OB: Fear = Freeze

The following post was from a little over two years ago.  A post on a group reminded me of it.  That and I’ve been going NUTS with this child’s “staring” rather than answering when I speak to him. I really wish I was as empathetic as I used to be.  I’m working on it.  I saw a few other posts when looking for this one.  Maybe I can get back to being more gracious.

A week ago, we had a situation come up that really helped me see how solidly T-lo is operating in a state of fear rather than actually being *here* sometimes.  All the other kids had gotten down from the table. T-lo was playing with his second piece of broccoli.  He had eaten the top off the first piece.  It had been 20-30 minutes.  This is something we struggle with not stressing about due to his growth issues.

I turned his chair to help him down (we have one of those bar height tables AND he has a booster seat).  I picked him up and told him “I love you. No matter what happens I love you. I. Love. You.”   He looked terrified.  I asked him what I had said sure he couldn’t have heard me or he would seem so scared.  He said, “get down from the table.” I tried again and he replied, “eat.” I tried one more time and he went back to his first answer. The child was so terrified when I picked him up, that he could only guess what I had said.

I hugged him tightly and a few moments later repeated what I had really said. This time he heard me. “I love you too, Mama.”

So that was quite an education.  A lot of times he seems to blank out, zone out, just not be there when we say something to him.  Or he’ll start crying though what is being said or done is not cry worthy (sometimes, quite the opposite).  It’s like he’s responding to something else.

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CPS Hurts Children (Do They Care?)

Less than two hours ago, I got an email from the children’s caseworker.  It basically said that it was determined to be in the childen’s best interest to move to fictive kin.  Uh, duh.  You already made that decision despite the ongoing concerns.  Anyway, it goes on to say that the children will leave for their visit tomorrow and just never come back.  Uh, wait.  Say what?

I actually suggested such a thing and the therapist agreed.  However, to give me less than 24 hours notice?  I’ve loved these children as my own for the past five months!  You don’t have therapies set up.  You don’t have daycare solidified.  The kids didn’t get the chance to have time to process that that is what was going to happen and understand it. NOTHING.

I called the emergency number for the agency.  Otherwise, our worker and the intake worker, neither, would have known until tomorrow morning at earliest.  I vented.  Part of the email from the caseworker was talking about how wonderful I am and how much I had done to help the children (who have gained at least double the months developmentally than they’ve even been here).  Yeah, blow smoke up someone else’s booty!  If you respected my family or me or my children (bio, adopted or foster) at all, you would have given us a proper notice!

So what I would have done had I been given the chance:

  • Let Ace pick out supper
  • Buy cake and ice cream for a going away party
  • Talked to the boys about going over there and that this time they wouldn’t come back
  • Had the boys help me pack their things
  • Done something fun with them before they left
  • Done their paperwork correctly
  • I would have let my children say goodbyes in their own ways (drawing pictures, talking to the therapist, buying gifts, whatever they wanted or needed to do).

I absolutely hate CPS.  Not one single thing they do after removing the children from their birth families has ANYTHING to do with their best interests.  It has been THREE MONTHS that fictive kin has been in the picture and you couldn’t give us even 24 hours notice?  Seriously?  RIDICULOUS!

And this on top of another email from the fictive kin who took Monkey.  Another email about how well she’s doing while outlining how hurt she is attachment wise and emotionally.  Never taking responsibility for that.  Now, I know that Monkey’s biological parents are what CAUSED the wheels of motion in her situation.  I know that meth didn’t help.  But that little girl had what amounted to a sprain when she was here.  Now she’s an amputee, why?  Because CPS is ridiculous and will not even consider the best interests of the child.  And because a selfish, prideful, and naive couple who wanted another child didn’t care how much they hurt the child to get her.  And who pays the consequence?  Monkey.  Great job CPS.

And thanks CPS for treating us like dog poop too.  We are just people taking “placements” huh?  We are just “beds,” huh?  Tough on us if we or our children get attached to the people we care for day in and day out, huh?  Tough on us if your plans don’t fit in with our needs or schedule.  Too bad you chose to be the dirt of this operation, foster home.  As long as you keep the soap and medication locked up and the potatoes off the pantry floor, we don’t give a hoot about you.  You’re nothing and you’ll deal with that fact or else.

