Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ann's Story Part 28: The Meeting Scheduled

to my friend

I just got a call from the social worker. There is a meeting on March 5, to which Roland and I are not invited. The meeting includes Mandy and John, agency people, Ann's state social worker, and someone who is assigned to be Ann's advocate. This is Mandy and John's big chance to convince everyone to send Ann off to the clinic they have found, get her brain fixed, and have her sent back home.

I am so emotionally conflicted. Shall I be totally honest?

--I am very attached to Ann. I see a lot of potential in her. She can be very loving, but does not feel loved. I think that our family could be very good for her. I want to take care of her.

--If Mandy and John’s could and would give up most of the Challenge girls I would be very happy for Ann. She has been with them since she was 5. She is attached and though they are far from perfect we don't take children away from imperfect parents. It is the overall chaos of the house that makes it unbearable.

--Ann is putting more stress on Roland and the boys than I anticipated. I keep trying to remember how upset Andrew and Brian were with Carl several times. Carl treated them like "little kids" (which we did not). Andrew felt displaced. He had been the oldest and most interesting kid at the dinner table, now Carl dominated the discussion and dismissed him. Carl also tended to tease Brian, which upset him of course. I was unconflicted, and my relationship with Carl was different. He had chosen to be here and when I told him that he needed to change his behavior he would look sheepish and say that he would try. But it is not working that way with Ann. Ann wants attention and is perfectly okay with negative attention. I am controlling her behavior fairly well by not feeding the bad stuff. This means though that she is getting away with things that Andrew and Brian are not allowed to get away with. Andrew is beginning to be upset by it.

--I have been feeling stressed by the lack of finality. I keep a piece of myself pulled back and that makes it more difficult to deal. It is harder with Ann too. She is not committed to being here and that means I don't have a great deal of leverage. I don't know how Ann will respond when she realizes that it is final. She will be conflicted...some combination of relief, sadness, and anger, I imagine.

--Sometimes I feel very frustrated. I don't like feeling like I am her jailer. I prefer to take care of kids who are a little bit happy about being cared for. My least good self sometimes thinks, "Oh hell, just take her away. Give me a kid who wants to be here."

So it is difficult right now. We are all tired and stressed. I think I am mostly just glad they are finally going to have the damn meeting. I need for it to be settled. If they place Ann here then we can start dealing and coping.

All sorts of things could happen...depending upon how persuasive Mandy and John are. Ann could be removed from agency; she could be sent to the silly clinic; she could be placed here.

But in less than a week we should have some answers.

Part 29

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