The Meeting With The Former Therapist

As I mentioned here, we had scheduled an appointment with one of Daffy’s former therapists, specifically the one who gave her the Reactive Attachment Disorder diagnosis a couple of months after she moved in to the group home. We had learned of his involvement with Daffy in a very brief exert in her Adoptive History where he had been quoted as saying “Daffy is more concerning because of her Reactive Attachment Disorder and her inability to care about relationships.

We were very eager to ask him questions about how he came to that diagnosis and whether or not he believed that Daffy could have been “cured” by coming into our care and seeing a new therapist, as suggested  by said new therapist.

When Mickey & I arrived, we learned he had double booked the session. I almost cried thinking we would have to wait any longer for answers. Thankfully he was able to reschedule with his other patient and took us in. One of the workers from our current team was also able to meet us for the meeting. I hadn’t thought I wanted any of them at the meeting, but was actually happy to have a witness as to what this man said. I am certain that if I had come back and reported about our meeting, the team would have thought my opinion was skewed. (By the way, the post-adoption worker from Donald’s case called at the last minute because of flooding in her home so I never did have to deal with that conflict of interest.)

So anyway, the former therapist had pulled up Daffy’s files. He had told me on the phone that he thought he had seen her only twenty times or so. It turned out when he reviewed the records before meeting with us that he had actually had Daffy as a patient for more than a year and a half (10/2009- 6/2011) and had seen her generally every 2 weeks during that time. He began first by sharing that Daffy was one of the girls who had made him reconsider providing therapy to the girls from the group home. He said there was a lot of “transference” that he witnessed from these girls onto the staff at the group home (for example, in their minds and because of their deep trauma, the kitchen worker could be the grandfather that abused them, or the housekeeper could be the mom who beat them). He ultimately decided that the girls from the group home were better off seeing a female provider who might seem less intimidating rather than a 50 year old man and he made the referral for Daffy to switch in the summer of 2011. As a side note, it appears Daffy never went to the recommended therapist as the state decided that Daffy and Donald should see a therapist together to work on sibling issues. (That lasted only a few sessions before we came into the picture and the state decided to end that counseling to pursue something closer to our home.)

The former therapist said that from the very first session, Daffy “had to be in control.” He said she seemed “pleasant” but that it was like she wasn’t really there. During that first session, Daffy talked about her birth mom extensively and even drew a picture. He indicated the conversation was  “one mile wide but only one inch deep”. He said that Daffy gave just enough to seem forthcoming but that, in fact, she would prove to be highly resistant to any emotional work over the next year and a half.

I asked if Daffy had come to him with the RAD diagnosis or if he had been the one to give her the diagnosis. He said that he had given her the diagnosis and he did not hesitate even a second when he said that she is CLASSIC RAD, no question about it. He said that every word she chose was guarded and that she tried to control the sessions by controlling him.

I asked if he thought that she had been sexually or physically abused and he emphatically said yes, given her behaviors, fear of adults and need to control every adult. He said that any adult who allows themselves to be controlled by her is doing her a disservice.

He said that at the end of his time with her, she flat out refused to go to counseling some days and he had also indicated in his notes “she is highly resistant”, “persistant refusal” and  “irritability”.  At that point in our meeting, I laughed and said “Yep, you know the Daffy I know!”

I asked him if he felt that Daffy could be dangerous and he said that although she had not done anything specific while in his care, he feels she has the potential because of how “through her defenses are and how unpsychologically sound she is.” Marvelous! He went on to say that he also feels that she is the type of child who could make false accusations of sexual abuse. Sigh. Not what I needed to hear with a husband and 2 teenaged boys at home.

I asked what he thought our family needed in terms of support. He said that it is very important for us to understand RAD. He said we have to be in it for the long haul. He suggested finding trainings and support groups and said we should definitely use respite. I asked if he thought there was any hope for Daffy and he seemed much more reserved, almost gloomy, in his reply. He said there could be hope if she works with a female therapist who gets her to do the emotion based work she has avoided all these years. He said Daffy MUST deal with her losses and get at the hurt to have any real hope. He talked about the walls Daffy has built up over the years and didn’t seem optimistic that she would ever take them down.

