that afraid. To not trust the people who say they love you most. To feel the need to not only be in control of you, but to stay on top of everything everyone else is doing too. It must take a great deal of energy to fight, watch, stir up trouble and micromanage everyone at all times.

I can tell you that it most definitely is not fun for us!!!

It's respite time

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Random RADness

You have heard the phrase "He will cut off his nose to spite his face". I never really understood that until I began parenting RAD kiddos.

Middle loves to be outside. Even in the sub-tropical wet heat of Alabama he will be outside in long pants and a black shirt and not seem to notice. He will be outside for hours. He will play with others or alone.

So it is a common tool for us to use the privilege of going outside to teach cause & effect (you do this you get that).

Middle began asking to go outside right after breakfast. He was reminded that we must do school and chores first and then we can play. He did his chores and returned...

"Can I go out now?"

"Did you do your reading and journalling?"

"NO!, do I have to do that today, I didn't think we had to do reading today"

"Yes, you do, we work then play"

He grumbles and whines but returns to his room and proceeds to read.

A few minutes later he returns and plops his journal and book down next to me and leaves. I look at his two sentence long journal entry and call him back.

"Tell me about the chapter you read"

He proceeds to try to convince me that he actually read it all but he obviously didn't so I send him back with book and journal... more whining and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

He returns... too quickly (No wonder I never get anything done during the day LOL).

We discuss the chapter and his *copied* journal entry again. I send him back... same ole, same ole.

He returns AGAIN... this time he discussed the entire chapter so I call it done.

"Can I go outside now?"

"Did you read your other book?"
(the first one is non-fiction, second one is fiction)

More whining........

He returns again, with book in hand.

"ok, mommy...NOW can I go outside?"
(at this point I and the other boys are so ready for him to go outside just so he isn't interrupting every 5-10 minutes)

Tell me about the chapter you read.
He tells me enough, so I say...

"Ok, you can get ready and go outside"

He pokes around his room and walks back and forth through the dining room where I am trying to work with Bright-Eyes. He ends up behind us watching Bright-Eyes do a lesson on the computer, I ask...

"Are you going outside?"

In his whiniest voice Middle pleads...
"Do I HAVE to go outside, can't I stay in?"

A peek into Attachment Therapy

All the appointments have been similar recently. With Mr. T and I there has been a lot of strategy talk concerning ISPs and communication with the foster care provider and the SW. For the boys the same goals (ask & listen) are gone over. The same discussions (birth story, emotions and behavior) are repeated.

This week was different...

Actually over the past few weeks there has been a disintegration in waiting-room behavior. Therapy begins with "Family therapy" which takes place between the AT and the parents. The children's choices and behaviors are discussed before AT brings them in and begins to work with them (in our presence). This places us in the therapy room for 4-5 hours and the boys in the waiting room, just outside the door, for 4-5 hours. They are able to control their behavior, they have done so before. They are even encouraged to bring things to do with their time. They have, however, chosen the Lord Of The Flies way of life.

We began therapy with a summarizing of what we and AT had each heard concerning the ISP for placement. (which was that they can't find time to do it before school begins). We discussed the behavior of each child.

AT again reassuring us that Ebear is probably behaving as a normal teen and we are reacting to triggers every time he strays off the rigid path. In other words... Mom, Dad, Relax! ;o)

Middle-One is stressed because there is no placement date yet and no support or communication from the FCP so he has a foot in each camp and is being pulled like a wishbone. This results in freakishly controlling behaviors. Our instruction from AT is to remain in control at all times. If Middle refuses to quit arguing or follow instruction and follows me with the intent to keep poking and prodding until I explode, then I should not react by answering or responding to him but should instead provide some type of consequence. This consequence can be anything I choose...just so long as *I* choose it. Some suggestions were... to just hug and love on Middle and have him come sit with me, so pull him in when he is trying to make me push him away. Another is to just silently go to his room and take something... anything at all, doesn't matter what. Then encourage him to think and figure out why. I could also give him a chain-analysis sheet to complete to help him figure out why (he is not likely to actually do that LOL). And another is just do something off the wall... Mr. T suggested an Irish jig.... I'm liking that idea more and more. When in doubt, dance!

Bright-Eyes is living out of a duffel bag. Hasn't run, but wants us all to know that he can and will whenever he feels like it. He is in his "You can't make me" stance (rather unpleasant when we can't "make him" take a shower). AT told us to take his duffel bag and all of his clothes. *sigh* There are times when my heart just aches for this child and all he has been through, but those times are decreasing and being replaced with the desire to just get in his face and tell him to cut it out already and stop being a prima-dona!!!!!

Soon after we all began to talk, the noise level in the waiting-room began to rise. We were hearing things thrown and people slapped. Lots of arguing and some outrageously loud laughing. Mr T went out there the first time... I went out the second time. The third time AT asked if she could address the issue and let them have it!... didn't stop them.

We brought Bright-Eyes in and began working with him. During that time we had to continue addressing the older two (now this a a HEALING 16 y/o and a 14 y/ we aren't talking about toddlers! There were things thrown, a ball bouncing, wrestling, laughing, arguing...... At one point when we had corrected them again, Ebear got on board but Middle began playing with all the toys... LOUDLY!!!!!! AT corrected him AGAIN!

As you can imagine, it was ridiculously tiring and unproductive.

