First update since August

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by tishthedish, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    Well, it's been 7 months and we have custody/are fosters for our 5 year old autistic grandson. It has been a white knuckle, frustrating, frightening ride. The agencies involved are government machines and bureaucratic bullies that have us jumping through hoops but are slow to reimburse or pay to provide services, referrals, respite, you name it. My life has been inunnated with paperwork and phone calls. I feel mentally exhausted and physically unfit. I joined a health club 1/1 and hope to break away at least an hour a day for a little me time.

    My bipolar elder son that was in prison is now in a halfway house. He was fine for a while, but unmedicated, it was only a matter of time before the other shoe dropped. He accused us of misdiagnosing him with Tourette Syndrome (impossible) and he is now trying to find a cure for Reye Syndrome. He decided to drop this bomb on us by not showing up for Christmas and writing scathing texts to his father and I. We were shell-shocked.

    The younger, with the son, has progressed, but I am not sure he will ever be able to parent at a level that will meet the needs of his low functioning son. We have started ABA therapy for him after school and hope to add hours to give this child the best possible chance to have some quality of life, even if we don't live to see it.

    G-F-G 2 still isn't "getting" this childcare thing. He is 7 months sober. He got a job with good earning prospects.He got his own apartment. He is satisfying everything the court has asked. He spends weekends with us and his son. It gives them time together and us a break.

    We've been experiencing a lot of potty issues with the little one. He in enamored of water play and every time he uses the bathroom wants to take a shower. I had to take my son to a mandatory Alcohol Education class so I went to check to see what time we were going to leave and we were locked out of the basement. (we have a latch to keep our GS from having freedom to roam from floor to floor) He and GS came upstairs with me and while I was gone my husband went into our basement bathroom shower and found feces smeared all over the walls and turds on the shower floor. When I got home he called me down and told me about it. Walked over to the couch and table down there to turn off the TV and there were antacid pills, an ibuprofen and a few aspirin all just laying out on the table. This is where my grandson had spent the morning with him.

    This is the same kind of crap we saw when he cared for GS before. Squalor, disregard for the child's safety, unhygenic conditions. When he got home from his class we told him we wanted to speak to him and calmly told him that this was unacceptable. He said about the shower that he hadn't seen anything and that the feces on the wall might have been from last week. WHAT???? As for the pills, they must have been in the opening compartments on the coffee table and GS must have pulled them out. STILL, they were under his nose. That's not parenting. That's not chidcare. That's neglect.

    As if that weren't enough he copped an attitude. He didn't get his son anything for Christmas. He said he knew we'd spoil him. Yet he's watching pay-per-view movies downstairs after I asked him not to as they are charged to our bill. And I know if he is watching a movie, GS is being ignored.

    Here's the corker. The social services agencies we are working with want our input on how he is doing. He has been doing well. He is trying, but this really set me back on my heels. I told him I took pictures of the areas and would keep them to be used to present to the court if he didn't straighten out. What did he do? He said he was going to turn in his father for covering his hands with tape to keep him from scratching. He took it off immediately but GS loved it AND he said that he had information on us that would break up our marriage. I said give it your best shot. If this what this family has devolved to let's burn the motha down. But, I told him that once he set these consequences in motion, there was not stopping them.

    His main concern is me telling the agency. D H even says, I don't know if I could tell them. I told them both I could. My main comfort and solace in these months of hell has been that if we effectively advocate for our GS he will never be in the danger he has been in over his 5 years of life in the hands of his mother and father.

    I don't think son is using. He's going to AA, running meetings, active with sponsor. But this slip in judgement and behavior is damn concerning. I'm ready to quit this gig now, because one of the main reasons we took our GS was to give our son a year to get his life together and best protect GS. What to do? That threatening crap really bugs me. Who says that to their parents?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm glad to hear from you again. I am sorry you are still having problems with your son as far as knowing how to be a suitable father. If this were me, and I had custody of GS, I'd want to keep it. And if son didn't change his attitude...well, it's really up to you. in my opinion the main thing is that GS is safe. I wonder if it is safe with son living there, looking for reasons to call social services to make YOU guys look bad. Since your son is unlikely to get custody back, then GS wouldn't even be in the family...? Not sure I have this right, but I had trouble following. Is the next step a foster home with strangers? If this were me, I'd protect the little guy with special needs and let the adult son take care of himself if he made threats that could get social services to question my own competence.

