like a tap on the shoulder

30 07 2010

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.

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circle queen

27 07 2010

I’ve been debating whether or not to write this.  Shaun says I should because I have to get it out somehow.  I feel more and more like the circle of people who understand what I’m going through is getting smaller and smaller.  If I were a Venn diagram, I’d be the only one in the overlap.

People who can’t squeeze infants out of their crotch gets a circle.

People with auto-immune diseases and/or fibromyalgia get a circle.

People who have adopted a sibling group from foster care get a circle.

It’s like the events of my life have conspired to leave me alone.  I hear from the kids’ therapists that the kids are worried about me.  I hear from my family that I was crazy to adopt kids with issues.  I hear from my mom that I violated God’s will by giving up on fertility treatments and having faith that I would squeeze out my own perfect little humans.

People my age are getting pregnant for the first and second times and I don’t want to be a buzz-kill.  I don’t want to open myself up to hurt and I don’t want to be outside the circle of “everything is perfect and we’re going to breastfeed and co-sleep” and blah blah blah.  My kids were fed meth and kool-aid as infants and they’re smarter and better looking than most every kid I’ve met.

Then again, I deal with issues other families will never encounter and never understand.  Yesterday LJ, after finishing his breakfast, walked back by Chickpea who was still eating and gave her a lap dance.  She looked as shocked as I felt.  I told him to go back to bed while I tried to figure out what to do.

An hour later, I got him back up and asked him to write an apology to Chickpea for what he did.  Then came the tantrums… the tantrums that have been getting more and more frequent.  He’s 10 and a few times I’ve wondered if the neighbors were going to call the police because it sounds like someone hid a grenade under his pillow.

Yesterday, after 45 minutes of screaming at the top of his lungs, he crawled into the top bunk of his bed and walled off the rails with pillows.  He shrunk down into himself and he looked like a homeless war vet that is reliving combat in his mind.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that I was watching him just to make sure he didn’t try to hang himself with his bed sheets.

At the group home he used to stay at, churches would donate tickets to Six Flags and all these other fun trips and places.  No matter he didn’t have a family and the other boys and  some of the staff used to regularly beat and rape him.  He’s mad that he doesn’t get the fun stuff here.  He’s mad that we don’t trust him to get on the internet or have his own cell phone or provide him with numerous violent video games.

We don’t get donations and Shaun’s been having to take off of work to help me through this medication change.  We’re a lower middle class family living paycheck to paycheck but we love each other and we have stability.

But it’s my fault.  If I weren’t sick, Shaun wouldn’t have to take the time off.  If I were able to go back to work we would have more money but we’d never see each other.  If I were more of a people person and not so fucking needy, life would be easier on all of us.  If I could keep my mouth shut, we may be able to find a church home.

I’m terrified of being alone.  I’m terrified of hospitals and I hate specialists.  I think everyone thinks I’m pretty much crazy and that I exaggerate everything.  How can I look like I’m doing so well and things be this bad?  My life exists of pills, crying, and trying not to throw up.

Where is my sense of humor?  Why are some topics suddenly taboo in my mind?  Why do the longer I live the less I believe in God but believe more in the fact that things happen the way they are meant to happen?  Why can’t I get the bad things out of my head?  Why do I feel like I won’t live to see 50?





the magic show

10 06 2010

Yesterday, as part of the summer reading program at the library they had a dude come in and do a magic show.  It was great and the kids really loved it.  I came away with different thoughts about each of my babies from watching them.  It’s a sense of pride to see them interact with the mass public and know that I had a lot of influence on how they interact.

Today is the 1 year point of our kids’ adoption.  For one year, they have been forever OURS.  I love that watching them interact and respond to things, I see Shaun and myself.  They’re listening and growing and they are part of us.  Our little family of 5 – we’re US.

LJ sat in between Chickpea and E.  He smiled when something was cool and he would lean forward and plug his ears with his fingers when the little kids would laugh and scream.  He doesn’t like large groups of people and I don’t blame him!  Afterward, he sat in a chair, expressionless until all the people cleared out.  When only a small group was left, he got up and started playing with the other kids.  He didn’t freak out or cry, he didn’t show that he was scared, he just pulled into himself until he was comfortable.  I was so proud!

Chickpea was totally immersed in the program.  She would sit up on her knees and stare at the magician without blinking.  She was looking to see if he was doing it “right.”  When he did something funny, she roared with laughter right along with the other kids.  At one point she raised her hand like she wanted to ask a question.  She noticed EVERYTHING and studied everyone and everything around her.  A couple of times, she turned around and searched the sea of grown ups for me and smiled when she found me.  God, I love that little girl!

