Thursday, March 31, 2011


Raising any child involves the process of letting go. With a special needs child that process becomes a lot trickier. We are considering sleep away camp for GB. Since the Cons are easier, I will start with them.


  • GB has never slept anywhere without me except  a few single nights at my sisters.
  • Hope would be home and she wouldn't.
  • It is expensive- $10,000 for six weeks, $2200 for the one week I would agree to.
  •  A lot of new experiences, packed into one week. (Not GB's strong point)
  • Would have to trust someone else with GB's medication. (Not my strong point)
  • She is only eight!
Now for the harder to articulate Pros


  • It is a special needs camp, with a counselor to camper ratio that varies from 1:3 to 1:1
  • It is only 25 miles away.
  • GB is social- she loves friends!
  • It would give her a chance to stretch her wings and see how capable she really is.
  • The camp offers her kind of activities- swimming, campfires, horseback riding, arts and crafts, singing and dancing, drum playing and putting on plays.
  • Her disabilities would be approximately in the middle.
  • I have to start letting go sometime.
GB and I are hoping to go visit the camp this weekend, weather permitting. She will get to see the campus and the director will get to see her. After that I can speak with him again about how good a fit this camp would be for her.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Working on Changes

I need to make changes so that GB survives our adventure in adding to our family.

  • Hope and GB are in separate gymnastic classes.
  • I called the MHA today to set up ten hours of out-of home respite a month for Hope. 
  • I have an appointment with GB's case manager Tuesday to go over the services available for her.
  • GB's old daycare provider, who was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in Sept. 2009, called and said she was feeling well enough to do evening and weekend respite at her place. GB is thrilled!
  • I signed GB up for Challenger Softball without Hope.
  • Hope and the Dad are signed up for special needs swim lessons together on Saturday mornings.
  • The Dad spoke with the therapist yesterday. She will start doing sibling work with the two of them next week- back to back, so no extra driving AND she made it clear that fair did not mean the same.
  • I am considering separate bedrooms for the girls, at least for a while. I am not sure exactly how, but with a 6 bedroom house, it should be possible. Still need to convince the Dad.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hope No Likey

Today was my first day back soloing with the kids. Unfortunately, GB is still quite sick with strep. Hope no likey that. She wanted to stay home with strep today also. As a result, she forgot everything. She forgot how to put on her panties, she forgot where her shirts were kept. It took her forty five minutes to get dressed, which left her less than five minutes to eat her cereal. When I took the cereal away and said it was time to leave, she lost it,  pounding her feet and fists on the floor while screeching. She missed the bus and I had to drive her. We got to school and she *forgot* her book bag. I didn't bring it in.  I have already warned the school nurse what Hope is up to and that I will not pick her up unless she has a real fever.

It is hard to endure the cycles of a RADish. I know Hope gets scared when she doesn't get the lion's share of the attention. I know that anybody being acknowledged for an accomplishment makes Hope feel smaller. I understand that she is a black hole of love- adsorbing every little smidgen she can find and not letting any of it come back. I know, deep in my core, that Hope has control over none of this. It is not her fault.

Still. Her path to happiness is through these reactions to a place where she can love and be loved. A place where she can function in our family and, ultimately, in the world. I wish the path was easier for her. I wish a hug would make everything alright. And, today, I wish it was possible to take a break from being a therapeutic parent. But, like Hope, I will just have to get up, brush myself off, put on my big girl panties, and push on. I would look pretty silly pounding my feet and fists on the floor while screeching.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A New Beginning

GB is now under the care of the new psychiatrist. We are weaning her off the Geodon and then hopefully the Lithium. She starts on Invega (1.5 mg) as soon as the drug store gets them in. The druggist said it is expensive, about twice as much as the Geodon, which ran about $1400 a month. It is the latest and greatest, so  am hoping that our insurance company (which doesn't like L & G) will cover it without a battle. It is chemically similar to Risperdal, but the rate of side effect is only 4% - much better than Risperdal's record. We will have to go for regular blood work, but that is a small price to pay for stability.

Keeping GB close to me helped GB a lot. She was much more grounded. However, the better GB did, the more Hope struggled. The shrink this morning was not surprised. She expected it. She also said that the more comfortable Hope got, the more refined the sneakiness would become. She is going to speak to the girls' therapist on Wednesday. She also recommended that we start sibling therapy for them. I don't know where we can fit it in or even who does it, but I will start working on it tomorrow.  She also recommended that I continue to keep GB right by me and continue to prohibit access to the girls by people who don't get it.

