The Pied Piper of Puppies

That’s Spuds. Having all these animals drives me crazy a lot of the time, but they, especially the dogs, are good for his soul.  They love him, and, I think, I hope, he loves them.  Like, actually loves them.

With the German Shepherd getting so old, I find myself wondering how Spuds will handle The End. One dog, a rabbit, and a smattering of guinea pigs (wait . . . “smattering”  sounds a little too close to “splattering” . . . the guinea pigs didn’t splatter their way to the other side, I promise) . . . where was I?  Oh yeah, several animals have passed on since Spuds joined the family, and he was rather, disappointingly, dispassionate about each death.

It’s not that I want my children to be terribly, horribly sad; but sadness at the passing of a pet indicates an emotional bond had been formed, and I want him to have emotional bonds, even if, for now, it is only to the dogs; because being bonded to a dog enough to be sad when it dies is a start.  It’s a measure of progress.  It’s a rather morbid measure, I know, but it’s a measure nonetheless.  There are no rules or scales for this kind of thing, I’m afraid.  I’m not sure how much longer we have with good old Rude the Dog, but, yes, I hope my son is at least a little bit sad when the time comes, and I hope he continues to find joy in the unconditional adoration he receives from Wulfric.

All Spuds, All the Time

Since I haven’t blogged much for a long time, it seems like, based on the most recent several posts, that this blog is all about Spuds.  I’m not going to help change that perception today, unfortunately.  I mean, we’ll get there.  There is more to talk about than Spuds.  Just not today.

About a week ago, give or take, I took spuds to see an energy kinesiologist, or, you know, voodoo shaman for short.  No, seriously, this practitioner we saw is a friend of ours and has been for years.  After extensive training and gradually taking on clients, he recently quit his career as an IT guy to practice kinesiology full time.  I know, I know, it seems weird.  I get that.  But when you have a kid with all kinds of emotions just plugged up inside him that intermittently explode out all over the place, and he doesn’t want to talk about any of it, and really doesn’t have enough life experience, let alone good, functional life experience, to put it all of his trauma into some kind of usable context?  Why not.  Just. Why. Not?

Trying to explain this stuff to other adults is hard enough.  Trying to explain where I was going to take him and what the purpose was to a nine-year-old????  At first I told him we were going to see an energy therapist, but then the wild look in his eyes made me realize that was a poor choice of words.  Spuds hates therapists.  So I back peddled and told him therapist was the wrong way to describe it and that he wouldn’t even really have to talk.  The confusion was all over his face.  Finally, I told him that our friend is like Aang from Avatar the Last Airbender, but that he’s an emotion bender, not an air bender.  For good measure, McH, who, deep down in his very soul is pretty sure I’m a quack for even trying what he is pretty sure is quackery, told Spuds that it would be kind of like Po learning how to be a Chi Master in Kung Fu Panda III.

Yes, I am pretty sure that, at this very moment, arcade game developers are updating the old Whack-a-Mole games to Whack-a-Doo games.  You will be able to bop our likenesses on the head for a quarter if you’re fast enough.

So I took Spuds for the two recommended sessions.  At the end of the last session, the friend/practitioner told me that it isn’t uncommon for an uptick in the negative behaviors as things work out and re-regulate, but that it was also possible to just see the rages disappear.  I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING because, I’ll be honest, I thought it, too:  He pretty much covered all his bases there.  No matter what happens, he told me it was to be expected.  So the next day, when Spuds had a total meltdown, well, what could I say?

The thing is, I’d seen this meltdown coming for days.  The Husband saw it, too.  Heck, even my mother, who has never experienced one of these episodes, saw it coming while we were there visiting.  I hoped it wouldn’t happen until McH was back from Utah and the rest of us were back from our appointment-riddled road trip, but it was not to be.  On the whole, however, it was shorter and much less intense than usual, so I thought, “Hey, maybe the emotion bending helped a bit.”

But the real story in all of this [What?  she’s written this much and hasn’t gotten to the REAL story?  I’m going to need more coffee and maybe a time machine if she really wants me to keep reading] happened the next day.

