Yesterday I received the following email in response to my request to have a program review for Hope.
Dear GB’s Mom,
I am currently doing annual review meetings all day, every day. I can not do a program review. It is possible that Hope’s annual review will be soon because I know that I have at least one day with Ms. V.Y. Teacher coming up fairly soon.
Very Stupid Chairperson, PhD
I answered her email this morning and blind copied (thanks to The Dad, I know how to do this now) Mrs. Director of Special Education.
Dear Very Stupid,
While it is obvious that deciding a kindergartner’s placement for 8 months from now (note: we are still in the month of January) is an urgent matter, my concerns about my child’s placement as of this moment are just going to have to be fit in. I know that you do not believe that Reactive Attachment Disorder exists, but that is currently irrelevant. An excellent psychiatrist, who works for the Country Renown Childrens Home, has completed a psychiatric examination on Hope and that is the diagnoses we were given. This psychiatrist says Hope is triangulating everyone she comes in contact with. You may not understand how triangulation works, but that is also OK. I am very willing to help the committee rewrite her IEP, so that it both meets legal requirements and Hope’s needs. If this really can’t be fit in your schedule now, I will be filing a claim of IEP insufficiency with NYSED in the beginning of the week. The lawyer we used for GB is currently available to assure Hope gets a FAPE. I hope somebody has time to consider this matter over the weekend.
GB’s Mom, Doctoral Candidate
Less than 15 minutes after I sent this email, I received a call from Mrs Director of Special Education. She asked specific questions about my concerns and requested I not do anything until she had a chance to investigate. She is suppose to call me back Tuesday. I will wait and see.
It is National Education Week in the United States. As part of this week, parents are invited into their children’ classroom to observe their education as it happens. This year I needed to visit two classrooms.
I chose to go to Hope’s classroom first. I was warmly greeted and a found a chair in the reading corner to sit in. My goal was to become part of the woodwork and see what was happening. I was there 20 minutes. There were 6 adults working with 11 children. In that time I saw Hope throw a pencil, cross her arms and and flat out refuse to do a worksheet, push another student on the way back to her seat, and finally, as they were lining up for gym hit the boy next to her. The boy told an aide Hope hit him. The aide said, “You’re all right. I am sure it was an accident.” Maybe people only see what they expect to see.
Next stop was GB’s room. Everything was so different. There were 3 adults working with 8 children. The adults were aware of everything every child was doing. Throughout the twenty minutes I visited, there were many instances of *catching them them being good*. The teacher did a good job teaching the kids to distinguish complete sentences from incomplete sentences. He incorporated following directions and dump trucks into his lesson, which made the 7 boys in the class happy.
I want more for Hope. I do not know where to start. Her last CSE meeting was only a week ago. I don’t know what else to say.
Hope started early today. Everybody was dressed and downstairs, Hope was done with breakfast, and I was finishing putting GB’s breakfast on the table. When I walked past Hope, she grabbed my pinky and bent it straight back. It is the first time she went after me for no apparent reason. I picked her up and put her in the timeout chair and she went into full rage mode. The last week the raging has been increasing and lasting longer. I guess the honeymoon is over. They are still honeymooning in school.
I am getting different ideas for restraint, because I am tired of being black and blue and clawed. MK says if I treated Hope like I treat GB, the rages wouldn’t happen. Of course, GB doesn’t intentionally try to hurt me.
The girls new bed comes today. I am looking forward to more space to to organize their clothes in.
Hope’s adoption went from plenty of time for decisions (weeks/ month, waiting for ICPC) to finalizing in Texas in three weeks. Now the decisions and necessary tasks look a little overwhelming. Hope’s name is not Hope- It is Marsee Hope. That it will stay unless I figure out something else ( I left the name blank in the papers). The school says one particular person needs to take information about Hope and suggest appropriate placements. Unfortunately, that person hasn’t responded to an email or phone call in two weeks. I sent the Director of Special Education a request to replace this non responsive person with herself and avoid the legal fees.
The current plan is to fly (GB, me, and the Dad) to Texas, sometime the week of August 22, depending on when the court date is, finalizing Hope and bringing her home. I figured I could coach the parents on what to say.
I haven’t figured out the logistics of incorporating her into the family. A small room of her own, with nothing to hurt herself as she rages… or maybe bunk beds in GB room… or maybe keep her next to me, in my room. Keep here name/ change her name? … Start her in the neighborhood kindergarten… and let them convince me she doesn’t belong? … or insist on the special education preschool that GB attended, since by Texas law that’s were she should be/ was approved to be… How do you toilet train a 4 1/2 year old who was toilet trained for over a year, including at night, and is no longer. I have no mountains to walk her up.
I have been reading everything on attachment and adopting older children I can get my hands on. There seem to be two different camps- the work on attachment, do not get caught up in the behavior camp and the you can’t let the child succeed at manipulation and triangulation camp. Are they diametrically opposed or can they work together?
All of a sudden I feel 9 months pregnant.