Family Therapy Cancelled

The new in-home social worker just called and said she had a family emergency and was on her way to the hospital so she needed to cancel our first official-every-one-in-attendance family meeting for today. As nervous as I had been all day, I’m kind of disappointed because I was hoping to see some real honesty happen at today’s meeting. It’s unlikely that we will be able to get everyone together again until next Tuesday. In any case, since I have an opening in my schedule today and really need to get some things off my chest…. well, you are stuck listening to my vent!

I never know where to begin. Too much time passes in between posts because every day is simply too draining to tell the stories. Many of the stories would probably seem like nothing by themselves anyway. It’s the constant ongoing drip-drop… like Chinese water torture… that has taken its toll. I’m at the end of my rope. I think the difference between earlier in the year when this breakdown began and now is the toll it’s taken on the rest of my family. It’s no longer just about me & Daffy. My bio kids BEG me to get things back to the way they used to be before Daffy came here. My marriage is hanging on by a single thread. I think OFTEN about just getting in my car and driving as far as my minimal money for gas will take me. My bio kids are what keep me hanging on. I know it wouldn’t be fair to them to leave them with the mess I (and Mickey) created by adopting Daffy. Tears are shed every single day. We just can’t take it.

So, to give this post some purpose, let me go back to Friday. Daffy came home from school and gave me her report card. I was heading out the door to take Goofy to work so I tucked it in my purse and left. Once I was in the parking lot, I opened it and was STUNNED to see she had 2 D’s on her report card as well as several negative comments from her teachers. Her progress report had been glowing and of course, she has been telling us she has completed all her homework, blah blah blah. I was FURIOUS that this was the first I was hearing about these obvious issues at school (at Daffy, at Daffy’s teachers and guidance counselor and at myself for not keeping a closer eye). I came home and got onto the online grade system and printed out her grades from those two D classes. I wasn’t surprised when I saw that she had not completed many of her homework assignments. I highlighted the missing assignments and attached it to the report card to leave it for Mickey. At this point in our relationship, I know better than to say ANYTHING to Daffy that she could construe as negative because she simply shuts down and makes our lives miserable. Giving it to Mickey means it isn’t likely to be discussed at all, but at least I can feel like I did my part to gather the information for him.

The next day I was out of town with a friend and when I returned, Daffy was whining about how she forgot her book at school. I asked “Why? were you planning to actually DO your homework this weekend”?  She looked down and made her typical “hmmph” noise. I went on to say “Yeah, I know about that. In fact, I printed out your quarter grades and gave them to your Dad so he can know all about your lies too!” (Admittedly not the best choice of words, but FAAAAAAR better than what I really wanted to say.) She was silent. Like she always is. She simply doesn’t answer any questions that she doesn’t like.

She went to bed early that night, without saying good night of course. The next day she lurked around and wouldn’t speak to anyone (mind you, Mickey was at work…. she won’t let him see how she truly is!). I can’t describe how incredibly creepy it is when she lurks around muttering to herself. (In fact, I can hear Tink saying this very same thing to her pregnancy social worker downstairs right now as I type this.) She left several times and wandered  around outside the house. She would stop and stare through the windows and glare at Tink. She wouldn’t even break eye contact when Tink looked back. Tink was really spooked by it. A friend of mine was over at the time for a training (we work in the same industry) and commented about how bizarre the behavior was and could tell that it was affecting Tink and me so she offered to take her for the night. God bless her soul. Everyone needs a friend like her. She can’t understand what we are living, but she also doesn’t judge. She simply supports anyone who needs it.

She returned Daffy home past bedtime last night. I was so grateful that I was doing laundry when Daffy arrived so Mickey put her to bed. I didn’t see her this morning. It’s now been almost 48 hours without a single word of communication. This is our normal. BUT THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

The bottom line is, we can’t stand each other. I don’t know how we got here. I can still remember loving her last year. I thought she was the most beautiful thing in the world. And now, I dread interacting with her. I dread the fights. I dread saying anything at all. Hell, I dread waking up in the morning. Why? What’s the purpose? My life is hell. My family is falling apart. My marriage is crumbling. My bio kids are begging to go back to the way things used to be. And no one seems to understand.

