Monday, May 19, 2008

Finding Help Again and Again and Again and Again, ETC

Not smiling on purpose, my oldest grandbaby is now a teenager. Jeepers. She's a happy child, someone in whom I take great joy. But that's not what this entry will detail today.

From the Dallas newspaper: "... That fewer of the homeless will cycle through the jail and psychiatric wards. That they will get more help.

The center, called The Bridge, is designed to provide mental health and addiction treatment and place people in homes as quickly as possible. The center will focus on the homeless people who can be the most difficult to help – those who are very ill and have been on the streets a long time."

Not a news flash to those of y'all, like Theresa and I, who are living with the offspring of the above people detailed in this article. We are expected to 'manage the behaviors' of the very violently unmanageable and we are looked at askance, as if it were due to our parenting, that these same people's behaviors, our children, are so out of the realm of normal logic.

We lose our perspective as so many "professionals" are unable to help our children, they call it a lateral move when they put a kid in a step-down facility because "she seems to be stuck on her behaviors. Maybe a change will help."

A change? Yep, that's the ticket, NOT.

I used to be among those who felt that love, guidance and opportunities could/would help anyone and everyone.

I've changed my tune.

We were unable to get to church yesterday, after I had everyone but JoJo and Jonathan ready. Those two refused to take showers. Simply refused and would not budge. No threat of consequences mattered one iota. They liked having 'control' of our family, keeping us all hostage, preventing me especially from getting the relief and strength that I derive from church. A screw you moment.

I'd risen early, decided not to turn on my computer but to spend my pre-dawn hour reading from a John Bevere book, knowing I was sinking into my own mini-depression as I fight uphill battles ALL THE TIME, trying to find help for seriously disturbed children. Good thing too as I was then emotionally strengthened for what was about to come. I cried most of the morning in pure frustration, knowing that no amount of behavior modification, positive reinforcement, sticker charts, or logic will ever make any difference to Jonathan.

JoJo has hope, he is not disturbed, he just has anger issues as does/did his older brother Fabian. Jonathan is seriously emotionally disturbed as is his older brother Pepe. His two other older brothers, Chuy and Javy, were absolutely disgusted with the refusal of Jonathan to budge. He wasn't mad about anything, he can just snap in an instance over nothing. This morning he refused to go to school, still hasn't had a shower, and is glaring in an ugly threatening manner at me as if sunrise is my fault.

I'm really not sure I can continue to parent him. He needs help and a mother's love will not be his cure. After all these yeas and all my experience I do feel qualified to make educated guesses based on diagnoses and psych evals that we've had done. I know what normal is/was/can be. This isn't normal, this isn't simply raging, nor is his prognosis encouraging to me at all.

Worse case scenario...eight years of Hell from him, then I'm free but he will join the ranks of the chronically jailed and homeless. I believe that he was put with me so that I can work to find whatever help is available, just as I am constantly fighting for his brother, who is way more dangerous, to receive help and services.

Will any amount of help actually help? Could these folks, described in the article, have been helped at one time? I don't know, I'm not really sure if it is not hard-wired into their psyches to end up like this. I'm not sure if there is any amount of help as I look back at the vast amount of services I fought for one daughter who is now living in an abandoned building in Atlanta because she is over 18 and out of the reach of my supervision that was always designed for her protection. I have a son, in and out of jail, homeless like his birth parents, unwilling to either work or mind law enforcement. Both of these children had over five years each in residential psychiatric facilities and another 5-10 years of therapy. Apparently that wasn't enough.

Then, if that's the case, how can society expect mothers, fathers, and families to live with this much devastation, destruction and rage when full-time psychiatric staffs who have medications at their disposal and psychiatric degrees on the wall, still can't mange these chronically unwell behaviors? They aren't then blamed as parents are.

My comments over the weekend left me with many blog topics to address, problems to bring to folk's attention, Cindy A's, "What are we going to do about it?" but I am deep up to my eyeballs in severe mental health issues for three of my children from one birth family with murder in their case histories. What am I going to do about it?

I'd called Texas, wanting to disrupt after six years, for my family's safety, with the blessing of the two older boys in this sib group, so obvious is the deep and profound level of emotional disturbance. Texas told me, "Heck, no!" Do I need a lawyer to sue and keep our family safe? I don't know, and I'm also battling with myself regarding the fact that with my own volunteer adoption work I'm matching potentially dangerous children into families. That worries me and I balance it with an equal number of wonderfully deserving children who will greatly benefit from family life.

In the meantime, I have eight difficult years ahead of me.

Best case scenario - out-of-home mental health placements and no disruption. Is that possible? I pray that it is so and I'll bust my butt trying to make it happen for their benefit, knowing that a lifetime of chronically homeless, jailed, unemployed and miserable is an option we certainly don't want.

This so isn't how I imagined my life would be...


Lisa said...