We were back home and in desperate need of milk (according to my kids) (none of whom have actually used any of that milk that is still sitting, factory sealed, in my fridge), so Spuds and I went to the grocery store.  As we were walking past the pre-packaged frozen foods section (on our way to the Ezekiel bread), Spuds saw some lasagna or something and said, “I’m an Italian guy!”

“You’re Italian?”  I asked.

“I’m an Italian food guy,” he explained.  “I’m not actually Italian.  I don’t think.”

“Well,” I ventured, “we don’t know anything about your biological father, so I guess it’s possible that you could be part Italian.  Maybe someday we’ll get some DNA testing done and find out if you want?”

He liked that idea.  And then?  The proverbial floodgates opened.  I mean, not like the Hoover Dam floodgates or anything.  Probably more like a little dam built by small children that is falling down from the force of the tiny brook running through somebody’s backyard or something.  But for Spuds, the conversation that followed was flood gates opening.  He talked about some of his life experiences in a way he never has before.  There was no reticence or reluctance.  There was eye contact.  It was casual and comfortable (for us, anyway — can’t speak for the other shoppers who overheard it).  When the conversation got interrupted by the need to get something off a shelf, he picked it back up on his own with, “Let’s see . . . where were we?  Oh, yeah, the ear piercing . . . ” and went from there.

Today he decided to get out this box and gp through his past

There was a coherence to his narrative that has never been there before, and he was able to give me a timeline to some things that he had never been able to give me before.  It was all just a jumbled mess of random events in his mind until that conversation in the grocery store.

So, yes, there we were, walking up and down aisles, waiting in the checkout line, etc. talking about his biological mother, what “biological” even means in the context of parents (even though he’s heard this before, he somehow never got it), police cars, being taken away, how his birth mom “did it” with “every guy she knew” (his words, not mine), who he was actually living with vs. who he was literally with when the police showed up, and whether or not he feels safe with us and why.  I was asking questions, he was asking questions, and did I mention the eye contact?  This was huge . . . YUGE! (shudder).

I don’t pretend to believe that everything is magically over and done with and we now have a perfectly healthy child, thankyouvermuch.  I know that’s not the case.  However, I also know that we had a breakthrough in the frozen foods section on Monday, and it lasted clear through to the checkout.

Was it the energy kinesiology or coincidence?  I’m leaning strongly toward the energy kinesiolody, but, as a friend said, “Either way, it’s God.”

Tewt the Newt couldn’t agree more.


I’m Nothing if Not Inconsistent

I’m tired.  So, so tired.  But some things need to be documented, so here I am, six months after my last post, posting again.

We spent the bulk of the day today in New Orleans.  It was . . . wow.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting that much human congestion, for sure.  Wait.  That sounds like the city was full of people with head colds or allergies.  Not so.  Not that I know of, anyway, but I wasn’t really asking.  The people . . . it was like being at an amusement park that had no rides.  The people were everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  The streets were congested with people.  It made for tricky driving, especially since, you know, some of those people appeared to be drunk as they just walked out in front of moving vehicles, specifically our moving vehicle.  We almost took out one young woman twice.  Maybe it was three times.  Forget drinking and driving.  Some people shouldn’t drink and walk.  Just sayin’.

But I have more important stuff to talk about, really.

NOLA was just a stop on a trip to a less happening place called New Iberia, and during that stop we got to meet up with a favorite blogger and her family.  They adopted their son from Vietnam about the same time we adopted ours.  Even though we’ve all died down in the blogging department, we’ve kept in touch through Facebook, and today?  We got to meet for real!  It was totally a blast — me, the English-y introvert with my introverted family,  and her, the science-y extrovert with her extroverted family — eating beignets and watching some woman with a brain injury restraining her barking pit bull as it continued lunging at every passerby.  I know she had a brain injury because she brought a pit bull that wasn’t fond of strangers to NOLA.  And worse?  She brought it to Cafe Du Monde.  Everybody in NOLA plus a few others were eating beignets at Cafe Du Monde.  I know that sounds like hyperbole, but I don’t think it is.

