Mystery Lane

Mystery Lane

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Times are a Changin'

Lots of things are starting to change here at Fort Klim (as I like to call our house).  Well at least ideas of change are starting to form.  I’ve said before I am not much a change person, I just don’t like it.  What I’m realizing lately is that while change sucks, the anticipation of change is even more sucky.  Regardless, change it is inevitable and it is coming.

Jackson has always been a big kid.  He was 32 lbs. at nine months.  Yes, nine months.  He was never a little baby or a little boy.  He is 6 now and weighs 67 lbs.  He’s heavy and strong.  I’m no shorty or weakling but I tell you what, carrying Jackson around is hard.  HARD!  He doesn’t make it easy either.  He won’t wrap his legs around my waist, he arches his back, and often hits me in the face with his flailing arms while I carry him.  It’s a lot just to carry him around the house but to get him in the house has become a dilemma.  We have stairs.  4 stairs from the garage to the house.  7 stairs from the entry way to the main floor of the house.  That’s 11 stairs.  It may not seem like much but when you are carrying a wiggly 67 lb. kid up those stairs it’s comparable to last few hundred feet to the summit of Mt. Everest.  At least that’s how it feels.  My legs and arms are burning and I am out of breath by the time we get to the main floor.  Every day gets a little bit harder.  The stairs are not something we can modify for a wheelchair.  So that is out of the question.  What we need is a new house, a rancher with no stairs.  What we also need is a winning lottery ticket.

As if needing a new house isn’t enough, we also need a new car.  We have a great SUV that was initially easy to get Jackson in and out of.  That was 2 years ago.  Getting Jackson in and out of the SUV is another feat in and of itself.  He also doesn’t like to get in or out.  He arches, twists his body, and pushes me away.  I can’t tell you how many times I have twisted my back getting that kid in and out of the car, or the amount of curse words I have yelled.  Every time I go to the chiropractor he is like “What have you been doing to yourself?”  Now we need a van with a wheelchair lift.  Anyone have a winning lottery ticket I could borrow?

Then there is Daniel.  The social worker is still looking for that “perfect” house for him.  Knowing that he is leaving and keeping that from him is really hard.  Kevin and I have always tried to be honest with the kids.  We feel they deserve that after all they have been through.  But in this case we know we need to keep it from him until there is a home in place.  It will be way too difficult for him with his anxiety and depression.  The holidays are approaching and not knowing what that is going to be like for Daniel and our family is difficult.  The whole idea of the unknown for him and us is gut-wrenching.  The anticipation of change is worse than change itself. 

Our family getting smaller, a new house, a new car.  Just a few issues the family who has a special needs and a foster child face.  As Gilda Radner said “Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”  I don’t know how delicious it is but there is definitely a sense of ambiguity in our lives right now. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Remember when you were little and life was easy but you desperately wanted to grow up and be an adult?  What were we thinking?  I’d sure like to go back to recesses, building forts in the woods, and playing in the bathtub till the water was cold.  Being an adult sucks.  It’s hard and you have to make all sorts of decisions.  I don’t like it one bit.  Sometimes the decisions are easy and sometimes they are hard, really, really hard.  Recently we had to make one of those really, really hard decisions. It’s almost even too hard for me to write about right now.  My emotions are kind of raw and numb. 

If you keep up with the blog you know that back in July we discovered our foster son Daniel, who we were planning to adopt, was hurting Jackson.  I don’t think I can put into words how devastating that was for us.  To try and process it was difficult to say the least.  There were lots and lots and lots and lots of conversations, putting some puzzle pieces together from Daniel’s behavior and trying to figure out how to keep Jackson safe and our family intact.  We put Daniel in daycare during the day this summer so that I didn’t have to be on heightened alert 24/7 about him being near Jackson.  That actually helped me a lot.  Watching Jackson non-stop to make sure he was safe was wearing me down.  We took Daniel to be evaluated by a neuropsychologist which didn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know.  He did have some insights into Daniel and his behavior, but we didn’t get the answers we were hoping for.  We were living in limbo for a couple of months with a whole lot of uncertainty hanging over our heads.  Then one night I thought I heard someone in Jackson’s bedroom while he was sleeping.  I jumped out of bed and ran into his room.  It turned out it was just his curtains flapping in the wind.  But then I started freaking out.  What if Daniel went in there at night and hurt Jackson?  I can’t even think about that, it’s heartbreaking.  So I decided I would buy a lock for Jackson’s door.  That way he would be safe at night.  Then I told Kevin about it and we asked ourselves “Is this how we are going to live?”  Kevin asked me how we could be a family if we have to keep members of our family separate.  He was right.  How?  The answer is you can’t.  No matter how much you want to.  After two months of talking and soul searching and trying to find answers we finally had it.  We called our social worker and let her know that Daniel just can’t live in our home.  It isn’t safe for Jackson and it isn’t a healthy home for Daniel. 

Daniel needs a home where he is part of the family, where he can get the attention he craves, where he has a mom who doesn’t harbor hurt feelings toward him like I have been doing.  Daniel has been through so much in his short life, he needs to start a new chapter where he has a family that will help him heal.  We don’t have the time or resources with 3 kids to do the intensive family and personal therapy Daniel is going to need.  We can’t dedicate our lives to just one of our 3 kids.  It isn’t fair to anyone.  Right now Daniel needs someone to dedicate their time and energy on him.  He needs a chance to have that.  As much as I would love to be that mom to Daniel, I just can’t.  That is hard to admit.  I feel as if I have failed him.  We promised him our home, now we are taking that away.  I feel so much guilt, so much sadness, so much betrayal.  I know in my head that this is the best thing for everyone, but as a typical response my heart isn’t listening much to my head. 

Our social worker is amazing and we have met with her a couple of times emphasizing that we will wait until we find the perfect family for Daniel.  We need to make sure he goes to a new family that is willing to work hard for him.  And one that will make sure the connection with Sylvia won’t be broken.  Sylvia is staying with us.  Another reason I feel guilt.  The whole purpose of taking the two kids was to ensure that another sibling group wouldn’t be broken up.  Here we are breaking them up.  Sylvia’s counselor and everyone involved thinks this will actually be a good thing for Sylvia.  I do too actually.  Sylvia has kind of been on the back burner because of her brother.  He requires so much attention that she gets the leftovers.  While Daniel was in daycare this summer I had time to finally spend some time with Sylvia.  I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t really even know her that well.  Building my relationship with Sylvia has been a ray of light for me in this difficult situation.  She is such a great kid and I have come to love her so much.  We had such a great time this summer and she has come to love Jackson so much.  She is so sweet with him and told me the other day that she thinks he is the funniest person she has ever met.  She dotes on him and he lights up when she plays with him.  Another ray of light. 

We haven’t told the kids any of this yet.  I dread that conversation.  I know it will be gut wrenching. 

I am hopeful we can find a great family for Daniel.  I am hopeful that Kevin, Jackson, Sylvia and I can build a strong family.  I am hopeful that Daniel will still be a part of our family and we can build a healthy relationship with him.  I am hopeful that these feelings of guilt, remorse and grief I am feeling are going to go away at some point. 

As I was talking things over the other day with Daniel’s pediatrician he said to me that age old quote “No good deed goes unpunished.”  Tell me about it!  But I think George Eliot’s quote sums up how I am starting to feel:  “Failure after long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure."