Have you ever noticed that the inexpensive gas station version of cappuccino is much, much better than the expensive crap served in fine china? It's a metaphor. Figure it out.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Odd How We Measure Progress
Once upon a time, 2002 to be exact, our daughter Leigh was crazy. She still is but in different ways, or in differently manifested ways.
Here's a look at past and present, in order to measure progress:
Then, we had to take all her furniture, including her mattress out of her room. (She had a blanket and a pillow.) This because everything became objects to use to hurt us with, or had been destroyed. I didn't know a seven year old could dismantle a dresser, and by dismantle, I mean destroy. All drawers in pieces, the frame literally shredded. In just a day.
Now, she has furniture. It's grubby, but it's there and functional. And she's had it for more than a year.
Then, we had to board over her windows and closet door. This because she was trying to punch her way through the glass of the windows, and had climbed to the top shelf of her closet and was playing with the light bulb socket. She had also ripped out the chair rails out of the walls with her bare hands and was using them to beat holes in the drywall, and we were afraid she'd do the same to the windows or the wall of her closet...behind which lie the plumbing to our home's only bathroom.
Now, she has windows and a closet. The windows are bolted shut and the closet has no door, but it does have *some* clothing hanging appropriately in it.
Then, she had no toys in her room because:
A.) She'd destroyed most of them.
B.) She'd use them to throw at us
C.) She'd use them to destroy other things
D.) She used them for a form of stress relief that starts with M and rhymes with perturbation.
E.) All of the above.
The answer is E.
Now, she has some "stuff." A few books. A beat up stereo. Lots of pens, pencils and paper. Makeup and perfume. Lotions. A few decorations picked up at yard sales and Goodwill. Still beaten pretty hard, but most of it used appropriately.
Then, she'd rage for hours until she passed out from exhaustion.
Now, she just sleeps or eats when she's bothered or upset.
Then, she'd pee, poop and vomit in her room ON PURPOSE and hide it. (Nasty story: The worst was when she managed to shove some under her boarded up closet door. We couldn't find the smell for weeks. It was gross. Just gross.)
Now, she only has what we euphemistically call "hygeine issues." (Based on her refusal to make friends with this stuff we call "soap" at our house. However, this summer on Mom Bootcamp, we are addressing them.
Then we had attachment therapy, play therapy, bi-weekly lunch sessions with a school counseling, a therapist, lots of family friends, a psychiatrist and meds.
Now, we have two probation officers, in home and at school therapy, special school placement, a psychiatrist and meds. Very few family friends have survived our adoption, but the ones we have we know are the real deal.
Then, she'd eat things she found on the sidewalk, attempt to smoke dropped cigarette butts off the street, and sampled drywall, carpet, rocks and most of her toys.
Now, she eats any food she can find, and smokes anything she can find.
Then, we attended church, and thought we had a good support system. Then, we also thought we had a good grasp on what we needed to do as parents.
Now, we don't go to church, because having that support system means having to tell too many people too many stories and being judged way too much.
Then, she had no friends.
Now, she has no friends.
It's a really strange concept for normal families to grasp that an appropriate goal for an adopted child with issues could be "Leigh will not use her bedroom for a toilet in anger."
For an adoptive family of a kid with issues, it's just another day at home. It's name is RAD, or mental illness, or, as one therapist explained it 'holes in her heart.'
Either way, it's no fun, and all you can do is hope that, in the end, the progress you've seen is worth it.
Inspired by today's post at This Work Stinks... Hang in there Mom! You're doing a great job!
I am a wife, parent, adoptive mom, foster mom, teacher and pet owner. My 6 kids range in age from 9 weeks to 23 years, which means my life is a little on the "needs that prescription filled NOW!" side.
I enjoy dropping the occasional odd reference or big word to confuzzle people. I prefer words with nice sound effects like perspicacity and capricious, and interesting phrases like "pruny zombie wang."
Thanks to abuse and adoption issues, our lives are an interesting mix of psychotropic meds, probation, cheerleading practice and court appearances.