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Friday, April 30, 2010

Tylenol in your Toes?

I really thought I would not be blogging anything else until the move is done, but because this came up as a result of the moving process, I thought I would share while it is fresh in my head.

Quite often foster/adopt kids will hoard. With my kids it is especially candy since I won’t buy it for them. Candy was used as the bribe to keep them quite about the sexual abuse. They equate candy with love, but it is a warped twisted sick pedophile kind of love, so I won’t allow that trigger so long as I can help it.

I’ve talked about the necessary evil we endured last spring when we put the 4 kids in public school. It was necessary because we were getting a lot of pressure that the reason they acted out was that we smothered them by never letting them out of our sight. We also needed to document their academic abilities since they refused to do ‘schoolwork’ at home (I am an unschooler through and through but we have to have enough to put together a portfolio). It was evil because I knew it would do nothing that everyone else seemed to think it would, and it was worse than I could have ever imagined.

Aside from the ‘little’ stuff, like our oldest reading books that we had specifically asked her not to (wizards and vampires) and bringing back up the demonic influences from her past, we had ‘big’ stuff like drugs, theft, and violence. Our son specifically started to steal money from us again, which I assumed was to buy candy in the lunch line since public school make a profit by getting kids hooked and raking in the cash. It turned out he was also buying drugs. He was obviously stealing more money than we had imagined, and it wasn’t just from us. He was beating up little kids on the bus and taking their money, taking money from the teachers and students in the classroom, and borrowing money from 6th grade loan sharks. We still don’t know it all but what we do know is a staggering amount.

He would bring those drugs home and hide them, then sneak out at night to get them. We have gone through countless alarms on his door and window, but he always finds a way to dismantle them. When we bought the mother of all security measures, he started going out his little sister’s window and giving her ‘candy’ in exchange for her silence. Only it wasn’t candy.

I said all that as a precursor so that nobody thinks I am taking every little dropped paper or wrapper and going to extremes. It has also been going on for years and is not limited to candy or medicine (my daughter had a thing for the silica gel packets in the shoes at Wal-Mart). I want to share with you some of the VERY ODD places I have found things stashed….

*hole at the end of the drive, where he could ‘tie his shoe’ to cover what he was doing
*my flower bed at the end of the drive, triple bagged in Ziploc to keep it dry and free from bugs
*just inside the dryer vent on the outside of the house
*inside the furnace duct in the bedroom
*under the carpet in the corner of the bedroom
*in the bottom of the trash can in the bathroom
*taped to the underside of the dresser drawer
*inside movie cases
*inside teddy bears
*inside a slit in a bedspread
*in a hole in the drywall behind furniture
*in a hole carved in the bedrail
*in an ear
*in the underwear (that were currently on the person)
*hidden between the toes
*in someone else’s coat pocket
*in someone else’s purse
*in the gravel parking lot at church
*under the lining of the shoe

And you may be wondering how I could be so foolish to allow my kids access to things, especially tools to carve holes in the wall or furniture, but I didn’t. We started out trying to ‘let them just be kids’ but when it got to be a safety issue, we buckled down and have slowly had to get stricter until right now there are two things allowed in the room of a repeat offender- a bed and a Bible. Even having a bureau (my three B’s) was too much because it was so easy to hide things in and too much to search every day. They would pull nails out of walls to use as tools. They would get past the alarms and steal tools and hide them for future use (you can fit screwdrivers inside a floor furnace vent and have them not be noticeable, amazingly). And while there are many who think the stripping of privileges is the cause of the behavior, we alone know the progression of things that have occurred here and that being permissive makes them worse. I’m also against giving prisoners computers, TVs, and Gameboys. When you reward bad behavior, it will continue. Negative reinforcement.

So I am already formulating plans for the new house. First, blessedly, there are no furnace vents. There is no carpeting. The bedrooms are all second story (no more slipping out the window so easily in the night). There is a door at the top of the stairs that will be locked at night. Nobody can get downstairs without permission (and for those who fear fire safety, remember that not only are they more likely to die from the drugs than from a fire, there will be fire ladders in the rooms with mechanisms attached to tell us if they have been used).

All school items will go in the room being designated as a school room (downstairs) and no one will be allowed in that room without permission. There is a very large pantry (my dream finally come true) and it will have a lock on it. We’re not talking about kids being hungry and needing something to eat so they take an apple. This is eating the baking chocolate and drinking the maple syrup. There will still be food available for the kids, but not the trigger foods. We have also moved away from common pharmaceuticals to homeopathy, but even that will all be locked in a closet with a deadbolt.

And lastly, there will be a LOT of physical work to do. This will give the kids a release for all those frustrations, make them hungry enough to not starve in an attempt to chose the menu, and hopefully sleep very soundly at night. This move is the answer to many years of prayers for me. I had a vision that getting back to the farm lifestyle we lived when we got married, but in a much more rural setting, would be the thing to bond our family and heal many wounds. I’m excited for the chance to give it my all. The idea that no one there knows our kids or their story will hopefully preserve us from sympathetic intruders. And maybe the fresh start will allow them to make the choice to shed their pasts that they have so far not been able to do.

But I will not drop my guard. I will not stop checking the nooks and crannies. I will not suddenly allow visits to the neighbors’ houses. This is war, and if it takes living like we’re in a boot camp for the rest of my days to save my kids, I’m going to do it.

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