Saturday, March 14, 2009

Okay, now that that's over...

Yep. I stopped the adoption process. It was incredibly painful and one of the worst days of my life, but there really wasn't any other choice for me to make. I know it was the right decision to end it. Thanks for the good advice and wonderful thoughts and prayers. I did have to try to look very realistically at what life was going to be like with J, and it wasn't going to be good or pretty or happy.

I'll spare you all the gory details at this point... besides, I'm not feeling very talkative right now. I'm taking a little break to figure it all out.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What the ****?

Oh, LORDY, ladies (and gents)! This motherhood thing is totally kicking my ass. J moved in on 12/18 - so it's been less than 1 month. We had a couple days home, then a week in Seattle with family, then home for the rest of the week, and school started. We're mid-way through her second week of school.

Where to begin? Okay, TANTRUMS with a capital T which rhymes with pee and that's a problem, too... nearly daily tantrums that include kicking, screaming, pounding feet, flailing on the floor, running through the house screaming, hitting things, kicking doors and walls, pushing the furniture around... Also usually included defiance of any requests (take your meds, go to your room, sit down, chillax, stop screaming in my ear). What sets her off? The word "no." She's completely absorbed in herself & what she wants. Is any of this surprising given that I'm her 10th placement and she's had 3 adoption disruptions so far due at least in part to behaviors? No. Was ALL of this clearly identified for me prior to placement? No. Did I ask all of the right questions and demand answers? Maybe not entirely. Do I feel at least partly duped by the system? Yes.

BUT - I've hopefully made it abundantly clear that in order to avoid yet another disruption, we need help. We need services. And that is FINALLY starting to happen.

Last Sunday a behavior coach came in, and we'll have regular visits starting in another week. We had our first appt with her new regular counselor today. Our "stabilization team" is now on the case, so I can call 24/7 - either to the team or to the crisis line - if I feel I need any help at all. I also have a family support person who will work directly with me to find coping skills so I don't burn out. I also have an advocate with my adoption center (in addition to my regular worker) who helps to ensure I get what I need - and that I'm asking for what I need. I've seen her once, and we have a second appt. tomorrow. I haven't seen my family support person yet, and the stabilization team will come out on Saturday for interviews and planning.

So at first there was no help - no support. And now we have it in abundance (maybe - we'll see if everyone shows up when they say they will, answers the phones during crisis, etc.).

The trip north for Christmas was okay. Poor dear didn't impress anyone. My mom is still supportive (not that my sister & dad are not, just much less enthusiastic), but she's as flumoxed as I as to just what to do with J - how to handle her behaviors. But J just isn't what my family hoped I would get. She's maybe not what I had hoped for either (sorry, just being honest), but I feel that's probably somewhat typical of older placements and I've done my share of grieving already. I was initially set - no matter what happens, it's her and I... Then the more extreme behaviors started and I felt unsupported and at a complete loss wondering whether or not I could do or even wanted to anymore. Today the folks with the white hats have shown up and I figure we might just make this work...

Pee - nightly, and sometimes daytime as well. But we just started a new plan yesterday of nightime bedwetting medication (an anti-diuretic). If that's not helping with increased doses weekly in about a month, then we can add an additional medication. We may also get a vibrating alarm watch that will go off every two hours and discipline J to use the bathroom during the day. And if she is extremely motivated to end the nighttime wetting, we can get a powerful vibrating alarm to shake her awake at the first sign of urine. These efforts should HOPEFULLY help her to be fairly consistently dry day and night within 4 to 6 months. But I can't say she's truly motivated yet. Something to work towards, though.

Attitude - with another capital letter A. She could put most teens to shame with this one (just as she puts toddlers to shame with her tantrum aptitude). I can honestly say that no one has ever been quite as mean to me - terrorizing even - as she has been to me. But, you know, it's not personal. She hates what I represent - failed parenting. Not that I'm failing necessarily - though she's working at it. That's what she expects. She's been able to wear down (and out) EVERYONE else. My goal is to hang in there and hope she straightens out with my guidance and consistency.

First, though, I need more practice not reacting to her misbehaviors. I'm expecting a tantrum this evening because I told her she can't play with the neighbor girls unless she finishes her homework (yesterday she didn't do her homework). She knows it, but she'll likely try to push it. But we need to turn things like play time around to not be her "right" that is sometimes taken away, but rather a "reward." So I'm sure I can begin "not reacting" tonight.

Soo, soo, soo much is happening. And I'm exhausted. And work is suffering. (Can you say "distraction"? Yesterday I got a work call and was completely thrown off -- the previous 3 calls had been J related. Had to stop work early Monday for a J-team meeting. Had to take time off to get her to the doctor's yesterday. Had to take time off for the counselor today. Will have to take time off tomorrow for one of the support workers. ...nothing Friday, I don't think... Stabilization team scheduled for after J's hip hop/tumbling class on Saturday.)

I'm honestly not sure how often I'll log into the blog (and sorry for not keeping up with all that's going on for my friends!! I've been really J-absorbed lately.), but if I get a few check-ins, reminders, I'll try to head back here to catch up.

Monday, November 17, 2008

getting closer

I'm surprised it's been so long since my last post! The little girl, J, and I are certainly spending more time together. Last week she stayed over Monday night since Tuesday was a holiday. Then we got together Thursday evening, and she was with me all weekend from after school on Friday through Sunday early evening. I'll see her Tuesday and Thursday evenings this week, and next weekend, although the schedule may be changed somewhat... I will have her the week of Thanksgiving, Tuesday after school through Sunday.

