Last night was really tough here.
Open adoptions are not always best. I know my oldest adopted daughter, now 26, has questions she would like answered. She deserves answers and I wish I could give them to her. GB, on the other hand, knows far more about her biological mother then she is capable of understanding. Her BM is in Lalaland and GB does not need any more stress in her life.
On Sunday, GB wanted to go to a Bar-B-Q with her bio grandparents at her aunt’s house. GB and I spent a lot of time talking about the fact her birth mother would be there and her bio half-brother. Her Grandmother assured us that she would have no unsupervised contact. GB had a great time with her aunt and cousins and her grandmother kept her promise. GB was able to tell her BM she was there to see here aunt and was not speaking to her. She came home happy and relaxed, pleased with all the people she had seen, talked to and played with. She mentioned her BM tried to talk to her by herself, but Grandma hadn’t let that happen.
The next day the phone calls started. People calling to ask me why there was a video of GB dancing on BM’s page, captioned my baby dancing. All GB’s biological family live within ten miles of us. I am afraid of strangers coming up to my daughter and saying things like “Aren’t you BM’s daughter?” GB needs her physical and her psychological space. She does not do well with strangers’ lack of boundaries.
I may not be politically correct, but when BM walked out on my granddaughter without looking back, she forfeited the right to have her feelings influence any decisions about what is in GB’s best interest. Her parental rights were terminated because of abandonment. BM went over three years without calling or seeing GB. For eight months of those three years she was in a homeless shelter less than a half mile from us.
I told her to take down the video. She refused. I reported it to FB. They said they would take it down. GB will have no more contact with her BM until it is in GB’s best interest. I do not know when that might be, but I suspect it will not be any time soon. This adoption is officially closed.
Days four and five of Memorial Weekend went much better then the first three days of our seven day weekend. Hope didn’t change. Hope actually peed her pants three days in a row. GB’s tolerance was so low, she spent Sunday afternoon at her biograndparents. She did come home looking more relaxed and like herself.
The change was that Kristine and her family came to spend two days with us because my week sucked. The kids stayed at home, swimming, jumping on the trampoline, climbing the fort, swinging on the swings, painting giant art on the drive way and giving each other colorful tattoos. There were blow ups, rages, and a lot more whine then wine. But we enjoyed our wine and each others company and that alone gave me strength to try again. Thanks Kris!
I hope you all had a good weekend, too!
Lots of parents have multiple special needs kids. All of mine have had special needs, the usual alphabet soup. GB is FASD, with an IQ 2 standard deviations below average. She is also Bipolar I with psychotic features. We added the diagnosis of Autistic 18 months. I don’t actually think she is autistic. I think there is a lot of overlap between FASD and Autism and that the evaluators preferred to see Autism. There is more funding, at least in New York, for Autism then there for FASD. The NY educational system doesn’t have a clue what to do with FASD students, so having the Autism label gets us the right services, and we build her goals around her needs.
GB should have the most intensive needs of all my children. When she did, and we managed her world around her needs, she did well. She was doing so well, we thought we could add Hope. I knew it would be a rough adjustment. In the beginning, Hope was as difficult as I expected. Now, 21 months later, she is more difficult. After she is home from school, Hope tantrums at least 4 days a week. GB fends for herself, using the coping mechanisms she has been taught. I do not know how to meet Hope’s needs at this point, but I know exactly what GB needs. I just don’t have time to meet them. I am too busy trying to contain Hope. This morning I am tapping myself to Lisa’s Trauma Mama Text.
The shrink said yesterday that when Hope is hospitalized, the extreme stress on GB will go away and she will go back to being my normal GB. I doubt it is that easy and I would prefer not to hospitalize Hope at this point. So, back to surviving day 3.
Hope followed yesterday’s schedule until 4 o’clock, when GB’s worker showed up. Hope proceeded to kick me out of no where. By the time I had her wrestled down and safe I was already beat up. This morning I was ready. Hope grabbed my leg and tried to pull me to the floor and I instantly had her pinned. The social worker called the shrink. I already know the shrink was her hospitalized. I just want to survive the weekend. I am so tired of being beat up. It does not bode well that she is not hurting me will she rages anymore, she is consciously choosing to hurt me. This day two of seven.
