Sunday, January 13, 2013

And the crap spouse of the year award goes to . . .

My husband left. He left his 9 month pregnant wife with a mentally ill and unstable teenager and a 6 year old, days away from having a baby.

I can't even wrap my mind around the enormity of that selfishness. I can't imagine how I'm going to do this all by myself. My sister is in Kuwait. I have no friends close enough and reliable enough that I would be comfortable calling. And anyway, what the hell are they going to do? I can't send Flower with anyone. Besides probably making her abandonment issues worse, I would be putting another family at risk. I really do think that she needs residential treatment but after what happened tonight that might be a hard sell to the people who can make those decisions.

I could probably find a family that could take Sunshine for a little while, but she would be traumatized and that will still leave me with a newborn in an unsafe house.

I've never been at such a loss. I don't see a way out of this mess that doesn't destroy at least one person. I don't understand why trying to do something good has caused so much damage. I suppose my over-riding desire for children was selfish and I should have taken Aiden as a sign that this wasn't meant to be.

The saddest thing about all this is that it is not Flower's fault. Sure, she has huge and very challenging issues. But if the Professor could act like an adult things would never have gotten so out of control. He started another argument with her over chores today. She immediately started screaming at him, calling names, and acted incredibly disrespectful. As always, he just kept taking the bait and wouldn't walk away. Anytime she wants a fight she knows right where to find it. Unfortunately this time it just went further than anyone meant it to. I didn't see what happened so I can't say who is being more truthful, but Flower claims the Professor twisted her arm trying to keep her from leaving her room. He claims he grabbed her arm to keep her from hitting him. Given that she has been throwing things at him lately I'm inclined to believe his version, but I was trying to tell him that if she was getting violent he needed to back away and call the police. Of course he wouldn't listen to me. He left the house to calm down and she called her biomom, telling her she was hurt and scared. Biomom, as she should have, told her to call the police. I was standing there and told her she could call them if she wanted to, if she really didn't feel safe, and she broke down. She lost all her anger in an instant and showed what she was really feeling, absolute terror. She said she was sorry, she didn't want Dad to leave, she was scared of being taken away or of us being taken away. I hugged her and told her she was not going to lose another family and she calmed down. (Yes, I know this sounds manipulative but you had to be there. I think the anger is the mask and the terror is the real thing).

Contrast that with the supposedly mentally stable adult who is supposed to be my partner and agreed to the risks of adopting a special needs child. He would not stop yelling at me on the phone and refused to come back inside. He said he couldn't live like this. He really doesn't think he did anything wrong or could have done something different. Despite knowing I've had 6 hours of sleep in the last 3 days and this kind of stress is very bad for me and the baby, he decided he wasn't coming back. He plans to pick up some stuff tomorrow when no one is home. I have no idea what he expects me to do when I go into labor.

I do know that she is triangulating and pitting us against each other. Kids from trauma are good at manipulating and she knows just how to get him to lose it. The problem I have with him is that we were trained to handle this and he will not use any of the tools we've been given. He continuously engages in pointless arguments with her and will not back down when things escalate. All he focuses on is how she disrespects him, how she yells at him, how she won't listen to him. It's all about how her behavior makes HIM feel and not about where that behavior comes from. I know I've made some mistakes and could have supported him better. None of that changes the fact that he is the adult and rather than deal with his issues and act like one, he just left. Believe me there have been days I've wanted to do that. There have even been days that I did leave for a few hours to get away from the fighting. I can't imaging doing that if it was dangerous for anyone. He put all of us at risk. I can't restrain Flower if she gets violent. I probably can't even protect Sunshine. And what the hell am I supposed to do with the two of them when I'm in the hospital for 2 to 4 days?

I really hope the counselor has some ideas tomorrow.

30 comments:

  1. I'm speechless Jen. I'm sorry you are going through this shit.

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  2. I am so sorry that this happened to you. We don't know each other but I found your blog through another that I follow, and I can't even imagine how crappy this situation really is.

