Monday was a BIG day for me. I took Spuds to a pediatrician.
I know, I know, but please hold your applause until the end of the post. It gets better.
As we all know, I’m not a huge fan of doctors. It’s not that I don’t like them personally, it’s just that I have a difficult time finding doctors that I like professionally. It’s not even all their fault, though there are those doctors who are so arrogant I want to scream at them, “You aren’t smarter than I am, nitwit, you just have different, and more, degrees than I do. I could have been a doctor, too; but I pretty much hated every biology class I ever took, so it just didn’t seem like a wise career choice. See? I’m SMART like that!” No, mostly I blame pharmaceutical companies for my distrust of today’s doctors. Do you know how much of any given doctor’s medical education is subsidized by big pharma? Okay, I don’t know exactly how much, either; but my understanding (having both read lots on the subject and talked to actual doctors about it) is that med school is basically where the pharmaceutical companies train their best sales people: doctors. I may be exaggerating, but not by much.
Anyway, I needed to find a pediatrician who would work with me to wean Spuds off of his meds that we don’t think he needs. When we found out what all they’ve had him on and started researching it (because, in this day and information age, who wouldn’t do that kind of research when they know they are going to have to be dispensing medications to their kid every day?), oh my word, people! I had no idea how scary some of this crap is that we just shove down kids’ throats when they don’t behave in a convenient or even moderately easy manner. One of his medications was actually designed, developed, invented . . . whatever they call it when people in a lab coat mix things up in their cauldrons and then proclaim it to be medicine . . . as a blood pressure medication. Umm . . . so, you know, nice that it apparently has unintended side effects that can ostensibly help kids focus and all, but hello??? What else is it doing to my kid in the meantime? (Plus? Just between you, me, and the fencepost? It’s not helping him focus. He can be deeply involved in a conversation or activity that he initiated and . . . squirrel! And 15 seconds later? Squirrel!).
But that’s not even the scary medication, nor is it the hardest one to wean him off. No, the other one is much, much worse. Its list of possible side effects is terrifying, and some of those side effects can be permanent. But the best part? The BEST part?!?! The effects of that particular medication on children have never been studied. There is no pediatric dosing for that medication. The pharmaceutical company’s own website says it is not for children. Guess what? Doctors put kids on it all the time anyway, apparently, and Spuds? He was on the highest approved dose. That would be, of course, the highest approved dose for adults, because there is no official approved dose for children! In addition to the possible permanent side effects of this medication, there are many, many other possible side effects. Spuds has one that is listed as “rare” so, of course, he was on another medication to control that side effect. Brilliant.
GAH! Frustration. Terror. Abhorrence! These are all things I’ve been feeling for the past month as, night after night, I give him his pills because I can’t just stop these kinds of medications without working with a doctor to make sure everything goes okay.
Interesting side note: We’ve been giving him his pills at night because that’s how the other parents were doing it and how they told us to do it, but it didn’t make sense, because these meds are usually given to kids in the morning so that they are feeling the maximum effects during the day, when they are, you know, awake (see? the information age is informative). As the doctor was doing doctor stuff on her laptop while talking to me Monday, she kind of muttered, “It’s almost like they were using these as more of a sleep aid.”
Hmm . . . you think?
Anyway, we went to the doctor. I was nervous. Going to new doctors always makes me nervous. I was extra nervous this time because I just didn’t know if she would take me seriously, or if she would be a pill pusher, or what.
I could tell you a very long story about how the whole visit unfolded, but I’ll give you the short version and then get around to the point of the post title.
Short version: I LOVED her. When I gave her the backstory on Spuds and why we want to get him off all the meds and see how things go from there (he might need to go back on some meds, and I get that, but I have several other avenues to try first), and I finished up with, “I just feel like his body has been exposed to one chemical drug or another since before he was born, and I want his body to have a break,” she replied, “I agree. His brain needs a break.”
I could have cried tears of joy and relief right then and there, especially since I had come dangerously close to tears of mortification just minutes before.
