Last night I read an article about a family in Canada who had to surrender their son with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to the equivalent of CPS in order for the child to be placed in a group home with the appropriate supports. A few years ago, I would have been horrified by such a story. I would have blamed the family. I would have assumed they hadn't tried hard enough. I would have done all of this as a way to protect myself from the fact that living with FASD is really hard. I would have done all of this as a way to protect myself from the reality that it may get even harder as time goes on.
This week, things got harder and they got more real for us. What happened doesn't really matter, because truly it could have been any situation with Matthew. Essentially life happened, Matthew got mad. This time Matthew was with his after school babysitter when she placed a demand on him that he get ready to come and meet me, and so this time the situation wasn't just between me and Matthew and the boys.
While I may have decided it was unsafe to take an angry Matthew in the car until he calmed down, the sitter decided to have Matthew get in the car and she drove to meet me. The entire way he was threatening her. His language was horrible. He threatened physical assault, and he raged throughout the 10 minute drive. When I met up with them I was met with a fuming Matthew. He raged at me and threatened to hit me.
We met at a local day care center so that I could get my boys and the sitter could pick up her nephew, and so I did my best to keep calm and just try to get us away from the child care center, in my mind that was of the upmost importance. Matthew cursed, I tried to remind him to be quiet as little children were around. Matthew waved his fist at me, I tried to remind him to calm down. Matthew punched me in the back.
At that point the sitter called 911.
I wouldn't have made the call to 911 at that point, not because I think what she did was wrong, I don't, but more because what I have realized is that there is nothing the police can do to help us. Matthew typically calms down soon after the police are called, so that is a benefit, however then we have to stay and fill out lots of paperwork, and we talk through with Matthew what he can do differently next time, but then the next time comes and Matthew gets just as angry, and forgets all we have talked about.
This time however the police were more real with Matthew. I'm not sure if it is because this incident took place in public or because Matthew had physically threatened a non family member or why this time the police were more focused with Matthew on what could happen in the future, but I do know that this was a wake up call for me. One day, it is likely that I am going to see my son interact with the police and I am not going to have the control over the outcome. Read that sentence again.....focus on it and pray I am wrong. I hope nothing more than to be wrong about this prediction. However, given Matthew's rages and his size and his mental health issues, it is becoming more and more a reality to me that my son will likely end up interacting with the police at some time in his adult life. All I can do is hope and pray that the officers understand that at the root of life Matthew is a good boy.
- 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!