Raising any child involves the process of letting go. With a special needs child that process becomes a lot trickier. We are considering sleep away camp for GB. Since the Cons are easier, I will start with them.


  • GB has never slept anywhere without me except  a few single nights at my sisters.
  • Hope would be home and she wouldn’t.
  • It is expensive- $10,000 for six weeks, $2200 for the one week I would agree to.
  •  A lot of new experiences, packed into one week. (Not GB’s strong point)
  • Would have to trust someone else with GB’s medication. (Not my strong point)
  • She is only eight!

Now for the harder to articulate Pros


  • It is a special needs camp, with a counselor to camper ratio that varies from 1:3 to 1:1
  • It is only 25 miles away.
  • GB is social- she loves friends!
  • It would give her a chance to stretch her wings and see how capable she really is.
  • The camp offers her kind of activities- swimming, campfires, horseback riding, arts and crafts, singing and dancing, drum playing and putting on plays.
  • Her disabilities would be approximately in the middle.
  • I have to start letting go sometime.

GB and I are hoping to go visit the camp this weekend, weather permitting. She will get to see the campus and the director will get to see her. After that I can speak with him again about how good a fit this camp would be for her.

Working on Changes

I need to make changes so that GB survives our adventure in adding to our family.

  • Hope and GB are in separate gymnastic classes.
  • I called the MHA today to set up ten hours of out-of home respite a month for Hope. 
  • I have an appointment with GB’s case manager Tuesday to go over the services available for her.
  • GB’s old daycare provider, who was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in Sept. 2009, called and said she was feeling well enough to do evening and weekend respite at her place. GB is thrilled!
  • I signed GB up for Challenger Softball without Hope.
  • Hope and the Dad are signed up for special needs swim lessons together on Saturday mornings.
  • The Dad spoke with the therapist yesterday. She will start doing sibling work with the two of them next week- back to back, so no extra driving AND she made it clear that fair did not mean the same.
  • I am considering separate bedrooms for the girls, at least for a while. I am not sure exactly how, but with a 6 bedroom house, it should be possible. Still need to convince the Dad.

Hope No Likey

Today was my first day back soloing with the kids. Unfortunately, GB is still quite sick with strep. Hope no likey that. She wanted to stay home with strep today also. As a result, she forgot everything. She forgot how to put on her panties, she forgot where her shirts were kept. It took her forty five minutes to get dressed, which left her less than five minutes to eat her cereal. When I took the cereal away and said it was time to leave, she lost it,  pounding her feet and fists on the floor while screeching. She missed the bus and I had to drive her. We got to school and she *forgot* her book bag. I didn’t bring it in.  I have already warned the school nurse what Hope is up to and that I will not pick her up unless she has a real fever.

It is hard to endure the cycles of a RADish. I know Hope gets scared when she doesn’t get the lion’s share of the attention. I know that anybody being acknowledged for an accomplishment makes Hope feel smaller. I understand that she is a black hole of love- adsorbing every little smidgen she can find and not letting any of it come back. I know, deep in my core, that Hope has control over none of this. It is not her fault.

Still. Her path to happiness is through these reactions to a place where she can love and be loved. A place where she can function in our family and, ultimately, in the world. I wish the path was easier for her. I wish a hug would make everything alright. And, today, I wish it was possible to take a break from being a therapeutic parent. But, like Hope, I will just have to get up, brush myself off, put on my big girl panties, and push on. I would look pretty silly pounding my feet and fists on the floor while screeching.

A New Beginning

GB is now under the care of the new psychiatrist. We are weaning her off the Geodon and then hopefully the Lithium. She starts on Invega (1.5 mg) as soon as the drug store gets them in. The druggist said it is expensive, about twice as much as the Geodon, which ran about $1400 a month. It is the latest and greatest, so  am hoping that our insurance company (which doesn’t like L & G) will cover it without a battle. It is chemically similar to Risperdal, but the rate of side effect is only 4% – much better than Risperdal’s record. We will have to go for regular blood work, but that is a small price to pay for stability.

Keeping GB close to me helped GB a lot. She was much more grounded. However, the better GB did, the more Hope struggled. The shrink this morning was not surprised. She expected it. She also said that the more comfortable Hope got, the more refined the sneakiness would become. She is going to speak to the girls’ therapist on Wednesday. She also recommended that we start sibling therapy for them. I don’t know where we can fit it in or even who does it, but I will start working on it tomorrow.  She also recommended that I continue to keep GB right by me and continue to prohibit access to the girls by people who don’t get it.

I sent GB’s bio grandmother this link which has Brenda’s letter to grandparents of RADishes and she read it. I saw a big difference in her interactions with the girls when we went swimming Saturday. Thank you Brenda 🙂

I am hopeful we can meet GB’s needs as we sloooowly integrate Hope into our family.

Trauma Mama

I have been reading Lori, over at (link removed at blogger’s request)  for a while now. Why? Her viewpoint is very different from mine and it is usually good to hear contrasting views. It makes you think. You can read the whole post, if you want, or here is an excerpt:

Pet Peeves….

Ok, there is something that just makes me want to scream.  Yep, I am intolerant of certain things after all, I am human.  So I figured that rather than ignore this stuff, I wanted to put it out there, after all, I am betting I am not alone!

