Total Pageviews

Monday, July 30, 2012

self care

There's this thing I do for myself when I fall off the HOLD YOUR GROUND! wagon, or I start to feel guilty about Jackson's placement, the separation, his confusion & loneliness, or any part of this whole situation.

I call him on the phone. 

His use of various and colorful go-to obscenities, followed by the instantaneous CLICK & dial tone in my ear that follow, are an instant cure for what ails me.
All better.
For now, anyway.
I'm thinking about trying this too.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Beautiful Years

There were times, even long periods of time over the years, that I thought we were going to make it, ya know. No, there really were. My friend Mary, a fellow Trauma Mama, always refers to those periods as The Beautiful years. And she's right. They are! Those however many good and regulated days that you/the child string together, and sometimes you don't even notice how good they were until they END. And oh, how they end. Sometimes you do notice them, and you wait for it to fall apart, often knowing that it will. Other times, you're oblivious, or way too glass-half-full for your own good, and feel like the worst is over. In March of 2011, after my first ETAAM retreat to Orlando, I blogged, "I'm healing, He's healing...I'm committed.... blahhhhhhh." It makes me laugh cry to look back and read it now.
Dear John & Big Jim(Jackson's in house therapist at The Boys Home) both tell us we never had a chance. He's pining away for *her, and until he's ready to put some effort in and do some trauma work in therapy, he'll never heal or truly attach to anyone. So, there's that.
A very good friend of mine -who blogs beautifully over here - asked me yesterday, "It seems like he WAS attaching when he was younger. What do you think changed? What happened?" and it's SUCH a good question. Progress came to a screeching halt by age13. Puberty, as well as peers, especially the kids he saw every summer at the camp for HIV infected youth, were both  huge influences. He was suddenly so one dimensional, such a follower. Outside influences controlled his every move. He could not think for himself in any capacity. Clothing/fashion ,shoes, accessories and electronics ruled his life. His anxiety heightened dramatically. Academically, he was 4-5 years behind everyone else, (due to ability and effort combined)and had to find ways to validate himself and fit in. He became very interested in-downright fixated upon- American black culture. A gifted, well rounded dancer, he suddenly could only dance ONE way, to ONE genre of music, wearing ONE type of clothing, with ONE hairstyle. His interest in girls/sex/porn/ quadrupled, and his access to any media had to be drastically reduced. He couldn't handle a cell phone or I Pod due to stalker-ish tendencies, inability and unwillingness to have boundaries and porn fixation(you'll have to read back to see details on that). Then, by 15 it was worse. All of it, but especially the defiance, his very publicized hate for authority and his severe social anxiety. In 100*F weather he wore jeans, over boxers AND gym shorts. 2 shirts. hooded sweatshirt.... ANXIETY. Don't look at me. Don't see me. He claimed he was cold, but was actually just trying to blend in black culture & look like other black teen males he saw in the media and in dance videos on You Tube. He feels he has to look like those around him at times, but is also quite a trend setter at school, and the other kids begin to emulate HIM. It's odd. At The Boys Home he's in now, during the first 6 weeks kids and adults kept asking him why he was in 4 layers of clothes, but at our last meeting, the one we walked out of, he was suddenly in basketball shorts and a t shirt, which I hadn't seen him wear in 2+ years. He adapted. It's hot there and the other boys were dressed that way, so he relented.. but it took WEEKS. He is so hard to figure out and explain to others. I will stop there. ...But "why?" "how?" is all I think about, truthfully. It's overwhelming. All encompassing, and like I said yesterday, HEAVY. I look forward to lighter days ahead.
Sorry this was so boring to read, it put me to sleep. Tomorrow, I will try to be more riveting. For the sake of anticipation, let's pre-title tomorrow's post, "The Shit's About To Get Real, Up In Hee Uh."