    Remember, always, that this is your house and you are able to do what you like. I applaud you for sticking up for yourself when your son started getting abusive...

    Hugs and good luck.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am with you, Tish.

    You did not do all this for your son. It was all for your grandson, and for the family as a whole.

    That he would do this kind of power play is concerning to say the least. One could say that he was being defensive and reactive, but still.

    On the other hand he must feel that he is doing everything right. All that he can do. From his point of view what he is doing is a major turnaround. And it is.

    So, now that I have written this, I have calmed down and am seeing things differently.

    This is what the calmed down me thinks: This really is between your son and social services. We cannot expect your son to be the kind of parent you are. He is not the only borderline inadequate young parent that has a disabled child.

    At the same time you cannot shield your son from consequences because then it would be you who could be partly responsible for any harm that might come to your grandson. Your son is fair warned. He knows now that you will advocate for your grandson. You told him.

    Why not talk you and your husband and agree how you will handle this if this irresponsible behavior on your son's part does continue. From now on. One mistake does not a pattern make. You son now knows. I think I would attribute his reaction to fear, and see how he handles it.

    I think I would have a hard time keeping on with this arrangement with his coming over as if nothing happened. When he threatened your husband and threatened your marriage. Something did happen. He was responsible and instead of accepting responsibility he escalated and he accused and he threatened. He needs to clean this up. Let's see what happens.

    If I were you I would talk to your husband and decide how you want to handle that too. The altercation. Because I think it cannot be forgotten. It needs to be addressed.

    The two issues seem unrelated but they are. Your son's taking responsibility, is at the heart of things.

    I am glad you are back. I have wondered how things are going. It sounds like things are going well. There is every reason to expect they will get back on track, if your son handles this like he should. Life is full of tests, is it not?

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    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is what I thought and what I meant. I am harsher in my opinion than Copa. I really think that if this is what your son is going to do to your family, he needs to go. Also, I feel that there are many young parents and most seem more adequate than your son...his youth and t he child's disability are no excuse for negligence. And his not getting his son Christmas presents show what is in his heart...he is still a very selfish boy deep down. Most young parents are eager and excited for their child at Christmas. What parent doesn't want to see his kid excited by his presents under the Christmas tree? I don't see that as normal affection. As for your spoiling him, what does he think he is if not spoiled? Did he ask you to forgo his Christmas presents? I doubt it.

    This is a hard decision for you. Think about it, talk about it, let your son be a man (he is a man) and take the consequences when he is wrong. That, of course, is JMO. I hope this isn't too harsh, but your description of your son's behavior really made me angry for you. He is a man, not a child. How DARE he threaten your marriage and the rest of your family, sober or not. Ever hear of a dry drunk? Not saying your son is one, but perhaps it would help you and hubby if you attended Al-Anon to help both of you cope with an alcoholic who is not drinking but is still acting out.
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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Tish I can see where this upset son. He must have felt cornered and threatened.

    You are all of you on the same page. Each of you has been trying for the same result. Your son, too. I think it would not be wrong for you to apologize, too. Your son must have felt that you escalated things.

    While I can see why you did (and indeed it was the right thing, because everything now is on the table), can you see how he must have felt? If you are able to speak to your part, maybe your son will be more able to see his own.
    I do not think all is lost. It was one interaction. A highly charged interaction, but it is not yet a pattern.

    If it were me I would like to know what is behind the hostility of your son? Sure, he felt cornered and accused and reacted. But why would he turn against you like that? Could he resent your role with his son? Could he resent the fact that you and your husband saved everybody? Could he resent that it gives you power over him, which it certainly does? Power over whether or not he can parent his own child.