I sent GB's bio grandmother this link which has Brenda's letter to grandparents of RADishes and she read it. I saw a big difference in her interactions with the girls when we went swimming Saturday. Thank you Brenda :)

I am hopeful we can meet GB's needs as we sloooowly integrate Hope into our family.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trauma Mama

I have been reading Lori, over at (link removed at blogger's request)  for a while now. Why? Her viewpoint is very different from mine and it is usually good to hear contrasting views. It makes you think. You can read the whole post, if you want, or here is an excerpt:

Pet Peeves....

Ok, there is something that just makes me want to scream.  Yep, I am intolerant of certain things after all, I am human.  So I figured that rather than ignore this stuff, I wanted to put it out there, after all, I am betting I am not alone!

Kids -

Specifically other people's children and certain places and behaviors. 

I hate when I am trying to buy groceries and there is a small child, or even a large child, pulling things off the shelves and putting them here there and every where in the aisle or several aisles over.... Nothing like reaching for a box of cereal and getting a handful of the quickly melting ice cream that the kid picked up in frozen foods - just as mom realized she hadn't picked up the cereal.....

I hate when I am trying to enjoy a meal and the people's kid behind me, or even close to me in the same section is screaming and/or sharing their food with the entire area.  After all, you know I paid for that meal as much as they did.

I hate it when a child is a smart ass.  No one thinks your kid is cute when they are being nasty and rude..... and swearing and being nasty are not ever cute.

As I was reading this, it pushed a button in me. There are a lot of children that are special needs, older, have behavior problems. Society wants us to adopt. When we adopt these children, they don't know how to function in a family, much less in the world. That is the job we accepted (knowingly or unknowingly) when we adopted them. This is the post I left in response.

How do you expect them to learn if they are never exposed? Three of my adopted children came to me after the age you would expect them to know how to act in public. None of them had ever eaten in a restaurant, gone to a play, or even had experience going to B&N. The only way they get this experience is to take them places. We always talk about what they can expect when they get there and what behavior we expect from them. It is a process and we rarely get through these experiences without a meltdown. We always take them to the car when they do meltdown, until they are regulated and can try again.

People who try to pierce the back of our heads with their glares are not appreciated. There is a whole other adoption world out there that you have apparently missed. Birth mothers and the trauma they left behind do not leave the option to pretend they don't exist. They are part of our children and we are always careful to be both positive and honest. Those pictures go in treasure boxes, safe with the child. The anger some of my children feel at their birth parents came with them, not from me. I am a Trauma Mama and damn  proud of it. I live and breathe to see my kids make it, not only in my family, but in the real world. A "paper mama" couldn't begin to do what I do.

It has been a couple of hours since I left this, but I am still hot. I am going to file this away until I cool down.

I have cooled down. I am trying to figure our why this blog sets me off  sometimes. A birth mother railing  about "Life's not fair" is only part of it. This particular post had nothing to do with being a birth mother or really adoption at all. If I had a birth child who was autistic or bipolar (like my sister) these behaviors would still be an issue. Even though it would be a child who had always be mine, these issues would still be real. Maybe I am tired of all the judgment that happens everywhere, while seemingly totally inappropriate behavior is glorified in the media.   Maybe I am so out there that I am looking for compassion coupled with standards. Or maybe it has just been a long couple of weeks and I just need to stop reading her blog. After all, she is probably doing the best she can, too. Just like the rest of us.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Today, my back to healthy day, I took the girls swimming and lasted in the pool for two hours. GB and I had a great time. The Dad and GB's Grandma came so there was a lot of attention for both girls. Hope enjoyed a little of the afternoon, but most of the time, she was utterly dysregulated. We had multiple episodes of ear-piercing shrieks, that echoed across the large room housing the pool. We had physical threats, but no actual physical attacks. All three of the adults were called names and subject to obnoxious behavior. We ignored it as best we could, but it was difficult. Hope wanted all the attention all the time and since that is never possible, she refused to couldn't be content. We went out to dinner and now I am in bed, sore and exhausted, but pleased. GB had a good day and I am ready to try again tomorrow.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The End of Winter

On Wednesday, my kids went to school for two hours. On Thursday, they were at the school for four hours. Of course, that was only because The Dad forgot to get them off the bus. Today was a scheduled 1/2 day- another two hours. The girls really don't need this time stuck in the house together. At this point, I really wish they had there own rooms.They simply can't take any amount of time without direct supervision. I kept GB with me this afternoon. Tomorrow, I think I will just decide to be  healthy. I will get up and see how far I can carry that. I just can't stay in bed and watch anymore.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Help for GB

GB had her last appointment with the new psychiatrist last night. The Dad and I meet with the new shrink on Monday, without GB, to makes medication changes.

