Wednesday, June 29, 2011

stroke of brilliance

Tonight I had to take one of my littles to gymnastics. When we got home and rounded the corner I saw the Big Kid in the front yard in his underwear. This is typical. When he runs out of the house, 80% of the time he is in his underwear. As soon as he saw me, he ran inside and straight out into the back yard. When I got out back, he was wielding a stick of bamboo trying to hit at me. I took it away easily. He began hollering that he didn't to live here and he wanted to "get away from you people!"

I said, "Ok, let's go." I held his arm and walked him through the house back out the front door. He was yelling the whole time "Dad, save me. She's kicking me out!" and "I hate you!". I marched him out the door and straight to the car.

He asked where we were going. I said, "You said you wanted to leave so I am giving you a ride." I drove to a fairly nearby, desolate looking industrial area. I stopped the car and turned it off. He asked what I was doing. I said, "Looking for a place for you to stay. This looks pretty good. No fridge, no tv, but there are some cages over there you can sleep in if mean dogs or wild animals find you in the night." He bowed his head and stayed buckled. (I kindof worried he would call my bluff, but I held firm)

He asked if I was kicking him out. I said "No, I love you. You are the one that wants to leave. I thought I would help." We sat in silence for a good 5 minutes. I asked him if he wanted to get out or come home. He simply said, "I can't decide." He kept saying, "Would you miss me?" I answered "Of course, but we are down with you threatening to run away and saying you don't want to live with your family!" We sat for another 2 or 3 minutes. He said he "couldn't figure out what he wanted to do" so I told him we could keep looking. I found another place down the road.

I told him that this drainage tube looked fairly inviting. I said, "I don't think there will be too many raccoons in there. And hey look, there is a tarp over by that building you can use for a blanket." He refused to move. I went around to his side of the car and asked him to get out and look at his new place to live. He refused. I crouched down beside the car and told him that I would prefer he stayed in the house where he was safe, but if this was what he wanted I understood. I told him it was time to make a decision. He said, "I want to go home."

I asked, "Why?" He answered, his bed, his blanket, tv, food and a place to keep him safe. It took me several prompts to get him to say "the people". Sad. All of those things were way more important than his family. That speaks volumes to me.

On the way home we saw some cute girls sitting in the grass. I asked him if he wanted to get out and show the girls his underwear. I am that bad!

Now he is home and I have to endure him telling me he loves me 5920 times tonight. Lord have mercy.

(I told him that we were taking pictures of his two choices so that he could remember what his options were)


When my son came to live with us he had many, many diagnosis. Reactive Attachment Disorder was one that floated in and out depending on the mood of the therapist (who was a joke!). I always knew there were some attachment issues. I have no idea if he would technically be considered RAD right now, but I have no doubt that what I am dealing with is attachment related. Here are his best tricks:

He has no issue hurting others. Sometimes, for the most part, it is simply a case of impulse control and poor understanding of cause and effect. I like to tell myself this. I can see the delight he gets from hurting things on his face sometimes. I am not sure if this is increasing in frequency or I am just better at seeing it. He typically saves the really mean, dangerous stuff for the animals, but I can see slight things aimed at the littles now. He has really no remorse. If he shows concern it is because he got caught, not because he is sad her hurt someone else. He has killed baby chickens and pet fish. We think he caused the death of two cockatiels and he recently tried to kill our dogs and attempts to hurt them (and the cat) DAILY. It is a miracle he has not been bitten.

Love and Hate. I think he does love us. But I think that to him love is fluid. I think he loves and not loves us numerous times a day. It is not an all consuming, unconditional love. He loves us when he wants something, and hates us when he doesn't get his way. He is constantly saying, "You hate me. I should've said no when they asked if I wanted you to adopt me." or he asks to go live in jail or the hospital because we are not nice. He has no issue separating from us and thinks everyone he meets is his new best friend adult and child alike.

Desire to please. I think this is similar to love for him. He desires to please us when he thinks he will receive something for his efforts. He could care less about pleasing when he is not receiving a reward in his mind. He is unable to make himself do something he knows is right when he is in a particular foul mood. Sometimes he is physically unable to even agree with something as basic as "Can you see me?" when he wants to be defiant.

Inability to make a decision. He is completely unable to make a decision sometimes. He will ask for a certain food and once he is given it he will no longer want it. If you go to take it away he will holler that he is starving and he wants the food. Immediately after it is put in front of him he will say, "I said I didn't want that stupid food." We could do this for hours. It is though he wants to argue and push other's buttons. I understand he feels these conflicts internally, but it is difficult to deal with it. If it frustrates me, he wins.