    I think that whatever resentment he might be harboring needs to come out. I do not know how I would address it, though.

  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    To me, it is up to him. I would not apologize for keeping an eye out for my GS. He is a minor child with autism and son is a grown man who is still not acting like a responsible father.

    Copa, the parents took him in and he threatened them. In my home, that is inexcusable as is being negligent toward his own child or lying about his negligence ("gee, the poop was there LAST week...I didn't do it). I will have to disagree, maybe because I have two kids, who were once difficult, who have their own kids and both have been fantastic parents.

    I know though that we are all different and have different tolerance levels. What my grown kids do outside of my home is none of my business. What they do in my own home, especially regarding my peace and harmony, is very much my business. That is how I see it, but that may be different for other people. Everyone has to make his/her own decision about his/her own family members.

    Hugs and love to all ;)
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    That may be so but the law favors parents. I think, Serenity, if we had been born 5 years ago, you and I and Cedar, our parents still would have been able to get away with what they did.

    I do not think Tish can be responsible for whether or not her son parents his son. It is a decision of Social Services. Nor will Tish withhold information to protect her son, to the detriment of her grandson. Everything that needs to be said and understood is out there. It is not Tish's decision. It is her son's.

    What you can decide, Tish, I think is whether or not you want to stop. At any point you can decide your son not doing what he needs to for you to participate.

    I agree with Serenity/SWOT. That your responsibility is twofold: as a parent and grandparent. What she said: that your son needs to man up and accept consequences is the truth. But that is hard to do for anybody, in the moment of anger and defensiveness. Let us see how he handles this.

  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think differently in only one respect.

    People react defensively. People do not change everything all at once. We need to look at the big picture.

    He is acting like a more responsible father than he was before. That does not win prizes but it gives hope. Everything need not be decided on the basis of this one interaction.

    There will be a pattern or there will not be. Tish has put her cards on the table. There is no walking back from this. Son will decide. He will get it together or not.

    I believe that there is never 100 percent wrong all on one side in an interaction. We can take responsibility for our piece of it, even if it is only, I could have said that differently.

    That does not mean taking fault or blame. This is 100 percent the responsibility of son. That does not mean Tish would be wrong to extend a hand. If it is for the good of reaching the desired goal and good for everybody. There is a lot at stake here.

    I do not think Tish is able to parent her grandson on a permanent basis.

    It cannot be only about one interaction. The consequences would be too dire. We have to make room for hope. That is what I believe.

    Again, I think the threats are a different but related issue than the irresponsible parenting.

    Son is in a tough, tough spot and he knows it. At his age, 26 or 27, he wants to be completely independent and feel one hundred percent in control in his life. (My son is that age. I know.) And here he has screwed up and his parents have his child, and he must feel he has to dance on a pin to please his mother. While it is not true, he must feel that way.

  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Yes. This is true.

    It is entirely the decision of Tish and her husband if they want to end their arrangement because of this interaction. But I think they are in it to support their son as well as their grandson. If son has been batting 80 percent, given the stakes, I can understand if they want to take the position of hope.

    It is inexcusable to not admit responsibility. It is inexcusable to neglect a child. It is inexcusable to threaten parents, especially the way he did it. Nobody is saying differently.

    It is a question of where to draw a line in the stand and who draws it. Tish or CPS. Tish has told her son she will protect her grandson. She can decide that the jig is up now, or down the road, or not at all. It is her choice.

    Everybody has a lot to lose (and gain here), Tish as well as son and grandson.

    Yes all of it is intolerable. But other things may be more intolerable. That does not mean Tish will allow her grandson to be neglected. That is why the son exploded. He knows. That is why he got so upset and said things he should not have. He is human, too. That is not to forgive him. Or to not hold him accountable.

