This is the post excerpt.
It’s been a long ride. Much like what I would imagine a roller coaster to be with all of it’s highs and lows. The old wooden ones would click and clack along the track and I have done the same over the past 18 or so months. Maybe it’s more like grumbled, hollered and sobbed but like that roller coaster I’ve forged ahead. It, thanks to some maintenance by hopefully dedicated workers and I, by undoubtedly faithful family and friends.
Where is this going, you ask? I have finally spoken to an attorney regarding whether or not I can legally move my son from his current living situation. The attorney I spoke to helped me gain guardianship of the bout 16 years ago. She remembered is vividly. After posing my question to her, she replied “I’m so sorry to hear this. I remember you two as being so close.” It made my heart warm knowing she saw the bond we once shared. I digress, the answer is not what all the other “authorities” have told me. I do NOT have a legal right to move my son, UNLESS I can PROVE he is in harms way. The only way I can do that is if the county were to release all of their collected data to me. I have an inquiry regarding that as I type. Knowing the county, the response will not come as promptly as I would like.
Someone asked me if finding this out upset me, Of course, it stung but I am so grateful to have a definitive answer! It’s all I’ve wanted for a very long time and now I have it. I let myself get too caught up in what the so called experts were telling me that I neglected getting the facts myself. Now I have them.
The system is flawed. There are many laws that are in place to “protect” the vulnerable people in this country. Yes, some of these laws were quite warranted, however, the pendulum has swung too far the other way. My son, and those like him, have all the rights. I marvel that these citizens are placed in group home dues to an incapacitated ability to take care of themselves and to make sound decisions that are truly in the best interest of themselves yet we place all rights in their hands and if something should go wrong, our hands are tied. Well, they are tied until and unless we jump through what feels like a million hoops. I’ve always prided myself in being an advocate for all with special needs but throughout this process, I have decided I haven’t done enough. I should have been more politically savvy. I should have been a part of groups and committees that support these beautiful souls. I should have…
Lesson learned, I guess.
Where this will all end up, no one knows. But I do promise this, I will continue to learn and share my story, if you want to hear it. Being a parent of a special needs child, young or old, can be lonely. I’m learning it doesn’t have to be, through this blog. I’m one to hold most of my “woes” to myself but my blog has helped me to reach out. I hope that one day, at least one word or sentence will inspire someone, anyone.
I’ve not handled any of this as gracefully as I’d like. I’ve been slipping in a lot of personal areas. That being said. I am not a quitter and don’t plan on ever becoming one.
There is strength in numbers.
Shine On and thanks for reading.
I’ve shared so much of my last year with all of you. All of the highs and lows. Maybe it’s been too much but I thank you all for hanging in there with me. This has been a year of constant change in every area of my life. Without each of you, I would have completely (I have mostly) lost my sanity.
Today, I share my gratitude, for so many things.
I need to top the list with you and the laughter, smiles and hugs you have shared with me. I do love laughing and smiling and it sees me through the worst of times so thanks for being you. I often have a million things racing through my mind and you offer me an escape and a reminder to keep myself focused on all of the wonderful things I have in life.
My family, as always, remain steadfast in their support. They all matter and they all count but I have to call out my sister, Val. She and her husband have been a non stop sense of support for my family and I, always, but more so since my Mom died. I miss her so. In our younger years, Val and I have had our differences but I can tell you that I could not have a better sister. Ever.
I’m cleaning today. It’s not my favorite activity but I am grateful to have a home to clean.
Even though there are days I don’t feel like going to work, I am grateful I have a job to go to. And once I am there, I am so grateful to work with the students and staff that I am allowed to work with and for. I’m also grateful for the hot chocolate and cookie we all received yesterday as a thanks for our efforts. :->
I had a flat tire last week. It was unexpected, of course. I am grateful to the woman on the road that flagged me down to tell me. I’m grateful for “my” car place that had an available loaner car and could repair my tire instead of replacing it. An expense I did not need.
I’m thankful for good neighbors. Those that are always willing to help a gal out. The ones that share the antics of their adorable boys with me, either in person or through our sliding glass doors that face each other. I am glad to know their youthful and wise selves. The one I know I can call on day or night, that always stands beside me.
I am thankful for a warm bed at night, a roof over my head, the money to heat it and shine the lights in it. I am grateful for my health and sanity ( I know some of you may be questioning the latter, ha!). I am so very, very, very thankful for my children, estranged or not. I am thankful for the faith I have to believe my son and I will reunite. I’ve decided I know he still loves me. And everyone, I hope, knows I still love him. The girl, she may test me but she always makes me laugh and tells me she loves me. I’m thankful for a daughter that loves to sing, off key or not. Her voice will always bring joy to my heart.
