Friday, November 16, 2007

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome....Reactive Attachment Disorder....Huh??

Why would you ever want to foster parent?

When we decided to take on the responsibility of fostering two little girls who happen to be cousins, we had no idea where that road was going to take us. We knew they were coming from neglect and filth and that it was in no certain terms going to be an easy road. But as time goes on, more and more information is coming to light, some I can talk about and some I cannot.

It has been a very rough five weeks. In the first couple weeks of their arrival, things were tough transitionally but we were mentally prepared with the thoughts of it will get better with lots of love and consistency with them. In their own home, Barbara was the favorite and Sharlene was caged up most of the time due to her unruly behavior and hyperactivity.

As time has gone on and they have become more comfortable in our home, some very interesting things have come to the surface. They both are hurtful to themselves to get attention. They will throw themselves off of furniture onto the floor in hopes of getting attention. They will purposely gouge their cheek and blame it on another person. They can be playing nicely and then out of the blue, scream bloody murder like someone is beating the snot out of them, and then turn around and blame one of our other children.

They both have a fascination with fire on the stove. They know what 'hot' is but yet are drawn to touch a burning hot pan anyway. When I'm cooking, I have to stand guard of the stove so they will not hurt themselves.

They eat until I put limits on their food. For instance, Sharlene had three corn dogs, chips and some apple and wanted more. I told her that I thought that was plenty for now and she threw herself on the floor in a crying meltdown. After she had calmed down, I caught her rummaging through the garbage can eating what she found there. They will both take and eat Kara's food off her tray in the highchair or in her seat. They eat food out of the couch or anywhere they find it.

There is so much more I could tell you about it but until you see it in action, it's hard to grasp hold off. When you are sitting here and something happens, you find yourself asking....is this really happening? Did this really just happen? It's surreal.

After guarding the garbage can, the stove and keeping a constant eye on all the kids all of the time to make sure everyone stays safe, I have asked myself many times, why would people willingly sign themselves up for all this fun? Even though, we aren't receiving aid, I know it's available for those who are licensed but from what I hear, it's not enough to live on so I know it can't be for the money. So I ask....What would possess a person to willingly want to do this?

I know the reason we did it was to share what love we have with two neglected little girls. But it's been one of the hardest things, I've ever had to do.

This past week, I took them to the community mental health facility for an almost three hour evaluation. At the end, the therapist sat me down in her office and said to me, "Do you realize what you've gotten yourself into?" All I could do is blink. She said that they believe Sharlene has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and that both girls are exhibiting symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder. Both are awful. Those little girls who are two and three are very messed up mentally and emotionally.

I came away from there discouraged and in tears. I've been told that it's going to take a lot of specialized training and individual care to work with the girls and that it's not something that ever really goes away. I've also been told to watch my children like a hawk because they could be in danger. How did offering to help to little innocent children turn into such a horrific mess?

I know that God is bigger than all of this. That He, in His power, can reach down and heal these little girls. We are praying for that very thing. Right now, I'm having a hard time seeing past my overwhelmed, ill-equipped and exhausted state, to even think about tomorrow.

6 comments:

The Story Of Us........ said...

The gorging is a tell, tell sign of RAD..as well as not eating at all. It cycles like that...

The bonding is a huge thing. They need to be bonded with one on one for a long time. Eye contact and smiles are essential.

Here are two good sights and a book link.

http://www.psychnet-uk.com/dsm_iv/attachment_disorder.htm

http://www.radkid.org/

book:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0970352522?tag=kasoftsoftware0c&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0970352522&adid=1PWHSMJHHM23VMSPZEMC&

Hope that helps a little.
Shelly

HISchild said...

I am completely at a loss for suggestions.

I can, however, bombard the Throne of Grace and Mercy on your behalf. You are correct in your statement that God is MUCH BIGGER than all of this and is WELL ABLE to assist.

HE knows why HE put this on your heart. HE had made you a missionary in your own home complete with temptation and persecution.

1Pe4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
1Pe4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as yea are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

HE and others have been where you are. HE will receive glory for your actions and it will not be at your expense! HE will never despitefully use you!

Ellen

Julie Z. said...

Heather,
My heart goes out to you and your family, but mostly to you as I know as the mama you bear most of the responsibility day to day. I will be praying for you...for direction, guidance, wisdom, and supernatural agape love for these two little girls.

Love to you,
Julie

Heather said...

Heather, I don't have any advice for you either. I'll tell you the same thing I told Shelly once upon a time.
While it's easy to find horror stories about kids in foster care, I find great consolation knowing that YOU are involved in "The System" like you are. What you've said here tells me the girls MUST be better off than they would have been, and some day they will look back and tell you, "The day I came to live with you was one of the best days of my life."

All of you--Bob, your natural kids, and especially these girls--will be in our prayers.

Peanut Butter Kisses said...

Thank you, Shelly, for those very informative sites and of course, for your encouragement.

Ellen, Julie and Heather, I so appreciate your prayers as we could never do this without the strength that comes for our Father or the support of our friends and family.

Pink Girl said...

UUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHH....... thats all I have too say. :-)