I decided to start blogging again. It’s rough to get everything out on Twitter (140 characters) and there are things I can’t really talk about on Facebook.
I’m an adopted dad of a 14 year old ADHD/ODD/PTSD/Mood Disorder boy with a long backstory that we know little of, and who is struggling to be “normal.” M- was placed with my partner T- and me on his twelfth birthday. TWELFTH. That is a crappy word. I digress, a lot.
Things have not been good in a long time. Our patience is wearing thin. Our souls are wearing thin, if that makes sense. The cycle of depression, and continually being burned by our son’s misbehavior and bad decisions.
All the reassurances in the world that “it will get better” are empty. I know my friends don’t mean it to be – and my one friend with adopted kids (K-) understands, and doesn’t try to reassure me that it will get better.
Sometimes you have to hope and pray for the best, but plan for the worst, as my dad says.
So, every day isn’t going to go swell. In fact, only about 5/7 go well. And it’s not the same 5. But, that’s ok. My goal is going to be to record at least ONE good thing for every bad thing I rant about.
Yesterday was a long day. Nobody slept well the night before, and M- had an interview at a potential high school, right after he got home from middle school. Despite being rushed (and I was more than a little concerned), in the interview, M- was articulate, charming, and mostly able to find answers out of his own mind. He talked more than he has about this kind of stuff TO ANYONE. Which teachers he liked, what their teaching style was like, what does he do when he gets angry, his favorite and worst subjects and why. What kinds of things he would like to do for internships. Adorable, charming and articulate. Usually he survives on two of those three. You wouldn’t have known it was the same kid.
When we got home, I had about an hour to charge my phone before I had another meeting. M- & T- were on their own for dinner. As I usually do when I have downtime, I checked my email (actually looking for news that I’d need for the meeting.) I had an email from M-‘s ELA/SS teacher (the one he has the least problem with) letting me know how awful his behavior was, and that he had to be removed, and what would happen if he was like that today. Well, we instated a rule a few weeks ago, when things started to go south, that if we heard from ANYONE at school that his behavior was bad, he would not be able to hang out at the park/library/rec center, and would be limited to the house, and his friends’ house (the next block over) for 2 days. No skateboard, but he could go hang. Just enough to be painful (we let him pick – it was that or be grounded to his bedroom for 2 days. Duh, who’s going to pick that?)
I read the email, aloud, to him and to T-. M- started to argue that “all the other kids” were bad, too. (We also have a stance that we don’t give a flying fig about the other kids, which I mentioned.) When that didn’t work, he started to blame the fact that the teacher was having a bad day because of the state’s mandated testing. That didn’t fly, either – placing blame on her doesn’t take away the fact that you were bad, same as if we’re in a foul mood when you get home and leave your stuff strewn all over the house… you still get in trouble. When he couldn’t argue that, he let me go on to explain that he was going to be grounded to our house and his friends’ house for 2 days. He tried to argue out of that in all sorts of ways. That didn’t work, either, and in fact, by then, T- was angry. Placing the blame on others, misrepresenting/lying about what was agreed upon, just to get yourself out of trouble is a big no-no. T- called M- out on his manipulation.
I managed to calm the situation down. T- still was in a fighting mood. “What do we get out of this? He continues to shit and piss on everything we do.” I said, “this is fine. it’s fine.” And I left.
When I got home from my meeting, M- & T- were just finishing up watching TV. M- was still “starving” despite eating 2 cheesy brats and a bowl of cottage cheese, and a bowl of sherbet (I presume from the empty carton) and a handful of cookies. T- was heading upstairs to finish work. M- tried (halfheartedly) to rile me up, with a big grin on his face. Since it was already the agreed upon time to get ready for the next day/get ready for bed, I let him hang on and eat one more thing – a dish of strawberry yogurt. Filling, and relatively good for you. That kid is eating like I did at his age… whatever’s handy. Six-feet, here we come. He was talkative, admitting that he was pretty bad in school. I apologized for questioning his remembering of the agreed upon consequences, as I remembered later, the truth did come out in the rushed and heated conversation. Being curled up on the couch under a blanket, he made himself an easy target, and I tickled him – just like I used to.
It may have been a rough evening (and it was, even after that – trying to herd cats, so to speak, getting him to go to bed), but those moments of honesty, and the giggles, were the best part of my day.