I deleted the other post and put the revised version here.
I must be feeling a little sensitive today. Isn't it amazing that you can get 10 positives and one negative can just suck the life out of you. It's like all I can hear in my head. Blech!
It's so easy to judge a mess of words on a page. It's easy to judge anyone or anything if you don't live with it. No matter how much we try to show the big picture it doesn't work. You have to live and breathe it 24/7 to get it. Believe it or not I don't share everything here. I can't blog about half the behaviors because I am not ok with sharing this information. Besides I'm not near as eloquent or funny as all you dear cyber friends and I have never once claimed to be a great communicator. I would say that I wish you could get inside my head but I think you'd just get dizzy in the swirling mess. I know I do.
There is a distinct severity level to J's RAD not to mention all the traumas and the moves and all the families that couldn't live with her behaviors. There is a spectrum to RAD. Helen Keller is on one end of the spectrum, then there's lots of middle ground, on the other end is Ted B*ndy, Jeffrey Dahm*r, etc.. Unfortunately J is on the far end. I knew this before I got her. Her s/w and GAL deemed her a seri*l killer at 3. Evaluations by psychologists and psychiatrists printed it out in black and white. They wanted to move her into a RTC and to consider her unadoptable. I saw hope and begged for her. I admit there was some whining in there too. ;-)
The rules are always the same and have been the same for 2 years and 5 days. Consequences on the other hand change constantly. What works today probably won't work tomorrow. It's just a fact. For instance, this morning I gave her a small stuffed mouse that I filled up with my pink love to use as a transition piece. During the day when she's with her homeschool teacher if she misses me all she has to do is hold the mouse and she can feel my love. This is done hoping she will transition better with her teacher today instead of torturing her, trying to kill her, etc. Will it work today? It has so far. Will it work tomorrow. Very doubtful. This afternoon if she is self-mutilating again I will tell her to run along to the bathroom and pick to her hearts content for 5 minutes. She will quit self-mutilating for the rest of the evening. Tomorrow I will have to come up with something different because it won't work anymore. Tomorrow I will re-invent the wheel because that's what RAD moms do. Every. Day.
My expectations have changed. I really thought lots of bonding, therapy, therapeutic parenting and tons of love would make all this anger dissipate and she would be just a normal little girl. I have lowered my expectations but my hopes are still high.
We have had 3 different RAD specialized therapists say that we need an in-home, full-time therapist living with us. J still sleeps with an alarm on her door, Puddin & I sleep behind double locked doors.
28 homes before age 5 and the longest she ever made it was 9 months. These were all 2 parent homes. Most homes couldn't sustain the abuse for more than 2 months. One home couldn't take it after 24 hours. She was 3 at that time. She has been subjected to traumas that would bring seasoned adults to their knees in a quivering mess. She is a fighter. She had to be. Every day existence was life or death. Literally in every sense of the word.
Tonight I watched last week's episode of ER. Part of the storyline was about a little girl who tried to kill her sister. It was amazingly and fearfully familiar.
Don't get me wrong...there has been a vast amount of improvement and I am so beyond happy for her. At some point she has to want to get better. I still have hope that she will make more progress. I love her to pieces and I want only the best for her. I try and I try and I try because I believe she can make it. Many times I see glimpses of a heart. I know it's there. A sweet little soul trying to get out. I believe she's in there. It's just too scary to trust because when you've been through trauma, after trauma, after trauma you do tend to lose faith. I'm keeping the faith for her until she can claim it for her own. I am her mother forever even though she doesn't want me. She is my daughter forever no matter what she does.
I didn't want to lose everyone's comments so I've listed them here: (Tracee, I'll email you tomorrow.)
The Cunninghams said...
I am so proud of you. I do not see how anyone can find fault in you parenting. You are doing the darn near impossible.
October 28, 2008 2:52 PM
WOW!! That made me cry--especially the last 2 lines!! You are AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING!! J is VERY lucky to have you!!
October 28, 2008 3:00 PM
Alyssa's Mom said...
It takes all kind of ignorant people to judge others.
You my dear are a cut above!
Stay strong and do what you know is right!
October 28, 2008 3:19 PM
Kristina P. said...
Oh, Lisa. How heartbreaking. I have working with kids who I know will be sociopaths when they get older. It's no one's fault, and it's not fair, but hopefully, they can experience a little bit of love in their lives.
October 28, 2008 3:49 PM
reading your stories reminded me of the nancy thomas training i went to last year. you are one brave, strong woman! and it must be the most difficult thing in the world to set aside one set expections for another. you are doing right by J and she deserves that...and you deserve the respect of so many people.
October 28, 2008 4:54 PM
Big hugs from your Texas friend (and everything is bigger in Texas so that's huge!)! I know you are an amazing mom, as do most of the commenters, but as Viv says in Pretty Woman, "It's easier to believe the bad stuff." (or something like that).
Focus on your progress with J (and it is immense), if not for you, where would she be now? You did not break her, you cannot mend her perfectly, but she (and many other people, including me) is/are better for having known you. You are doing the best you know how and that is better than good enough!
Know that you have my ultimate admiration! I know that I am only half the mother that you are (and I still count my kids lucky). I have a husband and a mom that lives close by - I don't know how you do it alone. You rock!
October 28, 2008 5:14 PM
What a shocking, frightening, heartbreaking story. I wish only the best for you both. No matter what, you have improved J's life.
I'm curious about something (tell me if it's none of my business): how did a single woman with presumably no parenting experience get workers to agree to let you adopt a child with so many challenges? The only reason I ask is because I'm also single and trying to adopt from foster care and my worker is very cautious about what I should attempt to take on behavior-wise. Other workers have also mentioned my lack of parenting experience and the fact that I have no support from a second parent. I'm not even looking at the kids with lots of behavioral issues or diagnosed psychiatric problems either. Just wondering how this happened the way it did for you and J.
October 28, 2008 5:31 PM
Oh, Lisa, that's a heartbreaking story and I know it's still only a small bit of your reality. You're totally inspiring and it's very clear that no matter how far J can eventually go into the light, you've been and incredible force for good in her life.
October 28, 2008 6:26 PM
I'm new to your blog and your life, but I have to say- I'm stunned and filled with respect.
October 28, 2008 7:53 PM