June 20, 2010

The Nature of the Beast

We've known since about 6 weeks after Miles was home that the adjustment was not only not what we expected but also that it was just not normal.  At that 6 weeks home point, it was almost as if something in the poor kid just snapped.  I think that he finally realized that he was here to stay and he panicked.  Then it started to snowball, faster and faster until... we all reached the breaking point. 

Our lives began to revolve around the tantrums.  I began to feel weird about having people over because I wasn't sure how Miles would act toward other kids.  I got nervous taking him to the church nursery.  I felt like I couldn't leave our kids in the same room unsupervised ever and that just wore me all the way out.  People told me he was just trying to test his boundaries.  But my gut was telling me that there was so much more going on than that.  I could feel my sweet, tiny Miles shutting down when we were at home.  He still totally put on a show for strangers and latched on to anyone at the grocery store who would show him an ounce of attention,  but at home, he just turned into someone different.  At home, I found myself saying in my head (and out loud to a few people), "This kid hates me."  Miles seemed to have no problem loving all over my husband. It was just me (and Noah) that he just couldn't handle. (We're the people that he is around all day every day)  And as a mother, that is defeating.  Kids are supposed to love their mothers.  And mothers are supposed to love their children.  That is supposed to just be a given- not something you have to work at every minute of the day.   If you've never had to live with them before, let me tell you- survival behaviors are hard to love and even harder to like.

I wondered where that little boy who just melted into me in Africa had gone.  He had been replaced by a child who genuinely seemed tormented most of the time.  I could still find glimpses of that earlier child, so I knew that we still had hope.  We started researching and going to doctors and adoption experts and finally found out last week that Miles has extreme post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  And he is on the attachment disorder spectrum.  No one is calling it RAD, because he does recognize that we are here to keep him safe and he does seek us out to meet his needs for food- but that is about it.  The PTSD just takes him from a normal kid one minute to a child that needs a straight jacket the next.  We're working on figuring out the triggers for him.  Hunger is a huge one.  Before meals, right when he starts to get hungry, he goes off the deep end.  The hunger takes him right back to a state of fear and chaos.  It is just heartbreaking to watch.

We're still trying to push papers through the state to qualify him for services- which seems to just be taking forever.  The state just can not understand why we don't know our own son's birthday or exact age.  Doctors from 2 different clinics have submitted statements on our behalf about his estimated age, but the state just can't figure out what to do with that.  When we finally get that pushed through, the last clinic we saw suggested that he be therapatized like crazy.  He is a really smart kid, but at 2 1/2- he only has the social/emotional capability of a child less than half his age.  So he's got a lot of catching up and a lot of brain reprogramming to do.

And to add to it, we also found out that Miles has latent tuberculosis.  If you know us in real life, do not panic, it is not contagious.  He will just need to be medicated for 9 months to keep himself from developing active TB.  His first TB tests after coming home were negative.  Malnutrition affects all kinds of blood tests.  When we brought Miles home 4 months ago, he was older than 2 and only weighed 12.5 pounds.  If you are the praying kind of person, please pray that this TB test was the only false negative test that he will have in the coming months when we do more rounds of testing. 

We are also hoping to have some clear discernment about Miles' eyes.  The doctors are suggesting that we have Miles' eyelids tacked up since their droopiness is affecting his vision.  He walks around most of the time with his head tilted back so he can see out the bottom of his eyelids.  I love those sleepy eyes, but I also want my son to be able to see properly.  The surgery is very easy, but is also very painful.  At this point, while he is having so much trouble attaching, I am not sure that putting him through something painful is the right thing to do.  When he had his 2 stitches in his head taken out he wouldn't look at me for days and only let me hold him if a dog was around for a whole week.  I can only imagine how much more intensified that would be with a really painful surgery.  I'm thinking it may be a better idea to just hold off on it for a while.

I do apologize for being such a downer for the last several weeks.  That is not the intention, because I am actually feeling pretty good right now.   But, this blog is an open book about my life and that means taking the good with the bad.  However, now that you know what we are up against in our home, I'll try to keep it positive!

Last week was my first day of having my summer babysitter- which was Amazing with a capital "A".  I laid by the pool all day with my best friend and talked about everything under the sun.  I got burned to a crisp in the hot sun and finally stopped looking like a vampire.  (Next to Miles, though, most everyone looks like a vampire).  The kids did great with the sitter (who is just about the prettiest teenager I've ever seen.  Seriously- she looks like Beyonce before Beyonce started making her hair that crazy shade of blonde.)  So all in all- that whole situation is going to just be glorious.  I felt totally energized by my time away and can't wait to do it again this week.

I also started trying to take better care of myself.  Eating better, coupled with insane amounts of stress have so far resulted in a 15 pound weight loss.  Go me!  My mii on the Wii now only says I'm overweight instead of obese.    Woop Woop!

So see... it's not all bad!  In all things there is HOPE!

**I'm announcing the Mom's retreat for 2010 this week.  Holy cow- I'd love to get away.  Wouldn't you?  Stay tuned for details!**

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