Sunday, September 12, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
As for me and mine, I'll be back soon for a personal update from the trenches. Life has been one out of control roller coaster. Mama needed a break from both living it and writing about it. KWIM?
Friday, April 9, 2010
They should both be prosecuted.
Another scandal over adopted Russian child in US
Another scandalous case, concerning a child who was adopted by an American citizen, has triggered a new wave of anger in Russia. A 8-year-old boy, Artyom Savelyev, who does not speak Russian, has arrived in Russia from the USA alone with a note, saying that his adoptive mother had disowned him.
This outrageous case is not the first one in a long chain of abusive acts against Russian children, who were adopted by foreigners. But the Russian Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov, who is currently finding out the details of this barbarous case, says he does not remember that such an act of cynicism - meaning that a little child was sent back alone across the ocean - has ever occurred before:
"The boy had with him only a covering letter, saying the adoptive mother was giving up her the adoption rights because she did not want to destroy herself, her family and her relationships, as she says".
Artyom's adoptive mother was a single woman, Torry Ann Hansen from the State of Tennessee. Both diplomats and journalists are trying to contact her now, aiming to find out what were the motives of her deed. As is known, the boy has arrived in Russia on a United Company flight. Protecting its passengers' interests, the company is providing no information about those who were on board, but says that all the procedures necessary for children traveling alone, or Unaccompanied Minor Service, were observed. A person, Artyom Savelyev was not acquainted with, met him in Moscow. He was found through the Internet, and he received 200 dollars for bringing the boy to the Russian Ministry of Education and Science.
In an interview for the Voice of Russia psychologist - Academician Sergei Klyuchnikov from the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences - explains the possible motives for the action that was committed by the adoptive mother of Artyom Savelyev:
"Probably, the child proved to be a problematic one. I do not rule out that our services did not tell her frankly that the child had some problems, but she herself should have shown her will, attention and interest, and to weigh her own strength. The fact that the child was sent back demonstrates that a person - in this case, Torry Ann Hansen - has taken such a serious act as an adoption as an ordinary purchase and returned the boy, as if he were simply goods she did not like".
Artyom Savelyev lived in the USA under the name of Justin Hansen for 6 months. Earlier he was an inmate in an orphanage in Partizansk in the Maritime Territory in Russia. And most likely, he will have to return there. So much the better, because cruelties of adults to children are never justified.
According to the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, 16 Russian children have died over the past 17 years through the fault of foreign adoptive parents. Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov and the deputies of the United Russia faction defend the toughening of the foreign adoption procedure. Likewise, a number of experts insist on the strengthening of control of Russian children, adopted by foreigners. Regrettably, for the time being such a practice does not exist in Russia. We receive nice accounts with spectacular photos of happy children. And then we learn that the children were beaten and humiliated or that they were treated like animals there.
Time will be needed for both Russia and America to study all the particulars of the difficult case of Artyom Savelyev as people in the USA are also angered with the behaviour of the adoptive mother of the young boy.
Source: Voice of Russia.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Our Easter bunny always hides a dozen plastic eggs in our front yard. (easier to make sure all are accounted for). Some are stuffed with candy, and some with money. This morning Dallas only found 11 eggs, since the Easter Bunny apparently had had too many glasses of wine and couldn't remember where she planted all the eggs the night before. Bad bunny!
Our son looked and looked - and we helped him - and he was getting extremely upset - nearing meltdown stage - that he couldn't find #12 but wouldn't give up looking. So being the quick-thinking mom and dad we are, we ducked in the house and grabbed a spare plastic egg that we thankfully had leftover. I asked my hubby for some change or a dollar bill to slip inside, but he only had big bills, and NO change. So he quickly dug in his wallet and handed me the smallest bill he had - a $5 bill to stuff inside. 8-/ Yeah, the Tooth Fairy has gone down that road too... but I digress...
My hubby walked back out with the egg hidden in his pocket, and quietly planted the egg in an easy to find spot, and it was found. It was dubbed the "Golden Egg" and all was right with the world... at least until later on today, when Dallas found egg #13...
Happy Easter everyone!
