Monday, September 20, 2010

No sympathy, please, just solutions.

So I have this problem. I wouldn't typically share this type of information. But here I am with no easy solution. Perhaps its time to throw it out to the universe and see what the universe serves back. I am beyond disappointment and feeling pretty hopeless.

We are raising my niece. My sister was ill prepared to care for herself when she found out she was pregnant- let alone raise a child. There were plans in place for us to adopt her but a well meaning (but criminally stupid) friend of hers told her she'd be able to get assistance from the state and that she would just love the baby so much that she'd (turn into someone else, I suppose) be able to mother this child. So when the child was three my sister asked that we take her. Of course we knew this would happen eventually and this was when we came to have Kayla as ours, that very day. We didn't know what we were in for.

Kayla is super smart. She threw screaming fits for months but at three you can deal with that. She has ADHD which makes her so intense that she has a hard time forming and maintaining friendships. She wears on our daughter Brooke. She was diagnosed in kindergarten and we had high hopes that the medication would help everything. It did not. It did stop the incessant noise making and make it easier for her to concentrate on homework. Still, I begged the doctor- we still have so many behavioural issues- the kid would argue with me if I made eye contact with her. She way over reacted to everything. Stealing began to surface as a problem.

I have been convinced that either she needed a different medication or the addition of a medication to the current one. Finally, after jumping through all sorts of hoops, seeking counseling which I was happy to do, putting her in Karate (at a cost of $130 a month, mind you, plus uniforms and equipment) finally, the dr. gave us a prescription that would help with her aggressive behavior. Apparently arguing and the over-reacting is a form of aggressive behavior.

It was like magic,that medicine. Make no mistake, she should have been on that two years ago, maybe we wouldn't be where we are today. If I sound angry its because I am. I put my trust in professionals to know more than me and I asked for help. I get the part where they probably hear my story from parents all the time so they have a process they follow. But I asked for help every time I was at that office and the whole time one little piece of paper would have made my life and her life a lot better day in and day out. She and I deserve better than that.

I had high hopes for her for third grade. It was my best year. I loved it and hoped she would too. Especially with this new medication. But the stealing which I thought we'd addressed between her teacher, the principal, the counselor, and ourselves has not abated. She's gotten better at hiding it and better at lying about it when I do find an object that I know is not ours.

In the last two weeks three, now four incidences show me that not only has the stealing never stopped- it is now constant. Last Wednesday was my husband's second day on the job after nine months out of work. He was given a camera to keep in his truck at all times in case of an accident (Yes, that's right, get out the big plaid shirt- I'm now a truck drivers wife- ye gods and yee ha, that's a whole other reason to be anxiety ridden but that's another post, just be glad we're back to work on all fronts) In the short time from the house to the end of the driveway the camera disappeared. My husband was beyond angry. Its a good thing she was gone. You don't start a job after nine months and only two interviews and go in and tell your boss you already lost the camera he gave you on day one. Its that important that things go well. Jobs are non existent in Michigan. The ones that are around pay easily 5$ less than they would have 5 years ago.

Then I found the candy that came from a store. I had already taken back some small items to a business before the camera incident. Today- after being so despondent all weekend that I flat out tell her "I can not talk to you, I am so upset and I don't know what to do with you, this can't keep on like this." - I found some small electronic gaming thing in her dresser drawer. Of course 'a friend gave it to her to help her with her math'. 'Just tell me the truth' finally gets me an "ok, I stole it".

So here I am. We've already told her that there was a police report filed and that an officer would be coming to question her. We're trying to rustle one up through a friend. I've yelled, I've screamed, I've spanked. We've counseled, the teacher's tried, the principal has tried. We have tried implementing positive re-enforcement of good behaviour. Her mother has talked to her. We've driven her past jails. It all scares her. Sometimes she had stopped until the danger of consequence has passed. She really does hate getting in trouble for it but has separated that out from the crime itself and just tried to get better at hiding and covering up. She's good. I'm not stupid, I know I have a relatively short amount of time to turn this girl around but nothing seems to make a dent.

I'm frustrated and worn out. The other little girl has her own little issues. Perfectly normal small, inconsequential issues. Obviously Kayla has a need she's trying to fill. I know she wants more attention from me. But honestly the more she argue with me the more I want to get away from her. Now that the arguing isn't so prevalent we just have this one last huge insurmountable mountain to cross, right? Except that I am about all Kayla'd out. Four years, folks, of constant battling will do that. I'm tired of having my household disrupted to this extent. This morning I apologized to Brooke. "I'm sorry Baby, you shouldn't have to see Momma like this, she doesn't want you to see her like this. I'm sorry I've been so upset for so long." So add in the guilt of having Brooke's child hood altered from what it could be and not so suddenly I am less and less willing to fight the battle of Kayla. I'm at the point where I really don't see a solution that I can believe in. I'm not rallying, I'm tired. I'm despondent and not only do I want to give up I'd really just like it to be over.

