Nov 092018



Ah, the lure of nicotine! When Lilly was younger she used to call out people about their smoking, telling them they should not be doing that. It used to agitate her a lot when people smoked near her, because her birth parents burned her with cigarettes when she was under the age of two.

Despicable and horrifying as that is, Lilly’s mother was a fourth generation foster child herself, and she may have repeated ugly things done to her when she was a little girl. If people don’t know how to break a chain of violence  or addiction, it continues through generations until someone does break that chain.

Back to the smoking. Lilly found out about nicotine gum, and would ask for it whenever she had a hospital admission, which was frequently. I found out last week that Lilly is smoking two real cigarettes a day at her group home. They are lit for her outside, and staff keeps the lighter.

Lilly is in her twenties. She doesn’t get to drive, have a real job, get married, have kids, or do anything that she sees “normal people” do. (That’s what she calls you and me.) And she is frequently angry about that, because she observes the differences between her life and others her age. She’s no dummy.

I have fought back on this for years because it’s not healthy. Is anything in her life healthy? The psychotropic drugs? The many other various medications? The lack of any exercise? Eating only high carb, greasy foods because that’s all she wants? Remember the lady that made me laugh all the way home in Chasing Lilly, because she told Lilly to try OxyClean? (trademark) Why would a girl who wipes her mouth on her shirt, care if her shirt was white and clean? It’s not that I don’t care about Lilly. You all know I do, but some things are too impossible to fight, and I have enough other battles.

So let her smoke.




Oct 052018

(So many of you really care about what happens to Lilly. and although I can’t give too many details, here is an update.)

Lilly’s employment in the resale shop hasn’t yet happened. Nobody working for the County knows the location of her Social security card and original birth certificate, and she needed both to get the required state I.D. for employment. So that has been delayed, and multiple hospitalizations in the last two months haven’t helped the process along much because of the interruptions.

Lilly hasn’t been able to maintain in the group home environment yet again. Surprise, surprise. I think this was at least the fifth group home in the community that we’ve tried.

The community doesn’t like my kid. Lilly breaks their mailboxes and smashes their lawn ornaments. Let’s see, I wondered recently did she break something like a flamingo, or a statue of Mary or Jesus? I asked her, and she said, “Mom, I would never break a statue of Mary or Jesus. You know that.” Yes, I knew that. Silly me, lol!

This group home experience has been a smash-up (literally), and Lilly is in the hospital after pushing a neighbor (who was objecting to their mailbox destruction). I don’t know if it’s the same neighbor whose yard she was in a couple weeks ago, but that man told her to get out of his yard. She told him she’d break his windows and kick his butt, so he called the police.

You all understand me. It’s really NOT funny. When Bruce and I went to see her in the Psych ward recently, she was calm. Almost relieved. Lilly feels safer when she is in an environment where she can’t hurt herself or others, and she has therapy and things to do. And that makes sense. Remember what the guardian told me (in Chasing Lilly)?

She said, “Now don’t quote me on this, because I NEVER said it. Sometimes –and it is rare– sometimes we need to give a child the freedom to be a residential or institutional child. Some children cannot make it in a family, period, and feel better about themselves when not in one, but still cared for, naturally. These are the most severely damaged and abused kids that can never be what they need to be in a family for any length of time. It is actually freeing for them to be out of one.”

When Lilly is in a group home, she is usually there as the lone occupant, or sometimes with one other person. There’s not a whole lot going on, and if she doesn’t like her one staff person or has a disagreement with them, then she gets into all kinds of trouble. In contrast, the residential type setting has lots of different staff, other clients (and their distracting drama), and activities and structure. If she decides to run off, she’s got five or six people chasing her immediately, and she knows they’ll catch her. It’s reassuring to her in a strange way.








The Lone Rager (Spelled Correctly!)

 Chasing Lilly, Foster children  Comments Off on The Lone Rager (Spelled Correctly!)
Sep 212018


Tommy drew this picture after watching an old black and white movie. I like the innocence of the picture, because the Lone Ranger was a good guy. But it made me think of the real life “lone ragers” who are out there waiting to explode and hurt people. A lot of them seem to have trauma histories, and the mental help they needed wasn’t provided.

As the parent of a trauma child, do you ever feel like nobody is listening to your cries for help? Like you’re yelling down a big empty hole in the ground, and it’s all for nothing?

You write a letter asking for help for your special needs child or a situation concerning that child, and you get no response? You leave emails and messages to people who might be able to help, but don’t get back answers, or the answers are vague an non-commital?

That’s all too familiar. But I notice that the yelling for help for our Trauma Kids is increasing, and if enough of us yell down the hole (so to speak), there’s bound to be an eventual earthquake!

We need  more resources to be provided to schools and teachers trained on childhood trauma. Residential facilities must be available when people and kids need to be kept safe, (They keep closing! WHY???)  And respites are needed for families of these kids.

Don’t give up. Yell, because these kids aren’t going away. You don’t want to read about another trauma kid being the next “Lone Rager” who endangers society.


Aug 312018


Oh, the emotions I have experienced raising Lilly! Emotions have been all of these and more:

Fear for her safety

Fear for my safety

Fear for others’ safety

Fear of the future

Fear that she would get mad

Fear of things being broken or destroyed

Fear of what people would think

Fear of failing at mothering her

Fear at what the strain would do to my marriage

Fear of losing every friend I’ve ever had, because of Lilly

Fear for my pet’s safety

Fear of a mental or emotional breakdown

Fear she’d be rejected by the schools

Fear that drivers would refuse to transport her

Fear that she’d run away again

Fear we’d never get relief or help

Fear of hurting her by my responses to the craziness

You get the picture!

I could go on, but the common feeling was fearfulness about what might or could happen. And believe me things happened -ALL the time!

You must reach a point where you take inventory and decide what you will endure and put up with, and what you won’t. That’s what I call your safe spot.

What are you willing to risk? Where do you draw the line? I’m talking to you. 🙂

Make a list, mentally or on paper, of what you are and are not willing to sacrifice. For me, broken windows were a shattering experience, lol, but I could deal with that. I could handle losing some friends, but not losing connection with my immediate family. (Some of you would rather keep your friends!) I could accept that things in the house might be broken, but I was not willing to have my bones broken.

This kind of thinking also applies to other caregiving situations, like caring for an elderly parent. In all this, it does nobody any good if you lose your mind, or your health and well-being because you refuse to look at facts. Facts that you are likely to die in one way or another if you don’t find and STAY in your safe spot.

I like to keep things short, so I will end it here, but think about this.