Oddly, I left on cloud nine! I didn’t even have to share my experience to have someone BELIEVE ME! I wanted to scream from the rooftops “I WAS RIGHT! I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!!” Now ordinarily I’m not the type to be so “I told you so,” but without the proper diagnosis, Daffy will NEVER get the help she needs and this meeting is a start on the road to finding out the truth and coming up with a solid plan to save Daffy and our entire family. At least I hope that’s the road we are on… you never know in this case….

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Minnie Answers Your Questions

questionsAs I mentioned the other day, I’ve been planning to publicly answer some of the questions that have been asked in the comments on my blog. Daffy went to a friend’s house for the day, so no time like the present to get started! 🙂

Reader Danielle asked, Have you thought about an out of home placement for Daffy? Is she safe to live with?

So, I’ve been staring at this question for ten minutes now and I really don’t know how to answer. Do I think she is safe to live with? Well, no, not really. But has she done anything truly dangerous or taken a life at this point? No… and no one seems to care about safety issues until AFTER something major happens. Ultimately, we are playing the waiting game…. praying that she doesn’t truly hurt anyone, but at the same time, knowing that is a very real possibility. In many ways, we are just biding our time. Tink told one of our post-adoption social workers in November that if Daffy is the “reason for the death of anyone in my family, I will end up killing her.” Rather than see this statement as describing the level of Tink’s intense fear for our family, the worker forwarded it to the state post-adoption worker who, in turn, told us that Daffy is risking her son by making such threatening statements, in affect, silencing Tink. How can it be considered threatening when Tink is only reacting to the verbal and non-verbal threats from Daffy in the first place?? If you’ve been reading my blog lately, I’m sure you’ve seen this is an ongoing issue… the more I try to get the workers to see the reality of what is going on, what Daffy is capable of, and how we feel, the more her current therapist tells them that absolutely nothing is wrong with Daffy. Since she is the “professional”, our opinions are quickly dismissed (even when we have produced drawings and documented threats along the way). I am continuing to fight for an accurate diagnosis. I understand that the diagnosis won’t change Daffy, but it may, however, change the opinions of the workers thus allowing us (and Daffy) to finally get the supports we need.

Reader Kate asked, “Has Daffy ever been evaluated for FASD?

Not to my knowledge, but we are in the process of scheduling a full neuro psych evaluation. I’m hopefully that the doctor  will be familiar with many of the common disorders of adopted and foster children (especially those with extended time in group care) and will be on the lookout. According to Daffy’s Adoptive History, her birth mother did not report drinking during pregnancy, but of course there is really no way to know if that is true.

Reader Jackie asked, “Could you bypass the social worker and take her to a private therapist of your choosing who will take this situation seriously?

Yes, I could, and probably will in the not-so-distant future. I’m trying to give a fair shot to the program implemented by the state’s post-adoption unit. They signed us up for a 90 day in-home service plan and just approved continuing the case for another 90 days. Given that the post-adoption unit is paying for this service, I feel like I should definitely try to gain anything from it that I can. However, I don’t have very high expectations after how things have gone in the first 90 days. In addition, I am completely fed up with Daffy’s current therapist and her refusal to look at the reality of the situation and will definitely be making a change to another therapist in the future. I haven’t made any changes yet because I want to wait for the results of the neuro psych exam and see if the current social workers follow through on her suggestion that Daffy participate in TFCBT. I’ve learned that making too many changes at once means it’s not clear what is working (if things improve) or what isn’t working (if things go down hill.) I hate taking things so slowly, but I also want to be thorough.

Reader Cyn asked, “Have you considered calling your local police dept and ask what services they would make available to a family if she were old enough to be charged?

