About Me

I am a single mom of three amazing boys!  All three of my sons entered my family through adoption.  All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!

Saturday, October 22, 2011


There is so much going on right now, and I don't know how to deal with all of it, except to write it down, and reflect. Matthew has been in 4 winds hospital for a week now. We are working with a new social worker, which means that it is taking time for us to figure each other out. I have to figure out how she works, and she has to figure out how to work with me as a mom. With so much going on, and everything moving quickly, it is a lot to do in a short period of time.

The purpose of hospitalization is to adjust medication,stabilize the child and get him out of the hospital as quickly as possible. For matthew they have taken him off one of his medications, and are debating taking him off of another medication, and then possibly adding a new medication. The good news is that in the hospital so far, Matthew is doing well.

There are so many staff constantly working with the children. For 20 children, there are at least 25-30 staff. Each group of 6 children has 3 staff members working with them directly, and then there are nurses, social workers, a psychiatric nurse and a psychiatrist. For Matthew the number of staff is key to his success. There is always someone to help ensure that the structure of the day remains the same. Everything about being in the hospital is predictable for matthew. From the time the kids wake up to the time the children eat each meal evrything remains stable and predictable for the kids.

For Matthew one of the biggest triggers is life bieng unpredictable. In everyone's life there is unpredictability. That is part of what makes life fun, exciting and sometimes hectic and crazy. Sometimes it is unpredictable because an unexpected errand comes up. Sometimes, an appointment runs longer than expected. Sometimes what we plan for dinner has to be changed. All of these unpredictable experiences are a challenge for Matthew.

Yesterday on my visit, his group was going outside at 4:30 and I arrived at 4:20 and did not know that his group was going out at 4:30. We started playing a game, and were having a nice visit, when suddenly Matthew noticed that the kids were going outside. He quickly asked how long i was staying, and I told him I would stay as long or as short as he wanted. (I had just met with the psychiatric nurse, before seeing Matthew, and she explained that Matthew does best with quick visits, because he does not relate to people the way that most people do. With this fresh in my mind, I wanted to have a great visit and allow him to help dictate how long I stayed.) As the kids got their coats on, Matthew said he wanted to go outside, and wanted me to go. As he said this, another little boy walked by and said "you should visit with your mom, visiting with your mom is way better than going outside."

Matthew became focused on going outside, so I encouraged him to ask the nurse how long the kids would be outside for. When he asked, the nurse stressed that the kids would be outside for 30 minutes and it was important to visit with me. Matthew and I finished playing our game and he quickly rushed off to get his coat.

As I walked outside, it started to rain. I looked back to wave goodbye to Matthew and motioned to him that it was raining. As I was getting in my car I realized that I had forgotten to return my visitor's pass. I turned to go back into the building and heard Matthew shrieking. As soon as matthew saw me the shrieks became louder and more intense. He started clawing my arm and screaming that he needed me to stay, Matthew then made a dash for the door. Even just the small disappointment of not being able to go outside was too much for Matthew. I felt horrible. I had stayed a little too long. The rain had come too quickly. I knew he would get outside again the next day, but for him that didn't matter. The staff was able to help calm Matthew down, and I headed for home feeling sad but relieved knowing that matthew had help to calm him down.

I am being told by all of the professionals that in time Matthew will need some sort of residential program to keep him safe and to provide him with the most successful life possible. I am taking this time while he is safe in the hospital to continue to wrap my head around this concept. My head knows that the structure of a residential program will truly help Matthew. My heart wants only what is best for Matthew. The psychiatric nurse and social worker have all said that Matthew thrives in a predictable, regimented program.

My hope and prayers are that right now Matthew will be put on a new medication or by coming off of the old medications, matthew will start to thrive and all of the talk of a residential program will end. My dream is that we will find a solution for Matthew that allows him to go back to living in peace as part of our family. Hopefully we will know more sa the week goes on and hte medications are adjusted......

1 comment:

  1. I can't imagine what this decision must feel like. I am so sorry this is happening.

    I did want to say that Matthew in a residential program will not stop him from being a part of your family.

    It does means that things will be different. But, it also means that all of you will be physically and emotionally safer, and all of you will be in environments where you have opportunities to thrive.

    One of our dear friends is an LMSW and an educational trainer whose brother began living in a residential treatment when our friend was 8 and his brother was 10. Let me know if you'd like me to put you in touch.