Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Things with M are not going very well. There have been big arguments and lots of misplaced anger every time she sees or talks to her birth mom. She blames us for not getting to see her as much as she wants, even though I've bent over backwards trying to set stuff up and keep getting blown off by birth mom. My husband, in his infinite wisdom, told M that her mom was blowing her off. I could have killed him. Anybody with a brain and some empathy would have known she would never accept that explanation and just gotten angrier. Guess what happened?
A huge part of me wants to just cut off the visits or limit them to the phone but the more grown up part realizes that is just a cop out. Just because this isn't easy doesn't mean it isn't worth doing. I'm hoping she will come to realize her birth family is unreliable but even if she doesn't, I don't think keeping contact is going to harm her. If I start to see that it is, I will of course change my plan. I read an article by an adult that aged out of foster care not too long ago. This person was arguing that sometimes it isn't appropriate to remove children from a home when poverty and non-life threatening neglect are the main issues. I tend to agree with that in this case. I think if M had been left with her mother she would have been okay. Maybe not a great success in life but less emotionally scarred than she is now. I really do think 9 years in foster care and two disrupted adoptions did more damage than a careless mother and living in poverty would have. But what is done cannot be undone and all I can do now is hope that M will take the chances she is being given for a better future.
Now if only I could get my husband on the same page. Where I see a hurt and un-trusting child, he sees a self-centered almost adult. He forgets all the time that her emotional maturity is probably closer to 9 than 15. He expects her to act as if she cares what we think and what effect her actions or words have on others. I think she is still in survival mode. Everything is about what makes her feel safer or more accepted. If that means other people are suffering, I doubt she even has the ability to recognize that. Even if she does, she probably doesn't care. She can be a very sweet kid but she has had zero control over her life. She sees every rule and every correction as another way to make her into something she is not. So she is oppositional and defiant, even if it is something as simple as not wearing her shoes in the house. The battles of will are nearly constant now. I can sometimes avoid the battles or diffuse them, but with my husband they just escalate to the point where M completely loses control. She injured her wrist on purpose hitting a wall the other day, and is talking more and more frequently of hurting herself.
I can't tell how much of her anger is us trying to reduce her medications, or adjusting to a new family, or starting high school, or getting to know her mother again. There are just too many confounding factors. I just wish we could get through one day without the verbal sparring, tantrums (and not just the kids), and other problems. I wish there was some way to get through my husband's head and make him actually LISTEN instead of reacting. Even he says she needs to see a counselor at least once a week (right now it's only twice a month). Has he done anything to make that happen? Nope. I am doing all I can to get through each day, keep everyone fed, and keep the appointments that are necessary. I can't take care of everyone else all by myself. He has got to realize that if he wants things to get better he has to do something other than complain. I have no clue how to get that through his stubborn little head.
If anyone has parenting book suggestions, particularly ones my husband might actually read, PLEASE leave a comment. We need some serious help over here.