Friday, April 30, 2010

Rah, Rah, sis-boom-bah

DD is in the middle of cheer try-outs. Her behavior had been so wonderful that she earned this privilege. We had planned to hold off on competitive cheer until next year...but she is committed to this process. I sat through the TWO HOUR clinic last night and really watched her. She wasn't chatty Cathy...she was focused.
Really focused for TWO HOURS.

Everything wasn't perfect - as little in life is...but she's so good. I was proud watching her. Not because she is good - but because she was 'putting it all on the line'. She was taking on tasks that are hard for her. I could see the frustration, but there was no melting into a small puddle. She shook it off.

She acted so mature.

When we left she said "I didn't do so good"...I looked at her and said,
"You did awesome...I saw a very strong girl out there tonight working hard on everything asked of her. You paid attention and you are a winner no matter what happens."
It's true...and I have to say it feels like a great victory...especially for her.

We find out on Sunday what team she made. I now have to buckle down and be as committed as she's lot of practice time and travel. But, if my little girl is willing to give up other things (I hate that she has to make that choice at such a young age...but softball went by the wayside as did dance) - then I'm willing to put on my taxi hat and drive, drive, drive.

The boys are very supportive of her, which is cute. I think I figure out DS1...he realizes that there will be 'older' cheerleaders at her competitions. Nothing to sneeze at when you're a teen. And DS2 just truthfully wants something good for her. He asked if I would flip (video) her performances and send them to him by email. I'll have to see if I can do that...great that he asked.

As the time draws nearer for him to start this new adventure in Kentucky, I'm working on my cheerleading skills as well. Go dude, GO! Catch up, learn life lessons, get the time away you need and PLEASE come back to me. Add that to a little dance and short skirt and I could make the cheer team as well!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"It's best for everyone"

My son, the one who can barely communicate with me on most occasions, the one who has been begging to leave us for a long time now - offered this deep statement this weekend. Not to me.

My best friend took him on Sunday. They spent the day watching cart racing and during the course of the day he shared the information that he is 'going away' this summer. She knew it, of course she my best friend she gets the brunt of many emotionally hand wringing times, but she had not shared with him that she knew. She asked him some questions, all answered in clear tones and with the authority of knowing what you want to say. One of these questions was 'how do you feel about it?' - to which he responded without missing a beat.

"It's what's best for everyone."

I have felt sadness over this comment. He's right. It is what is best for everyone in our family. It could actually be what is going to save our family. We have probably said something to that affect during our many talks with him about this...trying to take the pressure off him feeling like it's all 'his fault' - I know I've said it...

We all need this.

It's a chance for everyone to re-group.

But, he had never reacted in a way that made me think he took that in. Until she told me about this conversation today. I wish we could communicate more. He did want this and we did not. We certainly did not choose this option because he wanted it. He's a child and cannot make these decisions on his own...but he can - and he did - work very hard to make the other options break down.

DD is melting in on herself lately. She was doing so darn good...and I was expecting the crash that I knew would come on from this situation. She doesn't seem to be fearful - what a relief. I was terrified that she would assume we were sending her away - I didn't know if she'd understand what was really going on with DS2. She seems to get the concept. Her biggest issue is that she won't have him to play with anymore...than a little something slipped out.

In the car - she's pouting/crying/trying to make me wreck...
DD: Once he's at school, I won't have anyone to play with
Me: You'll be fine - we all hang out with you and you are making more, it will be a good thing for you to be able to play without being bossed around so much.
DD: And, my hair won't burn.
Me: (here's the wrecking part - including the bleeped out word when I nearly crashed) WHAT?
DD: When I didn't play the way he wanted me to, he said he'd sneak into my room and light my hair on fire. But, it was just a joke...he always laughed. When you laugh it means you were joking, right?
Me: That's not a joke.