I don not remember having a full week off for Memorial Day when I was a kid. Back then, Memorial Day didn’t even have to be on a Monday. Our school district is the only one I know of that has given seven days of unstructured time to children that struggle through a weekend. I am trying to counter this by scheduling each day. Today:
- Medicine, morning, routine, breakfast
- a have hour of TV while Hope’s medicine kicks in
- Chores: make beds, empty dishwasher (GB), make sure all dirty socks are in downstairs hamper (Hope)
- Friend bringing her sons over to put used Little Tykes tunnel set together.
- Yogurt parfaits are the snack today
- pizza and juice for lunch
- Hope and T play in yard
- GB and J are doing crafts
- Fruit for afternoon snack
- Boys and friend home
- Half an hour quiet play
- GB’s DDSO worker visits
- GB is cook helper, Hope sets table
- medicine, baths, hair, teeth
- a game of sticks and stones
- Tapping and bed for Hope
- GB reading
- Tapping and bed for GB
Will it work? I have no idea. At least it is a starting point and gives us a frame work to use.
EFT is the acronym for Emotional Freedom Technique, commonly refereed to as Tapping. It is based on the Chinese acupressure points. It is possible to lead the child in tapping, with you tapping each point on your self and saying the script out loud and the child following your lead and repeating the script. If your child can’t or won’t do that, you can tap on them directly, speaking the script as you go. There are many scripts you can find online, with videos to follow. If you stick with it, your child will memorize scripts and be able to use them at the appropriate times.
The illustration above shows the acupressure points used. I always start with the forehead, work my way downwards, then end with the crown of the head.
This link to Lisa’s Life in the Grateful House where I started. She has such a good post as to why you should tap, that I will let you read it there. I am using tapping on myself, particularly after Hope has used up my last ounce of energy. I use it with GB to reinforce the self-talk she already has been taught as a technique to use when she is overwhelmed. For Hope, I am using a script Lisa and her daughter made up just for Hope. There are also RAD scripts on Lisa’s blog to get you started.
It has only been a couple of weeks that we have been tapping, but both girls request it. GB has actually requested that I tap with her when she has recognized she is getting dysregulated.
Tapping isn’t a cure for our kids, but it is another tool to use on our journey of parenting special needs children.
We arrived safely last night around 11pm. It was a good feeling, especially after
wandering aimlessly being side tracked in NJ and DC.
My niece’s graduation was as unique as she is. She concentrated on her accomplishments in soccer, Tae Kwon Do ( third degree black belt), the importance of family and her faith. She didn’t mention her GPA of 3.98 or being a member of the national honor society. Our Christmas pajamas made her slide show.
Hope made the week interesting, but doable. She raged in the middle of my nieces party, but we were prepared. We took her to an upstairs bed room, closed the door and windows, and waited her out. I missed about 45 minutes of the party and The Dad missed almost two hours. GB’s cousin, Kayla, was there and GB had a blast.
We are making small, but significant progress utilizing tapping (EFT). Tomorrow, I will briefly describe what tapping looks like when we use it and add the links that were most helpful to me. The best thing about it is you and your child don’t have to believe it works. As long as it is done in a controlled soothing voice, your belief or disbelief doesn’t affect the outcome.
After an awful start to her day yesterday morning, Hope was stuck within arms length of me for the rest of the day. She did not get to go shopping, she did not get to go to the movies. She missed a soccer game and Tae Kwon Do. What she did get is a lot of my undivided attention. She colored. We baked brownies. We reviewed her safety contract. We talked about hospitals. We talked about respite. Hope asked me to tap with her. Not only wasn’t she fighting it, she asked for it. I was happy to oblige. Later, as I was putting her to bed, she asked me if I tapped with GB every night before bed. I said that I did. She asked me if I could tap with her before she went to bed. I did.
When she woke up this morning, she had another awful start. But yesterday, yesterday was progress!
Hope had a full blown rage last night. The Dad was not here. It lasted 2 1/2 hours. This morning I woke up to Hope raging with The Dad. In the process, Hope punched GB. GB defended herself. I took GB down stairs and left The Dad with Hope. It was a nice two hours. GB and I had a chance to tap. The Dad is working for the next three hours. Having Hope within arms length crimps my visiting with my sister. Hope seems to be unable or unwilling to hold it together. The Dad is taking GB out after he is done with his calls. I am blessed with Hope’s company for the day. May be I can successfully tap with her during her involuntary time with me.