Our current custody agreement gives me the girls on Monday and Tuesday and the Dad Wednesday and Thursday. One weekend I have them Friday and Saturday and The Dad gets Sunday. The next weekend it reverses. GB is occasionally trying to play one of us against the other. We pick up on it fairly quickly and it isn’t particularly hard to deal with. Then there is Hope.
Hope has been with us for over 4 1/2 years. The damage done to her before we adopted her was widespread and significant. For the last 2 1/2 years The Dad has run interference for Hope in every aspect of her life. That has led to changes for Hope. Some have made obvious improvements to Hope’s life. She has a couple of girls that she has developed true friendships with. Watching Hope with a friend is joyful on many levels. She has had successful sleep overs. Hope learned to ride a bicycle last year and loves to ride with her friends. She can usually handle the give and take that is part of Tweens developing friendships. Besides her bike, she enjoys swimming, scooters, and jumping on the trampoline. There has been growth and progress in the last four years.
There are also signs of a very rocky adolescence rapidly approaching. Hope still has two or three full-blown rages a week. The Dad needs to restrain her and she still tries to hurt anyone she can when she gets to that place. She has been in the same school placement since she came. During Hope’s CSE last month, the school reported Hope was still losing it two or three times a week. They reported that as long as they avoided saying “no” and avoided implying that her work needed to be corrected, Hope can usually be maintained in the classroom. Hope still has difficulty respecting other people’s property, but the stealing and destroying things are no longer a daily problem. Like the raging, these problems are currently occurring two or three times a week. Hope had issues with homework passes a couple of weeks ago, but everyone is now on top it.
Hope still presents as ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). She refuses most requests. The Dad avoids as many blow ups as he can by back pedaling from saying “no”. Hope openly says her Daddy won’t make her listen to me. So far, The Dad is still living here and on my days Hope is continually trying to fight the rhythm of our days. Today she smacked me. I confiscated her iPad and the threats started. I told her I would not allow her to get physical and would call the police if she couldn’t control herself. She ran screaming to The Dad who sympathized with her because Mommy calling the police is scary. Manipulation is nothing new in kids from the hard places. I am not willing to let my nine year old run my life. I am not sure Hope would do any better having to deal with me one on one. I am going to find out. Her rages are less mindless these days, but she weighs 90 lbs instead of 40 lbs. The manipulation is pervasive and constant. Stealing, especially from GB, is a regular issue. I don’t know if I can make a difference in Hope’s future, but I see where our current path is leading. We went there with MK and I am not willing or able to go there again. Hope continuing on this path into adolscence is a very scary thought.