Summer is almost over... the kids go back to school in less than 2 weeks here... boo! I love summer time with my kids. I love late nights and late mornings. I love no schedules and lazy days. I love popcorn for dinner and midnight movies. But alas, all good things must come to an end and back to school they must go. Back to homework and packing backpacks and early bedtimes and blah blah blah. *sigh*
Anyway, I know a lot of you have been wondering about Kellsey and when she is coming home. My mom and I have been in constant contact about her progress this summer (of course) and for the most part things have gone as expected. She is doing well with the one-on-one attention and the calm, quiet routine. She is now fully potty trained and is eating better than ever. She's growing well and her self injuring behaviors have almost completely diminished thanks to constant routine and not being over-stimulated. She's even abandoned her beloved magna doodle and ventured out to other toys!
It hasn't been all sunshine and roses though... there have been some TOUGH days for my mom as Kellsey has become more comfortable and sees my mom as her caregiver now. As is typical with RAD, she is starting to pull away in some areas and is acting out severely. She can be extremely manipulative and defiant. But the fact remains that for now she's still doing better there than she was HERE. She is safer there for sure because my mom is more capable to keep her in a good routine and keep her calm... something that, with the typical chaos of our lives, I haven't been able to do no matter how hard I tried. I am thankful that my mom has great backup there who can help with Kellsey almost every day so my mom isn't alone. She has a chance to get away when she needs to, which is SO important!
So, with a lot of prayer on all our parts, Frank, my mom and I have decided to let Kellsey stay with my mom for her Kindergarten year. It's been a tough, heart-breaking decision since ideally we would love for her to come back here, be happy, thrive, and let us love on her. Realistically, the chances of that happening are slim to none. RAD sucks. It's like we've been trying to push this puzzle piece into our family puzzle for the last two years... except the piece just does not fit, no matter how much we want it to, no matter how hard we pound it in... all it's doing is making the other pieces of our puzzle crumble. Over the last two years I have watched as our marriage suffered, our other four kids suffered, several of my friendships suffered and I suffered as a mother. This summer has been like a gift - for Kellsey and for the rest of us. I've been able to step back and really see clearly what has been happening to our family. It hasn't been a pretty sight, but I am thankful that I can see it now. The best thing we have done for everyone - Kellsey included - is realize our limits. We can only do so much. And I think we hit our breaking point a LONG time ago.
A huge factor in our decision, ironically, is that the school setting is better there (the same district that we just left because it wasn't appropriate for Kennedy) than the school district here would be for Kellsey. She will be in a small class with only 8 children. She will be in a rigid, routined program with LOTS of eyes and hands on her at all times to keep her safe. She'll be in a small setting her entire day, which is what she NEEDS, and that makes me feel better about sending her off to school. Don't get me wrong, just typing the words "Kellsey" and "school" terrifies me. SO many different things could happen there that could compromise her health in so many different ways, but the small setting makes me feel better that she will have a successful year.
I am praying hard that we are making the right decision. Of course we miss her here, but we will still get to see her, she's still our daughter, and for right now we know she's in the best place possible. She's safe, she's loved, she's cared for and she's happy. For over three years I dreamed of the day that Keeghan and Kellsey would start Kindergarten together... maybe they would have the same friends, go to the same birthday parties, go on the same field trips. But after a summer of seeing Kellsey thrive and seeing the other four thrive after struggling for two VERY hard years, I think we're doing the right thing for all of us for now. I don't know what the future holds, but I'm thankful that my mom is willing to try, even though she sees now how hard it can be. It sucks. It's heartbreaking. It's not what we planned. But... it's not really about OUR plans, is it? It's about what is right for our family. And until God tells us otherwise, we believe this is it. I'm thankful that Kellsey is doing better. I am praying that this school year will be one of growth and peace and happiness and health... for all of us.