Thursday, December 31, 2009

Soooo sleepy...

Since Dallas has been on the 2mg dose of Intuniv, he's been unusually sleepy during the day. He' s not raged or melted down or shown any opposition -- which is the goal, but he's not "himself" either. His eyelids always look heavy, he has much, much less energy and motivation, and his enthusasm is so much less. His affect is kind of "flat". He says he doesn't feel good, and I'm afraid that the tiredness is what he's feeling. I've tried to reach his pdoc twice and only getting answering service, so I'm pretty sure she is out of the office until Monday.

I hope this is just his body adjusting to the medication change, as this is the dose his doctor prescribed. He goes back to school and to OT on Monday, so we'll get a better picture by then. For now, my boy who never ever napped, even at 4 years old, and who could stay up all night and exist (but horribly) on 5 hours of sleep, has had two naps in one week. I don't like the feeling he's being sedated by this medication. Not at all.

Why does it feel like it's always either one extreme or the other?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another adoptive family wanting to give up...


As an adoptive mom of a special needs child who came from foster care with issues (some apparent but most latent), and later diagnosis much like this 11 year old child in OK, I have to say that I can’t imagine ever “returning him”. He’s my son through thick and thin, for better or worse. I made a forever commitment to him to be his mother. I also have to say that rather than lobby the state to “take children back”, there needs to be a lobby of the state(s) to offer more resources (such as federally-mandated and federal or state-funded residential therapeutic treatment) for families that adopt special needs children who need more intensive services than they can receive in-home.

There should also be the option of renegotiating adoption subsidies and post adoption services that rise to the level of need of individual families, rather than some arbitrary figure that fits in the state adoption budget. Finally, the state needs to take some financial and social responsibility for children who have been in their care and custody while in fostercare and that THEY have promoted to the damage that these children suffer – we need biological parent case plans with a shorter timeline to either reunification or termination, adherence to the federally-mandated ASFA, appropriate and immediate therapy for every.single.child in fostercare who has suffered the trauma of loss, disruption, multiple transitions, abuse or neglect, and family court judges and caseworkers who are trained to PREVENT situations such as the damage done to this child and the fear this family experiences as they are basically “thrown to the wolves” once the ink is dry on the adoption order.

Lastly, pre-adoptive parents going into older child adoption need to KNOW (through intensive education, training, and networking) that there is always the potential for serious issues and love alone is not a cure all. Adoptive parents need to go in understanding that the child may not attach to you, be grateful you adopted him, or even show love at all. He may transfer all the pain he’s suffered onto you. The only reward you should expect is knowing you gave the child a chance at a future.

Most of these children were already given up on by their first parents. They were hurt, and the trauma and fear runs very, very deep. They are terrified… of the past and future, of being loved, of not being loved, of moving again, of life, of monsters in the dark coming to hurt them again, of giving love, of letting their guards down, of loving someone, of loving themselves, of never being able to love, of being damaged or unlovable, of being hurt again. That’s often why they have knives under their pillows. These children need intensive therapy and immediate help.

These traumatized adoptive families who have been pushed to their limits financially, emotionally and often physically need support. Giving the child back should not be an option ever — but – the state has some responsibility to these families they helped create. The state needs to pony up the resources instead of allowing/forcing families to give up on their children.

No, I’d never DREAM of sending my child “back” into the state’s custody, where a good deal of his damage occurred! I would (and have) however, kick down doors to get him the therapy, education, medication and other services he needs. Then kick some more down. You fight! You don’t give up on your child and take your story to the media looking for sympathy and pats on the back, exposing your child to the potential shame and ridicule of being "given back" or being "beyond help". You use that same energy and media exposure to fight for more resources and more HELP, not a way out. You make that goal very clear to the media. And especially to the child.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Well, I am I am THRILLED to report that we had a fabulous, fun, joyful Christmas holiday! No meltdowns, no horrible behavior, no over stimulation (at least not to an unmanageable level), nothing bad at all. And boy did we push him to the limit: Late nights, travel, multiple parties and social gatherings, lots of extended family visits, unfamiliar people, and lots of chocolate and sugar and candy. And still, he was PERFECT.

My son tells me that this was "The best Christmas I've ever had in my life!" Oh yeah!

