Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Social Anxiety

I have mentioned in a previous post that I didn't feel that I deserved to be happy. I have just discovered recently, how far that went. This story is not exactly adoption related, but my adoption past played a big role in my actions.

I met Alex on Christmas Day 2008. He was gorgeous. Way out of my league. lol I am a waitress and met him at work. He was a customer. Everyone knew him, but since I didn't normally work that shift, this was the first time we had ever met. He is from Mexico City, and I have a granddaughter (from my step daughter) that is half Mexican. My granddaughter's father was born and raised in the US. He doesn't speak Spanish, and knows nothing of his heritage. I decided that if my granddaughter was to know, I would need to help teach her. At this time she was 9 months old. I was soaking up the Mexican culture. I decided to ask Alex about the Mexican Holidays. How do they celebrate Christmas? What is Cinco de Mayo? Anyway, while we were talking he asked me to look him in the eyes so he could see my eyes clearly because they were beautiful. I immediately informed him that I was married and had 6 children and a grandchild. But thanks for the compliment anyway. :)

He didn't believe I had that many kids. As my youngest stepdaughter worked there, too, and they knew each other, I told him she was my daughter. He called her over and asked her who I was. She replied "My mom." Then he asked how many kids I have and she said 6. That ended our conversation. A week later my daughter called me from work and told me that she had told Alex that her dad and I were going through a divorce and I only had 1 child living at home with me. He was up there waiting for me because he wanted to take me out. I told her to send him home and tell him I don't date.

It took him 3 months to get the first date. I wasn't interested, and wanted to just concentrate on me and my son. Finally I gave in and went on one date. During that date (which I don't know how I made it through) he told me that he knew I had 3 step children, and 1 son at home with me..... That doesn't add up to 6. Where are the other 2? So I told him the story of C and J1. It took another month for me to go out with him again. Now is where the problems start....

I work in a very public place. Don't know if any of you reading this know about the restaurant Waffle House, but I am sure you could check it out online. I honestly don't know how I work there with social anxiety, but when I'm working I am a very different person. Anyway, every time Alex wanted to take me out, I would agree to go to "my" Waffle House. I couldn't go anywhere else. Like I said, I don't know how I made it through the first date, which was not at my job. I tried a few times to go to other restaurants with him. I would sit there and cry for a few minutes, before just getting up and walking out. I would tell him to call me when he was done. I felt suffocated in these places. I couldn't eat, drink, or breath!!!

I would also leave family functions. We would go to birthday parties or Christmas parties, and the next thing you know Alex is left there, and has to call me when he's done. I tried several times to break up with Alex. He deserved better. He loved going out, and family affairs meant a lot in his family. His first birthday we were together I made him eat at Waffle House. The second I made a big dinner and invited his whole family.... Then I sat outside my own home and cried until everyone left.

I don't know how Alex stuck with me for so long, but he did.  A year and a half after we got together, my oldest sons A Mom got in touch with me. I got to start building a relationship with my "baby".

This is what I just figured out.... It was after I got to see my kids that I started opening myself up to being happy. I started going to new restaurants. I was able to stay the full time at family functions. It wasn't easy. There were still times that I left, but it got steadily better. I became a member of society again. Right now, I am having trouble again, but I believe it's because I know of the pain my oldest son is in, and that there is nothing I can do about it. But I still try. I did not realize until recently, that when I lost my sons, I lost myself completely.

Alex and I just got married on July 19. :) And we have our sweet little Alexia. He is a great step dad to Joshua. He holds me when I cry for my boys, and rejoices in anything that goes right. He is there. For better or worse. Lord knows, he has probably had enough of the "worse" but he isn't giving up.  He does have some problems trying to deal with the fact that he has two step sons that are almost grown, when he just became a dad 17 months ago. I think it was okay to take on a 4 year old step son, and then to start our family with a little girl. But I can see how it is much different to have an "idea" about teenage step kids, and the reality of having them. I have to give him credit though. He doesn't back down from a challenge. :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Final Part Of The Fight

I explained everything to the psychiatrist that DFCS had chosen. I gave her all 7 doctors excuses for when my son had missed school. I also gave her  a copy of the police report as an excuse for the 8th absence. I also gave her Joshua's test results. He was testing on 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade levels in the 2nd grade. I also completed my IQ test.

She stayed up late at nights, and focused solely on my case to get her report written up in time. She also advised me to have my lawyer get a copy and give it to me. As my lawyer had a right to "evidence", but I didn't. So I did that. And we went to court.

