Thursday, May 24, 2012
Since Chelsea is approaching her 18th birthday in August, this seemed to be an appropriate time for another update. She continues to thrive in ways I could never have imagined. She went to a school dance with a young man; she looked so beautiful in her dress. She has learned to speak very clearly and her behavior is nearly perfect. She looks healthy and happy, and I know she is loved. We got together with our extended family and held a swim party for her and then out for dinner. We all had a great time and got lots of Chelsea-hugs. I miss her every day, but I know that she is so much better off with her foster mom. Just because I love her with all my heart does not mean that I am capable of giving her the best care, I clearly was not. There are times I feel guilty for turning her over to her foster mom, but then I just think about how well she is doing. She is so much better off now, and no matter how much I miss her, I have to remember that I did it for her best interest. Bottom line - not everyone has what it takes to raise such a special child, and I readily admit I don't have what it takes to do it right. Some folks (who obviously didn't have a real high opinion of me) had indicated that they thought my life would continue to be miserable even if I didn't have Chelsea, I guess they were insinuating that being a tired, depressed, bitter person was just my nature and Chelsea was my excuse. I can admit that the first year after she left was pretty bad. I was still depressed, my marriage still in trouble, and my finances in an even deeper hole than before. Add to that the guilt I felt for having failed to be strong enough to take care of Chelsea, and it was a pretty rough road that I wasn't sure I would come back from. Over time, however, life has gotten better. I've adjusted to life without her, I have been in counseling since she left, and I have started to live like a normal middle aged woman. It just took awhile to find out what that even meant. I have just gotten to the point where I feel okay about running to the store late at night, there's still that little tiny bit of feeling like I can't do that. I never experienced any burst of a sudden sense freedom, just a laboriously slow return to something close to normal. Finally, we are happy, and Chelsea is happy. And after all, wasn't that the point?
Saturday, January 22, 2011
I know it's been forever since I've written anything, but I know there are still a few of you subscribed, so I thought I'd provide you with an update. Chelsea is doing wonderful in her new home. In a few months she has gotten to experience more than she would in a lifetime of living with me. She has a new wardrobe. She has been to the beach in South Carolina. She was present at the birth of her new cousin. She has learned to cook. She has started an exercise class with her foster mom. She is finally having the life she so richly deserves. As for me, all the health issues I was having while she was still here turned out to be cancer and I am so glad she was not here during my treatment and surgery. All is well and I have been given a clean bill of health, but I don't know how on earth I would have taken care of her during all of that. Once again, I believe I have made the best decision for Chelsea.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
It's been awhile since I've posted, mostly because between taking care of Chelsea and my escalating health problems, I just chose not to make time for blogging. Depression also played a role in my decision not to blog, I just couldn't deal with one more thing that needed done. I decided to come back today to let all of you know about some major changes that are taking place. Over the last few months I escalated my attempts to get some sort of help caring for Chelsea. My requests were always met with a negative response. It seems there truly is no help in the rural area I live in. I spoke with the local chapter of the Down Syndrome Association and, nope, nothing like that here. I called Job and Family Services, sorry, no help here. One evening, I sat down and really took a long, hard look at the situation. I had just come from the doctor, where I was informed that if I didn't do something about my stress level, I would soon have either a heart attack or stroke. Great advice, but how does one do that under these circumstances? That was the question I had to answer, and answer quickly. I looked at my struggling marriage, my 18 hour workday, my house that never gets clean anymore, and that sweet child who doesn't get the attention she deserves, and made a hard decision. I called Child Protective Services. To cut to the crux of this story, Chelsea is being placed in foster care. Her new foster mom is someone who is a special education teacher, a trusted friend and who Chelsea loves intensely. She will be living a block away from me. She will have a brand new set of bunk beds for sleepovers and a new wardrobe. She will be spending a week at the beach every summer. Sweet Chelsea is moving on to a new and wonderful life, the one she should have had from the day she was born. I have cried until I can cry no more, but I am comforted by the fact that no matter how hard it is to give her up, it is the right thing to do. After some time has passed, I think I can then start to put my own life back together, although I don't know what that life will be, I will manage, and I will know that Chelsea is safe and loved. For those of you who have been supportive and understanding throughout the time of this blog - you are good people and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your support is so important to those who are struggling, and I know I'm not the only one. I was just one of the few willing to put my struggles out there for all to see. To those of you who were judgemental and full of condemnation, well, what goes around comes around; I wish you well. I may be back with updates on Chelsea's life, or I may not, but either way, I did the right thing.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
As some of you may be aware, I am building a directory of DS resources. I guess the lack of resources available for my family has driven me to do what I can to keep others from being in a situation similar to ours. Maybe I can learn a thing or two along the way as well. At any rate, one of the directory sections is Down Syndrome blogs. I would like to extend an open invitation to those of you who blog about your experiences as DS caregivers to include your blog in the directory. If you would like your blog included, just leave me a comment with your link and I will see that it is included. Feel free to let me know if there is something particular you would like included in the description, otherwise, I will use the information directly from your blog. If you would like to take a look at the directory to see if you are interested first, it can be found at http://downsyndromehelp.boomja.com/ Some of you may find your blog already there, if so, let me know if you don't want it included.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I woke up to a beautiful morning this morning. The sun was streaming in through the window, a pleasant breeze bringing me the scent of fresh air. In my state of not being quite awake, I thought "What a nice morning, maybe we'll go have some breakfast somewhere." Then I woke up. Then I felt the sadness wash over me. I remembered that there are no more pleasant breakfasts with hubby at the local diner, no more mornings spent cuddling and enjoying the sunshine. No more mornings spent planning our future over coffee. This is our future, right here, right now. Do I regret giving up my future to insure that Chelsea has one? Not a bit. Do I desperately wish there was another solution? Absolutely. During the few short weeks my son had Chelsea, he signed her up on the group home waiting list in an adjoining county. The case worker told me that he told her point blank that he would not take care of her until she is 18. What a tragedy that this loving little girl is the subject of so much controversy, that her own father doesn't want to take care of her. It is the one thing that makes me ashamed of my son. I pray daily that some solution that is truly best for all, most of all Chelsea, will come to light. No matter what the cost, I will not abandon her or put her in a bad situation just because I want my life back. I will continue to love her, take care of her, and then cry in private for as long as it takes to find a solution. All of you who pray, please pray for us, for our family, for Chelsea. She deserves the best, and I am not capable of giving her more than mediocre, so please pray for something wonderful for her.