Yesterday at the meeting it was predicted that the kids would have some issues when they returned from the visit this weekend due to the now determined and shared official transition date. I wondered if the kids would actually make it the entire weekend before having any kind of melt down? I didnt have to wonder long. Shortly after we got home, it happened.
I asked Tink to shut off the tv because her & I were going to take the kids on a walk to the local ball fields with a small playground. Daffy went over to “pretend” (or so she says) to turn the tv back on and Donald, in his defense of what is right, went after her. They began pushing, shoving, hitting and kicking. Mickey & I were in the bathroom (the only slightly private place in the house at this point) discussing the plan when Tink came running in to let us know the kids were fighting. We rushed out to find Donald kicking Daffy. Mickey reacted strongly, raising his voice. I cringed knowing that was just going to elevate the situation, but not wanting to interfere and appear divided or unsure. Mickey asked Donald to sit on the step in our room. Refusal. He stomped off and began kicking things and yelling. He was asking Mickey if he was “scared” [of his behaviors] to which Daffy leaned over to me and said “He asks other people if they are scared when he is scared.” Great. Mickey scared the kid. Ugh. Anyway, I sat with Daffy to hear her “side” of the story. I tried to point out where her behaviors had been a problem, too. Then I went off to find Donald. I found him and Mickey in the “warm” room downstairs. (Yes, we name the rooms in our house. We always have so its interesting that Donald & Daffy did that my nature when they started to come here.) I asked Donald if he was ready to talk and he said he wasnt. I sat down and he kept looking at me so I commented “You look really angry.” He shared that he was and told me he didnt think we were the right family for him. Test #83634375969. Not gonna phase me, kid. I was told to expect that. He said he wanted to run away. I asked if he knew what I would do if he ran away. He said he didnt and looked curious. I told him I “I will follow you to be sure you are safe. I will follow on foot, by car, by bike, by scooter or by train. I will follow you however I have to to be sure you are safe. Do you know why?” and he did. Its because I love him. And I am trying to take every opportunity to remind him of that. Even when he is being horrible. Even when I am angry. Even when I would rather be snide. I asked him for a hug. At first he resisted but then he did come over to me and I sat him on my lap (awkward with his size at 11 years old, but necessary for bonding). He asked what I would do if he ran away to [City Name] where his mom lives. I told him I would follow him. He said he wants to see his mom and that he misses her. I felt stumped. I wished I had been told what to say in that situation, but I just had to wing it. I told him that the social workers and state made a decision that it was best for him not to see her anymore to keep him safe, but that I was sure he missed her and I understood that. He told me he doesnt want social workers or the state! He doesnt like them! Perfect opportunity for me to change the subject! I said “You know what? Once we adopt you, do you know there won’t be anymore social workers? It will just be us and our family. Forever.” He looked at me wide eyed. I dont think he can remember a time where social workers werent involved in his life. That’s sad considering he is 11 years old. It seemed to give him some peace. From there I was able to redirect and off we went for our walk.
So after our trip to the park, I took Donald and Tink to pick up a friend of Tink’s. Seemed like a good way to separate Donald and Daffy. We came back just in time for dinner. Insert power struggles with Daffy regarding dinner. (She insisted on a bowl of raw carrots even though she had helped Mickey prepare dinner.) As we sat down, Mickey commented that Tink had not been told it was dinnertime. Donald jumped up and said he would go upstairs and let her know. Since EVERYTHING is a competition, Daffy also jumped up and they both run up the stairs. In retrospect, I should have followed. We KNEW what would happen. And, of course, it did. A pushing match ensued. Within 30 seconds, Donald came back downstairs and to his place at the table and said “I know. I shoved her.” He is too used to the processing piece. He believes if he owns up to what happened and takes responsibility, then its over. And while I do support ownership, I am not sure we can continue forever without consequences. I mean, you can’t kill someone and then say “I know. I killed him.” and have it be over, ya know? Anyway, Daffy was still upstairs crying so I decided to go upstairs and talk through things with her. I explained that even though Donald was completely wrong to shove her, she KNEW she was bringing it on when she raced him up the stairs. She didnt really like it (and she shouldnt have to) but she did accept that. Then she started sharing about some of Donald’s friends saying that his “new family” wasn’t going to work out. I knew as soon as she brought it up (on Donalds behalf, of course) that she really needed to talk through some stuff. She started talking about some previous placements and how they didnt work out, and how this time seems different, that things are not following the same patterns of the failed placements. She commented about how we handle things more like the group home she is in now, which seemed really reassuring to her. After a few minutes, she grabbed her Barbie laptop and I knew I had lots her for the time. She had said too much, probably more than she planned to and she needed a break. I told her I would give her ten more minutes and then we were going to watch a movie to relax before bed.
After several attempts at other movies that skipped, we decided on Piglet’s Big Movie. Donald grumbled a little about it being a movie for babies, but both kids ended up watching the entire thing and staying engaged.
So, here we are on Saturday and I wonder what today will hold. I am fully prepared for some blow outs. I just pray I come up with the right words to reassure them that we love them and our official forever begins in just 10 days…
[All names have (obviously) been changed to protect the privacy of our family.]