Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Q&A #249

There is a DUCK STORE!! Why oh why must I be in NY far away from the duck store?? lol.. 
My 7 month old has a love for all things ducks and in her short little 7 months has collected quite a few already I am sure my house will be over run by ducks as she gets older! lol..

LOL Yes, Kassidy loves ducks too! She has quite a few as well. I should take pictures inside the store sometime. They have THOUSANDS of ducks in there. It's really a sight to see! Check out their website... it's nuts! LOL 

I was wondering if your Mom will participate in the DS Walk in TN for Kellsey or would you fly "home" for that? 
Tennessee Buddy Walks can be pretty hot depending on the year and there are A LOT of people there so I doubt they will go. Lots of over stimulation there and they have characters which freak Kellsey out. When she went to the Buddy Walk here last year she definitely paid the price afterwards. We were still learning all of her triggers at that point, and the weather is lots cooler here than there. Beyond that, it would be hard for me to fly there (I don't really consider TN my home lol) since I'd have to buy 5 plane tickets and rent a car and the kids would have to miss school. Hopefully one day she will be able to participate in a Buddy Walk again, but I think for now it would be a really bad idea. 

Um, I listened to Keeghan talk...a lot...last week and didn't catch the Southern at all, lol.  
Well, I guess you would know best. I think you heard him talk for 4564565645632223234 hours! LOL 

Quick question: how did you end up "surprised" by RAD? Did you have any required classes as part of your adoption training? Since you felt you were rescuing a little girl from a life in an institution.... How did it not occur to you that a kid in an institution might have institutional behaviors?? 
Well, this question has been addressed quite well in the comment section on the post, so please refer to that section, BUT I do want to say that 1. Kellsey was not in an institution. She was in a baby home. 2. Our home study agency required NO training. In hindsight, this is NOT a good thing! At the time, it was one less thing we had to check off our "to-do" list. So we truly never heard the term RAD. We also never had a post-adoption visit so our social worker never even MET Kellsey, which I later found out is also unusual. ALL the adoption blogs we read at that time had happy stories of happy kids and happy endings. We didn't know to know differently. We were naive! Truly. We thought we would be bringing home a little girl with Down syndrome, who surely would be more delayed than Kennedy since she never had early intervention, but we would get her caught up in no time! I mean REALLY, even her profile said she was potty trained already! LOL Seriously, naive. 

If a birth child of yours had the same physical and mental issues that Kellsey has (as some congenital mental disorders can mimic RAD) would you make the same decision? Or, since the child would be one that you had from birth, while the bond would not be there you would have the unique connection that comes from a birth child? 
You know, it's hard for me to answer that. Someone asked me before if I would make the same decision if one of my birth children had RAD, and that was and easy answer... my birth child wouldn't have RAD. He/she wouldn't be left alone and not given the chance to bond with me. I know of some families who HAVE made similar decisions for their biological children for different reasons. And I know that all these decisions were made out of love. It's hard for me to say WHAT I would do because that's a journey I haven't walked. I know that sounds like a cop out, but 3 years ago it would have been so easy for me to say, "I would NEVER disrupt." If nothing else, I have learned to never say never. Every child, every parent, every situation is different. 

I am curious though, what sort of resources are available (if any) to other families dealing with RAD, that may not be as fortunate to have someone as wonderful as your mom to take over the care?
If a child with RAD is already legally adopted by one family, can that child still be reassigned to another family, like will your mom have to officially adopt Kellsey now from you? 

WELL, there is respite care for those lucky enough to get it. This depends on insurance, what programs the child qualifies for and funding and SO many different things... The problem I ran into with Kellsey is finding someone qualified to care for her. I had a nurse tell me once to just find someone on care.com! LOL I about laughed out loud! Between her g-tube, allergies, CIPA, RAD and her love of putting small things in her mouth, that would have been SO easy to find someone to come sit with her for a few hours. @@ Most parents have a hard time finding someone to care for a child with RAD, especially if they are aggressive, which Kellsey is not, but many children are. There are RAD support groups out there... somewhere. LOL I've found a few online, but none locally sadly. I did hear about a GREAT annual conference in Florida that's supposed to be life changing... but it's in Florida. I'm a wealth of resources, huh? ;) I'm planning on working on that eventually. I don't always plan on being the Debbie Downer of RAD. One day I'm going to be the encourager, it just takes time. ;) We still have healing to do.
Yes. When you go through a disruption (which we did not) that child can be legally adopted by another family. Basically you sign away your parental rights and you are no longer the parents and the other family adopts the child and they become his/her new parents. However, in our case, we signed over temporary custody to my mom so she can make medical/educational decisions for Kellsey. This is on a year to year basis, but Frank and I are still her parents, my mom is still her grandma and the kids are still her siblings. Basically she is in respite care. 


