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.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Random RADness

They will cut off their nose to spite their face. Once this is understood everyone else can just stand back and watch.

*Every* single time I am in the kitchen cooking, the hypervigelence takes over and walks Middle-One into the kitchen so that he can see what I am making and how much of it there is. This allows him to plan for himself, but does not give much practice in trusting Mom.

This morning I was preparing breakfast. Here comes Middle in to see what I am cooking. He says good-morning and as usual leans and looks past me scanning the counter and stove (he will literally push me out of the way for this). He correctly surmises that I am making grits and toast, and incorrectly added scrambled eggs (maybe wishful thinking LOL). I told him that yes, that was right, on most accounts. He responded with


and then I said

"you must be in here to get a hug. "

*Hugged him*.

Then he paused and asked

"Can I have oatmeal?"

I smiled and said, "Sure sugar, I think the Waffle House serves it... you better get going if you want to get there.

He LOLed... He doesn't like oatmeal.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Signs and symptoms of transitions

We are in the full throes of transitioning Middle-One home.

It was decided long ago that Ebear and Bright-Eyes would share a room. Middle would have his own room. Along the way Mr. T and I decided that it would be good for everyone to have a new beginning and it would be safer if we were stationed between the other two rooms just to keep every safe. So we are switching ALL bedrooms.

The result of this decision is a house in cluttered chaos. All the closets have erupted into the house. All the rooms are flooded with the overflow. (this would be a good spot for a picture, wouldn't it? ;o)

Middle will be home tonight and we have the weekend upon us.

I wonder if it would be self sabotaging to insist that we paint each room before refilling it with possessions.....

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


The stress here is so thick we can cut it and burn it for heat.

All of us are having Post Traumatic responses to the transition. Bright-Eyes has been running away and exploding, Mr. T is staying very busy, I am having physical symptoms and Ebear has returned to his sneaking and lying.

I am sad, and mad. I am powerless to stop it or help anyone... including myself.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Visits seven & eight

Visit seven happened last week and I was sick. Middle-One did pretty well though. It was probably the best visit.

Visit eight was the worst one.

Middle wasn't on his meds for either visit so we can't (won't) attribute any behavior to medication (or the lack of it).

The visit began on Thursday evening. Mr. T took Ebear to football practice and had some errands to run. When Mr. T arrived at the foster home Middle was not even there. He was informed that he could find Middle-One at the neighborhood playground. Mr. T had to go find our son and bring him back to the foster home to pick up his things. They then went to join the team at Burger King. Mr. T said that Middle handled it well. A little quirky, but not too obvious.

Friday morning; we got up and began getting ready to go to our four hour therapy appointment (+ 2 hours drive time). We packed a lunch and put dinner in the crock pot. The session has a post of it's own so I won't elaborate here. Middle and Bright-Eyes were both ready to explode. they were at each other and extremely impulsive and hyper. Things were building up. There was a lot of arguing. Middle was beginning to argue with anything we said... and a couple of times it didn't even make sense. And Bright-Eyes was pushing Middle's buttons and setting up a Sad-Mad pattern at every turn.

Saturday; We were at home all day due to incoming storms. The boys didn't have much chance to play outside but Mr. T did take them to a local church to ride their bikes and play basketball. Just like the approaching storms, Middle was building in instability. We were seeing a decrease in impulse control, a lack of ability to take responsibility, blaming others, arguing, defending... He was just terribly unpleasant!!! Mr. T grilled for our dining pleasure. Middle was eating everything and having trouble letting us have food left over. That evening, we all sat down to watch Sherlock Holmes. About halfway through Middle decided to ... pass gas, as is his habit. At first Bright-Eyes and I moved from the couch... and Middle laid down taking the whole couch. Having no where to sit I said that Middle needed to be the one to move because we didn't do it. We were all being good natured and had Middle-One move to a chair. Then he began to get hostile. He didn't want to sit in the chair. Claimed he couldn't see from the chair. (same distance as the couch from the TV). We told him that he needed to sit down and be quiet. Then he grumbled about not being able to see and sat down on the floor (same distance). Well, besides the attitude, Ebear was sitting on the floor and looking at us in a way that clearly said he did not want to share the floor. (also the dogs are down there and there is an issue with the dogs and Middle) We told Middle to sit in the chair and it was at that point that he sunk into total meltdown.