Her recommendations.... I was slightly depressed due to having nightmares about my past. She felt that my depression would be gone as soon as DFCS was out of my life. Although there will always be depression as I don't have my two oldest. No counseling will fix that. I am not only capable of teaching my son, but I should, as the public school system failed him. They placed him in an age appropriate class instead of an intellectually appropriate class. He is way ahead of his peers, all thanks to my teaching him at home. I am a very grounded woman, and mother, and she feels that the best place for my children are with me. And the best shot my son has at an education, is in my teaching.

I was thrilled!!! She also gave me the advice that if I ever chose to place J2 in public school again, go and have him tested, and mark out anything stating his age. Take the results to the school and ask them what grade they would place him in and make them do that, no matter his age. (He will not be going to public school, if I have my way.)

The judge closed the case with this wording, "Ms. F has rectified the causes of neglect". I emailed DFCS stating that I did not like the wording as it implies that he was neglected and I fixed it, when in actuality, he wasn't neglected to begin with. She emailed me back and said she knows that he wasn't neglected, but that was the only way the judge would write it.

I kept that email. I have kept all of this. I also keep anything that I MIGHT need in the future. I do not trust the county that I am in. I have had one more visit from DFCS 5 months after the case was closed. I sent my son inside, I told her that I had nothing to discuss with her. I told her that she could come back with a court order, but make sure it is good, because if they continue to harass me, I will be filing a lawsuit. I have not heard anything else. That was 2 months ago. I am just hoping that it is truly over now. But I will continue to put a little money away every month, for my emergency lawyer fund.

In the meantime, I start teaching my son school again next week. And I am going to start teaching my sweet baby girl, too. Let's see how smart she can get. lol I love my job as a mom and a teacher.

Part 2 Of The Fight

As I mentioned in the last post, I made a big mistake leaving my "mess" until the morning. I was awakened by someone banging on my door. I get to the door and meet a Guardian Ad Litem with a court order granting her access to my home and my children. She walked into "a disaster". Her words. She called DFCS back out, took pictures, and informed me she would see me in court.

A couple of days later, I get a subpoena for court. It states that they are trying to remove my son, as this home is not a safe one for him. DFCS came back out and asked that I voluntarily submit to a psychological evaluation, to which I declined. They offered me parenting classes and counseling, which I also declined.

I get to court, and meet the judge. She knows me. Too well.... She was the attorney that woke me up in the hospital years ago. She is the woman that took my sweet C away from me. She went into this case knowing that there was a conflict of interest, but she didn't care. I asked her to use the books I had brought with me, and have J2 do some work in them, to show that he is learning. She refused. We listened to all of the evidence about my "filthy house" and saw the pictures. We heard how he had missed 8 days in a month in public school. And we heard that I refused to take a psychological. And we heard how I refused the "help" that they offered me.

Then we listened as the judge said...."Based on my past history with Ms. F, she will not do anything unless made to, so I am ordering, counseling, a psychological, and parenting classes. I also must do as the psychologist suggests, whether that be medication, or returning my son to the public school system, where he can "truly" be taught.

So over the next few months I did a lot. I realized that I wasn't going to win with just letting things happen. I started doing all of my communication with DFCS through email, as they like to twist words when they are on the stand. If they insisted on a phone call, I made sure to follow up with an email detailing everything that was said. I emailed the company doing my family therapy and parenting classes, as they were unable to begin services, due to the fact that DFCS was not responding to their requests for the appropriate paperwork needed to begin the services. I requested a new social worker, stating that I felt it was unfair that I was the one accused of not following through on anything, and would be sure to bring it to the courts attention that I had tried and couldn't because they dropped the ball. We had to go back to court in 6 months. And here it was at 4 months, and I had gotten ABSOLUTELY NOTHING accomplished.....

I had to search and find the psychiatrist that was to perform my psychological. She had been trying to get DFCS to send her my number so she could set up the appointment. Once she was given the wrong number, and after that her requests were ignored.

I called an independent testing facility to have my son tested to see where he stood on his education, since they didn't want to see any of his work.

I finally got everything going. Parenting classes, family therapy, and a new case worker. I also had my appointment for my psychological. All of this which takes time, and should have been completed months ago. And it is just getting done, two weeks before court. My psychological would take 3 weeks to evaluate and get written up for the court.

Keep in mind that I have all of this "proof" in emails, to all of these people. Including emails from the family therapist and the parenting class teacher telling me that they don't find anything wrong to work with me on. So they have no idea why I am using their services.