    It could be that Son cannot, will not do it, will not pull it together enough to parent his child. Time will tell. But the relationship and destiny of 3 generations in a family are at stake. I can understand if Tish and her husband decide to play this out. CPS will decide and it will be based upon what son shows in the long run what he is and is not capable of.

    Not all parents are born whole. Son is trying. Not hard enough, that is clearly true. There is still time, if Tish and her husband decide that is what they want.

    That is what I think. Tish has time. So does son, if Tish and husband choose so.

    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Good for you, Tish.
  11. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    Thanks so much you two. Reading the interchange and back and forth was like having 3 brains working for me...mine, Copa's and SWOT''s.
    I don't fear CPS. It's a non-issue. It was something my son pulled out of the air. My GS is 5 years old, 60 lbs. and aggressive. My husband has scratches that bled all over his arms from just trying to help me get GS dressed for school. I have bruises from the bite marks but my reflexes are quicker after 7 months of this. We cannot take GS out for fear of a meltdown. We have essentially been prisoners in our own home. Don't get me wrong. We love him. He is affectionate and delightful, but cross him or anger him and he rages. And so many things can set him off. If someone inadvertently leaves the pantry open, he wants to pop every pop top on every can on the shelves. We gently say no and try to redirect him and he flips. He doesn't want to put his footie pajamas on backward to get on the school bus and he lays down as stiff as a board and if you try to put them on he goes feral. It is written into his bus plan/iep that he cannot board the bus unless he is dressed this way because he strips and urinates and defecates on the seat. And then he gets to school and has a perfect day.
    This is my feeling too SWOT. I don't get it. I never will.
    I have but don't know what it is. I'll be looking it up. My D H and I do go to Al-Anon. I've gone for 18 months. He's gone twice. (I go during the day. We need all hands on deck for when G S is home.)
    He has threatened before. Telling something, throwing a vulnerability shared back in our faces, suicide. It's a ploy and it no longer phases me. It disgusts and shocks me. AND he wasn't saying he wasn't responsible for the feces. He was saying that it happened last week on his watch and he left some there from last week and then added to it this week. My husband and I don't use that bathroom. But we have ABA therapists working down there and they might use the bathroom. How embarrassing. I reminded him that they are mandated reporters and they could easily report us and our home for unsanitary conditions that we didn't even know existed.

    Please know that I do not run around with a camera in my hand ready to take evidence photos. But this is a child that has lied to us, stolen from us, might lie about us and is a gaslighter extraordinaire. This has gone on for 5 years and we have lived in fear of something happening to our GS. 2 things have. He was found in 5 feet of water in a lake clinging to a pole and found nude on a 4 lane highway at night and turned into police by a stranger.

    Copa, everything you said is true and valid. There are 3 generations of my family at stake. They ask me every week on a conference call how things are going. I am not going to participate on the call this week. But, as a foster parent, I too am a mandated reporter. But as a parent I know this will devastate my son. As a grandparent I know that caring for this child is beyond, way beyond what my husband and I can do. We will be lucky to make the 5 months. It's that hard and it's that exhausting, but we know that every minute we invest now could make a difference in our GS's life in the near term and long after we are no longer here.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    As an ex-foster parent, I am leery of social services. They made many obviously bad decisions that I know of, the worse being giving a baby who spent a year in a cast due to his birthmother throwing him into a wall back to her when he was already in a loving, stable foster family. She was allegedly "rehabilitated." Three months later, she decided she didn't want him and gave him back and did they give the loving fosters the baby back? The ones who had cared for him since babyhood and all through his body cast days and who wanted to adopt him? Nope. They gave him to strangers By then he was a mess and difficult and he lasted maybe six months with the new foster parents. They finally gave him back to his loving foster parents and they adopted him, but he was a mess by then; not the loving little boy they had cared for. I know of other horror stories.