If he thinks no one is looking he is absolutely unable to do the right thing. He cannot and will not control any behavior he knows is wrong if he thinks someone cannot see him. His difficulties with object permanence do not allow him to understand that others have ears and can hear you calling the dog 2 feet from them even if they are not staring you in the face. This boggles my mind. I can be sitting directly next to him and if I am reading something he thinks I cannot see him hitting the cat ON MY LAP. Swear to goodness. This is also when he is destructive. He likes to pick apart my plaster walls, unravel blankets or tear anything up he can.

I am not certain if you would consider his sexual acting out as being a part of RAD, but I do somewhat and I think bears mentioning. Someone said to me recently, " Once a kid is sexualized you cannot put that genie back in the bottle." So very true. He acts of for a couple different reasons in my opinion. I think he acts out due to his impulse controls issues due to his Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I also think he acts out because he has a low IQ and if he wans to do something he does it regardless of where he is or what he is doing. I think it also has to do with the attachment issues because he feels no connection to people and he has no qualms about hurting others.

Superficially charming. My child is the sweetest, most kid, helpful boy ou would ever meet. Unless of course you are his parent. He saves all his best tricks for us. He loves to help people and will charm the socks off others. This is definite RAD behavior. Why should he punish them? They are not the people caring for him. They are not the ones who took the place of his mother who neglected and abused him. They are not the people who could be just as hurtful as her if he let them. Get it? Not fun.

Lying. Lord have mercy the child would have a cat in his hands and say "I did not touch the cat!" and he will swear you are going to believe him. He gets angry when you tell him that you are not asking a question because you know the answer. He will deny til the day is over.

Clingy? He is on me the minute I walk in the door from work. He must ask me for a hug 3,846 times a day. I used to feel bad about rationing them but many therapists made me understand that it is not healthy to be that clingy and inappropriate. I do not deny him, I just tell him I am busy and I will get to him in a minute, or I say, "Am I doing something right now?" He usually accepts that well. . . then asks 45 seconds later. It is tiring and I feel badly for not hugging him every time he asks. The problem is I would never get anything done. Most of the time I ignore it like I didn't hear him.

Entitlement. This is a HUGE one for us. He thinks he is entitled to whatever he wants. He should have the same everything as both other kids. If one has a popsicle and one has an ice cream cone he should get BOTH. He is constantly concerned about what everyone else has and what they are doing. If a child at school is in soccer he HAS to be in soccer, no matter that he cannot kick a ball to save his life and has no concept for the game. He will argue and be defiant about it all day long. We always end up being the bad guy because we won't let him do ANYTHING!

I understand how those seeing this type of listing and then seeing a child like ours would think that we are bad parents. I understand how a child like this could present totally different for other. I get that people would think that I am horrible for not hugging my child or saying that the hugs he gives give me the heebie-jeebies. It sounds awful to me. The problem is that you cannot fully comprehend that trauma that RAD causes to the WHOLE family until you live it.

We don't hate our kids, we hate the RAD.
We don't wish our kids gone, we wish the RAD gone.
We don't get sick to our stomach looking at our children, we wanna puke on RAD.

The problem comes when we are unable to separate the RAD from the child. Sometimes to road to healing is long. Sometimes the road to healing takes detours we never thought we could endure. Sometimes the road brings us bumps and gives us bruises that show on the outside.

Had I not had the network of moms and blogs I have had the last few years I would be dead.

I am serious. Dead.

If I didn't have these women, I would've felt like a failure as a parent and felt so desperately alone that I couldn't take it. The sense of failure you feel is one I would not wish on anyone. The RAD does win. It wins nightly as I put my head on the pillow and reminds me I have not made progress. It rears its ugly head in the morning when I don't want to wake my child for fear of what the day brings. It wins whether I let it win or not. It wins when it survives. It is survival.

It is HARD.



It is so very LONELY.

Sometimes the child treats each parent differently causing triangulation issues. A dad may see things the mother never gets. The mother may have victories that sends the dad's relationships tail spinning.

It is a rough road. A road no one else can understand unless you have lived it.

It make us parents feel like failures and creeps.

We are well aware that the things we say aren't normal. We get it.

The problem is, others don't. They see what they wish to see. They see what their experiences allow them to see.

I get it. I get the hurt and the confusion. I wish I was behind that veil too. I wish I didn't know what RAD was. I wish I didn't know what it could do to my family and my child.

I wish I never had to experience this, but above all, I wish my boy never had to experience this.

In a perfect world . . .

Friday, June 10, 2011

the goo

I am not sure why, but my depression and anxiety has always been very visual for me. When I think about how I am feeling or try to assess the depth of what I am feeling, I see it as a picture. Today I feel as though there is a black goo threatening to envelope me. I feel better today and I feel like it is holding, waiting for a break in the armor. It is a blob hanging over my head. Right now, I feel like I am strong enough to hold to away. To keep it hanging, but I am well aware that one break and it can begin to attach itself to my head and ooze slowly down my body enveloping me in it's gooey, black darkness.