So if you have a suggestion or a way out of this feeling- I'm open. I'm listening.


  1. Christine my heart goes out to you. If love cured all things Kayla would be healed. But alas that is not the case, love does not cure all.
    I know nothing about these things, only have seen several Dr. Phil shows on the subject and you can not do this alone or maybe even yourself at all.
    Only you can decide what is best, but know you have done all humanly possible and also know that maybe there is nothing else you can do. Sometimes we have to know when that is and have no guilt.
    I get a sense from your post you have been struggling with an answer you have already thought of. Listen, a womans instinct is powerful.
    My prayers are with you.

  2. I'm in favor of some outside's TOO big of a job. Let's do coffee again soon and only speak of this...and maybe a BIT of art talk...
    love you twin!!

  3. Hi Christine, I just wanted to drop few lines.. Sometimes the things that happen in one's life make no sense and it seems one's life carries more than the other. It is so unfair, undeserved, and simply pitiful. I went through very high ups and downs in my life ever since I was little and have experienced 'hell' many times.. things that you can't even put down in enough words.. Despite all that, I also experienced 'miracle'.. it was rare.. it didn't come right away.. but something that I wish so hard in my heart did come eventually after a long wait. But that long wait.. that long period did all pass by.. it's nothing but 'time passes by', 'things change', and 'miracles and magics do happen as long as you keep wishing'. You've done enough.. you've done all you can and I think it's time to let the control go and ask the universe to take charge. It might sound like a silly thing and you might wonder 'how to let the control go'.. but from my experience, when you simply let go of 'trying to control' everything that happens around you, then the divine force takes charge. It really does. Because it was the universe that threw 'mystery' in your life, it'll do its job.. but only when you simply just let go. It's gotta be hard but 'Try not to take guilt'. You've done all you can and now you just let things be taken care by the universe and treat guilt as a stone on the street and you should never ever pick it up again. It's not your fault that things are this way. So, you just keep on doing what's good for you, what makes you happy, what you think it's most important and give the rest of things to the TIME. Time does solve things on its hard as it is to believe.. time does solve everything and time does pass by.. and just keep wishing until it happens.. then it will.

  4. Please, not guilt, you have done your best. You are a loving, caring human-being. For the sake of all, something has to change.

    Because of your daughter Brooke and potential damage being done to her, I feel that professional action is crucial. You have no way of knowing how this situation with Kayla might impact Brooke in the future, how she sees herself, the world and people around her. Brooke may be a level-headed, balanced, compassionate girl, but I think the time has come where you really have to look at this situation from a position of what is good for Brooke. You have tried everything in your power for Kayla and she has not turned around. Have you and your husband sat down with Brooke and asked her how she really feels...don't take a glib response like, "I'm ok."

    My suggestion is this, call the police station and ask for someone who is skilled in handling young people with a troubled background. They must have a social worker, psychologist, youth worker, intervention counselor, someone who helps steer kids out of harm, someone in authority who will explain to Kayla what will happen to her if she continues to lie and steal. This sounds harsh, it isn't.

    Kayla also needs a social worker/case worker to be in touch with her, one who knows the ropes, knows her disability and the difficulties involved in the up-bringing of a child with Attention Deficit. You need help and support from an outside agency. You cannot do this alone.

    It is easy for me to make these suggestions, you may feel that you have been there, done that. Please, sit with your husband and daughter, go to your GP and ball your eyes out if necessary to get him to understand the issue. Make some phone calls, go to the volunteer police office and ask for their advice. Go to the library, ask about community resources. Make this a project, maybe even get Brooke involved. I don't know the girls ages, I lost that in reading.

    My heart goes out to you. It is not Kayla's fault, she needs help outside of your area of expertise, help that you are not able to give her at this time. No guilt, just make sure that Brooke, your husband and yourself don't get lost in this situation.

    I don't know your sister's problems, whatever they are, does she have support for her issues that involve Kayla, can you go that route?

    With love jan

  5. Obviously its a year later and I have an update that will be a blog post at a later time. This child has been diagnosed with O.D.D. Oppositional Defiant Disorder. When I read the on line article aobut it they may as well had a picture of this child on their site. Everything fits. The stealing, and lying and the "opposite" part of oppositional. This, people is a great thing- a diagnosis, a name for problem. More on how to deal with this to come. By the way- very commonly associated with ADHD. VERY.


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