After the performance she asked if she could go talk to the magician.  It worried me but I said she could and asked what she was going to say.  She said “he said his baby magic wand didn’t have any magic – but IT DOES.  He shouldn’t underestimate the baby just because it hasn’t finished magic wand school yet.”

I wanted to laugh so badly but she was so serious!  She went up and scolded the poor man while I’m having flash backs to my childhood where I was just like that.  It made me smile when I realized the magician was picking obvious pre-school students for his volunteers.  They’re less likely to be like my kid.

E is the world’s biggest pre-schooler.  He’s starting Kindergarten in the fall.  He’s 4 foot tall and almost 70 lbs.  He still moves like a very young kid – all awkward and sort of floppy.  He doesn’t have that grace that comes with growing older.  He has such a charm about him – he collects grandmothers like its a hobby.  He’s all big eyes and toothy smiles with that little kid innocence and it’s almost impossible to not squeeze him.

He’d rather charm the people around him than watch the show, but yesterday he got into it and laughed and pointed with the rest of the children.  After the show, he was jazzed up.  He didn’t calm down until right before bed time.  He didn’t care about telling Daddy every line of the show – Chickpea does that part with input from LJ – he cared that he figured out how to make his markers “splat” if he smacked them on the paper really hard.

Before dinner, he was laughing at something he thought was funny and just rolled in the floor and laughed.  None of us knew what he was laughing at but it’s impossible not to laugh at him.  Pretty soon we were all cracking up laughing at absolutely nothing.

E is the maker of chaos and disaster where order and peace were.  If everyone is quietly reading or playing a game, he’s the one throwing couch cushions with deadly accuracy.  If no one is playing with their food at the table he whispers to Chickpea “throw a chicken nugget at me, it’s funny.” He knows all his letters and numbers and can read and write, but he won’t do it if he knows he’s being watched.  How do I know?  Later, I find a picture of a fish with teeth drawn in his minimalist fashion and underneath it says “pirana etes met.”  I can hear him count to 50 through the wall but if I ask him to count to 10 for me, he leaves out half of the numbers.

I can’t be mad at him because it’s funny!  He’s going to be a hellion in school but I know he’s absorbing the information somehow.  He just doesn’t feel the need to show anyone.  He’d rather be funny.

Then I have to tell him that if he’s going to be BAD, he needs to do a better job at it!  There’s this pesky thing that’s called evidence that shows me the truth of who has been doing science experiments in the bathroom.  If he’s the only one soaking wet and smelling like Purell, then I know who did it.

I have to say that I’ve been wondering lately if it was a wise decision to adopt them with as sick as I’ve turned out to be.  I didn’t know it was going to be like this when we started but again, hindsight and good vision and all that.

I was afraid yesterday that I wouldn’t be able to get off the floor where we all were sitting to watch the magician.  I had taken my meds before we left the house but still, my body was screaming at me 10 minutes into it.  I was trying my best not to cry.  I was trying my hardest to enjoy the show and ignore the pain and the people bumping into me and squeezing in closer.  I was trying to breathe through the raising temperature of the room.

But I watch their faces – their body language – and I know that Shaun and I did this.  We made their lives fulfilling and opened doors and opportunities that weren’t possible.  This is worth it.  Even if they have a sick mom and a mom who can’t do certain things, they have a mom who is PROUD of them and who wants the best for them.  They’re strong enough to work through the rest.





Barren & the Bible

9 05 2010

I thought for a long time that I had failed spiritually somehow and that’s why I couldn’t have children.  I think I got to the point of not caring this past year when I did things “my” way and adopted my babies and got a hysterectomy.

Mother’s Day is always hard on me because for the past 10 years, I’ve been the outcast.  This morning, I was looking up a Psalm that my sister had found and came across this:

Isaiah 54

1-6 “Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby.
Fill the air with song, you who’ve never experienced childbirth!
You’re ending up with far more children
than all those childbearing women.” God says so!
“Clear lots of ground for your tents!
Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big!
Use plenty of rope,
drive the tent pegs deep.
You’re going to need lots of elbow room
for your growing family.
You’re going to take over whole nations;
you’re going to resettle abandoned cities.
Don’t be afraid—you’re not going to be embarrassed.
Don’t hold back—you’re not going to come up short.

This is the Psalm – she remembered it because I said that I’ve always been sick and in pain.  I can’t remember ever being “normal” but that I’ve done more than anyone could have expected.

Psalm 129

1 “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth,”
Let Israel now say—
2 “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth;
Yet they have not prevailed against me.
3 The plowers plowed on my back;
They made their furrows long.”
4 The LORD is righteous;
He has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked.

I’ll write more later about it, but I wanted to make sure it was up somewhere I could find it.  Hugs to everyone who feels like the Bible forgot them and that they failed because they are sick.  You didn’t and you aren’t.  You are just walking a different path.