As fun as our lunch at Willie Mae’s and dessert at Cafe Du Monde were, I have something even more significant on my mind.  “How is that even possible,” you are wondering in dismay.  Well, I will tell you:

This is the second vacation we have gone on with Spuds.  The first was our trip west to take A~ to college.  That trip was . . . a trip.  It was hard on him.  When we met up with friends and spent the day in Salt Lake City, he tried to glom on to them and ignore us.  He wanted to hold hands with the other adults.  He wanted to walk with them.  He wanted to sit by them.  He behaved the exact same way with us as he behaved with his previous parents when we first met him.  The lack of attachment was obvious when we first met him, and the lack of attachment to us was obvious in SLC.  After a good bit of this behavior that day, we drew a line in the sand.  Specifically, the husband drew a line in the sand.  We told Spuds he had to stay with us and hold one of our hands.  This led to the first of a few major, public meltdowns.  I blogged about this before, no?  The husband handled them all.  He calmly sat, restraining our screaming, thrashing child, on a bench in Temple Square and, later, on the floor of a Bed Bath and Beyond.  It was all precipitated by our refusal to allow him to ignore us as the parents and seek approval/acceptance/belonging from people he had only just met.

That was last August.  Fast forward to today, and . . . he was ours.  The whole time.  I know he was nervous about being on a trip and meeting new people.  Meeting new families like that will probably be an issue for him for a long time to come, but we’d talked about it and reassured him, and he was ours.  He didn’t put on a show for our friends.  He didn’t try holding their hands (as far as the husband and I saw, anyway; and it’s NOLA, so we were trying to keep a watchful eye on everyone).  If anything, he clung to us more than he normally does.  We were his safe place.  I didn’t really think about it at the time, but when we were in the Suburban, heading west to New Iberia, it hit me.  NO MELTDOWNS occurred.  We didn’t have to pry him away from the friends and demand that he treat us, not them, as the parents.  He was ours.  He is ours.  In the 10ish months he has been with us, he has gotten to a level of attachment and trust that he didn’t have with his last family after 3-plus years.  I have to say, that is a good feeling.  It vindicates the hope I’ve chosen to have for this kid from the very beginning, and it gives me even more hope.

Now, I’m not going to claim everything went perfectly.  When we got into the city, but before we met up with the friends, he got grumpy about me taking pictures and tried to refuse to participate.  I stood my ground for a few snaps, but then we let that be enough.  He wasn’t happy, but there was no meltdown.  Some of his former food issues resurfaced at lunch time as he steadfastly refused to order something.  He said he didn’t want anything.  But when I suggested that I order something and share with him?  Well, he was all for that.  It actually wound up with the husband ordering something and sharing, but Spuds ate lunch.  We had a repeat of this scene at dinner, but, again, a shared meal did the trick.  Just order an extra side, and there is enough food for two anyway.  So Spuds ate dinner.

It’s been about 25 days since his last meltdown.  I’ll have to write about that another time.  We’d been averaging about one meltdown a month, but then there was a bit of an uptick (which I think was brought on by all of the Easter goods hitting the store shelves — the first time he met us was Easter weekend last year), but now it’s been 25 days, and during those 25 days I’ve seen him teeter on the edge and then look at his paper chain on the mantle and settle himself down.  He is choosing to not have tantrums.  Again, a post for another time.  Let’s just say this kid is super motivated by the opportunity to earn extra birthday presents.

So here is where I should come up with some clever way to end the post and tie everything together and maybe be a bit funny, but did I mention I’m so, so tired?  Yeah.   It was a great day, but even great days can be exhausting.

Tewt the Newt is hoping the rest of vacation goes so well.






A Very Good Day

Today there was lots of hiking, some frisbee and football throwing, and some rolling down a hill on campus.  

There was a little necessary and unnecessary on-campus shopping (the football and frisbee throwing commenced with dad on the quad while the female contingent shopped), and a lunch which involved only one relative.  After all that, there was swimming.

“Hey mom, I was good today!” Spuds said proudly right before the boys went swimming while the girls did a little more shopping.

“Yes,” I responded enthusiastically, “you were great!”

Today was a good day.  Tomorrow is move-in day for A~.  I hope it isn’t another trigger for Spuds.  It sure will be for me.