I really don’t care as much about that though, at least in how it pertains to me.  I have a lot harder time when I hear the pain in my daughter’s voice or all my boys go nuts within seconds of hearing the news.  But what really gets me is how much the children are hurt by some short-sighted people in a system that doesn’t care at all about what would be helpful, much less best, for the children.  Young children at the mercy of a system that causes just as much, often worse, harm as the families they came from.

And then, what about me?  Am I just part of the problem by being part of the system?

Is what I give them on a day to day basis REALLY so much better for them than the abandonment they feel when CPS rips them away?  Do the children feel we’ve lied to them as we tell them we love them, that they are safe, that we’ll help them?  Does what we give them help them trust and grow or does being ripped away from what we give them cause them to never trust even the nicest, most helpful people?

What good am I as a mom when I cannot protect my children?

I talked to Ace tonight.  I told him about going to his “other mom and dad” (as he’s been calling them).  We talked about their children M and J.  We talked about their dogs, D and D.  We talked about his room and scooter.  We talked about his Aunt who lives closeby.  We talked about how we love him and will miss him and will pray for him each and every night.

I’ll try to talk to the kids a little more tomorrow.  And hope it is enough to counter CPS’s stupid plan.

ETA:  I do not disagree that these children may do well to go with this other family.  There are some real concerns; but I think it could be a good placement.  I have spent the last few weeks fully supporting this new family that is forming.  I have a problem with them changing the plan on a dime in a way that isn’t best for the children.

That is it!

Okay, this is not the post for today because I have too many I want to write this week; so this is a bonus from yesterday rather than a new one for today.  Okay?

And you may get further if you read yesterday’s first.

Okay, a woman just wrote that she had lost a baby years ago and that she worried something awful about her.  And that now she feels peace, that the child has just what she needs with the family she is now with six years later.

And it hit me that this is exactly why I do not have peace!   I simply do not trust the people who have my baby to do what is right by her.  How could I?  They already have proven they won’t put her needs ahead of all else!

BTW, this is just the opposite of what happened with my three.  The aunt and grandmother for my three could have fought for the children.  They likely would have won as the “concerns” were not legally significant.  But they saw how much they were loved and cared for.  They saw that they were getting their developmental needs met.  They saw that they were getting the opportunity to live life.  They saw that we were willing to do WHATEVER to help them emotionally, mentally, socially.  They saw that we valued education. They saw they looked healthier.  They were happy they were doing so well.

So they backed out and let us be a family.  It was so incredibly hard for them.  But we had already given the children so much and could give them forever.  And they put the children’s needs rather than some idea of “blood” and “they’re mine” and selfish desires in the forefront of their thinking.

These people were much further removed than my three’s aunt and grandmother.  They also had never met her before, much less had a relationship with her.  They didn’t even have a relationship with her biomom.  And when they heard what all we had done, nothing.  When they saw how much we adored her, nothing.  When they knew how much it would hurt her, nothing.  Nothing was going to deter them from getting this freebie daughter no matter what it did to HER in the process.

On top of that, they are doing things known to exasperate attachment issues though they were warned ahead of time that those things were problematic.  Though they were asked to learn more about attachment.  Though they went through classes that at least touched on attachment issues.  Though they had spoken with the bio-grandmother who had raised Sweet Little M’s mom who had attachment disorder (adopted as an older child).  But they still just do whatever they want to do rather than what is best for M.

So how am I supposed to trust them?  They’ve proven over and over and over for the last year that none of this is about M.

I will say that I do have the slightest amount of hope through all my fears (and there are even more than listed on my blog so far).  I know that their love for her grew over the 14 months they waited to get her in their home.  And no doubt, some of that has grown even more in the 5 months they’ve had her with them. Also, they DO seem like good people in general from everything I can tell.  I even LIKED them as we were texting, skyping, visiting, etc.  So my hope is that their love outweighs their imperfection at some point and they really DO help my sweet baby heal and thrive.

But based on their track record, I cannot trust them to do it so I get no peace about it now.