We took a lunch break. During this time Mr. T and I had the boys clean up the TRASHED waiting room. We passed out sandwiches, crackers and fruit and of course Middle wanted something different and wanted to sit with his feet stretched into the path of traffic. Sad... we are so hard on him. Feeding him food that he likes and expecting him to not trip others. It's hard being him.

When it was time to resume Middle feigned sleep (guess all that rough-housing and exaggerated play, wore him out). LOL. He stretched out on the couch (we have told him not to do this) he closed his eyes and pretended not to know that AT was back and it was his turn... ok, so be it... AT called the other two boys in to the therapy room and closed the door.

We had a rather enjoyable family session without Middle, for about an hour. AT talked with the other boys about how each of them was doing and how they perceived the behavior of each brother. Ebear really opened up and shared some deep feelings... He has come so far. At one point Middle knocked on the door to see what was going on and AT opened the door and told him that we were busy and closed the door. ...... Sometimes therapy is too enjoyable. ;o)

AT observed that the four of us, together, were loving and supportive and enjoyed each other's company. We talked about the difference in dynamics with and without Middle. We do hope he will choose to be a part of us... one day.

When we were finished AT advised everyone to not get pulled in if Middle decided to be angry at having missed his session but to remind him that he chose to miss it. He never did show any concern about it one way or the other.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

An open letter to the "system"

Dear System,

You are trying very hard to save the world. That can be such a good thing. Your heart may be in the right place... But, if I may be so bold as to share...

There are children who do desperately need your help. Children who are being hurt and damaged need someone to step in and rescue them. They need to be taken out of harms way. Do it quick!!! Do it NOW!!! Do EVERYTHING you can do to prevent further harm and damage. Protect them with everything you've got!!! Pour all of your heart and soul into your job to make a change for the better in their lives. But make sure that you are protecting a child in need and not destroying a family.

There are some children who have been damaged and hurt. I understand that you tried. You did the best you could in getting them out... well, maybe in some cases you didn't really do the best you could. The fact is that they are damaged now. They need help to heal.

We and many other families have chosen to make some of these children our own. Please hear me.... We did not make the mess. We simply chose to pick up the pieces and try to make something good out of the destruction of others.

We do NOT need you to come in and protect our children!!! We do not need you to sweep in like Superman and take over ... you missed that opportunity when you allowed OUR CHILDREN to be harmed by former families!!!!!!!! Though we do thank you for removing them eventually. Now we are at the helm and we are parenting and caring and loving and nurturing. WE ARE NOT THE BAD GUY!!!!!!!!!!!!! And most of us already know how to parent our special needs child. We know because we have researched and read and learned and sought help for year so that we could be the parent they need. We have invested our lives and hearts and souls... sometimes we have sacrificed our homes, jobs, marriages and even laid other children upon the alter so that we could help the damaged child to heal and be whole.

If you want to do something and you feel the need to be involved or if we seek you out and ask for help... just help us. Support us. Under gird us. Empower us. Find out what we want for our children... don't tell us what we need to do.

At the point that we invite you in we have likely already invested years into learning what we need to do and what our children need. We just need an extra pair of hands or pockets, to get us on the way.

Just because we seek help does not mean we want you to take over.

Do you have children? Do you know what it's like to live with a child who is damaged and bent on destroying everything and everyone in his path? Please do not tell me that since you were a child that you know what it's like for him........ Please do not tell me that you have read a book/attended a conference/or helped many other kids with RAD or any other disorder, because unless you have walked in my shoes you do not know what my life is like. And unless you have recovered from RAD or struggled with Bipolar or DID or SID or PTSD, then please don't say you know how my child feels.

System, you are broken. Even while you seek to fix the world, someone needs to fix you.

When you take families who are strong and loving and trying to help their damaged child, and place them into the slot for abusive or neglectful families you have done a great injustice to society.

When you go through the check lists of requirements for families who maltreat their children and force strong healthy families to meet these requirements simply because they are what you do and on your check list, it creates the problems you say you are trying to avoid. You can't help a stressed out family by adding to their stress! You can't ease the burdens of an overwhelmed family by adding to their demands!

When you take a child who doesn't understand the abstract meaning of "family" and you tell them that whoever they live with at the moment is their family and you remove the power and authority of the parents, you FURTHER DAMAGE THE CHILD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is not helpful!!!!!!!!!!!! When you tell the child that they don't have to obey their parents or even ask them anything because someone else is in charge and then you attempt to reunify that child with the castrated family, you have damaged the structure of the family unit!!!!!!

Now let's discuss what you do when you remove a child from harms way. You do know that children need to be nurtured. So could you try to place children into homes that would provide care and nurture. See... toddlers and preschoolers who spend 10 hours in a day care, classroom setting only to come back to a foster home where they are bathed and fed and put to bed, is NOT HEALTHY!!!!! Yes, I know that you are over worked, yes I understand that you have a shortage of foster homes... but there are foster homes with stay at home moms who are fostering older teens who would be better served in the career household, while the little ones who need to bond and attach should be with a full time caregiver and not shuffled around from person to person.

And even though you are short of providers couldn't you do something about those who obviously are in foster care for an income and not for the kids. Can you justify a foster care provider who refuses to provide adequate food and nutrition, does not provide a time or place for enough sleep, refuses to supervise, learn about the child's needs or provide for their routine health care? No! That can't be justified!

If someone is going to be a foster parent they need to be willing to give and sacrifice. This is not a niece or nephew staying with them for a few nights. This is someone's child being entrusted to them. This child has needs...that's why they are in foster care! Most kids in foster care have been through trauma and loss. They need a caregiver to care.

