Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A House of Cards

I should have written a long time ago. Goddess knows I've had plenty to say. And anyone that knows me, or my house, knows that I have enough going on to talk about!

First things first. In the interest of disclosure, since so much was written about that time period.. my husbands oldest daughter has contacted him through Facebook. We knew it would happen when they aged out of the system. We didn't expect it to happen this soon. She is still only 17 and in state care. We also didn't except that we'd be able to so easily see his other two children connected to her Facebook page. Literally a click away. And not even a private page. There, on the other side of the most popular social networking site... were the three "missing" kids we've been searching for. We read, looked at pictures, put together pieces of the puzzle of what their lives have been like for the past decade..  I put my spying to good use and did a lot of digging. The oldest was the only one that didn't get adopted. And from what she writes on her wall, it was planned and somehow disrupted this past fall. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around why they would allow the kids to have completely public Facebook pages. I don't allow my own daughters to be that public!

So my husband and her exchanged cell numbers, because it was easier than writing inbox messages on Facebook. Of course we agreed not to say anything to the other kids that are younger, because she could lose contact with them and we don't want that to happen. They've all grown up so much. Barely recognizable from the pictures that I posted on here. And in all reality they don't us, and we don't know them. Not even his oldest.

We've also had to come to the conclusion that exchanging phone numbers might not have been the best course of action. I encouraged it, thinking they could easily write to each other here and there instead of trying to use my computer all the time. (the laptop cord fried, and Chris's computer is completely full of WoW. No really. So full that we can't play it on there because he's out of memory. Bah. New expansion just came out and we turned our accounts back on and everything. Figures.)

Where was I? Oh yes. Texting his daughter. It hasn't been easy. She texts him a lot. First thing in the morning, while we're all still sleeping.. the room lights up and I hear, "NEW MESSAGE!" from his phone on the nightstand. Oh.. its her good morning daddy message. Throughout the day there are more. Always filled with "I love you so much daddy. I miss you daddy"  Remind you of someone else you know in this family? Exactly. We have another father/daughter interpersonal issue. She hasn't changed or received the help she needed. It was that obvious. They really haven't had much of a relationship since she was 7 years old. She's 17 now. And just as dependent and immature. Whats to become of her in the next year when she ages out? The father instinct wants her to live with us. But intellectually we know that if she still has some severe issues, she can't live with us. We have 5 children and it isn't fair to them to put them in danger. Not even to reunite my husband with his child/ren.

Lest you think I'm the big green evil ogre that most step mothers seem to be. I'm not. I can just see a mental health issue when I see one. And this is a huge elephant in the room. I'm glad that Chris sees it though and for the most part we're on the same page. He's started pulling back a bit more each day. Letting more time pass before responding to her. Not getting dragged into her drama, "I made a bad choice daddy. Help me. What do I do?" type of issues that seem to be a daily occurrence with her.

I will be honest here. I can't say jealousy didn't enter my mind. And that's not right. She is his child. There shouldn't BE jealousy there. But somehow her timing, her dependency, her urgency, and her manipulation all make the situation pretty painful. For the past two weeks, she's said good morning to him first, shes' asked him about his day first, she's said goodnight first. And I'm pretty sure if you add it up, they've exchanged more "I love yous" then the two of us have. ... Its hollow. Its empty. Its a house of cards built on nothing but a fantasy of life before state custody. Nothing will ever come of it. Not even the parts that I'm alright with. Her being in our lives, and being a part of it..  I'm not sure she will be able to share her father in that way. She views her life as being her, her sister, her brother, and her father. No matter what. They stick together. But that manner of exclusion isn't going to work. It can't work like that and be healthy.

I'm waiting for the house of cards to fall down. I know it can't survive this way. He isn't able to keep up with her demands, and instead I end up texting her. She thinks she's talking to her father, and he doesn't have to try to navigate this uncertain ground. He doesn't want to mess it up, but he doesn't know how not to. Soon enough though the game will come to an end. Someone will notice she's talking to her biological family and it will be revoked. Who knows how far they'll go to stop those connections. At least if I shoulder most of the responsibility and emotional baggage, then when the cards come flying down..maybe it won't hurt him so much. Thats my hope anyway.

So as you can probably imagine, that's enough excitement to last for quite awhile. However, this is MY family! Which means there's a lot more!

Update about Ivy: Her IEP was yesterday at school. She's in second grade and this is the second IEP this year. We went to reclassify her. That meant another round of tests and observations and rating forms to fill out. In the end, it was a unanimous vote to change her primary disability status from a child with "Speech and Language Disability" to a child with "Autism."  And what that means is that she'll automatically get a lot more services. So we left the room with all her supports for the bus in place, She's on a different bus than all the other kids in the neighborhood, which is working great so far! It goes down our street anyway so it just loops around and picks her up. That way she isn't around any of the kids in this neighborhood. She plays a Leapster or watches a DVD player that the bus company bought for her. She sits in the front seat, with a seatbelt, and she also sits with a 5th grade girl and so far, no issues at all. She gets 60 minutes of a social skills group a week. Thats two separate groups. And she gets 60 minutes a week of OT. She also has accommodations in the classroom, a weighted vest, a wiggle seat, some chewy pen toppers as well. All in all it was a great IEP meeting. I think our case manager ruffled some feathers, but when doesn't she? LOL

Oh, in case I didn't blog about it before (I'm sure I did though) Ivy was officially diagnosed with ADHD combined type, Anxiety Disorder NOS, and Asperger's Disorder. She also has a mild cognitive disorder that affects her working memory.

Update on Odin:  Odin has been receiving OT and related services though Child Development Services (CDS)  since the beginning of the year. They've done nothing. To be honest it was a waste of time. However, they're going to order him a new trampoline with a bar and that will make things easier for me!

He recently had a speech and language test done, and also a Vineland. He qualifies for 3-5 services easily. His articulation alone qualified. Yep thats right, the opposite of what CDS told me. They said, and I quote "He just has too many words and he's having a hard time saying them. He'll catch up."  Well he hasn't. Its only gotten worse since he's older! So now that he's aging out of the 0-3 and headed to the 3-5 services, they are offering him a specialized preschool 3 days a week for 3 hours a day. They'll give him OT and speech right there with qualified people. Small class, no more than 6-8 kids at a time and they work on a lot of adaptive functioning, schedules, routine, etc. From what people have told me, its a great opportunity. I might take them up on that.

Theres a lot of detective work I need to do first. Putting a 3 year old into pre-school is something I haven't done since Sierra went to Headstart. But she was so much more advanced and by that time, used to separating from me because of the whole shared parenting thing. I don't know if I'm ready to let my baby boy go. It seems too early to me. Everyone talks about how important catching things early is, and how much his autism symptoms will improve.. but since I'm not in the "cure all the autism" camp I'm not really sure how I feel.

(note: This was a post that I had in my drafts and forgot to publish. Oops!)

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