Teenagers are easy, said no one ever.

If you thought the last post was personal…I hope you’re ready to get even more up close and personal with these two wives!

The week before Thanksgiving, we had just started trying to get pregnant again after the downpour of stress and drama we had been experiencing. We were starting to mellow out and get comfortable with our routines with our son and just enjoy life. Jules is coaching basketball for our son’s team with our close friend, we’ll call her C. One day, we get a call from C to come over immediately that she needs help that her daughter, we’ll call her L, has attacked her and run away and she has called the police. Here’s the background on that: L and her older sister are biologically C’s nieces, but they were removed from their mother (C’s sister) at a young age and C adopted them as her own children. C also has a 10 year old boy (best friend’s with our son) and a 5 year old boy, both biologically her children. Due to the life struggle L went through, at just 13 years old, she has a long list of issues. She was born a meth baby and suffers from dyslexia, reactive attachment disorder, and other psychological disorders. She stands at 5’7” and 200 lbs…at 13!! Since beginning puberty she and C struggled with their relationship and became very combative. L would slam doors, break things, and eventually, L turned violent and would react by punching, pushing, hitting, etc. The last big blowout happened that week before Thanksgiving. We arrived to help and C explained to the police that she no longer felt safe with L in her home and she needed to go somewhere else. They police said their only option would be juvi unless there was someone else willing to take her in, and he looked to us. Of course, being the loving and caring people we are, and caring a lot about L’s wellbeing and future, we said yes she can come home with us. We picked her up down the street from where the police had found her walking and took her home. This started as a temporary stay, but became much more long term.

At first, things went pretty well. L seemed responsive to us, seemed happy in our home given the situation, and seemed willing to accept help. At first she was willing to accept homework help, but eventually became so shutdown and/or volatile every time it was attempted, we had to stop even asking her about school. This pattern slowly continued with everything else in our home with L. L never did chores, L would never clean up after herself, L couldn’t be told no for anything…even food. She would complain about her weight and being bullied, but when told no you can’t have 8 tacos, or no you can’t have that whole cake for dessert, or no you can’t order the $30 steak meal off the menu, she would shutdown and ruin the day/night for everyone around her. Our parenting style as wives is one of positive reinforcement and positive encouragement and when something bad happens, we are all about self-responsibility and finding understanding and a solution that teaches and is productive for the future. We thought for sure this approach would work well for L, unfortunately it was not. L lived in our home for over 6 months. We became pregnant at 3 months into her stay. Between that and our 10 year old son, a negative reaction from L that would bring violence and destruction was our greatest fear. We essentially stopped saying no to L and stopped asking her even the simplest questions because talking to her at all would spark an outburst. She was supposed to go to therapy every week, but refused and some days wouldn’t even get out of the car and the therapist had to come outside to try to talk to her at all. The worst part about all if this is that we all sat down with social services in January, and we were promised help ASAP, all these helpful options, people in the home, therapy, etc. By May we had still heard nothing. The school was supposed to do an IEP, by May it still hadn’t happened. We were all left to fend for ourselves and attempt to help and love a troubled girl who refused any help or love.

The first major incident we had, was when we discovered she had a cell phone a boy from school had given her. It didn’t have a sim card but it worked on wi-fi and she had been creating social media accounts. We confiscated the phone one night while she was sleeping and the next day while driving her to school, she said that she knew we took the phone and she needed it back because it was her best friend’s and she had left it at her house. We told her that we knew that was a lie and we knew who gave her the phone. She yelled about us not trusting her and that we should just get rid of her and we responded with love and kindness and understanding saying that we didn’t want her to go anywhere and that kids make mistakes it’s okay and we aren’t mad at her and that we didn’t like that she lied and hid it from us but we want to talk it out and we aren’t going to punish her. She responded by yelling “I don’t fucking care!” and jumping out of the moving vehicle (10 MPH). Later that day she started e-mailing a friend at school (we had her school e-mail synced to our phones for HW mostly) that she wanted to kill herself. We shared this with her therapist and her therapist recommended bringing her in ASAP, so that afternoon we did. We left work early and spent 4.5 hours at the therapist office sitting in the waiting room not knowing if L was okay or about to be hospitalized or what was going on. Eventually she had spoken with the therapist and crisis team and rather than admitting her to the hospital they developed a Safety Plan for us all to follow and make sure L was safe. We all had a slumber party in the living room for several days after that incident and it seemed like a good experience for her because she saw how dedicated we were to her safety and well-being. Unfortunately, this progress didn’t last forever.

Things started going downhill suddenly and pushed us to our breaking point. L had a friend over one night and we heard a loud noise come from her room. We asked, “hey what was that loud noise?” and L responded with “nothing.” We asked again what it was because it was loud and strange and we are curious. L became agitated and upset and told us to mind our own business and that it was nothing. We saw that she had our son’s camera and took it because she had not asked for permission, that’s when we realized the loud noise was from some video she had taken on it. L responded by grabbing Jen, forcefully turning her around, and shoving her out of the room and slamming the door in her face almost hitting her pregnant belly. We gave her space and tried to talk about it later. When it was explained that she needed to find a better way to respond because Jen is pregnant, she yelled that we can’t keep playing the pregnancy card and she knows “how far she can go with someone pregnant.” This was frightening incident #1. Later that evening we caught her and her friend trying to go out the front door at 1130pm. We asked what they were doing and they said going for a run to clear their heads. We explained that it was too late for that and not safe and we would like them to please stay in the house. L ignored us and ran off. We followed her in the car and she eventually ran down a ditch where we couldn’t follow her in the vehicle anymore. We started to take her friend home and we were about to call the police when we spotted her on the sidewalk again and her friend was able to convince her to come home. End of those frightening weekend events.