System!!!!! You are responsible for these lives!!! You are responsible for the damage that is done. You can't go in and take over someone's life without being responsible for the outcome.

Furthermore... remember that you too are human. Before you accuse someone of lying, go back and check your own information. You could be wrong. Before you reprimand someone for questioning or misunderstanding, make sure you have first given them information. Before you speak keep in mind that listening first is always wiser than speaking in haste. Adjust your own paradigm and try to see things from their perspective. Who knows... you may grow and learn and become a better system than you ever imagined possible.

If you should shift in your views and begin to see the needs of us families who parent damaged children, let me know. I think we should discuss what you actually could do to make the world a better place.

Until you are ready to look at our side, stay out of our parenting and just help. Be a servant leader and not a authoritative dictator.

System, you are broken, but not without redemption. I have hope that you too can be helped and healed.

A Mom

*This will be a work in progress ;o)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Where are we?...

I'm feeling a bit lost these days. I am no doubt depressed and I can't seem to focus on any one thing. Mr. T feels that I should blog and have neglected to so am not getting my thoughts and feelings out... maybe, but those thoughts and feelings have become rather dark and I'm not sure I want to let them out lest I find they take on a life of their own.

I have missed documenting 2 or 3 (or 4?) therapy sessions, as many home visits and an ISP meeting. (I will attempt to post about these and will edit this post as I do)

We are right up against reunification time. There have been some changes in the date. He was to return on June 29th (court date). We were supposed to have custody restored then. But our AT felt that Bright-Eyes and the family were not ready and needed more time and/or more structure. So custody remains with DHR for now and we have another court date at the end of September.

We wanted to get camps lined up so that Middle isn't at home with us all day, every day. He is disruptive and no one can accomplish anything. The bookend boys are still schooling (as we homeschool year round). AT felt that if there was no structure then we needed to wait until school so that Middle was in school during the day taking some stress off of all of us at home. As of now we are still trying to work out a plan. The camp plan got blown out of the water at the ISP because it was assumed that all camps were full... I am still kicking myself for not calling that morning to verify openings. The SW told us that if we learned of anything to let her know and they would arrange things... BUT!!!... By the time we did verify openings and get back to the SW she was out of the office for a week and a half and couldn't work it out. Feeling a bit sabotaged there, she might have clued us in to plans to be away.

Our AT is now going to bat for us and trying to work out a return home date and we are looking into doing the camps ourselves and seeking reimbursement later. Possibly risky but we don't want to continue this back and forth arrangement. It is stressing everyone out. IF the foster parent was willing to communicate and work with us it might be a good thing, but she is clearly not and it's making Middle crazy to have to wait and live in two places at once.

The visits have gotten worse. We knew they would and are not surprised. Our AT still reminded us that things will continue to get worse before they get better. But the reality of living in the midst of that "worst" is becoming more than I can deal with. When I read the blogs of others I feel great guilt because I don't face the depth of darkness that many others face and yet I find that I am at my limit. I admire the strength of those who are facing more.

The ISP meeting was an agonizing experience. I was astounded at the behavior... arguing, accusing, defending, deflecting, blaming..... These are adults????? I wanted to blow a whistle and establish some rules of conduct... And why is *my* parenting discounted while the foster parent's more punitive parenting style is set as a standard? My therapeutic, teaching, parenting is not bad parenting! It is molded and modeled to fit my kids and their needs. I am not a punitive parent... not saying that punishment is always wrong, for the right kids that might work, but for my kids it doesn't. I mean, REALLY???? Helping my child to process cause and effect and see his responsibility for his choices, is NIT-PICKY!?!?!?! I should just punish him and never speak of it again???????? Ummm... He doesn't connect that! And trying to teach life skills is not accepting him the way he is?????????? Ummmmmmm...... I think he is capable of learning some manners without losing his self esteem in the process. And how do logical/natural consequences *NOT* teach responsibility?

Mr. T might be attending the next and final ISP because I just don't think I can be the subject of their attacks again.

The therapy sessions seemed to get better but they have gone downhill now too. He sat chewing his nails and fingers through the entire last session, gnawing like a caged animal trying to get free. I was surprised he didn't draw blood.

I felt that the entire last session was a game to him. He pretended not to hear, he asked questions that were off subject, he interrupted, he ignored, he said "I don't know" ... AT felt that he did hear and was working. Maybe.

Our latest "tool" is to tell Middle to think about and figure out, the answers to such questions as "Why are you always mad at me?" and "Why are you so mean to me" and "Why do you take all my stuff away?" and "Why don't you let me do anything?"

These are the questions we hear when he is ranting and raving at us for enforcing a consequence to his choices and actions. He isn't making the connection that he *did* something to bring about a consequence, he just wants to blame everyone else... and chase us down and yell at us creating chaos for all.

We are supposed to tell him to think about why and come up with answers... but if he is raging and following us around being completely oppositional, it's not too likely he is going to work with us on figuring out cause and effect.

I find myself pulled into his drama... I try to answer his questions but he yells over me and obviously doesn't really want answers... AT says that even if the consequence is me going to my room to get away that I just need to tell him that if he continues to spout venom that I will leave. I did just that yesterday but the anger that I saw in Middle was frightening. I wonder how everyone can be reporting that he is fine when we see so much anger.

I am afraid. I don't want to give up on him... but I am scared of what he might do.

Gloom, despair, and agony on me, Deep, dark depression, excessive misery

Just saying ;o)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Where for art thou ...