I see the psychiatrist that DFCS has chosen to do my evaluation, and she tells me that I will be given an IQ test to see if I am qualified to teach a second grader. I inform her that although I know it is against my rights, I will take her test, and I also offer the results of my sons testing. I also tell her everything that has happened, in the past and now.

I have to take a small break and then I will post the outcome of all of this. Thank you for sticking with it this long.

The Beginning Of The 6 Month Battle

When DFCS knocked on my door (and I was dumb enough to let them in) my son was laying in the living room floor, doing his math work. :) I had not learned enough from my first battle apparently, as I thought that since the charge was educational neglect, what better way to disprove that than have her "catch us" doing school? Perfect timing!!!

She talked to J2 about his school and what he was learning. I had no problem with that. It can only help, right? Then she starts asking why I have a coffee table in my living room that is dangerous for a baby.... The table is granite topped and very dangerous, I know that. That is why I had already told my fiance that it would need to taken out of the house when A started crawling, and we could put it back in when she was older. (He made it by hand, so it is something we won't throw away.) Anyway, I explained this to the worker. She also mentioned that my "clutter" on the tables was hazardous to the baby. She may pull something down and hurt herself. Let me point out now, that my clutter was papers, and the baby at this point is only 5 months old, and not even crawling yet. Anyway, she says she will come back next week, to make sure I have taken the coffee table out and cleaned the clutter and she will close the case. She came back, everything was done, and she said she would get on writing the letter to close the case.

A week later my fiance's mother is put on life support. She is in Mexico and my fiance and his siblings have not seen her in years. My fiance last saw her when he was 18. He is now 34. They didn't expect her to make it through the night. (She did make it that night, but passed away a week later.) All of the siblings here in the US, and their families came to my house. There is my fiance and 4 siblings. Each of them are married and have children. I made coffee and had cookies out for all of the company. We had a phone on speaker phone here, and one in the hospital in Mexico with the other 9 siblings and the mother. We said prayers, we talked, we discussed what was going on. The company finally left our home around 2AM. I was tired, emotionally drained, and my fiance needed me. I looked at my kitchen full of dirty coffee cups, packs of cookies open on the kitchen table, and decided I would take care of it in the morning. I went to bed to hold my fiance while he cried. Big mistake.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Two Little Ones

I mentioned in another post that I have a sweet son, J2. He is 8 years old now. And he is my little sweetheart. I also have had a daughter, A. She is 17 months old now, and spoiled rotten being my first little girl. I have to admit I have waited almost 17 years for her. I wanted a girl so bad, with all 3 boys, but am so glad I didn't get her until now. lol

J2 is a very bright young man. He is in 3rd grade this year and is performing on levels up to 6th grade. I have had a lot to do with that, as I home school. I am so scared to have them leave me. Although we did try public school a couple times, it just didn't work.

A is smart, too. And funny, and spoiled as I said. Her big brother is her hero.

I have spent a lot more time appreciating these two babies, and I think I owe that to adoption. I realized all the things I missed, and didn't let things get to me like I probably would have. Like when J2 was refusing to potty train. I was just glad that I finally had the chance to potty train my child. When they took their first steps, and started speaking, and acting silly, I got to be there for all of it. And I cherished it all. Good days and bad.

Now to how my past haunts me with these two.....

As I mentioned, we tried school with J2 a couple of times and it didn't work. The main reason being he is brilliant and was bored to death. They didn't challenge him enough. But also he has some emotional issues concerning his big brothers and the while adoption thing. Well I talked to his counselor at the school about how he may be having trouble because the adoptive mom of C will let us see him sometimes and then cut all contact without warning. I should have known that I would be judged on the spot. I already lost 2 kids to adoption and here I was with an out of control 7 year old.

J2 was also very sick. He had chronic ear infections and for 3 out of the 4 weeks he was in school he had a ruptured ear drum. That have him more problems. He had missed 10 days of school in the first month. I didn't want him to fall behind. I took him out to homeschool just like I had the year before.

He was tested when I enrolled him to make sure he was on grade level and he was. I sent his teacher an email thanking her for the work she had done with J2, and that I would be teaching him at home, due to his health, and my concern for his education... This was on a Tuesday. Friday DFCS knocked on my door. They had a report of educational neglect.

A 6 month long battle began. Another fight for Motherhood. A fight to be able to do what was best for my son. More nightmares, more stress, more worry. Would I win this one, or was I about to lose 2 more children to the injustice of my county?