    However, I also can't imagine choosing a dangerous, unstable, violent teenager over the safety of my child, my unborn child, and my marriage. You've called her violent, you've called your home unsafe, and admitted that you can't protect your other child, all within the space of this one single post. I don't care that she's only 15--some people are past helping and not worth helping. I can't believe that a woman who has already lost a child would endanger her two living children just for the sake of not wanting to hurt someone who clearly needs more help than she can provide in the name of not wanting to be the bad guy or be selfish. I'm sorry, but at the end of the day, you ultimately have no obligation to this girl, but you DO have an obligation to your actual children.

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    1. Yes, she does have an obligation to her. She adopted her. She is her "actual" child. I am saddened that you think a traumatized girl is "not worth helping."

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    2. Jessica, Flower is her actual child. Just as Sunshine, Aiden and baby-to-be are. Flower is a child, one who needs love, support and a stable home. That Jen is willing to try and provide that to her has the possibility to make the world a better place for Flower. That that isn't valuable to you is sad.

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  3. Totally agree with the above. Flower needs to leave, I couldn't live like that either, I don't blame your poor husband but the timing sucks. You need to really think about your priorities.

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    1. She has three children - 2 in her home and one on the way. They are all her priorities.

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    2. Thanks. I'm not shocked that people are so willing to throw these kids away, but it is sad. Of course I want to keep the little ones safe but flower is my daughter too. I'm so grateful at least someone understands that.

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  4. I do know I'm putting two children at risk. I don' t agree that flower is past saving, but it doesn't matter now because long term residential treatment is the only way to have everyone be safe and my husband probably blew that by givivng her a way to claim abuse. I can't send her anywhere else without being prosecuted for abondonement and losing all three children anyway. As i also said, none of this would have gotten this bad if he could control his temper and learn to pick his battles. Also, how is leaving me to try to find a placement for flower when I'm days away from having a baby in any way sane? Apparently he wasn't worried about anyone's safety when he left, which shows mw he knows he is the main problem. Keep in mind before judging that there is a lot I don't have time to say here and I'm doing the best I can to keep my kids safe.

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    1. I am shocked and horrified at the comments on this post. Sadly, I am not surprised at your husband's behavior from what you've been sharing for the past year. Adopting a traumatized kid is crazy hard, but he seems to have done nothing to try to make it work in a healthy way for any of you. Even though we're in the same state, I think you are many hours away from me. Wish there was something I could do. Seriously, let me know if there is.

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    2. And you're totally right about the anger (IMHO). Anger is just a mask other feelings hide behind.

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  5. Hi, I found you through another blogger. I get it. Kids from trauma are crazy-hard. I'm trying to figure out where you are in the country. Perhaps I can put you in touch with another trauma-mama who can provide some respite for you. You are not alone.

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  6. I am so sorry this happened to your family. So many families with special needs kids don't make it - and parents divorce. It happens all.the.time., regardless of whether or not the special needs child is adopted. Reach out into the foster-adopt community near you, find parents like you, ask for their help with planned respite (once a week outings), and to provide care when you go into the hospital. You can do this. Your child will be so much more likely to heal in a household without the chaos that came from having a second parent unwilling to disengage from control battles. It will be a rough transition, but you can do this. Not every one can do this kind of parenting, and your husband is probably right to walk away. Keep taking care of yourself and your kids, adopted and otherwise, and I would bet my car that you will be in a better place six months from now than you were in before this change.

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  7. I am just so sorry for the pain your family is going through right now. You have an amazing heart and are showing such patience and love to Flower. I'm glad to hear that you already have a counseling appt. Praying for and abiding with you!

    Please email me if you need support. I'm not sure where you live, but I would be happy to pitch in if I'm close to you.

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  8. Oh shit!

