Friday, 15 March 2019

Faking it.

Fake it till you make it has been my mantra all week.

It was Spring Break here this week and although Kate and had therapy and appointments and such we also had a lot of free time to fill and I wanted to hide in my room and do nothing but that didn't seem very fair to Kate so I pulled up my socks and planned a couple of things.

There was no earth shattering excitement but there was a movie, some shopping, ice cream for lunch and a lot of new books to read. We also spent our evenings watching Worst Witch on Netflix which sort of made me want to poke my eyes out but she loved it.

I used to plan every minute of break week like this. I would plan fun things and we do things with friends or  we would go a car trip to see something new or visit family. This year I just did not have that in me.

 I am still pretty sad/angry/upset/depressed ( depending on the day) by the situation we are in and the choices that our kids have made that have gotten us to this point. I want things to be different. I want all 5 of us to magically be together and for things to be the way I dreamed they would be.

I know that is not going to happen. I know that we will never go back to the way things were and that where we are is not the result of any single event. Instead is the result of us desiring to help 3 very broken kids have a family and for at least one of those kids there was just no way that they were ever going to be able to heal enough to be a typical kid.

We tried so hard for so long and when we finally let Kevin leave our home I was devastated and so sad but I knew I had done everything I possibly could and had no other choices. When it came out that Randall also had to leave it caught me by surprise and I was so not ready to have him go. It was not what I wanted, it was not what he needed but the choice was removed from our control and as a result we had to figure it out and in a mater of weeks we went from functioning as a family of 4 in one home to a family of 4 in two homes and I miss him a lot.

I will keep on faking it with Kate over here for as long as I need to and I know that with time I will become accustomed to our new normal.




Sunday, 10 March 2019

Reading North of Normal and Growing up in an Non-Traditional Family.

So Just finished reading North of Normal by Cea Sunrise Persons, I enjoyed it did find some solace ( as I usually do) in the fact that her childhood was more insane and mixed up then mine was.

She writes quite eloquently about growing up in Northern Canada and living in tipi for much of her young life. She speaks of commune style living and having parents who struggle with addictions issues as if that is just the way we all grew up and yet we managed to not repeat those patterns for our kids and instead worked hard to create something we never had.

Much like Cea I grew up in very non traditional world. I did not have parents who lived in a tipi but I did have friends who had lived in one and whose parents often took us to the nearby nude beach were they smoked pot and drank all day and then put us all back in the car and drove us home. Sometimes we got to sit on the hood of the car until they got to the main road which we thought was the best thing ever. It as the 80's and it was a small town and no one really thought there was anything wrong with it but they were high, drunk and probably still naked which may of caused some issues if we were ever stopped.

My parents were more traditional then some of their friends, we had a nice house, they both had jobs ( most of the time) there was almost always food.  Unlike some of their friends we were allowed to eat whatever we wanted and until I was 12 I though Kool-Aid was juice. We were often left on our own and more then once I disappeared with my friends or alone and my siblings freaked out because they had lost me. I was always found and more then once I was missing because I wanted to go buy candy.

My parents would have huge parties when I was little and my sister tells stories about their ridiculous antics and leaving us with people who had no business looking after 3 young kids. I don't have a lot of memories of those events because they were 29 when they had me and by the time I was 7 we had moved to a city and they left most of their hippie friends behind but we did go back a visit a lot when I was kid. Living in the city opened had other adventures like getting trapped on the rocks of the beach when the tide came in and having to swim back to shore fully clothed at about 8 years old because other wise we would of missed dinner.

The summer I turned 12 they left me in that small town I been born in for 2 weeks with friends who were about 21 and had a young son. The couple didn't really care what I did or if I was there and so I spent most days tubing down the rapids with friends and then lounging around in our bathing suits eating candy we had stolen from the corner store. By the time my parents came to get me I had literally been in my bathing suit for days and had no idea whose house my suitcase was at. They did track it down and didn't seemed at all phased by what had been doing for the last two weeks.