*her -Jackson's second Haitian Mother, who took him in after watching him walk back and forth past her house for 3 days, when he was under 2 years old. She assumed his parents had died or left him.  She and her asshole husband finally took him in on the 4th day, named him Jackson, and kept him for about 3-4 years, at which time asshole the husband ripped Jackson away from her while she was screaming hysterically, Jackson was too, and he took him to social services office and dropped him off, stating that he'd lost his job and could no longer care for another man's child. Jackson states that the man hit and slapped his Mother during the removal, and he claims that she had told him through her tears, "I will come looking for you. Be brave. I will find you. I will see you again." 
He was brave.
he was sick.
He was scared.
She never came. 
20 months later, there I was. White & bright. "I'm your new Mommy!"
GAG. How could I have known? How could I NOT have known?
juuuuust beautiful.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Aftermath

This is the last picture i took of Jackson before IT happened. I find myself always saying IT because I still  really don't have any idea how we got to where we are today. This was taken in early May, during a town rec. baseball game. He was angry that we showed up to watch. The other boys were waving to their parents, making eye contact. Not him. There was none of that nonsense. He had taken 2 years off from baseball, but when a friend's team suffered 3 long term injuries, The friend's Dad, who was the coach, asked Jackson to play for him. On paper, Jackson was 4 days too old to play, but the league made an exception. I was THRILLED. I tried to hide my glee. We didn't see any effort, it was pretty obvious he was only showing up for the social aspect and to get out of the house and away from us, but... he was showing up. Little victories are still victories. After that first practice I bought him some new cleats, dug out the giant rubbermaid tub full of baseball stuff, where I've saved everything from toddler sized to Doug's size that last summer he played at age 15 1/2, and  he was good to go....for the first 10 days, that is... then it was "boring" and he started refusing to go. 2 days into that attitude was when he began running away. you know... 10 days after he pinky swore he'd stick with it and 10 days after I wrote the $120 check to the league@@. aaahhhh the memories.

right now, I'm just trying to stay busy, and positive. I listen to lots of music, play my piano-I have one now!, write, run, lift weights, take a few spin classes, spend time with our 2 youngest, spend weekends at my parents lakehouse an hour away(he hated it there), & eat too many carbs. Some days are so much harder than others. My mind wanders. My imagination is on full tilt. I have the strangest and most unsettling dreams about him. I dream about when he was little and silly and that sweet side of him would show just a bit. I'd read him stories at bedtime, He'd braid my hair & then ask me to stay in his room until he fell asleep. I also dream about him coming back here, in a black car with 2 friends. Bigger. Older..... and shooting each of us, one by one, while we sleep. depends on the day.

There is no contact. I call him, but he either refuses to come to the phone at all, or comes to the phone, blurts obscenities and slams the receiver in my ear. chickuh eeehhhhhhhhh. He is completely empty. VACANT. hateful. scarred.

In court, the DCYF attorney basically labeled us collectors. She said that 'this boy' was just a little project of ours and we grew tired of him. She & I have never had a conversation. She doesn't even know us. She judged us. I judged her too. Her business suit was too tight and she needed a waaay more supportive, as well as Back Fat Smoothing, bra. There. I can judge too. She was the one who made him her project. She wanted to 'save' him. Too late, Bitch. We already did.  'Lotta good it did anybody, huh?

Let's talk about that. Pull up a chair. NOT THAT CHAIR! kidding.
PROJECT? We refinanced our house to adopt that little boy. I traded in my car. I loved that freaking car. I gave up my job. I changed my entire life, my parenting style, my life & career plans. I left my 12 & 14 year olds, and my husband, for weeks and weeks while I tried to get him out of Haiti on a medical Visa. My relationship with Kristin, more than anyone, was seriously strained, and without going into detail, was damaged so much that it has never recovered. She & I do not have a relationship anymore. We've been to hell and back, and back to hell 75 times over since we started this process in September of 2002. He was not a little cutesy project. He was our son. I'd do it again... But I'd beg for a different outcome.

Our family shrink.. oh, who the fuck am I  kidding? The guy, -who I will, from now on, affectionately refer to as Dear John,- treats ME... Anyhow, Dear John says we need to focus on the things we did RIGHT. The good things. The positives. He says I have taken this whole thing on my shoulders, carrying all the blame & burden for the abusers in his past, and I have to move on from that. I get stuck on the mistakes we made too, though. When Jackson first came to us, we may have rushed him. Rushed him to speak English, rushed him off to school. Rushed him to play sports, fit in, sleep in his own room, make friends, read, write, care for himself, stop wetting his bed.... was it all too much? I'm kind, but I'm not very physically affectionate with my children. It's something I didn't experience as a child, am not very comfortable with, and have to to consciously remind myself to engage in(the other kids will attest to this, especially the oldest 2)Did I push him away? Did he feel rejected by me, at times? Did he EVER feel any sense of belonging? Safety? Did he constantly feel like a disappointment?

