Thursday, August 06, 2009

Finally a call

Gary's father called. The last time was Gary's birthday, which is in September.

Of course with that much time elapsed there was no way the call could avoid being painful unless it started out, "So sorry son, I've been in a coma the past ten months..." Any other reason for failing to call isn't going to be enough.

Tomorrow Gary's state worker is coming to visit before writing up the report for the next permanency hearing. I told Gary that he should think about whether he wanted state worker to make a change in his file regarding visitation. Right now we are still where we were a year ago. They can't have unsupervised visits until there is one visit supervised by someone who can recommend a change. It is like that because the previous worker had wanted no unsupervised visits at all. The new worker disagrees but feels (or felt a year ago) that there should be some sort of evidence that she was wrong, not just a reversal of the position. We were trying to make it as painless as possible. Gary's father had expressed an interest in everybody getting together. We were going to just have dinner with him, Gary and the agency worker. That would allow everyone to get together and satisfy the state worker.

Now though it is a year later. Gary is almost seventeen. The state worker might be willing to change it to unsupervised visits, if Gary wants them.

He does and he doesn't. He has a lot of intense feelings both ways.

His dad expressed a desire for Gary to have some therapy with his siblings. His dad seemed to think that was a requirement for Gary to be "finished." I assured Gary that no one who could make him do stuff would make him do that if he didn't want to. Gary said that if he thought it would benefit them, he would, but he doesn't see how it could. His whole body language expressed a lot of anxiety when he talked about that. When he thought that maybe his step-mother would be there also confronting him he looked like he might cry.

Gary feels, and I agree, that people over-reacted to what he did. We compared it to Nephew's fire. Burning your father's stuff in the basement and leaving expecting it to burn out (assuming for a moment that Nephew's explanation does accurately reflect what was going on in his mind) is a VERY BAD THING. It was stupid, had terrible consequences for other people, and could have been far worse. It is serious and should not be minimized. On the other hand, having him arrested for the attempted murder of his mother and sisters would be over-kill.

I'm inclined to think that maybe a therapy session in which Gary accepted that anger of his siblings and apologized for the harm he caused would ultimately be a good thing. However, that isn't for me to decide.

I told Gary that if he wanted to meet with his therapist again he could, even if it was just a few times. At first he looked like he wanted that, then he denied that he needed any therapy.

When I was talking to Gary about talking to his state worker I thought about asking if he wanted them to petition to terminate his father's parental rights. I didn't though. I assume that Gary won't want it for all the reasons he didn't want it in December. If such an attempt is made his father will fight it and ...

...oh, something JUST occurred to me. His father may have called because he got a notice of the upcoming permanency hearing.


  1. I'm glad you had your last sentence there, because that was exactly what I was going to ask you. It sounds like you're making good suggestions that should give Gary the freedom to ask for what he really thinks he wants or needs, whether that's therapy or more active connection to his family or less or whatever. It speaks well for your sense of boundaries that you can let him do this without making it about you. (I hope this isn't too weird as a comment. I'm trying to make it make sense! It's one reason I find you such an inspiring parent.)

  2. The comment makes perfect sense. I get it. It's all about boundaries. I don't think I had very good ones in the beginning.

    How different this blog would have been if I started it when Carl moved in, or even David, instead of months before Evan confessed his addiction and went to rehab. I was getting better about boundaries, but you have no idea how bad I was in the beginning. Perhaps I should write a post about that.

  3. That's a really interesting point. Unlike a lot of other parenting blogs that seem to self-segregated along child's age lines, the foster/adoption blogs seem to characterize themselves different ways based on how long the writer been involved with the process. I'm sure you'd sound different if we'd heard from you earlier on. I remember really getting invested in your personal side of the story (strengthening boundaries, which is what I was working on in my personal life) during Evan's addiction struggles. That you would have seemed different at another time is such an interesting point.

  4. Well, this post answers something that I asked in a newer post about Gary and going to therapy. Should have got caught up on reading before commenting. Sorry.

    I agree with Thorn about admiring you and your boundaries in regards to parenting. It is one of the things that I have learned, or am attempting to learn, from you ... or rather, from reading your blog.


Comments will be open for a little while, then I will be shutting them off. The blog will stay, but I do not want either to moderate comments or leave the blog available to spammers.