The two weeks following these events continued her spiral. Every day was more and more difficult to get her to get up and go to school on time. She missed the bus once or twice and the days she didn’t she made the rest of us late. Frightening incident #2 began with another friend over. L asked for keys to the car and when asked why she said she needed a nail thing and couldn’t remember the name. We got up to assist her asking her to show us which tool so we can teach her the name for the future. She ignored us and went and got it herself and made her way to her room continuing to ignore us, which was worrisome because she has a history of cutting and we didn’t feel comfortable with her sketchy behavior allowing her to just take these sharp objects into her room. We followed her into her room and again asked which tool she wanted to use, she told us to leave her alone and it’s not important and tried to push us out of her room. When she laid her hands on Jen I told her that Jen is pregnant do not touch her and she ignored me. We told her friend that L was not behaving appropriately so it was time for her to go home and she said okay and got up to leave with us. At this point L gave Jen the most terrifying death glare and said “You’re such a fucking bitch!” After we left the room she slammed the door and we heard a loud punching sound as she punched the wall. Later we went to check on her hand and she was just sitting in a chair in the corner of room staring and holding her hand. She wouldn’t let us see it at first and we were just trying to ask her if she was okay or if it could maybe be broken and if she needed medical attention. Eventually she told us she was fine and it wasn’t broken and we were able to look at it and confirm. We tried to calmly talk to her and tell her that we love her and are here for her and she continually told us to just stop loving her because everyone else has and at one point told us that she’s not afraid to hurt a pregnant woman so we needed to leave her alone. We continued to check on her every 20 minutes for the remainder of the evening.

The next morning, she wouldn’t get out of bed and was laying there facing the wall and completely unresponsive. This went on for almost 2 hours. It wasn’t until we called her best friend’s dad to come over that she finally got up and showered. He took her to school 2.5 hours late. After that we asked him if L could spend some time at his house for a few days so we could all get a break and he agreed no problem. L was there Thursday, Friday, and the weekend. On Friday we heard from the dad that L has a boyfriend from her church youth group she goes to Friday evenings.  On Saturday L asks if she can go to a bonfire with said boyfriend and we told her that we weren’t comfortable with it because we didn’t know him or his family and she responded by saying to Jen, “you’re such a fucking child.” Sunday we tried to pick her up from the friend’s and almost couldn’t get her in the car without the friend’s dad bribing her. She finally came but wouldn’t speak to us and slammed all the doors when she got home. Monday we FINALLY had services begin in home to help us with L’s behavior. They arrived Monday morning and we told L and she got up and showered and was ready and talked with them and got off to school on time. Tuesday morning we had no services, and she got up with 2 minutes to go and was screaming at us to leave her alone and slammed all the doors as we left, all late for the bus and work. That was the last straw and we informed her therapist and C that we could no longer have her in our home that we were too concerned and that she had to be out on Friday.

Still Tuesday, we find notes in her room written to the boyfriend about how they had sex on 4/20 (the Friday before) and asking him to be the father of her child etc. We read all her instant messages and confirmed that yes they had sex and found some really disturbing messages like the boyfriend with explicit content not appropriate for their age and messages L wrote about wanting to kill us because we wouldn’t allow her to go to the bonfire. We relayed all of this to the therapist and she told us we needed to talk to her about it all while we had the services in our home. Wednesday C took L to get a birth control implant into her arm because the last thing any of us needed was for her to actually get pregnant. L wrote e-mails to her friend about how it was funny C was taking her to do that because it was all a prank etc., but it wasn’t a prank. Thursday we sat down with her and the worker and attempted to talk to her. We first addressed the death threats and asked calmly and nicely if she meant what she said and that we just needed to know if it was just an expression or if she actually wanted to carry out her actions. She sat for 20 minutes just giving us the death glare and no other response. The worker was really great and said all the right things that to anyone else should’ve opened up a response. All she had to say was “I didn’t mean it,” or, “it was just an expression,” but she wouldn’t even do that. Later we attempted to talk to her about having sex, in a nice and positive way, by saying that it’s her choice and we aren’t going to punish her but that we need to make sure she is okay and wasn’t forced into anything and let her know that we are here for her to talk to because it’s a big deal. She only responded with anger and yelling. The worker told us he was very concerned with her behavior. We slept with our bedroom door locked that night.

The next day was Friday, our last day, and we had a worker in the morning so L got off to school okay. The therapist and C hadn’t found her anywhere to go and C felt to unsafe to bring her back to her house with her younger kids too. So, she contacted her sister, the bio mom, who is doing very well back east (and whom L had just visited in December and was fond of) that she needed to take L and to get her a flight ASAP. She booked her a flight for the next day and we packed up a bag for L, picked her up from the bus stop, handed her off to C, and she and C and C’s sister spent the night in a hotel and had fun and sent L off the next morning. It might seem harsh, but it was our only option, and it is such a blessing that we did. Services there are so much better than in California, she’s finally getting all of the immediate help and treatment that she needs, and she’s back with her original mom who loves her and is so dedicated to her and will be there for her forever now.

It was quite the stressful, crazy 6 months. But, it was good learning experience for us all, and now it’s the best scenario that this child could be in.

We are back to our still crazy, but slightly less stressful lives and now converting L’s old room into a nursery!

 

Photocred to: http://deevybee.blogspot.com/2011/06/autism-diagnosis-and-hyper-systemizing.html