CONNECTED!

baby hand
Visiting Sweetie 4 on Thursday evening  didn’t go so well.  She wound up leaving the visit asking  demanding  for me never come back , saying that she would refuse my visits.

I have to say, that had never happened before in any of our visits.  So this was new.  It wasn’t without trepidation that I returned to visit this a.m.

She wasn’t  expecting me, even though this is our normal routine, but I was there, determined to make a connection with her.  I am her mama, and in her words from the past,  the best mama she has had ‘so far’.  🙂   Hopefully the LAST! 🙂
I am mama 4.    Could you imagine having FOUR mothers!
And those are just the “official” mothers, not the ones who do temporary care.
Other than her birth family , we are the family  who has had the longest relationship with her.  She was in her birth family for 7 1/2 years.  She has been with us almost 5.

Today’s Visit:
She came in and we started our visit with typical small talk.
“What are you reading? What movie did you watch? Who is
caring for your pod today?”  etc.
Then came the sharing of the weekend events that she typically loves to hear about.They were   that Aunt Carla, Uncle Bob and Uncle Dave came to visit us and that at the hotel, they served Texas Shaped Waffles to the guests. We watched part of Les Miserables, and the girls went to see a movie with friends.

Without a break in small talk, she went from smiling to yelling.
“You just want me in here! You don’t want me at home! Why are you visiting me I told you you are wasting your time!!!”
“Families are SUPPOSED to be together for holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Birthdays and YOU DON’T WANT ME HOME! ”
“IF YOU DID YOU’D TELL THE JUDGE!”
and more.
She then put the phone down and refused to talk to me, ringing the bell to leave.
I moved over to the next window where I could see her and knocked on the window lightly…. She finally looked up and trying to smile,  so she didn’t think I was mad, I held  the phone up…..
She picked up the phone and said, “WHAT?”  “Why are you here? ”
“Why would I want to talk to you? You’re AFRAID of what I might do, RIGHT?”
“YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT ME!”
I waited for her to stop, and the officer banged on the door telling her to settle down or she’d lose her visit.  “She said, “YES SIR! I don’t care, I don’t want her to visit!”  But he wisely didn’t open the door. 🙂
(He is a really REALLY fine man)

So I tried a different idea.  “Sweetie, breathe with me, just like we do at home.  And she DID…. We took some deep cleansing breaths together, her on one side of the glass and me on the other.
I put my hand up to the glass and asked her to put her hand up, and she DID….
And then, I was able to “connect” with her.
“Sweetie, I’m here because I love you.  I’m here because I have HOPE!” “I will NEVER EVER give up on you.”
“Do you think maybe you are afraid?”  She seemed to relax and
talk about her disappointment of having to stay so long.
It was then that I could once again give her clues as to why she was there and why it was going to be longer this time.
She listened as I was very clear but gentle with her.  You are here because of your own decisions, not because mom and dad placed you here.  We think this is going to be a good place for you for awhile. They have counseling and life skills training that you need!
When you are home, you won’t try and your decisions are not good decisions.  It is not ok to break your probation requirements!

And then I told her that her counselor said that she shouldn’t worry about high school electives that she can’t get there. College is what matters for career, and the biggest thing to work on is doing well outside of detention, because THOSE behaviors will decide how far she can go in a career, not if she had Spanish or pre med sciences.

As we continued the conversation, she was feeling so “displaced” because she isn’t 100% sure where she is going to be.  We talked about how at home, every year we switch roommates and change things up a little bit.  Maybe she could think of where she is like that for awhile.  In January, we will be changing rooms up again at home. In detention, at some point soon, she will be changing from Short Term to Long term and will get a new room.  We talked about the positives in long term including she could write in her room, instead of only in the common area like in short term, and before I knew it, she was much calmer.

We changed the subject a little bit again and I asked her what we could bring to long term when she is there during the holidays.
She had already been asking those questions and had some answers.
By the time our visit was over, she was in a more pleasant mood, had decided that tomorrow she would tell the judge she is ready for long term and that she wants to do well.

I’m so glad I didn’t leave when she said she was finished with the visit.
And so glad that she looked up at my knocking and responded to pick up the phone again, and try again.

She is so exhausted from herself.  But right now, she is trapped because she does NOT want to face the WALL that she can’t seem to climb.
She will never have to climb it alone.  We will be there as a safety net for her as much as we can.  But we cannot “save” her from her behaviors. We have helped her to see that she needs to be responsible and accountable, and provide other healthier tools to help her  handle her anger, fear, frustration and confusion about love and family. But she has to pick those tools up and use them.
She MUST.

We are so thankful to be in an area where Juvenile Detention is looked upon as a place for rehabilitation and not just a waiting game until a kid goes to adult jail.  They are working VERY hard to provide services that are truly helpful, and she could not be in a better place to meet her needs at this point.

Of course, we would love to have her home, but right now, she is too dangerous to be at home.  It is so hard to write that.  Safety is important.

BUT… we connected.  And it was good.

5 Responses to CONNECTED!

  1. Melin says:

    Oh, wow. Geesh. She really is her own worst enemy, isn’t she? Comment after comment I can hear how she is in a fight with nobody but herself. Such classic RAD type commentary, right?

    I’m so mad at the people who treated her like garbage. I know it doesn’t benefit her to wallow in that but for goodness sake, she did not start with anything close to a level playing field.

    Is showing up getting easier or harder for you? How are you managing your emotions? Is it a fake it till you make it kind of thing? Or are you on autopilot these days. I imaigne it is imposible to embrace all that is good and right in your life while carrying this weight around.

    I was happy to read that she apparently has some expectations for how a family should be – together on holidays. It’s a start.

    I can’t imagine how one could tease out organic mental health issues with such a traumatized child. Some of her behavior sounds so bi-polar ish but could just as easily be PTSD. Or both!

    Sounds like try as she might, she could not sustain being mean to you. I don’t need to tell you that is a postive sign. It sounds like you are wrapping your arms around the reality that in the end, we parents carry limited power. Don’t you hate that? I can see one thing here – she escalated to such a level that the decision was unequivocal. She needed an out of home placement. At least you don’t need to torture yourself with did you or did you not do the right thing, do enough, etc.

    From what I’ve read on the internet, your situation is far from unique. But your approach to life is and so I hope you will continue to share.
    Be blessed today.

  2. ChristieM says:

    Her behaviors are classic RAD and BPD (borderline personality)
    She IS her own worst enemy! You are correct!
    We are doing all we can, and we know we are not alone.
    We find comfort and hope in our Lord.
    We can only rest in him and not try to understand too much.
    It will just drive us crazy.
    There is no logic to raw emotion.

  3. Melin says:

    Christie,
    How right you are that trying to make sense out of everything is crazy making.

    You may have heard this before but C.S. Lewis said something like this – God doesn’t explain most things to us because it would be like trying to teach Calculus to a baby.

    There are times when that resonates with me but there are other times when that just makes me mad!

  4. Erin J. says:

    I love your candid sharing. As we go through PTSD, it helps to know how others are faring, and I love that you find a small positive to share each time. Praying for you!

  5. Annie says:

    Thanks for sharing all this. You are SUCH a good mama; I’m so glad she has you in her life – can you imagine the pain and loneliness if she didn’t?

Comments warmly welcomed!

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