I've finally learned and accepted how much my poor little boy has had in his life. I knew that he had but I don't think that I thoroughly understood the extent of the trauma he has had in his short little life until this week.
Jacob had regressed with all of the changes that have occurred within the last month and a half. I however only thought it was since I went back to work until I really sat and thought about it.
When he came home he did a self-stimulatory behaviour. He had a couple actually. He vocalized a lot, in high pitches and it was almost a screaming thing. His movements were fluttering around and then flopping his upper body backwards on a couch, and he did quieter vocalizations to himself. He acted very similar to a child who has autism, well in my experience anyways. All of these behaviours slowly stopped and went away. Lots of redirection and engaging him in his surroundings I think was what helped him to stop. Now when I met him he did these things and I just thought that it was part of who he was. I remember talking to the former foster mom, just prior to respite placement, and she said he didn't do those things. So I thought that maybe he picked it up at the respite home from the other kids (even though no one really did those things).
Well this past week he has been doing the body movements and vocalizations to himself A LOT..... now when I say a lot I mean anytime I am not engaging him and paying full attention to him he is doing one or the other or both together. Thankfully not the squealing/screaming. It became so bad that at one point during breakfast I banged my hand on the table to get his attention. I didn't do it in anger but rather to get his attention. I have yet to get angry about all of this.
Monday was a bad day for me. I was so upset about him acting like this. I didn't know why he was doing it and I felt at a loss. It didn't help that I was pmsing and I get super emotional during that hormonal time. Anyways I felt so frustrated that I dug out his assessment and called the contact person who always so politely says at the bottom of the last assessment page "please call should you have any future concerns or to discuss the findings of this assessment." I explained what was going on. The lovely woman on the other end was wonderful to talk to and confirmed my thoughts that it was his way of coping through all the changes. She also recommended I get in contact with this program http://www.casaservices.org/ . I went on their website right away and then called. Again, another lovely lady, again thoughts that it was probably related to coping through change.
Now with all this said, the behaviours have definitely decreased significantly within the past few days. So going from self-stimming most of the time and needing constant redirection I only had to redirect maybe 5-10 times tonight. The intensity has also decreased significantly, it doesn't take me 4 times of calling his name and banging my hand on the table to get his attention.
However I tried to figure out how did it get this bad without me noticing? When did it start again, how come I didn't notice and do something sooner, is it going to happen again, every time there is change?
So I got the paperwork from CASA and was filling it out. I came to the question: Pediatrician and physician?
It hit me. It began when I stopped watching the kids. It wasn't bad though, maybe 3 or 4 times a day, then progressively more and more. I remember when he got sick and we went to the doctor's office I mentioned that he had been talking to himself and making sounds, at the time though it was mostly words, now it's just sounds. Dr told me to watch it and maybe contact his pediatrician. I didn't think about it again; I feel guilt now about it.
So lost the kids, then I started taking him to the sitters every once in a while, then I went to work, then I went away for 3 days. No wonder he regressed back into his own little comfortable world of doing what soothed him. Man do I feel guilty. It took this for me to realize that this little boy whom I love with all my heart has had more change and trauma from the change in his 3 short years than I have ever had to cope with in 30. I feel guilty for not telling him more about what was going on, thinking that he didn't understand, I feel guilty for not reassuring him I would never leave him. I feel guilt for thinking way back when that this was just who he was and not realizing that this was his way of coping with change and loss, I feel guilt, boy do I feel guilt.
So where from here?
Well I've made the referral to CASA, even though by the time we get an appointment I'm sure the behaviour will disappear, we're still going to go. Change will happen throughout his life and I need to know how to help him deal with the change and make the transitions as easy as possible on him so that he feels secure and somewhat in control of his life.
I remember saying that when I was going through the process of "desired child" and I kept saying that I didn't want to have to advocate when I came home. I wanted to have a child that was "normal as possible". I think of that statement now and realize how utterly stupid that comment was. Of course I will advocate for everything my child needs, dumb, dumb, dumb. They say that parenting is a learning experience and in my short parenting life I've learned a lot. There is no such thing as "normal" child, I would call whomever, go wherever, and pay anything to make sure that Jacob got everything that he needs in life to help him in any and every way possible.
My question though is why the heck did children services not mention this wonderful resource to me prior to adoption???? Or to every single parent that adopts a child, like HELLOOOOOOO, moving from family to family is huge change and trauma and parents are just supposed to cope and deal with kids who are having difficulty?
Well I'm doing a talk to prospective adoptive and foster families on November 21st, you can bet I will be telling them about this resource and encouraging them to access it.