Medication changes are not the only thing that was done to help GB. The shrink spent 45 minutes with GB and unlike the play therapist, listened to what GB was saying. When the Dad joined them. the shrink asked GB to share with her Dad what she had shared with the shrink. GB refused. The shrink told the Dad that the top priorities are 1) getting GB stable on medication and 2) the effect of Hope. The shrink said we will talk about it Monday. I will be there.

After the appointment was done, the Dad took GB to the Olive Garden, her favorite place to eat. They had a long, leisurely dinner, and GB had her Dad's undivided attention. She came home more regulated than I have seen her in weeks. It took less than 45 minutes to settle her down last night and she woke up in a reasonable space, even with a two hour snow delay.

Hope, on the other hand, gave MK a ride for her money... tears, screaming, arms crossed; and neither GB nor I were involved  :)

We can do ANYTHING until Monday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vermont Considers "Death with Dignity"

Post on other blog.

Our School District and Snow

Our school district is long out of snow days and is shortening the remaining school holidays as we go. Last night they posted that schools would be open this morning and the kids would be bused back home after two hours.  It hardly seems worth the energy to have someone get them to the bus so that they can get off the bus two and a half hours later. Mind you, the snow hasn't even started yet. Schools rely on the weatherman being right; go figure.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Manic Monday

Court was this morning and I survived. So did the baby. MK and Boo? That's posted on the other blog.

I used the last hour to get in touch with GB's therapist at school. She  said she has seen the increased physical tension in her body for over two months, but GB won't talk about it. I told her about GB's increasing inability to handle Hope's manipulations. I told her about my being away for surgery hasn't helped She told me GB had mentioned seeing her birth mother.

The day I was operated on, GB's bio-grands had picked her and Hope up from the bus and took them back to their house. While they were there, GB's BM showed up, with her son. I knew nothing about this until well after the fact. This weekend GB asked me to help her talk to Grandma and Grandpa. I asked what she wanted to talk about. She said she didn't like seeing BM at their house and she wanted to tell them not to do it anymore but she was afraid they would be mad. I promised her as soon as I was able to manage it, we would go talk to her grandparents. One more thing she did not need to deal with, especially right now.

The therapist at school is going to spend more one-on-one time with GB. I told her if she needed the IEP amended for more sessions a week to let me know. Today I wouldn't mind blowing at someone, and the Very Stupid Chairperson would make a great target.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Troubling Week

I start this with the admission both of my little ones are having a rough time. I was hoping it was largely caused by the Dad and I being on different pages, in different books. It is more than that. I took GB into my bed Thursday night and started stroking her face. I moved to her neck, then down her arms. I hummed very softly and waited. GB eventually settled in and started talking. I wasn't sure if she was talking to me or to herself. I listened without breaking my rhythm. At first I thought it was just random thoughts she was throwing out. It wasn't. After letting her ramble for 15 minutes, she was able to come back to this thought: Hope was really good at acting cute, everybody loves Hope acting cute, and GB has no idea how to handle it. She spoke about how sad she felt when people preferred Hope over her. She spoke wistfully about the kind voices people use with Hope and how much she liked it when people used that voice with her. It doesn't happen much any more. I kept stroking her and she fell asleep. I cried.

Some changes are easy.  Some changes aren't. Next week, when I am up again, I will pull Hope from GB's gymnastic class and put her in a class an hour before GB's. I will keep GB next to me so I can intervene quickly. I don't know what else I can try, but I will have to figure it out.

Today, Hope cried and whined all afternoon. Everybody used soothing voices and tried to make everything better. MK and Booboo took her for a walk and gave her money for the dollar store. Not once did anyone get loud or forceful with Hope, even after 6 hours of her screaming, crying, and saying she hate them. GB did not hear that soothing, calming voice from anybody but me.

Sometimes Hope is cute, bright and charming. When she plays cute, it is very different. Her smile is different,  she is running the show. The tears go on and off in a nanosecond. So does her "I am afraid to find my shoes", "You don't love me", " I just want a hug, that's all", onto mindless, high pitch screeching. And yet, after six hours of this, nobody has run out of patience.

Except me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Am Back!

Did you miss me? I have been gone because of surgery and complications. I wrote about it on my other blog.

There was only two days between Orlando and my surgery, so I am not sure how much of the girls difficulties are related to each event. The Dad was on overload and that probably contributed to the girls falling apart too. Both girls see the new shrink today and I am hoping a medication change helps GB.