I could buy the theory that this was MY fault and MY perception, hell, even MY own adoption issues playing out…. if not for the fact that my bio kids witness all of this too. They tell their dad. They tell the workers. NO ONE LISTENS. Or no one cares. I just don’t get it. Are we beyond hope? Can we not be helped? And if so, why won’t anyone just admit that to us?

As things stand right now, Mickey is in charge of scheduling the nuero psych exam. I imagine that will likely take several months before we have any answers there. And who knows, maybe that won’t answer any questions anyway…. clearly Daffy has become quite the good manipulator since she left the group home. The therapists and workers at the group home were all very clear about her reactive attachment disorder diagnosis, but no one seems to want to hear that now. WHY? Could she have just suddenly been CURED of RAD???? I don’t think so. Her behavior says no.

We are continuing with 3-4 weekly meetings with the new in-home service. We are still at the beginning stages so I am trying to give it a chance, but it’s hard. Mickey is rarely there for the meetings. My bio kids are grumpy to give up any more time to the misery known as our family. And I am EMOTIONALLY EXHAUSTED that my entire life revolves around a child who hates me. It leaves no time for my marriage, no time for my bio kids and their needs and no time for my friends (ok, ok, I do still spend some time with them, its my ONLY sanity).

Oh, and have I mentioned Tink’s baby is due in 32 FREAKIN days??????  Mickey is currently installing doors on our former living room (the room Tink will share with her baby… now to be “blog named” Andy from Toy Story)! This is the first real safety item we have implemented. She did get one baby monitor at her baby shower, but we are on the hunt for a video monitor for an added level of security. At the suggestion of a couple of the workers, we bought Daffy her own baby doll so she could have practice before Andy comes. She doesn’t play with it. In fact, it would surprise me to find it in a  noose in her room. The more we follow suggestions, the more resistant Daffy becomes.

Things are still in a holding pattern with the birth mom. Birth Mom and Donald mailed letters to Daffy recently. Birth Mom was very forceful in requesting that Daffy just “say what she wants” and that “no one will be hurt”. It was the first time BMom referenced Mickey and I by our first names rather than Mom & Dad, which took me back a little bit. I decided that we should run the letters by Daffy’s therapist before passing them on (something we have not done since the first letter well over a year ago). Therapist said the letters should ABSOLUTELY NOT be given to her and that Birth Mom was out of line to put so much pressure on Daffy. First of all, it’s not Daffy’s decision to determine whether or not visits are appropriate and what the frequency should be. Second, I’m not convinced Daffy even has a real opinion. She mimics what she hears. She says what she thinks she should based on who she is speaking with. You could get ten different answers if she spoke to ten different people in the same day. As for what *I* think…. I still just don’t know. I like Daffy’s birth Mom for the most part. If it weren’t for Donald living with her, the decision would be easier (still hard, but def less complicated). Daffy saw her 5 times in 8 months. Things were bad. She has seen her zero times in 4 months. Things are still bad. So, what is the right answer? Should she see her birth mom? Is that in her best interest? Or is it harmful to her at this point because of Donald’s transition? Does it make things more complicated for OUR family? Does that matter? I ask myself these questions all the time and I just don;t have an honest answer. Sometimes I wish deep down that there was no birth mom option so I wouldn’t have to deal with that alongside all the other issues….. but there is also a part of me that wants the connection to remain because I simply can’t believe that we will survive another 2400+ days until she turns 18. I can see her “running away” in her teens and at least with a birth mom connection, it would be somewhere relatively safe. Ahhhh, who I am kidding? Birth Mom’s home will NEVER be safe for Daffy with Donald living there. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

I’ve been typing for 2 hours now. Goofy and Pluto just came home from school and we were discussing the cancelled appointment and Goofy said, and I quote “We have two options here. Either everybody is going to kill themselves or one of us has to kill her.” Yep, you read that right. THIS IS MY LIFE! I live in fear of Daffy, but I also live in fear FOR Daffy as well.While I know Goofy is just saying this out of frustration, the fear is still very real. If Daffy hurts Andy or anyone else, her life is in jeopardy. We are a family in CRISIS. How did it get this bad? Will it ever get better? WE STILL NEED HELP!