I have not contacted my local police about Daffy yet, mostly because of our experience with the police when Donald lived here. The police were absolutely useless and Donald was more actively violent and volatile at that time than Daffy is now. Donald had far crazier outbursts than Daffy, but at least you knew how he felt (angry) and what to expect (violence). Daffy is far smarter and much more deceptive, manipulative and vengeful (just as we were told by the group home staff before she transitioned here.) She is less likely to directly attack, but far more likely to plot something or hide it. For example, Donald attacked the dog right in front of us, whereas was caught Daffy punching the cat in the head only because of the video monitor we were using at the time (she has since broken it, of course). Living with Donald was terrifying because of how often he attacked, but living with Daffy has it’s own set of challenges because we never know what (or when) to expect something. Does that make sense? Anyway, if someone is seriously injured here, I will definitely push for her to be charged. I think that would be one of very few ways for us to be protected from her in the future and for her to finally get help. We’re already a living example that warning signs are ignored by professionals. It’s no wonder we see such violent crimes being committed by teenagers… no one wants to help until it’s too late. 😦

I’ll be answering more questions soon! If you have a burning question for me, please leave it in the comments and I’ll try to get to it in a future post. :)

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Treatment Team Meeting

I was really dreading the team meeting today after the email I sent last week. It’s hard to participate in a “team” meeting when you don’t really feel like you’re a part of the team.

So, a few things of note from today’s meeting:

  • The post adoption worker is going to request any evaluations from the state records, particularly from the therapist who indicated the RAD diagnosis and another doctor who was noted as saying the same thing in the adoptive history. My guess is that they will never be able to find any of those reports in the numerous boxes scattered throughout the state offices. Besides, how hard are they really going to look when they worked so hard to hide the truth from us to begin with? Anyway, a good part of today’s meeting was spent talking about how those therapists could have been wrong in the first place…. Daffy’s current therapist said she heard that the former therapist “didn’t really like to work with girls” and the post adoption worker said that maybe it was never a diagnosis but just “something said in passing.” Then the current therapist said if anyone knew Daffy’s true self, it would be the staff at the group home, so I piped up about how the staff constantly told us that Daffy was classic RAD, very manipulative, mean and sneaky (we didn’t want to believe it at the time). At that point, the post adoption worker and therapist changed their tune and decided “forget what group home staff said, it was probably THEM who started the RAD innuendoes and pushed for that diagnosis and what do they know anyway?” UGH. You just can’t win when it comes to people who have an agenda.
  • We received our very first copy of the treatment plan and monthly report today. I find that interesting since this was the 90 day meeting and should have been the day we CLOSED the case. Incidentally, we were granted a 90 day extension which will bring us to April.
  • The service provider brought up her desire to do a TFCBT assessment on Daffy and was INSTANTLY shot down by Daffy’s current therapist. The therapist folded her arms and stated that Daffy shows “no signs of trauma.” (What???????) Thankfully the service provider wasn’t deterred and said that reports from home indicate past trauma coming up and she will be moving forward with the assessment. At least for one brief moment during the meeting, it felt like SOMEONE was on our side.
  • The post adoption worker said that our case was recently discussed at the state level, as they periodically do this to gain insight and make suggestions to each other. Clearly I have no say in this matter, or I would have been consulted prior. That said, the post adoption worker told me that 2 of the workers on Donald’s case were also in on the meeting. WTF??? I am completely NOT okay with that. I’m sure there are some confidentiality guidelines that prevent them from specifically going to birth mom with information, but we’re also talking about human beings. People who make mistakes sometimes (or MANY times in the case of the people overseeing Daffy’s case all these years). And not only that, but they are people that have DONALD’s best interest at heart… NOT Daffy’s. Isn’t that how Daffy got into this situation to begin with??? Because no one would ever put HER needs first? Oh…. and in addition to those two workers, a worker that fought to keep the kids together years ago in the case was also in attendance at this meeting. Can you imagine a bigger group of baboons thinking they are going to find a solution to the problem that they themselves created??

Yup, still pretty frustrated here, but trying to hang on to the few things (search for old records, scheduling a neuro psych exam, TBCBT) that might bring about answers or change.

Since I seem to be on a blogging roll, I’m thinking about going back through the recent comments and answering questions that I never got to answer when they were asked. If you have a burning question for me, please leave it in the comments and I’ll try to get to it in a future post. 🙂

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Tired of Excuses

symptoms of radIt feel really good to dump everything out yesterday, as trivial as it might have seemed. Thank you so much for the comments and emails of support. Your support is one of the most validating things as an adoptive mom. I’m sure you know how isolating this can be when all your “non-adoptive friends” want to suggest ways to parent your child by their experience with their “non-adopted children” who do not come with the same baggage.

