When Adoption Doesn’t Work

MendedNobody goes into adoption with the thought “What if this doesn’t work”. Nobody. I have been quiet here because I have been busy thinking. There was a minor brouhaha at another adoption blog. The blogger is in a tough spot and I would not personally have the gonads or the presumption to tell her what the right thing to do was. Apparently, there were enough people who put their opinions out there. There were the “protect your *real* children” crowd, which were inevitably followed by the “all the children are *real*  children crowd. Last I looked, the *real* issue is safety– no more, no less.

Her situation really wasn’t out of the ordinary. She had adopted an older child, a teenager. The child had mental health and behavior issues. When you adopt an older child, that is what you have to deal with. This lady, in particular, had the added weight of being days away from delivering a child and having her husband walk out on her. She was physically unable to keep her teen, younger child, herself, or a new born safe. Families do not work when the parent(s) can not keep everybody safe. It is not a matter of choosing one child over another because of their *realness*.

Serious mental illness is more common  in adopted children, but biological children are not immune either. The mental health resources in this country are scarce and insufficient to meet the needs of the people, including children, who need them. Families who are fortunate enough to have their own resources to use can keep their families together by such over the top measures  as renting two apartments or buying a second house. For most people, that kind of solution is out of reach.

I have more than a few friends who have had to disrupt an adoption. Like the vast majority of adoption that don’t work, mental illness and traumatic experiences were part of the child’s experience before they were adopted.

The parents have used every resource they found- social workers, therapists, medication- read every book, tried every method and hit the same wall- nothing they do keeps their child safe. Disruption or dissolution of an adoption is never easy or pain free. These people have poured more of themselves into their child to make the adoption work then any outsider could imagine. They freely give of their resources; emotional, financial and physical. When their adoption fails, the pain and guilt stays around for a long time- sometimes forever.

The real solution to the disruption/dissolution dilemma is to fix the underlying problem. This country has outstanding medical services. It is time we had mental health services to match.

 

Not a Tween

GBandKyra

When they were younger

GB has been friends with a neurotypical girl since they were three. They went to nursery school together, took swim lessons together, attended the same gymnastic class. They loved dress-up and dancing. They took hip hop and went roller skating. Our families took day trips to water parks, overnight trips to Six Flags. The girls went to Sesame Street Live, Disney on Ice and a Selena Gomez concert together. There were barbeques, parties, and high tea. Our families grew so close that we went on a cruise together last summer and swam with the dolphins. We go to dinner with them most weeks.

Over the years, the girls progressed from coloring sheets we brought to entertain them, through dolls, craft projects, singing Kidz Bop, to Double This, Double That and Mary Mack. Both girls will be ten in less then two months. Double digits at last. Nothing stays the same, but sometimes you don’t notice the little changes as they happen. When you do notice them, it is all at once and the glare can catch you by surprise as it momentarily blinds you.

At dinner last night, it caught up with me. GB’s BFF was a Tween and GB was painfully left behind. BFF received a Kindle Fire for Christmas. She kept to herself, absorbed in the wonders of the internet. GB had made them bracelets and  BFF refused to take it. GB tried to connect with her and couldn’t. She was sure she had done something wrong and tried to make it right. It hurt to watch. Eventually, I brought GB by me and just held her.

On the way home, I cried silently. GB is unable to be a tween. With her developmental delays, it won’t be happening anytime soon. Like most mothers, when she hurts, I hurt.

Laying in bed together, GB asked me what awful thing she had done to make BFF not like her anymore. I told her she had not done anything awful, but was unable to explain what happened so that GB understood it. I can’t change it. I can’t take the hurt away.

Friday nights at Friendly’s was an enjoyable era that may be coming to a close.

Difficult Week

Malachi

Malachi

This has been one of those all consuming weeks.

  • Hope’s teacher wrote home, inquiring if, perhaps, Hope had missed her meds. (She hadn’t) She isn’t raging, but her temper tantrums are still epic, and she is still not safe.
  • GB switched therapists, as planned. She said goodbye to the therapist in the Little City that she shared with Hope. She started with her new therapist. The goal is that GB be able to express her needs verbally in “I” statements. She did much better than I expected.
  • GB and MK had a session together with the family dynamics therapist. I haven’t seen any changes in their interactions.
  • Malachi is still struggling. I enlisted the help of his other grandfather to get Booboo to agree to two days a week in a therapeutic preschool. I do not know yet how successful that was.
  • The Dad realized this week that on his retirement income we can’t afford to live in our current house; at least not while subsidizing J and MK. Duh.
  • We have been consciously cutting costs. We had already started our Food Diet- buying only food in it’s natural state, which helps not only our bodies, but our grocery bills.
  • The Dad started talking to MK about how we would be able to help her, now that we have much less money to live on. She flipped out. She has calmed down, but isn’t ready to explore her options. The Dad is confident MK will be cooperative.
  • I am busy with my new virtual filing cabinet. I finally have it usable and have started filing both girls school records in it. A paper free life sounds delicious!
  • Our rescheduled appointment with Hope’s new therapist is Monday. Unfortunately, it conflicts with my appointment with the neurologist. The neurologist needs to be rescheduled.
  • Hope is saying goodbye to the therapist in the Little City this morning. She is unhappy about having to change.
  • As I am switching to a paper free life, I realize there is a lot of other stuff clutter we do not need. Minimalists may be on to something!

Patience

Today’s appointment with Hope’s new therapist never happened. It was on her calender for ten this morning. It was on my calender for one this afternoon. It was rescheduled for a week from Monday. I am so disappointed. I keep reminding myself that anybody can do anything for short periods of time. Meanwhile, RAD dances on.

Prep

The Dad and I spent some time today preparing for our meeting with Hope’s new therapist tomorrow. We agreed that our immediate goal is to have Hope safe to be around. Until Hope is safe to be around, nothing else can happen. Right now, Hope is not safe. People and animals are always at risk.

Any prayers or good wishes you have are appreciated. I feel as though we are looking for a small miracle.

Back to School

girls

Today was the girls’ first day back to school after winter break. GB started her new class in her new school. They take different buses, but leave and arrive within a couple of minutes of each other. After they were safely on the bus, I began to worry- serious worry that consumed my mind and left no room for everything else.

It is hard to send any child into a new school situation in the middle of the year. It is even harder when that child has disabilities that make communication difficult for them. My primary goal is that she feel competent at school and finds joy on occasion. I still want her to learn as much as she is capable of learning. I do not want to put limits on the future of a child who hasn’t turned 10 yet.

GB came home with a smile, one page of homework, and lots of things to share. Day 1 went well. Hope came of the bus whining and complaining and pure attitude. She struggled through homework and when it was bath time, she lost it. She didn’t come back. The bottom line on Hope is that she still is not safe. Her psychiatrist is suppose to come back this month.The medication she is on does not cut it. We meet with her new therapist Friday. I am hoping she will lead us in a new direction.

My moment of the day: laying in bed with GB, working on a word search puzzle. She is a very visual kid and is good  at them. We enjoy them together and it doesn’t hurt her vocabulary or spelling skills.

Welcome, 2013

Exactly one  year ago, I wrote this post, https://adoptingspecialneeds.wordpress.com/2012/01/page/3/ . My word for 2012 was going to be “moment“, as staying in the moment. Looking back, I would have to say I failed more often then I succeeded. There was a a 3 month period over the summer where I was unable to start fresh each moment. Getting physically beat up can do that to a person.

The last couple of months The Dad has been Hope’s primary caregiver. Yesterday, Hope raged and got him with a head butt in the face. It looked painful. She kicked me, but it didn’t catch me by surprise, as she had already kicked The Dad’s brother.

Hope is on medication, which she wasn’t on this time last year. Her raging is a little less in terms of frequency and intensity- but not much. This year provided very little healing for Hope.

We have a new configuration of therapists lined up. If you are interested you can read it on the other blog.

I am looking at 2013 as a fresh start, but I decided to use the word “moment” again. I do not want to repeat all of 2012’s mistakes again this year. I still think an RTF is Hope’s best shot, but I am willing to try a new approach. For Hope’s sake, for my families sake, I pray for healing.