It's like little pieces of a life I didn't even know about are seeping out through the cracks. I'm still hoping that the time away will seal up some of the cracks.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Collared shirts, bow ties and the bible

DS2 is intriging me in these past few days. He's blantantly, continually not following instructions...there is a lot of "I don't knows" and "I forgots". This morning he decided that brushing his teeth is optional and he ended up missing the bus. I had my phone interview with his soon-to-be school and therefore he had to do 'mom school' AKA workbooks, until I was available to drive him to school. It was snowing...hard...

I realize that he probably feels there is no reason to 'try' anymore - but really, things aren't any different as far as behavior than they've ever been for him. Except that he's accepting help from me...or planning...or something that resembles being a mother. It's odd and feels good.

He studied Houdini for his famous person report. While out tonight I got him a bow tie to wear for his presentation (you know those fun things where they are supposed to dress up like their person)...I also got him a white collared shirt. While we were there, he and I looked at other collared shirts. He is required to have them for all chapel services on campus and he really doesn't have any. He went with me happily and we talked about colors of shirts and patterns...he was interacting with me. He even walked with me through the whole store and talked, answered, walked close enough that I could have touched him...I actually rubbed his back while we looked for balsamic vinegar and he didn't jump out of my reach. It was a bit like something 'normal'.

Last night he asked if we were going to get him a bible for school. I was raised penecostal and have about 40 I got him one down and he announced that he was going to read the whole bible before summer school starts. Cute. Not possible, but cute. I offered him a list of great bible stories and where they are in the good book...he's been carrying it around. Maybe he'll want to discuss it? can dream...

I told him that he and I would have a shopping day - just the two of us - to fulfill his school needs and he looked at me and smiled. Is it possible that he likes me a bit more now that he knows he's leaving me? Circular logic I suppose, but this is exactly how I hoped our last weeks would be. Having him as a son is nice.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My cape is torn

I've said it before and I'll say it again.

I have some wonderful people in my life. I'm now learning that even some strangers I come into contact with can have an impact. Of course, I'm a loud mouth and right now - I'm on a mission.

Adoption issues are everywhere - really...

I run in adoption circles where people are struggling and I'm sure there are whole groups of people out there touched by adoption who have no issues to speak of...but I firmly believe they are the minority.

Read some blogs of adoptees...there is sadness, loss, grief and even anger there. For a long time I felt mad at them. HOW COULD THEY be mad that someone adopted them? How could they be judgemental of a process that gave them a family? I often termed them 'angry adoptees' and then I started to realize that I am, more than likely, raising adoptees who will still be wounded when they are grown up. Maybe my kids will blog or write or simply talk about their lives, both before and after adoption, and it probably won't be wonderful. I know it won't...because it isn't. When you look at a child and they want nothing more than to be away from you - is there any answer for that?

I don't think there is one that can make you out to be a hero. And, yes, somewhere deep down I wish I could put on a cape and be Superwoman. cape in sight!

I'm telling people about our plan for DS2. I have to. Much like adopting older children, it is generally a story you have to's not like you can suddenly show up with 3 kids instead of 1 and expect people to believe you simply never mentioned them before. So, in about six weeks, he won't be with us anymore. We'll still go to baseball games, hikes, school events and dinners with friends and he won't be there. It's not exactly something I can hide.

And, back to being blessed. Not a soul I've told IRL has seemed judgemental. I'm sure they go home and probably wonder how you can send your son that far away right now. I'm sure they question whether or not they would 'do that'. But, they are supportive to my face. It would be ok if they weren't. It's the right choice for us.

This weekend I told someone about it and learned his story. He was raised in foster care. I sat and listened to a man speak that I firmly believe could by my son someday. He explained his fear of having a family to care for him. He explained his behaviors and why that felt safer. He said that he'd always felt that from DS2...he'd kinda always known. He's a dad now...and a partner to a lovely woman...but he still has issues with being close to someone. I'm proud to know him and truthfully, tears spring to my eyes each time I think that DS2 could have that's more than I've dared dream for him before.

