Roller Coaster, Part 2
Continued from Roller Coaster
Finally surrendering to the truth that we might not have the expertise to help our girl, we began to consider residential treatment. We researched facilities, finding nothing available near our home.
The few programs we found were far away and insurance would cover only partial (if any) cost of the treatment available for Reactive Attachment Disorder. Actual hours with a counselor could be covered, but therapeutic activities, room and board, etc., were not considered billable. Out-of-pocket costs ranged from $10,000 to $30,000 per month (sometimes higher).
Discouraged and exhausted, we began to wonder whether our only recourse would be to simply “hang in there” until she reaches age 18, then invite her to remove herself from our home.
We’ve explained to both kids that they’re welcome to stay past 18 with the stipulation that they must do two things:
- participate in furthering their education
- contribute to the household and follow house rules
…but current behavior indicated the second stipulation might be unlikely to happen.
Then, a friend told us about a non-profit, RAD-focused program supported by donors. The price for accepted children would be reasonable. The parameters for acceptance were fairly strict, including a requirement that the child attend voluntarily. I called for information.
Causing our only hesitation was location; long distance and high airfare costs would keep us from visiting her more than a few times per year.
After hours of discussion and tears, we decided to try something new: full transparency.
We explained the program and asked her opinion.
Showing her the website, we scrolled through pictures and descriptions of the program. We explained that we felt she needed more help than we could give her, so we were looking at the I could tell she didn’t think we were serious.
In a moment we couldn’t have planned if we tried, the director called.
As I discussed the possibility of our girl attending the program, Hubby asked her, “Do you know who Mama is talking with right now? He’s in charge of the place you might need to live.”
We watched realization drain her face of color.
Once the phone conversation finished, we talked with her again. This time, she was sobbing.
“I don’t want to leave you!”
And in that moment, on that evening in late November, something shifted.
The change took months, but with the help of an in-home counselor, our girl worked through her anger and fear. Her biggest fear, it turns out, was of being happy. As long as she decided not to be happy, she had control. As long as she didn’t feel happiness, it could never be taken.
Once she said this out loud, admitted she was afraid to feel joy because it might once again be stolen, she took the power of the fear back into her own hands. It gave her the control she craved.
I won’t lie; the change took months. The roller coaster continued to rise and fall. We had bad days and good days. Each month, more and more good days. And almost a year later to the moment, I can count the bad days this month on one hand. Honestly, on one finger.
A year ago, if someone told me she’d be one of my favorite people, hilarious and smart, funny as heck and loads of fun, I might have smirked at the perceived impossibility. But that’s exactly who she is. Hubby and I are enjoying every moment with this kid in the present, putting aside the fear of what might come next.
She’s not perfect, and she’s recently become a teenager, so I’m aware we could be in for some sharp climbs, rolls and drops ahead.
But lately, riding this roller coaster is fabulous fun. When it rolls into the station, we’re riding again. No question.