Anyway, I’m tired of excuses. I stumbled on Daffy’s Adoptive History today which prompted me to write this letter to the post-adoption worker, the social workers currently working with our family and Daffy’s therapist:

Hi all,

I was going through some paperwork when I came across Daffy’s adoptive history and decided to re-read it. If you’re interested in taking a look, I’ve scanned a copy and provided it here for you.

Of particular interest to me is the psychological history as indicated by THERAPIST. This report indicates that he had been doing trauma work (CBT) and working on bonding and attachment issues. Furthermore, it’s noted that of the two children (Donald and Daffy), “Daffy is more concerning because of her Reactive Attachment Disorder and her inability to care about relationships.” Having lived with Donald for 13 days and knowing what he is capable of, this statement truly scares me and at the same time, I also find it very validating. This statement proves, without a doubt, that Tink has had every reason to fear the safety of her baby with Daffy in our home.

My question regarding this information is two fold:

  1. Is there any way for me to get records from or meet with XXXX to determine how he came to this diagnosis?
  2. How is it possible for a child to receive this serious of a diagnosis between 2009-2011 yet be cured of it in 2012?

In addition, I ran across a list of Symptoms of RAD earlier this week on Facebook (see attached screenshot). Other than speech and language problems and brushing off big hurts, EVERY item on this list describes Daffy to a T! I’m not really sure what to do with this information other than confirm to myself that I am not crazy. I’m at the end of my rope with the excuses that are made for Daffy and that she makes for herself. I’m tired of being told that she is “attached” to me. She is NOT. She is manipulative and parrots what she has learned through her placements, extended years at GROUP HOME and extensive therapy over the past 7 years. She has been conditioned to “say the right things,” but it’s clear to me (and my birth children) that she is not genuine.

As an update, Mickey finally heard back this week regarding an appointment for a neuro psych exam for Daffy. He has called back a couple times and left voicemails but hasn’t heard back again. At least we are one step closer than we were before on that count.

I thought I would send this ahead of our team meeting next week so you would all have a chance to give some thought to this. I am just as committed now as I was 90 days ago to making things more livable in my family, but I feel like putting our heads in the sand about the seriousness of Daffy’s psychological problems is not helping her or anyone else.

So, yeah. That’s what I sent. I can’t imagine it will be well received.  Daffy’s therapist is the one who removed her Reactive Attachment Disorder diagnosis, so I can’t image she will be happy to have her opinion called into question. Oh-freakin-well. I’m tired of riding the crazy train and not getting the support our family needs because they don’t want to look at the reality of the situation.

We have a team meeting next week… I can imagine that will be loads of fun! 😉

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The Missing Social Studies Book & What Happened To The Baby?

The Missing Social Studies Book

The last few months I have posted only general updates. Last night it occurred to me that I am missing a critical factor by not blogging on a more regular basis and with details: DOCUMENTATION. I know how important documentation is. I’ve used the information I’ve documented on my blog numerous times as reference for dates and events. It’s time for me to push through the fact it’s uncomfortable and blog more frequently.

On, that note, the ongoing minor drama of the week is The Missing Social Studies Book! Daffy’s teacher emailed me Monday and said that we need to pay $80+ for the book. She said that Daffy had searched the school and couldn’t locate it and asked that we look at home. First of all, Daffy NEVER mentioned any missing book. I have no idea how long it’s been missing. Second, when I asked Daffy about it and said she should spend time looking, she said she had already looked at home but that she needed to check at school. I confronted her with the fact that contradicted what her teacher said and of course she shut down. Per usual. I’ve emailed the teacher about the book and indicated that I DO NOT want a new book issued. I do NOT have the money to be replacing books that Daffy loses. I have yet to hear back from the teacher and Daffy doesn’t seem to be spending any time looking. This doesn’t seem to bother Mickey at all. Maybe he has hidden money that I don’t know about.

