Update on special needs grandson custody

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by tishthedish, Jul 27, 2015.

  1. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    I am frozen. Fear, anger, dread, horror, my mind cannot stop cycling through the problems that I am facing. My husband and I have had custody of our special needs 4 year old grandson since early June. DCFS revoked custody from my son and baby mama after child was found on 4 lane highway nude at night. Son was in jail already for drunk driving and baby mama was strung out on something. She was arrested for child endangerment.

    Here's where we are now. Baby mama is in a 90 residential rehab program. She called once and we haven't heard from her since. difficult child 2 is in AA and working the program. He is living with a straight arrow friend. He has one 2-hour supervised visit with GS per week. On the weekends we allow (with DCFS approval) to come and spend time with us as we are exhausted and need help with GS.

    Last week difficult child 2 was going to come over on a weeknight to visit and give us a an extra hand. I was to pick him up in the afternoon. I called at 2 and could tell I had woken him up. His AA meeting is at noon, so I knew he skipped it. It was the first day he hadn't attended. I felt as if I had been kicked in the gut. I had been doing okay since I knew he was trying his hardest, but this faltering made me see that the outcome of this scenario might not be as I had hoped. I ended up going to his apartment and telling him he wasn't coming over and that the visits were going to go back to the supervised weekend ones only. My husband was livid that we are working so hard to live our lives and support ourselves while taking care of his son and he "sleeps in". When you have no home, no job, no car and no kid, there's no such thing as sleeping in. I don't see a burning fire in him to get his son back. I don't sense an urgency and I find that disturbing and foreboding. Who IS this person I gave life to????

    In the meantime the stresses of taking care of our precious grandson are piling up. I know that in the long run we are not going to be able to maintain this level of care. Thankfully the agency that is now handling our case is going to be providing us with several hours of respite per week. Maybe things will become clearer to me when that actually happens.

    The person in charge of that agency said that plan A is to have my son get GS back but since my husband and I won't be able to do this in the long run (I said we'd foster for a year) we need to get as many people involved in our GS's life as possible to improve the prospects of a family member or friend fostering and possibly adopting if our son loses custody permanently. I feel like I need to market my GS, and I guess I do in a sense. The prospect of not seeing him or being a part of his life is unfathomable. The idea of him taken out of all he is familiar with seems so cruel. I am having a very hard time focusing on today and not having these very disturbing thoughts intruding on the present.

    My marriage has taken some blows due to this situation as well. I have told D H that I am not equipped emotionally or physically to raise a special needs child. He said he doesn't know if he can give him up. I told him I understood and that I would step away from the situation and let him raise GS. Our marriage has been happy and solid. We are soul mates. But what he can't understand is that I can't do this again. I don't have it in me. I gladly did what I needed to do with our sons and their schools and doctors and symptoms and medications, but GS and the manifestation of his symptoms take up every inch of emotional and physical energy from both of us. And the impracticality of it at our age is apparent.

    In the meantime difficult child 1 has been acquitted of violating parole and has been transferred to another prison. From what I understand they have not found a facility that will take him. The fact he was convicted of assault and is bipolar makes it difficult for him to be placed. If he has to stay in the system, he won't be released until mid-2016. He has gotten into fights in prison and is placed in isolation most of the time. In the last 2 months we have talked to him for a total of 10 minutes.

    There is more going on in our extended family but this is the front burner stuff. I feel I am reaching the tipping point. I am spent and there is no good news on the horizon. Just lots of hard work. And more hard work.

    I feel as if the rug has been pulled out from under me and that the progress I had made in detaching and focusing on myself and accepting the things I could not change has been blasted away. Please tell me how I can live my life and detach when the outcome of someone's drinking and irresponsibility has landed squarely in the middle of my world and it's little and blonde and gives kisses and hugs and loves and trusts me? (while peeing all over my house and flushing spoons down the toilet?)
  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    ((HUGS)) to you!!!
    I am so sorry you are going through all of this.
    Are you going to any type of counseling?
    I can only imagine the heartache for both you and your husband. It's just so unfair that you have been put in this situation.
    If GS goes to a different foster home would you still be able to see him?
    I hope you will have more clarity when you get a break. Glad the agency will provide that for you.
    Hang in there.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Tish, everything you are feeling I would feel.

    The weight of all of this is on you. If your husband goes to work each day that is his escape, his time-out. Where is yours?

    While you may have chosen to care for your grandson, how much of a choice, really, was it? It was the least-bad of alternatives that were all themselves unacceptable and you chose it at the cost of yourself.

    And even as the year commitment moves closer to the point of returning to your life, it is like walking a gangplank, anxious and fearful at what will become of your grandson and how will that affect you?

    One way to do this is to try to have blinders on, kind of like on a march to the end, without looking sideways. Like a marathon. Sustaining yourself and your strength as you complete your course, avoiding distraction as best you can.

    From this way of thinking your son is nothing more than a distraction right now. You cannot do one thing to change his choices or his commitments. You are doing this for your grandson and yourself, with the hope your son will do the right thing.

