Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Things have settled down this week. Just when I was dreaming about sewing up a penguin costume for Huck and sending him to the zoo for a few weeks, he's turned back around.

I'm so glad to be seeing his sweet, considerate, funny side. After the last few weeks, I was starting to doubt whether I'd ever see it again.

Most likely I'll be back at the bottom of the dogpile again tomorrrow when the Hub gets back from DC. But being Huck's only option for the last few days is working well. As nice as it is to have Hubs working from home, it kind of sucks that Huckle can reject me all day long and go to Daddy, opposed to 5 pm to 8pm.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Me: Huck, do you have to go potty?

Huckle: No, I just farted, I'm okay.


Huckle: Mommy, I'm touching Maddy's (the female dog) peepee!

Me, upon inspection: That's just her tummy. (ok, he was pulling a nipple, but i'd like at least another month before he learns that word)

Huckle thinks about it for a few minutes, walks away, walks back into the room: You're wrong, Mom, that's her peepee.
On the phone tonight with my sister, the one who is freshly married:

"Well, Maer, adoption is forever."

Gosh, that had never, ever occured to me before! Why didn't someone tell me?

This was after she scolded me for letting Huck look at photographs of his mother, who she referred to as "that crackhead bitch." (Yes, I sometimes think things that unkind about Huckle's mom, but I do not say them, not even when I lined up a cigarette burn hole in one of his old tshirts with a scar on his belly. Mostly, I am sad.)

I do not need shit like this from anyone, least of all my family. Judgemental, dismissive, glib, and condescending (and I know it doesn't translate well typed out, but she was all of these things) don't play well with me on good days, and with the way things have been going with my darling boy, well, now isn't the time to rely on my restraint when faced with asshattery.


She pissed me off like she was a Stern girl. (Thumb dip)

Friday, March 23, 2007

I was probably unclear in my last post. No, Huck's file won't have bearing on whether we adopt him or not. We are adopting him. However, we need to see that file for his sake. I want to know as much as I can about the first 39 months of his life because he will need to know. I'm worried that, if we adopted Huckle in three weeks, even if an adoption agreement were hammered out in that time, we'd never see that file because redacting a huge file like his would become the last thing on anyone's mind. We will drag our feet for that file because Huckle will have all sorts of questions in a year, in five years, in ten years.

There are just so many things I owe this boy. I owe him his history, I owe him his future, I owe him everything I can scrounge and scrape and fight for in order to help him heal. Holding out for a file and a psych eval are easy. Procuring post adoptive services for a 3 year old caucasion boy is easy. It is the least I can do for him, it really is.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I'm glad y'all think that CPS is kinda nutty, too, with the speed of Huckle's adoption. While I was talking to Huck's CW, I started giggling because I kept thinking, "How stupid does his supervisor think we are?" I mean, the state has been involved with him since forty five minutes after he was born, but no one can answer questions like which hospital he was born in or if he was full-term. I might be a sucker for this kid, but there's no chance that we'll go into an adoption without making total pains in the asses of ourselves to the first person who tries to blow sunshine up our skirts. I used to work at a car dealership -- I know what liars sound like, even if they are very nice liars who are lying for a reason they think is for the best.

Thank you for all your comments today. It was rough going, and even though I'd sometimes rather not have a record of how much this stuff sucks, well, an outlet was needed. I appreciate the advice from people who have done this and from people who understand what's behind all of this.

Here's some recent assvice I've gotten that hasn't been as helpful.

1. Just do fun things with him! Then he'll like you!
2. Throw away all the photographs of his mom, and don't talk about her. He's 3. He'll forget.
3. All kids like one parent more than the other.
4. He's 3. How bad can he be?
5. You decided to be foster parents. What did you expect?

And that's why everyone sucks. Except you, dear, dear, internets :)

A few footnotes:
Remember when Huckle was having night terrors? Not night terrors. Ear infection. Not caught then by the doc, only noticed on Tuesday when I took him in for prescription refills and had the doc check his ears because he has a cold. So, um, month old ear infection. No damage to the ear canal, but still a buildup of fluid. Oh, the shame.

We asked Huckle's CW if we could send a letter to Huck's family. We know their rights were terminated for reasons, but still, we have their child. I want them to at least know that he is safe and loved. As I've said before, we probably won't have time to wait 15 years. Huck's CW told us that, for our safety, we may not contact them at all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

One of the reasons my posting has been less frequent over the last two months is that, at the end of the day, the shitty outweighs the good. And I sometimes have no desire to rehash it, I want that day to be done, I want to keep hope that tomorrow might be better. I don't want to make it sound like Huckle's a horrible kid. Sometimes, I'd like to send him to his room until he's thirty-five, sure, but even while he's a total shithead, I still love him dearly, love having him around, and each night, no matter how upset I am or how rough he's been on me, I remind myself that there is a little boy in our home who is safe and loved and cared for who very recently was not safe.