I'm seeking my sound mind and stamina.

June seems to be fading from the calendar but I have yet to add one single post... so sorry.

It seems that visits have gotten worse and stress and anxiety have gotten greater. We had our ISP meeting on the 23rd. Court looms like an evil darkness, on the 29th.

Of course we had to take a vacation and travel two days away to see my family, hang out with them for a few days and travel two days back. Then, knowing how we needed some down time to relax and pull ourselves together, we gave ourselves a whole day to get laundry caught up and the bookend boys packed for camp. AND having nothing better to do while they were away, we decided to paint their room...................................

Then the denial fog lifted after the ISP meeting and I spiraled into a dank sewer of a depression. I think I've found a rope and am seeing light again.

We will remain locked in this dance with DHR a while longer... Que sera sera.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Shock & Surprise

Today Middle-One did something that was completely unexpected and ...well... rather shocking. It blew me away. I was completely caught off guard,I never expected it and I was left speechless.

He approached me and asked if he could talk to me. I said yes and then he just apologized... *sincerely*... without prompting... to me and everyone in the house (one at a time), for *EACH* of his behaviors today...

and then walked away and didn't ask for anything.

I'm gonna cry.


I have NEVER seen him do that.

I needed to share that before he sabotaged it. I need for that amazing, incredible moment to be recoreded and when I doubt it in the future I need someone to remind me that today, in an isolated moment of time, I DID see remorse and maturity... I did.

Dare to hope.

A peek into Attachment Therapy - Appointment 8

Attachment Therapy Appointment #8

Since last week’s exercise in crowd control worked so well for us, we decided to implement the *Peace Maker* prize once again. We told all of the boys that we would decide, after the session, who showed the best “Leadership” in Peace- Making.

Amazingly, we didn’t hear a sound throughout FOUR hours of therapy!!! What they won’t do for a prize.

Family session

We began with the parent/family session. Mr. T, AT and me.

Our first order of business was to go over the plans for the upcoming ISP. AT explained that she wanted to support us so we needed to put together a plan and discuss it. So we brainstormed. She encouraged us to create our “Golden” plan and aim high. That way if it fell short we still might get some of what was want.

There were some specific things we don’t want and AT agrees that they would not be in anyone’s best interest. So we discussed how we might handle those things if presented.

In the end our “Golden” list looked like this…

· Leaving the case open for six months
· Summer day camp and activities with the YMCA, for Middle and Bright.
· In home (if needed) and respite through the AT’s agency to insure communication and RAD parenting knowledge.
· Continued funding for therapy above and beyond the Medicaid minimum.

After the ISP was settled we moved on to how the other kids were doing.

We told AT that Bright had a couple of really frantic days where he kept telling us that he just couldn’t take it anymore. The stress and anxiety were pushing him beyond tolerance. However, when the weekend arrived and Middle joined us, Bright seemed to calm down and was better. She explained that since sometimes the fear is bigger than the actual thing we fear that he was probably building up during the week and needed to talk more. We needed to constantly be “tapping” at his emotional tank to keep it from overflowing and “sloshing” out on all of us.

We also discussed Bright-Eye’s weapon making. AT told us to not allow him to make weapons anymore. He can play with toys and Nerf guns, but no “real” handmade weapons. This may be him trying to protect himself and he really needs to rely on us to protect him.

This is the kid who watches the Military channel for fun. He reads survival guides and looks up the history of weapons. He got excited when I told him there was a school in CO that had a Gun-Making major. Taking his weapons will not be easy.

Then we discussed how possibly due to the level of trauma within the family, that we (parents) might be reacting to Middle-One more or differently, than to the other boys. Wow! She really hit the mark. We talked for a while about how things need to appear the same, even though we might be nervous that Middle will do something and even though we don’t know what Middle has been able to do or not do in his former placements (no communication from care givers). She advised us to recreate family rules and make rules the same for everyone, OR be able to explain why they might be different. But not to allow the playing field to be different levels for each child. We are to be consistently inconsistent.

We discussed Middle’s behavior at school and our belief that he is probably not behaving in his foster home, if he is not behaving well in our home or school. AT agreed that it was probably the case but there is nothing that we can do.

We brought Middle-One in…

After assuming the position, AT had Middle begin with his Birth story. He began going through the events of his life. AT began asking him how he felt. She led up to his adoption and being in our home and began questioning him about his behavior. She asked him why he did what he did. He said he was mad. She asked him why he was mad. He said he didn’t know.

It continued…

“Why do you think you were that mad”

“I dunno, I was just mad… people get mad”

“At 2 years old you were this tall (she showed how tall he was) but you were biting, breaking things, being oppositional, spitting… Why would you do that?”

“I guess I didn’t get what I wanted”

“All the time?”

“I wasn’t mad all the time”

“Just every time you didn’t get what you wanted?”


“when were you mad”

“I dunno”

It went on and on. AT trying to get Middle to say that he was mad he had been deserted and admit that he was extremely mad rather than just moderately mad.

He began to say how he didn’t act like that anymore. AT surprised him by telling him that Yes he did!! She agreed that he wasn’t currently violent but the *mad* was still obviously there. She explained to him that we could see it when he chose to take care of himself by not listening or asking, instead of trusting us to care for him.

AT began in a lighthearted and jovial tone and increased in firmness until she was in her *Bad Cop* persona. Again Middle did not seek comfort from me.