I am thankful for tears. I know. That sounds odd but for many years, I couldn’t cry. Now, there are days I can’t stop. But it is good to feel, to let it all out, then to move forward.
I wish each and every one of you, dear readers, a very Happy Thanksgiving! I love you all. Tell those you love that you do. Our time here is never guaranteed.
The girl has been sharing a lot of memories with me this week. Like the time she went to the zoo with her dad. And the time she taught grandma how to roll up her window in the car when she (grandma) was trying to start her lighter (I know!). Or the time they went to the Dells with her dad and they stayed in a condom (condominium). And then there was the time we went to a hotel and swam in the pool. I can’t leave out the time I took her trick or treating and a lady gave her a stuffed animal because she liked her costume the best! There have been more but they escape me right now. The interesting thing about this is that she was different ages and we lived in different places but to her,they all happened when she was four. Each time she shares something from when she was four, I just smile. It doesn’t matter how old she thinks she was, she has some very good memories and isn’t that what every parent hopes for?
A sweet friend from work told me to enjoy my day off on Friday as there wasn’t school for us. I smiled and assured her I’d do my best in spite of having to contact Social Security, a lawyer, MN Sure and attend a meeting with the kids county case manager. I lucked out on SSI, I didn’t have to contact them after all. Not so good, but it eased the load, the attorney never called me. That’s on the docket for this week! I got my answers from Mn Sure and some questions answered from the county while other questions were raised.
As far as the boy goes, things are still a total mess. The good news is, he’s back to work. It’s not at his “good” job but at least he’s doing something outside of the home, on occasion. I’m thinking he’s willing to work when it’s something he likes to do, like making Christmas wreaths. Many, many reports have been made on his behalf to Adult Protection Services. Apparently, the small county dealing with these reports is way understaffed so nothing is progressing. The good news? The boy keeps waffling back and forth now on wanting to move! I’m still staying out of it but I’m so happy to hear that he still wants to, deep inside, when he’s not being influenced by the staff where he is living. He continues to go deeper into debt with his rent and we can’t figure out why they still want him living there. They are benefiting in some fashion. We just can’t identity how.
I have been told it’s going to take awhile to find a home for the girl. There is such a shortage in Minnesota that some clients are moving to North Dakota! No, it’s not an option for us but it sure adds a lot of stress to life. She is happy she will be living here through the holidays and I am too, although she is bored. The county is going to contact the girls employer and get on them about getting the transportation for her life they are supposed to.
I had a really neat experience that happened to me a couple of weeks ago that I’d like to share. We were at the neighbors enjoying a fire with them when I decided to send a text to a friend I’d been concerned about. I simply said, “Are you OK?” About an hour later, I got the following text back “Maybe :)” I went on to say a couple of personal things and to offer a little encouragement. Several minutes passed again when I got a reply that said “Who is this?” I replied with “It’s Jill.” They came back telling me that they didn’t know me, but I sounded like a really sweet, caring person. “She” went on to say that she was sitting there feeling alone and unloved and that my message made her feel loved and like it was a message right from GOD. I can’t describe the feelings that came over me! We chatted a little bit more and I assured her she is loved and to never doubt that. She thanked me. I thanked her. A complete stranger and I shared a very surreal and important moment in time. Proof that a mistake can be a good thing. We never know how “HE” will use us. I needed the reminder as much as she did because I was feeling that I had really let someone down. Now I know I just needed to help a sweet soul that needed and wanted it.
In the midst of chaos, there is often good. We just have to open up our hearts and minds to see it.
I had company this last weekend. One was recently transplanted here from the south. He is the son of a friend of mine. What a pleasure it was getting to know him!
It took me awhile to adjust to being called Miss Jill or Ma’am all of the time but I confess, now that he’s gone, I rather miss it! It’s been a long time since I have had such a gentleman around the house. To top things off, he’s a chef and made wonderful food the entire weekend. He even got the girl into the kitchen to help peel potatoes! He spoiled us all rotten!
He was a true gem with the girl. He made her feel included, important and took her under his wing and treated her like an equal, a friend. It’s a weekend neither of us will forget. Ever. If you are reading this, kind sir, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You are welcome back anytime! Me Casa, You Casa!
