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Pray for a sweet little boy DS

scottcooks

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Jul 7, 2005
1,937
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Prayers requested for our DS "JJ" and his situation. Pray for his school authorities to not just C.Y.A. themselves and box him up and ship him away to 'somewhere else', but to apply some of their strength and nurture and support him through early transition to their community.

Warning - not always a pretty picture - long tale (many have said I should write a book, but how to change names enough to not be libel?) I'll use random initials instead of names...
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d

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"JJ" was born to a very young and tremendously challenged couple who in time had 4 tots - bio m was 15 w/ first, 23 with 4. BioD was 29. There were drugs, regular physical wrestling/fighting, disrespect, blaming, yelling, no job, dyslexic and bipolar bioD, bio m would go for workFirst and be gone while bio d stayed home. He would lock my DS into a solitary room with no stimulus for 10-14 hours while older 2 would go to a park and play, baby g (our DD) in a crib in their bedroom. DS had no one to talk with, no crayons, games, TV, radio, books, anything. BioM and Bio D had forays into the occult and generational incest from BioM's bro - uncle "L". Came from a halfway house to stay w/ his sis but molested probably all 4 kids. Only familial support of any kind was paternal grandma who is on oxygen, but is a chain smoker, with quite a sordid past of hooking (yes that kind)in her youth with the boys at the local police acad. - soon these 'regulars' became cops in their town.

Prior foster families tried to take the tots back to that town b/c it had a great pediatric care facility, but within 1/2 hour of the kids being in town, the grandma showed up. She would copy license plates of foster parents down, send them off to buddies in 'the department' and show up at foster homes with gifts for the kids.

Yet as is the case for any and all of us nothing will ever be the same as his birth family - Bio M, Bio D, sis7, bro5, he4, sis2.5. My DS grieves for the loss of that unit, particularly his buddy and big bro, 1 year older.

The 4 were taken into state care when BioM and BioD engaged in domestic violence after 10's of concerned neighbor/social worker calls on various issues of concern for the family.

My DW and I came to the state as to-be-adoptive parents, and were led to this family; originally aimed to 5yob - we were invited to meet 4yob (my DS) and 2.5yog (my DD). My DW negotiated that we take foster care of 4yob and 2.5yog in a permanent placement toward adopt, rather than a temp care for 5yob where they were aiming us.

We took DS and DD into our care, adopted 10 months later, and that was 4 years ago.

In preschool, it slowly became apparent to us he was spending more time being coddled in the teachers lap, than engaging in learning.

In kindergarten, we struggled fiercely with outrageous running from authority and climbing and non-compliance so we pulled back from full day to halfday kindergarten, returning to full day by years end.

In first grade, we had an amazing rapport with teacher developed over summer prior, and it helped a lot to lessen his flares of attention-getting behavior.

Behaviors new (2nd grade) school is concerned with are running from authority, not coming in from recess, climbing (new school has several 2nd story balconies) whereby last Thurs he wouldn't come in from recess, ran from staff to woodsy area, climbed a giant tree none of the adults could navigate, so they called fire truck. DS heard fire truck coming and wanted to see it so came down and was disappointed it didn't stay longer.

Just got back from a school meeting (new school, more rigorous than previous one) where they want to do another sp.ed eval (good thing) but threw out possibility of sending him to district's behav.disturbed program. Bull S---!

I imagine it will be resolved well, but I didn't like the school's inuendos and repeated pointing that "there was a pattern of behavior that we're seeing again" like he will be doing this and the only expectation would be it would continue. He came a long way from first experiences to end of grade 1.

Pray for the sp.ed eval to aim toward resources to help locally, and not to shipping away - then DS and DD would be in 2 separate schools, hard on kids, hard on us, etc. etc.

DD is now in Kindergarten and doing well; DS is in grade 2 and struggling with the transitions. I see him manipulating the adults in his environment to assure himself close proximity to them. Maybe sp.ed with an aide would be a good thing, even if for a while.

My own alarm is over this new school staff who I want to respect, but now I am just seeing them be so nervous. Pray for peace in this whole thing. Pray for me and my DW. Pray for bio M who is still in picture but adds stress. Pray for bio D who is out of picture. Pray for DS's bro and sis and the family that adopted them.

Pray for me to set this aside enough to book shows and get $$ to give us some flexibility - am so cash-poor right now!

And Bless You!
 

angmillar

Member
Apr 13, 2007
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0
Will be praying for all of you.
 
Feb 5, 2008
488
1
Praying for all of you.....{{{{HUGS}}}} for your and DW's patience, for DS and DD--so verrryy blessed to have you as their guidance now!!
 