Unlike I'd thought in my last post, she won't be living with me full time by Thanksgiving. She has a number of people on her "team" - caseworker, caseworker's supervisor, counselor, counseling supervisor, psychiatrist, psychologist, guardian ad litem, guardian ad litem's assistant, foster family, myself, and my licensing/certification worker. Needless to say, to get all of these folks on the same page is difficult at best. The current plan, though (and we DO have one!), is to have her stay with me over the long Thanksgiving weekend +, and then tell her I want to adopt her at her first counseling appt. after that on Dec. 3. They would like her to finish the school term out where she's at, and move in with me the weekend she gets out for winter break, Dec. 20. We'll have a couple days together before we go to the NW for Christmas with my family--her NEW family. Huh... wonder if that will seem daunting to her. Fortunately, she loves gatherings and loves attention, so she should enjoy it.

Case in point, we went to an annual picnic yesterday hosted by a local nonprofit environmental group. She met lots of people and was perfectly comfortable serving herself and going off and sitting with other people while she ate. She hooted and hollared for award recipients like she was at a Han*na Mon*tana concert. I did tell her that 95-year-old Edith might not appreciate being told "WOO! You GO girl! Rock on!!" -- it could be considered disrespectful. She toned it down a little after that, but she loves drawing attention and being fawned over. OH - there was a silent auction during the picnic, and I bid on a couple framed photos that she liked, so she was convinced she would get these for her room at my house. I was outbid on one of them, and I did not feel like spending the additional monies for the photo - plus the person who took the photo told us he'd get one just for J if we were outbid. So we were outbid, and even though we'd get a copy of the photo, J started crying, upset and angry that we were outbid. The guy who did get the photo said he'd share it with us... we could have it one year, and at next year's picnic, we'll get it back to him. She was still mad because she wanted "that one." She was finally somewhat appeased when the photographer gave her another framed photo for free, plus the one on which I'd placed the winning bid, plus another that I had commented previously to the photographer that I would like... We walked out with 4 framed nature photos. She decided on the way home that maybe it wasn't such a good idea for her to have been so upset and mad.

All in all, things are going very well. She's an absolute love, and I'm looking forward to her being my daughter full time. And I'm really looking forward to her knowing that she has a permanent place with me. December 3rd. I'll let you know how that goes!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes 2

Last week went really well with J. She is mostly a typical 10-year-old who is desperate for stability. We've had great fun doing all sorts of things little girls/kids like to do... movies, roller coasters, video games, pedicures, the science center and shopping. And she seems very excited to spend the night for the first time next weekend. We've gotten along very well, and though she pulls attitude frequently, it usually doesn't take but 3-4 "no" statements to get her back on track. She loves to challenge and barter. She also likes to blame others for situations and emotions she doesn't like. But she is a darling little girl!! And I am falling into mommyhood pretty well, I think. I also think we're on track for her to live with me full time by Thanksgiving! So cheers to big damn changes!! and lots of counseling. and lots of hugs. and knowing what a cool thing this is.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ups and Downs

We had a terrific Saturday at C*stles *nd Co*sters! The only down side of the day was that I was too fat to ride the roller coaster... I couldn't lock the bar across my lap! Might have worked if my legs were shorter, and my knees didn't have to be quite so up in the air... J was so sweet, she said, "You're not fat... you're just tall." Yeah, we'll get along just fine.

She was high energy, but only verged on obnoxious a couple times. She also mistook me for furniture a few times, but I can understand that she just wants to get "close" and create - even mandate - a relationship. Such a sweet girl that needs so much!

We're going to the movies this afternoon. I'll take her to Peter Piper for dinner and games Wednesday. And I plan to spend the full day with her on Friday. She'll get to meet my sister, too, who is flying into town for a friend's baby shower.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Tired already

I met my "daughter" today. It's just the strangest thing... She calls her foster mom, Mom. She's extremely high energy, singing, dancing, "I'm bored"-ing, pushing boundaries, cheating on checkers, etc. all over the place, when she's not firing a ball at my head. To say I'm thrilled is an understatement. To say I'm terrified is an understatement.

She's 10 10-year-olds in 1 beautiful kid. And I'm 1 inexperienced, lower-case mom.

We spent a couple hours together today. We'll spend most of tomorrow together. Yes, she talked me into a theme park. Considering her zoom-zoominess, I'll likely be glad to have Sunday off.

Friday, October 03, 2008

You really, really like me

Recap of the week's relevant happenings:
1) I finally heard from my adoption worker on Wednesday and a 2nd meeting with the caseworker and the girl's (J) guardian ad litem was scheduled for Friday (today). Anxiety mostly abated.
2) Attended productive meeting with caseworker and guardian ad litem (plus 3 other people) this morning. Tentatively set a meeting date for next Friday for J and myself. This will be a brief meeting with about a 4 hr play meeting the next day, Saturday. We'll probably be getting together a few times each week for a couple weeks, then maybe start an overnight and then weekend visits.
3) We've agreed that initially I will only be introduced as a "special friend." (Sounds perverse, but I didn't tell them that...) This should help reduce some of the pressure on her and help us build a friendship and bond (as much as one can be established over the course of a few weeks). Then, seeing how it goes, let her know what's up before she moves in permanently.

So they are definitely excited about this happening for J. And I'm excited for me! And nervous as hell. Time to think seriously about my "house rules," schedule and structure. This, people, is huge! The absolutely most important thing I've ever done in my life. (Like I have to tell you this.) I hope like hell I can be an adequate, maybe even good, mom to this little girl. I'll do my best.