Hubby was nice enough to stop and pick up our certified letter from the post office on his way into work today since I’m at home again with all 4 kids… PA lets rural kids off on the first day of hunting season so my 4 have been off almost a week! I did not want to parallel park and take all 4 in to get the letter but I was most curious!
Apparently there are forms for each kid to fill out in order to continue receiving their adoption stipends. Which I’m pretty sure we signed that they’ll have it until 18 or 21 depending on if they are in school full time or not. So I’m guessing it’s just Children & Family’s way of keeping track of us!
Huck had his appointment last week with the psychiatrist and although I explained his failure to earn 12 “checks” in 30 days and my hope for a more elevated and stable mood, the doctor just upped his current medicine. So Huck will be on Tenex 1 mg at night and .5 mg in the morning. I’m not convinced it will help. While my parents visited at Thanksgiving they worked on “potty training” him, which didn’t even work one day. So he has a lot of demons still to conquer.
After taking Huck off the last anti-depressant, when we went to his psychiatrist the doctor decided to start on a different non-stimulant. Huck was prescribed 1 mg of Tenex, a blood pressure medication sometimes used for children with ADHD. The doctor is hopeful that this medication will give Huck more time to think about his reactions. Huck’s been on it for a week and I think it’s making things worse again. We had some time where Huck was off the other medication and his defiance wasn’t so bad. However, he seems back to his tantrums every day, defiant behavior, and now he is refusing to eat. Friday he would not eat breakfast or dinner at home (I’m pretty sure that he ate his school lunch). He finally ate almost at 2:00 on Saturday. And then today he refused lunch and wouldn’t eat dinner until almost 7:00. I’m not sure what he’s trying to prove, but we have food available at all times, healthy options, as well as juice and milk, so it is up to him to decide.
His counselors have started a new incentive plan with Hubby and my agreement. In the next month before winter league basketball registration, Huck has to have 12 “good” days and then he can play. Granted, he’s had no “good” days thus far (especially considering the refusal to eat). So we’ll see if that works out for him or not. They originally wanted to do 17 days but Hubby was concerned that we were setting him up to fail.
We also decided upon a new strategy for his bathrooming issues. After several weeks of full peeing his pants at school, we’ve decided to stop giving it any attention. They will no longer discuss it in counseling since he’s only been lying to his counselors about it anyways. We will no longer call attention to it at home, as Hubby used to check with him every night to see if he was clean. So Huck, who is now 8 and a half years old, was given the choice to wear underwear and choose to be clean, or wear diapers. He chose diapers. So we have told him that it is under his control and we will be ready with underwear whenever he is. Hubby is very hopeful that it will be soon! I am not so sure. He’s said to us and to his counselors that he just needs to stop at recess and go to the bathroom (I’ve told him to go before recess), but that hasn’t happened yet. So who knows how long he’ll be in diapers.
Huck, oh Huck. How we’ve had such issues as of late.
Huck has had the most difficulty transitioning back to school. Which is definitely not surprising to me. He has trouble if his routine is off one day in a small way. So now turning the tables and completely switching up his entire daily routine is jarring.
He started about a month ago on an anti-depressant. I have been tracking his moods with an app called “eMoods,” which was free. I can put in if he’s irritable, has a depressed mood or an elevated mood. I can also enter any anxiety, psychotic symptoms or verbal therapy. This tracker has helped me indicate to Huck’s psychiatrist how his moods have been cycling. I am very concerned that he is undiagnosed bipolar. His parents have a long list of diagnoses, none of which I am sure are true. Huck’s doctor said that complex ADHD can present itself as bipolar. Also, bipolar is very rarely diagnosed in children. According to the doctor, there are all these things he can check off to see if Huck has ADHD. But with bipolar it’s very different.
So mainly Huck has depressive moods, and so the psychiatrist is starting with Celexa to see how that goes. It’s a non-stimulant. He started with a small dose at night to help with Huck’s sleeping. The first week seemed to go very well, with Huck in a jovial spirit. After that however, things went downhill fast. So I’m not convinced that Huck was’t in his natural cycling at the time when we thought it was the medication helping.
Our third week on the medicine was the worst we’ve had with Huck in a really long time. He peed his pants twice that week at school, lied in counseling, got kicked out of therapy group for being unhelpful, and basically threw temper tantrums every five minutes. Hubby and I didn’t know what to do. He was crying over nothing and everything. I tried to reset the behavior and laid with him for forty-five minutes, just cuddling him in his bed while he cried. That seemed to help, and then I did some errands with him. Our errands went fine so hubby took him out to help him work on the cars. He came in and had snack, then it was his turn to shower for school the next day. He went right back into the hysterics! Over having to take a shower! It was an exhausting Labor Day weekend.
So we just saw the psychiatrist for the third time and he upped Huck’s medicine so he takes a small amount in the morning and a small amount at bedtime. We will see how it works. He threw temper tantrums and meltdowns all weekend and spent a good part of it reading, doing puzzles or helping me with chores rather than getting to play.
We’ve been having lots of behaviors from Huck. Again. Still. Last week he was referred by his trauma counseling program to see a psychiatrist. We’re hopeful we won’t have to wait months for that appointment! In the mean time, this can help all of us when reacting to children. I know patience gets spread thin sometimes, but we can’t expect good reactions if we are hostile towards them!
I’ll be the first to say that there’s a problem with over-medication in our foster care system. Well, as in all things, it’s a problem in society in general but only heightened for our foster youth. My kids surprisingly have never been medicated. They didn’t come with a long list of diagnoses. So I found that we are actually on the other side of the problem with foster care– incorrect or lack of diagnoses. With the adoption paperwork we received, I was able to read through the kids’ past mental and behavioral health history. More often than not, they were discharged before I believed that they should have been (granted, without firsthand experience at the time). None of the children actually had intensive, ongoing counseling when we accepted placement. This despite over five years in and out of care with more than fifteen different placements. Call me crazy but any child that goes through that much change should be counseled by a professional. We’ve been fighting an uphill battle since we accepted placement to find the right programs for our kids and get them the help that they need and have needed for years!
With that being said, I am always a proponent of finding alternatives to medication. But I found this article on girls and ADHD and it IS our Anne. Every single bit. Every action they write about, it is Anne. I am going to ask for her to be tested in her current counseling program. Anyone have experience with girls and ADHD?