Oh, except one thing.  As I struggle with all this, I have my faith in God.  I don’t believe like so many others want to that God is controlling and perpetrating all these bad things on people.  However, I do believe that he can work with and fix anything we mere humans throw at him!

Just do it; we’ll figure out the consequences later

There once was a beautiful child with her whole life ahead of her.  She was full of life, quick to smile, made her family laugh, did amazing things, was bright and fun.  She was just about perfect, at least to her mother who loved her so incredibly much, she felt words could never even begin to describe it.

She had one flaw.  When she was a baby, her got a teeny cut on her finger.  Mom put some neosporin on it, put a bandaid on it, and watched it carefully, ready to do more if necessary.  Well, it healed a little funny so Mom talked to her doctor about what could be done about it.  Basically, she was told, time and caring for it daily would help in time, protect it from injury.  So that is what Mom did.

However, a storm was brewing in this little girl’s life.  One day, the little girl was whisked away across the country to a new family for reasons and in ways that were a complete injustice to the child and her family.  The family, thinking about themselves and not the little girl, decided they didn’t care for the tiny cut on her finger and just cut the child’s hand off altogether.  They took it upon themselves and refused much in the way out outside help for it.  The little girl suffered so badly.  The people would tell her family that the little girl was doing well, but pictures showed her very ill, in pain, sad, and confused.  The bandage on her arm was bright red, having bled through despite the people trying to hide it with various dressings, long sleeves, etc.

Several months later, the people make contact again.  This time they say that the little girl is doing wonderfully, but they have decided to go to the children’s hospital to see if anything can be done about the little girl’s arm as it is still giving her fits, bleeding, hurting, and they are concerned the damage is really bad.  But not to worry, they read another book and started doing the dressings a different way so hopefully that will help between now and the visit to the hospital.

The little girl’s mother is just devastated.  It has been so painful to have her child taken; but more than anything, the mother has worried about the child.  She knew the original cut hurt a little and needed treatment.  SHe was trying so hard to help the child.  Maybe that little scar would have caused the slightest problem (noticeable, might be tighter while playing violin, etc). But these people just chop off the child’s hand with no consideration of the consequences.  And then they want a pat on the back for finally taking her to the doctor? The little girl has to deal with the consequences of these people’s action forever.

The above story is how I’ve tried to explain the situation that has happened to my Sweet Little M and the end is what happened today.  If the people who have Sweet LIttle M see this, I’m sorry that they may not like being seen as a kidnapper who maimed a little girl.  But that is exactly how I see it.

Sweet Little M was the most beautiful baby, full of life.  She was a “little high strung” according to the doctor.  She had a bit odd development for various reasons.  She had several homes in her first year, landing with us just before turning 9 months old.  In time, with a lot of love and time and help, she was thriving.  Her “little cut” that was taking it’s time healing was attachment though.  See, people think babies can handle anything we throw at them from drugs to neglect to multiple caregivers.  But that pre-verbal stuff is pretty tough on them.  But she was coming along really well.

In a short time, her lawyer suggested we talk to our lawyer about intervening on her behalf.  I hoped she would advocate for her client, the baby, also.  And I let my agency, her caseworker, and the supervisor know my concerns also.  And things just kept going, nothing happening.  Maybe it was going to turn out alright.  The doctor wrote a letter.  Someone suggested a bonding assessment and psych eval even though she was so little (not yet two at this point).  The caseworker wouldn’t sign off on it.  There is question whether people this removed are really even fictive kin (and btw, their state doesn’t recognize fictive kin).

The lady told me they wanted her.  Who wouldn’t?!? She said that they would help her through this huge change in her life.  Why not just not hurt her in the first place?!

Through all this, I’ve been devastated for my loss; but more than anything, I’ve been worried about Sweet Little M.  Can you imagine the confusion when you don’t go back to your family?  The pain she can’t articulate of being abandoned?  the fear of being in all new surroundings with strangers?  the confusion of being passed around to multiple caregivers during the week?  The fear if you’ll be abandoned again?  what she may think when they are frustrated with her behavior? I’m so angry that the people involved (caseworker, lawyer, CASA, people she now lives with, etc) did this to her, put her in this position!