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I am mom to a 6 (almost 7) year old boy who has been dx with ADHD, anxiety and PTSD. He was adopted from foster care at age 4. He's the light of our lives, and a beautiful, charming bright child who has bonded well, despite his neglected, chaotic and abusive past. It has been a long, difficult struggle to help him though. Yesterday he became so violent that we had to call 911. That was the breaking point for us. We have to do something to help him as our family can not survive like this. He has ALL the flags for bipolar, except for mutilation, fire-starting and animal cruelty. We learned that there is a biological family history of generational violence, bipolar, depression and generational alcoholism on both sides. His "old school" psych has refused, for reasons beyond my comprehension, to evaluate, consider or treat him for BP, but is treating for ADHD (SA Ritalin) and sleep disturbances (Clonidine). He recently prescribed tricylic antidepressants as well because son had been threatening suicide (during a depressed cycle), but after much personal research (and our suspicions of BPD) we chose not to give him those for fear of psychotic/suicidal reaction. One of the main warnings of that drug was not to give to patients if there is even a possibility of BPD. It's the one medication decision WE made that goes against the pdoc. We are presently acquiring new insurance so that we can switch psychs and hopefully get a better evaluation.
I read The Bipolar Child searching for answers on my own, and it was as if a light switch had been turned on. THAT was MY CHILD.
I am not able to work as I never know if he's going to get to school on time (or even get out of bed!) or need to come home, or sleep at night, and we have lots of therapy appts, I have to help him with homework which takes hours at times, and generally, raising him has consumed my entire life. My son needs constant supervision because of his impulsive and dangerous behaviors, but we also walk on eggshells at times to not "trigger" him. Often, no matter what we do, he's spinning out of control and verbally and physically assaulting mostly ME, his mother. He rules the house when he's "spinning". Literally spinning. In a rage, he destroys property and has tried to hurt himself by banging his head, throwing his body against the walls and kitchen counters and hitting his own self. When he's depressed, he threatens suicide and says he has no friends and is stupid and withdraws. He does fin in school. The minute I pick him up from school and he feels "safe", often he starts begging for food or candy and being aggressive and oppositional. Most outsiders and friends don't see this side of him. He begs us to hit him. There are other times when it does feel normal and we can do normal family things (always keeping in mind at any moment we may have to try and head of a meltdown or rage, or leave an activity all together), but as time goes on, that "normal" is less and less and his behaviors are more severe and frightening. He has threatened to stab me and cut my head off while in a rage. His pupils are so dialated that his blue eyes are almost black and he seems "not there". He is very remorseful when an episode is over. Sometimes, he doesn't even recall all that he's done. He describes how he feels when he's cycling as his brain "is a computer and it has to much stuff spinning around in it". His life is miserable and we don't know how to help him.
This can't be just ADHD. He has a wonderful therapist, but there is only so much she can do. I just wondered if anyone else had this kind of struggle getting proper help and dx for their child so young?
Sad, scared, tired, beat up, mommy...
Sunday, February 28, 2010
This is brilliant! New York Times blogger Judith Warner examines the popular argument that Americans are over-medicating their children, and her hopes that her book will begin to change the way society begins to view families and children whose lives are impacted by mental illness and neurological disorders.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
So far, so good, and no side effects that we can tell. He will be go back in in 8 weeks for another ultrasound and another thyroid blood panel to see if he's made any progress with the medication.
Off topic, but Dallas also earned his 2nd stripe in karate last week, and got all 100s on his math and 2 language tests, making great progress in OT and PT, and his behavior has been manageable. :-)
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Here is my letter:
To whom it concerns,
My sincere hope is that this label does not preclude a separate entry for Childhood Onset Bipolar Disorder, if that child also experiences cycles of mania and depression that presents with suicidal ideation, and cycles from one extreme mood to another, much like an adult. My second hope is that if this label is indeed adopted in lieu of Bipolar Disorder, the description, Temper Dysregulation Disorder with Dysphoria, will be changed to something that reflects an actual mental health disorder akin to bipolar disorder - such as Mood Dysregulation Disorder with Dysphoria, rather than labeled as something that confers a parenting issue/behavioral problem. Terming the intense, often psychotic rage that a child displays in an almost seizure-like manner, a "temper", invalidates any real mental health disorder, and instead confers a discipline problem, or parenting issue, which is clearly not the case. For far too long, society has turned a disapproving eye toward the parents of those unfortunate children who have uncontrollable mood disorders, and put the onus on the parents as somehow responsible for the child's condition, rather than understanding the child suffers from a debilitating brain disorder, not unlike adults with bipolar disorder.