So, I'm busying myself with preparations and the ritual of moving someone. I'm making shopping lists and airline reservations...and I'm thinking about him. This is a child that I am not giving up on...I'm just letting tie to him hang a little looser. His relief is enough to tell me that he needs this too right now.

When asked what our hopes are for an outcome - all I can think is - I want him to feel safe and healthy. I want him to succeed in whatever way works for him. I want him to at least be able to say when he grows up that I did not have a superhero cape, but also - no devil horns.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The answer may lie in blue grass

We've made a decision and we are totally secure with it. DS2 is attending a boarding school for summer school/camp with the plan of attending his next year of school there. I have to say my heart is not heavy, because I feel that we were sent this opportunity by a higher force. The way we found it and the way it's working out are amazing.

DS2 is on board completely. This is not a shock as he's been asking to leave, but I believe he felt that leaving would be permanent. He seemed surprised that we would have him back during breaks. We really worked the fact in, over and over, that we are forever. We will always be here and he is wanted. I hope that he'll continue to learn this fact.

It may seem odd to many of you - to 'send your child away'...but there is a high cost to how we've been living for all of us. The mass chaos that is a constant in every day of our lives is unacceptable for all 5 of us. I saw relief on his face tonight. I saw relief on my husband's face when we realized it was all going to fall into place.

While I struggle enormously raising DS2...this is peace for me. Totally.

I know it's right.

I know that he'll succeed there. As I told the admissions people about him, I was glowing with pride for the things I believe he'll accomplish when he doesn't have to work on pushing away. I believe he'll feel safer without the constant eyes of a mom and dad (however there is strict supervision...but it's different for a RAD kid).

I believe.

And, I think he does too.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


The affect of our situation with DS2 is having an effect on DD majorly. It's not that she's doing terrible, but she's trying her darndest. She's very angry that I won't fight with her. She even made a false 'report' against me - TO ME. I'm always a bit shocked at those. She told me that I broke her finger. I'm pretty sure I'd remember breaking her finger.
I can't be that crazy.
She really tried to make that into a big deal. A really big deal.
She wanted ice and I let her get it.
She wanted me to examine the finger I had hurt so badly...I said "wow, you are so brave to let me this close to your finger after I hurt it so bad"...she just stared at me.
Her finger was swollen.
Don't know what happened and probably never will.

She is just hard-core mad right now. Things here are really, actually very calm. Strangely so, perhaps. But, she wants anger right now.

She is struggling in math and last night I took an hour of my time (spread over a few sittings) to sit with her and re-teach what she's missed at school. I really hadn't done that too many times with her because she was usually right on it. I pointed out that she needed to listen, that I'd help her however I could. We laughed and she commented on how easy it really was...but I was pretty sure she wasn't actually listening.

After our third sit down, I calmly told her that I did expect her to remember at least one problem and how we worked on it. So, tonight she knew none of it. I didn't get upset, just told her to get the papers we worked on last night and re-teach herself.

After much wailing and drama, she just came down and said:
"I'll pay you $10 to teach me this again."...
I said "ok".

So, I'm off to make a quick $10. She'll be offering it to me again soon, because I'm not expecting it to stick right now either. I will be using this money to do something fun and nice for myself...if I save long enough I can buy a nice new pair of shoes....hmmmm...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Meatloaf in the car

I like music. It's a memory trigger for me - can literally take me back to moments in my life that I would otherwise forget.
Come on...driving down a gravel road with a boy I really liked and listening to Red, Red Wine and singing along...then having him buy Strawberry wine (you know that stuff that cost like 1.50) and share it with me?
Jump, Jump by Kris Kross - those little boys that wore all their clothes backward...and deciding to dress up like that for Halloween during college...screaming the words out as we drove to the mall to buy some big jeans and sweatshirts.