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7 Comments

  1. Oh wow, Minnie. I’m so sorry to hear you going through this. Please know that someone out there hears you; I know that doesn’t mean we can offer much concrete help, but you *are* heard. I am early in my own adoption journey and sometimes although tough to read these kinds of posts, it is important to know some of the realities of our families behind closed doors. This can be a lonely path; heck I’m still on the happier end of it and I’m miserable most of the time too. I’m praying positive thoughts for you and your family.

    Reply
  2. Jennifer

     /  November 14, 2013

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now but haven’t commented. I’m so sorry to hear you are going through this. In sharing this you have made me feel less alone, for what that’s worth. I don’t have the energy to blog about it, but I am a foster parent and right now my life also revolves in its entirety around a child who can’t stand me. As much as I try to love him, to be honest I find his behavior very creepy and sometimes frightening also. I could have written lots of parts of your post, if I wasn’t so drained and desperate. Thank you for voicing these hard things about parenting, foster care, and adoption. I really hope you and your family get the help you need.

    Reply
  3. I’m so sorry…

    Reply
  4. I usually try to offer empathy rather than advice, but it really seems that you are in desperate (despairing!) place. I DO understand what you are living through. I will simply say that I myself would never have made it through the time when I hated & feared my own foster-adopted daughter without resources from people like Bryan Post (the Post Institute) & Heather Forbes. (Both are googleable if you want to learn more & some of the resources are even available free online.) There is a way out of the hell you are living through, but you can’t get there with traditional parenting methods. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have from parenting your bio kids; parenting kids like Daffy is _completely_ different & requires a completely different mindset and approach. There is hope, though, and there are people who have been where you are now and are in a completely different (much better) place now. I’m afraid that you will read this and think “F-you. I don’t need new parenting skills. I need this kid out of my life!” If so, I can’t blame you. But I can’t watch a person drowning and not throw her the lifeline that once saved me. In any case, I am so sorry for the hell you and your family are living through! Hoping and praying for much better days ahead for all of you. My heart goes out to you, truly.

    Reply
  5. Yasmin

     /  November 17, 2013

    Hi I need to share with someone that can empathize . 13 years ago we adopted 2 half siblings a girl aged 3.5 (C)and a boy (L) 22 months. Heaven had come home little did we know what was to come. The children had been subject to severe neglect and abuse, I had read about RAD but naively believed the social,worker ” a lot of love will make it better”. No one explained what the possible outcome could be for children who had experienced such horrors.

    Fast forward, L was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism and OCD by the age of 7 when he became increasingly aggressive , with RAD three yrs ago since he moved to his second residential specialist school. He comes home every two weeks and we have some sort of relationship with him but we are coming to terms that he will need 52 week placement as he is not able to control his anger and I have been attacked many times.

    C’s behaviour increasingly became challenging especially in the last three years ( stealing, lying , making allegations against us, absconding for days) this year finally it was recognised that she has severe RAD. Since last year she has been in foster care as it was the only way to safeguard ourselves. She did not want us to be her parents anymore. In the last 8 months she has made contact with birth family who unfortunately have not changed in all these years and have influenced her negatively. She is 16 and 4 months pregnant at the moment.

    Yes, life has been hell, our dreams of a family have been shattered. We have invested emotionally and financially all we could for these kids and now we are left with grieving the loss of it all.

    Social services have been unsupportive, ignorant and arrogant. One out of three adoptions in the UK disrupte and adopters like us are abandoned and left to deal with the pain.

    How can we prevent others not to suffer as we have. The sad truth is that these children need long term therapy and should not be placed for adoption if the services are not able to support families. In the UK if you foster you get support and so do,the children , if you adopt you are just expected to get on with it on your own.

    What will the future hold for all of us? Maybe someone has an answer.
    Thank you for sharing

    Reply
  6. Amadea

     /  December 11, 2013

    Hi, I understand your situation. Can I email you some information from our RAD daughter’s psychologist? It has been so helpful and insightful for our situation.

    Reply

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