We spent two full days with my friend, J., and her family. J and her most excellent husband have adopted three children from trauma backgrounds. Their youngest is very close to Hope in age and behaviors. The two girls became quickly inseparable. GB and J.’s two oldest also enjoyed being together. It was good to spend time with J. and meet her husband. It was good for The Dad to have the opportunity to be with adults who “get it”.
Canada is a beautiful country. I have driven through parts of it before as we drove to Michigan, but this is the first time I have seen Canada in daylight. The reds on the turning trees were beautiful. Beautiful old homes and vast fields with wooden fences that were different than any fence I have seen before. I have always assumed Canada was just like the USA, like a far north state. It is and it isn’t.
J. and her family were so warmly welcoming it was like coming home. When Hope’s first trip to the bathroom resulted in a shaving cream cans worth of mess, there was no surprise. Hope continued to be Hope and J. was ready for it and the time flew, with everybody enjoying themselves. The acting out behaviors were just a ripple in our time together.
When we had to leave this morning, Hope did not take it well. We stopped at a Starbucks for coffee right after leaving J.s. Hope started raging in the car and continued on the side of the drive thru lane. It lasted for over forty five minutes. Once she was done, it was still six hours to home. She was nasty and miserable for the rest of the ride. When we stopped to eat, The Dad took Hope to sit at a different table to eat. It should not have bothered me as Hope was being so nasty I didn’t really want to deal with her. It did.
J. lives in the middle of nowhere. One thing J.’s husband said last night, as we visited over (good) wine, was that they could never raise kids from the hard places in suburbia. Living in a place where 12 or more neighboring families hear your kid rage is stressful. Part of it is the knowledge that sooner or later CPS will show up on your doorstep is wearing. It also makes putting your child outside to rage an option we don’t have.
J. has offered to take Hope in respite for a while. Other people I trust have also offered. My fear is how Hope will react. It is not yet a rational fear. I still have some processing to do.
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!
The kids spent three hours at Kid’s Kingdom in the Little City. The Dad and I drove them, with MK, paid for their admission, and gave MK money for lunch. We picked them up three hours later and nobody wanted to leave.
We did this to manufacture time for The Dad and I to spend alone. We went out to lunch and then to couples counseling. Couples who raise special needs children have an extraordinarily high divorce rates. Throw a RADish or two in there, expert at pitting one parent against the other, and professional help can be a necessity, not a luxury. Divorced Trama Mama’s aren’t a rare breed and the norm for Trauma Mama’s can be strained relations between them and their other half.
The Dad and I have been married a long time. We have even survived raising a RADish together. Surviving is not good enough. We are looking for more. I have not kept Hope’s struggles a secret. Our life is never easy, but the last eight weeks had pushed us over the cliff. We were not in sync at all. Hence, couples counseling. We are working for our future. God has better things in store for us. We are looking forward to our future together and if we need help to get there, we get help.
I have been reading up on Borderline Personality Disorder. It is one of the common conditions that an unhealed RADish ends up with as a diagnosis. I just started my third book this week. It is different than the first two I read because it is not written by a professional. It is written by a man who is married to a women with Borderline Personality Disorder, from the perspective of how to survive and not buy in to the persons problems. The name of it is When Hope Is Not Enough. I started reading about Borderline Personality Disorder because I was looking for new ways to relate with my oldest daughter. It is an interesting book. Last night, after the girls were in bed, I picked up the book to read until I could sleep. The title had slipped my mind- I just remembered that it had a green cover. When I noticed the title I started laughing. Hope is ALWAYS enough. Better laughing than crying.
When we adopted Hope, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew I was too old. I even suspected I had a neurological problem. I was ready. I didn’t sign up for any courses, I found a personal therapist for me. I found a therapist and a psychiatrist for the girls. I lined up Hope’s special ed placement. I even started the paperwork for respite.
There have been glitches in support, but, for the most part , they get resolved. Until this week. Hope raged on Wednesday. It was bad. I ended up bruised and scratched. I went to see my therapist on Thursday. The therapist I found to for me to deal with my junk. It was not a good appointment.
The therapist recommended giving up on Hope. She said it was too hard on me, my husband, and most of all GB. After all these sessions, the woman knows me well enough to play the GB card. I am not giving up on Hope. The rages have gotten farther apart. I have to change things around to protect GB. That was my agenda going into yesterday’s therapy session. It didn’t happen. Instead of support, I got a high pressure sales pitch. It was not helpful.
This morning I am going to get in touch with the agency that helped us keep MK home during her teen years. I am not sure they work with a 5 year old, but if they don’t, I am hoping they can at least point me to a place that does.
My grandson is sick. I am concerned. Besides being concerned, it changes my day. MK is doing a great job at meeting Mali’s needs and he is attached. MK is also still battling the adult versions of what RAD left behind. When Mali is sick, all her fears and insecurities come rushing back. So today is being spent with MK staying close. I will drive them to the doctors and I will do my best to meet my daughter’s needs in a loving way. She needs it. She deserves it. I am praying for the strength to give it to her.
Tonight, The Dad and I took the girls out to dinner. We met a friend, who is a preschool special ed teacher, and her family, including her 2 girls the same ages as mine. My friend had also arranged for another adoptive mother to join us. Her and her husband have adopted 10 children from foster care. The oldest is currently 25 and the youngest is 2. All of her kids have special needs, from mild to intense, and as she still does foster care, how many she will bring is always a guess.
Tonight, she had 5 with her, and another friend, with her 7 year old granddaughter, brought our group up to 16, 10 of them children, 3 of whom were NT. GB was not the most involved child, which was nice for a change. I have a lot in common with these people and it is the first time since we started with family #2 that I have had this, at least IRL. Her 7 year old and GB took an instant dislike to one another, which was not a surprise, since GB does not take well to large groups of kids, or for that matter, new kids. She chose to sit next to her Dad and by the time dessert was served, GB was willing to sit with the other kids. It didn’t work out all that great, but it wasn’t just GB. There were five of them that were toast, and one was NT.
It may sound crazy, but we are planning on doing it again. The adults, including me, enjoyed the time with other adults who *got it*, and none of the kids, including Hope, had to be removed. In my world, this is success.