As Sandy was bearing down on the East Coast, people for hundreds of miles had to prepare for the coming storm. I'm sure some were preparing in a calm, deliberate way, some were fearful and yet prepared, still others were paralyzed by their fear and didn't prepare at all, and some didn't prepare because they did not heed the warnings. Some who didn't prepare enough may not have understood what was needed to get ready for the storm, or thought the worst would pass them by. Thankfully, the storm did not take the meteorologists by surprise, and there was a warning and a call for people to go to a place of safety. Just about everyone had a chance.
Tomorrow is my meeting with the regional center, to discuss why they turned down our request for services for Ms. D. I am pretty anxious about the meeting. Because I don't know why they would reject our request, but can only guess, it is hard to prepare. It seemed so cut and dry. Ms. D has FAS and a test that showed an IQ under 70. If they felt they needed more testing, they should have provided it. I feel so anxious about tomorrow. I don't know if I can effectively communicate Ms. D's needs or have the ability to navigate an appeal process. I don't like paperwork. Slogging through red tape and confronting authority brings back so many difficult memories of when we first got the kids and later when we tried to get the school to help her more. It's more than tomorrow's meeting. It's years of feeling like people are fighting against us and making things harder, the same people who should be helping us and making things easier. I'm angry and I'm scared. But I'm thankful that there is an appeal process and that I have a number for an advocate if I need it after tomorrow. I have a chance to get what Ms. D needs.
Later this week, the birth father is coming to our town. He asked to meet with Hubby and the kids. I'm so afraid of how it will go. It could go well. Birthdad called Hubby on the phone and asked him to meet. He didn't go behind our backs, which is a good sign. I don't know how much the birth dad has changed. The last he saw the kids nearly ten years ago, he had a felony warrant out for his arrest and was violent to their mom and at least one of the older kids, giving him an concussion. I don't know exactly how the meeting will go, how long he is expecting to stay up here, or what his expectations are. But I do know that his coming will bring out a lot of dysregulation in the kids. There is a coming storm, and I can prepare a little, but I don't fully know how much it will impact our family. I don't know if I have the emotional capacity to handle the kids when they rage or reject me again. But I'm thankful that we've walked this road before and times like this have brought us closer together. We have a chance to help the kids to sort through their identity, and show them they are loved by both families.
Today was Ms. D's appointment with the psychologist. When we came in and asked how things were going, I gestured that I wasn't doing well but couldn't talk in front of Ms. D. So Ms. D went to the hallway waiting area and I was able to tell the psychologist about what was going on lately. I didn't tell her all because I could feel the tears rising. There is so much that needs to be done in Ms. D's life. I have so many fears of what she will do when she turns eighteen. Will she throw all we have given her away? Will she make good choices in her life? She can be so impulsive. Even today she left the waiting area and wandered around the building because she was tired of waiting. She can be so gullible and people can take advantage of her. I love her so much, I don't want her to suffer. And because of her limitations, I feel even more protective of her than my birth children at her age. I felt more confident in how much to let my teens explore their world and become adults when I was raising my older kids. I wasn't perfect, but they made it without major difficulties. I don't know how to find a balance between protecting and releasing with the younger two. The effect of alcohol on their brains keeps them from making good decisions. The statistics of FASD and the incidences of teen pregnancy and trouble with the law are frightening. I'm scared. I don't know how to prepare myself or them for the rest of their teen years. But I'm thankful for Ms. D's psychologist. She was able to encourage me today. I'm thankful for all the people who have walked this road before and those who are walking a similar path now. My kids might reject what we have given them, but they have a chance to live a better life.
Sandy, the storm, has already affected people on many fronts. There was a storm surge, rain, wind, and snow. The storm in our house has many fronts too, even more than I've mentioned on this post. It's hard enough to prepare for one thing, so when many things are happening at once it is so easy to be overwhelmed. I don't know if I have prepared enough for the coming weeks. I don't know if I'll be paralyzed with fear or whether I will make big mistakes. But I have been forewarned. I have the support of people who love me. And I also have God, who can help me navigate what seems impossible now. I have a chance to turn difficult times into real growth in my life and in the lives of my children.
This time can be hard, but good.