The Dad and I aren't reading the same book right now, much less on the same page. How do I know? When I try to talk about the girls, the stock response has been "Of course you feel that way" no matter what the topic is. GB is currently adamant that she DOES NOT want a sister and is very articulate in express it. She also is very clear that Hope lies to get her in trouble and feels nobody is listening to her. I have a call in to her therapist in school. Hope is crying over everything. The Dad is soft and quiet with Hope and jumps all over GB. I find myself trying to be a barrier between GB and the stress she is feeling. Not a good situation. I have been waiting for the Dad to be in a less overwhelmed space. I am not sure how long I'll have to wait.

Orlando gave me some of my perspective back and at least I do not have to fight my own anger. Either we will come to a place where we can talk about things again or not. If we don't, as soon as I am released from restrictions on what I can do physically, he will go back to being consumed by his job and I will go back to parenting solo. Either way, the situation will get resolved.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


"Out of surgery. High as a kite. Already taken 3 steps. Back in bed now. Thank you all for your support and encouragement."

.....typing services provided by GB's dad. She's a trooper and doing great.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

After Orlando

Orlando continued to be wonderful because of the people there. Everybody had their own story, but the pain was the same. My plane was 2 hours late Monday, but Booboo picked me up. He told me everyone else in the house was sick. The girls, besides getting over being sick, are very needy. GB could articulate how much she missed me and needed and received extra cuddles and talks. Hope is crying and screaming and saying I hate her. She turns it off instantly when the Dad comes in the room. Not getting aggravated. Orlando was so refreshing  :)

I have to be at the hospital by 6 am tomorrow, which means leaving here by 4:30. I am having a total replacement of my left hip. I hope to see GB on her birthday Thursday and if the hospital was wifi, I will try to post from there.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Being Brave!

I am essentially a none social person. I don't like meeting strangers. I don't like loud, crowded rooms. I need a lot of contact with someone before I give friendship a chance. Yet not only did I go to the Orlando Rad Mom's retreat, but I agreed to be house mother. Corey said I didn't have to do anything I didn't want to do. I had a couple of people that I was already friends with- J., Jennie, Lisa. I really, really wanted to see them. I really wanted to meet Dia por Dia. Hope had a 103 fever. I really didn't want to leave her. I am having my hip replaced Wednesday and I really didn't want to leave GB either. My white matter syndrome makes what kind of a day I have a toss up. Friday and Saturday were not so good days; Today, Sunday, has been a good day so far.

I felt really lucky at the airport Friday, because when I found the welcoming committee, I knew who everyone was. I got to ride from the airport to the main house with J! I lost my phone at the airport, but since I had already texted the Dad and MK that I was safely here, I didn't worry about it. It was found and turned in, so I can pick it up on my way home tomorrow. Glad I didn't waste anytime worrying :-) When I got to the main house, everybody was friendly and welcoming, but it didn't matter. I got to hug Lisa! Jennie was there real and in person. We went to our villa at 4 o'clock and it was stunning. The swimming pool was at least 100 degrees. Physically, I was very tired. My balance was off and the tremors were noticeable. I went out to see the pool and contemplate sticking my feet in or maybe even swimming. I slipped and fell. I landed on my left hip. I have a big bruise, but it doesn't hurt anymore than it did  before I fell.  I decided to rest instead of going to the purse party. There were going to be too many people in too little space anyway.

I slept late Saturday, but was ready for my spa trip. I have never had any massage except from my cousin massaging my neck, but I decided to jump in. I went for a full body massage and even did it nude. It started with some soft music that really wasn't music. I was laying on my belly and this really nice smell drifted into be. I was trying to figure out what it was when the massage started. I remember the therapist going around my body in an orderly fashion. I noticed when she massaged my head. It was all perfect. There was no sense of time passing. I felt a sharp stab of peppermint flow through me and the massage was over and I was awake. An hour had passed in the real world, although it was timeless in my world. I was so glad that I had risked something new. I went for a haircut and met a master haircutter. She was young and nice and worked steadily on my hair, a little snip at a time. It took longer than any haircut I have ever had, but I had no trouble sitting still. It might have been a left over from the message. I still look exactly like me, only better.

I had dinner with my housemates and spent hours listening and talking to new people and it was easy. They went out to visit other houses around 11ish, and I went to bed. I have a hard time walking when I can't see where I'm going; I was not about to try it in the dark. It was a good choice- I woke up refreshed before eight this morning. I took a long bubble bath, complete with the pink ducky Corey gave me, put on clean PJs and went with Lori to be the finish line for the 5K. Three of our housemates finished and it was fun cheering everyone on. I went swimming, had lunch, and am off to the parents panel... coming here was a great idea. I am happy I took the chance. This is better than I ever dreamed it would be.