Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Adoption Arena Resurfaces

Since we disrupted, we have put all things adoption on hold. We are not trying, waiting, holding our breath. We have been moving forward, grieving, healing, and creating a new life. This week the adoption arena resurfaced. I was not expecting this, but it has been a joyful blessing, albeit, a little bittersweet.

The executive director of our domestic adoption agency got in touch with us. She told me our SW never told her we disrupted. This was news to her this week. Our SW buried our files off-site in storage, and only just now are the head honchos finding out what really happened. They called to find out from us, in our words, what happened. They want us to foster and/or adopt again. But more interesting, they want us to be a source on disruption for their staff and PAP's. Again, interesting. She apologized for what we went thru, what the state put us thru, and how inept our SW was. She said what happened to us just should not happen to people. Putting a completely disturbed dangerous child in our care, and the state denying her medical/mental resources was just ghastly. I emailed her documents we had on our case and the girls, and emails I'd sent our SW during our case. She sent us the following email:

"Thank you for taking the time to put the documents together for me. I know that it is hard to have to rehash and some what relive this sad time of your life. I am praying that the Lord will use you to bring light to any other situations like yours. I pray that the Lord will give you strength and guidance. Also I pray for healing, I am so sorry how you have been hurt for opening your home and heart for these girls and also the rest of your family.
I am so glad that you called and shared with me so honestly what happened to your family. I would like to continue to have other conversations with you so that XYZ Adoptions* can learn and be taught through you very sad experience.
My prayers for you, (signed by exec dir)"

signed. received. We are blessed to hear this news and know our adoption agency wants this. We are more than happy to help in any way possible, help their staff, help families, whatnot. I told her we are not ready to foster and/or adopt at this moment, but we have not closed the door on it. We just need more time to heal, more time to spend on our marriage, more time in general.

As a bonus, the girls bio family has gotten our address and phone number (I have no idea how, but guessing DSHS gave it out). They are using our address & phone number for their bills. Nice. I should not be surprised any more. And of course these people do not pay their bills, so bill collectors are calling. Good times. Thru my investigation of all this, without giving out alot of details, it looks like the girls have been thru yet another disruption. I was told they are back with the foster family.

*not real name

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Sheriff Said to Beat Our Son's Ass

Today I'm uncharacteristically tired. Maybe it's par for the course considering all that has happened this last week.

The good news is, work is wonderful. I've been subbing pretty much every day, and I love it. Did I mention how much I love it? I really have a particular fondness for the older kids, junior high and high school. I took myself off the sub list for the 19-21yr old students. A few are sweet, but alot are there because they have not passed the WASL (standardized state testing), so they cannot get their diploma, they are there trying to study to get a food handlers license. These kids along with some of the severely mentally retarded leave too big of a chance of getting violent with me. Chairs are thrown, kids run away (& the policy is to chase them down), they manhandle the staff. The staff is just supposed to deal with it. I already have a permanent spine injury and disc issues. Not going to chance worsening that. All of these "kids" are far bigger than me for the most part. I discussed it with the district and my DH. Best for me to choose to not sub there. Other than that, I LOVE WORK! And to boot, I can ride my bike to work at several of the locations. Love that.

Now for the meat of the post. I thought things were going so well with the kids meds. Until last Thursday. Just because I asked our 13yr old (who is bipolar & has ADHD) to pick up dog poo, this set off a chain of actions that were just ridiculous. This was in the morning before school, so DH not around. Much defiance, not gonna clean up dog poo off the carpet. He does not like the consequences I throw down. So he then throws about half a bottle of carpet cleaner (gallon bottle) over a five foot section of the carpet (the dog poo covered a few inches). I tell him he will have to miss out on allowance to pay for the cleaner he just wasted. The younger two kids went to school. The 13yr old starts threatening me. I call DH. He says "why do you let it get this far out of hand?" I said "fuck off" (not my finest Titus Woman moment) and hung up on him. Boy is still threatening me and refusing to get in the car for school. I called the police. I stayed on the phone with them, waiting for the cop to show up, so they could hear the boy threatening me and screaming. I wanted it on record. The boy is threatening me and wanting to call dad (like that will rescue him?). He grabs another phone, but it will not work for him since I'm on the same line with the police. He tries my cell, but this has never worked at my home because we live in the boonies. For the coup de graw, he jumps me and takes the phone away, running away from home. Calls his dad. I took my cell, locked him out of the house, and drove down the street to call the police back. Big mistake to jump me to get the phone. Not regretting calling the police one bit.

Reminder: this is all because he was told to clean up dog poo.