BethCooks4U

Legend Member
Gold Member
Jan 21, 2005
13,008
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Praying for you and your family. He is blessed to have you as a dad.
 

mountainmama74

Advanced Member
Gold Member
Oct 21, 2009
914
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Thank goodness for you and your wife!!! My thoughts are with you!
 

raebates

Legend Member
Staff member
Dec 6, 2005
18,357
437
Prayers said. I will continue to keep you in prayer.
 

colegrovet

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Jun 11, 2008
1,074
2
will keep you and your family in prayer.
 

nikked

Senior Member
Gold Member
Apr 10, 2005
2,133
7
Scott, I will be praying for your family. I would suggest finding an IEP advocacy group in your area. They will help you navigate this issue and work with the school. If your child receives private therapy, his therapist would probably know the name of an organization in your area. Here in NM we have one called "Parents Reaching Out". These organizations are AWESOME. You'll be amazed at what they can help you with in regards to the school.

Also check out Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy. They are an awesome resource for helping parents to understand their rights in the schools. They have a lot of articles that are free, and they also sell resources.

God bless you...
 

nikked

Senior Member
Gold Member
Apr 10, 2005
2,133
7
Scott, I will be praying for your family. I would suggest finding an IEP advocacy group in your area. They will help you navigate this issue and work with the school. If your child receives private therapy, his therapist would probably know the name of an organization in your area. Here in NM we have one called "Parents Reaching Out". These organizations are AWESOME. You'll be amazed at what they can help you with in regards to the school.

Also check out Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy. They are an awesome resource for helping parents to understand their rights in the schools. They have a lot of articles that are free, and they also sell resources.

God bless you...

I called our local PRO group. They gave me three numbers that might be of help to you...the first one is probably the best for this particular issue, but I'll give you all three...

PAVE
800-572-7368
253-565-2266

Parent to Parent Power
253-531-2022

Infant Toddler Early Intervention Program
800-322-2588
360-725-3500

HTH!
 

lesliec

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Mar 31, 2010
1,001
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  • #10
praying for you guys.
 

bridedream

Member
Mar 12, 2010
109
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  • #11
So sorry you all are going through this, Scott. I will keep your family in prayer.
 

scottcooks

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Jul 7, 2005
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  • #12
--note I sent to school tonight--

Oh, my!

JJ had a rough Monday morning - he was engaged in play from first getting up. He did a few of his AM jobs like brush hair, make bed, but was stuck on getting dressed. DW called him for breakfast and he went to 'wash his hands' and was gone for a long time. DW found him in the bathroom having created a waterworld in the sink with cups and the drain plugged, sloshing water between two cups one inside the other. She explained the car was leaving soon and his breakfast was getting cold, that he would either be carrying his school clothes or wearing them (Love & Logic). He went to get dressed and never ate breakfast.

After the bus took him to school, the play continued. We heard tales of 2 kids on skateboards, another student leading him or him being chased (a frequent complaint) by two bigger kids. Many thanks to Sa. for the nudge/s to get him in school where he belonged.

The counselor we had worked with for 3 years explained JJ doesn't have a way to process whatever he is dealing with, other than through play. While I don't know just where his mind was this morning, both DW and DD were out of town for the weekend. At church on Sunday JJ had some compliance issues with the partial during-service childcare, but when I suggested we leave after church rather than head to Sunday school, he insisted he wanted to be there and did fabulously! He wants to be in school.

One thing I did with him at LastSchool that is particularly helpful for a kid coming from a foster care (home of the week/month) perspective, is an "expectations tour" where we went hand-in-hand to every classroom / specialists room / lunchroom / playground / appropriate restrooms that he would encounter, and reviewed what was the routine there, what was expected and what was not OK. This both gives him comfort and security, and provides a cool bonding experience. Ga. or Ma., would you please consider this in the next day or so? It takes about 20 minutes. I'd be happy to do it if you like - I just need access to the spaces with him.

Finally, if we are concerned about JJ's not returning from recess, why don't we implement a reward system of each day being one of the first few students back in from recess = 1 classroom buck, or 3 consecutive days = some reward? I'm sorry, but the isolated recess with an aide in the gym just seems silly and kind of punitive. My concern is it would create an "I hate school" and we've never been there. Instead, the guided expectations tour would have a profound impact, bring him to a more grounded state, and create the kind of environment we all want to see. I 'get it' from a worried about his safety/location standpoint, but it is so odd from a social perspective.

The Children's Hospital eval we did said we would need to implement a Behavioral Plan (seems like we are but it is bits and pieces so far) and concentrate on positive reinforcements. What's up with that?