There were always friends of theirs living in our house or camping in our driveway. It was not unusual for there to be a whole extra family camping out in the rec room for months while they got themselves organized. There was always enough food that could be stretched to serve another person or two and it was not unusual for a friend to conveniently show up right around supper time so that they could be fed too.

I had a "uncle" who used to visit with his laundry every few weeks and have dinner with us while he waited for it to dry. There were cousins who came and went, foster kids and developmentally delayed adults who lived in our for stint. We always had a big house and there was always a spot for someone else to stay when they needed it.

Perhaps one day I will write about it in detail. It was quirky and weird and definitely not the kind of childhood one expect that I had if you meat my parents on the street because they seemed so normal.


Saturday, 2 March 2019

If one of my children were physically sick people would care...

I am feeling so very isolated at the moment. Many of my friends have been very judgemental and have distanced themselves from what is left of my family. Those who have remained and have tried to be supportive have busy lives of their own and my immense needs at the moment can be more then I want to burden a couple of close friends with.

If my child cancer or needed surgery there would be meals, support and prayers. Physical illness is easy to rally behind, it is easy for people to understand and to support because they can relate to it.

My adopted from foster care children sexually assaulted each other and all there is, is silence and judgement. I get it but it makes me so sad. My family has been torn apart, our dreams have been shattered and we are struggling to pick up the pieces all by ourselves because no one has the understanding that is needed to be supportive in a this type of crisis.

On Friday Kate got into trouble at school and there was no one to turn to, no one to connect and frankly no one to laugh about the ridiculousness  that has become my life and this is so not what I thought I would be doing at this point.


Thursday, 28 February 2019

Dear Kevin,

Dear Kevin,

I sat down with your birth mom last week to talk about the current state of our lives and how the choices you have made have changed the course of so many lives. I wish I could have the same conversation with you. I wish we could talk so that you could hear that I still love you and that we all  can forgive you and move forward to build a new path as a family. It will never be the same as it was but it can happen.

I want to tell you that I am sorry that you were hurt as a little kid. I am sorry that you did not feel safe or loved or wanted. I am sorry that you had to move as many times as you did and that you could have a stable understanding family who loved you from the moment that they knew you were going to be born.

I have made so many mistakes as a human and as a parent. You and I learned and grew together in so many ways when you were a little kid. I had no idea what parenting 2 boys who had a really rough start to life would be like. I thought I knew but you quickly showed me I had no idea. Once I realized that I worked so hard to figure it out, to get help, to learn and figure out how to help you learn to love and attach to adults.

I have so many dreams for you, for us, for your future.

I miss you everyday and hope that you are doing ok.

I will always love you
Mom

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Love

I have been listening to the podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text for a awhile now. I get a couple of episodes in a week and eventually I will catch up to their current shows. But as I listen to the early ones I am struck by how profoundly so many of the episodes touch on so many of the things that are going on in my life. I find myself thinking again and again about how their themes address what is going on in my world right now.

In the first book they look at the themes of loneliness, commitment, fear, vulnerability, promises, goals, betrayal, and hope. I am at the end of the second book and the episode I listened to while I was making dinner was on the theme of love, if you want to hear it go ahead and go listen now ( book 2, Chapter 18). Then come back and finish reading.

They address love in so many different ways but the one that stands out for me is how you love someone and then send your love with them into the world and hope that you don't lose the person that you love. I stopped chopping carrots and thought about that in terms of my children and the life we are living at the moment.

I fell in love with these children because I wanted to be their Mom. They were not born to me and instead walked in the front door bringing with them a whole world of pain and trauma that meant the my loving them was going to hurt me too. I did not know that when I met them. I did not know that my love and commitment was not going to be enough to heal them. I so thought that I could fix everything for them with love, homemade halloween costume and amazing meals.

I quickly learned it was going to take a lot more to help them and so I read and went to workshops. I networked and researched and did everything I could while I loved them to pieces in the midst of our chaos.

