Saturday, October 24, 2009

Need Important Advise

Dear Blog Buds,

Something has just recently come up and I need your advise or the advise of friends and/or family who have gone through this. Last night I received a frantic phone call from my youngest, Ian. As I have mentioned, he is a high functioning autistic and has many behavioral and physical problems related to his condition. He begged me to pick him up because he was fighting with his step-mother about breaking a rule. Now, the rule he broke was trying to sneak candy into his room. He's not allowed to eat in his room at all at his father's house. Here it's a different story...he's allowed, but has to pick up the mess, plus, we have tile in his room so the clean up is easier for all of us. I could hear the woman yelling in the background and right then, his father called me on his cell. I told Ian I was not coming to pick him up, but would talk to his father to see what the big deal was. I told him to calm down, go to his room and just take some time to cool down.

His father told me that he does this every time he breaks "her" rules, I told him I was quite aware of Ian's tantrums, duh! Of course I don't criticize the woman since it is her house and Ian has to follow the rules, anywhere! I tell him he's doing wrong by breaking the rules, regardless who's house or rules they are. Well, I did tell his father that I had spoken with my daughter not long ago and she and my older son know they will inherit Ian when their father and I can no longer care for him. I told my ex that they resent the fact that neither of us really ever did anything aggressively to prepare Ian for a job. I had something lined up when he was living with through his school district, but he decided when he turned 18, he wanted to live with his father. I was very reluctant since I knew I was the better parent and my sweet man a better step-parent. But I relinquished him to his father with hopes that his father could help him in a better field since that school district was more active in helping it's special students and their future because they were a wealthier school district and in El Paso, TX, that's not saying a whole hell of a lot.

Ok, here is where I need you advise. He told me today that his father is going to put him in a group home. I don't have a problem with that, but I've heard horror stories about these places, especially the local ones. I had a lit. prof in college who worked in the school districts at different levels of education before shifting to a university setting. When mentioning to her about my son, she said that the homes here are horrific, so I told his father this, but this was about 4 years ago. Since Ian will not leave the city, I need to do some research. I looked up those homes available here and of course they're in a crappy part of town...high crime area. I need to know what I'm looking for in a home, what kind of staff is needed to care for these individuals and how many patients per staff is a good number.

I'm sure there are many more questions I'll need to ask, but right now I'm so overwhelmed by this news, all I've done is cry in my studio...working of course!! LOL I have so much guilt that I didn't do something more for him and I'm sure his dad is feeling the same. He was in a very good program at his school while living with his dad, but the funding stopped and Ian is trained to be an assistant h.s. athletic trainer, but isn't being paid. I know his dad tried, but stuff happens, if you get my drift. Do to all kinds of laws, Ian is limited to what he can do with the athletic teams. He's not allowed to go on away games due to the heavy duty meds. he's on. It's not that he won't take them, the problem of having them around the students and they knowing he's on them could create a very serious delimma. There are other problems, but I won't go into them...not that important. My guilt stems from my gut feeling he would have been better off with me, but my sweet man assures me his dad did the best he could.

I can't help but feel this wife of his is putting the screws to him and forcing him to make some very serious decisions. She knew he had a son with problems and 2 other children when she decided to break up our marriage. I suppose she knew I would never let him go and she would be free to live out her life with his father....I don't know, it's all water under the bridge now and I have no real harsh feeling anymore, but I know she's behind it and who can't blame her. Ian is a handful and has many times behaved violently. When he was little, I could control it, but as he grew up, just his size and weight became an issue. I'm a pretty hefty size lady, but the step-mom isn't so I know she's had some scares. However, the last time he did this, my husband had to step in and hold him back from hurting me...that's been a few years now, thank God, but one just never knows when he'll blow and what will set him off.

Well, now that I have completely exposed myself to you all, if you can help, please do and if you can't, your prayers will do...yes, Anne, I have a box of St. Jude candles, so don't worry!!!! hahahaha!!!! Thanks for reading this long "blah,blah, woe is me" blog....just to knowing there are people out there that are going through this, or have or know other that are, helps. When he was an baby, I felt so alone because I didn't know what what wrong, but time changed that as did the research on his condition and others like him. Thanks and peace out.


Bone*Head*Studios said...

Dear Georgina,
I have no answers, just a lot of
prayers that you do find the right one to remedy this troubling situation,that adultress / stepmom
is the one that should be put in a home, but then that's another story.....

Julie said...

Sweet Georgina ~ maybe I can help a real job is actually as an Administrator for Adult Developmentally Disabled Group Homes for a company called UCP of L.A. & Ventura County. We have a variety of adults with different disabilities...some with autism and behavioral struggles like your son. My heart breaks for you as I write this because I just wish I could let you know how many hundreds of parents I have spoken with over the years that feel exactly as you do and the bottom line (& hopefully most of us) have done our very best (which is pretty damn good) and should be proud of facing the challenges that God placed before you. You have loved unconditionally, there is no better parent than that. I can tell you a couple of things about group homes from my experience and I truly hope that it helps...You should visit and tour as many as possible, especially when the people living there are home (and unexpectedly if possible)...because I promise you that you will get an instant gut feeling about the environment, the staff, the other residents. And, then you let that gut lead you in your decisions. Secondly, a good group home can be the best thing that ever happened to your son because it can offer him an environment with peers and people that he can share interests and activities with (I tell my parents it's like sending them off to college). A good ratio should be 3:1 or 4:1 but a house full of six young men with one staff would make me nervous. I'm sorry to ramble....but if you ever, EVER want to ask me any questions please feel Otherwise I will pray for you to get some answers to your concerns....With love xxxx, julie

glorv1 said...

Georgina, that is a lot to have on your sweet shoulders woman. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I don't have any answers other than prayer. Your husband has probably been a godsend, but it must weigh on his shoulders as well. I'm thinking of you amiga.

Olde Baggs n Stuft Shirts by LindaOma said...

Georgina, mis amiga. I wish I had the answers you are looking for. Like Julie, I do have one answer for you, you (I am sure) have done your very best. That is all any of us can hope to do. I will hold you ever so close in hope and prayer. Hope that you find your answer to calm yourself and prayer that all will be well. Opening up shows strength of character and we all, who love you, know you are a strong, loving woman. Linda

yoborobo said...

Oh, Georgina, what a troubled time for you. I know you have been the very best mom - this is just a hard situation with no easy solutions. I don't have any answers for you, either. I'm guessing Julie is your best sounding board. You are in my prayers, my friend! xoxox Pam

Micki said...

Georgina, I can't imagine the situation you are in and unfortunately have no advise for you.
But I am thinking of you and hoping you will get the help you need.

Micki x

Diane MacNaughtan said...

Dear Georgina,
I am sending you a BIG Hug and Prayers.
I can very much relate to your pain you are feeling as I have a daughter that is bipolar. She was in and out of several juvenile group homes before we found the right one for her. The home we found was perfect! with therapists that worked with her daily. She learned so many skills (including work skills) and so much about her own condition. She has lived on her own with her caring husband for five years now. I am so grateful that we kept searching for the right home. There are many good ones out there and touring each one and keeping close contact will give you a good sense if it is right for your child.
I carried a big bag of guilt around because I could no longer take care of my own child. But at the time, she was so out of control with violent rages, then sinking down into the deepest of depressions to the point of suicide attempts.
Though we searched many homes for our daughter, I am ever grateful for the one we found.
I know you will find the perfect one in your search.
Here is one more big hug!

Yve said...

Hiya, sending you hugs and a big mug of hot chocolate from over the Pond. Sounds as though Julie will be a huge help to you. I can't offer much advice as I am not trained but I worked for a while at a day centre for people with Special Needs. It was one of the happiest times of my life to be honest. The good thing I discovered that might help to ease your worries a little is that whenever the people there went into group homes the outcome was usually very positive :o)

We forget that they are young adults with all the confusion, needs and stresses that brings all of us let alone those of us who have additional requirements. Being around others in the same boat can bring about a renewed confidence that can lead to rewarding employment and a life of their own. I think Julie is right about the ratio of staff to residents, in the UK it seems to be about 3/4 residents to each group home.

I know this is all generalisation and I can't imagine how you, your man, your ex and his partner cope with an Autistic person round the clock. The emotional stress must be immense, but we often underestimate their ability to make their own way in life once they find their feet. I hope things improve soon, hugs, Yve :o)

oldblackcatboo said...

Oh Georgina! My heart was breaking for you as I read your post! I wish that I could help in some way but I have no experience with this kind of situation. You will be in my thoughts and prayers and I agree with the others that hopefully Julie can help you through this with some answers. I will be praying for you and yours!
- Cindi

yoborobo said...