I’m sure you are really here, though, to find out what happened to the baby? So last night a friend of mine came over. She comes over on a fairly regular basis and usually brings her littlest one, who is now 18 months. We hang out in the game room and her son usually is in the same area, sometimes going into the dining room which is up 2 steps from the game room. All of us (myself, Mickey, my friend, Tink, Tink’s friend and 9 month old baby and the 18 month old) were in the game room last night, except Daffy. She was in the dining room. The 18 month old wondered over and went into the dining room. Since my friend had already put up the dog bowls, there really wasn’t a lot of concern. Suddenly, there was an ear piercing scream. There was a split second where everyone froze and then my friend raced around the corner into the dining room. She found Daffy standing calmly next to the 18 month old. Daffy matter-of-factly stated “His fingers are jammed in the drawer.” My friend had to pry the drawer back open to get her son’s fingers out (which were already badly bruised) and scooped him up and brought him into the game room.

She walked in to dead silence. I think everyone had realized at the same time the likelihood of what Daffy had just done. Well, everyone except Mickey of course. He maintains that she was “emptying the trash” around another corner and into the kitchen. Since there is a window into the kitchen from the game room, I could clearly see that Daffy was NOT emptying the trash. Then Mickey decided that maybe Daffy WASN’T emptying the trash, but that she had been there but was totally calm because she didn’t know what to do. Ok, Mickey, smoke another one. No matter what Daffy’s behaviors, either she, Mickey or her therapist have an excuse to explain it away. It kind of reminds me when my mother was sick and not yet diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. She would say that the muscle weakness was from one thing and the cough from another and other symptoms from other things. As a nurse, she did not want to admit that all her symptoms together would ultimately diagnose her with a a fatal illness that would kill her in two year’s time. I think that Mickey and the therapist are in that same denial. If they excuse away each behavior (drawings, threats, suicidal and homicidal thoughts, etc) they don’t have to look at the reality of the problem we have on our hands and the fact that our mental health system is not equipped to help her.

WE NEED HELP. 

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Ten Things I Wish I Knew Before We Started The Foster Adoption Process

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings
Ten Things I Wish I Knew Before We Started The Foster Adoption Process:

  1. Wendy’s Wonderful Kids are some of the toughest and hardest to place kids in the country.
    There is a reason they are chosen among all foster children to receive these additional resources/supports. The trauma and loss these kids have endured are immense and NOT for the faint of heart.
  2. Adoption profiles are deceitful.
    When Donald’s profile said “he has struggled with managing his emotions“, it really meant he would physically assault our family and pets. When the adoption listing said “energetic siblings“, it really meant they both have ADHD. I wish we better understood social work lingo and had viewed their profile with more realistic eyes.
  3. Adoptive Histories from the state are not complete.
    In fact, ours would purposely leave out many important pieces of information including sexual abuse allegations and a history of abuse to animals. I wish we had taken more time to research the case files from the past 10 years. I wish we had asked more questions. Most of all, I wish I had had enough courage to call the state out on their part in why the kids have been in the system so long instead of letting them glaze over that in the adoptive history.
  4. Reactive Attachment Disorder can not be “overcome” with love.
    RAD is not like depression or anxiety. RAD can not be cured. Research, research, research. Read books. Read blogs. Talk to other parents with children diagnosed with RAD. Ask questions. This is a life changing diagnosis, not just for the child, but for the entire family.
  5. Different workers will produce different resultsDo not be scared of change.
    History does not have to repeat itself if the right people are working the case. I wish I had spent less time worrying about the changes that were out of my control and more time working to make a quicker transition.
  6. Concurrent planning is extremely important.
    These plans are not a reflection on parents or their abilities. They do not mean that a placement will fail, but they provide a safety net that will save precious time in a child’s young life should things not go as planned. I wish I had pushed harder for a concurrent plan for Donald.
  7. Terminated Parental Rights do not mean that the kids will not have contact with their birth family.
    Things are always subject to change. Be open to this, always keeping in mind the best interest of the child.
  8. Documentation will be a valuable asset.
    Set up a system ahead of time that works to chart appointments and results, phone calls, daily notes, etc.
  9. Siblings do not always belong together.
    Enough said.
  10. Most of all, I wish I knew that this process would be the single most challenging of my life with the greatest reward at the end!
    Despite the challenges, I have to trust that we got to this very moment because this is where we are meant to be. Our family has been forever changed for the better withDaffy & Donald in our lives and for that, I will always be grateful.