HE picked his nose and chewed his fingernails off (yes OFF... completely) and rubbed his eyes, and pulled on his ears and acted like he was falling asleep. ANYTHING he could do to deflect.

AT didn't flinch... I, on the other hand, was having a hard time with the flying buggers and the saliva drenched hands. I'm weak.

AT again brought him to the point of accusing him of not really wanting to be part of the family because he wasn't doing the very simple (but oh so hard) for him, requirements.

I thought she was about to "fire" him. She does that occasionally when a child isn't working on their therapy. They do have to agree to work and want to get better. She didn't fire him this time.

The session came to close with no breakthrough. No emotion this time. No attempts to gain comfort. No eye contact when AT told Middle to make eye-contact and talk to us.

All we can do is keep moving and hoping.

After the session AT summarized what we needed to do until next time.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Visit 11

It seems to be becoming more difficult to write about these visits and therapy appointments. It is taking me days to recover from them.

Mr. T picked Middle-One up on Thursday evening. We had just learned on Wednesday, that he had disappeared from the neighborhood playground where he plays with his foster sibs, and had gone to a "friends" house. This friend is at least 4 years older than Middle. From what we heard, no one could find him for a while. No one knew where he was. After a while he just showed up again.

The consequence of this spontaneous decision was that Middle can not go anywhere out of the sight of an adult. So with that in place we were anticipating a fun filled weekend.

We went to therapy on Friday morning. Told all of the boys that there would be an award for the person who was the most peaceful and the biggest instrument of peace with his brothers. Guess who won? LOL Amazing how the child who can NOT be still and/or think before acting due to poor impulse control can remain totally quiet and non-disruptive for FIVE hours. It astounds the mind.

Saturday... Middle couldn't go outside without supervision. Bright-Eyes was grounded and Ebear didn't want to do anything alone. We were inside with three restless boys ALL DAY. Nuff said.

I took the boys to church on Sunday. Mr. T was ill. Middle was trying.

Mr. T took Middle to school on Monday morning, after Middle finally got himself ready and out the door. Seems he needed to be in the bathroom spraying water at a big for a while. Then he needed to argue, and avoid getting ready.

No phone call ALL WEEK.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A peek into Attachment Therapy - Appointment 7

FIVE HOURS…….. Most of our therapy sessions last up to four hours… but today was the mother of all sessions. Double session for Bright-Eyes and Middle-One.

I am now having second thoughts about pursuing a career as a therapist.

So, again, Attachment Therapy is very different than Traditional/Talk/Cognitive therapies. It is aggressive rather than passive. It produces the issues and lays them before the client and asks “These are your problems what are you going to do about them” rather than letting the client decide what they need and will work on. And, sometimes, like today, it isn’t pretty. It’s bold and tactless and in-your-face.

Parent session

During the family/parent session we discussed the boys in this order.. Ebear…. Bright-Eyes… Middle-One.

We started with Ebear and talked about how hard it is to discern the behavior of a healing teen RAD. We always have the question “Is it teen or is it RAD” rolling through our minds. We all agreed that he has come SO far that we are going to assume it’s mostly “teen” stuff and work with him accordingly. So after regressing and losing his beloved phone, MP3 and PC, we will be laying down some firm rules and allowing him to have access again.

We also indulged in a fascinating grown-up discussion about the future technological influence on our communications… primarily; Texting.

The discussion of Bright-Eyes wasn’t as happy. We had to address the most recent explosion and runaway attempt/threat. This makes four.

Then we went on to Middle-One… We went through all of the recent incidents of control. His recent behavior at school and an incident at his foster home. AT surmised from all of the accounts that Middle is desperately trying to control his world, even to his own detriment.

We also discussed the upcoming ISP and return of custody. AT suggested some agencies we could call on for possible help and present at the ISP. It was agreed by all of us that we would need four weeks of services to get through the summer. I think we need Nanny McPhee!!!!

Then, after that lengthy meeting we called in Bright-eyes…


He came in and sat in my place on the couch while I was in the bathroom. Then the stinker wouldn’t move. Once we got him into the middle of the couch, between Mr. T and me, we got started.

AT began by asking how he was doing… he said good, then he said…not so good. She agreed that was true. AT asked him to explain and he began telling her. She continued leading him through questions and asked why he was doing these things. He admited it was because Middle is coming home and said that he didn't want him to come home. AT reminded him that he didn't get to make that decision and that his parents did. She
then talked to him about how he is creating problems by trying to take care of himself. She went through how things look if he lets us take care of everyone versus how things look if *he* tries to take care of everything. She also discussed why he runs. She asked him why he did it and what he hoped would result from it. That stumped him. I don’t think he had thought about it. She described 2 paths… one good and one bad. One taken by choosing to run away and one taken by choosing to trust mom & dad to take care of him. She described what might be down either path. She explained that the choice is his.


Middle came in and immediately kicked off his shoes and fell face down, across my lap saying

“At least I can finally lay down”

We quickly realized that he had not worn deodorant today (it actually smelled like he had worn dirty clothes and not bathed too)….*gasp* Well bless his heart… and MINE!

We had to tell him to turn over and get in the correct position. He sat there in an awkward shape acting like we were forcing him until I asked if he was comfortable. He agreed he wasn’t and AT reminded him that he could do something to get help. Then he asked and we helped him and we all settled in.

