Two of our children have fetal alcohol syndrome (it’s possible the third adopted child does as well). Having FAS is life changing. Living with someone that has FAS is life changing. These kids never had a chance at a normal life and will never experience most things you dream about for your kids.
Lately I have had these lines by Eminem in my head, “Have you ever been protested and demonstrated against? I have, I’ve been protested and demonstrated against.”
They have been rattling around my brain as we have gone through some craziness with our FAS daughter. Let me try to bring you into my world.
“Have you ever chased your child through the neighborhood as she attempts to runaway? I have, I’ve chased my daughter through the neighborhood as she attempts to runaway.”
“Have you had to physically restrain your daughter so she doesn’t harm herself, others, or your house? I have, I’ve had to physically restrain my daughter so she doesn’t harm herself, others, or my house.”
“Have you had your hands bit (and I mean chomped on) by your daughter as you try to protect her from harming herself? I have, I’ve been bitten by my daughter as I try to protect her from herself.”
“Have you ever had to pull your daughter back through a second story window as she threatens to jump? I have, I’ve had to pull my daughter back through a second story window as she threatens to jump.”
The first three happened yesterday. I guess I threw in the fourth for good measure.
It went down around 5:30 PM. I’m sure many are thinking there had to be things you could have done before it got to the point of restraining. My wife and I would give anything if that were true in this situation. I’m not sure there is anything we hate more than this.
We know with our daughter once she crosses a certain point there is no going back. There is also no successful negotiating. Incentives don’t work. Threats don’t work. Nothing works.
Can you imagine your child going up to a stranger’s door and telling these unsuspecting people she wants to live with them instead of you? I can, that happened yesterday too.
Back to the chase. My wife drove down the street of our neighborhood and quickly spotted our daughter. As always she was optimistic. Even on this dreary winter day she saw nothing but rainbows. She thought she could deescalate the situation. I don’t think she really thought that, but she puts on a good front and I had a brutal day at work. She was trying to ease my load – we really are a great team. She made all the standard passive and loving attempts to get things under control with no success. Similar to our son, when things get really crazy we are willing to give anything to get the situation under control. It never works though. Ultimately all this talking led to my daughter running further from home. At this point our daughter can’t really be contained in an open area by my wife. If she wanted to keep running that was what was going to happen.
I, being the realist in the relationship figured this was going to continue to escalate and sure enough I got the call from my wife. As I drove up, our daughter took off. She made it into a different neighborhood. This neighborhood connects to our via sidewalk. The chase was now on foot.
At this point we have no hope left. It’s clear nothing is going to work (nothing ever works, but we always try). My job changes. Instead of negotiator, I play the part of arresting officer. I have to get her back to the car by any means necessary and ideally without anyone in this neighborhood calling the police.
Let’s be honest, an adult white male, carrying a thrashing 10 year old black girl doesn’t look great.
Let me reset the stage. My wife and I are on foot. We have two vehicles in the general area. I have a thrashing ten year old in my arms. If anyone was witnessing this there is no other conclusion one can come to other than this is a kidnapping.
I decide our monster van (Bertha) would be best given there is more space and this short car ride home wasn’t going to be easy. My wife quickly unlocks the side door and rips it open. I manhandle my daughter into the car while she is screaming “Stranger Danger” (what the hell does that even mean? this can’t be the best thing we come up with for kids to scream if they are in trouble). My wife quickly slides the door shut and we drive away. Like any good van the windows are tinted, so no one knows what is going on inside – it wasn’t pretty, but we were in the van. I’ve played this game before, it’s almost over.
We get home, success! Not time to celebrate just yet. The inevitable battle of wills/wrestling match is ready to commence. This can go on for an hour if we are unlucky. Luckily today it only lasted five to ten minutes.
Now the sadness kicks in. No she isn’t feeling sad, we are. When she breaks she really breaks. It’s not gradual, it’s immediate like a glass shattering. The best way I can describe what happens now is uncontrollable ugly crying.
I have no idea what she is thinking in these moments. There is no apology. There is no more anger, but there is also no remorse. I have to think she is realizing, again, that her brain is not normal and she is trying to process what is going on. It is so sad!
I don’t think the breaking is the worst part though. The worst part and what scares me to death is how often she doesn’t really have an explanation for what triggered this extreme reaction. It just happens and then there is no going back.
Obviously this isn’t the first time and certainly won’t be the last time we face something like this. Luckily my wife and I know what to do when it happens to keep everyone safe. We are hopeful though because it does seem like the amount of time in between each episode is growing.
#fetalalcoholsyndrome #ivegot2more #7kids #endure #grind #accountability #noexcuses #blendedfamily