    How hard. Because it means there is nothing you can do along the way to optimize the chance there will be a positive outcome at the end of the road...to make your sacrifice really worth it....because after all you are doing this for your grandson to stay in his family. And you cannot control the outcome.

    The only other thing you can do is rethink the original commitment, about what options there might be now or before one year. For foster placement. Or adoption.

    If you do not want to consider the latter, then it comes down to your choice. Without conditions. That as an act of love and responsibility, without conditions, you choose to give your son and grandson one year with the possibility that the parent gets it together.

    The thing that must be accepted is this: waiting the full year may make it harder not easier for you and for your grandson.

    The other thing that you are facing, and realistically so, is that if you choose to rethink the one year commitment, your husband may disagree. Your marriage is a factor and responsibility as well, for each of you. The differences in priorities and the inequity of responsibilities in the commitment are a real thing.

    To me, I think your husband is in the same place as you are on this. In his pain, frustration and helplessness, he cannot wrap around his mind around the possibility he cannot make this work out for his grandson. He is not the kind of person to let go on a child of his flesh and blood, nor are you. Your husband knows in his heart, I think, that the priority is you. But still, he cannot give up. You are both hanging on by pure force of will.

    I agree with Tanya that any couple would need help communicating about, understanding and deciding in this impossible situation.

    You stated the truth. Choosing to complete the year offers no guarantee even probability that your son will be able to or even willing to parent his child. How could any mother or grandmother not feel as you are?

    I know you have a Psychologist Tish. Is there a chance of upping the frequency of appointments, and supplementing with Al Anon?

    In time others will weigh in. Try to stay on the board with us Tish. Share some of the weight with us.
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    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Rush, I am so sorry. I can empathize because I also can't take on my sons youngest child. How odd that your grandson was found on a major road....our granddaughter was too but they didn't arrest either parent.

    I have also told their dad that I would step out of the way but he wouldn't have a clue how to parent again. We are too tired.
  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Those things are true, Tish. This situation is a whole other ballgame. You have been at it six weeks, right? Remember having a new baby? And we never do know just how we made it through those first weeks but somehow, we do? I think you will find that everything gets to feel more acceptable from here Tish. I like it that you were able to be honest with D H and that he heard you. I liked hearing that respite care is coming in ~ that will make a huge difference for you and so, for D H, too.

    I am sorry to hear that your son is doing what he is doing.

    Better you should know now.

    I am sorry, Tish. Our kids are just so different than we were or are. There is no way to make sense of their choices, and no way to change what they do.

    I wish things could be different for my family, too.

    It's a limited engagement for a very good cause, Tish. Respite care will be scheduled in, soon. Now you both know spoons don't belong in the toilet.


    One less thing.

    Plus, you have us. I am feeling a little the worse for wear lately but...you do have us, Tish.

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  6. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I just want to say, I get it. There was a time when my Youngest was in such a bad place, I worried about her ability to care for her 2 kids. I let them all stay with me for a few months, and in that short period it became apparent to me that if things got worse, even though I love my grandkids, there was no way I could take care of them by myself. I raised two Difficult Children by myself, and that took everything I had - and I was "young" then. I'm 53 now - not "old" by any means but I'm done. I did my time with battling IEPs and carting kids to doctor/psychiatric visits and therapy, while also working full time and coordinating care for my elderly parents, and I have no energy left to raise another difficult child (let alone more than one). I have my life back and I'm selfishly not giving it up again. I don't have the physical or emotional energy. The thought of it used to send me into full panic attack mode because of the battle of "I can't do this" feelings vs. "what will happen to my grandkids" feelings.

    Thankfully things got better for my daughter, she turned her life around. But, if things began going backward again -- I just can't think about it. Especially since she now has a third child on the way (heck I don't think there's any way I will even babysit 3 kids at once by myself - can't see that happening. I'll have to take 1 at a time). I just pray she continues to do as great as she is now - she's really changed so I think that's more likely than ever.

    I don't have answers, just wanted you to know that your feelings are completely understandable.
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  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Tish, I am sorry you are going through these feelings. I get it too. In spades. I know the place you are in intimately. You know the choice I made. And, it cost me. It turned out okay and now that I am at the end of that journey, I am glad I did it.

    BUT, the big BUT is that there were many times I reached the end of my rope, had more stress and worry and fear and anger and resentment than I thought was possible to hold in my body. I sought so much help because I knew I could never do it alone, not only to help with my granddaughter, but to help ME.

    Tish, I am on the outside and my heart is not wrapped up in your grandson.......but, dear Tish, this sounds to me as if it is beyond what you are capable of doing on your own. You will bear the brunt of this responsibility for many years to come.......You said it TIsh, "I don't have it in me to do this again." There is your truth.

    How you do this, how we all do this is we do it one moment, one choice at a time. Your truth is you can't do this. From there you will find the next step, then the next after that. We don't know the future, we don't know how it will unfold, who will show up...how it will work out..we can only make this one choice in front of us and from that, we move ahead. I believe when we are clear about what it is we are willing to do, or NOT willing to do, when we make that commitment to ourselves, then "providence moves" and events evolve as a result of that choice in a certain direction.