AT asked how things were going. He claimed all was well. Then…Oh my….. AT did her best “Bad Cop”. I had forgotten just how bad she could get. It got very intense. She was discussing Middle’s choices to not follow his goals and how they were his choice and led to trouble. She went over the things he had done at home and at school. He refused to take the blame or responsibility, for anything that he had caused. He also refused to engage in therapy and would just answer her with “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember”. She began to get harsher and louder. She would not let him off the hook. She let him have it. Calling him on the stuff he was doing and the mess he was creating, the control and the lies. She told him that he must not want a family if he wasn’t going to do the things required to be a part of his family. He cried, but I think it was more out of anger than anything else. He glared at her when his eyes weren’t closed to shut her out. She tapped on his arm to get him to engage. HE did “almost” lean in to me a couple of times. Turning to me for comfort (from the mean evil AT) would have been a success. He wouldn’t engage. He wouldn’t seek comfort and he wouldn’t express anger. He did began hitting the couch behind him…

She asked him what he was thinking.

“I don’t know”

“Yes you do”

“No, I really don’t”

We went through the same routine three times. He included every excuse he could think of to not talk and share what he was thinking.

We all just wanted him to come out and yell at her. He needs to release the thoughts and feelings… but he won’t. Maybe, one day, but not today.


After the session Mr. T, AT and I talked about where the biggest concerns lie. She still doesn’t see Middle budging for a long long time. She is hopeful that Bright-Eyes sees the need to trust us and let us be in charge. I hope so.

My biggest fear hovers close to my heart constantly as we move farther along this path.

*I think that I am not remembering some things from this VERY long session, so will come back and add as I do

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Random RADness

Ebear baked cookies tonight! Oatmeal Raisin!!!! Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We haven't had a working oven in months and a dear friend loaned us a roaster so he was able to bake cookies... Mmmmmmmmm Mmmmmmmm.

Middle One doesn't like Oatmeal Raisin cookies.

When the cookies were ready we called him in and Ebear offered him a cookie... it's polite and the right thing to do. Middle declined, stating that he didn't like them. We knew.

A little while later Middle wandered back into the kitchen and gazed longingly at the plate of cookies.

"Are they Chocolate Chip?" He practically drooled.

"No, we told you they are Oatmeal Raisin"

"I want to taste one"

...Raise your hand if you see where this is going.

"you don't like these cookies"

"I just want one"

As he reaches for a cookie I say...

"If you take a cookie you will have to eat it"
(you all know that this is the moment I lost the battle, right?)

He takes a cookie.
He takes a bite of the cookie.
He makes a face.
He begins pulling raisins out of the cookie.

Like a robotic dancer I fall into step...

"What are you doing Middle?"

"I don't like raisins"

"I know, but what did I say"

"I'm just going to throw this out"

"I told you that you would have to eat the cookie if you took it"

"I don't like raisins"

"Whose choice was it to eat the cookie"

"You're making me eat it, I don't want it!!!!"

"You chose the cookie. You were told you would have to eat the cookie... now eat the cookie!"

It was about this point that I found myself tempted to help him eat the cookie... I refrained.

Whining, he mumbled
"I don't like raisins"

Lovin the outdoor life

Bright-Eyes fell off the cliffs of insanity today.

He had gotten a snack and was headed to his room to eat it. We had just been talking about our feelings about Middle-One's impending weekend visit (being therapeutic and all). As he walked out of the kitchen I reminded him that food stays in the kitchen or dining room and does not go to his room........ It was the detonator to the bomb. He exploded and the words "DON'T TALK TO ME!" flew at me with sudden and full impact... to which I responded, after picking myself up, by talking to him. This led to more screams and more talking... all the while he munched on his peanut butter sandwich (how do you explode and eat simultaneously?).

Bright-Eyes was lost in a state of disregulation. I discreetly went and locked the doors and while I was occupied with trying to keep him inside the house, he was climbing out a window and walking around just to show me that I had no power over him.

Ebear and I kept an eye on him. I didn't know that E had locked the window behind Bright until I saw him going back and forth across the backyard with various tools. I decided to investigate when I saw him with the giant pruning shears and realized I was hearing something from the back room. He was outside the window trying to pry it open with the shears... Yay! more house damage!! *pause for cartwheels*

I managed to convince him to put them up and come in through the door. I told him I would unlock the back door... do he went to the front and sat down. 10 minutes later he came in the back door.

I was cleaning and still trying to overcome the clutter that has claimed the dining room, when Ebear comes in and whispers to me that I need to lock the doors and he will lock the window. I asked him

"Is he running again?"

"Yes, he's packing"

Then I asked him how he was going to lock the window... He shrugged. I gave up and opened the door then went to talk to Bright.

"Whatcha doin?"


"Where ya going?"

"Oh not far, I'm going to live outside... maybe on the porch."


So, a couple hours later when severe thunder storms moved in, he was still out there. Peeking through the blinds we could see him illuminated by the lightening, wrapped in a blanket and sitting in a chair facing the house.

He's tucked safely in bed tonight. Therapy tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Visit ten

Visit ten was punctuated by surely anger and opposition. Middle ignoring us when we called him or spoke to him and arguing with everything he admitted to hearing.

He spent some time in his room during this visit simply because he would not get along with anyone.

Friday… No therapy appointment this week so we let Middle go to school on Friday while we moved furniture at home. We picked him and pizza, up Friday evening. We all slept in our new spaces.

