July Team Meeting

Yesterday was the treatment team meeting  for both kids. The RTC hosts the  meetings on campus every 3 months and this just happened to be their turn to host. The agenda was not sent out by the clinician until just hours before the meeting. All items on the list pertained only to Donald. I wrote back with a couple of things for Daffy I wanted to included (as well as a few additional things for Donald they were overlooking) and was told by the clinician that she added them. Guess which parts she added…. yep, just the stuff pertaining to Donald! I totally understand that Daffy is not on her case load, just as Donald isnt officially on the case load for our agency, but we would NEVER overlook his needs. Pissed me off, but not worth the argument since I am going to get Daffy’s needs met one way or the other, anyway.

Mickey, Daffy, Goofy & I headed up to the meeting. Goofy (age 14, almost 15) has actually attended quite a few meetings and even attended the consult earlier this month. He really likes to know whats going on and I support him knowing since the decisions made at these meeting greatly effect his life as well.

Despite numerous reminders on my part to keep Donald and Daffy separate before and at the meeting, that didn’t work exactly as planned. Thankfully there was no great fall out as a result, but having them attend the meeting didn’t go as planned. The team didnt ask any questions of them and they were both clearly stressed at having so many pairs of eyes on them, but I will get into that a bit later into the narrative.

The meeting began with a report from Donald’s residential director. She said that he was doing pretty good, though easily influenced by peers (one in particular that he knew from a previous group home). She then described a situation where she had taken Donald shopping for new sneakers. Upon arriving at the store, he wet himself. The team seem surprised to hear this (I know I was, as he never had any accidents in the time we knew him) and asked about it. The residential director dismissed it as a matter of him waiting too long to go, and then added that he wet himself about 2 weeks ago and that currently all of his bedding and rug were in the wash for “unknown” reasons. Hmmmm, thats a pattern if you ask me and definitely an indicator of a problem for a child who has been potty trained for years without accidents and is now ELEVEN years old!

Next, we received an educational update. We were all told that Donald is doing fine and that he easily met all objectives for the first quarter. The adoption specialist asked for clarification to share with the birth mom and his teacher couldn’t gush enough about him. It was completely bizarre considering how far behind we were told he was when we first went in March. They had told us he was at a first or second grade level but are now saying he is at grade level for most subjects and only behind by one year in Math. One set of facts is clearly wrong…. either he didnt try during the initial testing or they are overstating his abilities now.

We received a “medical update” which included the fact that labs were taken with no results back yet (not very helpful). The RTC is looking to put him on a low dose of ADHD meds and the team began debating the need for such medication saying that historically he has been no better behavior wise ON meds than OFF. I have to say that I see no difference, but at the same time, if a low dose of ADHD meds would help HIM to be able to feel less anxious and function better within his own mind, why are people so resistant to trying it?

For the rest of the meeting the topics sort of muddled together as we discussed Donald’s concurrent plan, the nature of future visits with his birth mom, what type of therapy would best help him and how to tell him (and the birth Mom) about Daffy’s adoption.

The team decided that the clinician and I would be the ones to meet with Donald following the meeting to tell him about Daffy’s adoption. While I had wanted the news to come from the TEAM because it was a TEAM decision, I did understand that it might be overwhelming for Donald to sit in a room full of adults to hear that kind of news.

As we discussed the concurrent plan, it was decided that its much too premature to consider adding the birth mom to the plan. The adoption worker (who knows the birth mom best) has many reservations about her appropriateness. The team also decided that the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids worker will resume recruitment of a family for Donald… one that does NOT include pets… does NOT have any children…. and most definitely does NOT contain his sister. The team did not seem hopeful that it would be easy to find such a family looking to take in such a troubled child with such a dangerous history. It  was decided that any potential family also needed to be made aware of Donald’s disclosure of sexual abuse in January (although an investigation still has not happened). There was talk about how Donald’s biggest trigger is attachment and how to keep a family safe should he ever be placed with one. Its a really discouraging case. No one wants to “give up” on an eleven year old but continually placing him in families and putting them in danger and then disrupting is not helping ANYONE, Donald or otherwise.

After the meeting our case worker gave us some questions to get answered for the Adoption Home Study Update. I told her we would have them wrapped up by the end of the month and her goal is to get all paperwork to the state offices by the end of August to ensure everything gets over to the court on time. She is AMAZING at what she does and is very organized, so I can’t imagine any issue with making that happen.

So the meeting dispersed and we were left to meet with Donald. The clinician, caseworker, Mickey & I took Donald back into the conference room and sat him down. For what seemed like an eternity, no one spoke. I took that to mean that the conversation was mine to lead, although I really didn’t want to. The decision to proceed with adoption for Daffy was a TEAM decision and I felt that the TEAM should take responsibility for that. I started by saying “Donald, I have some news I want to share and it might not be news you are happy to hear, but I want to be honest with you. Daffy is going to be adopted.”…. from there I stumbled through trying to explain that Daffy is ready now and he still has work to do on his “big feelings” and that we would be there by his side to help him work towards adoption. He did not speak a single word the entire time we were in the conference room. We asked him if he enjoyed visiting with birth mom and he gave 2 thumbs up. We asked if he enjoyed visiting with his former foster mom and he made a so-so hand sign, then changed to thumbs up. We asked if he wanted visits to continue with us and he shook his head yes. We sat in silence with him a long time in the conference room after giving him the news and then coaxed him to join us in the foyer. To try to describe the looks he was giving his sister are beyond works. It gave me the chills and the cw was quick to step in between them, sensing the same thing we were. The clinician tried to get him to the leave the building by sharing that it would be closing soon but he would not budge. Eventually I sent Goofy and Daffy out to my car with an excuse to put something in the trunk. Still no luck in getting Donald to move. When the kids came back and knocked at the school door, we all moved towards the exit and were able to get him outside. We stood out front for just a few moments. Donald threw the books he was holding and bolted. The cw suggested we leave at that time for Daffy’s safety. The clinician followed Donald and the cw followed her. Donald was wailing at that time.

As we drove home, Daffy asked “Did you have to tell him today” to which I responded “Yes, we did” and clarified that it wouldn’t have mattered if it were yesterday or tomorrow or next month. He would always accept the news in the same way.

About 20 minutes into our drive home, the cw called. She told us that as Donald had continued to freak out, more staff had joined in following as and she fell back. Donald was stung by a bee. Its hard to believe that a bee sting could ever be a good thing, but this jolted him from his dissociative state and he began whaling further, but this time from pain. This allowed the staff to bring him into the building and provide him with more Benadryl (which I previously mentioned is used to calm him down).

I spent the night feeling intensely overwhelmed for him and wondering what might have happened next. I guess thats a story for another blog post.

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  1. The Day After « Foster Adoption Blog
  2. July Team Meeting « Foster Adoption Blog – What Is Abuse

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