Sometimes I try to place something physically between me and the blob. I imagine an umbrella. An umbrella of good things. An umbrella of things I can do right. Sometimes that umbrella can be particularly hard to open, sometimes it springs to life and I can rest easy. Sometimes the umbrella is a golf size umbrella and sometimes it is a kiddie umbrella.

Hears hoping the battle of the goo continues to go well today.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

rough day

Today has been a rough day. I am tired and I am disheartened. The big kid with FAS is on my last nerve. His incessant talking is driving me to the edge of sanity. He is stressing about the last day of school on Monday and I am certain he is taking it out on me. I am the one he always takes it out on. His mother allowed others to harm him. His mother drank and smoked pot to medicate herself from his behaviors. Her own mental illness would not allow her to get past her own needs and wants to care for him. I am the substitute for his anger at her. He is pretty decent until I walk in the door with the smaller children and then all heck breaks loose. The ugliness, the whining, the constant talking, the crying, the aggressiveness. It becomes tiring.

I am struggling with a bad case of plantar's fascitis in my right foot.. Last week I was unable to walk without excruciating pain. I saw the doctor and got a shot that normally helps. Last week it did not. I am fairly certain that the prednisone in the shot throws off my medication and causes some OCD behaviors as well as anxiety. It makes me incredibly hot and my skin all red. It sucks to go through all that and not be better! Because the shot did not work, I am on a nasty anti-inflamatory. It makes me dizzy and disoriented. I think it messes with my meds too. Plain and simple I am a mess!

I knew I was done for tonight when in the middle of cooking dinner I got distracted and found myself sitting in the shower scrubbing the walls. I shook my head at myself and walked out. As soon as I did, I took care of what was on the stove and started scrubbing the kitchen sink. It took me a minute to regroup and try to focus myself.

Today at work I went to the boss (my mother) to talk about something and ended up crying about something unrelated at work that I really hadn't even realized was bothering me. She kind of looked at me like I was loosing my mind. She knew I was sliding into unwanted territory. I could see her concern on my face. While she understand my OCD and my anxiety, she really has no idea about the depression and suicidal thoughts I struggle with. She has her own issues and I have never felt like I could unload that on her. She has been in denial about her own OCD and her control issues for years. I have always thought that she would take my unknown issues as an affront to her and cause her more trouble. And sometimes I just want her to be my mommy and not look at me differently for the fact that I would take the life she gave to me and throw it all away. I don't want to always think that she is assessing my mental state.

I am very much in the state of "fixer". When I feel like this I want to make everything better for everyone else. I worry about things going wrong. I think that because I feel so freaking crappy about myself I want to fix things. I feel so badly about myself I want to help others so that maybe, just maybe I will seem like I am useful. I want to feel essential. I want to prove to someone that I can be valuable. I guess if I feel like someone else values what I can do for them that maybe it will change my opinion of myself. I am not sure I have ever really realized that before. That is why me vomiting this onto the page is so very helpful.

I hate this. I feel like I am on constant vibration. I don't feel like I can relax. My mind races. It is tiring. Perhaps an extra Zoloft and a good night's sleep will turn things around. Let's hope I find myself in a better place tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

long time no see

It has been awhile since I posted. Life has exploded into ugliness from the FAS child. It has been rough. The good news is the funk that drew me in a bit more than a week ago is gone. I worked hard and I clawed my way out of it. The husband has been better. I have been better. It is good.

I think God knew I could take no more. I had some very kind comments from friends who had no idea what I was going through. I had a few online friends contact me and give me some fabulous words of wisdom. I really needed that. It was a lifeline.

Today the oldest came home from school (he is in an MoMh all inclusive classroom). He was very disturbed and refused the food that was put in front of him. That never happens. The child will eat poop on a stick. (our running joke) I had to run an errand so I took him with me. He immediately told me that a boy in school showed him a "very innapwopwiate picture". I asked what it was and he said, "It was a girl with no pants and one with a boy who had his penis in a girl's butt"

Holy Lord. I nearly wrecked the car.

Recall that he is a 6 year old in the body of a 16 year old.


We had a talk about parts. I explained that girl's have another part that boys don't and that is where the penis goes. You really should've seen his face. I nearly pee'd myself. I needed to explain because he was sexually molested in our house by another foster child. I needed him to know that is not typical. He then said, "Can we please stop talking about this?"

Holy cow. I really should've had that talk sooner, but it had not been necessary.