    You're being brave to state what you are not willing to do. That decision brings up the fears of who, what, how will my grandson be cared for.........and that has yet to unfold, you don't need to make it yours now. Stick to your guns Tish, follow what you know to be right for you........it's a terrible place to be, but in the midst of all of the darkness you find yourself in right now, you are still clear about what you can do and what you can't do......even though it doesn't feel good, it's a healthy choice......I believe out of that choice will come options you simply cannot see right now.

    Stay true to yourself. Stay close to the board. Trust the process. We're here for you......
  8. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    Thank you for the comfort I experienced as the result of your responses. This is difficult any way you look at it. I was feeling raw BEFORE this happened. Now I'm just riding on the rims.
    Yes. I have a terrific clinical team helping me as well as Al-Anon and truly spectacular friends.
    Copa, I could have included your entire post here. It is spot on. Having never been involved in this type of situation we don't know what options exist. I still would have done the same thing, but my goodness, the process is still unfolding and we are mired in paperwork, case worker visits and more. It's interesting, I was out of town last week on a preplanned trip. My hubby got a full dose of what it takes to keep the home fires burning so to speak. He is a lot more sympathetic and realistic.
    Crazy, this is so true. I was trying to read how to deal with negative behaviors in autistic preschoolers and I thought my brain would explode. No wonder. Tourette Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), depression, eating disorders, addictions, the prison system, disability, foster care, autism, chromosomal deletions. Crap. I told my husband I want to read a book on flowers. Just flowers. As I speak a have to fill out school registration, visit records and other documents pertinent to getting licensed as a foster home. Plus it was recommended that we get a behaviorist, another speech therapist, another hour of occupational therapy and ABA therapy. This is in addition to what the school is doing. He's only one kid!
    Respite, sweet respite, AHHHHH. Not so fast! It comes with strings. There must always be 2 people with our GS at all times, so for us to go out during respite, our son has to be here and it will count as a "supervised visit" for him. So increased contact with son, strangers in our house and we have to go out. Nothing about this is easy. Plus I had planned to take up playing the spoons for a hobby but have reconsidered in light of recent events.:cautious:
    RE, from your mouth to God's ear. I know my limitations. This is exhausting on a whole new level. On one hand it's all emotional energy expended and nothing coming in. Nothing from our elder son in prison and nothing from our younger son fighting his addiction. As for our GS, he brings joy and light but the physical energy expenditure is immense. And our hearts break for him. Such a complicated little life and he did nothing to deserve this.
    We'll do what we can with the time we have and will do everything in our power to stay in his life, even if we have to move to do it.
  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear Tish,

    I am so glad you posted. YOU SOUND SO MUCH BETTER. Your humor is back. You are back, Tish.

    Do you feel it?

    What shows is: You know where you are going, now. You are in control. YOU KNOW YOU WILL BE OKAY. You know that your marriage will be OK. You know that your grandson will be too. You and your husband will make it so.

    How incredible you are.

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  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Glad to hear from you Tish. You're doing it, right now, you're doing it.......one step, one moment, one choice, at a time.............that's all any of us can do. Bless you Tish, for what you are doing RIGHT now.......don't go down the future road, stay here in the present and do exactly what you are doing, what needs to be done. We're here with you......
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  11. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Another grandparent commiserating with your situation. I go to IEPs all the time in my job. I sure didn't expect to for my grandson. I look at my husband who is ten years older than me and I'm pretty sure that he didn't see the last part of his life being spent the way he is spending it. My daughter (his stepdaughter) and the mother of difficult grandson, still bears the marks of her ADD and crystal meth addiction. Although she's clean, working two jobs and generally doing well, the constant vigilance and worry about her fragility and spaciness is exhausting.

    I hope this will be true for you, but we have found ourselves kind of getting a routine down and the feelings of being completely overwhelmed have lessened a little bit (depending on the day). We do fight more because we are so flipping tired and worried, can't take vacations or even go out because we have babysitting duty, doctors visits, etc. In any case, your grandson is damn lucky to have you guys. Take care of yourselves.
  12. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Tish, glad to see your post. You sound so much better. Oh how blessed your little grandson is to have you.

    I'm keeping good thoughts for you as you traverse this journey.

  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Loving our little guys teaches us we have reserves even we have never suspected. I am glad D H has begun to realize that sometimes, even all the loving and protecting we can do cannot provide for the child those things he requires to live his best life.

    It has been good to hear from you, Tish.

    Holding good thoughts for you and yours.

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  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Tish,

    It feels so long since we last heard from you.

    I wanted you to know that I think about you and I care. I hope that this short note finds everybody well.

  15. Tired and Hopeful

    Tired and Hopeful New Member

    I can so relate to your post (in our 40s took in a grandson with autism)...now in our 60s with a grandson with severe anxiety. I can offer you one little ray of sunshine (maybe): once the outside influences (caseworkers and therapists and school) get their ducks all lined up, things may start working for your GS and just maybe life will not be so overwhelming. I too have been there as a foster...the details that go into that are exhausting. It is exhausting to get in the right place with school and therapy. But just maybe when the stars align things will go better for the GS and for you. Just know, you are not alone. Others are there or have been there. Just take it one day at a time...that is all you can do.