Before I begin, there are a few things to know – during an adoption placement in our state, the children continue to be foster children, though with some differences – no daycare vouchers, no clothing stipends, etc. The reason this is important to know is because DFACS is still primarily in control until the adoption finalizes (a minimum of 6 months after placement). For example, Minnie begged and begged to get her ears pierced, but I couldn’t do it without permission, nor could I take them out of state without getting permission. Plus, their caseworker and mine would come out every month for those 6 months, or longer if needed. This is important background information for the following story:
This would be the beginning of a very dark period for us that would last for months and months and color every single aspect of our lives and even make me question whether I had made a mistake and overestimated my abilities.
Jesse mailed the prescriptions and insurnce cards. I went to refill his three medications, as we were running very, very low. Medicaid would no longer cover the Risperdol. Risperdol is a very serious psychotropic drug that I will have a love/hate relationship with. It was also life changing for us, but Medicaid had decided it was no longer age appropriate for Mickey. They did cover his Ritalin and Clonodine, which Mickey required to be able to sleep. We already had a scheduled appointment with Mickey’s psychiatrist on 10/25 and the Risperdol was $300.00, which I couldn’t afford after just having purchased clothing and toys, redoing the rooms, getting school supplies and starting to pay for full time daycare for Minnie.
I contacted Elise to see if DFACS could help. They were going to get back to me, but when they did they were not a lot of help. In the 10 days between the time we saw his psychiatrist, we saw a rapid decline in behavior – aggression, biting, kicking, hitting, screaming, outbursts in school. He would crawl under a table in the classroom and just scream. Generally Mrs. B, and Mrs. L were able to get him calmed, eventually. Most of the outbursts were triggered by frustration – either not getting his way, sensory overload (PE or lunch noise) or not being able to do something (there were significant fine motor skill delays that made writing particularly challenging for him). We worked quickly with the school to address these issues as they came up – headphones for the cafeteria and gym, modifying assignments and starting OT. Mickey referred to the OT as his “shaking teacher’ as he had a significant tremor when trying to do any fine motor activity.
I also reached out to DFACS to find a therapist for Mickey. He needed help. Meltdowns at home were lasting 2-3 hours on average and were happening almost daily. I feared for his safety. I was covered in bruises from being kicked and hit. I had to teach Minnie how to lock herself in her room for her protection, because she was often a target of his rage.
The sweet loving little boy would turn into an angry monster during these incidents. His eyes grew dark, his sweet face became tense, the veins in his kneck stood out. At the time the triggers weren’t easily identified. He could be fine one minute and raging the next. I didn’t see warning signs at all. I attributed much of this to the incredibly difficult transition we were going through. this child had gone through being ripped from the only family he had ever known – new school, new mom, new house, Removed from the beloved Jesse, his brothers and sisters at the foster home and his foster father “Daddy”. As a side note; i grew to hate the phrase “Momma didn’t do it that way or Momma said….” Momma in this case being Miss Jesse.
I was also angry and sad. I had done extensive training – nearly 8 times the required 10 hours per six months, while waiting on a match. Intellectually I understood that I wouldn’t become Mommy overnight and that they would have to mourn their former life. But, every time Jesse was thrown in my face, I was angry. Jesse didn’t adopt them, she didn’t want to – though she loved them. I grew to hate this woman. She chose not to adopt them and all I wanted was to love them and be mom. Every single time they called her Mom and me Ms. Mindy, my heart broke a little more. Of course, I never forced the switch from Ms. Mindy to Mom, it was just that I felt it every single time.
Mickey would scream at me during the meltdowns about how I stole him from his parents (foster parents – the birth parents were barely a blip on his radar back then). He was angry and justifiably so. He didn’t understand and neither really got that they were foster kids. They just thought of the foster parents as Mom and Dad and because of me, and the dreaded Elise, they were taken from them. I did get it. It just still hurt.