Georgina - I hate to post about this while you are going through so much - but when you get time, go to and click on 'contact me', and give me your mailing address so I can mail Constance Pettigrew to you (and avoid the bots that harvest addresses!:). No hurry at all, sweetie! I have her all saved for you. xoxo Pam

Georgina said...

Thank you all for your wonderful prayers and have no idea how I appreciate it. Julie, it looks as if you'll be my temporary adviser on this issue since this is your profession. Diane, thank you so much for your story...I somewhat know how you must have felt, but I'm so happy your daughter has found her way thanks to wonderful parents and excellent care. Yve, again, I thank you for your've been there and done that.

Flora, Gloria, Micki, Linda, Pam and Cindi, God Bless you all and thank you for your thoughts and prayers...I'm storing them in my heart. Thanks EVERYONE for the advise, prayers and heartfelt feelings. You all mean so much to me. God Bless you all!


Light and Shadow Studio said...

Georgina, So sorry to hear about your son. I think I have mentioned before that I too have a son with mental illness. It's different but we face the same problems. I understand the guilt and the hopelessness so well. A mom just always has the feeling that we are responsible for our children's happiness even though we really have no control over it. I want to share my recent experience. We have struggled with our son for 4 years of living at home and constant problems. Finally it just got to be too much. I won't go into the problems but basically things were just not getting any better. He got accepted into a group home with treatment. I can't tell you what a miracle it has been. When I asked him to get up and do chores or hold a job, sometimes he would sometimes not. Here he has to get up, make his bed, do chores and he does. He has learned so much and most of all he is learning responsibility. The staff are in a different role than a mom or Dad. He can't play on their guilt or relationship. He is happier and I can see so much growth. He misses us but that's been good to fall back on himself and not us. I agree though, check it out and find the best you can. I guess the question to ask is if what is being done is not working maybe it's time to move on and try something else. My prayers are with you. I understand the heartache and the worry, it is so very hard. This may be a great positive step. Also have you considered contacting NAMI or maybe Autistic organizations in the area? They are a wealth of information of just ordinary folks going through what you are. They probably know the scoop on all the group homes too. Good luck! Please contact me if I can give further help. Tammy

Deborah said...

Oh Georgina, I have no experience in this area, so no wisdom to offer, but feel my arms around you. Lifting you and your son up in prayer, never ceasing, asking that The One who knows all needs sends the right people your way. You are now a little blue sticky note on my desk as a reminder to pray...
All my love, Deb

Anonymous said...

I wish I had some magical answer for you G, one that would solve it all...but of course I don't. All I can say to you is that you did what you thought was right to do...there may be no "right" answer really.

I'm sure you've probably explored these options, but have you checked into online groups that deal with the personal sides of having autistic children? Places/groups that you can vent/cry/etc?

Sending you much love.

Janine said...

Hi Georgina,
You are related to Lola Montez?
That is so amazing!!!!
And so exiting!!!!!!!!!!
Is there somebody of your family who might tell you more about that?
have a great week

Designs By CK said...

Thanks Georgina & Happy Halloween!!!


Chris (-:

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I wouldn't know what advice to give as I've never been in this type of situation but do wish you the best and will be thinking of you. One thing to try to do is before making any decisions, step away from everything and everyone for at least 10 minutes to just breathe and clear your mind if possible before going further.

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

I have no similar experience in my life, and I'm afraid I have absolute no answers or advise for you.

But I had to respond to tell you I'll keep you and your son in my meditation basket. It sounds like he's getting a raw deal from the step mom...which is always so sad to hear.

Here's best wishes for a positive outcome...please keep us updated.

Tracy M. said...

Hi Sweetie, Just wanted to let you know you are in my thoughts and prayers and I'm sure all will work it's self out in time. Please try not to feel guilty.(I know, easy to say). I think Julie and others have some great advise. Take care and know that I am thinking of you.
Tracy M.

susan said...

listen, i know your not going to like my advise but you do know where your son should sounds like your ex needs a break. and your other children are right, they probably will be his care takers. my husband and i have had our grandson since a infant.he is also autistic. it has not been easy. we have fought for everything we could get for him. went through the medication thing(can't believe what the doctors were willing to give him. one for this and one for that.don't the doctors read the PDR?).
decided to opt out because we worried about the long term affect these drugs would have on him.i don't know what state you live in,were in washington state, but obama gave lots of money for children with disibilities.our school system has programs for kids up to the age of 21. what happens after, who homes sound great,but you really, really, need to check on them. good luck and keep me posted.