Tewt the Newt is buying stock in Puffs.

An Ode to a Pediatric Follow Up

Who are we kidding here?  I’m not writing an ode.

But?  We did have a follow-up appointment with Spuds’ pediatrician, and I love her now more than ever.  First, I should tell you that Spuds has been off all of his meds except one for about two weeks now.  The one he is still taking is at half the dose he was on when he came to us.  So, you know, that’s a big reduction in medications in my book.  And?  If anything?  His behavior is, on the whole, calmer now than it was when he first came home.

I realize the calmer behavior could have little to nothing to do with the medications and everything to do with the fact that he isn’t as ramped up because he is no longer in a brand new home.  He’s still in a new home, relatively speaking, to be sure, but it isn’t brand new.  Also, the behavior changes could have something to do with the fact that he gets to go outside and just. play.  Every day.  He gets to ride his bike, ride a scooter, roller blade, dig holes, ride horses, play in the sprinkler, play on the massive play set.  We go swimming at the lake, he goes to cub scouts, we pull weeds as a family, we have friends over, he “washes” cars with his brothers.  He gets to just be a kid for the first time ever.  I really think that, more than anything, is helping him relax.  There is something about letting a kid be a kid, you know?

That’s not to say he’s always calm, because he isn’t.  He’s an eight-year-old boy, after all.  And?  The slightly excessively not-calm times are pretty predictable.  For instance, any time guests come to our house, I know he is going to go a little bonkers.  I can get him under control without adding meds, however.  Any time we go to the doctor (you know, all two times now), he starts to go a little bonkers.  But?  Again?  I can get him calmed down without additional meds.  When McH comes home from work every evening the energy level goes up, but it’s manageable.  And . . . umm . . . that’s pretty much it, really.  Three hours of church on Sundays?  He handles it better than kids who have been doing it their whole lives and have never been diagnosed with any kind of behavior disorder.  Sitting through a movie?  They don’t make meds that can keep him that still.

So, The Greatest Pediatrician In the World cut his dose in half again today.  He’ll take that dose for two weeks, then he’ll take it every other day for two weeks, then he’ll be done.  He’ll be off of everything.

“I think you’ve got the right idea,” the doctor said to me.  “Kids need to be able to go outside and play and go to bed at night tired because they wore themselves out being kids.  They don’t need to be stuck in a “cell” so that mom and dad can both go off to work.  They need to play and do chores and be kids.”

I know that statement will anger any feminist who happens to stumble across this blog, but all I can say is:  THIS DOCTOR IS A WOMAN.  In no way was she saying women shouldn’t work.  She was just saying that someone needs to be willing to stay home with kids, especially kids like Spuds who have a difficult, hurtful history, so that they can be kids, they can be carefree, they can burn off energy, whether it’s physical or emotional energy (or both) so that they don’t need pharmaceuticals to calm them down or make them sleep at night.

I’ve talked to Spuds several times about what we are doing with his medications.  When I first broached the subject with him very soon after he came home to us, his response was, “I don’t know, I might go crazy again.”  I told him at the time that I didn’t think he would.  I told him a lot of that would depend upon whether or not he wanted to act crazy.  We’ve talked a lot about choice and taking responsibility for one’s actions.  He’s eight.  We’ll be talking about it a lot more for years to come.  At our first visit with The Greatest Pediatrician in the World, she told him basically the same thing.  “Listen to your mom and dad.  Do what they tell you, be good, and you will be fine.”  He and I have discussed her advice a few times as we’ve talked about the changes in his medication.

The other night, as I was telling him that we would be going back to the doctor today and explaining that she would just want to talk to him to make sure everything is going okay before cutting his dose again, I asked him if he remembered what he first told me when I presented the idea of trying to get him off his medications.  He had no idea what I was talking about.  I reminded him about his comment that he might go crazy again, and I asked him if he still thought that might happen.

“I don’t know.  No,” he said.

I asked him if he remembered the times when he “went crazy” and asked him what he was feeling when those times happened.  He looked at me warily. He really doesn’t like to talk about his past (though he did tell me more about the scar on his knee the other day, how he got it and who was wielding the cigarette lighter that left it).   “You don’t have to tell me what happened,” I explained.  “I’m just wondering how you were feeling when you went crazy.  Were you scared?” I asked, “Or angry?  Or something else.”