I'm going to ask this at the risk of sounding totally rude but please understand I mean this out of pure curiosity and I hope you don't take it the wrong way! I'm assuming your mom is somewhere in her 60's, and I was wondering if you think there will be a point where she no longer wants to raise a child? Obviously she loves Kellsey and wants to take care of her but as your mom gets older, do you think she will become unable to constantly give Kellsey attention? I'm also assuming that in ten or so years all of Kellsey's issues will still make her very dependent--I could be totally wrong on that. Again, I'm only asking because I'm interested and I really don't want this to sound critical or like I'm doubting your mom's ability to care for Kellsey or anything! I think it's really cool that you're able to talk about this and run the risk of harsh criticism!!
Yes, my mom is in her VERY young 60's ;). As to everything else... I... don't know. LOL My GUESS is that Kellsey will need constant care for the rest of her life. What that means... I don't know. Realistically, in 10 years, she will be a teenager, going through puberty. That's enough to make anyone run screaming! HA! I don't know. We don't have a 10 year plan, or even a 5 year plan or a 3 year plan. We're not really planners. This probably isn't a good thing. LOL Sorry, I know that's not the answer you're looking for, but I guess we'll cross those bridges when we come to them. 

I am a little sad to hear that the kids don't miss her, but I'm sure it's because it's hard for them to seperate that it's the RAD that was causing the hurt, not Kellsey. I'm sure they still love her though. :)
That has a lot to do with it. It also has to do with MY reactions to everything that has happened in the last couple years. I'd be lying if I said it didn't. Our household has been VERY stressful and that hasn't all been because of Kellsey. It has been in large part because I didn't know WHAT to do. I am, by nature, a fixer and if I can't FIX it, I stress. When things are under control, I am very easy going and happy and laid back. When things are out of control, I tense up and stress. RAD is not something that I understand (even though I can explain it) and I can't control it. Kellsey absolutely got the best of me and everyone in the house knew it, especially Kellsey, which led to mass chaos. I shut down, and the order and normalcy of the house just... crumbled. I think that the kids know that Kellsey not being here means that normalcy has returned. Everyone can function again. We're back in routine, no one is walking on eggshells around Kellsey, everyone has expectations and it's taken some adjusting. The older two GET it, the younger two don't really... but one day they will. And I will make sure they know that it's NOT Kellsey's fault, it's not HER, it's just a bad situation caused by RAD that we weren't equipped to handle. 

Do you regret the adoption and can you even undo it now? Can she be sent back to the adoption agency to be re adopted, or is your family now stuck caring for her for the rest of her life? I feel badly for your mom being burdened with the extreme responsibility since you no longer want her. Somehow it Doesn't seem quite fair to your mom. I will pray for all involved. 
I addressed the first question here. My answer still stands. We did not use an adoption agency and even if we did, we would not "send her back". I think that so many people have a skewed vision of "disruption". There was the mother in TN who put her son on the plane back to Russia and "sent him back". This was absolutely not ok. She's paying the price (literally) for those actions now. In no way shape or form would we EVER send Kellsey back to Ukraine. The fact remains that she does NOT deserve to be rotting away in an institution there for the rest of her life. The fact also remains that WE are not equipped to handle her wide range of needs, most specifically, her RAD. She NEEDS to have 1-1 care and attention. We are not "stuck" caring for her for the rest of her life. We had some other options, but my mom ASKED to try to care for her so she could stay part of our family... our daughter, the kids' sister. She wanted to try. We didn't force her, we didn't beg her, we discussed it, and my mom, knowing all of Kellsey's issues, wanted to try it out, knowing that she too may not have been able to care for her. We weren't trying to burden my mom, we weren't trying to stick her with an unwanted child. She loves Kellsey and wanted her grandchild to stay in the family. This was HER choice and we are SO thankful and eternally grateful. IF there comes a time when my mom decides that she can no longer care for Kellsey, we will decide what happens next as a family. We will always keep Kellsey's best interests at heart. No matter what happens though, she will never be rotting away in an institution. She will never be unwanted or unloved. Again, this was NOT the life that we planned when we adopted Kellsey, but we're doing the VERY best we can with the hand that we've been given and we are praying that God will show us the way that is best for EVERYONE involved. 

16 comments :

The Wendt Family said...

Just wanted to say thanks for being open and honest. I can't even imagine what the feelings are when you bring someone into your family with love and want nothing more than to help them live their life to the fullest. I give your family and your mom major kudos for trying your hardest to give her what's the best life for her. I kind of got upset when someone asked if you were "stuck" caring for her. Kind of offensive to me, and she's not even my daughter.

Kaylee114 said...

