Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Never Mind ... Maybe It's Just the PTSD Talking

Last night I blogged that I was dubious about Mike's whereabouts and activities. I went to sleep last night without difficulty and awakened this morning as I usually do, so my sleeping was not affected. However, being the parent I am, my first impulse was to check the online county jail roster just to make sure my nagging suspicions could not be confirmed. Before I clicked to the site, though, I picked up my iPhone and discovered a text message that arrived at 12:34 AM. It was Mike. A brief message simply telling me that he had found a place to stay and that he had used $5 (I had given him a $10 yesterday to buy something to eat) to "buy gas. Hope that's OK."

There was some strange comfort in his message. He took time to let me know that he was safe and he reported back to me how he spent the money I gave to him. For someone with the checkered history Mike has, especially with those of us who love him (that's where the attachment disorders kick in), I'm not sure he could have done much better than that. Now, of course, I have no way to prove that he was, in fact, safe or that he did, in fact, use the money for gas, but that's not my job to figure out.

He appropriately informed me of his schedule today, which includes being at work by 11 AM, and asked if I could meet up with hi (the trunk of my car continues to be his closet). I agreed, so at 10:30 I will meet him at a local gas station, give him a ride to work, wait while he changes into his work clothes, and then open my trunk so he can deposit his other clothes in the "closet."

For many people who don't understand the lifestyle of adoptive parents with special needs kids (or special needs kids who are now "adults") this "taxi service" thing might sound silly or warped. Fortunately my schedule is fluid enough to allow me to do this, and it provides me some comfort knowing that I can be of assistance to help Mike do what he is supposed to do. While I cannot make his decisions nor do for him what only he can do, I can do my best to empower him. I use that word intentionally, because this situation could easily become one of enablement (which I view with disdain) rather than empowerment. It is my task to keep my boundaries with Mike clear and to offer what assistance I am able to offer. This way it benefits him, and helps me to find comfort in a challenging situation.

Many times adoptive parents jokingly (and sometimes not so jokingly) speak of their own "post-traumatic stress" (PTSD) as a result of raising children who are unpredictable, threatening and scary. So, at least for this moment, ignore last night's cynical blog. Maybe it was just my PTSD talking.

It feels good to know that for forty-eight hours now Mike has done what he is supposed to do.


Gary Zimmerli said...

If he lets you know where he is and what he spent his money on, that's better than most "normal" kids, Bart! That's gotta feel good!

As for your "taxi service," do you think there is any chance Mike can reach the point where he can move into a normal adult lifestyle, living in a home and holding down a job, making money and providing his own transportation, etc.?

quilted family said...

Seems like there is a lot of that (PTSD among caregivers) going around. glad things were better than you thought.

Linda B. said...

I'm sure this does sound like an odd way to parent to some folks, but to me it sounds like a very caring father giving his son the support you know he needs. I hope I can do the same when my daughter is at this point. I have learned a lot from you, thanks!