February 10th, 2008
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Categories: Challenges

Here it is a Sunday night and this Preacher’s Kid, now a middle age mama of 39 children ages 5-34, needs to put her children to bed, get that old Preacher and his wife (Grandma and Grandpa) to combine forces with a married couple to babysit my sleeping kids while I slip off to the county jail to check on my 26 year old son who ought to know better.

Why two couples babysitting? Well why not? I’m not leaving them some very easy-going children to tend to, rather I have ragers and oppositional kids who’ll resent me for not being home, even though they won’t even know I’m gone.


Our home is a family compound; both of those couples live here while another couple and my 31 year old daughter are also on our property. We have built in family levels of stability and security for my children.

They don’t think they’ve ever had a babysitter as I rarely leave and when I do so, my grown family members babysit. My nearly 19 year old daughter lives here also.

Visiting hours are late tonight; all my kids at home will be in bed, figuring I’m down in the family room or the kitchen. I’ll tell them tomorrow that I went, reminding them that they survived my absence for an hour.

I rarely visit my kids whose behavior sends them to jail. My thinking is, if they want to see me, then stay out of jail and come visit me.

But there are a couple of extenuating circumstances tonight, two older kids in two separate situations who need me. One will be embarrassed to see me, the other glad and grateful.

My 16 year old son will accompany me, part of his own Scared Straight Program, partly because I want to continue to lecture him about bad choices, to remind him – no to show him what happens when one screws up.

He himself has knocked heads with juvenile authorities, been in several confinements and an outdoor wilderness camp, home now on shaky ground.

I’d obviously rather stay home tonight with my young children and my grandchildren, with those who crave my time and attention, but I’m daily reminded how much so my older children also still need me, through the good and the bad.

Photo Credit Anya Rice

7 Responses to “Going To Jail Tonight”

  1. slowlydrowning says:

    Isn’t it sad how much comfort I feel hearing from the rest of you? Knowing that I’m not alone, and my obsessively self-destructive 15 year old and her prima donna 16 year old sister aren’t the result of my lousy parenting, since that’s what the “experts” keep making me believe. For years I kept blaming myself, until one day it occurred to me that genetically, they’re in a whole different ballgame than my husband and myself. We adopted them 11 years ago from Russia. Both parents were alcoholics. Their father was physically abusive. Their two older sisters had already been removed from the home due to the parents’ neglect. I kept thinking — maybe if I loved more, talked more, gave more. That eventually became — maybe if I could muster up the energy to care anymore, yelled less, took everything away? Nothing phases them. Nothing seems to penetrate their complete disregard for all they have in their lives. And I’m so sick of all the touchy feely crap I get from their schools and the psychologists we’ve gone to. I know my kids know the difference between right and wrong, and they seem to get a perverse pleasure out of always choosing the latter, just to stick it to us. I know I sound paranoid. I used to think I was. Now I’m starting to believe that all the things I kept dismissing early on as “this too shall pass” is starting to seem like their inevitable path. I also believe wholeheartedly in taking responsibility for ones own actions. In my case, I adopted them. That makes me responsible for them until they’re 18. After that, I’m hoping to god that they just leave, because I absolutely don’t see this having the happy ending I prayed for all those years ago. the only thing worse than not being able to have children at all is having children that every day you’re finding yourself hating a little more. Sorry. It’s been a tough day.

  2. amy.julian says:

    You know sometimes I feel like a horrible parent but people around me reassure me that it’s just the way they are expressing themselves. For example we just had a huge change in the family I/mom started college so that I can go out and get a good job that I trained myself for during the military life and throughout high school. My oldest has reacted out in disrespect and rudeness I thought it was just him being a boy starting his pre-teen stage but the school stated differently to that. He finally spoke up in counceling and stated it was the factor that I had started school and with it being so new to me I felt over whelmed and frustrated so every night I would come home and crame for every subject which took most of the night. I would stop long enough to clean the house, cook dinner, check homework and stuff like that but I didn’t realize it was effecting him so badly he never said anything. He broke down at school and it worries me so much cause what if he does something else??? I have decided to cut back on studies while the kids are up so ?I can be with them more. But the one thing that does bother me is that we were gonna do a Science Fair project together and he didn’t even turn in the slip for it. It scares me to because what if he does something and ends up in the juvenile court system…I mean I keep a close eye on them as it is but I do have to let loose sometime or another. Am I responsible for his every action when he gets older or what? People think it’s so easey to raise children but it’s not mine are my biological children so I can’t blame it on their alcoholic parents or their abusive parents they had before they got into my arms. Honestly to me that’s an excuse…ask for counceling and stick with it try and figure out things that interest them and you can do with them that’s what we are trying to do yes mine are still young but that doesn’t mean anything. Can I blame my childs father that said he didn’t want nothing to do with him ever again about 5 years ago and that I needed to find someone to adopt him. No, I can’t blame his hate all on him. Some of it yes, cause the child is very jealous of his little brother cause he sees his father every other weekend. but now he has a step-father that loves him and is gonna adopt him soom but that still doesn’t make up for the lost time the child went without a father yes he did have male role models around like my dad and my best friends whom were male, but it wasn’t his father there every day when he needed him to talk to about guy things or teach him how to throw a football it was me his mama. So if my child ever ends up in juvenile I will be there for him no matter what, cause all we can do is try and fix the problem and work on it and how to correct it so it doesn’t happen again. You have to put yourself out there more these days than in the past with all of these kids especially the teens now a days cause there’s so many more dangers out there than what older people realize. I fear for my children and I’m trying to educate them to a extent now then them finding out on their own and not knowing what,how,the effects,and more. So please slowlydrowning please I begt you work with the children before it’s to late. Yes you may think it’s to late now but now is better than never. They need you they won’t show it to you and they will in fact try to push you away more and more but please don’t ever give up on them!!!!