JJ is likely to be a bit tired - at 9pm we woke him since we found 5 papers in his backpack that had not been finished at school. Please reinforce with JJ...if he chooses not to do work during work time, then
(a) some of your choices will go away
(b) some of your free time and fun won't happen, AND
(c) you still have your work to finish. So he went back to bed around 9:40 with the work done (Love & Logic again).

Final thoughts - Ja. had great success in turning JJ from his fight-or-flight mode with the flushed cheeks, by lowering her voice and reducing his anxiety. Instead of shouting commands then, she would calmly re-direct and remind JJ of what he wanted.

Please tell Ma. and all specialists: Use DW's Cell Phone (xxx)YYY-ZZZZ anytime to nudge JJ into doing what he should. While in Kindergarten this was a near daily occurrence, in 1st grade it only happened 6 times (Do you want me to call your mom or will you XYZ?)--JJ would choose to comply, or occasionally to talk to mom [and then comply].

The 504 evaluation we did after Kindergarten found JJ has trouble with transitions, and this would be hardest in Kindergarten, somewhat tricky into 1st grade, less in 2nd, and less still in 3rd and 4th. So far that is true to those findings.

Some further insights from a book, THE PRIMAL WOUND - Understanding the Adopted Child by Nancy Newton Verrier:
"Depression as a result of unresolved grief, and anxiety caused by a long forgotten trauma and concomitant sense of impending doom from further abandonment work
in tandem and often restrict the full functioning of an adoptee's emotional and intellectual capacities...If depression and anxiety are twin symptoms for adoptees,
the closest diagnosis might be best described as PTSD...Even if the present environment is safe, it may not feel that way. Traumatic memories, in the form of
emotional or bodily sensations, keep intruding into consciousness. This often causes the adoptee to appear irritable, aggressive, impulsive, and anti-social.
pp.73-74

"Abandonment, to any child, is the greatest fear of all...Although the adoptee might not be consciously aware of the fear of abandonment, which is then felt as free-
floating anxiety, there is an attitude which can be readily discerned. It is a kind of watchfulness or cautious testing of the environment, which is called hypervi-
gilance...One of the ways in which children try to prevent future losses is to try to be in absolute control of every situation. The battle for control appears like
obstinacy, which technically it is, but it emanates from a tremendous fear on the part of the hcild of another abandonment. That which looks to (parents) like hatred
rejection, or insolence has at the root of it an enormous dependency and need for acceptance, yet a lack of trust in those upon whom the child is supposed to depend.
pp. 77-79

In a nutshell - reduce anxiety, build acceptance, confidence and trust.

We're so glad he had a terrific day in Music class--that's a step in the right direction!
 

Patty Davis

Member
May 25, 2009
229
0
  • #13
I think that is GREAT information for the school! Very well-thought out and gives them a workable plan of action. Hope the school sees it like that too. I am praying for your family. My DH and I did therapeutic foster care for several years with teens and I know it is extremely challenging, especially with children who have been so abused. God bless you and your DW!
 

mommyhugz1978

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Jul 20, 2006
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  • #14
Sending prayers your way Scott!!
 

scottcooks

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Jul 7, 2005
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  • #15
DW got a call from principal tonight after 7pm that DS bit someone at school. DS had shared at the dinner table that he got to go have a break in the office today, but stayed the whole day at school. (An unfortunate victory)

We did some role playing because DS couldn't admit that maybe this happened, so I had him pretend to be the kid who said JJ bit him even though JJ wouldn't do that - and asked him pretending to be the other kid what made JJ so upset he would bite someone. There was either intended or accidental bumping / knocking / hitting with a paper folder because JJ was hot and fanning himself. Then the folder hit/bumped/knocked the other kid, the other kid pushed or hit back, JJ bit him in return. ??? Is biting normal for a 7yo? It was an issue from my DD when she was 2 but him at 7??
 

lesliec

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Mar 31, 2010
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  • #16
Hey Scott, Great letter. I hope you get some relief from everything you are dealing with. To answer the question "is this normal....", no not necessarliy for a child raised from birth in a loving home, but there is no way to know what is going on in his heart and mind. A good friend of mine adopted her daughter at 10 years old. As they have worked through her unresolved issues, they have seen her regress back to crawling around and talking like a baby (she is 12 now). They too, are dealing with the school not being supportive and helpful.
Our oldest has just started Kindergarten and we are having some issues with the school. It's a long road, and although there is wonderful information out there, unfortunately the school will never truly understand your son the way you do. Unfortunately the more well adjusted he becomes, the less they will understand and be able to see the underlying issues.
My son loves school, although we are dealing with his fear everyday that we won't come get him. The teacher doesn't understand this. She tries to understand, but her son is also in kindergarten, and our sons have played together at church since he came to us. He doesn't show his fear as fear and therefore she doesn't truly understand it.
It is a long road and there are no easy answers, but love your son. Even when he does things that upset you, love him and show him that you support him. He may never fully understand unconditional love, but the more you fight for him and hug him and support him, the closer he will get.
 

scottcooks

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Jul 7, 2005
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  • #17
So two updates - one, from me to the school since no info was communicated to me directly...

