Today was the meeting with the regional center to discuss why they were denying Ms. D services with their agency. I fretted about it but still prepared for the meeting by reading up and refreshing my memory about FASD. I still worried that I would either start crying or back down too much. Neither would have been helpful.
Thankfully, the people at the regional center started the meeting off well. I didn't feel like it was a confrontation, but more like they'd love to help us, but they had to follow the rules. At this point, Ms. D is still denied services, because the test I filled out of her adaptive skills was higher than what her IQ test would suggest. They had assumed correctly that I filled it out with the idea of how much Ms. D can do with supports around her, not on her own. I didn't see the part of the directions that said to do it that way. So they let me redo the adaptive skills test with that in mind. If she still scores too high, she will be denied, but we can still reapply when we get more information before she turns eighteen.
The psychologist there didn't seem to understand FASD as well as I would have liked. She didn't think Ms. D showed the facial characteristics. But I was able to rattle off what characteristics she did have and that at puberty, many of the characteristics fade. She also didn't see the need for me to be a bit overprotective of Ms. D. About half of the people with FASD have run ins with the law or teen pregnancy, and coupled with some of the bad decisions and lack of judgement Ms. D has shown, I just can't take a chance. She also had no idea about homeschooling, thinking that I wouldn't know what to teach, and that Ms. D's social difficulties stemmed from not having enough practice. I tried to tell her that the social difficulties began well before Ms. D was homeschooled. People with FASD tend to have the most problems in that area, and Ms. D is no exception. But after talking to the head of Ms. D's private school a few weeks ago, I had a lot more confidence in my ability to homeschool. It is difficult, but I just can't see how the public school can give her the one on one attention that she needs to function, yet preserve her self esteem. I was momentarily tempted to give up, but after coming home I have more confidence that this is the right decision for our family.
I made it through the meeting without becoming a puddle of tears, though I did get close from time to time. I was so nervous of saying the wrong thing, knowing they took everything I said in. I sweat so badly, I stunk when I got out of there. I hope they didn't notice! Even though I didn't think I could advocate well for my daughter, there was enough mama bear in me to do fairly well at the meeting. Now it's in God's hands and I'll just wait until I hear from the regional center if they will reconsider their decision. I have more mountains before me. The next one should be the birth father meeting later this week. I'm a bit emotionally worn out from the meeting today, but I'm happy to have made it through one challenge. It gives me hope for the next.