I took a big step today. I contacted an attorney regarding moving the boy. I just need to have no doubt about what rights I may or may not have. I’ll be fine either way, I just need to know. The attorney has requested copies of the letters from the boys attorney so I got those scanned and emailed today. I feel really, really good about taking this step. The attorney I contacted actually helped me obtain guardianship of the boy 15 years ago. I doubt she remembers me but I sure remember her.
We are still waiting for work transportation and placement for the girl. I can tell she’s getting bored. Her enthusiasm for cleaning seems to have waned. Darn it! I really was hoping that would be ongoing. lol!
Life, like always, is throwing a lot of curve balls at me. I’m not going to share them all but I assure you I am holding up well thanks to good people in my life. I decided I have no right to complain when my little, sweetest ever, neighbor boy broke both bones in his arm this weekend. He is still smiling his huge, sweet smile while sporting a bright green cast. So who am I not to smile? He’s a good example. To us all!
What ever battles you are fighting, please know you’re not alone. If I know you, or even if I don’t, you’re in my thoughts and prayers. Together, we can…
I mentioned to you that I was to have a meeting regarding the boy on Friday. I spent a little over two hours driving and 45 minutes there, basically for my signature. I did gather more information and shared some of my thoughts so it wasn’t a total waste.
Just when I think I have compartmentalized everything and that I believe I am ready to move on, I receive more disturbing news. It continues.
There were representatives from two different counties in attendance. One has been working with the boy and I over the past several years. One was going to meet the boy for the first time on Friday. She seemed genuinely stunned by much of the information she learned from the other lady and me.
I was appalled (again) at much of what I learned. As you all know, the boy quit his good job several months ago. He had, instead, decided to work for the group homes little crew that does mowing, painting, etc. for the other group homes in the area. I was just informed he has now quit that job. He is bringing in no income at all. In addition, when he was bringing in income, he was not being taxed on that money. We have no idea how that can be happening and a report will be made.
The home and the boy have somehow, taken over all reporting to Social Security. As the legal representative, they have cut me out of the process. We all agree this isn’t legal but it’s happening. Because of that, the boy is not receiving the proper benefits from SSI and he is well over $1000 behind in his rent. Why they continue to let him live there is very disconcerting. We all ask ourselves to what benefit it is to the home to keep him there. More worrisome for me is that he receives no personal support money and asks for nothing from me. I am deeply concerned about his well being, physically and emotionally.
I’ve been told he has called the county case manager #1 one some pretty awful names. He wasn’t raised that way. The case manager wanted to ask the boy if he’d like a new case manager. The county won’t allow her to quit servicing him/us because our case is so complex and she has all of the history of the case.
He is still not being given his legal rights regarding meetings. The staff at the home will not allow him to meet with anyone in private. This, of course, raises more red flags.
County number 1 stated she has been making reports to Adult Protective Services continually over the past year. Nothing ever seems to come of them. I am glad to know she is,however, persevering.
I have, again, from multiple resources been told that I, as his legal guarding, have every right to move him. Both counties are strongly encouraging me to get an attorney and have offered to set me up for a consultation, pro Bono. I will follow through. If I can find an attorney to see my whole case through, pro Bono, I will proceed in moving him. I have decided I would rather have him hate me forever and be in a good environment than to continue living is this unhealthy environment.
Still some struggles with the girl being home. For the most part, it’s fine but when it goes bad, it goes really bad. I know she needs med adjustments but I can’t get her in until January. The worst of it is that she beats herself up over her negative behavior and that just compounds the problems. I’m trying my best to reassure her. She is ready and anxious to move. I just pray it will be a more stable environment and that she will adapt better than the last time.
We get tired but we won’t quit.
P.S. One day soon, this blog will be brighter and more enjoyable. I promise.
The girl was watching a movie the other day when I heard her yell out “His Brain Snapped!” At first I chuckled as she used to tell me her brain hurt when she had a headache.
While cleaning up the kitchen, I kept thinking about her comment and how it would be a very accurate way to describe the attitude of the boy over the last year. I know most of you have not witnessed the relationship of he and I over the years but he really had been very attached to me for a very long while. Doctors and teachers always told me I was his rock.
I’ve been waiting (praying) for him to reach out to me (and his sister and father). Turns out I’ve been waiting in vain. A new entity has entered the picture and needed to set up a meeting with the boy, her and myself. The meeting is nothing more than a yearly update, of which I really can’t offer any insight on the boys and his well being. I was looking forward to the meeting as I have not seen the boy for ONE YEAR. Every time I say that or even think it, it takes my breath away. Anyway, the lady and I set up a date and time to meet. She contacted me a week and a half ago and informed me the boy, once again, has refused to be at meeting where I am in attendance. I can’t explain to you the pain that tore through me. Pain really isn’t an adequate description.