See my dilemma?  CONSTANT self examination. CONSTANT re examination of every move we/I've made in the past (nearly) 10 years, as parents. It's a tiring, sad and very lonely place to be.


I guess this is one of the hard days. Some really good things happened today! But, IT is always there, with me. Riiiight here, on my lap. On my shoulders. Heavy. Hard. BONE CRUSHING.

Maybe when i write again, I will be able to list some positives. Tonight? Not so much. I'm coming up empty.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I promised my shrink

I made a promise to my therapist that I'd start writing again. It helps me so much, and some of the drivel that pours out of me isn't exactly appropriate for KoobFace. This is a better place for my literary brain dumps. 

Things are hard right now, and, after such a long blog break, filling readers in about all of it would take eons. I will try to give a synopsis of recent events.

Jackson began working with a new therapist in October. I use the term therapy loosely, because Jackson would not speak to him. Think Good Will Hunting. We continued to take him anyway. In May, Jackson had, what I would term, a psychotic break, of sorts. In the last 7 months or so, It had come to the point where he got into trouble 100% of the time he was permitted to leave the house. Even while at supervised events, he was under the radar, causing trouble. He stole borrowed a business laptop from a friend's Mother etc..So.. we shrunk his world, shrunk it some more, then shrunk it some more... beginning in January, when he attempted to purchase a firearm on KoobFace. We had another meeting at the school. We begged for an assistant, citing the constant disappearing,(I was lost!) the supposed "posturing"(confronting & threatening a teacher without words, making her feel like she couldn't leave her classroom if she tried-10 day suspension) a physical fight over a stolen borrowed item, and finally, the gun thing. Instead of an assistant, they placed him out of district, in an alternative school in the next town. He was not happy about it, but didn't fight it. 18 other boys, no girls, no fashion runway, adventure based. He was livid, but it was all internal. At first it was OK, but as he began to realize how therapy-ish the school was, and how under the microscope he was-they were catching him at all that quiet defiance, setting people up to fight while he sits in a corner giggling, thinking he looks innocent.. all that stuff-he started to really act out at home, which our therapist(the guy Jackson was seeing ended up working with the rest of us) warned us he would do. He was a caged animal. He was sneaking out and getting high, having unprotected sex with various girls, putting others at risk, regardless of everything we were doing to keep him close-which was A LOT. By early May, it was UGLY.  right before Mother's day, he ran away, after being suspended from school for picking a fight on a field trip to a beach. it was a Friday, and he expected that I would not find out about the suspension until Monday, like with his old school. 1 minute after he arrived home, the call came in. He was stunned. He had made weekend plans. (plans that would not have been followed through, but still.. plans) I hung up, and simply told him he was in for the weekend, and on Monday, the suspension day, he would roof a house with his Dad. He never spoke up, other than to blame the other student for the altercation & claim that when he returned to school on Tuesday, he'd make sure to "get expelled". But, as calm as he seemed, I knew he was stewing. HE WANTED HIS WAY. by 9pm, he'd taken off. Long story short, the police searched for him, found him &  brought him back home 7 times over the next 8 days. during his short stints between runs, he called me Cunt face and threatened to kill me several times. he called sweet little Kendyl a bitch for walking by him. he injured our dog. he begged to go live in a "Children's Home". The police didn't have enough to refer him to the probation officer he'd had a year prior, I called the JPPO myself, he claimed Jackson was not eligible for a CHINS petition. The police and the JPPO told me it was time to call DCYF for help. I resisted. but.. ultimately, I had to face facts. He'd missed 9 doses of HIV meds in the 8 days. We were playing with his safety, and the safety of his.. um... partners friends, and that is something I swore we'd never do, so on Friday morning, i made the call. the intake social worker arrived by 11am to interview me, was in court to put it before a judge by 4 and Jackson was out, and at a "Children's Home" by 630pm that very day-even though he had escaped from his school during dismissal, jumped into the car of an out of town student who'd had a