Alex’s previous few visits have been very hit and miss. I’m not sure if something new is bothering him, but on the 4th, he had a very rough time with me. (I wrote the previous update before my visit, so it looks as though his weekend was great, which unfortunately was not the case)
After that, I visited him the following Tuesday and he had an amazing time. Then Thursday we had him come home to see us, and it went really poorly at first. So much so that we called them to pick him up about an hour into the visit. He calmed down and got happy again on and off, but overall that was his worst home visit. Then Sunday the 11th, we had a really good visit at home with Alex.
The inconsistency is always concerning, even though he’s showing us happiness. When he has physical pains, such as when he had his staph infection, he behaves erratically — it’s like sometimes he can get his mind off the trouble, sometimes it’s just bothering him too much. So we’ll have to keep an extra close watch on him and try to figure out if there’s something going on that we can see.
The tougher times have proven good for reflecting on our decision.
Sometimes I beat myself up for not being able to care for Alex. My wife is the same. Sometimes it’s hard to accept that the situation was really so bad that we had to give up our son’s day-to-day care. There is always going to be a selfish side of me that looks at the situation and says, “life is so much easier now.”
I sleep 7 hours or more every single night, where I used to sleep erratically to deal with various problems with Alex’s sleep patterns – every month or two I’d have to go to work on no sleep at all. I have real free time where I can do anything I want. Our financial situation, once we’re all settled in at our new place, is going to be significantly better than it was before, even with the pay cut I took to move closer to Alex.
It’s hard not to think that perhaps my selfishness helped me to make the decision to “get rid” of Alex.
It’s good to keep in mind the real reasons behind Alex having to leave us. His recent behaviors are a good reminder that we didn’t just get lazy and selfish and toss aside our little boy. We were completely burned out, and we weren’t even able to provide him with a good home. During his crisis (late last year through February), we were robots doing a job. The attention he got from us was rarely very positive, because we were just exhausted all day, every day. We showed him love, of course, but it was always tempered with the constant worry of how we would get through another day. I was at a job I hated during the day and getting very little sleep at night. My wife wasn’t able to keep Alex safe at home, and even with respite often had to either keep him immobilized or watch him beat himself bloody. Rarely mentioned and possibly most important of all, our other son never got any attention. There were times he was trying to engage us and literally moved out of our path so we could respond to Alex’s latest behavior. I can’t stress enough how much different it was for our youngest, and how much he had to adapt to deal with being alone most of the time.
I hate to see Alex unhappy at all, but looking back, he’s doing so much better having constant attention from people who get regular shifts, breaks, etc. And every time we visit him, he gets completely positive attention. We hug him, play with him, take him out for fast-food treats, and so on. The people he sees today are completely different from who we were when he lived with us.
It’s important to remind myself every now and then that the decision was necessary and better for him, not just us. There’s nothing wrong with my realization that I have an easier time, because that translates into a better family at home, and a much happier time with Alex when I see him, which has happened three or four times every week since I moved.