I did what I probably shouldn’t have done. I called him. I was mad and I was hurt. The minute he said hello, I knew the conversation wasn’t going to go well. His voice was low and monotone. I asked him why he has been refusing to meet with he. His eventual response “I’m afraid you will try to move me again.” I tried to demonstrate to him that it had been one year since I attempted to move him and that I no longer had any interest in doing so. It didn’t matter. He doesn’t understand the passage of time. We say in silence for a few minutes before I threw in the towel and said good bye. He responded with a very cold and bitter good bye.
I keep telling myself it’s just time to let him go. But how does one let a child, even a man child completely walk out of their life? He turned 33 this past Saturday. I didn’t send a card. I didn’t call him. I feel terrible about it. He made it clear he doesn’t want anything to do with his family. Not his dad, his sister, me, not anyone. It mind boggling and heart breaking but I’m trying to respect his wishes. What saddens me is he doesn’t even miss us.
In addition to all of that, I’m am stuck as his legal guardian. I was lead to believe by the county that they had been looking for a professional guardian for him this entire year. I was just informed they have not. So here I sit, called to a meeting Friday morning yet I know nothing of the boy’s life over the past year. I can’t offer anything. I, to most, have no rights (I have recently learned I have more than they are telling me, but I know the financial and emotional toll would be overwhelming and have decided against a huge battle).
An update on the girl. She’s still home. We’ve had a few spats over her having had her independence and coming back home but over all it’s going well. Sadly, she is not back to work yet due to transportation issues. She’s pretty good about sitting in the office while I work but only for 2 hours at a time. The search for a new home continues.
And so do we.
Many have asked and I’ve just been to tired to post. Here’s a recap of what’s been going on.
I have been trying to return to my “normal” routine since the girl came back home. I think I’m productive at school but I know my second job has suffered. I manage to get a few hours in here and there and I absolutely appreciate the ongoing support and understanding of both my bosses. I’m a very lucky girl to report to the ladies I do.
Speaking of the girl. She’s returning to her normal self. Yes, we’ve had a few tense moments as she tasted life without mom (freedom) and would like to take over here at times but I’m holding my own. The good news is she’s not as tired as she was when she initially came home. It took a good 2 full weeks before she wasn’t falling asleep on the couch 30 minutes after she got up for the day. If anyone ever asks if schedules are important, I will assure them they are. She is less moody than she was which proves to me she was exhausted. Thanks to good friends, we got her stuff moved out of the group home in 40 minutes flat! It’s amazing what 4 adults and a box of garbage bags can accomplish.
It might surprise some but the search is on for another group home. I have to continue for the same reason I did this in the first place; I won’t live forever. I need to know she is well cared for before I die. There is a prospective home on the horizon and I will keep you posted. We haven’t looked at it yet but I think that will be coming.
The worst part is she’s still not working. Transportation issues have prevented that from happening but I’m trying to be optimistic that it will happen…sooner rather than later. I know she’s bored as she scrubbed my washer, dryer and the floor beneath it. They look brand new! She used Shout laundry spot remover but let me tell you, I didn’t complain as she’s never done anything like this before! She’s still doing her own laundry and with my schedule, that’s a huge help. Now, if I could only get her to make dinner…
Then we have the dog. I continually refer to him as the circus dog. I’ve never seen a dog jump as high as this guy does. He surprised me again the other night as he literally flew off my outdoor step, flat tummy, all limbs spread wide and landed on the grass! I can only liken it to a flying squirrel. He’s a pretty good boy. It’s hard when I come home late though. He needs to be fed and let out to do his poopy business NOW! It’s quite a race. Sometimes, I feel like I’m the circus performer.
Lots went on at school this week. I’m tired but as always, the kids at school sustain me. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without them. A few people have really let me down lately but the kids always make me smile as do my true friends.
There is nothing new to report on the boy. Yes, my heart is heavy. Between the issues with both kids lately, it’s hard not to beat myself up. I’m back to the mantra that has always seen me through, “one minute at a time.” It is literally the way I need to live my life.
No school tomorrow! I should go to the office but my house is a disaster. It has suffered the most. I should not be here writing but as I am, the dishwasher is running, the girl is in the tub and the washer is spinning away. And me? I’m dreaming of tomorrow morning with NO alarm clock. I remain grateful for the little things in life.