Recently I posted on Hopeful Parents about my son’s heartbreaking cry for help and understanding. As one commenter asked
I am sure that post was tough to write, but after it was written —did you feel a bit of relief?
Truth is, even as he sat and sobbed (and I sobbed) I felt relief. I knew that this arrangement we had for him was not working. I was trying to plod along and make it work. I hadn’t wanted to let my own feelings and misgivings dictate what is good or not good for him – there were so many positives to his time at this facility originally. I can’t say too much about all of the particulars but C breaking down like that made me realize – no matter every one’s good intentions this will never work for him. It’s not meeting his needs and we are going to kill his spirit if it continues much longer. So I felt relieved that it was now going to be over. We could move on and I could be strong in my resolve that this was the necessary course of action.
We know our son, he does not need punishment and isolation. He does not need to be fixed. He needs structure, loving, kindness. He needs skilled people surrounding him who can help him process as soon as the bad moments have passed. He does not need to be judged. He does not need to be something he is not. He needs people who have gentle hearts and a butt load of compassion and patience.
But it also wasn’t as easy as just declaring war on this facility that is charged with his care and treatment. The world my friends is not just black and white, right and wrong for the most part (I proclaim this as much for my own learning as it is for anyone else). Shades of grey abound (much to my chagrin as well as C’s). This is an important lesson for both C and I. Sometimes you need to cut and run, sometimes you take a strong stand with a sword in your hand. Sometimes you need to take a strong stand without any weapons all the while exuding love and compassion. I believe my son does the best he can. And as I have said before, I also then believe that (in most instances) others are doing the best they can as well.
It was worth it to try to educate and discuss and problem solve with this agency. And they have tried. The have worked hard. We all have. In the past I have made the mistake of thinking that because something is not working for my son that this means I must declare war on the people “committing” these “crimes” against him. What I know now is it is possible for people to have the best of intentions and still be so completely wrong for my son it makes my head spin.
I cannot change a whole system. I alone cannot change an entrenched systemic belief that punishment will garner good, productive citizens. C cannot be left in that environment any longer. Other kids who have been there have succumbed to the pressures of the unflagging punishment and control. I believe their spirits to have been broken.
That haunts me.
But for C we will begin to move on, we will find a way to build what he needs. Even when it seems impossible we will forge on. Because we have to. Because we have no choice. Because we have to hear his voice and take action. Because he deserves it and he IS GOOD ENOUGH.