The meltdown lasted about 30 minutes. Could have been worse. He whined and wailed and refused to do what we said. Refused to listen or discuss. Would not process anything. Kept telling us that we were mean and were always mean to him. *sigh*. He got sent to bed and that increased the fury. Finally I went and got him and sat him down at the table in the dining room. I worked out a LONG chain-analysis with him. He did eventually admit to his responsibility in the event. Then he apologized (under duress ;o) ) and went to bed. The rest of us recovered from the PTS flashbacks we were having and watched the end of the movie.

Sunday; We did not go to church. Mr. T, Ebear and Bright-Eyes had colds and sore throats. We remained at home. I began getting sick (again!). Middle-One was very hyper and annoying. We just could not even talk to him without an argument. Then he would argue about whether he was arguing or not. We were all dumbstruck by the relentless behavior.

Monday; We had an appointment for Middle to be seen by his new p-doc. We had to take him so we kept him home and planned to take him and then drop him at school so he could ride the bus to his foster home. Mr. T reported that in the appointment Middle tried to argue and disagree with absolutely everything he told the Dr. He said it was ridiculous. The Dr. prescribed the meds and Mr. T had them filled. Half to the school and half to us!

At home, Ebear, Bright-Eyes and I all relaxed and caught our breath.

Strangely it doesn't sound so bad in writing, but it was BAD!!!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

A peek into Attachment Therapy - Appointment 5

We didn't have an appointment last week because our AT's daughter had surgery and was recovering.

This week was much more relaxed with Middle staying the night before therapy. We were able to leave an hour later than we had been.

Mr. T and I spent our "family" therapy time discussing the breakdown of Bright-Eyes behavior. Bright-Eyes spent this time creating chaos and discord in the waiting area. It makes me so deeply sad to see him so anxious, but honestly there has been no aggression during the transition or in years, so it's all based in past trauma. There may never be another episode of aggression and we need to help him understand that.

AT reviewed with us, again, how to talk to Bright-Eyes and keep "tapping his tank" to let off steam and anxiety. We need to daily talk about his fears and feelings concerning Middle. We need to reassure him again and again that we've got his back. We are protecting him and keeping him safe. We are going to love him, not leave him and always care for him. We are also to use this talk as a "consequence" by pulling in to talk every time he has a tantrum, meltdown or behavior issue.

After our grown up talk we pulled Middle-One in to begin working on his timeline.

I love the timeline. It is a wonderful visual of a child's life and their perceptions.

First Middle had to review his birth story. Then he taped pieces of paper together. Each page would hold two years so we had an eight page strip of paper when we were done. Then AT drew a line from one end to the other through the middle and Mr. T marked off each month of his life. During this time AT led Middle in a discussion of his placements in life while I kept notes. Then we marked off each placement on the line while Middle chose a color for each location and colored the line down the center to represent each placement. (His forever home was green and it ended up being just about half of the line. That made me very sad).

After the initial line was drawn out and colored, we began to add events and memories. The events that were included were why he went from one placement to another. He claimed that he always left home because he was bad and he was "bad" because his brother picked on him. The AT mentioned after the session that Middle had been in three different treatment facilities, a behavioral hospital and public school. HE had been picked on by the best but went back and blamed his brothers for his behavior... and one brother hadn't even been born/adopted yet! Events are historical so there isn't much variation but memories are entirely different. The memories of a RAD child can be a lot of fun ;o).

Middle claimed he didn't have many memories. He did say that he had a bike that was too big when he was a toddler, at his second foster home. (We did not remember a bike but we put it on the line anyway). He then had a memory lapse then for the rest of his life until his most recent birthday and he only remembered what his foster family had done for him and not what we did (counting to ten). So, that's it... A couple of memories in FOURTEEN years. And one of those is likely not even true LOL.

Interestingly enough Middle brings ancient stuff up to us, privately, all the time. He truly remembers EVERYTHING. But he doesn't have to include everything on the line for it to be effective.

Next session we will add in the emotions and feelings of his life. Sad/Mad/Scared/Glad.

Can't wait!!!! ;o)