I have to say, it was one of the best I've ever had too. I went in not expecting much - and ready for the worst as the weeks leading up were simply horrible and so stressful - and came out stunned at how well everything went. The opposition is down to a small trickle, no rages, no meltdowns, no ugly names and replaced with a child who has been loving and kind and even a teeny bit snuggly -- and who even politely refused to eat a candy cane given to him by a friend, and instead hung it on our Christmas tree as it "has red dye in it".

My son is very, very, very proud of himself. And he knows how proud we are too. Whether it's the med change, a cycle ending, a break from school, the spirit of Christmas, or all or none of these is a mystery. But I like it!

Ahhh, the afterglow is wonderful and I'll be soaking it all up as long as it lasts.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fa la la la la

Yesterday, we had an "emergency" pdoc appointment. Christmas season has been rough on Dallas, and on us. So many PTSD triggers, over-stimulation, anticipation and change of routine for his little body and mind to handle, so he's had several bad episodes. His mania cycle has finally wound down some after a solid month (gah!), and now it's swinging to the other side into depression (with some suicidal ideation again). This is his pattern -- mania, depression then stable for a few months. His cycles always seem to run like that.

The 100 mg. Lamictal med increase has helped some, but not as well as we had hoped. His PT had previously noted that though his mania seems more controlled, his inattention and lack of focus is a real problem. At home, he is still explosive and oppositional and unfocused, and a bit...ummm...giddy..

In response to the Lamictal med increase not working as well as we'd hoped, his pdoc prescribed a newly marketed and FDA-approved medication for ADHD/bipolar called Intuniv. We begin a titration pack today, in addition to his Lamictal in hopes that this med cocktail will be the magic bullet that gets and keeps him stable. I hate to send him off to camp, where no one knows his issues or can monitor his moods/behavior, but praying it will all go well.

We enrolled him in sports camp for the Christmas break to help him get out his excess energy, still follow a "get up, dressed, and go" routine, and give me some much-needed quiet time alone. He seems to love camp so far. I told my husband I'd go without any gifts at all, if I had to, just to pay for the camp. It's that worth it. He came home happy, had a good therapy session afterwards, and went to bed happy, so that is wonderful!! Physical activity and sports -- strenuous and prolonged, really seems to help calm him.

Knowing me, I probably won't post another entry until after Christmas, so have a great holiday, and if you are dealing with challenges in your own family, I wish you PEACE, JOY and STABILITY. :-)

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

At least he loves me

Things are still rough around here, but hopefully improving...? We had a pdoc appointment on Tuesday and his doctor upped his dosage of Lamictal by 100%, from 50 mg. to 100 mg. Today seemed a bit better finally. Calmer. Easier.

Apparently, his recent mania cycle was triggered by both the holidays and my starting a new job outside the home. Even though I assured him over and over again that nothing would change for him and I'd still be there for him after school, for therapy appointments, and he wouldn't even know I was not home when he was in school, it affected him... and threatened his security. In a huge way. I am working as a teacher's assistant at a Kindergarten preschool, and he's terribly upset that I am teaching "babies" and not sitting here (at home) waiting for him. No amount of reasoning or explaining or reassurance could get him to understand that I am not forsaking him. Hopefully, in time, he'll get more comfortable. This particular job was one I chose BECAUSE it allowed me to be there for him outside of school hours. He's tried several times to sabotage me, and make me late for work so I'll "get fired". Sigh.

Hoping he'll begin to see that it's all going to be OK and no one is abandoning him. And hoping tomorrow is an even better day. Right now, I'm feeling like I'm giving all I can give and going in 10 different directions with PTA Board volunteer stuff, work, motherhood, special needs, therapy appointments, Christmas preparation, and being a wife. Poor husband gets the crummy end of the stick most of the time, so that's why he's last on that list. Thank God we had a night out, sans kid, on my birthday Tuesday. It was Heaven, and it's been ages since we had a night out alone with other adults for company. But boy did we ever pay the piper later that night with a big, ole meltdown rage when we brought him home from the babysitter. A craptastic end to a great night. But nothing we hadn't expected might happen. It's how we live our life now. We play, we pay. That's why we don't play much these days. Thank God me and hubby are a united front most of the time, and we already had many years together, before Dallas, to play. :-)

He's still doing great in school, if a little bit too chatty and distracted at times. No rages, no meltdowns and good grades. When I asked him how is it that he can control himself at school, and not call his teacher ugly names like "stupid" or disobey her rules, he had an answer for me rather quickly. He said, "Mom, I don't love my teacher, I only like her. I love you."

And that my friends, is how his mind works. At least he loves me.