Thursday, September 12, 2013

Goodbye Child B and Child C


Child B and Child C were with us for 5 mos. Throughout that time we were amazed at their resiliency, their rage, their hopefullness. They were diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder. Our house was in chaos. We were taken unawares on an emotional rollercoaster that rocked our family and lead to everyone being on high-alert all.the.time. Nothing was done, except the basics. Everything was put off (like blogging) except the essential. We were barely breathing.
But Child B and Child C were making HUGE progress. Huge. They were socially 12 year olds with the living skills of an 18mos old trapped in a preschooler's body. We were committed. That was the right thing to do. We wanted what was best for them and we were willing to go the extra mile over and over and over again to work on healing the hurt and damage created by their past.

And then our patience was gone. Kids with RAD are most comfortable with chaos and anxiety so they work hard subconsciously to create this in every home they are part of - not because it's what they want, but because it's what they know and are familiar with. It's sad and frustrating and SO preventable.

After falling apart for months and debating for weeks what we should do (is this going to get better? is this our life now? is it going to get worse? is there any hope?) we finally finally made the call that we needed to ask that these kids be moved to another home. This was the hardest thing in the world. It felt like we'd failed. How could this possibly be best for Child B and Child C? Another move. Another transition. And was this an indication of our parenting skills? Our fostering skills? Would we ever get another call? Should we ever get another call?

We asked that they consider a therapeutic placement because we were their second home in less than a year. The previous home they were in is "known" by dss to be REALLY good at helping challenging sibling groups - and they threw in the towel. Dss listened and found a therapeutic home. Even up to the last day we were questioning our decision. But then we'd see Del fall apart (again) or Child C would break something (again) or Child B would lie about the obvious (again). It's not that there was one big event, it was months and months of little events that added up to the chaos.

Del was devastated. This added to how hard this was. She was suffering so much with the dynamic of siblings in our home but she also so loved her new siblings. When I told Child B and Child C of their upcoming move Child C was ready to leave immediately. When I suggested he might actually be mad about the change and maybe sad, he agreed and climbed on my lap telling me he didn't want to leave. He would say: "I'm staying here or moving to Grammy's - those are the options, you choose. CHOOSE!" - all language we'd used with him about his choices. I didn't think Child B would care. Child B was more aloof and superficial. But when I told her she threw herself on me crying.

Not easy.
And then the day arrived to drive them an hour away to a new home. They stuck close by and begged me not to leave. I told them I wouldn't until they were ready. In the end they were ready before I was, by far. When I finally left after a very quick hug and kiss and "bye!" I was sad on the drive home but also so so relieved. I felt good about where they were - a family with more experience and resources to raise these two for the next stage of their growing up.

When I got home I asked Del how she felt, expecting tears. She said: "I feel good! Look at me!" with a huge open smile and a relaxed body. Her edge was immediately gone.

Less than 2 weeks later and we'd get a call for another placement. A few days after that we'd get a call from the family fostering Child B and Child C. The honeymoon is over at that house and Child C is increasingly challenging. My feeling of rage towards Child C's parents was reignited. They DID this. There is no pre-schooler who should have to deal with the emotions this kid is wrestling with - feelings that he can't usually articulate because no one ever gave him the words, no one interacted, no one spoke to him! - and yet he has to. He has to figure it out. How is that fair? And I don't even know how to access the resources for him to help him manage all of his emotions. And does this mean Child B is doing well? In the superficial. The longer you get to know her the more you see leaks in her exterior that hint at her inner turmoil.

This underside of humanity is no fun to examine and even less fun when you let part of your heart go into it. But we'll keep doing it. We'll keep loving as best we can. Connecting children to appropriate resources. Pestering DSS when needed to get access to those resources if needed. And laughing and crying with kids as they wrestle with their pasts and the choices their parents have made that have effected their development. And surely their parents parents before that.


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