Monday, March 13, 2006

The bottom line

I had such a good conversation with the social worker! I have gone through so many different possible position, and where I am now is so basic.

I once thought that I would have to know if Evan was using if he were going to be in the house.

Then I thought knowing and/or trying to know would only raise tensions in the house and make me crazy. So I thought I wanted someone else to know, but only to tell me if he was clearly addicted again (as opposed to having had a "slip").

Not too long ago I thought I needed for Evan to have a plan for continued treatment that he would stick to.

Not too long ago I thought that I only wanted him back from the rehab center if I knew he was clean and committed to staying that way.

All of these things I have expressed to the social worker at one time or another.

Now I am in a very Al-Anon space.

I know that I could not let one of the other boys back into the hosue unless I was certain he was clean and committed to staying that way, because it would be too difficult to get rid of him later if he wasn't. It would hurt horribly to kick Andrew, Brian, Carl or even David out after letting them back in. (It would be a bit easier with David because I have had practice). But, and this may seem terrible to some people, I am not Evan's mom. Emotionally I am Evan's aunt. I am the woman who loves him, wants him to succeed but does not feel a strong obligation to help him do it.

This is probably partly because he came to me at nearly 18. It is also because he has biofamily around. He never needed me to be his emotional mother -- his own mother stuggles to do that and his aunt and his grandmother try to make up the difference. He has only needed me to be the nice, supportive adult who is letting him live there.

I also feel safe about letting him come back in because I feel confident that if he behaves in a manner that is unsafe to the family, the people at the foster care agency will help get him out of my house.

In other words, I know that emotionally and practically, I can make him leave if I need to.

SO...this means there is a clear bottom line: if he comes back we will give him a chance. In order to stay in the home he must follow the basic four rules that dictate all rules in our household:

  1. Everyone knows where everyone is.
  2. Everyone behaves in ways that are respectful and safe for everyone else.
  3. Everyone contributes to the household (e.g. cooking dinner once a week).
  4. Everyone does his or her job (for kids this means school).

I don't think that Evan can successfullly follow the rules and use at the same time (especially since being obviously high, crashing, or having illegal substances in the house constitute unsafe behavior), but if he can I want him to stay.

So I told the social worker that I am not longer asking for all the things that I previously said I might want...and I have no objection to supporting anything else someone else wants.

If the social worker, or the agency, or the high school, or a teacher, or his employer (assuming he gets one) insist on random drug tests before they will work with him, then I support that. Evan will have to deal with it.

The other perk to this is that if he is not going to school I don't have to say that he has to leave because I think he is using. It won't matter why he is not going to school. If he is behaving in a manner makes the boys feel unsafe, it will not matter if it is because he is high or crashing or anything.

Anyway, it is really good that I talked to the social worker today, because tomorrow someone from HQ is coming by to help them make decisions about a couple of kids, including Evan. It is good for them to know that my position is that I will fully support whatever conditions they put on him and have no "extra" ones of my own to add.

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