Right there with ya!! I certainly never imagined that this would be my life either. My 14 yo. is basically running our lives. There is no aspect of our life that he isn't determined to control in his own little dysfunctional way. We can't go anywhere as a family (not even church), we don't have one ounce of energy left over for our good kids and we're seeing the fall out from that a little bit more each day. He's not homicidal or suicidal (yet) so he's really "not that bad" and qualifies for nothing. He's going to therapy this morning and this is it - I am going to DEMAND some type of summer program (at the very least) for him to give the rest of us a break. I'm hanging on by my fingernails here, falling into my own mini-depression (i.e. smiling for the kids, non-stop crying while I'm driving and commenting here) and losing the things in life that are most precious to me. I can't do this anymore.

HopewellMomSchool said...

All I can say is I'm praying for you guys. My son goes thru "spells" of this, but thankfully, this year, they've been short lived.

Anonymous said...

prayers always...isn't your situation why "disruption" is an option? any of these disturbed children could snap at any given moment and lash out at you by harming your helpless toddler/ baby grandchildren. that would be much more effective than physically attacking you and would cause you the maximum pain and most enduring grief. I reallise you love all your children but you would not house fighting pit bulls in the same room as a four year old or an infant. many many children come from horrific situations and do not "act out" like these three. at some point you need to walk (or run) away with your other children. ( and put new locks on all the doors) you have my prayers in your sad, dangerous situation.

Shari said...

I'm sitting here crying with you too. My daughter (by birth) is mentally unwell also. We live a very similar life. Last fall she was placed in a group home because I couldn't put the rest of the family through this any more. This morning I get a call letting me know that last night she assaulted several people, destroyed TWO group homes and the police had to physically restrain her for 6 hours until she finally fell asleep.
I was filling out a form this morning asking me what I think has caused this. It has to be genetics. Her biological father has mental heath issues but she wasn't raised with him. She has been raised in a loving, nurturing, supportive environment.

What truly scares me is that I honestly don't think that she will ever be "better". What is her future going to look like? Instead of visiting her every day at the group home will I visit her in jail?

Thank you Cindy for posting about your difficulties. It realy does help the rest of us feel less alone. And thank you for being brave enough to be so honest.

Julie said...

Cindi - I struggle with this too, and I only have three damaged children. Sometimes when it looks like they aren't going to become healthy, happy adults I ask myself "Why God, did you guide these children to me, if I can't fix them?" But the answer to that is free-will. God will provide opportunties and open doors. But he will not push anyone through.

If you think about it, he must face the same thing multiplied by a ka-trillion. He loves everyone...and how many people reject him or outright hate him. How that must hurt...yet if he forced us all to adore and worship him....we'd just be puppets on a string.

With as many children as you have Cindi - TROUBLED children, its realistic to think that some of them aren't going to "make it". But many, many of them have. You've given kids a chance who would have never, ever had one. Instead of 4-5 of your kids living on the streets and in and out of could have easily been 38. You do his work. You DO make a difference.

Remember the Serenity Prayer. Do what you can and let go of the rest.

Wendy said...

For Cindy and everyone else raising children with PTSD. My daughter used to rage over nothing. If I looked at her in a way she took wrong, she'd be off. I know a number of you are opposed to medications, but I need to tell you about what I consider to be a miracle drug. Last summer, during her 3rd psychiatric hospitalization in less than 2 months, her new psychiatrist started her on catapres tts. It is a patch she wears for a week at a time. The active ingredient is clonodine, a blood pressure medication. It is an adrenal antagonist, and slows the flow of adrenaline that pours out into the system of people with PTSD. She can tell when it is time for it to be changed, because she is much more irritable. The improvement in her is unbelievable. She is learning to manage her anger, and will now walk away when she feels herself beginning to get mad. She's quickly back and ready to deal with the issues. It's worth checking out.


Chrisss said...

Dear Cindy, just wanting you to know that I'm praying for you and all the other moms out there who are going through this tremendous struggle to find help for their kids. Thanks for sharing your stories, you are a brave, wonderful woman and I wish I could wave a magic wand and find the appropiate help for these troubled children. There has to be a reason that you were chosen to be their mama. No matter what happens to them, they may one day be able to look back and say you were the only one who loved them and cared enough to open your home and heart to them. They started out life with no hope coming from drug infested and abused homes, but you are the ray of hope in their lives. Please continue to fight for them. You are all they have.

Vicki & Jim said...

I know we disrupted at a young age with our daughter, but someone had said to me "You need to not only think of your other children in your house but you need to think of the child as well" Which for us it had come to the point where we were afraid for us and it was getting to were I didnt even like this child. She was causing us so much grief etc.
I know she's in a better place and doing well. What her future holds, I dont know. She came from a very scarey past and I hope she can leave it in her past.
I hope you find someone you can talk to and when these kids leave you will feel safe and so will the kids in your home. Which is whats most important, everyones safety.