Well, I tell these stories to my kids a lot. I talk about the music I listened to - so does my hubby. DS1 has soaked in a lot of this and his iPod compilation is a strange mix of Bob Marley (every song ever) along with The Fray and a little Cars thrown in for good measure. Oh yeah, just got him to listen to, and remotely like, Mambo #5!

However, as with most things I assume that when I'm telling my stories to DS2 and DD, it's just for the purpose of me talking. So, I was amazed today when DS2 could answer questions about music in the car. The Cars came on and I asked who sang it? He knew...then told the story he remembered about my life and that song. Sheryl Crow came on and I asked where this singer went to college? He's my alma mater and he remembered that she lived in the sorority house right behind mine (she was there before me). He even knew Meatloaf.

There was something that sparked...he listened to me at some point - maybe multiple points. Even when he's silent and looks angry, there is something sinking in.


It's truly a revelation.

I'm not silly enough to think that it has solved anything between us. I'm not naive enough to think that he listened to everything I said. But, I'm touched, that's truly it - I'm emotionally touched that he ever cared to listen about a story of my life.

And...totally off this topic...both DD and DS2 need braces in June. The amount of stress I could let that bring right now...oh geez, brushing teeth will matter a little more...more things in the mouth to screw around with - and expensive ones at that.

Dear me...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pull him out...REALLY?

I'm mad.
Really, really, really mad.
I have, once again, picked up my fight with the school district to hold my child back - retain him - to use correct language. In all realms, it's parent choice...I cannot think of a single reason to let him move on right now. They won't qualify him for services - so getting 'extra help' is not a viable option.
All the reasons they give me OVER AND OVER are pointless in our world. They don't want to hear all the reasons why he should not move on...I get the same line - he passes.
I sent the official "I'm not listening to your crap anymore and you WILL do what I say" email last week to the principal. He called me back today to let me know (wait for it) that my son doesn't feel he needs to be held back. WTF? I hate that teen lingo, but I'd also like to keep this blog remotely 'clean' - so let me say it again...WTF?
How, in the name of all that's good, did he think it was ok to pull my kid out and get his opinion on this? Don't get me wrong - we aren't lying to DS2. He knows. And, at home, he doesn't care...even dares us to hold him back. I've written numerous emails and letters explaining where we are - where he is...and the one thing I've consistently pointed out is my son's inability to tell the truth - ever.
Then, the principal tells me that in the 20 minutes he spent with son, "He seems so in touch with his emotions about this". Huh? RAD kid - feeling in tune with emotions - faking it with an outsider...NO WAY, right?

I cannot fathom.

I've told this man a million times that DS2 has RAD...that DD has RAD. I've given materials on RAD, I've offered to hold meetings and explain what this means. I continue to be told that he 'gets RAD' and he 'knows all about RAD'. For the record - a firm belief I hold is that...

You don't know about RAD unless you've lived with RAD.
A therapist that hasn't raised a RAD kid should NOT be preaching about RAD.
Reading it and living it are not even in the same hemisphere.
It would be like me telling a cancer survivor that they really shouldn't have worried about it.
I don't know what that feels like. Thank God.
And, trust me...YOU (Mr. Principal) don't know what my son is going through after hanging out with him for 20 have not got a clue.

I told him that I was about to become the exact poster of what I already know I am. A raving lunatic mother with a big ole chip on my shoulder. I'm not going to lose.

I had lunch with a fellow mom raising special needs kiddos. We were discussing the things we'd gained/learned from raising these kids...from the whole process - what it did/is doing to us.

I learned that I can pretty much do anything. That, sadly, you sometimes have to be a complete B*tch to get things done for your children that seem basic to me.

I'm not giving up. I know for SURE that he needs another year. You can rattle off fact after fact about how retention doesn't work and I have a reason for every one of yours about why that does NOT apply to my boy. I am at a point where I don't care. I've got nothing to lose. He is NOT going to the next grade. I've asked for this for 4 years now...and this time, I'm not lying down and letting them decide for me. No more.