I thought about this earlier.  Basically, we had two mothers fighting for a baby.  Being the bigger person, I said, “no, please don’t cut her in half!”  I went above and beyond to help her.  I looked at pictures of these people.  I skyped with them.  I sent texts and emails.  I told them her little routines.  I tried to make it as easy on my baby as possible because THAT is what a MOTHER does.  But instead of being in front of King Solomon who would have granted me the child for putting the child’s needs above all else, we had CPS.  CPS who granted her to people who simply thought about what THEY wanted, another daughter, no matter the cost.

And now what?  They want kudos for getting help for her?  For the hurt they could have prevented?

My hubby asked, “how can they sleep at night having done this to her?”

That’s easy.   They won’t take responsibility. It would take a mighty big person to take responsibility for hurting her they way they have.  Instead, they’ll blame the biomom, neglect, the fact she had multiple homes, the fact that it took so long to get her to them.  All those things, no doubt, play a role.  But the biggest injustice of Sweet LIttle M’s life was being taken from the only home she remembered, the one where she was thriving with those she considered her Mom and Dad and siblings, where she had spent the majority of her little life.

We hope she can heal from this in time.  We hope she ends up healthy and happy.  We hope she learns the peace only God can give.

Update on Sweet Little M

So this has been a particularly bad week for me.  I have been so worried and upset, downright depressed.  I miss my baby and fear for her being okay with every ounce of my being.

Raising kids with attachment issues, that isn’t going to go away.  I know how this works.  Plainly, my kids are beautiful and awesome and fun and wonderful; but not everything is as great as it can look when you’re posting about an accomplishment or a trip or whatever.  With one child these days, much of the day is absolutely awful; but I can still get a handful of good picture regularly also.  No doubt Sweet Little M’s grandparents have nice pictures of their daughter, M’s biomom, also, despite that she had and still has severe issues.

BUT, up until last night, I didn’t have a great picture of Sweet Little M in her new family.  The pictures were cute; but in none of them, did her personality show through.  None of them had HER smile.

Thankfully, last night, that changed.  Several pictures with her enjoying the activity she was doing were sent along with a very basic update.

I don’t know that anyone could understand what these mean to me.  Though I will always be angry and worried for Sweet Little M, I need to know that she is at least EVER okay.  I’m assuming that these people are sending me some of the best pictures they have of her.  Why would you not especially if you’re trying to convince someone that all is okay?  So by them sending pictures of her “just there” or whatever, I just worried so incredibly much.  So whether her smile is just because she was doing something cool or is because her personality is showing through much of the time, I may not know; but her being ABLE to smile big or make a silly face is very important, imo.

Never will I be okay with what the system or these people (who, again, I generally think are great people) did to her.  Sweet Little M has been through way too much in her little life; and THIS shouldn’t have happened to her even if it does work out okay for her.

But for today, I’m going to be thankful she has at least some good times.

OB (Aug 2012): It’s so easy

This seemed like a good blog entry to repost today.  Two of my kids have jumped off the deep end.  At the same time, I’m so amazed by them all the time!  It is the weirdest thing to reconcile in my head sometimes.

It’s so easy….

to be negative sometimes.  I worry about my children, their trauma, their attachment SO MUCH.  But I want to be sure not to miss all the positive!  They have grown so incredibly much!  So often, it is things we just forget or were slow in progressing that we remember.

I remember, for example, having a talk with one’s teacher at one point last year.  It hit us both that the child hadn’t been thumb sucking in a while.

And I remember the first week the one let me sleep through the night (not that *I* slept through the night.  I kept hearing “nee-nee” (the sound of the alarm) in my head.  The kids teased me endlessly about that.

And when the one stopped puking?!?!  THAT was big!

What about how one had only vowels when he got here, almost NO consonants AT ALL! For that matter, we didn’t understand ANY of them at all at first.

Oh, and I have to post the audio one day of one little.  We were at a restaurant and a creature was made out of a napkin. Kiddo was so upset about leaving the monster that we enlisted the waitress’ help to give the monster a new home.  The napkin monster was put in a cave with others like himself :)  The child’s sweet little voice!  I never want to lose that audio!