It was not enough for Kevin. Once he went out into the world my love and connection to him was not enough. That hurts so much. I miss him and so wish that we were not in a situation where choosing between our children was necessary.

But I don't regret loving him as fiercely as I do. Perhaps one day he will remember that love. He will be reminded of it and be ready to make things right.



Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Answers would be welcome.

I have been thinking a lot about what my family is going to look like going forward. This is not what I planned, this is not what I wanted and yet here I am.

I married a man much older then me, I convinced him to adopt and then thought I might have a baby. That didn't happen and we adopted again. I thought that even though things were hard I would be able to have a family to love and connect with as I moved through my life. I thought I would be able to make it different then the family I grew up in. I thought I would be the connected Mom who advocated fiercely for my kids and helped them to become successful ( whatever that might of meant for them) adults who had parents in their corner.

Now I have a rapidly aging partner who doesn't take care of his health, one child who pretends we do not exist, one who has been removed from my home and one who is 13 - girls at 13 are hard. My boys are both facing sexual assault charges from the things that happened in our home. My daughters life will be forever altered by the fact that we adopted her. We fought for her to be in a home with other kids so she could learn to be a kid again and instead she learned that brothers have sex with you and when you speak up no one believes you. I may never get over the fact that none of us believed her and social workers and therapists wrote letters to suggest her stories should not be believed.

The guilt and shame are so overwhelming some days.

I am not working, I miss my job and the community that came with it and I am still bitter that I had to leave because of my kids profound needs. I have way to many health issues many of which are a result of the immense stress that has been the dominant part of my parenting journey.

I often wonder what my life will look like in 10 years. Will I be all alone in the world? Will any of my children be a part of my life? Will I regret ever taking this on?

I wish I had answers but when I ask questions they just lead to more questions.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

It could of been done so much better

So Randall was charged on Tuesday morning. The detective was amazing and supportive, she gets how impossibly hard this for all of us and showed us so much compassion.

DCFS on the other hand showed us zero compassion and had no actual for plan for Randall even though everyone had known for weeks that this was going to happen. He and I spent 5 hours sitting in a waiting room while they tried to get their crap together and find a place for him to go because I could not bring him home.  They did have a group home bed that was found and secured by my therapist but since they did not have their crap together that was not secured for the day that it was required. I was so mad.

He ended up going to a foster home about 2 hours from here for the rest of this week until his group home bed was ready today. I met him in our town and took him to therapy and then to the Group Home. He was lucky to get a spot, he had some great people advocating for him with the supervisors at the group home and that they meant they made some exceptions and offered him a bed. We are so lucky that they did. They get trauma, they staff are trained in DDP ( dyadic developmental psychotherapy ) which is a fantastic thing and they kids like Randall.

It's going to be a huge shift for him and I have so many feelings about letting go of my boy but I did not really have any other choices. We are going to have to figure out how to support him and help him as best we can from here and hope that it is enough.


Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Let's Talk about the last 4 weeks.

We came home from vacation to messages from DCFS and the police due to the investigation that was started before the Christmas holidays. We rushed around and took children from here to there and tried our best to get the chaos under control.

 It didn't work.

We did not get it under control because about 12 hours after we got back from our trip Kate disclosed that Randall had been sexually inappropriate with her as well. It was much different then what had happened with Kevin and in some cases her idea but yet it was still wrong.

Randall is being charged and will move from our home next week and since the allegations we have not been allowed to leave them in the same place in our home for even a moment. There are adult eyes every time they are in the same room and it has made life impossibly hard.

I feel like such a failure as a parent, as a human, as a survivor myself. How did this happen? How did I miss it? Why didn't I push more when Kate spoke out at 6? Why didn't anyone hear her when she spoke the words aloud at school? Why are we all so very broken?

I feel so much shame and have no answers just more questions.

My shame has kept me from here because I have known how to admit to the universe that I have failed so profoundly.