My Dearest Sons....

My Dearest C,
     My, sweet little Pooh Bear, who isn't do little any more! I wish I could send you this letter to tell you everything I want you to know. I think of you daily. You were my first true love. The first person in this world that I gave my whole heart to. I want now, just what I wanted then. I want you to be happy, and healthy. I want you to know you are loved so very much. I also want you to know that you don't owe me anything. I know that. Sometimes, I think about the situation you are in and wonder if you know that. I don't know, so I will explain.

I know we don't have the opportunity to talk like we want to, or visit. I say what "we" want, because I tell you what I want and you say you want that, too. So, anyway, I want to say now, what I wish I could tell you in person. Even when I have the chance to see you, I can never tell you this, because it hurts too bad. It hurts me to think that you may feel this way. And it would kill me to lose you again.

I am angry at your A Mom since she doesn't love you as I do. I know it is possible to love children that aren't yours as much as you love your own. I do. I love 3 that are mine in my heart. And all I want is happiness for all of them. She made her feelings clear when she told me, "He is MY SON. You gave him away." I told her, and I'll tell you, it wasn't like that at all. One day, hopefully, I can tell you the whole story. Until then, I just have faith that you will know I love you.

Anyway, like I said, sometimes I think of your situation, and I have also read a lot about adoption. I have read from all sides, Adoptive Mom, Birth Mom, and Adoptee. I have learned that sometimes adoptees feel like they owe us something. Both mothers. And I have learned that sometimes us Birth Mothers will put just as much pressure on you as the Adoptive Mom does, even though we don't mean to. The last time we talked, you said, "When I turn 17, I am going to ask her if she will let me spend weekends with you. If she says no, then I will just move out and come home." I have thought about that a lot. I know you told me that you wanted to "come home". And I know that we have talked a few times about it. I may be wrong in my thinking.

But this is what I am getting from our conversations. I think maybe you feel pressure from me. Maybe I am sending the same signals she is. "you are mine. I gave birth to you. I love you more. I loved you first. You were stolen from me, you should have never been in that home. I should have been your mother all along." I can see how without actually saying it, I may have led you to believe this is how I think. I mean, it's mostly true... To me.

 But this is what you need to know. Although I would be thrilled if you felt the same, I know you may not. She has been raising you since you were 6 months old. She is the only mom you ever knew until the age of 14. You can't live with someone as their child for 14 years (now 16 years) and not love them. Anyway, I want you to know that you don't owe me anything. I don't want you to feel that you do. If you don't want to "come home", I understand. She is your Mom. I understand that, too. And all I can hope for is that someday I get to be a part of your life, in whatever way you want. Whether that is as another mom, or a friend, or someone you just speak to on occasion. I would be thrilled if I was simply your mom. But our relationship lost that simplicity 14 years ago.

 I know this is a lot of rambling and may not make sense to anyone but me. But it was something I had to say. I want you to be happy. Whatever it takes to make you happy, is what I want you to do with your life.

 Love Always,

 My Dearest J1,

My sweet baby, who isn't a baby anymore. I love you so very much. I am so happy to have the chance to know you, to visit you. To love you. I am so thrilled that your Adoptive Mom is secure enough in her relationship with you, and loves you enough, to grant us this privilege.

I am glad that I can talk to her and feel comfortable. That I can feel we are 2 moms, talking about and taking in the consideration for the best interest of OUR son. She doesn't try to make it sound perfect, and happy at all times. She will listen to what I did at your age and let me help her understand where you may be coming from, since you are doing a lot of the same things. And she is okay with me talking to you and trying to keep you from repeated mistakes.

When you ran away from home, I was a little upset that she waited a couple of days to call me, but I was happy about what she said. She told me that everyone was saying, "I bet he's at his Birth Moms house." She told me, "If he was, she would have called me." I love that she knows I'm not trying to take you away. I love that I can tell her how hard I fought for you. How you have never left my thoughts, and she understands.

Although I feel you should have been raised in my home, by me, I am so glad you got her for a mom. I couldn't ask for better. I can't wait to see how our relationship evolves. I just want you to know that I love you. I want you to be happy. And I want you to know I will always be here.

 Love Always,

This is what I wish I could tell my sons. Maybe one day I can. But I am just so worried about saying the wrong thing. Or them taking what I say, in the wrong way. I love my sons so much. They are truly a large part of my world.