Huck's behaviors have hurt me from the day I met him. At the start of February, I hit a point where it was all too much. I cried all the time. Even his littlest rejections did me in. Now, not as much. I've got armor where I didn't want it, I guess.

All that is to lead up to the little conversation I had with Huckle about adoption and what it means. I want you to know that, though he responded like a grade-A asshat (yes, yes, we all know why), it is okay. I actually giggled as I recounted the story to Hub, and accented it with a number of eyerolls. I felt like giving Huckle the finger, but I didn't. Yay for self control!

Anyhow, I started off with telling Huckle that he's had lots of mommies and daddies, but that when he came here, we were going to be his last mommy and daddy, and that we don't ever want him to leave. I told him that adoption means that he never has to go live anywhere else, and that he gets to stay with me, Hub, and the dogs forever. His bottom line was that he would like to be adopted by Hub and would like me to be taken away by social workers.

Ok, since I wrote that last paragraph, Hubs did some talking with Huckle about being nice to me, about how Hubs and I come as a package deal, etc. Huckle said that he has a mommy who is coming back, that he loves her, and that he hates me. We showed him her photograph, and he said, "Who's that? I love her." We told him that was Mommy Betsy (not real name). Hubs tried to explain that she's made bad decisions, and she can't come back. Huckle then screamed "No" for five minutes while kicking, screaming, and tantrumming. I excused myself from the room and had my own meltdown.
Huck's CW called a few minutes ago.

He wanted to know if we wanted to adopt Huckle in April or May. That would be, um, three weeks from now. Catch is, we'd have to be done with all the paperwork by tomorrow.

We're obviously not going to move that quickly -- his file hasn't been redacted, we haven't had a psychological evaluation done, we can't even get in with a therapist yet -- but if we wanted to, if we weren't concerned about an adoption assistance agreement (we want psychological services at the very least -- our current medical insurance is decent on mental health, but this is the fifth provider Hub's company has given us in three years, who knows what the next ones will be like)he could be legal in three weeks.

Kinda crazy. We were expecting to adopt him in the fall, since the maze takes time, but it looks like Texas is waiving the six to twelve month rule if the child has been through TPR.

It has been a very bad few months for Texas kids -- especially in our area in the last few weeks. I can see how CPS may be under pressure to get kids adopted and out of the system. Adoption numbers are good. Works for us, at least.

I guess now is the time to begin talking to Huckle about adoption and what it means. We hadn't begun that yet, we're still in Lets-Go-Find-My-Mommy-Land.

Monday, March 19, 2007

According to Huckle, I don't do anything right.

If he asks for grapes, he remembers that he wanted an orange. If I put his bowl down in front of him, he insists that oranges need to be on a plate. If I put his plate down at the kitchen table, he tells me he wants to sit at his playtable. If he asks to watch Dora, by the time I find the requested episode, he tells me that he wants to watch Dora after he watches Wonder Pets.

This goes on all day long. Good times.

About four o'clock, after 8 hours of this nonsense, I'll say to him, "Huck, even if I'd put oranges on a plate at the playtable, you'd tell me it was wrong."

We have a lot of "bless his heart" moments around here.


Huck is a bit screwed up, as we all expect him to be. Lots of progress around here in the last four months, of course, but I'm not in the mood to write about progress.

Even though I experience the manifestations of his issues every day, it is one sort of feeling to live it, and another feeling altogether for someone else to witness it all. Huck met his new-since-December SW today for the first time, and after hanging out with us for a few hours, Paul the SW pulled me aside and said, "He's really tough on you, isn't he?" I went into the "Yes, but....he's so much better now/he hasn't kicked me in the head in weeks/he's only rejecting me 4 of 5 times/anda anda anda." Then I stopped apologizing for Huck and said, "Yes, and it sucks." And then I cried. I was a big, wet, snotty, sloppy sobmonster. And I felt more hopeless today than I have in weeks. What seems like such huge progress to us, the things we celebrate and giggle over and call relatives to report, still don't add up to a kid that passes for "normal."


Huck's file is being sent on to an adoption caseworker this week. I called my mom to tell her that, in six weeks or so we should be able to read his redacted file, and that after that it would probably just be a matter of scheduling a court date for an adoption, assuming the paperwork goes through. My mom is Huck's biggest fan. Today she asked, "What if he never gets better?"


My heart feels a bid threadbare.