DH came home from work, I pulled in right after him, then the sheriff got here. Son came home once he saw dad and sat at the dining room table. The sheriff came in with bullet proof vest and hand on his gun. I now have a crush on the sheriff, but that's another story. I briefed the sheriff on the situation, including the fact that the boy is bipolar & ADHD. Not an excuse for his behavior, but disclosing the facts. Then here's how the conversation went:

Sheriff: Do you beat your son?
us: nope
Sheriff: Do you slap him across the face.
us: nope
me: the boy is bigger and faster than me, and I don't want CPS taking all my kids because we spank and discipline harshly the one who is really out of control.
Sheriff (looking at my husband): What's wrong with you? If my son treated my wife like that, I'd beat his ass. (Sheriff looking at boy): Boy, if you talk to me that way I'll throw you on a wall and beat you. If I see you in public treating me or your mom that way, I'm going to beat your ass and throw you in jail.

Oh, I heart the sheriff. He ripped my DH and DS up one side and down the other. Sheriff is proceeding to nail my son to a cross. He asks my son if he's peeing his pants yet. Son says "no". Sheriff says "well, then you can control yourself. You just choose to treat your mom this way. You are lazy. You have no idea what a well kept extravagant home you live in here, and you think it's all not good enough. Try running away again. Your parents can change the locks, report you as a runaway (so they are not charged with neglect and abandonment), and you'll be in a gutter peeing & pooping your pants, starving. No one will care about you. The only ones who care are your parents." This went on 30-40 minutes. It was awesome.

We told the sheriff we do not spank because in our state you can have ALL your kids taken away for that. Told him I feel castrated as a parent. He shook his head and said basically the schools misinform people, telling kids they have all these rights and that they, as kids, can call CPS for protection when kids don't like what is going on at home. Truly tragic for the parents merely setting boundaries and consequences. The schools don't tell the kids that they need to call CPS for ABUSE. They fail to inform the kids that they can't call CPS just because they got their iPod taken away. He proceeds to hand us a copy of our state laws on spanking. Here is what the law says for the state of WA:

rcw9a.16.100 Use of force on children--policy-actions presumed unreasonable

It is the policy of this state to protect children from assault and abuse and to encourage parents, teachers and their authorized agents to use methods of correction and restraint of children that are not dangerous to the children.

HOWEVER, the physical discipline of a child is not unlawful when it is reasonable and moderate and is inflicted by a parent, teacher or guardian for the purpose of restraining or correcting the child.

Any use of force on a child by any other person is unlawful unless ti is reasonable and moderate and is authorized in advance by the child's parent or guardian for the purpose of restraining or correcting the child.

***The following actions are presumed unreasonable when used to correct or restrain a child:
1. throwing, kicking, burning, or cutting a child
2. striking a child with a closed fist
3. shaking a child under three
4. interfering with a child's breathing
5. threatening a child with a deadly weapon
6. doing any other act that is likely to cause and which does cause bodily harm
greater than a transient pain or minor temporary marks.

"The age, size, and condition of the child and the location of the injury shall be considered when determining whether the bodily harm is reasonable or moderate. This list is illustrative of unreasonable actions and is not intended to be exclusive."

SO, we asked what are appropriate means of disciplining the child that will not have CPS entering the picture. He said if it was one of his six kids, he'd have our son running lines until he passes out or pukes, spanked with a paddle, take the bedroom door off the hinges, keep calling the police to keep a record going, and defend myself. Alot of this will be handed down by my DH considering the boy is larger than me. The sheriff left us with the remark that I'm the boss of the boy. If the boy doesn't like that, than the sheriff will be the boss of the boy. The boy only gets this one warning, and it is on record at that. Next time I call the police, he'll go to juvie hall (under age 14) or jail (age 14 and older). At the jail, I can press charges, then the boy will be sent to juvie to await a hearing and sentencing.

This has really taken a toll on me. To further it all, I decided to sign up for a self-defense course. Unfortunately there are none around here. But I found some down at UW, and I will be taking the classes (January). If the boy jumps me again, he'll regret it. Hopefully he'll be able to have children when I'm done taking him down.

I'm struggling with this as well because my DH thinks I should just be able to magically put up with all this, magically keep the boy in order, denies the notion that the boy has bipolar disorder despite three shrinks and our PCP agreeing with diagnosis. This is hard on our marriage. He told me if I get the boy thrown in jail, he'll divorce me (if I get the boy thrown in jail? uh, it's the boys actions that would get him thrown in jail). I told him if he can't support me, him divorcing me would be a gift. Apparently he supports me because he's spanked the boy twice since Thursday. He is not supportive of me taking the self defense classes. sigh........

Let's hope things are looking up from here!! I'm still a #1 supporter and promoter of Love and Logic parenting. The boy got kicked off the school bus for three days a couple weeks ago (for dangerous behavior). I told the school my DH will drive him in the morning because it's dark, but the boy can walk his butt home every day. All six miles. I think he now thinks the bus is alot more fun than walking home. Just because the kids create a problem, doesn't mean I have to be punished. I told the principal I would prefer if they did not suspend kids, but instead had them wash busses at the bus barn in 40 degree weather for four days. But I'm sure the school district is not interested in Love and Logic parenting..............