Please consider a more appropriate name for what we now unofficially call "childhood bipolar disorder" if DSM -5 is not planning to recognize it as an actual disorder similar or equal to adult bipolar disorder. If adult medication, prescribed off label, improves the symptoms for children as it does for adults and creates stability of mood, one could reasonably assume the child has bipolar, or some juvenile form of the same. Unless DSM is planning to rename adult bipolar disorder also as Temper Dysregulation Disorder with Dysphoria, it is inappropriate to make a distinction between a brain disorder that children and adults both suffer, but only one group can claim as a "real" chemical imbalance in the brain, and the other rely on adjustments to parenting techniques. There are instances of young children -- as young as 8 years old - un-medicated, or mis-medicated - committing acts of suicide. That is clearly not temper-driven behavior.
With all due respect to the professionals involved in revising the manual, please understand, especially from a parent as well as a teacher's perspective, the use of the word "temper" downplays the serious affect of this childhood disorder we can only now label a mood disorder, or cautiously, childhood bipolar disorder.
Mother to a 7 year old child dx as Bipolar I, and now stable on adult bipolar medication.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Where to begin? Dallas started karate class about 4 weeks ago, and it so happens that the twice-weekly classes are back-to-back with his therapy appointments right after school, so he's been a busy, busy kid. And not one complaint. He's even taken to doing as much of his weekly homework packet that he can in one day, so that he's freed himself up for his activities.
As of today he's doing fantastic. He even overloaded on Valentine's candy and sweets today and still... great. He's been extra cuddly and loving lately as well. I soak all that love right up whenever I can get it. It was a good Valentine's day. :-)
Now for the worrisome end of things: Dallas saw a pediatric endocrinologist on the 5th of February for a sizable swelling in his neck and for concerning thyroid blood levels. More extensive thyroid blood panel was done that day, and a thorough exam and consultation. We waited 9 months for this appointment, so we were grateful to finally get in, and the doctor was wonderful. The wait to be seen was 9 months after referral. His pedi had said to expect a year's wait, as there are only two pediatric endocrinologists in this entire region. The best of the best doctors too, I'm sure, but still crazy. It turns out the endocrinologist is being very aggressive and ordered a thyroid ultrasound. We were told following that may likely be a radioactive iodine scan and/or needle biopsy. The dx was goiter- unspecified, and the endo took one look at his neck and said that was all enlarged thyroid. I know that thyroid cancer in young children is rare, but I am scared. We have no biological history to go on, and he has all the red flags. Yep... I Googled like an idiot.
His numbers on previous thyroid lab tests his pedi and pdoc ordered were elevated, but not alarmingly, so he was probably pushed to the back of the list as not urgent. Now that he's been physically seen and examined by a specialist (and not just lab tests results on paper), they're stepping testing up more quickly. That makes me happy and scared at the same time. If we have to do the needle biopsy, which is likely, I have no IDEA how to explain this to my extremely needle phobic son...
The endo also asked if he was being seen by a neurologist as well as his pedi and pdoc. He seemed to think that with all of Dallas' issues and unknown history, it would be beneficial. We've had both his pedi and pdoc (and therapist) say that they didn't think it was necessary, but now I question whether we should have pursued that anyway. Or if we still should.
One thing at a time I guess.
Interestingly, the endo did not seem to feel that any thyroid dysfunction he may have is likely causing his behavioral issues or presenting as bipolar or anxiety. He says it may be making some of those symptoms more acute, but not causing them. He did say that some meds can cause thyroid regulation issues however. I was kind of hoping we could throw out the whole nasty bipolar I dx and all the meds and hell that comes with it, and instead give him some thyroid pills.
One of my friends whose husband is hypothyroid and who has done a ton of research, today mentioned how I've told her how much Dallas craves salt. I mean REALLY craves salt and salty foods (addicted to Ramen and Beef Jerky, licks salt shakers, tries to salt already salted foods, etc...) and mentioned that maybe he has some genetically-caused iodine deficiency. That question was never asked in consultation, so I hope maybe she's onto something and lab tests will show this is an easy fix w/ iodine supplements maybe...?
We had the ultrasound done on Friday the 11th of February.
There is "something" there, even to my uneducated eye. The sonographer consulted with the radiologist after the scan, asked us to stay in the waiting room, and called us back in for a re-scan with the pediatric radiologist present. He told her where to scan and take images, and kept saying "right there", "that one", etc... as the lumps and darker spots were showing up on both sides. No one could tell me anything positive or negative. We will have to wait for the endocrinologist to give us the results, and tell us if we have to do a biopsy. I'm more than a bit freaked out.
Hoping for answers soon...
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I have nothing but great things to say about this medication, other than I wish it was little less expensive. :-)