I used to be a holder-on-er. No matter what, no matter how much someone hurt me, I stuck it out, to the point of nearly destroying myself, because that person needed me. It took a lot of time and work to be able to learn to walk away. And, I mean the physical acts of walking away, not taking phonecalls, not going back to places where I knew I'd be able to find those people. Even years later, my mind can't fully disengage -- the only thing I'm strong enough to do is abide by my decision to leave by not putting myself back in that relationship. Once I'd forced myself to walk away, I got good at it. Walking away was safer, guaranteed a new adventure, and hurt just enough to punish myself for having been young and stupid and in love or whatever.

Last month, I told our SW that if a boyfriend treated me the way Huckle treats me, I would have dumped him a long time ago.

So now I'm learning how to hold on, how to let Huckle into my heart even when he's his most awful, when I just want to protect myself from his anger and his hatred.

Friday, March 02, 2007

We've entered the night terrors portion of our program.

Three of the last five nights, Huck has screamed in his sleep for up to two hours. It usually happens around 4 AM, one of the times he usually comes to check on us (Since there were times he was left alone for long stretches of time, or he woke up and no one was home, Huck does bedchecks on me and The Hub two or three times a night - sometimes goes back to his own bed, sometimes crawls in with us, sometimes lays on the floor on Hub's side of the bed). We've got calls in to the ped, to our SW, my mom and friend have been phoned. We think they're night terrors, but we aren't really sure, of course, cause the symptoms are uncontrolled screaming and sobbing, not being comforted, repetitive hand flapping, scratching of the face, and eyes rolling back in his head.

He's soooo Linda Blair. Sometimes, I expect projectile vomit and festering wounds.

So, yes, we add Linda Blair to his list of bad-mood impressions. We also have the "I'm going to cut you!" Foxy Brown, the phone-throwing Russel Crowe/Naomi Campbell schtick, and enough daredevil-mixed-with-disregard-for-his-own-safety for him to fill in for any of the Jackass boys.

As far as triggers go, they could be anything. School, Hub being out of town overnight, there's not enough of a pattern yet, I don't think. We'll figure it out, or they will pass, and in the meantime I've purchased earplugs for myself, as these three nights have shown me that NOTHING I do will quell them. With the earplugs, at least I'll be able to lay next to him and rub his back without the accompanying migraine.

I did want to tell y'all that we do have Huckle in play therapy, but it has been halted for a week or so due to a snafu in the paperwork extravaganza that comes with each treatment change. Right now, Huck is considered a None/None/None/None (if you know what that means), which is how all kids come into the system, so we've got some hoops to jump, gotta spend some time sitting up and begging, to get more than the basic services. Compared to what I've read from people in other states, we've actually got a (seemingly) easier job of gaining access to services, but it will take a little more time. One of the big problems we're having is that we took him to the therapist that his SW told us he'd been seeing for about a year. Well, he'd been there once for fifteen minutes - this therapist worked with his mom while she was trying to get him back, and once he was reunited, she brought him in once to introduce him, and then the therapist never saw either of them again. So, scratch that preexisting relationship. It took her ten minutes to even remember Huck when we tried to book the appointment as existing clients.

(Small disclaimer: For the most part, we are laid back regarding our expectations from CPS. We know that phone calls take a long time to be returned, we know people can't always be on time to appointments, we didn't even mind too much that we didn't know Huck's new (since December) caseworker's name until two weeks ago, despite thirteen messages left to the department over three months. When social workers visit, I cook food and pack bag lunches for them to stick in the office fridge in case they need em. Don't get me wrong, if there's an emergency, I'll expect attention Right Then, but usually, we're good enough as is. With all that said...)

I am so pissed at Huck's former caseworker. Remember that phone call the night before Huck moved in with us? The one where we got a long list of questions answered? Either she was looking at the wrong casefile or she lied. Now, as much as some of the things suck, they wouldn't have been dealbreakers, and if she'd told us, we would have been able to take care of things from the beginning, instead of muddling our way through and then having a lightbulb go off over our heads nearly four months in. I know I'm not sharing specifics, sorry, and the specifics aren't really that important. I'm mad mostly because we had a long list of questions, we wanted as much information about him as we could get, we made decisions based on her answers, and we may as well have been asking a Magic 8 Ball. Y'all already know that she told us he wasn't born with drugs in his system, that at first we thought he'd been out of his mother's custody for a year, when in fact it had been a week -- those aren't even the things I'm talking about now, just examples of things that changed on us after a week of visitation way back when.

Overall, Huck is truly freaking fantastic, when he's not hitting me or telling me I'm not the mommy he wants, or when he's hiding macaroni and cheese under his bed (have I even touched on the food issues ever? I can't recall. Suffice it to say, there was not a steady supply. Enough meth to leave out all over the house, though.). In a half hour of puzzle-play, he learned to recognize numbers 0-9. We're working on vowel sounds. He insists on calling a trapezoid a square just because I corrected him once, but whatever.

And sweet, he just fell asleep sitting up in his folding chair.

This parenting thing is pretty cool when it doesn't totally suck.