Saturday… Mr. T and the boys grocery-shopped while I continued to work on the clutter. Middle drove Mr. T nuts during the shopping trip though. His ears seemed to have stopped working and he could no longer hear the spoken word. The most fun Mr. T had with this disability was when Middle found a kiosk for blueberry pie samples and wedged himself in front of the other people waiting in line to put his face over the pie being cut… Since he presents himself as MR ( or ID whichever is currently PC) other people tend to allow him to be disruptive as if he didn’t know better… but he DOES! So Mr. T had to physically guide him away because his ears weren’t working.

We couldn’t eat at the table so we made plans for dinner and a movie in the living room. Then he had the sudden urgent need for vacuuming and showering at dinner time (see the Random RADness post below)

Sunday… As an example of what we dealt with all weekend…At breakfast, Bright-Eyes asked if Middle was finished with the juice. Middle said yes and Bright went to put the juice away. Middle began yelling at Bright because he was reading the juice jug label Sheesh! The child would not let go of his arguments either. One he was wronged he was going to point it out for as long as possible.

Monday… Back to school.

We are not alone

I was flitting around (isn't that fun to say...flitting...flitting...flitting...ok never mind)... as I was flitting around the RAD mom blogs and the RAD forums, I see a common shout-out from one RAD infested home to another to another to another to another... all across the land. "You are not alone".

In seeing all of the RAD families comforting and reassuring each other it appears that we truly are not why are we so isolated? Why is our world such a dark secret? Why do we find ourselves explaining this insanity to nearly every person we meet in real life?

If we all joined hands and stretched across the world how far would we reach? If we all joined together to live in a big IUNDERSTANDRAD commune, how big would our property stretch? If we all built a ladder to the sky, how high would it go?... ok, you get the idea, we are a formidable group.

So really... why aren't we seeing RAD explained and shared to the public. Why is there no Public Service campaign on TV for RAD? Why are there no telethons? No 10k races? No rallies? No awareness weeks or fundraisers or candlelight vigils? Why are we not screaming from the rooftops that our kids are damaged and hurt and sick and we need help too!!!!!!!!!! We need support and encouragement and we need people to know... and to see us and to recognize our needs.

We are not alone. Why do we act like we are?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Family is family and forever is forever

I attended a high school transitional meeting today. It was for Middle-One who will begin high school next year... but he wasn't there.

Why wasn't he there? Because his foster parent didn't go and his social worker couldn't make it and NO ONE TOLD ME that he might need me to plan to drive an hour across the county to pick him up. At least no one said anything until this morning when Middle told his teacher that he wasn't going to the meeting and his teacher emailed me right away to see if I could pick him up.

Unfortunately, by the time I read the email, I didn't have the time to go pick Middle up.

I guess in retrospect, we should have seen the need... maybe we should have been alerted when his FCP asked Mr. T yesterday if she had to attend... but we weren't. It never occurred to us that she wouldn't bring him and that he would not get to go to his own transitional meeting. I guess it didn't occur to me because I would have made sure he got there.

If someone had told us, we would have picked him up and brought him. I would have left early and driven an hour to get him and another 3o minutes to get to the meeting and then 30 minutes to return him to school and an hour to get home. Counting the meeting that is four hours of time that I would have planned for... if I had only known.

I wonder how hard it might have been for someone to have picked up the phone and called us to say that they would not be there and that therefore they would not be bringing Middle-One... so could we get him? He is OUR son after all. And we have stated again and again that we are more than willing to attend to all he needs and to PLEASE let us know.

It occurs to me that through out all of the hospital stays and residential stays with staff and therapists and teachers and psychiatrist and deputies. Who have ALL said that they care about Middle and will be there for him and will think of him and pray for him and have even told him that they are like family to him, that NO ONE remains except us.

No one sends him Christmas cards or calls him on his birthday. No one checks to see if he has made progress or regressed. No one has checked in to see if he is still working his goals. No one makes him eat veggies or go to bed at a decent time or apologize for hurting someone. No one sits with him during a meltdown and helps him to process his feelings so that he can hopefully, one day, not have meltdowns anymore... No one but us.

We have been here since before he was ours and we will be here no matter who he becomes. Others come and others go. We are his family. We are forever.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Random RADness

The backstory on this is that Middle LOVES to eat. He is desperate for every meal. He will eat as many snacks as we let him. He will not let us have leftovers if he has a choice. He will eat and eat and eat. He does not miss meals.

Also, Middle-One's therapy goals are to (1) Listen, and (2) Ask. That's it... listen... and ask. Listening includes following directions and obeying and asking is about asking for what he wants and needs rather than directing manipulating and controlling.

This week he seemed hell-bent on (1) ignoring) and (2) being the boss.

Saturday evening, after working hard all day (both in the house and with Middle's opposition) we were preparing to eat burritos and strawberry shortcake for dinner while watching a movie in the living room. (the dining room is the last holdout in operation room-move).

So we have announced that dinner is ready and I am getting the plates out and preparing to serve the meal when Middle-One races to the living room and pulls the vacuum cleaner out and begins to vacuum.

We all stopped in our tracks, shared looks of shock and bewilderment and headed toward the sound. Finding Middle vacuuming I asked (with obvious wisdom and therapeutic insight)

"WHAT are you doing?"

"Vacuuming... it is my chore"

"We are about to eat"

"I know, that's why I am vacuuming. I wanted to make it nice in here"

"You should have vacuumed earlier Middle, it's not time now"

"Well I'm just going to do it quick"

"No, middle, put the vacuum away"

He gets irritated and grumbles about me not letting him do anything and not wanting him to do his chores.
I realized I didn't behave in a therapeutic way so I go back and say...