3 weeks

23 02 2010

3 weeks is how long it’s been since I’ve posted.

That’s because the past 21 days have been FUCKED. UP.

So instead of posting, I’ve been escaping into books.  Christine Feehan, Alex somebody or other, Kay Hooper, Richard North Patterson have all been on my  reading list lately.  Now most of them are in the bathroom floor because I normally read in the tub.

My bathroom looks like this: dirty laundry, dirty laundry, basket of soaps, stack of books, stool (the kind you stand on), stack of books, basket of bubble baths, books… It’s a really tiny bathroom too, so most of the floor is taken up by a big bamboo rug so it’s not like the books are TOUCHING the floor.  They’re just sort of near it.

It’s not gay unless balls are touching, right?

Reading is my drug basically because if you need to escape from life, no one will yell at you for reading.  People are SUPPOSED to read!  It makes brain cells instead of destroying them.  Right?

On the reasons for needing an escape, it’s pretty much because life has sucked balls for a little bit.  It’s all working out now and it’s all ending up to be for the best but as all of us parents of special-needs children know – everyone wants a say in how you parent your kids.

I’m trying to decide how much to share. While I firmly believe that my life experiences could help someone who needs to know they aren’t alone, I also need to make sure the family is safe and doesn’t feel embarrassment or shame.

3 weeks ago Chickpea went through a panic stage.  We know what the trigger was – there’s a teacher who she got abnormally attached to who went to have surgery.  Suddenly, that security blanket she had at school was gone and she started having a series of panic attacks and she self-harms.  Then things got blown out of proportion by the school and we ended up having to be scrutinized by DFCS again… just like when we were foster parents.  I may as well just keep writing the reports that we used back then so that when they want to call on us I already have all the paperwork ready. *rolls eyes*  Here I thought we were regaining some privacy.

The past 3 weeks have been spent in therapy dealing with these things – what was just  series of flashbacks in one of the kids has now turned into a totally new trauma for all 3 that threatens our “forever family.”  (Like my kids believe in forever… yeah, right.) Thank God for the kids’ treatment center because they were able to give us advice and make sure the damage to the kids’ was minimized.

It still causes all these… emotions… in me that the kids had to go through this AGAIN.  Fear, panic, shock, anger, more fear, stress, grief,  more fear, and then whole lots of fear.  I just feel so unsettled like maybe I’m the crazy one in this equation.  Then when other things that have nothing to do with these events happen, it just turns into the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Migraine?  *SOBS* Problems with my parents and siblings? *SOBS* Shaun had a rough day at work? *SOBS* It’s going to snow? *SOBS*

Everything now really is looking up.  The mail-order pharmacy finally got figured out and mailed me a 90 day supply of my medication.  I visited Best Buy to pick up some stuff and ended up leaving without being mad at the employees and with the stuff we needed to get. I got my Levenger order and I’m setting up daily diaries for the kids.  I have plans with my mom to go to a ballet with Chickpea and everyone is very excited.

And I’m ready for the next Kay Hooper book in this series.  Sanity is good so I’m going to try and hold on to it.  Bibliophilia saves another brain!





house cleaning

2 02 2010

Just stay with me a for a bit.  I’m trying to work something out in my brain.

In the process of cleaning house, your brain starts to dust itself off too.  I think it’s impossible to clean your own house, touch the things you love, and not think about where you’ve been.

I have a small picture near my desk of the girls we were in the process of adopting before that entire thing went to shit.  Every time I see it I feel that little ache of loss in my chest but I can’t seem to take it down.  I don’t want to forget them – I want to reconcile how I feel so that I can be happy they’re with their adoptive family even though it’s not us.

In the end, it all worked out the way God must have planned because they ended up with parents who were more experienced in their needs and the same week we lost them, we gained A & E.  Later, we gained LJ and finally we became a forever family.  It still left me wounded and afraid to attach – that if I love someone as deeply as I love them, that I’ll lose them too.

Today I hung up a picture of LJ, A, & E near the picture of the girls and it made me smile.  It settles me a bit to see 5 shining, happy faces.

I also came across my sample book and my personality profile from the company I used to work for.  I’ve been trying to weed out things that keep me trapped in that past – the 8 years I gave to that company – but I need this stuff.  I read the first page of my profile and it basically says that I’m loyal, independent, good-natured, and able to deal well with teams UNLESS someone insults or embarrasses me.

This isn’t to say that it’s particularly easy to insult or embarrass me, it’s just that if you manage to there is going to be some hell being wrought.  My personality is – and always has been – to withdraw, set up a barrier of coldness, then start a campaign of terror.  I’ve been this way since I was born and I doubt I’ll ever be able to rid myself of that compulsion.  I deal pretty well with it and if it’s not a continual pissing on my shoes, then I’m able to stop myself before I get revenge.  There are some people, though, that have continually undercut and underestimated me that I would still *ahem* be unkind to if I crossed their path again.  People I haven’t seen in over 2 years.

