Thursday, May 6, 2010

A somewhat surprising turn....

I went in to talk with DD's social worker about the possibility of respite or other resources. I was told that due to budget cuts, there is no respite budget at all :-(

But the social worker advised me that since DD is 17 now, she could get a waiver to allow DD to live in a group home. To me that really seemed like rejecting her. I don't think that's the answer "right now". However, I was and am willing to say that if she becomes violent again, that will be, apparently, the "other" option that we have. I can't stand violence, and even though DH did contribute to the escalation of the problem, the verbal aggression did not let up for days afterwards. So if she loses control again and hurts one of us physically, I think it will be clear that she needs something more than we can provide. Actually, right now it's pretty clear, but I'm hoping....

Don't worry, the courts/county will not allow her to go back to her "real" mom--that's what caused this in the first place!!! DD and her bio family are very well known in our area and I think every worker in the Human Services Department would fight as hard as they could to disallow something like that. It's not even an option except for DD's "wishful thinking". If she went to her bio mom, all the progress DD has made these past few years would go right down the toilet and she'd be in jail within a month, I'm sure.

Anyhow, like I was saying, I feel like sending DD to live in a group home would be a kind of rejection, and I'm absolutely sure that she would see it that way, too. But since that is the only option, I wanted to know what her therapist, who I view as a mentor of mine, thought of the group home idea. Surprisingly, she said, "Realistically, DD is not going to be able to live independently as an adult. She is always going to need some kind of living supports/assistance. So, given the fact that she will definitely be living in a group home setting in the future, does it really make a difference whether she goes now or in a year or two?" She told me that if DD had been put into a group home setting back when we got her, she would have been "shattered". But now she's 17 and although maturity-wise, she might improve somewhat, really things are not going to get much better. So basically, what she said was "Why not now? It's going to happen eventually anyhow..." Although I really don't want to admit that we might be at that point now or very soon, her comments did comfort me, because she is right--if DD is going to keep doing this, I have enough on my plate with DH and my mom....might as well have someone else deal with the crap. DD's therapist was quick to point out that DD would still be a part of the family, just like my mom is. DD would just be living somewhere else, with others to help her besides me. It gave me something to think about.

Ok. Back on track here....While the social worker and I were trying to talk to DD about this possibility, she screamed at me "Shut up!" and was chastised by the social worker--I didn't bother chastising her myself because I knew we'd end up with more problems.... that's how it's been lately. Anyhow, after the social worker told her that was NOT appropriate, DD asked to go to the hospital. The social worker called in the pdoc who was going to start DD on Depakote, but DD was adamant, she wanted to go to the hospital. Social worker, pdoc and I were all of the opinion that DD just wanted to go somewhere where she wouldn't have to deal with rules and/or consequences, like she does at home. None of us thought she would be admitted. I brought her to the E.R., though, wasted an entire day, and what do you know??? She's admitted.

And I'm kind of surprised and kind of not, but I don't miss her. Mostly I'm just relieved.


GB's Mom said...

I know that relieved feeling. It used to be mixed with guilt, but now I feel pure relieve- someone else is responsible for a while!

perphila said...

You needed a break from a very rough situation. You are opening all the doors and exploring all the options for what is best for DD and your family as a whole. Take the time to regroup.

Miz Kizzle said...

I agree with your social worker. At 17 DD is at the age when she wants more independence. Group homes, when they're run right, give young women the chance to learn the kind of skills they need as adults and they get to be with other girls their age, kind of like a college dorm back in the days when house mothers made cure the rules were complied with and guys weren't allowed upstairs!
I don't think it's a rejection of your DD at all; in fact I think it would be a good advantage for her.
She needs to grow up and the right placement, with the right professionals to help her, would give her a chance to become more mature than she'll have staying with you.

Grace. said...


You are entering a very difficult phase of adoptive motherhood--moving a damaged child into adulthood when they are SO not ready for it.

One thing you should start working on right now is setting her up for SSI once she turns 18. Are you getting it for her now, or do you get Adoption Assistance instead? Either way, there's more paperwork to be done to make sure her SSI kicks in as an adult.

Another thing--guilt is NOT the right response to possible group living. You are helping her become independent and it needs to be expressed that way to her--a way to help her make friends, get assistance when she needs it, and maintain a relationship with her mother. I can't tell you how much my relationships with my two daughters with FAE improved when we weren't living in the same home. Both are, I think, less damaged than your daughter and are capable of living independently. The oldest is completely independent, working, and a good parent. The other is living with her birthmother (who completed rehab and is doing OK) while looking for work. But I'm still the mom she turns to whenever she needs anything.

Carol said...

Thanks everyone for making me feel better about all of this. Grace, thanks a lot for those words from someone who's been there. You're right, I do have to sign her up for SSDI right away. I guess I should have seen all this coming, but I stuck my head in the sand. I've been wondering when we should sign her up for that, but nobody at the county's said anything, so I didn't know if maybe that wasn't going to come up until she turns 18 or something....but I'll ask her social worker about it.

Grace. said...

One more thing--there's a yahoo group called OlderFAS that you might find really helpful. I'm not on it, but several of my internet friends who've adopted children with fetal alcohol issues are--it's about the transition to adulthood, and parenting young adults with FAS.