Hi Renee,
I was curious, aside from sending Kellsey to your sweet mom's house (God bless her!), what other options did you have to place Kellsey elsewhere?
I know you said you would never send her back to the Ukraine, but where else would someone in a similar situation have to send a child they can no longer care for? I know respite care is only supposed to be temporary right?
My heart just hurts for you. I know this wasn't an easy decision for your family but you are doing the very best you can given the circumstances. I applaud you for your honesty and for taking the time to educate everyone about RAD.

Sewconsult said...

Bravo.
I grew up with a family whose mother had a nervous breakdown after trying to raise their (natural) handicapped child. I know that she and her husband were told to institutionalize the child, but they never did. I doubt that she truly got the support that she needed. I do know that the paternal grandmother blamed the mother for the child's handicaps from the time of his birth. I know what a mother-in-law's harsh tongue can do, so I can imagine what horrible guilt that the mother went through.
It's terribly harsh for people to ask why, why not, wanting detail or other questions of you and Frank. It's hard enough when one has to make such decision in each household. I don't think you should be expected to explain such decisions. I would hate to have the feeling of Big Brother needing a port hole window into our lives.
Hugs,
Beckie

~just me~ said...

You continually amaze me with your strength and your grace, despite the constant onslaught from people that seem to think it's ok to be nasty in how they say things. I am shaking my head at the unbelievable nerve. Anyone that even slightly knows, follows, understands you could have answered those questions. There is absolutely no way that anyone can ever logically claim that you are not a great mother with Kellsey's best interests at heart. Stay strong, you always have my prayers!

Anne B. said...

Yes!!! God will continue to show you the way....of THAT you can be certain! He already knows the plans he has for Kellsey and you have been a part of that plan from the beginning. I am grateful that he holds all of you in his hands and that you trust in him!! (((HUGS)))!!

Tammy said...

God Bless you and your entire family, Renee for having the courage to discuss RAD and your family. My heart breaks for what your family was enduring and I am so thankful you had to courage to make a difficult decision. You are to be commended for taking care of your ENTIRE family. My prayers are with you.

Katherine, Anna's Mom said...

I'm a longtime reader, posting a comment for the first time. I'm so impressed with your honesty about RAD and the challenges you are facing as a family. I applaud your decision to make the best decisions possible for EVERYONE in your family and for continuing to seek the best care for Kellsey. You are amazing. Thank you for being honest so that other families who are in pain can learn from you.

Milena said...

I just want to thank you for being honest, and addressing even blunt questions. Your recent posts may very well help others be more aware of what the may face when adopting, and be better prepared than they otherwise would.

Kathy said...

"since you no longer want her" from last questioner. Really? Jerk!

Michelle said...

Apparently your mom is as amazing as you! WAY TO GO GRANDMA!!!

Shelly said...

Thanks for posting the website to that Duck Store! I am so happy to see they ship out ducks too, so I may just have to make an order or two or twelve..lol for Christmas or her birthday.. :)

JoanBensMom said...

Renee,
I applaud your honesty...and I can only imagine how difficult it is to go through this so publicly. You are a brave, strong loving mom!

I rarely comment (but read all the time). I'm sociology major, and in the class I'm currently taking we are discussing Attachment Disorder. We were required to watch a video about a little girl (Beth) who was abused by her father...and later adopted by a couple. This video is a little long (@ 30 minutes!) but it is eye-opening...and horrifying...and so very sad. Her lack of love and connection as an infant and little child kept her from attaching to her adoptive parents (and caused other issues that forced her parents to place her in a different home environment). As I was watching the video, I was overwhelmed. This little girl does not have DS or wasn't involved in an international adoption/baby house/orphanage, etc., but seeing how RAD can mess a precious little person up SO badly and nearly destroy a family is ...just overwhelming. I'm so glad you were able to take steps and that you have someone willing to help, and that Kellsey seems to be doing better in her new environment. I can't even imagine having to deal with this type of turmoil and emotions. ((HUGS))
~Joan (Ben's Mom)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2-Re_Fl_L4&feature=related

Alice Fraggle said...

Thank you for answering these questions. I'm sure it's hard for you!
You are all in my thoughts!

The McCammons said...

I just wanted to say that it's great to see someone who is so open about their situtation, what ever that may be. I, as a parent, (my son has bad ADHD-I know, no comparison but a lot of people don't get this either) so I can't imagine what you were going through as a family. I know what chaos things like this can cause, and I have to say I applaud you for at least trying, for your daughters sake and the rest of your kids, something to help everyone. Yes, it stinks that she's not with you, but your kids at home and your daughter who is with your mother are now (i'm sure) are a lot more settled. Hugs to you, and for anyone that is against you, or reads to far in to what you are saying or doing, I'm sorry. Thank you and hugs.

Jen T. said...

I love you!

Shoeaddict said...

Your answer to the last question, in my opinion, shows that everything you are doing is out of love. You have so much to consider and have been through so much. I so admire your strength.