Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Circle Game

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

It has been over eight months since I've last posted.  I've thought about writing from time to time, but other than a bit of news I received late last summer, there hasn't been much to say with respect to the subject matter of this blog.

The news?  Given Danielle's story, it's not terribly surprising, though it was disappointing just the same.  I had learned that Danielle was pregnant and expecting her first child.  While that tidbit in and of itself was bad enough, the story got worse.  Although Danielle was living with the baby daddy, it turned out he was married to, and not divorced from, someone else.  He and his wife have at least one child that has significant medical problems and disabilities.

I think the situation is very, very sad, and quite concerning.  The photos I've seen of this fellow on social media lead me to believe that he has strong gang ties, which can only lead to a bad end for him and Danielle.  I'm not terribly surprised about this either, since I remember she once told me she was attracted to "bad boys."

The day Danielle turned 18, she withdrew from school.  The very next day, she traveled to another state so that she could be reunited with biological half-brother #2  That didn't work out, and she ended up moving back to our state to stay with half-brother #1.  Predictably, there were problems.  Finally, she ended up in another country, living with her maternal aunt.  There was strife there as well, so she ended up moving in with her baby daddy.

I briefly saw Danielle for lunch, with my folks, one afternoon in October.  She was visibly pregnant, due in January, and planned to stay here in the United States with half-brother #1 until she had her baby.  She didn't have much to say for herself.  She talked about how difficult it was to cook, given that she didn't really know how.  I couldn't resist gently teasing her, because FosterEema and I had tried to teach her, but as with everything, she had refused our guidance.

I didn't say as much as I wanted to say.  I held my tongue because Danielle is 20, and she's long past the age where I have any influence over her lifestyle choices.  Even if our relationship was good, I doubt she would want to hear my thoughts on her situation, which would have boiled down to, "finish your education, get a job, and make a quality plan for your child's life."

Lunch was awkward.  I gave Danielle a hug when we parted, and she patted my back in an odd way.  It felt like a hug from a stranger I had once known, but whatever connection we had once shared was gone.  I wished Danielle well, and told her to stay out of trouble.  That advice, I think, came far too late to be of any use.

Even if it had come on time, I am sure it would have been dismissed.

Shortly after our lunch date, I learned via the grapevine that Danielle had gotten into some sort of dispute with half-brother #1 and had left.  She visited FosterEema for a few days, who put her on a train.  I assume, but don't know for certain, that she left the country.  As for what exactly happened, I don't know.  Her social media account has been inactive for nearly two months.

The other day, just over a week after the event, I heard via the grapevine that Danielle had given birth to a low-birthweight baby boy.  Other than the baby's gender and weight, I have no details.  Given his size, I can only assume that his future, just like his mother, grandmother and great-grandmother before him, will not be easy.

The cycle repeats.


  1. Sad news, indeed, but good to have an update--I think of you and your (former) family often. Hoping for the best possible outcome for all.

  2. We dig our own holes. That's just the way it is.

  3. Thank you for the update even though it isn't much good news. Like the other comment, I think about you often as well and wonder how you and your "former" family are doing. Working as a Guardian ad Litem, I hope that all the kids I work with will grow up to be successful great human beings. In reality, some of the things these kids have witnessed and endured over the years is too traumatic to ever really overcome and the cycle of abuse, trauma and neglect repeat. I'm sorry that Danielle never learned anything from you and even if she did, she'd never have the guts to admit you may have been right. I hope YOU are doing well and are happy.

  4. I can't believe how long it's been since I last checked in with you. I just don't read blogs anymore, although I still write mine. It's all about FaceBook now. I'm glad to hear you're doing better and recovering from the trauma and PTSD so many of us face after living with children that are so "broken."

    My son (22) has been out of the home in prison or jail for almost 4 years now and I still keep my purse locked in my car. I screen calls on the home phone (he calls collect) and my heart still jumps a little every time it rings although it's much better now that I know he can't legally leave the state he's in until he's off parole (over 10 years from now IF he keeps out of trouble in the meantime). It took a couple of years for my PTSD to heal enough that I could handle this. Why are we expected to love and have warm, fuzzy feelings for people who hurt us and are not capable of relationships.

    I'm glad that you're doing so well. Thank you for the updates. You were a big mentor for me in the middle of all this.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Mary,

      Thanks much for stopping by. Yes, my life has very dramatically changed from where it was even a few years ago. It's a huge change, and an equally-large relief! The biggest drama at my house this week was searching for my sweetie's misplaced keys so he could get out the door on time for work. Such a delightful change from rages that lasted for hours...

      I'm sorry to hear that your son ended up in prison. That's hard.

      As for having warm and fuzzy feelings for those who have hurt us, I think that was an ongoing theme of my blog. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't understand that while you can care deeply about someone, you don't necessarily feel good about them when they repeatedly injure you. I think that was ultimately the reason why I attracted so many haters on my site over the years and ultimately stopped writing because of it.

      Anyway, the lesson I've learned in all of this is that troubled kids eventually do turn 18, move out and start their own lives. There is an end to the drama, though I know some parents have to have stricter boundaries than others to make that happen.

      Thanks for getting in touch, and I appreciate your comments. I am surprised (and happy) that you found my blog useful back in the day. I'm glad for that, because I see my time as a foster/adoptive parent largely as a profoundly unhappy period in my life where I wasn't able to help a kid who desperately needed it.

      I'm glad my words were helpful so someone!

    2. You and FosterEma provided Danielle a safe place to grow up. I'm sorry it was so unpleasant for you two. You performed a mitzvah. It's like Mother Teresa said, in essence: Do kindly unto others. It was never between you and them; it was between you and god [the Universe, or you higher power of choice].

  5. I'm sorry I didn't express my gratitude for your help at the time. Of course, being in the middle of it, made my life pretty small. There was very little (maybe nothing) left for others.

    It's only now, looking back, that I realize how much we (you and I) accomplished considering what we had to start with. I felt like such a failure at the time, because I wanted to help my children become functional, productive, healthy citizens. Now I see that while this wasn't what I wanted for my children, my being a part of their life helped them somewhat.

    No, I didn't want my son to be in prison, BUT he's still alive (pretty huge considering his death wish) and in prison for a non-violent crime (also huge considering his gang-banger goals),. He has found the structure and support he needs to function, but that we were unable to legally provide. His short time with us (properly diagnosed and medicated), gave him some time to mature and learn some self-control. We didn't "fix" him, but even though he's unmedicated in prison, he's been able to avoid the rages that could get him killed. When he came to us at age 13, those rages were not in his control.

    My daughter has moved back in with her biofamily, again, and this time she appears to have more self-esteem and ability to recognize that this is not the best way to live and raise children.

    I still hope my kids will never have children (their genetics are toxic, and resources/ ability to handle raising children are minimal at best), but I have hopefully improved the lives of their children and children's children. To break the cycle, at least a little.

    You provided the best environment you possibly could for Danielle, and she took away as much as she could considering. There is still time for her brain to develop and mature (age 25 is when they say the brain stops maturing). With luck, she will someday realize what she had. Maybe even try to mend fences. It sounds like you've left that door open.

    You are an amazing mom! Thanks again for blogging and letting me know that I was not alone surrounded by perfect families whose adoptions were all unicorns and rainbows.


I love to get comments from my readers. Please be aware that comment moderation is on and there may be a delay between the time you post your remarks and the time they appear on the blog.

If you would like your comment read and/or published, sign your name to it and play nice.