My Family

My Family

Saturday, August 17, 2013

PTSD Impact

I am the first person to admit when we began our adoption journey that we knew we were not going to get healthy kids.

It was drilled in us from the minute we walked in the door of our agencies until the minute we graduated the programs.

I will also be the first one to say that I knew my kids were broken and that we would continually have to pay for their bio-families sins.  Over and over and over.

But on some level I had really hoped that after a a few years things would settle down and the kids would start to acclimate and with plenty of love, firm boundaries, good doctors, that things would start to stabilize.

But sometimes it isn't that simple.  Sometimes the price and toll that the past brings is high.  And as we have danced so we must pay the piper.

It started last year.  Marvin was a kindergartner.  All through the year Marvin had panic attacks. He hid his school work, ashamed of backwards numbers and letters.  Little things like landing on yellow would have him crying for hours.  His teacher was great.  But I started to notice a pattern.  He had had these same problems in his preschool.  And I was the teacher!

People had assured me that once he was in a different school things would calm down.  And they did, but only for a while.  You see, you can put a band aid on a gaping wound and all you have done is bought time.  The wound is still there.

So things just kept getting worse and Marvin kept going up and down like a yo yo.  He was triggering right left and sideways.  So I started to get pretty worried and scared.  I placed a call to Children's Home Society.  I was kind of grasping at straws at this point.  But since they had always told me that they were there to help I took it.  And I'm glad I did.

Before we knew it we had an appointment with a therapist who specializes in trauma and abuse.  If any kid has ever gone through that it is Marvin.  He is great.  But he will not hold your hand and sing love songs.  He is a tell it like it is guy.  And the picture he painted of what happened was grim.

Marvin came in with us the second meeting and the good doctor had him at the heart of his issues pretty quickly.  He also gave us new labels for Marvin.

The long and short of it is that Marvin, like most severely abused kids needs control in a situation.  He is hyper vigilant and has difficulty feeling safe.  Since Cary Lynn came the little control he thought he had has disappeared.  He loves his sister but feels he must protect her and care for her.  He assumes a parent protector role.  When he should just be a kid.  Marvin was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, ADHD due to his brain trauma, and dyslexia.  Wow.  It was quite a lot to take in.

The things that haunt me are Marvin sitting in the office and telling the doctor that we will send him away if he is bad enough.  Talk about ripping out a mother's heart and stomping on it.  And the words"You know she beat the crap out of him.  The last time she was just caught."   I thought I was going to be sick.

So what do you do.  Well I had about two choices.  Die or fight.  Guess what?  I don't die to damn easily.

So what now?  Well we start with fixing Marvin.  In between all of this a trip to the GI doctor told us that he has damaged his IT tract by holding.  It will take a year to fix his poor body and we are on massive doses of laxatives to retrain him to do what he should have been doing.  But really when your life spins out of control the only thing Marvin could control is his toileting so he stopped going.  So this is another area he no longer has control over and he is not happy about it.

We also are going to get a massive amount of educational testing done on him.  We have to bring proof of his learning disorders to get the help he needs in his school.  We are going in for the mac daddy of all tests with a top doctor who understands Shaken Baby and meth kids.  He is like the holy grail of testers.  Marvin also is in therapy to help him work through this.  We also are learning to re-parent him,

The good news is that with help and lots of support Marvin CAN be successful.  He can learn.  He can grow up, get a job, get married and give me lots of grand babies.

The bad news.  It involves fighting for it all.  It involved endless meetings with his school to get him help and support.  We sat down for the first one and it went well, but it is a process.  There will be tons of trial and lots of error.  Plus his poor new teacher looks like she has been hit with a mac truck.  I know she can do this.  I have faith in her and think she is lovely.  But it is a lot that I am pretty sure she didn't sign on for.  Marvin will challenge everything she has ever learned about kids and turn it on it's head.

It's also a process for us.  All the great ideas people have given me have only put a band aid on Marvin's issues.  Now I have to do things differently and people may not always understand why I have to do things that way.  Plus there are those who don't want to hear that there are things wrong with Marvin.  When I need to talk about it I get the feeling they are shutting me out or just thinking, there is that crazy psycho mom going on again.  Can't she just get over it.

But I can't.  I have to live it day to day.  We do our best and sometimes better.  Marvin is a fantastic kid.  There is no one like him.  He is funny, bouncy, and can charm the socks off of you.  He is also the victim of unspeakable abuse and horror.  But he has done something amazing.  He has lived.  He has survived.  And he has walked through hell and come out of it.  Not unscarred, but still he has come out.  So many haven't.  It is up to us to help him learn that he is safe, he can learn.  I have my work cut out for me, but I am ready.  I am ready to stand up for him.  To speak up for his needs.  To tell you that my child has the right to grow, learn, and flourish.

I am ready,  The question is:  Are you ready for me?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Moments of Grace

Sometimes things just don't go as planned. At all.  I hate having bad weeks, because for me it is never just one bad thing, it s lots of bad things.  All at once.  It's hard to stay positive when they happen, but sometimes there is that moment during the day when something positive, funny or downright ridiculous happens that steps in and saves my sanity.  I call these moments of grace.

They happen at times when I would really rather just go home, hide and eat chocolate.

A moment found me after I left a psychiatrist's office.  My son had been having anxiety attacks and we couldn't calm him.  The abuse he suffered before he was adopted is massive.  The Dr. believes that he has PTSD and lots of loops misfiring in his little brain where his bio mom hit him again and again and again.  He has to have massive amounts of testing done and believes that if he is bad enough we will send him away.  Sitting in the office listening to him was like ripping my heart out of my chest and stomping on it.  I was driving home with the kids and we passed a man well endowed with hair everywhere, in a speedo, on a bicycle.  My son could not stop staring and told me that maybe the man was trying to take a shower (it was raining).  O.K.  so I know it's not nice to laugh, but it did make me smile.

A moment found me when I was in the drugstore stocking up for my son's colon cleanse.  When we were at the GI doctor we found out our son has damaged his body from holding it and is very stretched out down below.  It will take about a year to fix it and I will basically be toilet training my 6 year old from scratch.  Starting with a massive colon cleanse.  I had Cary with me picking up all the stuff tarps, pull ups, wipes, Lysol, and all that good stuff.  A woman with blue hair, a baseball cap, and an I love Memphis shirt stops me and looks at my stuff and Cary.  Without missing a beat she says, "My my they can sure make smellies at that age.  I remember my son...."  here she launches into a really great story and the best part is that her grown up son was standing there looking like he wished the earth would swallow him up.  She ends with the fact that he is now a toilet trained productive member of society and not to give up.  I must say that was a big moment of grace.

A moment found me when Cary got her leg braces and we went in search of shoes.  We went to a specialty store after I checked out several with no luck on finding shoes that fit over braces. I was frazzled, frustrated, and tired.  I explained my delima to the sales lady who also happened to be a manager and she and another woman not only help me find shoes, but socks, and a pink leopard print skirt.  I went to pay and that angel simply charged me for the socks.  She looked at my daughter and me and told me that I was an awesome mom and  that my kids were so lucky to have me.  I about cried.  Another moment of grace.  And now I will be shopping there on a regular basis.  I was asked not to tell the name of the store and not to mention it in the store, but I will be a shopper there from now on.

So these were my moments this week.  Things that kept me going and sane.  I know some weeks will be like this and some weeks won't, but when they are I will look and find grace.