"Since it is so important to you we will pause the movie after we eat and let you vacuum."

More grumbling about how I should just let him vacuum and how now I'm going to make people wait.

So we all returned to the dining room to fix our plates and I looked up to ask Middle if he wanted one or two burritos. He wasn't there. I asked...

"Where is Middle"

"Oh... he's gone to get a shower"


A peek into Attachment Therapy - Appointment 6

(I remember writing this post last week... really I do...but where did I save it?)

This session became a triple session. All three boys are regressing. We are on the edge of crisis. So AT had the session with Mr. T and me. Then she pulled in Ebear and Bright-Eyes and had an entire session with all of us. THEN she dismissed them and brought in Middle-One for his session. We were exhausted.

The parent session was again shadowed by the discussion of the future. AT does not see the boys overcoming their fears and bouncing back. She is concerned that the upcoming placement will push them too far. She does hold on to some hope because (she admits) anything is possible. But her hope is wavering.

The session with the at-home two was slow to start but the boys warmed up and began to really open up toward the end. They needed that.

In Middle's therapy he continued to work on his timeline and we discussed his emotions and memories. Not surprisingly Mad emerged as the primary emotion. AT suggested we provide a schedule for Middle so he can see what he needs to do before he can move on (will implement this next weekend) and that we reply to his arguing by just saying “I’m sorry you made that choice”.

It will be two weeks until our next session (for Middle and Bright-Eyes). AT will be on vacation.

Visit nine

(a week late)

The visits are getting both more difficult and easier. Still stressful.

Bright-Eyes was frantic. He absolutely could not be in the house with Middle-One all of the time. This resulted in him being outside a lot. If we can't find him inside he will be outside with either his punching bag or his tools.

Middle spent a lot of time making loud random noises so we had to tell him again and again to quiet down. Even when he took the garbage out he was making loud disruptive noise.

Friday evening ended with Middle-One crawling around on the floor on all fours, hopping on one foot, climbing up and down his bed and making noises.

Saturday was spent doing yard work and playing, though Middle was defensive and argumentative. He called a lot of things unfair. Like not getting to play video games all weekend (he probably shouldn't have lied and tried to play Mr. T and I against one another). And being sent to bed at bedtime even though Ebear stays up later. Life is hard.

Sunday we celebrated Mother's Day with steaks and cheesecake. :o)

Monday Mr. T took him to school and reported that Middle could not get out of the truck fast enough. He didn't even say good-bye. I guess he was ready for the visit to end. LOL

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Motherhood is (NOT) a thankless job (my late Mother’s Day post)

I want to address a common misconception. I have been told, again and again, that; “children are selfish”, “parenting is selfless” and “motherhood is a thankless job”.

These comments are usually made by parents of well adjusted and normally developed children in an effort to somehow reassure me that my life is not so far from their own. (a common perspective among normal parents that I find amusing and annoying)

I just want to say that none of those are true. They may have fragments of truth woven into them, but they are not true statements.

Let’s examine them one at a time…

Are (normal) children selfish? I don’t believe so. We are all selfish by nature. Children are actually more free and caring of others than adults. Children will spend a great deal of time seeking wildflowers or making homemade greeting cards. They will race to get us to see a sunset or view a rainbow. They are not manipulating but are motivated purely for the joy of the receiver.

Is a RAD child selfish? Yes. They do not have the emotional maturity to think outside of themselves or to understand that another person feels. Therefore they are selfish. Not deliberately, but simply and totally, self absorbed.

Is parenting selfless? No. Being a parent originates with an entirely selfish idea… “I want to be a parent”. It’s not usually founded in thoughts like… “I want to stay awake all night and clean up vomit” or “I want to sit in church with wet pee drenched clothing”… No, those might not be selfless either, they might be masochistic, but probably not selfless.

Are RAD parents selfless. No, not really any more than any other parent. We still have the same selfish desires that other parents have, but for the sake of our children’s emotional health we must learn to truly think for them and of them most of the time.

Is motherhood a thankless job? No. Mothers of normal children get thanked all the time. It’s that smile that makes you smile back and the giggle you could listen to all day. It’s the hug that fills your soul and kiss that melts your heart, it’s the wilted daisy and the shared cookie and the little hand in yours. It’s the quiet whispered “I love you mommy” when you tuck them in. It’s the satisfied enjoyment when you cut off the crust of their PB&J sandwich. It’s the way she smiles when you do her hair for her and the way he grins sideways when you ruffle his.

Is motherhood thankless for RAD moms?……….

………… yes.

So to the unthanked... Thank you. May God richly bless you as you walk out this thankless, selfless calling.

Swimming in quicksand

Normally I have great enthusiasm when doing a project around my house. I love the prospect of rearranging, decorating and decluttering. It makes all things new!

We are switching everyone’s bedrooms. The two at-home boys are moving into my and Mr. T’s room. Mr. T and I are moving into Ebear’s room and Middle-One will move into Bright-Eyes rooms when he returns home.

This is especially difficult to Bright-Eyes because his room was specifically decorated for him in a football theme.

Tomorrow is moving day. The furniture gets moved and we all sleep in new rooms tomorrow night. This should be fun. It should be exciting. We should all be bubbling over with anticipation of a new environment and beginning.

We’re not. No one wants to move. No one wants to lose their space. No one is adjusting to change well or embracing this brand new day.

There is a lot of work to do and we must keep swimming… but we are swimming in emotional quicksand. I’m not sure we will all survive.