You see, as I was first giving her The History of Spuds (he was in another room, playing with toys and being supervised by office staff so that we could talk freely without mortifying him — I asked him if he wanted to be there while I told the doctor about why he was on meds and why we wanted to try taking him off, and he was adamant that he didn’t want to be in the room), she made some comment to her nurse/assistant/whatever, who was typing everything into the laptop, that “foster mom thinks he needs weaned off his meds.”
“No,” I said. “I’m not the foster mom. This is a private adoption. It’s not finalized yet, but I’m the mom, I’m the legal guardian.”
So, of course, she was curious about how all that worked. “So, how does that work? Did his other parents just give him back to the state? How did you hear about him?”
No, they didn’t just hand him back to the state. They found an adoption agency that specializes in finding new families for adopted kids who, for whatever reason, can’t stay with their current family. Once they find a new family, then paperwork is done, the original adoptive parents sign away their custody, and the new parents get the child and custody. This agency looks for new families by posting pictures and bios of the kids . . . on Facebook.
I wanted to die. I wanted to crawl in a hole and die rather than tell the doctor and her nurse/assistant/whatever that I found my kid on Facebook. It sounds horrible. It is horrible. NO child should ever be listed on Facebook, or, more specifically, no child should ever have to be listed online anywhere. But the fact of the matter is that most people who are looking to adopt want their perfect, healthy, newborn. Kids like Spuds? There aren’t a lot of people out there looking for kids who have been hurt the way he has been hurt. And because people aren’t actively looking for kids like him, the agency actively looks for parents for kids like him. And in this day and information age? Social media is the most effective way to do that.
For the record?s We weren’t looking. We’ve talked off and on for years about someday adopting an older child, but we weren’t currently pursuing that, and I didn’t follow that agency’s Facebook page. Facebook would not have been the first place I would have looked if we were actively pursuing another adoption.
So, though social media may be an effective way to find families for kids like Spuds, it still kills me. On the one hand, I am so, so grateful to the friend who reposted the agency’s post about our new son. We wouldn’t have found him otherwise. On the other hand? I found my child on Facebook. This makes the story about getting physical custody of Tank Boy in baggage claim look like a happily-ever-after fairytale. It is a conflict I will live with for the rest of my life, but it is a conflict worth living with if it means Spuds has a better shot at life, and, right now? I’m pretty confident that he does. I suppose he could prove me wrong in the months and years to come, but I have lots of hope and reason to believe he does have a much better shot.
Anyway, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when the doctor and her nurse/assistant/whatever (they all wear scrubs — why do they all wear scrubs???? hows about only the actual medically trained people wear scrubs so that I can tell who is what?) . . . umm . . . I wasn’t the least bit surprised when their eyes popped out of their heads and they said in hushed, shocked tones, “But what about predators? Predators????”
They are right, of course. What about predators? All I could tell them is that this is a legal adoption, so there are agencies involved on both the sending and receiving ends, there was vetting, a home study (update), and there are and will be post-placement visits until finalization, so that really helps weed out the predators. I didn’t even bother telling them about re-homing because: a. that’s not what we’re involved in; and b. what would have been the point? They’d just had enough shock already.
Maybe I should have told them that one of the first things we did after getting custody was contact the placing agency and tell them that all information about and pictures of Spuds needed to be taken off their Facebook page immediately. I don’t know if that would have mattered to them, but it sure mattered to us.
It is a very different world we live in these days. I don’t always like it. I frequently don’t like it, actually, but, like everyone else, I’m doing the best I can to live in it and, hopefully, leave it a little better off because I was here. I guess this is where I could get all schmaltzy and pull out the story about the starfish and make maudlin statements about how we are making a difference to that one, because, God willing, we are. However, that doesn’t change the fact that we found our newest son on Facebook, and that is more than slightly mortifying. I have no regrets, though. The circumstances of Spuds coming to us are ugly, but he needed somewhere to land, and though I don’t think it will ever be easy to tell people about the Facebook connection, I’m glad he’s landed here.
Tewt the Newt is going to throw up in his mouth a little.