Sunday, May 04, 2008

Ann's Story Part 16: Frustrations with Mandy and John

Jan 22, 2003
To my friend:

...On the up side, though work is frustrating, the rest of my life is going pretty well. I have been working on Ann's habit of dawdling in the morning. I managed to shift the stress...this morning I was the one that was relaxed and she was tense and hurrying. Yeah! Making it her problem is the greater part of the battle.

Monday Mandy was supposed to take her to her appointment at 3:00 with counselor. Everyone understood that. Ann's appointment has been every Monday at 3:00 since forever. Roland dropped Ann off in the morning and said, "We will pick her up from the counselors at 4." Mandy did not take her because she thought the meeting started at 4. Grrr.... I am determined not to criticize Mandy in Ann's hearing, but it was difficult.

Jan. 23, 2003
To my friend

I have genuine mixed feelings about Mandy. I really do have enormous respect for what she does. Foster homes are fundamentally regular people who have agreed to let kids live with them. But Mandy and John do a different kind of care altogether. And they do girls, who are more difficult to place. If they were not here those kids would have no one else. Mandy and John have been willing to dedicate their lives to this. I could not give up a social life and live with locks on all my doors in order to enjoy the privilege of living with kids who p*ss on each other's beds.

When I found out that Ann was placed with them as a Challenge kid, that affected how I felt about them too. Ann had terrified people. She was stabbing small stuffed toys, hiding knives, pushed her brother (not in anger, but coldly) down the stairs. Her foster parents woke and found her standing in the bedroom staring at them. They put locks on all the bedrooms because they were afraid that she would stab someone in the night. Mandy and John’s were the only ones who were prepared to take her. They were not afraid of her.

When I spoke with Mandy on the phone about Ann being here she cried when she said that she did not want Ann to think they didn't want her. She genuinely loves Ann.

Yesterday I was so frustrated because there has been a real pattern of people not listening to me. Roland is terrible about it. He will hear one part of a sentence and then ask me a question that requires me to repeat myself...several times.

"Ruby says that Mandy will take Ann to her counselor at 3:00 and we will pick her up at 4."
"What time is the appointment?"
"But neither of us can take her then. We are both in class!" (This said in a rising voice of anger and frustration.)
"Mandy will take her at 3:00"
"So when do we pick her up?"
"Why are you angry at me?"

Sigh. That Mandy seems to be in this same category is very frustrating for me. I have a very, very busy life. I need to depend upon other people to remember AND DO their parts. I cannot function if I am responsible for everybody else doing their jobs.

I guess that it is difficult for me to be angry at Mandy because I know how hard these kids are. What to do to raise kids seems so easy from the outside. People who don't have kids say things like, "You should just lay down the law." or "If these were my kids I would tell them that I would not stand for that." It is almost funny. Okay...the kid is cutting classes and you tell them that you won't stand for it, now what?

So Mandy has some techniques that have been very effective, but not with Ann. Of course the woman drives me up the wall and I am determined to have as little direct contact with her as possible.

I am tired today and I am taking a day off. I have decided to talk to the other parents in the school car pool (there are only three of us). I want to pay for gas and not drive so much. I have three kids going to three different schools. I did talk to one mom already, she is cool with it.

Here's how much I like and trust Mandy now: if she were to find and read this blog and know I was talking about her (almost no one in my "real life" knows about it), she would smile at every bad thing I said about her at this time. She would understand. There are only a few people in the world to whom I could say, "You know, three years ago there were days when I wanted to shoot you" without worrying how that would make them feel now.

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