Thursday, October 02, 2008

Can't Do Anything About the Past, but Still...

Have I said I love the book I'm reading Parenting Other People's Children??? :) lol Yes, that's right, I think I have. Yesterday's portion that I was able to read was especially pertaining and just what I needed. It explained what needs to happen to help these children heal. The author calls it the "Repair Cycle." And, what do you know, it's what is happening with Olivia and I, granted on a lighter scale than it would with kids with more trust issues than she has. And it's a big part of why I thought she needed therapy. Now I think we're doing ok, but I still want her to see someone else to help her process the issues about her brother. (By the way, I cancelled the original therapist appt we had and am going to get her into the specialist on attachment issues in foster/adoptive children.) :)

Basically the repair cycle goes like this:
1. Connecting Phase - connecting, bonding, attaching, sharing experiences
2. A Precipitating Incident - ends the connecting phase, meltdown over consequence, etc
3. Battle Phase - anger, misbehavior, control battles
4. Reconciliation Phase - banish our anger and return to connecting phase

What did I tell the therapist basically as to "why" I wanted Olivia in counseling? "We go for quite a while and she does really well, then it's like she hits a brick wall and we have all out he**." Luckily our "battle phase" usually only last a day or two, but I know for many, especially many in the early stages, these are often and long.

The author says that he is describing here a "technique that people who successfully repair TD (trust disorder) children universally use." And that "as repair advances the child should be spending more time in the connecting phase and less in the battling phase with each successive cycle completion."

Prior to going through the repair cycle, he explains the four "rules" that we need to follow to work with them to be able to trust us as their caretaker, their parent. They are things that we use with all children, but that with these in particular we need to make sure to follow these unfailingly.
1. Supply all their needs.
2. Be trustworthy
3. Be sure the child knows that he is trusting you (that YOU are in control)
4. Be emotionally strong
(He goes on to explain these in detail and why they are so important.)

BUT, it also makes me SO MAD to know this. SO MAD that this information is so readily available, and is available, and makes sense. Anger that I wish I could do something about, and hopefully can in that I can help other foster parents or soon to be foster or adoptive parents, understand these children and what is going on.

Mad... that as a foster parent in training attachment is touched upon so lightly. Yet nothing of serious impact was discussed, leaving the foster parent unprepared for the issues these children bring with them into the home and how to help them heal.

Mad... that this book, or a similar book, is not a mandated part of training.

But most especially angry... that had I known what I now know, Olivia's brother would probably still be with us.

He is/was the classic case of a child with a huge trust disorder. And yet, when I debated "professionals" responsible for his care: psychologists, psychiatrists, his counselor, his SAS worker, etc, none of them gave me any inkling of an idea of this as a possibility. Attachment, trust, etc, these were not even mentioned! I was told time and time again that if I just gave his meds a chance, it would allow him a little more time to think about his behavior... he is bipolar and I need to allow time for his meds to work... etc etc etc. Yet I told them time and again that NO, meds are NOT his issue or his cure. He is FULLY aware of his behavior and is using that to manipulate us in the home. Over and over I tried to get SOMEONE to HELP. To give me/us options and ideas. And I got nothing. He wasn't/isn't bipolar, he doesn't/didn't need meds. You CANNOT medicate RAD or trust disorders. You can't! And that was the problem. And that is what NO ONE even gave me an idea of. And that is what I am now beating myself up over... because he's Olivia's brother. And if I had known this information, I could have worked with him. We could have gotten through it. We would have been ok. And he would be here and she would not be missing that part of her life. If only...


Rebecca said...

Don't beat yourself up! You can't change the past but now you have something stronger! Prayer!!! With prayer you can pray that his parents will re-consider their choice of not letting the kids see each other. Keep praying because God can work so strong and in ways you may never have thought of!

Julie said...

This makes complete sense and is actually the conclusion I came to after spending an hour and a half with R and G together in the hosp. I could see how we repond different and why G comes home so aggressive- i.e. not trusting- and decided to just smother her with love and reassuance the next time she came home. It made a huge differnce and the aggression was not there. Now the visit was not as long either but we will see. I think the bonding and connecting she needs from me as soon as she comes off a visit will build that trust that suffered while she was at the visit. Does that make sense- I am going to get this book your reading- thanks for the bits and pieces- it is Greatness! :)

Holly said...

God knew. That can be a hard pill to swallow b/c He allowed things to happen the way they have and HE KNEW. Believe me, I am struggling with that a lot in our own situation. But we have to trust that He is good and His plans are higher than ours, even when it doesn't make sense to us.
You are an amazing woman Lisa. Don't accept any condemnation.
You Rock!
In fact, I think you need an ice cream- do you have a Cold Stone Creamery where you live?

Dont beat yourself up. I hate to play devils advocate but things may NOT have been fine. RAD is never cured, it generally gets worse the older the child gets. Things may have become very bad in your home. And think, perhaps Liam wouldnt have come into your life. I like to believe things happen exactly as they should. Im not sure where Olivia's brother is now, but perhaps he will come back into your life later on, and you will see why everything has happened as it did.

jendabi said...

Thank you for sharing your struggles; you are a strong person aggressively searching for more and more knowledge. I admire you. And I know that your blog will be so helpful to me when my child comes home. I, too, wish, I had known more about attachment disorder over ten years ago bwhen I adopted my boys, ages 2 and 3. The older boy had alot of attachment issues, that in hindsight, had I known more about could have been dealt with so much more effectively.

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I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

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