Monday, December 24, 2012

Jumping off the cliff

Hello there.  I have had to take a little break for a while, mostly because I wasn't ready to say what needs to be said.

I knew it was going to happen.  I knew it was going to be quick and decisive.  I knew it was going to be really hard.  But yet, I was not at all prepared for what happened.

After county level multi-agency meetings and staffings and such, on December 7th I got a call from CPS that they were going to take KC into their custody for safety reasons.  The call came 5 months after I made the first call to CPS to ask for help in the most humiliating and demeaning way that they make you go about things. The call came 4 months after the CPS worker and her supervisor assured me over and over that there were no safety concerns in our house and told me that I needed to just be a better parent.  It was the call we needed so desperately to receive, yet it created a chasm that may not ever be bridged.  I hope and pray that the call did not come too late. 

KC moved within the hour to a residential treatment facility here in the same town.  I don't like the facility, but I like the proximity.  I'm not certain it is going to be a place that helps KC achieve her maximum potential, but its safe.  Most important of all, KC really loves it there and is comfortable.  She never waivers when she says that she doesn't ever want to come home, even for a visit.

AJ is heartbroken.  In her world, her strongest and most spoken rule she has is that we must stay together as a family.  When I first explained to her what happened, she asked if she would have to leave if she was naughty.  (I thoroughly explained that KC isn't naughty and that she needs extra help.) Then AJ asked if I was going to hurt her now.  It took me a moment to figure out what she was really saying.  You see, AJ has never lived anywhere that she didn't get hurt.  (Except a short stay in an amazingly wonderful foster home right before she came to me.)  She lived the first three years of her life in quite a perilous situation with her birth family.  She wasn't scared of being hurt, she expected it.  Now that KC was gone and not going to hurt her anymore, she wanted to know who was going to hurt her now.  Since I am the only one left, it must be me.  Sweet, sweet girl...I have failed my number one keep her safe.

For me, the grief attacked the moment I heard the words. The thing  that I needed most, was the single most painful and the very worst thing I could ever imagine.  There's no protocol as to how to deal with this.  There's no plan.  I like plans.  I like preparedness.  I also like being in control of my emotions, but that wasn't happening either.  It took many days before I was even able to semi-function, and I'm still really struggling with day-to-day tasks.

I struggle with my new role...whatever it is.  How do I parent a child that lives somewhere else?  How do I steer her to all that is good and holy, when there are 20 staff steering her too?  How do I stay connected to my child with Autism, when Autism makes it difficult to have any connections at all?  How to I ensure her safety when she is living with strangers? 

So, here we are.  We have jumped off the cliff into the chasm of the unknown and unfamiliar and we are trusting the Lord to catch us.  He makes all things beautiful in its time. (Ecc 3:11)

One day we were leaving a visit  with KC and AJ asked (again) why we couldn't bring Sister with us.  I explained (again) that Sister needs to get more help.  AJ simply said, "But Mommy, that makes my heart fall out."  Mine too, little peanut, mine too.  I trust that our hearts have been broken so God could remake them even better. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year??

HA!  Any autism parent will likely contend that the entire month of December is truly NOT the most wonderful time of the year.  Some of you parents of neuro-typical children may wonder why we can't just relax and enjoy the holidays.  Let me try to explain...

I love Christmas.  I truly, truly do!  It used to be my very favorite holiday.  Then along came KC.  You see, kiddos with autism like routine, and structure, and sameness.  With the holidays you get change in every routine while we try to fit in extra parties and programs and special visits.  Out the door goes structure and sameness.  The sights, sounds and even the smells are all different and over-the-top.  People with autism typically cannot filter out background sights and sounds and smells and so it's all just overwhelming. 

When you add the sensory overload to the anxiety and anticipation of getting presents that you may or may not love, it's really just horrible.  At our house (and I would wager in many autism homes) all of December is like taking a month-long vacation to Meltdownville. 

Considering our family was already in crisis mode, I am not certain we will last the whole month.  I am trying to think outside of the box and make things easier for KC while not short-cutting AJ's Christmas experience.  It's a tricky maneuver, indeed! 

Maybe AJ can go see Santa with Gma & Gpa?  Maybe we can have our household family Christmas gift opening BEFORE Christmas thus alleviating that anticipation earlier?  (Like, um, tomorrow?)  Any other suggestions out there?? 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Changing My Identity...

Who are you?  Who are any of us?  Lost, broken people in a lost and broken world.  Struggle and strife are a sure thing for everyone.  But God uses that hurt and makes it into something good.  I wonder if the deeper pain makes for even more good? 

Throughout this time of crisis at our house, I have learned more about myself than I ever wanted to know.  Some of it is not pretty.  (But we'll skip over that for today!)  I've found that I identify myself solely as mom.  I am KC and AJ's mom.  But I really am so much more. 

Looking forward to the next 8 weeks there are going to be two life-changing events.  KC will be moving to a safer place and I will be having bariatric surgery.  The first is truly deeply painful and the second is truly deeply wonderful.  (Coincidence?  I think not!)  Both events are going to change who I am to my very core. 

I am excited to see what is going to happen.  I am eager to have God rebuild and remold me from the inside out.  Embarking on this journey is going to be life-changing and I can't wait (impatient much?) to  find out who I am going to be.  It feels like a second chance at life! 

If you could have a fresh start in your life, what would you change?  How would you redefine yourself?