A Word From Our Sponsor…

I haven’t posted in a while. I have been writing. I have not been sharing what I write. I have been contemplating why I share my writing here. After taking a break, I have found an answer that I am willing to sit with for now. I write because it helps me clarify my thoughts. I share because I do not want to be alone.

To sponsor something is  to support an event, activity, person, or organization financially or through the provision of products or services. My writing is my product . I am supporting my sanity. It sounds overly dramatic. Living in a place/space where the word “normal” has no meaning makes it easy to lose sight of the road you travel on. We are in the middle of change. The girls have each faced their own challenges… challenges made more difficult because change in its self is difficult for them.

 

GB is in a new class. The old class wasn’t working and was beyond what I could fix. Even though there was only eight students sharing the teacher and the two aides, the teacher was unwilling to have her working at her speed. While I was trying to determine why this class was no longer working for GB, I found out that in the two and a half years GB was there, the end of the year reading scores were not data based. It was the teacher’s best guess. Since GB’s IEP was based on this information, her IEP did not satisfy legal requirements. The school is anxious to meet GB’s needs anyway they can. I have not yet figured out what I want them to do. The class GB is currently in is larger, with thirteen other students. On the plus side, four of the students are girls and GB is developing a nice friendship with one of them. Her anxiety level is subsiding. Most days she is relaxed and happy. The downside of this class is its academic level. None of the students are close to functioning on grade level. Right now, GB needs what this class has to offer socially and emotionally. It is not a long term solution. I plan on leaving her there for the rest of the school year, so I have time to look for something more permanent.

Hope has not had a good month. She has taken the physically aggressive rages into the school. She bit one of the classroom aides. The spike in unacceptable behavior was accompanied by Hope feeling sad for the first time. This is a huge development. Hope has a new therapist. Besides working with Hope, she is helping us develop a treatment plan. She also insisted on us defining where the line was that would put Hope in an RTC. She reasoned that by defining it a head of time we would avoid making a rushed decision in a crisis. Hope’s treatment plan is still being constructed. We are working to keep everyone safe while Hope tries to deal with her very difficult feelings.

There is a lot more to share, but there is time. Nothing needs to be rushed. I wanted to end on a good note, so I am closing with this picture: GB’s favorite activity in her new class is learning to play the recorder. “Hot Cross Buns” never sounded so good.

GB practicing the recorder.

GB practicing the recorder.

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “A Word From Our Sponsor…

  1. I wondered where you were. Exactly why I write and why it’s out there for the world to see. This adoption stuff can be a confusingly lonely place. Glad you didn’t disappear altogether. Love the pic and all it represents!

  2. I’ve really missed your thoughtful and thought-provoking writing. I am reminded of a friend’s insight after her husband recovered from addiction to the narcotics prescribed for a back injury: “When you are living with a “crazy” person you feel like you are the crazy one.” Please excuse the word “crazy”, but this simple explanation of what she felt for a long year helps to clarify many feelings when living with unbalanced people. You a truly an amazing human being; always returning to reason and clarity no matter what is thrown in your path. I am praying for you and your precious daughters.

  3. I’m glad you came back for an update, and maybe Hope taking the aggression to school is a good thing; at least you can get good documentation. Of course, the bitten aide probably would not agree,
    Hope’s new therapist sounds like a smart cookie. It is good to have parameters so the family can have consensus for hard decisions.
    I’ve always wondered if anything is known about Hope’s birthmother. Is it possible that Hope inherited a predisposition to mental illness that was exacerbated by her experiences with her first family?

    • When Hope was born, the hospital tried to get a psychiatric evaluation on her birth mother.Her birth mother would not consent. It is probable that her birth mother had psychiatric issues.

  4. Your words help so many people! I am a special education teacher and I strive to understand what “my” families go through with their students in an effort to better support them. If you are willingly, I would love to be able to have access to your other blog you reference on this site. Thank you for loving your girls and all the children you have encountered that people deem “broken!”

  5. The advice to figure out when your daughter has crossed the line and needs to go into an out-of-home placement is excellent counsel, in my experience. My line came when my 13-year-old assaulted first me and then my 18-year-old so seriously, on two occasions, within 2 weeks, that we called the police and she was arrested for assault and battery, and felony intimidation of a witness (she would not let me leave my bedroom to report her violence, and had already taken both the house phone and the cell phone from me; I tried opening the window to call to the neighbors for help but she slammed the window on me). Both my older daughter and I ended up with serious bruises, and I could no longer imagine keeping my home safe. For several months, my 13-year-old had been spiraling downward in a number of ways: violence and property destruction at home, refusing to do any homework for months, refusing to go to school at least once per week for months (even after involvement of the truancy officer), sexting/texting strange boys and men, contacting her birthmom without supervision, yelling all sorts of obscenities at me, refusing to follow the simplest of directions, not sleeping at night, refusing sometimes to take her medication, lying constantly about the most obvious of things. When I contacted her social workers, therapists, counselors, etc. about all of this, I got more of the same: “Have a safety plan. Be consistent. Use your coping skills, Remind your daughter of her coping skills. Phone crisis if necessary. Remember: this all takes time.” After the 2 arrests, suddenly there was a different response, and I didn’t have to draw the line myself (though I would have): the police officers did it for her. After the first arrest (a week prior), the officer asked me if I felt safe having her released into my custody after she was booked at the police station; I was worried, but said “yes.” After the second arrest, the police officer didn’t give me that choice: she had violated the terms of her probation within 4 days of being arraigned, and the same set of officers who answered the first call answered the second. According to the terms of her probation, she was to be taken to juvenile lock-up until she could be arraigned at the court. Now, she is in acute residential treatment. I don’t know if she will be able to stay there long enough to get the very focused treatment and psychoeducation that she needs—on anger management, on understanding the cycle of violence, on developing alternatives to both verbal and physical aggression in family relationships. But until her violent behaviors receive some experienced, professional attention, she cannot live in our home again—that much I know. If I have to install a panic button in my own bedroom, it’s not longer a family home, is it? Draw your line, and be prepared to hold it against any professionals who try to talk you out of it. Unless they’ve helped other parents find a solution to being domestically assaulted by their own children, you don’t owe them a minute of your consideration. I’m still waiting to find that professional, actually. My next step may be the domestic violence support agency in our area. They might stop making excuses for the violence and stop saying ridiculous things like “The violence is just a behavior—but we have to get *UNDER* the behavior to make any lasting change.” Please. Tell that to any other battered woman. I don’t buy it.

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