“The first one,” he said.  “The first one.”

That didn’t surprise me at all.  He recently told me that he can remember being taken away from his birth mother’s house.  It kind of seems like a stretch since he was not yet three when that happened, but he told me he remembers the police being there, and he remembers the police putting him in the back of their car and taking him away.  “But they didn’t put handcuffs on me,” he said.

“Well, of course they didn’t put handcuffs on you,” I said.  “You were a toddler, and you weren’t being arrested.”

“I wasn’t?  I wasn’t arrested??” he asked.

“No, you weren’t arrested.  Didn’t anyone ever explain that to you before?” I asked him.

“No,” he shook his head slowly.

I explained to him that he was removed for his own safety, the police took him because other people were doing bad things, but he had done nothing wrong.  I know he’s good at making stuff up, but this one?  I think he really believed he’d been arrested.

So the times when he “went crazy”?  Many of those times occurred when he had been sent to his bedroom or sent to the “safe room” at school.  Basically, his behavior got RAD-like when he was sent to kid jail.  Seems like more than a coincidence to me.

Anyway, our goal is to help him feel safe.  At this point, I think the behavior issues will be minimal as long as he isn’t constantly overstimulated by a gazillion different people, programs, and procedures being lorded over him and as long as he feels safe.

Every night we close his closet door for him.  Every night we sit outside his bedroom until he falls asleep.  Every evening I give him a basic idea of what the next day will bring.  Every morning I remind him of the basic plan for the day.  We want him to feel safe.

As we were walking out of the doctor’s office today, Spuds and Quinn walking a bit ahead in a race for the door, the doctor put her arm around my shoulders, gave me one of those sideways hugs, and said, “You are doing a great thing for him, Mom.  You just keep it up.”

“Thank you,” I said.  “So far it’s going so well, but I know the honeymoon could still end.  I hope it doesn’t, but I know it could.”

“And if it does,” she said, “and you need help?  I’ll be right here.”

I literally fought back tears.  I am so used to having to fight for what I know is best for my kids any time an outside entity (mainly the stupid public high school) is involved in our lives, and so used to having to explain and defend our decisions to people who are just people and really probably don’t deserve the explanations, that I was joyfully overwhelmed by somebody actually being supportive.  I used to be surrounded by supportive women, then we moved.  And then we moved again.  I’d be lying if I said I felt surrounded by supportive women in the past seven years.  God bless that doctor.  I am going to send her a Christmas card, because I don’t think we are going to need to see her again before then, and I want her to know how Spuds is doing and how much I appreciate her kindness.

Tewt the Newt thinks it’s too early to be thinking about Christmas and fully supports the deportation of all illegal elves, jolly or otherwise.  Vapid newt.

Things The Books Don’t Teach You #1

What is the appropriate response when your hurt child tells you with a smile on his face,

I had a dream last night that I was in the ocean with a lot of people, and a big, great white shark ate one of them.  It was [insert name of birthmom]!


“Congratulations buddy!”?

“Do you think she tasted good?”

“How much blood was there?”

“Ooo!  Maybe tonight your subconscious can squeeze her to death with a big snake!  You like big snakes!”?

None of those options seemed even mildly appropriate, so I just asked him how he felt about her getting eaten by the shark.

“Good!” was the answer.

Okey dokey then.

Overall, I think I’m going to mark this one as a point in the progress column because, as he shared the dream with us, he said her name without acting like he was saying “Voldemort” for the very first time rather than “He-who-must-not-be-named.”  And call me crazy, but I think Dumbledore got it right when he said that the fear of a name only increases the fear of the thing itself.  Tonight?  Spuds wasn’t afraid of the name.

Progress.  For Spuds, anyway.

I, on the other hand, am relying on psychological advice from a fictional wizard.  Let’s not talk about what that might mean for me.

Tewt the Newt says, “Lumos!”

Because Being a Middle Aged Woman on Facebook Isn’t Already Embarassing

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?”

*deep breath*

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.