  3. lmg1567 says:

    slowlydrowning – I hear ya!! I have one for whom “nothing is ever enough”. When he was 9 mos. old he was placed with us as a foster child and later adopted. He was neglected, prenatally exposed to alcohol and developmentally delayed (how naieve I was back then!!). He’s almost 14 now and we’ve done EVERYTHING for this kid. We have credit card bills for therapies that we’ll be paying on for years because we had to just try one more thing that the insurance wouldn’t cover – after all, what if this was the one thing that worked for him? We didn’t realize or even hear about RAD until last year. I have moments where I am overwhelmed by shame because of how I truly feel about him. I want to try again and then WHAM – he screws me over in some new way. I’m counting the days until he’s 18, but I don’t think he’ll leave, or if he does, he’ll figure out real quick how bad his life wasn’t and want to come back. I think it does such a disservice to parents to keep telling them their kids are normal when doctors/therapists/school counselors should know what FASD does to their brains. Maybe if you went into this knowing that from DAY 1 and accepted it before you agreed to take them, it’d feel different. I’m sick of all the coddling people do to him. I’m sick of being the bad one, the wrong one, the one who just needs to try one more thing and everything would be fine. You’re definitely not alone, even though I know it feels that way most of the time.

    Cindy – hang in there. I’m sure the last thing you want to spend your time doing is visiting your kids in jail. You have poured everything into them and now it’s time for them to take charge of their own behavior. Having a bad day? They need to STAY HOME and keep themselves out of trouble if they can’t be out there in the public without causing problems. It’s time they moved on – for everyone’s sakes!!

  4. jsteven45 says:

    A very wise therapist told me once that we cannot measure our adopted children’s success in life against our own. We are successful if our adopted children are leading lives better than that of their biological parents. By that, admittedly low, standard, ALL of my five daughters are successful, including the one with a felony meth charge on her record. It helps me immensely to keep that in mind.

  5. John says:

    Slowly, if your daughters have FAS, it would be normal for them to do something, get a bad result and do it again and be absolutely shocked to get the same result. My middle son has FAS, cause and effect doesn’t have effect. While that bit of wisdom helps explain behavior, it does not help change things or make the results more acceptable. His life is evolving, and it is better than his bithparents, but far from what I hoped for. The three Cs, we didn’t cause it, we can’t control it, and we can’t cure it. John

  6. wfsam says:

    I am the adopted mother of two foster children. Our son is not 15 and in juvenile detention. Our daugher is 13 and has mild MR (she is a sweet girl but much more needs that we ever expected). I am in so much paing right now. I love my son so very much. He is a very sweet boy but can’t control his impulses. I want him home. The judge denied his release and we must now wait 2 weeks for another detention hearing. I am sure they will want to send him away. I know my child and I worry about him being abused or learning so much more bad things in a placement by the court. The incident was over 2 years ago and he confessed to it during some counseling he was in. It is such a bazzar case. After he confessed, CPS came to our home, did their interview and closed their case. Then, 6 months later the police got involved, did their investigation and told us what they were going to do and then scheduled the voluntairy turn in two weeks later. I can’t figure it out. If he is a threat why did they take so long and then why give us so much time to turn him him. It is all just so crazy. Counceling was working so well. We were seeing such great progress and this past month, we had our child back who was happy and doing so well and then the rug was pulled right out from under us. I am so lost. How do I handle all of this? How do I survive? My heart is so broken!

  7. loveandpeace says:

    I am the adopted mother of 3 adopted children and I need some help outside of myself tonite. As I sit here right my son is breaking curfew (i am paying child support for him being in boot camp to the tune of 271.00) this kid is costing the family financially and emotionally, has been in trouble since last year the 5 months he was away was so peaceful. my 16 year daughter is now cutting herself and is defiant, my 13 year old hasn’t bonded in 9 years and my oldest who is 16 is our biological child feels that all the things we have been thru with our adopted children have made her life a living hell. it has helped destroy what’s left of our marriage. this life has been hard. i love my children. and only wanted them to have a better life. i am counting down till they are 18, every week it is something with the middle two. my family has suggested to give my children back, and i have to say, at times I have been regretful. between the 12 hours waiting for crisis intervention 3 times over the past 6 months, sexual issues, being gay, acting out, stealing, lieing, dealing and using drugs, running away, bringing the police to our home and thank God not for any real offenses yet it has been hell. how do we keep going. i get angry at my spouse for not being as strong, but this is a great deal to take, my son wants to move with my sister to another state where he doesnt have to live with the drama or embarrasment, no family wants them to come to their homes without us there, no one wants to keep them over night, my husband and i have not had a couples weekend in 4 years. and trying to talk to people who don’t have adopted children and explaining the genetics, think again…….even the our church folks don’t understand, and we pray and serve as well. HELP! LOSING IT. AND YES…NEEDLESS TO SAY, WE HAVE DONE COUNSELING, ARE IN COUNSELING, BUT WHEN THEY CHOOSE NOT TO DEAL WITH THE REAL ISSUES, IT DOES NOT WORK. and when they play with the therapist who choose not to see the real issues either. any words of comfort. thanks for listening I needed to vent, it has been a long 2 years, and even a longer week.

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