People in my life keep telling me I did everything I could, I tried so hard and this is not my fault. My kids were broken when they came to me. My kids had already been hurt so very many times and the fact that they hurt each other is tragic but it is not as a result of anything I did... except adopt them.

I can hear that mantra somedays but today I am overwhelmed and feel like my life is never, ever going to get better.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

I don't even know where to begin.

* I started this post last week - then the carpet was ripped out from underneath me yet again and I fell to ground... I am working on getting back on my feet so I am finishing this post before I start another for which the title would actually be more relevant. I was going to include it here but there is just no way to do that.*


We just came back from a week away in the southern sun. Eat, sleep, knit, swim - repeat for 7 days. It was lovely. We took Kate and Randall and while Kate was mostly fantastic and enjoyable to be around Randall was so hard to be near. He was unhappy, sullen and resentful for much of the week. We let him do his own thing as much as possible because I did just not want to deal with the behaviour. I am pretty sure he drank himself into a pain free oblivion most days all with all the other hurting people at the all-inclusive resort we were at. We knew it was happening, we commented but short of holding his hand for 7 days we were really unable to stop it.

We have watched him struggle with alcohol already and he isn't even legal age yet. He leans towards alcohol and drugs because they numb his pain and although I get that, it breaks my heart to realize that  he will likely struggle with the issues for the rest of his life. He doesn't seem to understand the destruction they can cause even though he knows that his parents drug use is what brought him into the foster care system to begin with.

We talk and we talk, we provide examples from his life, we share news stories and yet we can not seem to get him to understand why his choices are an issue. It is so hard to stand back and watch the train fall off the tracks and to be completely help less to stop it.

Kate was better, there were some rocky moments for sure but she is 12 and that sort of explains everything in and of itself. She did not really make friends while we were there. There were other kids but she seemed unsure of herself so we just hung out together. We played cards and banangrams together while we drank mint the in the lobby. It was a good week for her I think.

I know that this is likely that last vacation we will take as a family and so I tried to hang on to it, to make it good even though it was really hard at times.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Glimmers of Goodness.

It's Christmas Eve and at this time of year I always get sick. I do to much and get run down and then end up in bed for days. You would think I would learn that this is not a good plan and change my choices... nope, not yet, was sick in bed all last week with a nasty stomach bug. Luckily I was the only one to get it.

While I was laid up for a week I spent a lot of time binge watching TV and thinking about the past year of my life. 2018 has mostly sucked in so many ways but there are little glimmers of goodness that stand our amid all of the really, really hard parts.

The fact that Kate and Randall spoke up about what happened in our home, that they broke the silence and we are dealing with all that is now happening is a good thing. It means that they can now heal and move forward rather than living with all the secrets hanging over their heads. It has been hard, impossibly hard to navigate but it was going to have to come out eventually and we are moving forward.

The dog, we got a puppy in March of this year and she brings me joy and love on a daily basis. I was never that person who doted on their dogs and took them everywhere and in fact I was rather judge of those people. I am no longer judging because I have become that person. The dog is so genuinely pleased to see me each and every time I come home and it is so nice to be loved so unconditionally by her.

My therapist, oh my gosh I am so grateful to the universe for connecting us last year before things got as impossibly hard. She has had my back at every turn this past year and most especially this fall as my world fell apart around me. She is always there calmly supporting me while we rebuild our lives and  figure out how we are going to move forward.

Medications, oh the regulation that they help to create for my kids is so good. I hope that one day Kate will manage on her own but until she gains that a ability I will be grateful for those pills. Randall will likely always need medication and it is amazing that we have access to all the things that he needs to help make him stable.

Friends, I have some amazing friends who have reached out and held me up as things got so very hard. I do not know where I would be if it were not for them.

I am hoping that 2019 brings new things and some calm to our lives. We are starting it off with a trip to the south because a week on the beach in the sun is always a good start to a new year.