Oh, LORDY, ladies (and gents)! This motherhood thing is totally kicking my ass. J moved in on 12/18 - so it's been less than 1 month. We had a couple days home, then a week in Seattle with family, then home for the rest of the week, and school started. We're mid-way through her second week of school.
Where to begin? Okay, TANTRUMS with a capital T which rhymes with pee and that's a problem, too... nearly daily tantrums that include kicking, screaming, pounding feet, flailing on the floor, running through the house screaming, hitting things, kicking doors and walls, pushing the furniture around... Also usually included defiance of any requests (take your meds, go to your room, sit down, chillax, stop screaming in my ear). What sets her off? The word "no." She's completely absorbed in herself & what she wants. Is any of this surprising given that I'm her 10th placement and she's had 3 adoption disruptions so far due at least in part to behaviors? No. Was ALL of this clearly identified for me prior to placement? No. Did I ask all of the right questions and demand answers? Maybe not entirely. Do I feel at least partly duped by the system? Yes.
BUT - I've hopefully made it abundantly clear that in order to avoid yet another disruption, we need help. We need services. And that is FINALLY starting to happen.
Last Sunday a behavior coach came in, and we'll have regular visits starting in another week. We had our first appt with her new regular counselor today. Our "stabilization team" is now on the case, so I can call 24/7 - either to the team or to the crisis line - if I feel I need any help at all. I also have a family support person who will work directly with me to find coping skills so I don't burn out. I also have an advocate with my adoption center (in addition to my regular worker) who helps to ensure I get what I need - and that I'm asking for what I need. I've seen her once, and we have a second appt. tomorrow. I haven't seen my family support person yet, and the stabilization team will come out on Saturday for interviews and planning.
So at first there was no help - no support. And now we have it in abundance (maybe - we'll see if everyone shows up when they say they will, answers the phones during crisis, etc.).
The trip north for Christmas was okay. Poor dear didn't impress anyone. My mom is still supportive (not that my sister & dad are not, just much less enthusiastic), but she's as flumoxed as I as to just what to do with J - how to handle her behaviors. But J just isn't what my family hoped I would get. She's maybe not what I had hoped for either (sorry, just being honest), but I feel that's probably somewhat typical of older placements and I've done my share of grieving already. I was initially set - no matter what happens, it's her and I... Then the more extreme behaviors started and I felt unsupported and at a complete loss wondering whether or not I could do or even wanted to anymore. Today the folks with the white hats have shown up and I figure we might just make this work...
Pee - nightly, and sometimes daytime as well. But we just started a new plan yesterday of nightime bedwetting medication (an anti-diuretic). If that's not helping with increased doses weekly in about a month, then we can add an additional medication. We may also get a vibrating alarm watch that will go off every two hours and discipline J to use the bathroom during the day. And if she is extremely motivated to end the nighttime wetting, we can get a powerful vibrating alarm to shake her awake at the first sign of urine. These efforts should HOPEFULLY help her to be fairly consistently dry day and night within 4 to 6 months. But I can't say she's truly motivated yet. Something to work towards, though.
Attitude - with another capital letter A. She could put most teens to shame with this one (just as she puts toddlers to shame with her tantrum aptitude). I can honestly say that no one has ever been quite as mean to me - terrorizing even - as she has been to me. But, you know, it's not personal. She hates what I represent - failed parenting. Not that I'm failing necessarily - though she's working at it. That's what she expects. She's been able to wear down (and out) EVERYONE else. My goal is to hang in there and hope she straightens out with my guidance and consistency.
First, though, I need more practice not reacting to her misbehaviors. I'm expecting a tantrum this evening because I told her she can't play with the neighbor girls unless she finishes her homework (yesterday she didn't do her homework). She knows it, but she'll likely try to push it. But we need to turn things like play time around to not be her "right" that is sometimes taken away, but rather a "reward." So I'm sure I can begin "not reacting" tonight.
Soo, soo, soo much is happening. And I'm exhausted. And work is suffering. (Can you say "distraction"? Yesterday I got a work call and was completely thrown off -- the previous 3 calls had been J related. Had to stop work early Monday for a J-team meeting. Had to take time off to get her to the doctor's yesterday. Had to take time off for the counselor today. Will have to take time off tomorrow for one of the support workers. ...nothing Friday, I don't think... Stabilization team scheduled for after J's hip hop/tumbling class on Saturday.)
I'm honestly not sure how often I'll log into the blog (and sorry for not keeping up with all that's going on for my friends!! I've been really J-absorbed lately.), but if I get a few check-ins, reminders, I'll try to head back here to catch up.