driver's license for less than 3 weeks, and was MISSING for hours. ( I had called to warn them, i knew what he was planning, but nobody was paying any attention). Unfortunately, for DCYF to get this done, they have to file neglect, abandonment & abuse charges against the parents. They claimed that they'd try to file "unknown perpetrator" charges instead, petitioning the courts to get Jackson the services he needs due to the Haitian abusers in his early life, but then they just didn't bother. We fought the charges in court and won because the judge saw right through DCYF's lies -they were claiming that it was obvious that we had no intention of reunifying. total BS-& the judge ended the proceedings almost as soon as they began. He knows we are seasoned parents with a ton of knowledge and we're good people who tried for a long time(9 years). Also, he knew we'd been in court with Jackson 12 mos. prior, and he'd been placed on probation back then, for attacking us in his bedroom because we wouldn't let him go somewhere. the judge called everyone into his chambers and came up with a new plan. Criminal threatening charges were later filed against Jackson himself, putting HIM in the hot seat for HIS poor choices, behavior & actions, instead of us. Jackson pled not guilty 3 days later, thinking he'd be allowed to "go home" if he did this. In my opinion, he had very little understanding of what was going on. He'd been living in the facility for 8 or 9 weeks at that point. He'd had 2 day visits with us, but he never spoke to us during those visits. He just wanted to take off and go hang out with friends, which we didn't allow, and made it clear we wouldn't be allowing, for a long time anyway. (ummm you were caught smoking pot in a supervised facility. how can we, in good conscience, ever???... UGH)After that, he refused to speak to us or visit at all.
Jackson has now been living at NCH for 10 weeks. his trial is on 8.8- i have to testify against him for his constant threats. funny how BEFORE I called DCYF, we didn't have enough to file any charges or a CHINS petition. now, we suddenly have enough to file BOTH. what has changed? NOTHING. everybody just fudged everything to get him the out-of-home services he desperately needs. WHY COULDN'T ANYBODY DO THAT BEFORE??? The lawyer cost us a fortune. DCYF doesn't appoint lawyers to families anymore. budget cuts, ya know. This has been quite fun. fun like a fucking rash.
Jackson insists he wants to "go home" but wants to live here by himself and not see us, speak to us or follow our rules. he is about 16, and made this statement, yet... nobody thinks he has any huge disabilities. no logic, reasoning, cause & effect, IQ of 75... but... no problem. the adults don't seem to have any more logic than he does!
Obviously, the judge will rule him guilty on 8.8, regardless of how the trial proceedings go, so that he can stay at NCH, get the daily life skills coaching, 24/7 SUPERVISION & therapy he receives there(he actually talks to the guy a tiny bit, although the guy admits that no real progress has been made) and continue to attend the alternative school he hates enjoys so much. we've been to 2 "family therapy" sessions at NCH, but they've gone so badly, we had to walk out of the most recent one. so.much.past.trauma. he went wonky wickety wack. It wasn't pretty.
Since being placed at NCH, he broke his hip in the first 8 days, jumping over a fence because he was told "the only thing you can't do is jump over the fence", has stolen a few items, has pierced both of his ears with a rusty nail(nobody even noticed! can you imagine the blood bath that was?) and has been caught smoking pot and cigarettes at a building nearby. 24/7 supervision? NOT SO MUCH. But... I'm glad they're seeing the Under The Radar behaviors.
There is so much more detail than I'm writing here, but like I said, it would take years. This is the condensed version and now that you're up to speed, so to speak, I will tell you that I plan to use this blog to mostly share MY feelings, MY progress, My thoughts. It may seem like I don't care about him, but I do. I miss the old Jackson, as goofy as unregulated as he often was. I feel SO much guilt. I always said I'd never let anybody take him away from us and would never be the 3rd Mother figure to abandon him. his departure and the what led up to it, and the aftermath of it all, has affected all of us, and affected all of us differently, but has hit me the hardest, by far. Jacky was my baby!  My emotions are all over the place, and change hourly, if not more often than that. I plan to use this old blog O mine as a place to release it all. KoobFace has seen enough of me and my lame outpourings, I reckon.
I used to be funny. I hope my funny comes back someday soon.