In my 6 ish years of working a licensed social worker I have ran into several crisis situations and kids/youth from tough places dealing with tough things. Never have I felt scared, uneasy or at a loss of ideas. This all come to a screeching halt two weeks ago. For some back story Buck and I currently are fostering two little ones. They have been living with us for 4 months (as of tomorrow). They are talkative, full of energy and have great imaginations.
As the months have past we started to have some severe anger show from the oldest (a boy). I remember thinking no big deal, we know how to handle this. After many trial and errors nothing was working. His tantrums became worse and would last longer. Our agency was so encouraging--calling and checking on us, providing more training and helping us locate a great therapist. Here and there we would have a day where the fits were not so long and we would feel that we had made some progress.
Four weeks ago the fits/tantrums began to escalate fast, last long (about 3 hours or longer) and we were slowly losing control. We were having two or three a day. We could not pin point the reasons for the fit-they weren't consistent and the escalation would happen fast, many times with no warning. There was nothing that seemed to work and believe me we tried everything and read lots of research and it was not working. At one point during a fit I was so unsure of what to do I just prayed. He stopped long enough to thank me for praying for him then picked back up. This did give me a little chuckle :)
Two weeks ago while I was at work I get a phone call that he had ran away. I was so scared. He's so little and has no survival skill-what if we couldn't find him. I pretty sure this is the first time I felt sheer panic in my life. Luckily we found him and he calmed down and went to sleep. However when he woke up it began the longest day of my life. I cannot remember what caused him to begin to throw a tantrum but it started about 9 in the morning and at 2 that afternoon we finally decided (with a team of professional help) that taking him to a pysch hospital was the best.
I must explain to you though how the tantrum felt. As I watched him yell, scream, roll around in the grass, hit the windows, throw the patio chairs etc...I felt helpless. It was like something had taken over his body. He didn't even take time to breath. I often would remind him to take a breath. I was scared.
As we arrived at the hospital you are wanting to get help, wanting someone to acknowledge you are doing your best. Well luckily this happened. The admissions counselor was cold but the doctor we met with was so encouraging to us. I was relieved to hear him speak to us but can someone explain to me that while we are in a room with a screaming child who is not stopping, who is running into the walls that we have to wait for 6 hours. That's right it took 6 hours for us to get seen and to get admitted into the hospital. Ridiculous!!!
Once in the staff was helpful. When I got back to the car after saying our goodbyes. I lost it. I cried the whole way home, tears of relief, of pain, of hope, of sadness for him, of exhaustion. I couldn't remember the last time I ate or how I was going to sleep knowing he was there.
In the few days he was in the hospital I was able to get some sleep and take time to see the good. I was reminded that he is a little boy with big hurst, not just an angry child. While talking through the events that night, I remember Buck asking how did I stay calm. I was thinking-I didn't day calm, my insides were racing. But even though I was scared and felt panic there was a strength that only God can provide to keep going. This is the only explanation.
And to end this rather long post...I cannot get into the details of their case but please pray for them. Also for all you parents out there....love on your kids, give them hugs, acknowledge they exist! The power of human touch when you are young is soooo huge! Oh and he is doing better. He is not well but better. And well, we have gotten some rest and are ready to keep in this battle for him and his future.