I really wish I had taped more of all of them.  Some of the grammar and accent and articulation mistakes were so cute.  I wish some of them hadn’t irritated me so much.  They were gone so quickly.

And the fits the one child used to throw were ADORABLE and heart-breaking.  Kiddo just was a scared, sad and angry. Why wasn’t I more understanding?  Or maybe the fits were needed. And they gave me insight into what my dear child was thinking.  I wasn’t the “real” mom.   They’d never say that now.  Then the fits went to pure anger, screaming, freaking out.  But it was what was needed then too.  I can’t picture this child doing it now.  But did I notice when they ended?

The one that got me was the fit recently (note:  in Aug 2012) thrown by another one though.  20 minutes of all out SCREAMING.  I (well, and two other kids) just were THERE.  No one tried to stop it.  That child had NEVER done anything of the sort.  Maybe it was finally *safe* to?  Maybe it was a test?  I don’t know.  I do know that it was handled well.

There are neat things from all sorts of areas where they have learned so much.  Learning academics and eating like humans at the table. Two have been without training wheels for months and the third is ready (third has learned). They need reminders but keep up their rooms and ask for chores.  Two can shower almost independently.

The sweet kids shine through.

You know…we may still have PLENTY to work on.  But in 15 months (now 24), they really grew by leaps and bounds.  They probably were capable of more if I hadn’t messed up so much.  But it is a learning process for ALL of us.  We can all grow together :)

Yes, though they drive me batty sometimes and we go through these spurts of craziness, my children are absolutely awesome, progressing so incredibly much.  They amaze me daily.  I am so blessed even on a tough day.

OB: “They Seem Normal to Me”

The below is another repost.  I hope it is helpful for someone.  Please know some of us understand, at least a little.

NOTE: A couple of my kids have attachment disorders,  not RAD (reactive attachment disorder).  ETA: This has changed and RAD is a diagnosis here.  However, I think this is an important topic (and I hope I don’t mess it up royally!).

There is one sign of attachment disorders I wish everyone knew:  Parents may seem hostile and angry (at times, regularly, often, etc).  The parents seem to be pulling their hair out, lamenting over their children’s behavior; but all the rest of the world sees are cute, sweet, easy, well-behaved children.  Please believe the mom!

I have an example for you.

For the past several years, I’ve known this family.  A lovely woman who took in a family member’s extremely neglected and abused children.  The children dressed extremely conservatively, demure.  They were very understated in their appearance and mannerisms.  They were very sweet, mild-mannered, quiet, etc.  They attended all events and played with the other kids.  They seemed to love their mom, weren’t inappropriate with their affection, didn’t seem to mommy-shop, etc.

I had heard that they had some troubles.  Really, maybe mom was just expecting too much.  Maybe she was being too strict with her kids as they were getting older (preteens and teens).  Maybe the kids had gotten in a bad crowd so were trying some stuff out.  But mostly, they still seemed just fine. Remember, I saw them regularly.

Mom didn’t complain a lot, but she did seem frustrated.  VERY frustrated.

Well, stuff has happened and the girls are no longer around.  Sadly, they’ve chosen a horrible life, are out on the street, are both currently pregnant (at the time this post was originally written).  They are halfway across the country.

So I’m talking to mom yesterday.  She kept it brief; but what she went through with these girls was awful.  As you read through the diagnoses, a picture slowly starts to form.  They had a ton of diagnoses: RAD (reactive attachment disorder), IED (intermittent explosive disorder), ADHD, ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).  Other than adhd, those are some pretty hefty diagnoses.  And the diagnoses give you a GLIMPSE of what her life must have been like with these two children in her home.

I do want to say that though her anger, frustration, and fear were very evident, her sadness and love came through clearly also as we talked.

If you know a worried or frustrated foster or adoptive mom of charming children, please know that you see only what the children want you to see.  They can hold it together pretty well, “honeymoon” for you; but mom pays the price for that sweetness when she gets home.  She gets the rages, the tears, the poop, the urine everywhere, the hurting people, the masturbation, the threats, the being pushed away.  SHE gets all the child’s anger, sadness, and FEAR.

I wish I could explain this better.