Crawling Right To Me

‘When I had gone to the Himalayas, I had met with an accident. Later I realised that I had damaged my fallopian tubes in the process. I couldn’t conceive. We tried for a test-tube baby, but it wasn’t successful. The doctor said we would have to repeat it thrice more. Each sitting of the procedure costed around eighty thousand to one lakh rupees. So instead of doing that, we decided that it is better to adopt. We thought that we rather use those three lakhs (which would have been used in the procedure) for the future of the adopted baby. So we adopted. My brother-in-law was against the adoption. He would keep saying that you both are not old or anything. People have children even in their forties, you can still try. What is the need to adopt now?…When I had adopted my son Om, at first they gave him to me. Then three months later, because I was blind, they cancelled my adoption and called me to court. They informed me that you will have to surrender my kid to the adoption centre. So when I went to court, I had to prove it to them that I could be the mother of my child. I told them that blind parents also raise their child right. Actually they don’t know what all a blind can do. I told them if I can escort 25 to 50 blind girls on a trip to Delhi, then can’t I raise my child properly? They asked me how will you recognise your son? I said by his voice, his touch. And if I don’t, then he will recognise me. At that time he was outside with my niece. He was restless and crying. My niece left him down, and he came crawling towards me. He crawled right into the witness box and tugged on to my feet. I still remember that vividly. Then I didn’t have to prove anything else to them. It was so obvious that he was my son, and hence he came towards me.’

Neha Pavaskar, 36, visually impaired.

I Have To Keep Trying

‘I continued my job at the clinic doing in-home therapy with children. During a staff meeting, a family new to the clinic was discussed. They had waited 6 months to get a spot in with our therapists and psychiatrist. They had a little girl, about 3 years old, whom they had adopted from Ukraine. They were desperate for help, and actively seeking a new family for her. I shared an office with her therapist and she told me of the extreme withdrawal, refusal to speak and overwhelming sadness in the little girl. I approached my husband right away about the possibilities. He needed to think. A lot. For a long time. Which was smart, but I am not all that patient a person. He finally agreed to take the step of seeing what we could do and I let the clinic director know that we might be interested in the little girl from Ukraine who needed a new family.

Things rushed and were stalled equally. We found an adoption agency, met with the parents and child, attended therapy sessions with Genea and our other daughter. At the same time we were filling out piles of useless forms and allowing ourselves to be subjected to the ludicrous process of the home study. Anyway, Genea, that’s her “stage” name on my blog, was beginning to show signs of life. In our sessions and activities with her, she slowly started responding to us. We began to transition her to our home with brief visits and then overnight visits, then several days at a time. After about 3 months she was placed with us officially. All hell broke loose that very day. We knew she had a “rule out reactive attachment disorder” label. We knew she was severely withdrawn and prone to catatonic episodes. We knew she had a life threatening cortisol deficiency with a strict and complex medication schedule. There were a bunch of other possibilities thrown around in her records. She had been diagnosed with moderate Autism Spectrum Disorder. She had rule-out PTSD and early onset bipolar disorder. She had speech and language delays with periods of selective mutism.

We knew all of those things and not a bit of it prepared us for what was unleashed in our home. Grief, anger, and explosive rage. Sadness, such a deep deep sadness in such a little girl. Constant eruptions. Minute by minute Genea moved in and out of rage and was uncontrollable. We did what we knew to do, which was to strongly, assertively and consistently parent her. She was demanding and vengeful. She was loud. Her cry was primal, from the bottom of her soul and she shrieked and wailed at a level I have never heard come out of a child before. It was excruciating to watch and hear. It was massively disruptive to our home. It was maddening to live with. As hard as it was living with her, I knew being her had to be even harder. For as much as she let come out, I could only imagine what was within. This blog tells our story. I try to share what I have learned over these years with Genea and Teena. I have made lots of mistakes and had success as well. I eventually left my job to stay at home to “Mom” my children. I talk about what it is like to have a child with a mental illness and a child without. Ultimately Genea was officially diagnosed with early onset Bipolar Disorder, Attachment Disorder and ADHD. I don’t really know anymore how accurate any of that is and I don’t even know if it is relevant. I know what we struggle with and what works to help. I know that what works one day may not work the next and I know no matter what, I have to keep trying.’

Testimony of a mother on Accidental Mommy BlogspotĀ