    I feel it is up to the grandparents to give true information to social services about the state of their son and his parenting skills because social services favor the biological parents over the grandparents and this young man does not seem capable of knowing how to love a child. To me, aside for the well being of the little boy who has autism to boot, the adults can take a second seat. This type of situation always causes family strife and I still feel the child, who is so young, has to be the one who is cared about the most. Grandpa, auntie, kissing cousin, etc. are not the caregiver and, as adults, will survive. The child needs a lot of help. Autism is a special need and won't thrive under the care of a selfish, immature parent who doesn't even want to give his own child a Christmas present. I consider this latter issue the way he feels about his child. When it comes to a child, I prefer favoring being too careful than worrying about the masses. I cared for foster kids who came from crazy parents...many could not be fixed. All saw things no child should see.

    I would stop the conference calls. Everyone doesn't have to know everything and that sounds stressful. That could easily go south fast and...I don't know. You certainly can do them, but if it were me, I'd tell my family that they were no more. Even if they got mad. We have to take care of ourselves, which includes not subjecting ourselves to Grandma's opinion. She's not the one doing the hard work and she'll get over it. Or she won't. She is all growed up.

    So my own private opinion is the son either gets serious help for his problems and behaves like a man and father or he forfeits his right to parent a very vulnerable, young, "different" child. He obviously was not paying attention when the kid smeared his feces on the walls. In your gut, do you feel he ignored it or the ABA therapists? Is your son a truthful man? The ABA therapist...well, in my opinion it was probably not them. This is a job they can be fired from.

    This autistic child will require more care for longer than other kids and may not be able to be an independent adult. There are levels of autism. Smearing feces on the wall is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son never ever did this. But some do. Nobody knows the potential of this young boy, but he deserves the best. Chaos is an enemy to an autistic child. Yelling, loud noise, spanking (any hard touching), lack of routine...these are all enemies of all children, but especially Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids.

    I think it is best to save t he c hild and not worry about the adults. They are big and can take care of themselves. If my son had grown up in chaos, he would not be as high functioning, sweet, and functional as he now is.

    My own personal feeling is that a minor child always comes before grown ups. I'm not talking about a twenty year old who is putting holes in the wall and shooting up in our homes. I'm talking about a young child who has needs beyond other kids and in my opinion takes precedence over the adults. I think counseling may help.

    Many of us know well how awful it is to be a child in a home where an inadequate biological parent put themselves above us. It doesn't usually work out well.

    I would definitely turn in any of my grown children if they were neglectful or abusive to their own little children. I wouldn't think twice about it. The grown child doesn't have to act in a way that CPS *should* be notified. The grown child has a choice in his behavior. I wouldn't allow the younger child to be left alone with a substandard parent, even my own grown child, even if that child would hate me forever. If we don't take care of the young children, who will? Even if young child is afraid of his father, he will probably be afraid to say so. We worship our parents at that age, even if they abuse us.

    Anyhow, JMO. I know my advice is not for everyone. It is only my opinion.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    You have done so much to help your son and while he's going to his AA meetings that doesn't always mean that he's truly working the program. People can attend AA for years and be sober but they are nothing more than a dry drunk just as SWOT said.

    This is just so scary. The feces is one thing but if the child had ingested those pills..... just so scary.

    Yes, it is neglect. It would appear that he needs supervised visits. I don't think I could trust him to be alone with GS for one minute.

    This coupled with the neglect clearly shows he does not care for his child. I am wondering what is motivating him to spend anytime at all with his son? I remember when my son and my daughter in-law were separating my son went on a rant about how he was going to fight for custody I knew his motives were not for the well being of his children but more of an attitude that he was not going to lose. My son is very manipulative and a control freak. Needless to say his words were just empty threats and he ended up abandoning his children.
    If your GS was not under your care but another foster family do you think your son would still be going to see him? I just wonder if because it's you that have GS that is why your son puts forth the effort.

    You are in such a tough place. I admire you so much for taking in your GS. Ultimately your GS and his well being have to come first.

    Hang in there Tish. Thanks for posting and sharing. It's good to hear from you.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is all such a difficult situation.