This post is linked to Top Ten {Tuesday}.

Why I Hate Donald’s Clinician

I love our team, I really do. Everyone except for the Clinician/Case Manager at Donald’s Residential Treatment Center. Every time I receive an email from her, I am hopeful for a glimpse of reality, and every time I read said email, I find that my skin crawls and I bristle at how little she understands this situation.

How can someone working at a Residential Treatment Center not understand Reactive Attachment Disorder? I simply don’t understand.  Donald is not that crafty. He is not that manipulative. And yet, somehow, she believes that he is bonded and attached to us. After living with us for 13 days! Daffy’s therapist talks about how she is “attaching nicely” but would NEVER go so far as to say she is attached and she has been IN OUR HOME for more than 4 months! How can this woman believe that a child who couldn’t care less whether we live or die is actually “attached”???

She takes every opportunity to mention this to us, as if hearing it enough will make us believe it. We don’t. Nor so the social workers on our case. She is totally blind to Donald’s needs.

Below is an email, in part, that I sent to our caseworker regarding this clinician:

I just wanted to address some of CLINICIAN’s comments directly with you. I am confused by her comment about the TF-CBT work. At the last team meeting CLINICIAN stated that she did not know who at RTC did such work but said she would research that. She is now stating that she will be doing that work. Furthermore, she indicates that she does not know if he will get that work while at RTC. I was under the impression that is EXACTLY the work that needed to be done before DONALD would be ready to live safely in a family.

I am also shocked to read that DONALD said he is “not the same” as when he lived  with the former pre-adoptive family. After speaking with JESSIE, I felt like I was in a time warp and that he is EXACTLY the same as when he was with them, that he has literally made zero progress in 3 years. She indicates that DAFFY “used to” be afraid of him. I feel it needs to be clarified that she is CURRENTLY afraid of him. This has been indicated by DONALD’s own conversations with XXX during his most recent stay at GRPOUP HOME, by DAFFY’s therapist, and by DAFFY herself in the things she has written to the team and things she has indicated to our family.

While I am happy to hear CLINICIAN’s reports of DONALD remaining on level, I do not feel that his ability to function at RTC in ANY way indicates an ability to function within a family setting because of his Reactive Attachment Disorder and the trauma bond with his sister. I feel emails like the one below indicate a push to move him back into our family rather than take the time that DONALD needs to truly deal with his trauma and manage his mental illness. CLINICIAN’s statements give me the impression that RTC does not truly understand the dangerous situation we were in with DONALD in our home, that they are not aware of DONALD’s extensive history and that they do not understand the serious work that needs to be done with with him.

Clearly, our next treatment team meeting will be quite interesting.

Expect The Unexpected (The post about the letter)

Today was the big day… the day Daffy received the long awaited letter back from her biological Mom… their first contact in 3 years. Daffy responded so emotionally to receiving a photo of her birth mom from her Fairy Godmother that I was sure that today would overwhelm her. I was wrong.

This morning we met with our social worker before Daffy’s therapy appointment. Daffy was her usual fidgety self, but nothing out of the ordinary. We arrived at therapy and I went in first so I could sum up the week and review the letter with her therapist. I could not ask for a more appropriate letter. Her birth Mom answered all her questions and provided many subtle clues that it was okay for Daffy to move on, including that she was happy Daffy was safe & in a new family and that she wants to meet us. She even signed the letter with her first name.

Daffy came into the office to join us. As she slowly read the letter, she smiled a few times. She commented that her birth mom said she no longer had the family cat from years ago. And then she folded the letter, put it back in the envelope and was ready to know what was next. Next she was given  3 cards that we recently found in the files at the state office. Her therapist explained that someone in the past made a poor decision by not passing on the cards at the time they were received and that the current team was correcting that by giving them to her now. She further explained that clearly her birth mother had thought of her over the past 3 years. The cards included birthday and holiday cards with notes written inside. Daffy read each one, again with little response, other than to note that her mother must have remembered her birth date. Her therapist asked her how she felt about finally hearing from her birth mom and she replied with short answers like “happy.” Oddly, she barely even commented on the fact that her birth mom had included a picture with the letter!

