Originally Posted by alegna
Makes perfect sense.
It's a variation of what even toddlers do- the whole- I'm going to be SOOOO obnoxious that you couldn't possibly still love me, just to prove that you don't really love me, harumph.
Teens are exceptionally good at it- even "normal" teens.
And Desta? Well, other than you, what proof does Desta have that anything turns out happy? That there's good in the world? That anyone REALLY gives a crap?
So you are the one that must be wrong.
You couldn't POSSIBLY really love her like you say.
So by damned, she's going to be the biggest, most obnoxious pill ever THEN everyone will see that you don't REALLY love her- because how could you?
It's a great big head game.
This is absolutely right on...a big slice of the RAD pie.
When life got really tough with my oldest dfs, sometimes it was my built-in, all natural head-strong, absolute, complete stuborness
that got me through. He wasn't going to "win" the head game. By G-d, I was not going to let him make me prove
that he was unlovable!!!! All that crazy a** s**t that he pulled that made the police know us on a first name basis, all the misery he caused, all the fear he tried to instill in me, all the ways he pushed me away, he wanted me to give up on him so his whole world view could be proven. Then he wouldn't have to do any work.H**l no!!
I was putting way too much damn work into the relationship to let him get off so easily. He was going to learn that he could be lovable, and that was final.
(seriously, it may not be like this for other people, but I am f****ng bull headed when it comes right down to it, and honestly, it was how I survived some of the worst moments of motherhood).
Okay, so as for respite, we were fortunate that dfs did not qualify for "adoption" and was a permanent foster placement. He automatically received not only the standard respite, but because of the severity of his issues (we were a therapeutic foster care home dealing with one of the county's most intensive cases), two respite weekends per month!! dm, respite is so seriously worth whatever you have to do to get it. I would never have survived parenting dfs without respite.
In the state I come from, I have talked about this extensively at my adoption support group meetings, and I have been told that the state can cover respite as a part of "adoption support"/"adoption subsidy..." you just have to push it a bit. Does Desta already receive "adoption support?" I would try pushing it from that end, and if she doesn't receive "adoption support," I would be sure that you look into what it would take for her to get it because it can help you in oh so many ways.
You may want to also inquire in particular about whether you could have a therapeutic foster home provide her respite. If we had to find family and friends who would have done respite for dfs, we would have had a lot of painful time without respite. While dfs did behave himself 97% of the time at respite (damn RAD! lol), after he got comfortable with his regular respite providers (and having folks do it regularly was key for consistency), he did pull some crap that would have left us respite-providerless for extended periods of time. As it were, we did have a few therapeutic home respite providers start denying his respite placement after a while.
Reach out dm, and fight for this
As for how to present it, dfs was already very familiar with respite. But the thing about it is that respite providers tend to give the kids a break from the work of attaching, and they need that too. Especially teens, who tend to need breaks from their parents anyway. And with dfs, its not like I could just let him go spend the night at friends houses, ya know? He did like it when he went to respite homes that had kids his age, and homes that "did respite" primarily. It helped to get to know these kids and their families so that dfs was associating with peers who also went to respite care. That was key because, although we would talk to dfs about the value of respite for all of us, etc., he really did feel like since most kids his age don't go to respite, on some level that it was a rejection. But we couldn't have afforded to live without it, so we just associated as much as we could with other folks who used it.
And I also would second the suggestion of therapy just for you. It is soooo helpful just to be able to spend an hour each week processing and venting and relinquishing unecessary ownership of that crap that is getting thrown at you all the time. I know I certainly have depended heavily at times on keeping my own sanity by having that supportive ear just to hear me out each week...and I think parenting a kid who has RAD is one of those times when you ought to depend on something like that. I regret that I didn't access that more when we were parenting dfs.
I recently learned that in my new city there is a support group for parents who have kids with RAD. That would be another awesome opportunity, even if the best you could find is just an adoption support group that had more folks that have adopted older children than your typical adoption support group (maybe there is one through the state?). Do you already attend something like this? Is it the right kind of group for you? I don't just mean any adoption support group, if you can't find a RAD group (for a RAD group, maybe check with your therapists to see if they know of any). I mean one in particular that has lots of folks with children who were adopted at older ages.
I have taken part in a post-adoption support group for some time now. I actually started when eldest dfs was placed with us, and I feel like it was especially helpful then on a couple of levels...(1) it normalized our family's experiences...we didn't have to be the only family in our local community dealing with the issues we faced; (2) it gave us a reality check-- other mothers parenting kids with similar issues feel similarly...my responses were not abnormal, but rather normal responses to sub-normal experiences; (3) it allowed me to sit down with folks who were talking the same language and to be fairly-well understood without having to explain myself all the time; (4) occassionally there were helpful problem-solving experiences.
I am sorry if I am suggesting anything you are already doing. I'm just throwing stuff out there because I soooo feel your pain.
Hang in there, mama. A lot can and will change in five years. While these issues may always be a huge mountain you are climbing with Desta, there will
be rare but deeply satisfying moments of joy and peace and even pride in Desta...even if you have to wait what seems like forever for those moments.
By the way, have you ever heard of PCIT (I think that may be short for Parent-Child Interaction Therapy??)? They offer it at a trauma center in our area. It is a modified version of PCIT (no physical behavioral management especially) that was modified specifically to address traumatized kids' needs. Anyway, it is really behaviorally focused. It is about having short (aka tolerable) periods for parents to practice particular parenting skills that are different
for kids who have experienced trauma or have RAD. As we know, a lot of times we are drawing from a different tool box with kids under those circumstances, and PCIT has two facets: relationship enhancement for parent and child with a behavioral approach, and then a behavioral management piece. As I understand it, it's not coming from a point of view of the parent or child as having a deficit, but rather on building from the parent-child strengths to create a behavioral management plan that addresses trauma. Anyway, I just spoke for 45 minutes with a therapist today who practices PCIT, and I thought it sounded interesting.