Respite. Will it be enough?

We were initially told we needed to use our own natural resources to provide care for the children. Since we are a pre-adoptive home, it is thought that we shouldn’t rely too much on the services our agency offers and more on ourselves since it will eventually be “just us.” It took our social worker just 6 days into the placement to set up respite for only the second full weekend Donald would be with us. Yeah, it’s that bad.

He is on a respite weekend right now, and while this does afford us safety for the weekend, I still have not been able to calm myself from my anger of yesterday morning. My heart still feels like its pounding and I am filled with anxiety knowing he will be back tomorrow to start the abuse over again. I honestly don’t understand how or why people stay in domestic violence situations. That is truly what we are living each day and its something we were not prepared for, and may never be. Even with all our sarcasm, we would never treat each other like he treats us.

Yesterday morning Donald got up early (what else is new?) and started pounding on Tink and Daffy’s bedroom door. He is NOT happy at all that they have locks. He hasnt expressed it verbally but you can tell by the pounding and kicking that he is furious he can’t get in to do what he wants. Tink told him to go back to bed. He continued to rage in the hall when Tink realized one of the cats was out there. She opened the door to get the cat and he attacked her. He punched her 3 times and kicked her to the point of bruising 5 or 6 times. Eventually she was able to get back in her room and he continued screaming and swearing at her. Mickey got back from dropping off Goofy at school and Donald bee lined it to his bunk. Mickey is pretty much the only thing that can keep him somewhat in control. Donald insisted he wasnt going to school. However, after he showered, he calmed down. And moved on. And so should everyone else. Or so he thinks. No, Donald, Tink does NOT forgive you in 6 minutes for kicking her, for punching her,  for being physically and verbally abusive to her. She does not want to answer your question about whether or not you did a good job coloring in your Green Lantern coloring book. She doesn’t even want to see your face and honestly, I dont blame her.Our agency is all about natural consequences. The natural consequences for Donald attacking Tink are her not liking him. Rejection triggers his PTSD. Vicious cycle.

When we began this journey, we could not relate in any way to families who disrupted. People are not returnable. And then we were placed with Donald. And now I can completely understand why so many families have given him back. This is no way to live. They shouldnt have had to fear daily for their pets and their own safety. And neither should we. I am still committed, but each day it becomes more and more challenging to follow through on that commitment. Our focus is safety rather than attachment. I try not to look into the future, but will it always be about safety? We can’t live like this for another 7 years. We just can’t.

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  1. Such a difficult situation you are in, I really feel for you and the rest of your family. I hope somehow things get better quickly.

  2. Hi. Hugs to you! As I’ve mentioned before, I remember all to well that time when I couldn’t calm my own nervous system, in the early days after placement. Constant anxiety and fear. It’s difficult for me to even read your posts because it takes me back. Locked doors were a huge trigger for Ashley, too.
    Do you know about this resource:
    Even if you aren’t familiar w/ the Beyond Consequences methods, it can be a great place to get support as many people on the list are dealing with challenging/violent/aggressive kids.
    I feel for you AND I feel for Donald, too. All that anxiety and fear you are feeling … that’s his reality, too. In fact, some of what you are experiencing may be a mirror neuron response to his inner state. Scared kids do scary things, and transitions into new homes are super scary. But you are also only human and can only take so much. No one should have to be afraid in their own home.
    Please be compassionate with yourself wherever you end up. And I just want you to know I’m rooting for you! Sending calming energy your way. (If only it were that simple, huh?)

    • I got so emotional reading your response. I can’t tell you how incredibly helpful it is to hear from people who have lived this, get it and got through to the other side. I feel so alone right now. My friends text and offer support but ultimately I feel like I am a prisoner of my own life, trapped within my own fears. And really, I am. Our social worker comes daily now. I know many people dont want that kind of invasion but she is so incredibly supportive and helps “ground” me. She is compassionate and I know she will be our saving grace no matter what happens. I am definitely going to check out the list/group you mentioned! THANK YOU! & thank you for taking the time to read and reach out. It really is making a difference.

      • Everything you have shared is _so_ familiar to me, including that feeling of despair about how you will make it through the years. I remember my therapist asking me to imagine walking into the girls’ school to pick them up and feeling good about it but I could _not_ imagine that I would ever be able to walk up that ramp without a feeling of complete dread and despair. I really did not believe that I would ever be OK again, certainly not w/ A in the house. I was in a place of survival and it felt like it was going to have to be her or me. So hopeless!
        And aggression toward bio kid … we had that, too. I was convinced that I had completely _broken_ Mackenzie and ruined her life. It was awful.
        If you share your story on that list I suspect you will find others like me who get it. I know you feel alone but you aren’t! Hugs!

  3. I don’t want to overwhelm you, so please ignore this if it is not helpful, but I’m sharing this resource list in the hopes that there may be something useful to you on it:

  4. I am praying for all of you right now! I know it’s heartbreaking and awful :(!! I had an idea… do you think your husband could take Donald camping/away for a weekend or a week? It might be helpful for him to have one-on-one mentoring, discipline, and counsel with a strong father figure. It would get him out of his cycle maybe. He’s at the age where he can reason and your husband could maybe foster some logical responses and behaviors out of him with some time alone together. I know all the problem kids I’ve ever dealt with needed to get away from their triggers (other children often bring out the worst in troubled kids) and be talked to calmly and rationally about their behavior and its effects.

    Just a thought. Praying for you ❤

  5. I hope it gets better or you find a solution.

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