Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My pounding head

I've had a headache that developed at the end of last week that my regular tried-and-true ibuprofen will not put a dent in. A situation has developed with the teen I mentor (who's 30 weeks pregnant with a baby boy), which I'm certain is my headache culprit. Since Advil has failed me, I'm hoping that maybe a huge mental/emotional blog purge will rid me of it once and for all.

I haven't posted a huge number of J updates simply because there were not many to post. The girl managed spend most of her summer placed on restriction and stuck in the group home. Everytime I did see her, she would just spew anger and hatred about the group home and their staff; being her mentor, I would listen, but would not agree with her near-delusional conspiracy theories about why the girls are not allowed to drink caffeinated soda or not allowed to have their statuatory rape-convicted baby daddies be allowed unsupervised visits. Being "held captive" in a group home with a group of other young girls who also felt that they were being "held captive" created a very negative attitude within those walls, and I still am in shock at how often the police were called to the group home.

I don't mean to come across as bitter or jaded. Incredulous, disbelieving, naieve are probably all better terms.

When school started, J's mood and attitude cheered up considerably, as well as the others. Getting out of the group home each day and actually having things to do was sorely what those girls need. Idle hands may do the Devil's work, but let's not forget idle minds do as well, and with all those girls busy with their homework and jobs, the drama/trauma level in the home has considerably lessened. Thank the Lord for small favors.

Throughout the past months, J would often rail about her mother. And given the upbringing she had, I don't blame her one single bit. She had no intention of ever letting her mom see the baby, and she was infuriated with the staff for disclosing to her mom that she was having a boy (which was completely legal for the staff to do, and I don't think out of line, since the mom has legal custody of J. J felt otherwise, which, again, I don't blame her). We were making progress with J, coming up with a plan for school and work once she turns 18 next summer.

Last Friday, J called me, happy as a clam, telling me that her county social worker put in a Change of Placement petition, and her hearing was set for Oct. 6th. She'll be moving 2.5 hours away, living with her mother.

I asked if her if she thought this would be the best place for her baby. Irritated, she snapped at me, "I am so mentally and emotionally stressed living here in the group home. That's certainly not good for the baby. If I'm happy, then I'll be a better mother."

Silly me, I must have missed that part in my parenting books! The whole, I need to be in an environment that makes me happy, even if it could possibly be considered a less-than-optimal place to raise a baby.

She went on to explain that, besides, she would only be with her mom days. Her plan was to convince her mom to let her move 45 minutes away, back to the one-bedroom apartment with the 21-year old guy (not the baby's dad) who works part-time at a pizza parlor, and full-time at, well, I'm not quite sure.

Hence the start of my headache.

Last night J was over for dinner, brightly going on and on about her plans. The Mister and I were uncharacteristically quiet.

On the ride home, J and I got on the subject of our adoption. J remarked that she could never give this baby up for adoption, because she "knew that even though it would suck and be hard, she could do it." She went on about how if she did give the baby up, she would never be able to get over the thought that she was a "quitter."

"I don't know, J.," I said. "I'm sure many women give up their babies because they just can't do it, but I know there are some who give up their babies, even though they are capable of raising a child. They just want more for their kids than what they could give them--maybe they want their baby to have a home with two parents, or in a family with other kids, or people equipped to provide more than what they could. I wouldn't consider those women 'quitters.'"

She chewed on that for a half second. "Nope, not me. I didn't grow up with much, and I don't care about that. I just could never forgive myself if I quit on my kid."

Cue the throbbing part of the headache.

I don't even know what to make of all of this. What to say, what to do. I certainly don't support this insane chain of decisions, but I certainly don't want to not help or support this child either. My heart aches, my stomach hurts, but I can't quit on her. I just wish I knew what to do.


Anonymous said...

I think its important to realize that you've been a good influence on J and, although she may not realize it now, you've exposed her to things she's never experienced before- normalcy and happiness in a family, consistent friendship without any strings attached, virtues such as patience and trust. She's a typical teen with exponentially slim chances from a difficult upbringing and early parenthood on the horizon. Kind of like a bible in a hotel room or a church on the corner, you have been there as a place of refuge, a source of comfort, and a resource for what a woman should and could be. It makes me a better person to see how you've taken this on and wrestled with the challenge- you are a strong woman and I respect that deeply.

Always an ardent admirer,
Mr. C

Sawatzky Kids said...

Amen to Mr. Cliff! You have planted seeds in this girl Sarah that will take root and grow as time passes. Stay strong!

Salzwedel Family said...

Praying without ceasing...

Katy said...

Well, this certainly brings back memories of the days when my social work brought me to work with teen mothers as well as pregnant teens. NOT an easy task in the least.. Her behavior is very common for her circumstances, just VERY frustrating to observe. My advice is to not give up on her if at all possible. Remain as involved as she allows, without pushing anything so far as to lose her completely. Even if you may not see evidence of it now, you are having a positive influence and are critical in her life. If it makes you feel any better, (or at least like you are not alone!) I mentor a young adult with MRDD (have for 4 years now), and I am still trying to convince her that being a mom won't fill the empty places within her. So far it has "sort of" worked. She isn't pregnant yet, and not working on it this week... Good luck! Praying!