"Hi, everyone! I wrote back to most of you when JJ’s indoor recess plan was implemented, inviting an adult to take JJ on an expectations-review-tour, but there was no response to me. Princip did speak with DW about a day after I wrote, with thoughts that this was already done for students in the opening-of-school procedures, but kids with attachment issues need more.

This morning with Mr.Teacher’s OK, I took JJ on a walking tour /expectations review of the XYZ campus.

First we went outside, he knew what was appropriate and where was OK to be, and where not to be. We reviewed what is expected when he hears the recess bell.

Then we went to the boys bathroom in the 2nd-grade hallway, reviewed what was expected. **There is no soap / dispenser is out of order FYI**

Then we went to the lunchroom, reviewed what was expected. JJ was excited to show me where he sat and where DD sat.

**Could JJ please get some adult support to be told how many minutes of recess he has at the lunch recess? (As an anxiety-reducer, I have given JJ a silent timer he can use specifically for recess – he knows how to set it, with 1 or 2 minutes less than the recess time he has. This will give him some control over his environment, information so he knows playtime is coming to a close. [This is like “announcing yourself” I’ll be back in a few minutes / I’m going to the store and will be back in 10 minutes] and reduces anxiety by giving the child information to comfort themselves]). He knows how to set it, but the lunch recess is tricky because it might be 18 minutes, it might be 12, it might be 25 depending on when his table is excused. Thank You! **

After the lunchroom, we went to the gym, reviewed what was expected. Then we went to the art room, and JJ was happy to tell me his class had 5-4-and sometimes 3 stars, but never only 2 or 1. (Positive reinforcement really works with him!)

Then we went up to the library and I met -N-, together we reviewed what was OK and what was not. Finally, we walked to where the PM bus will pick him up and reviewed what is expected there. For now, we will only do afternoon bus – not morning.

I took JJ back to his classroom in time for math - finally, I stopped by SchoolPsych’s office and let her know what we had done. Sorry to interrupt, and I get it that you didn’t have knowledge I would be there ahead. Our communication regarding JJ has not been as I would wish. DW may feel OK but I have felt somewhat out of the loop.

I need to scoot to teach my classes; more in a bit; have a good day, all!"

To my surprise, the principal wrote me back the same night:

'Hi Scott,

Thank you for the lengthy email. I regret that you don’t feel completely in the loop, as our team has tried to be very communicative with you and DW. My thought is if we have a conversation with one parent, I assume that the parent passes the information on to the other.

It sounds like your tour of the school with JJ this morning was helpful. It is similar to the tour that Mr.Teacher did with his class at the beginning of the year, and we’ve toured the playground with JJ several times to discuss boundaries and expectations. But I agree, often times it takes multiple teaching opportunities.

We’ll talk with the playground supervisors about cueing JJ when recess is about to end, and perhaps to help set his countdown timer. That is a good tool – and it will be easier to do during the afternoon recess, but a little more problematic because the kids are dismissed from the cafeteria. There are only two staff members in the cafeteria during primary lunch (a cashier and a student supervisor – that’s all the district provides for), and then there are two playground supervisors out with all the primary kids. We were fortunate to have additional, temporary help
for a few weeks following JJ’s tree and stairs-climbing incidents, and giving him a warning was one of the strategies we used with the extra help. I’m not positive that we’ll be able to continue the strategy without the temporary extra adult, but we’ll try. Ms.EFGH, our Special Education teacher has also been trying to spend some extra time supporting JJ, but in truth, since JJ isn’t in Special Education at this point, we technically shouldn’t be relying on her assistance either. We all want JJ to be successful at XYZ and we appreciate the suggestions and experience you’ve shared, since you obviously are able to reflect back on what strategies have worked in the past.

I do want to stress that you must pre-arrange visits to the classrooms, as I’m pretty protective of the staff’s instructional time and try to avoid as many disruptions as possible.

Please do keep in touch. The staff at XYZ is working hard to help support JJ and we do want him to have a positive 2nd grade experience. We also appreciate the information and candor that you and DW have shared with us. We want to work as a team.'
 

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