    I believe that you can do this without destroying anyone - hurt feelings can be temporary. You have a lot of stress right now (and have been under a great deal of stress for quite a while now) so I am so glad to hear that you will be speaking with your counselor right away. You likely have more options than you can see right now, particularly regarding treatment for Flower.

    Who knows what will happen with your marriage since this is a new development. But for whatever it's worth, I once chose my now-ex-husband over a child and there is nothing I regret more. Over time he turned more and more selfish and cowardly and I wish I had known that I was strong enough to be a single parent. But some people make you feel like you need them.

    I'm really sorry to hear about your husband leaving - that hurts and the timing is super lousy. With so many people to care for please remember to take extra good care of yourself. YOU are a smart and loving woman. I don't know how you will get through this but I know that you will.

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  9. I just ran across your blog this morning. I feel you are a strong woman with your plate in overload. I will pray for you and your household. I will get my friends to also. I pray as you visit your counselor, you get help. I have read some cruel comments on this post. Flower is your child too and I admire your determination to give her help. Is there a church in town where you can get help to give you a break? Is Flower in school as a special needs student? Do they have connections to help you? I'm just brain-storming here wanting to help.
    Congratulations on using the skills you have been taught.
    God does see you. You can do this with His help. Your husband has rotten timing....just when you need him most.

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  10. Jen- I think you are incredibly brave to share all that you have. I'm with Last Mom and totally angered that instead of being supportive of a woman who is about to give birth who has two other children to take care of and now has the added stress of a spouse who walked they chose to question your judgement and priorities.

    I'm praying for you. I hope that you get what you need in terms of help and support . Parenting traumatized children is hard and I hope that you gain the strength you need to get through this time.

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  11. Jen, I am just heartbroken for you. What you husband is doing is terribly wrong. Wrong for you, wrong for the baby, wrong for Sunshine. It is probably wrong for Flower too, to have abandonment issues and then have the parent your testing walk away... this just breaks my heart. You're in my thoughts. I really wish there was something I could do for you.. but I can't think of a damn thing...

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  12. I'm so sorry you're going through this and that people are questioning your dedication to your kids. I recently had a disrupted pre-adoptive placement of a 13 yo girl. We didn't give her up because she was violent (though she was), but because she'd be less of a danger to herself with someone else (short version). It was hard and I'm still grieving the loss of my kid and most of my friends and family don't see it that way.

    In teens, depression manifests as aggression and, of course, the anger is a mask for the pain and fear. It's easier for these kids to be mad than sad.

    As for your immediate situation, have you noticed if Flower is calmer/better behaved around other adults? My kid definitely was. We were the target of all her emotions and issues, so she'd be polite and respectful to the rest of my extended family (for example), but rude and obnoxious to us. So maybe having someone come to stay at your house while you're in the hospital will go more smoothly than you fear. Though I'm just finding you today via Last Mom, so I'm just grasping at straws and pulling ideas out of the air. Does your county have emergency respite care?

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    1. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know what you mean about her being safer somewhere else. If I had known my husband wouldn't be able to handle this we probably wouldn't have completed the adoption and it would have broken my heart. She was mine from the day she first stayed here. I have a meeting with the counselor later today to discuss respite options. I'm hesitant to do that because I don't want Flower to feel like she is the sole problem and the one who needs to go away. I have noticed she saves her aggression and worst behavior for us so it may very well be perfectly safe for another adult to stay here with her and Sunshine while I'm in the hospital. That is also on the table for discussion today. What we really need to figure out is who is going to be here while I recover. If Flower is still here it can't be my husband, if I'm even willing to let him come back. I'm hoping I can calm down later today and figure out something that will work. Thanks for the support.

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  13. Last Mom sent me here. Parenting kids like Flower is tough on a marriage. Anyone who thinks you can just terminate your connection and responsibilities to her doesn't get it; even if you wanted to, or thought it was in flower's best interests, the state could charge you with abandonment, make you pay $$$, or file criminal charges. (Not said to scare you; I'm sure you already know - but some of your commenters probably don't.)

