Wednesday, May 04, 2011

They are more

A song for all of our kids... Because they are more.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The scars of the storms

As you all know, on Wednesday April 27, Alabama was raped and ravaged, chewed up and spit out, by storms that would challenge a Hollywood special effects department. This isn’t just high winds and thunder storms folks…this is houses, neighborhoods, communities that have been put through a blender and chopped to bits and spewed out again. It is horrific and those who lived through it and are living in it still will never forget or erase the scars it will leave on their memories and souls.

Less than a week later this historical event has begun to fall from the headlines and other events and daily life has seeped in to replace it, but in Alabama the destroyed communities are still in search and rescue mode. They are still tallying the dead and retrieving personal property and seeking a place to stay until they have a home again. In time more of life will push this tragedy farther and farther away from the thoughts of those who are not affected. They will forget. Not so for the victims. The survivors will never forget.

It is the same for families of children with severe emotional disturbances. Especially for those families who suffer violence, and loss at the hands of their children. To have to call the police on your child, or see a child arrested or place a child in a hospital or a residential facility, or lose a child to the system… it crushes your heart and saps your soul of life. It rips apart your dreams and hopes. As a parent you realize how short and precious a childhood is and your heart screams at the child…at God… to please stop! Just trust…please just listen… please believe that I love you and will never leave. Relax and enjoy these few years that you have. Heal and rebuild your foundation so that you can step out into the world and be a happy, responsible and functional adult.

The day after the storms Bright-Eyes ran away. It was the third time within a couple weeks. We have had to call the police on him. He says he wants to die. He claims he does not want to be here with us. We are broken and shattered beyond comprehension. His psychiatrist and therapist are seeing him with new eyes and asking if there is some attachment issue that has been hidden.

My soul screams “NO!” Not this child…not the one adopted as a newborn. I set out to build bonds with this one. I carried him, not in my belly but in a sling throughout his infancy. I made eye contact and built trust; I played with him and bounced him laughing and singing. He was attached… I know it…I want to believe it. He hugged us and cuddled, he sought us out when he was afraid…didn’t he? I am having trouble remembering now.

As a toddler he always ran away. He was never bothered by our absence. He would race off in stores and playgrounds while other children clung to their parents and stayed close. As a preschooler however, he became clingy…very clingy. Was he too clingy? Throughout his childhood he had to live in the trauma-filled warzone that was created by his brothers’ struggles with their own demons. I tried to protect him, but standing in the way of flying chairs, Tonka trucks and legos is a war zone still. Either the child is the target of their mother is.

So much anger at the older boys for harming their brother… so much guilt for even adopting him. So many questions about why God allowed this when HE knew what would happen.

How much of this is the fault of my choice?

Would he have been ok in another home?

Will he be ok now?

Will he grow up and have a life, or will he bounce in and out of hospitals trying to find help and stability?

Like the storm victims (and forgive me for the comparison) many don’t see our loss. Most don’t acknowledge it…a few say they are sorry and offer help, but as time goes by daily life fills their thoughts and they forget.

For a few, they don't even understand why we would be in pain and our saddness disturbs them. They find it dramatic and irritating.

For us, this is our life. The pain is in our faces from the moment we wake up. The empty rooms and empty beds are tombstones in the graveyard of our hopes. The empty chairs at the table make us retreat to the living room to eat our meals in front of a TV that can distract us from our pain.

We cannot forget. The tornado victims cannot forget. Loss brands the soul and marks each person as altered and different than they were. It’s a secret scar that others cannot see unless they choose to open the eyes of their hearts.

To help the Alabama storm victims go here

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

On Display

Last Wednesday I was reminded of an episode of the Twighlight was the one where two astronauts (weren't like 97.5% of shows written about aliens and space travel...Obsessive!) crashed onto an alien planet. One of them was unconscious but the other one was "helped" by the natives. He was given a custom built home that was designed according to the images in him mind... then he discovered that it wasn't a home. It was a cage...with bars...and an observation window. He was in a zoo and on display for all to watch.

So on Wednesday, we had a visit with middle. We were meeting at the local McDonalds because we have supervised visits again...due to his aggression supposedly. This week his regular SW was sending a volunteer.

They arrived late (no visit has ever begun on time) and middle obviously did not want to be there. The volunteer introduced herself and then kept talking... so I let middle-one go get a snack and chatted with her. She was nice and working on her degree also (so she isn't a SW yet). Then middle came back and sat down and the volunteer sat in the table across from us, turned toward us, leaned out and began actively watching, listening and taking notes on our visit. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The regular SW sits in another part of the dining area and makes phone calls. He doesn't even listen or watch.

I began trying to engage middle but he wouldn't talk and wouldn't make eye contact, was being rude and kept saying he was bored. I kept trying to be upbeat and encouraging.... this woman interrupted and asked

"Would you like it if we went to the park?"


I was so shocked!! He is 15 y/o and it was just him and me. Going to the park would mean he could further ignore me and not interact at all.

But, then he was even more bored and mom was the bad guy!!!! Thanks a lot!!!

So middle decided to end the visit early. He didn't want to just sit and talk with me (surprise!!)...and without his brothers there he said he didn't want to visit. He wouldn't talk to me about anything and I found it VERY difficult to try to make conversation when I felt like I was a lab specimen... it was humiliating too.

I hadn't seen middle in two weeks. I may not see him next week because if Bright-Eyes decides not to go then I will need to stay home with him and Mr. T will go... Ebear refuses to see middle at all anymore.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

4 months later...

Well, life is hard, filled with loss and grief.

Middle is gone. He lives in a foster home now and (the plan is) will until he is aged out of the system. We figure he will be on our doorstep then.

The foster home is in direct opposition to the recommendations of two therapist. Middle's long term AT and the abuse counselor the court ordered to do the Domestic Violence Assessment. On both recommendations, in BIG BOLD letters it states that this child should only be in a long term residential facility with consistent structure and ongoing treatment.

So... he is in a regular foster home with younger children (he even shares his room with younger children!!) He walks to and from school. He is allowed to be unsupervised and has less structure than he did at home and he isn't even going to therapy yet (arrested November 1, placed in foster home on January 6)

How did this happen, you ask... it was a DHR bait & switch. We went to court and the judge didn't want to keep Middle in juvenile any longer so released him into the clutches...err... custody of DHR, with the understanding that it was to find him an appropriate placement. They placed him in his old foster home "temporarily" until they could find a placement... silly us!! We believed them!!!

They never even looked. We had a placement in line. There was an opening and all they needed was a DHR referral. They didn't even call. As soon as Middle was placed they declared that he was doing well in this placement and at that point he could not be moved to a moderate of intensive placement because he was functioning in a basic level placement.

So, as long as Middle is reported to (and remember, this is very different than what might actually be happening) be doing well he will remain there.

So... the charges have been dropped, the case was dismissed and my knife wielding child resides in a suburb surrounded by children.

Yep...somewhere in that darkness is light. My quest is to find it......