Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One step forward.....

I think that we turned a corner with Genea late last year and while we had a serious dive around mid- January she did turn it back around in mid- February. The change was so noticeable that I could even pinpoint the date. Like a switch had been flipped, Genea was suddenly and abruptly able to handle minor disappointments that for years would send her careening into hysteria. Instead of The Crazy transitioning into the Wango Tango 5 times a day, she became able to accept an answer she did not like by brushing it off and saying, maybe next time. It feels finally, like we are taking one step forward.... then another.... and another.

There were no changes that I could figure out that might have triggered the switch. I flip these things over and over in my mind until I come up with something that makes sense. For me, it's like winning a massive plinko game when I stumble on to the reasons something is occurring. Aha, suddenly all those pieces that had been bouncing around and flopping randomly, fall into place. My best guess might sound odd and improbable. Genea was with the other family that disrupted their adoption for about 2 years and 9 months. The time frame in February coincides with her having been with us for about 2 years and 9 months.

For one thing, the Wango Tango has almost disappeared. Those episodes of shrieking, primal hysteria that could go on all day 5 or 6 days a week are happening once every few weeks now. That crying, oh my gosh that crying- the infantile emergency wailing cry at the decibel level of a jackhammer, that pierces your brain your ears and your soul, has not come back. And The Crazy, those times when any tiny diversion from Genea's imagined itinerary would grant us such a disproportionate response that you were left wondering just exactly whose brain it is that is malfunctioning. The Crazy, the oppositional force dedicated to undermining any and all attachment, it's gone. Not to say it couldn't come back but so far it hasn't.

She has been sick. In the past few months, Genea has been sick with a cold. She's playing and trying to pretend. She is playing with her dolls and awkwardly taking care of them. She has not slept on the floor.

When I was gathering up my documentation for court in March, to show that Genea's former adoptive father living across the street from us is emotionally abusive to her, I got copies of her psychiatric notes. In them it was written that Genea's diagnosis includes Reactive Attachment Disorder- resolving. I think that's true. Finally, it is finally becoming true and the RAD is fading.

Sometimes at night The Husband sits with the girls and they watch a few movies. He recently got them "Snoopy Come Home"- do you know this movie? In it, Snoopy has to leave to go stay with a sick little girl in the hospital. He later has to move away from Charlie Brown and go live with her. The kids all throw him a sad, sobbing, going away party. While watching it, Genea cried. She cried, a real cry. Feeling the emotions, sympathy and sorrow, for poor Snoopy and Charlie Brown (Snoopy does get to go back home). It affected her so strongly. She didn't laugh, she didn't ignore it. She didn't find something to fidget with or poke at or knock over. She had a genuine reaction. This, I think, is the strongest sign I have that things are turning around for her. Stuff is still there, and we have plenty of stuff to work on and work through but this post is about the steps forward and we have some.


  1. Your title is ominous, showing a realistic expectation for the future, but it does sound like things are looking up!!! And you have a few years yet before puberty hits. Enjoy them!!!

    Seriously, it sounds as though she has come a very, very long way. I've sensed this in your posts for a while - you have funny stories and anecdotes to report rather than drama. Yeah! (And....with the provocation across the street, that's great!)

    But you've got me sort-of crazed.... Anastasia was with her mother until she was now that she is twelve, she's reverted to crazy-girl. I have to hope we are NOT talking six year cycles!

  2. Good for you both to celebrate and recognize the step forward. So happy for you and your family. It gives the rest of us hope that each day is a new day!

  3. Hello,
    I have been following your blog for a long time. This post is wonderful! You give others so much hope!

    My daughter is not RAD, but does have minor PTSD and occasional resulting attachment issues. My question mentioned that Genea is now sick. Have you seen that as a correlation? My therapist said that my daughter is never sick as that would make her too vulnerable. I haven't bought into that yet ..... but now that you bring it up I am interested in your thoughts.

    Just wondering if I should be hoping she gets sick soon if it is a sign of healing! Haha.

  4. So happy for you and your family. Enjoy :)

  5. That's really great! And I don't think the timing thing is improbably at. all. Princess has this incredible ingrained sense of time, and it wouldn't surprise me even a little if she did something like that.

  6. The news of making progress is great, and something to celebrate!! That sounds like very significant progress!!!

  7. Ok, weird coincidence, I just put that Snoopy movie in my netflix queue earlier this week. I vaguely remembered it as a kid, and wanted to see it again.

    I am sure that it wasn't a coincidence with the timing though - who knows how the brain works? I'm sure that somewhere inside there she made a connection.

  8. Wow, great post! I am somewhat new to your blog, but just from following these past few months I have gained a real insight into your struggles. The thing that got me the most in this post were the tears about Snoopy....that right there really shows something.

  9. go essie, go essie, go essie, I won't dance while I cheer for you though. I know she is working hard too but I come from Mama perspective so you get the cheers.

  10. I am crying....knowing it is all possible. The healing, the knowing, the loving. I am sooo encouraged!!!

  11. Wonderful!

    I was wondering too if you have seen improvement coincide with finding the right med combo? Not that it takes the place of the work being done but allows the work to take affect?

    Hope you don't mind the question. Our girls just seem very similar and so that's why I ask. Hugs!

  12. Bless you for posting this! It might mean that we only have 16 more months of the crazy. That will mark the date that we will have had our son for as long as his first family had him.

    Oddly, I've been toying with this for awhile myself. We've been seeing a lot of the old behaviors that I thought he'd put away. Nope. And right now in the timeline is when he was removed from his first family the first time. So for him, this should be the beginning of the end.

    I guess we can expect it to start ramping up in earnest here pretty soon. Hopefully the peak won't kill us all!

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  14. I used your blog link on my post called beauty For ashes and 64 Ounces of H20. If not ok let me know!

  15. so much GOOD in this post that i don't know where to start. so, will simple CHEER! Good work, G. We're all so proud of the work you and your family are doing. ;>

  16. You have disappeared from my reader, I was wondering what the heck was going on and lo and behold, it's not you, it's me.

    Anyway. I remember the day clearly when we woke up alarmed that Felpsy was not shrieking bloody murder when he woke up, just hanging out quietly. We were very panicked. Why is there no screaming?

    Then the day he started sleeping in a bed. It took four years, but he's in a bed 99% of the time.

    We also had a "moment" during a movie where the parents died and the kids went to live with an aunt and he cried and was sad.

    It's a good thing for them.

    I'm happy for all of you.


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