Kids –

Specifically other people’s children and certain places and behaviors. 

I hate when I am trying to buy groceries and there is a small child, or even a large child, pulling things off the shelves and putting them here there and every where in the aisle or several aisles over…. Nothing like reaching for a box of cereal and getting a handful of the quickly melting ice cream that the kid picked up in frozen foods – just as mom realized she hadn’t picked up the cereal…..

I hate when I am trying to enjoy a meal and the people’s kid behind me, or even close to me in the same section is screaming and/or sharing their food with the entire area.  After all, you know I paid for that meal as much as they did.

I hate it when a child is a smart ass.  No one thinks your kid is cute when they are being nasty and rude….. and swearing and being nasty are not ever cute.

As I was reading this, it pushed a button in me. There are a lot of children that are special needs, older, have behavior problems. Society wants us to adopt. When we adopt these children, they don’t know how to function in a family, much less in the world. That is the job we accepted (knowingly or unknowingly) when we adopted them. This is the post I left in response.

How do you expect them to learn if they are never exposed? Three of my adopted children came to me after the age you would expect them to know how to act in public. None of them had ever eaten in a restaurant, gone to a play, or even had experience going to B&N. The only way they get this experience is to take them places. We always talk about what they can expect when they get there and what behavior we expect from them. It is a process and we rarely get through these experiences without a meltdown. We always take them to the car when they do meltdown, until they are regulated and can try again.

People who try to pierce the back of our heads with their glares are not appreciated. There is a whole other adoption world out there that you have apparently missed. Birth mothers and the trauma they left behind do not leave the option to pretend they don’t exist. They are part of our children and we are always careful to be both positive and honest. Those pictures go in treasure boxes, safe with the child. The anger some of my children feel at their birth parents came with them, not from me. I am a Trauma Mama and damn  proud of it. I live and breathe to see my kids make it, not only in my family, but in the real world. A “paper mama” couldn’t begin to do what I do.

It has been a couple of hours since I left this, but I am still hot. I am going to file this away until I cool down.

I have cooled down. I am trying to figure our why this blog sets me off  sometimes. A birth mother railing  about “Life’s not fair” is only part of it. This particular post had nothing to do with being a birth mother or really adoption at all. If I had a birth child who was autistic or bipolar (like my sister) these behaviors would still be an issue. Even though it would be a child who had always be mine, these issues would still be real. Maybe I am tired of all the judgment that happens everywhere, while seemingly totally inappropriate behavior is glorified in the media.   Maybe I am so out there that I am looking for compassion coupled with standards. Or maybe it has just been a long couple of weeks and I just need to stop reading her blog. After all, she is probably doing the best she can, too. Just like the rest of us.


Today, my back to healthy day, I took the girls swimming and lasted in the pool for two hours. GB and I had a great time. The Dad and GB’s Grandma came so there was a lot of attention for both girls. Hope enjoyed a little of the afternoon, but most of the time, she was utterly dysregulated. We had multiple episodes of ear-piercing shrieks, that echoed across the large room housing the pool. We had physical threats, but no actual physical attacks. All three of the adults were called names and subject to obnoxious behavior. We ignored it as best we could, but it was difficult. Hope wanted all the attention all the time and since that is never possible, she refused to couldn’t be content. We went out to dinner and now I am in bed, sore and exhausted, but pleased. GB had a good day and I am ready to try again tomorrow.

The End of Winter

On Wednesday, my kids went to school for two hours. On Thursday, they were at the school for four hours. Of course, that was only because The Dad forgot to get them off the bus. Today was a scheduled 1/2 day- another two hours. The girls really don’t need this time stuck in the house together. At this point, I really wish they had there own rooms.They simply can’t take any amount of time without direct supervision. I kept GB with me this afternoon. Tomorrow, I think I will just decide to be  healthy. I will get up and see how far I can carry that. I just can’t stay in bed and watch anymore.

Help for GB

GB had her last appointment with the new psychiatrist last night. The Dad and I meet with the new shrink on Monday, without GB, to makes medication changes.

Medication changes are not the only thing that was done to help GB. The shrink spent 45 minutes with GB and unlike the play therapist, listened to what GB was saying. When the Dad joined them. the shrink asked GB to share with her Dad what she had shared with the shrink. GB refused. The shrink told the Dad that the top priorities are 1) getting GB stable on medication and 2) the effect of Hope. The shrink said we will talk about it Monday. I will be there.

After the appointment was done, the Dad took GB to the Olive Garden, her favorite place to eat. They had a long, leisurely dinner, and GB had her Dad’s undivided attention. She came home more regulated than I have seen her in weeks. It took less than 45 minutes to settle her down last night and she woke up in a reasonable space, even with a two hour snow delay.

Hope, on the other hand, gave MK a ride for her money… tears, screaming, arms crossed; and neither GB nor I were involved  🙂

We can do ANYTHING until Monday.

Our School District and Snow

Our school district is long out of snow days and is shortening the remaining school holidays as we go. Last night they posted that schools would be open this morning and the kids would be bused back home after two hours.  It hardly seems worth the energy to have someone get them to the bus so that they can get off the bus two and a half hours later. Mind you, the snow hasn’t even started yet. Schools rely on the weatherman being right; go figure.