Well, life certainly has a way of interrupting your best blogging intentions. But the way things are going, I think getting back to this might be important both as a processing place for me, and a source of solidarity and information for others. Because being a foster-adoptive parents isn’t for wimps, yo.
Let me back up about a month. The Kiddo and I went to visit my parents. While there, we decided to go to Target and pick up a binder and folders to help him become more organized (um, still a work in progress even with the right tools). In the car on the way to the store, he and I were talking about friends of ours, a lesbian couple who have an infant. E asked if they’d used “one of those sperm banks.” In one of those “don’t-laugh-don’t-laugh-don’t-laugh” parenting moments, when I said they had, E replied, “Oh, please tell me she didn’t have to swallow it–please tell me they gave it to her in a shot.” Seriously.
So, this led to a lovely discussion on the biology of human reproduction. I think he knew the mechanics of intercourse, but presented with a baby created without those mechanics, he was at a loss. We covered it pretty thoroughly–I even drew out a uterus, falloppian tubes, and ovaries with my finger on my leg–and I was congratulating myself on a conversation well-handled.
Ah, naivete. That following week, behavior was horrible, crying was rampant…ugh. It was awful. Turns out, E’s bio-mom had told him that his baby brother didn’t have a father, that he came from heaven. So our lovely reproduction lesson informed him that she had lied to him. And so began an intense period of grief and anger that’s still surrounding him, and us.
E had a visit with his bio-mom the day after Valentine’s Day (side-note: our V-day was rocky, but when E pulled out a bouquet of fake roses and asked if he could be my son always, well…you try keeping your eyes clear). Anyway, so at this visit, he apparently just let go and expressed some of the anger he’s feeling. And God bless his social worker for letting him and not intervening. Apparently the visit ended with everyone–E, his bio-mom, and his sister–in tears, but since E is a kid who often bottles up feelings, I think it was helpful.
Now, he’s been wrestling with his desire to stop visits for a while. The adults have listened and are taking the steps necessary to get the court to sign on to that, but for now, he gets a break until the judge makes a decision, whenever that is.
Not that he really gets a break. He cries–sobs, screams, rages–almost every night now. He is in a world of pain, and hates it. On the one hand, I know it’s healthy that he’s expressing his feelings, whereas many kids take years to process their grief and it comes out in behavior and other ways, but it’s still hard.
I spent a night away from him this weekend, as I had to accompany my confirmation students to a retreat. He stayed with a family he really likes, but the boys stayed up until 2:30am. And were awake at 7. He did end up taking a nap for a bit yesterday afternoon, but I’m sure he’s still over-tired. He apparently didn’t sleep well last night, and so began the morning in tears, saying he was tired and didn’t want to go to school. While school is not our top priority right now given his emotional state, and I’ve considered keeping him home for a “mental health day” a couple times over the last few weeks, I decided to make him go, if for no other reason than to help distract him from his thoughts for a little while. And, ok, and in full disclosure, I also needed the break. There, I said it.
Now I, of course, am also tired, having been up late myself Friday night with 8th graders and basically worked the entire weekend save Saturday night’s sleep and a couple hours yesterday afternoon. I’m also PMS-ing, which means my patience is about nil. So when I’d comforted and hugged and back-rubbed for a bit and E’d gotten dressed, and then I turned around to find him wearing the cargo pants which are not allowed by the uniform policy and got him a day of in-house suspension the last time he wore them–so he KNEW not to wear them, I lost it. We got into a huge argument in which both of us were yelling, slamming doors, etc. When faced with the “I’m not going to school!!” from E, I countered that I would pick him up and put him in the car myself and if he was still crying and screaming that’s how he’d show up at school.
It was not my best moment.
But as is often the case, he turned it back on himself. Said I should just “send him back.” Said that he ruined everything, that he made everyone hate him. Sigh. The message that every kid gets angry and that family arguments are normal and not a reflection on his character has not gotten through. He’s also feeling something–guilt maybe?–about not being happy even though he “should” be since he’s getting the care and love he’s wanted and deserved. Of course, I know that it’s not that simple, but as a kid…well, I think maybe he expected it to be all good, all the time, and for his past to just disappear. Sigh again.
He also said he wanted to die. I don’t at all think he’s really suicidal, but it’s a significant step down from the “I don’t want to live like this” he has been saying, and deserved to be taken seriously, so I’m calling his therapist today.
I managed to get him to change his pants, tuck his shirt in, put on his belt and brush his teeth. He cried through most of it, stopping periodically to scream at his bio-mom (this is what most of his raging is–talking to her “ghost,” in a way) or beat the teddy bear she’d given him at the last visit against the bed or wall, or stomp on it. He said he plans on tearing it apart this afternoon. I’ll also mention this to his therapist.
Before we headed out the door, I hugged him again and mentioned that it must feel really bad to be so angry at someone you’re supposed to love, and who is supposed to love you. He said that she doesn’t love him, and for the first time, I disagreed with him (usually I just stay silent and listen). I told him I thought she probably does love him, just isn’t able to show it the way she needs to. He replied that “that’s why she should be in a cuckoo house.” Ah, well. I tried.
I drove him to school, and waited until just before he got out of the car to remind him he has detention this afternoon (his whole class got it for acting up, but it was postponed last week due to weather). Not exactly what he needs today.
I’ll be trying to get some things done this morning that take focus, as I have a strong suspicion that the school is going to call at some point. I really hope not–I really hope he can turn his day around, or at least keep it together until he gets home–but I’m not very optimistic.
Anyway, that’s where we are, just over 3 months into the placement, wrestling with angels and demons and ourselves. And pretty sure someone’s going to end up with a limp.