This doesn’t cause me too much concern.  I know myself and I know that they’re unlikely to ever respect me the way I expect the people around me to respect me.

What does concern me is that I’m feeling this way to the girls’ biological mother who I’ve never met and never even seen.  She hurt and hurt and hurt AGAIN people I love a whole lot.  Then she somehow got a lawyer to fuck up their chance at being adopted to only go to meet the kids  for the first time in years while HIGH.  She made it so that Shaun and I were afraid to give the girls the Christmas presents we had bought for them because we 100% expected her to take them and pawn them.  Our entire family was devastated and still, I don’t think my parents have fully accepted our forever kids because they still mourn.

At least with our three kids – I know where their bio parents are.  They’re in jail where they should be.  When it comes down to it they’re just redneck crackheads too dumb to stay out of trouble. I got to sit in a courtroom in front of them and say how bad they fucked up and how they shouldn’t be able to fuck up my kids any longer.  It may not be a competition, but I fucking won.

This lady just disappeared for years and walked back in to their life to fuck it up one more time only to disappear again.  How do I deal with that?

I don’t know if she got hers or if she even feels any regret.  There’s no way I can look at her and her situation and say “she paid the price and now it’s over.”  It would be like Paris Hilton stealing your last $20.  It means nothing to her but the value to you is incredible.  I know it’s not my place to see justice done and I know that she can’t fuck it up any longer, but still, it’s not comforting to me.

I’m afraid the only thing that will heal it is time.  Maybe I’ll just get to the point of indifference, even though that’s totally not satisfaction.





concentric circles

25 01 2010

With everything that’s been going on, lately I’ve been feeling like my world is getting smaller.  I know January is a tough month on a lot of people – it’s too cold, no one has their tax return yet, it’s post-holiday stress, etc…

Basically, it sucks balls.

For a while, I’ve felt like these 4 walls in my bedroom were not only my comfort but my prison.  I really only leave the house to drop off or pick up the kids and sometimes on Saturdays I go to the store.  Emerging into the chaos that is outside this room and outside this house is terrifying.

But lately, there’s been chaos in here too.

I’ve never been one to be able to sit in the house all day even if I did have stuff to do in the house.  It’s only been the past year that I’ve even considered myself a homebody.  It used to be that staying in one place too long made me crazy – that even sitting in a restaurant after dinner was finished made me antsy.

Now I go for days with coming out of the bedroom for a few minutes at a time.  This is so unlike me and I don’t like this new “sits down all day” person at all.

I know how it happened – within 6 months, we adopted our children then I had surgery then the pain still wasn’t gone and this winter has been crazy with sickness, weather changes, terrible migraines and body pain, and basically trying to relearn how to be a family under the “new rules.”

What happened is that my tree got too top heavy and fell over in the storm.  Now, I’ve had to prune it quite a bit so that it’s basically sticks and replant it and give it time to form new roots.

I probably won’t bloom this year and that’s ok.  No loving gardener would expect me to.  I’ll grow some leaves but I probably won’t flower or fruit.  I’ve got to get myself stable so that I can stand up.

Here’s my plan to stability:

1.  Stop expecting myself to make fruit right away.  Sure, I’ve born fruit in the past but this has been a hell of a storm.  If I pop right out like TA-DA! and try and be the person I was before everything happened, I’m just going to fall over again.

2.  Keep reminding myself that weakness is not a sin.  Sure, it’s inconvenient and maybe shit won’t get done but that’s ok.  Nothing serious is going to happen because I’ve got to be propped up for a while.

3.  Start with my inner circle – the room I spend most of my time in.  It’s not a prison, it’s my sanctuary.  Besides, it’s little so even if I can’t conquer the world right now, I can conquer my own little room.

4.  Next, the family home.  Once my sanctuary is right, I can start rebuilding the way the home functions.  I’m an organizer – it’s what I do naturally.  Not just material things, but personal things too.  This will be fixing my relationships with my family and relearning how to make it work.  This is going to be the hardest step.

5.  Start reforming the sphere of influence – basically, re-bond with the people who influence the lives of my family.  Friends, teachers, therapists, doctors, the internet, etc…

6.  ?????

7.  PROFIT!

I’m not going to do anything drastic like leave the internet or stop with my hobbies because that would just make the steps harder.  I’ve got to do this gradually – the little bits that add up to a whole lot.  I’ve got to make sure version 2.9 is stable before 3.0 is released with much fanfare.  Right?

Anyways, this will probably take just around a year.  I turned 29 13 days ago so my goal is to have green roots at least extended into the ground by the time I’m 30.

What do you think?