Saturday, March 27, 2010

Charlie Comes To Live With Us - Week #1

For several months Charlie had been begging to come live with us.  On several occasions as I was tucking him into bed at his house, big tears would roll down his cheeks.  "Please can I come home with you, please?" 

Over the last month we had become increasingly worried about Charlie.  As much as Turk loves these kids, it is exhausting to keep up with four kids who have special emotional needs.  When we get tired and frustrated we say and do things we don't mean.  We could see it wearing on everyone in the house, and we suggested several times that Charlie come live with us as he was the major cause of the stress.

We knew that homework had been completely neglected.  With his ADHD and lack of maturity, he was unable to do it on his own and there was too much going on in the house for his father to help him with it.  He was falling behind in spelling and reading, no longer on the AB honor roll.

Friday, March 6th, the school called Randy about Charlie's behavior.  It had become increasingly worse over that week, and the normally very patient teacher had reached her limit.  Randy went to the school to get Charlie and took him to McDonald's.  As Charlie wolfed down his chicken sandwich he talked to Randy about his frustrations.  It was the first time he had been able to verbalize why he was so unhappy. 

Some wonderful friends had arranged a Will for Turk which included a Power of Attorney in the event that he could no longer take care of the kids, we could take over.  With the legal work in place, we decided it was time to step in on Charlie's behalf.  Turk didn't argue with us, which confirmed our suspicion that he was at his wits end.

Charlie came to our house that Friday knowing that he would be staying here.  Saturday morning I was sitting at my desk when he got up.  He came into the office and said "Miss Stephanie, am I being a good son so far?" 

By Sunday afternoon it was evident that reality was setting in.  When Randy asked him to wash his hands for lunch, he curled up in a corner pouting.  I took him into the bedroom away from the other kids.  I held him and talked to him.  For an hour and a half he kicked and screamed, "Leave me alone!"  Each time my answer was "I will never leave you alone."

Finally I said, "If I leave you alone who is going to take care of you?"

"Nobody" he screamed.

"Well, when you can show me that Mr. Nobody has a place for you to live, a bed for you to sleep in, food for you to eat and clothes for you to wear, then I will consider letting you live with Mr. Nobody."  This seemed to take a little steam out of his sails!

With both of us exhausted, he finally calmed down. 

The following week was harder than I anticipated.  I had decided to finish the year with home school in order to give him a chance to adjust.  Our hope is that he will have time to mature enough to be ready for 3rd grade in the fall.  He and I spent much of that first week sitting in the rocking chair until he could find a good attitude and we could do a little school work.  There were times when I wondered if we had made the right decision.

Finally, Friday came and he went with Randy to pick up the kids from school.  He proudly showed his teacher the 100 he had earned on his spelling test.  He enjoyed his sisters and brothers all weekend, which helped his overall mood.

We had made it through one week - stayed tuned for week #2!

Until next time ~