I know that she must have been feeling a thousand feelings on the inside, but one of Daffy’s issues is that she does NOT like to show emotion, particularly sadness or crying. As emotional things have come up, Daffy often asks if I cried or will cry about them. She is almost to the point of obsessed. Unfortunately for Daffy, I am much like her in that way. I *hate* crying. I feel like its a sign of my weakness when I cry, so I avoid it all costs and feel very embarrassed if others see me cry for any reason. This is something I am definitely going to have to work on so that I can help Daffy deal with her strong emotions.

This afternoon our case worker came for her monthly visit. She asked Daffy about her experience receiving the letter this morning. Daffy was happy to get the letter and show it to her, but again, quickly moved on to other subjects.

Had this happened in January, I would easily have attributed this to her diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder. At this point, though, her therapist disputes that diagnosis and seeing her in our home (& with our family) and how she recently reacted to reconnecting with her former foster (pre-adoptive) family, I don’t think that is the case. I think she is fully capable of attaching and I am wondering if she is simply not attached to her biological mother.

I am definitely ending this day in a much different place than I expected. I guess thats the name of the game in foster care.

Expect the unexpected.

Memories of Pain

There was a time when I worked out of the home and I looked forward to the weekends. That time has passed. At this point in my life, every day blends into the next. In fact, rather than have relaxing weekends, they are now filled with stress as this is usually the time that we visit Donald. I have zero poker face. From the time I wake up on visit days, I feel physically sick and am completely grouchy. I find myself being short with Mickey and the kids and snapping at them when I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t seem to control it. The feelings of fear are so deep rooted in me that they overwhelm me.

Yesterday, we headed to see Donald for an event at his RTC. I was filled with dread the entire way. The hour drive gave me plenty of time to think about the situation. In my mind, I compared this process to that of giving birth. During labor, the pain is no intense you swear will never do it again. As time goes on, the memory of the intense pain fades allowing you to once again become pregnant  knowing you will survive birth. The ends justifies the means. My mother told me before I gave birth to my first child that if she could do it for me, she would. This gave me so much peace because I knew that if she was willing to endure the pain for me  that it must be “survivable”.

I hope hoped that the “pain” of those 13 days with Donald in our care would fade. I hoped that I would begin to see him for the hurt child that he is and begin to feel ready to once again parent him. I hoped that we would see glimpses of improvement. That hasn’t happened. I feel just as raw and terrified today as the day he left more than 3 months ago. In many ways, I feel worse. I feel guilty for not loving him. I feel sad that we were not enough. I feel angry that the state believes that his sister should be doomed to live her life by his side  in her own hell and fear. I feel frustrated that no one has been able to help him. I feel alone in this place of  potential “disruption”… a place that no family ever wants to find themselves.

I am struggling right now. There is a part of me that wants to give it more time, to let the treatment center do their job to prepare him to live in a family..to let nature take its course and see where things go. But there is another part of me (the more sensible one?) that says he has been in foster care for nearly 8 years, he has been in therapy that entire time, he has done 2 long terms stays at a psychiatric facility, he has been in residential care 3 of those 8 years and he is no closer to being ready to live safely in a family than he was in the past 13 placements… the past 13 families that found themselves living in fear… the past 13 families that weren’t enough. Do I throw in the towel? Do I encourage the team to look at the concurrent  plan for him and consider other families knowing that this may end in disruption? Am I doing him a diservice by continuing to “try” when things look so dismal? And if so, what will this mean for Daffy? Is she destined to be chained to him? Is it in her best interest to continue to move from placement to placement never really attaching to anyone?

I am living this in “real time”, I have no crystal ball, I have no “right” answers… I am doing the best that I can… for Daffy, for  Donald and for my biological children. I have no idea what the future holds. The only thing I am certain is that it will contain more pain no matter how things finally end.