When I first started the change from Effexor to Savella, I bought several books – one of them being The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner. There was also a David Baldacci book in that stack and he gets top billing EVERY time so it wasn’t until I was well into withdrawal – whoops – discontinuation syndrome that I picked up The Neighbor.
I started reading the first chapter and it scared me so badly I sat it back down.
Then, all this drama of the past few weeks happened. Me and the meds. LJ and the recurrence of the PTSD. Trying my best to help with my sister’s wedding next week. Chickpea and PTSD. E being a 5 yo boy with too much energy and not enough people to torture.
Two days ago I had nothing to read in the bath (and I desperately needed a bath) except for the book that scared me. I thought I could handle it and I put on my brave face.
POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT
Then I started reading and I found in Jason Jones the man I’m worried LJ will grow up to be. Scared. Scarred. Able to love, but not able to connect sexually with the woman he loves. Driven with need to pull back the privacy and pain he lost as a child.
I also found part of myself in Jason. The hours online, needing to make things right. The research. Reading hand written notes from court cases.
See, this is how I found LJ. A&E were separated from him around foster home #4 or 5 and he went to a group home (read: orphanage) and they went to an agency foster home. Years passed. Files were misplaced. Siblings who remembered someone else being with them weren’t documented any longer.
A&E came to our home 3 days after we found out that the placement we were hoping for (we were adoptive parents with a foster care license) wasn’t going to work out. They weren’t available for adoption – yet – but they’d been in care for so long that in case they did become available the agency wanted them to not have to move again.
Shaun and I said yes without meeting them and only seeing a file. That Friday, they walked in to the agency, and their foster mom gave me the most precious gift she could have: her records from their time in care. The file we had wasn’t correct in a lot of ways – their ages were wrong, names were missing, and it didn’t mention siblings.
Turns out there are 7 children that the state knows about. The 3 oldest are with a biological father, then a middle child from another father, then A&E, then a baby who went to another home. What happened to the missing middle child? He would be about 7 years old from my estimation.
It took weeks for me to find his name handwritten on an old case file. About a month to find out where he was. Several months to convince our agency and DFCS that bringing him back to his siblings was a good idea. I wrote a letter to the governor. I testified in court. I spelled my full name in front of the bio parents at the TPR hearing.
We found experienced therapists and got a new psychiatric evaluation done. He had been classified as mentally handicapped, PDD-NOS, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and some other bullshit. (His IQ is in the 120s and since he’s been with us he no longer qualifies as a delayed/disabled child at his school. The current diagnosis is PTSD due to severe neglect and abuse and ODD with delays in social skills.)
I used every trick I knew to get information and I used it all.
It was because once I started looking I found I couldn’t stop.
I just finished The Neighbor and I like to read acknowledgement pages.
God tapped me on the shoulder.
I stared in shock.
Ms. Gardner had interviewed and thanked two people from the very county we adopted from. The county where that group home is. Two names I haven’t seen before.
I haven’t yet been able to bring justice to their doors for what happened to MY son but now I have a few more places to look and a few more emails to send. If nothing else, maybe I can find some more files that will help with his therapy.
Tonight, I’ve left a comment on Lisa Gardner’s facebook page.
Tomorrow, I’ll start following the leads that dropped into my lap.
This is what I do.