Sunday, July 27, 2008

DBG's big brother

We had the delight of seeing DBG's older brother Spiderman at our church this morning. he was in respite while his family was on vacation and his respite providers are members of our church. They had called to check and make sure that it would be okay for Spiderman to come to church and since it was not a DBG weekend we were able to say okay. (DBG and Spiderman are not supposed to see each other, although occasionally we all run into each other, but with Spidey's foster Mom out of town this would not have been a good time to rock the boat, so I was appreciative of them checking).
Spidey recognized all of us, Doug doug, Sissy (that is what he has always called Kendra) and Daddy Doug. He sat right next to me through the whole church service and worked on his coloring books and then played me in awesome tic tac toe for a long time. Spidey gave great hugs and was very appropriate. It was obvious he recognized some people from when he used to attend church with us, but it has been so long that he wasn't comfortable talking to any one.
When church was over he gave us all big hugs again and went quite calmly off with his respite mom. That parting was my one concern, given that he was on edge about missing his foster mom already. But it was great to see him and to know that he still cares about us. Apparently he was telling his respite mom all about going places with me, as they live only about a half mile from us so he was going to the same grocery and the same swimming pool and the same church as he had when he lived with us.
I can't remember how much I have written about Spidey, not much I think since I just named him today in this post. Spidey has the unique distinction of being the only foster child in 20+ years of fostering that we have ever asked to have removed from our home. He came to us at 3 years old straight out of a month in the psych hospital. He had been bounced from family member to family member, been through foster care two different times, each time placed in multiple homes and he came to me for his 12th official placement, (I was DBG's 4th Mom at 9 months of age.)
Spidey is very RAD, has ADHD out the wazoo, anxiety problems, aggression issues, ODD, and OCD. Anyway he is a handful.
We could not keep Spidey because he was an extreme danger to DBG. Spidey was a drug baby, the product of multi generational domestic violence, not only his parents but also his maternal grandparents with whom he was placed for 9 months. He attacked not only DBG but also our large loving black Lab. Every evening in the bath I would find new bite marks and new pinches and new scratches on DBG, even though I was watching and protecting her with all my might. Several times he attacked her in her own crib. As she was learning to walk, he would pounce on her from behind and hold her face down in the couch or the rug trying to "make her stop breathing" was what he would say. If his aggression had been an overt expression of his anger I could have dealt with it, but he was sneaky and would also attack out of the blue even when you thought he was happy. The last straw was when DBG, at about 15 months, would run screaming from him when he walked in the house and hide herself somewhere and shake and shake uncontrollably. Basically DBG was being abused in my home by her own brother.
So Spidey went to residential treatment for almost 9 months and then I got to be his 14th placement again, because they threatened to move DBG out of our house so they could be placed together once he was released from treatment. Well that lasted from the end of November through to early March when he became so self-harming that he had to be put in crisis stabilization for 10 days and at the end of that time it was decided to split the sibs for DBG's safety and Spidey went to live with his current foster mom.
Then the state did an about face on termination and decided to place DBG back with her birth parents just as her Mom was having baby #3 and Dad was in jail again on drug charges. But they encouraged, no forced, Mom and Dad to terminate on Spidey, so that they could get DBG back. So Spidey has been with his present foster home for about 16 months now. And he is doing really well for Spidey. (I don't disagree with the TPR as there is no way that these young folks could have handled Spidey and kept his two younger sibs safe, it is just ironic)
The state is now pressuring this foster home to adopt him and although they want to, they are wavering because the state is refusing to provide certain evaluations and services, as well as some other issues. (And we all know how easy it is to get those things post adoption.) So Spidey is still in limbo, with no web to call home.
But it was sure nice to spend some time with him today and to hear from his respite mom that he has fond memories of the time he was living with us.


Torina said...

Spidey is cute. I am glad he is working out at his current placement. It sounds like that is a much better place for him so he can't get himself into situations where he hurts others. I see a lot of behavior like his in my future son. Aggressive hurting without thinking or seeming malicious. Just doing it and thinking it is always justified. Fortunately, he doesn't sound as scary as Spidey. The suffocating incident(s?) must have been terrifying!

quilted family said...

the biggest issue was the age of DBG, she was too young to defend herself. Now at 3.5 years she could probably take more care of herself. But Spidey was consumed by jealousy, the two sibs had not lived together before they were in my home, and he just didn't know what to do about this baby. I think he somehow connected her existence with his removal from his maternal grandparent's care, although there was a lot more to that story.

yes, the aggression was very scary, the need to be hypervigilant 24/7 since Spidey did not sleep practically at all, was so tiring. The poor little guy just wore us out completely.

We have had very agressive children before, but Spidey took the cake.

Even looking back I find it hard to believe that we had to ask them to remove a 4 year old child from our home because we couldn't deal with him. I still carry a lot of guilt around about that.