Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Recipe for Disaster

Ingredients: one kid
one younger brother and one younger sister
two dysfunctional parents
one dysfunctional social care system

1. Move kid back and forth between birth family and foster homes, repeatedly - ensure much agitation.
Add at least one instance of molestation.
Let sit for at least three years.

Fold younger brother into the mix. Repeat step 1.
Let sit for four more years then fold in younger sister.
Repeat step 1.
Punch and knead thoroughly, set in a warm place, cover with damp cloth and allow time for parentification issues to arise.

Remove kid at age 10 to foster care placement, with no warning, at birth mother's request. IMPORTANT: Allow some weekend visits with siblings.
When kid's siblings are removed from birth home, DO NOT find a placement where the three will be reunited. Make visits between siblings difficult geographically and rare.

Kid should screw up royally at foster placement after two years by breaking one of the big rules about not having drugs right at the worst possible moment for foster family so that he is moved into group homes.

If at all possible, pause and add a dash of maternal grandmother refusing to become his main caregiver - allow to marinate while being bounced from group home to group home, it is important to try and include the widest variety of social workers possible for the kid with much changeover.
This will definitely bring out the bitterness of the dish, you will know it is on it's way to being done by the rage that bubbles to the surface.
Kid running away a lot, developing a drug addiction and a whole set of skills designed to keep him alive on the street - is a sign that the recipe is nearly complete.

Put him in a pre-heated group home, one with actually good staff and an on site education component where he is doing well for the first time in a long time and then have him violate a small condition of his parole and throw him into juvenile detention.

Have him serve time, go through psych evaluation and be paroled again.
Have no place for him anywhere other than a somewhat sleazy motel room with a one on one worker.
Leave him there in limbo for days then weeks while waiting for a bed to open up in a secure treatment facility.
Ensure that he is good and bored and antsy and lonely. There is only tv and nothing else. This will bring his rage and anger issues to a boil.

Then move another troubled kid into his tiny motel room with him.
Stand back and wait for repeated explosions.

The disaster is now underway.

I need a break from Obie.

He is wearing me out.

He is so messed up and I don't know if he will ever make it to a point where he isn't.

There is so much wrong that it is painful to think about.

He doesn't understand how to relate to his siblings other than by rough house play.
They get tired, wound up and often mildly bruised from these sessions. They stay unfocused and riled up for a while afterward.

Monkey bolts any food she is eating when she is around him and then has trouble actually keeping it down while playing with him.
Buddy unknowingly mimics Obie in so many ways.
Obie writes phone numbers on his arms to keep them from being lost - Buddy starts writing random things on his own skin.
Obie gets a hair cut and Buddy starts bugging me non stop for a haircut.
Obie wears his pants halfway down his butt and Buddy starts trying to do that.

Not good for any of them.

Obie doesn't know how to behave with a family or in a normal public setting.
Like the library.
Monkey usually loves going to the library.
Obie and Monkey were supposed to sit and look through some kid's magazines while I went a few stacks away for a few minutes to get some knitting books. I could hear them shrieking and carrying on and made it back to them just in time to stave off an annoyed librarian. I was embarrassed. When I made them be quiet, Obie started winding Monkey up to play hide and go seek, when I stopped that, Obie tried to do it again without me knowing.

When I introduced Obie to another family that we know and bumped into to, I had to ask him to take the pop bottle lid out of his mouth first.

He tried to hustle me for food and money when I was dropping him off.
The skills that he needs to survive on the street are all there and in my face as he tries to manipulate me into doing things on his terms.

I have to pull back a bit and I have to talk to all three of them about why.
It isn't easy.
I don't know if this kid will ever be able to function in a family, ever.

I think it would freak him out way to much to even try.

Two times a week is going to be what I will do, we have ended up with much more than that because he is very good at making things like that happen when I am not realizing it.

This does not mean that we will not see him or try and keep him in our lives....he is, as long as possible and as much as possible, an important part of our extended family...but it has to be on our terms, not his.

I know this and yet, I feel sad, sad, sad.


ipodmomma said...

there are things in this life that we are meant to do, gifted to do, you might say. taking and making Monkey and Buddy a part of your family is one of those things.

maybe including Obie isn't. and the most difficult bit is looking at the situation and seeing that yeah, I can do this, but this other part is not for me....

and that hurts, because Obie is a part of two of your children. however, remember that for as much as you want to help him, and for all that has been done to him, there is something inside each of us that ultimately makes us go they way we are meant to go. It sounds like Obie is heading a direction that no matter how much you'd like to alter, according to your very well written recipe, the results are probably irreversible. and yes, that is monumentally sad.

but all is not lost. for whatever Obie brings into the mix, it is for some purpose, some reason. it may not be evident for ages, but it is there, underneath everything...

and I believe, completely and totally, that it will be good

Lionmom said...


I'm sad with you and for you and for your kids and for him.