    I'm sorry life has dumped on you so much. Hang in there.

    Kathleen
    http://www.attachmentandintegrationmethods.com
    I don't blog very often lately, but there's lots of helpful info on my site.

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  14. Sending hugs and prayers your way. Parenting kids with trauma is incredibly hard and your situation is over the top hard. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that Kellie (who is awesome sauce) can hook you up with someone to help with respite. You aren't alone and have many people rooting for you. Don't let the negative nelly's get you down, they have no idea what they're talking about. No one does unless you've lived it.

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  15. I am praying and hoping for a workable solution. Parenting these kids are rough. I know first hand the havoc it creates for a marriage. Thinking of you today. LOts of love thrown to you. You did great deescalating the situation.

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  16. Wow. I wish I had the words to make this even a tiny bit better but I wouldn't know where to begin. I'm sending light, love and STRENGTH your way. I'm so sorry this is happening.

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  17. Oh fuck.
    The idea of you actually giving up on Flower didn't even occur to me. It makes me sad that that is what most people are saying.

    I wish you weren't an ocean away. I wish I had friends where you are :(

    I hope he comes to his senses.
    xxxxxxxxxxx

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  18. Jen I am so sorry you are dealing with this. i wish there was something we could do to help.

    I don't agree with Jessica and Katie, it sounds as if you feel a very strong commitment to Flower, you chose to adopt her as you say above, and that's a life long commitment. I do think, however, you need help as a family and the key right now is to shout for help loud and long, you must be able to bring your baby back to a safe home. Don't let them fob you off.

    I do feel for flower, this situation is just so hard for her but she must also, at 15, take some responsibility for how she is behaving.

    Your husband also needs someone to speak to outside of the you/flower dynamic - can social services provide some counselling?

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  19. I'm so sorry, Jen, not only for your situation, but for the insensitive remarks made by someone I hope never adopts, since she thinks kids are disposable if you don't give birth to them. I agree with the others, reaching out to the adoption community would be really helpful for you. Does your area have an adoption support group? I know of at least one online FB group of moms who adopted from trauma that could be a real support for you right now.

    Know this, you are not alone. And adopting a traumatized child doesn't have to be a lonely journey. I will see if you have an email contact to tell you about the group. If not, and you are interested, follow my name to my blog. I have an email link there. (((Hug)))

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  20. Email Barb G, I'd love to see you there! Your kids will be fine if they stay elsewhere while you recover. Even flower. She'll do best if you locate an experienced family who will know exactly how to help you and support her attachment to you. How do I know? Btdt. And don't worry about whatever happened affecting her entrance into an RTC. If she needs to be there, she needs to be there and nothing like this will affect that.

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  21. Oh Jen. Oh no. I'm so sorry. I can't believe that he would walk out like this, I hope it was just a temporary moment of madness. But he shouldn't have just walked out when you have three children to care for.

    Please don't think that this is somehow related to your 'selfishness' - I don't think you are at ALL selfish and I believe that you are doing amazingly. Aiden died because he was too ill to live, not because you weren't supposed to have any more children.

    You're so right, Flower is a child. Sometimes, as an adult, it is up to you to stay in control of your emotions (although this is far, far easier said than done!)

    Sounds like you've got some really good advice here. Having seen close up foster situations involving difficult teenagers I know that this is far, far from easy. And that's just looking rather than BEING the parents!

    I wish I was closer and I hope that the next post has some resolution as I hate to think of you in this difficult situation when you must be so worried about Sunshine, Flower, Professor and your baby xo

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  22. Jen,

    I "knew" you from your comments on LT's blog, and now thru Last Mom. You and your family are in my prayers; I cannot imagine the insane amount of stress you must be under. I wish I could offer you some real, tangible support...but please know that I am rooting for you and your family to come through this mess with strength and love. Krista

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