    I believe your son loves his child, Tish. But on the other hand it sure seems that your son does not fully understand the situation he is in, that it demands more than he has to give or is willing to give.

    At the end of the day, you have done what you are doing for GS and for yourselves. Leaving no stone unturned.

    I think I agree with Tanya, no more unsupervised visits for son--the pills, the lack of vigilance. The defensiveness was a momentary thing.

    The lack of presents, how he said you would be spoiling his son, to me does not mean much. He knows he cannot compete. He feels disenfranchised with his own son, because he has been. He blew it. Every bad thing that happened can be traced partially or wholly back to his poor decisions. He is in the unfortunate situation where he has to start from minus zero, with one foot tied behind his back.

    No matter how much the situation is defined about grandson, your son's life is at stake too. You are his parents. You chose to put yourselves in the middle. Unfortunately this is a no win situation for you. There is not one outcome that will be uniformly good. All you have is that you are trying the best you can. Integrity. Responsibility. Love. Generosity of spirit.

    I for one feel for your son. That does not mean I excuse his behavior or want to make everything all good, for him. But you are his parents. He has to be considered. The time to play hard ball was at first, not now. You are in the end game now. Everything will come out in the wash. I would not do anything now to upend the game. Let it play out. That is my vote. Making sure that your grandson is protected.

    Your grandson was born to inadequate parents. Your son has been and is limited by serious issues. He like my own son is not playing with a full deck. And with that incomplete deck he is called upon to handle a situation that would tax parents with the greatest resources and capacities. Yet, he has chosen to give it a go. He may not succeed to be the parent his son needs, but as long as the terms of the game have been set up, I would finish the agreed upon terms and see how things are.

    I disagree with Serenity. You do not have the legal right to terminate your son's parental rights. You have made it clear that you will not protect your son at the expense of your grandson. You have no choice but to involve professionals. Because you only have power through them.

    Your belief in your son's capacity or incapacity only matters to the extent that through information provided to them, CPS authorities and a judge agree. Under the law you are only a temporary custodian. It is between son and CPS. He is an adult and the child's father. How can it be otherwise?

    Of course everybody should put the welfare of a disabled child, above all else. Tish, you are doing it, to the extent that you have control and are able.

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  15. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    Just to clarify, the fostering agency has a conference call with me, hubby, our son and supposedly his mother (but she's mia and hasn't seen him since. September) every week.

    Copa, you are right. It is between the court system and our son. We can't find a loving home or screen other foster homes for him. All we can do is say we can't do this anymore and it's taken out of our hands altogether. We are going to hang in. This was a particularly rough weekend. Usually hubby and I go through our difficult times at different times. Given the circumstances it his us both particularly hard. Tomorrow is another day.
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Tish, when I read through this a third time the absolute hilarity of this made me laugh out loud.

    You cannot make this up. He has a perfect day....after he gets himself naked and does peepee and poopoo on the school bus seat? I am laughing out loud, still.

    He is an absolute doll.

  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Tish, I have a question.

    Is the assumption by CPS/Judge that your son will take custody after the year that you and your husband care for your grandson, if he fulfills certain requirements?

  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I did not know this: Mozart and Andy Warhol were thought to have been autistic. Daryl Hannah, Tim Burton, Dan Ackroyd and the writer Lewis Carroll have been considered to have Asperger's.
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The list of famous people suspected of being "on the spectrum" is a mile long. Inventors, scientists, musicians and other artists, and engineers seem to top the list. People who "think outside the box" because they are wired differently.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Most autistics are not savants, like Mozart. The ones who are show their specific talents very early. I forgot what they are called...the Rainman is one of them though (the movie). in my opinion it is better to get the help than hope they turn out to be brilliant. If they do, it's great, but if not, then they have the skills needed to be independent or partially independent.

    Better to be safe than sorry ;)

    Tish, I did not know you only committed to five months of care. I don't blame you or think that's wrong at all, but that does make things more heartbreaking for you.

    Hugs and more hugs.