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OK - here goes. We're adopting a daughter and she needs prayers. - Page 12

post #331 of 414
Oh wow indeed - Laurie! Still thinking of you three.
post #332 of 414
Laurie, thank you for the update! There are a lot of people here with you and your family in our thoughts all the time.
post #333 of 414
Wonderful news all around Laurie--all digits crossed here for continued success, even with the expected ups and downs.
post #334 of 414
I am so amazed at the progress your new family has made. I think you will end up finding out things about each other you never knew before. I did want to say somthing that stands out to me. She has an addictive personality and while I am glad she wants to lose the weight she gained, I am scared that she will turn to aneroxia or bulimia. You already said she is addicted to exercise, well when they cant control anything else in their lives, the turn to the one thing they can control, what they eat. I know this sounds like I am trying to give you one more thing to worry about, but just in case, so it isnt a complete shock. Some people with eating disorders do so much excercise they burn 3,000 calories a day. Another thing that worries me is that she randomly decides to go on and off her meds. Antidepressants can cause sucicidal thoughts, even though she does not have them "normally." This is esp. true for teenagers and people in their early twenties. I want her to succeed as much as anyone on here, but I just thought I would bring up some things that I see as an outsider. I hope I am wrong about everything, but if it happens and I never said anything I would feel bad.

Also about deleting this thread, I would save your posts for reference if you dont have another form of diary, because if you ever do decide to write a book, or if she does, they will be of great value, because you wont be able to remember every little thing you were feeling.

Have any of the programs you looked into have animal therapy? Your furbabies seemed to calm her down and take her mind off things. If she had something like that where she knew that she had an animal that she could talk to, groom, feed whatever, it might help some. Maybe if they do some sort of supervised trip to the animal shelter to do some work a couple of days a week, help with the homeless animals. Plus animals dont judge us by our words, and even though she has been open with you, there might be more she is afraid to say, that she could say to an animal.

I hope only for the best for you and your new family. Please if there is anything I can do, let me know.
post #335 of 414
Any updates??
post #336 of 414
Thread Starter 
UGH! I just wrote a big update, and somehow this stupid computer lost it. Somehow I hit the touchpad in such a way that it starts backing up and I can't control it - and then everything I wrote is gone. AAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!

Let's see.....

- I thought I'd posted an update that apparently I never did.

Naomi did go into residential treatment weeks ago. (A month ago? I think it was June 3rd?!) We alerted the people at the program about her diet & exercise issues, although family therapy is a component of the program, so it's not like we weren't going to see her and be able to find out how she's doing. We were encouraged by the fact that they were accomodating to her being vegetarian - and not just by providing meals of dairy products.

What ended up happening, we're not quite sure. But because legally, for these purposes, Naomi is not a minor, unless she signed an agreement to release medical information to us (which she chose not to do), we can't get info on what was going on with her meds, etc. And the place isn't a jail so if any residents want to roll, they roll, although often they have the good graces to at least sign themselves out AMA (against medical advice). Naomi did not do this - she just disappeared, leaving quite a few of her things behind.

Fortunately, she did take her cell, and she did call us. Gary's first instinct, obviously, was to go looking for her. But every single doc out there advises against that. The odds of her beating her addiction at this age were so slim to begin with (especially with her history). They all say the same thing - until she's ready, there's nothing anybody can do.

It's just so frustrating. We don't know if they were working on new meds, or different doses of meds, or what. We do know she was down to 35mg of methadone, which we felt she was coming down way too fast - but everyone knew we thought that, and in the end, the decision was between her and them.

When she called, she said that she was NOT back on heroin, but that they were horrible to her in the program, and she didn't come here because she was afraid we were going to be upset. There was no point in discussing any of it with her, really, because she was just not in any kind of rational place. She did not go to Peter's. Some traveler friends of hers (we don't know if it's the same group that was here before or different people) are/were in town, and she was with them in some new squat.

She was really quite crazy. I don't know if I'm just in denial, or maybe I'm really just a cold-hearted bitch - I don't know. But Gary was so torn up. It really depressed him (although he's coming to terms with all of this again). I don't know. Maybe I was just better prepared, mentally. Either way, at first she didn't want to come home. What she wanted was for us to rent her a car so she could stay at Peter's and continue the methadone program at the clinic out here that she was enrolled in before the residential program. She wanted us to wire money for food, gas and I don't know what else. (I told Gary I was impressed that she even wanted to continue on methadone - let alone go to all the trouble of coming out here). He said - don't fool yourself. It's just a cheaper way to get high. This way she gets the methadone basically for free, but she's at a low enough dose that she can get high off of heroin - but she won't need much heroin.

When we told her there was no way we were renting a car for Peter, and there was no way we were wiring money, she really flipped out. Gary's first reaction was to get mad at the way she was behaving. I had to remind him that what all of this is about is that she's mentally ill, and then he just had such trouble dealing with it all.

This is undoubedtly the hardest thing we've ever done. After that first, insane, angry phone call, we obviously had an emergency therapy appt. And we decided to stick to our guns. No support unless she lives at home - and she can't live at home until she's got her meds worked out, and we've all been in family therapy together to the point that we feel she can participate in the family, not just be someone to be taken care of.

Of course what she wanted changed very rapidly. The pleading to come home began - and while we were happy to get together to see her, we made it clear she wasn't coming home until the above conditions had been met - and we'd all discussed all of that a hundred times in and out of therapy, anyway. Obviously she accused us of abandoning her, etc. She then pulled out the threats - we were forcing her to become a dominatrix, because we wouldn't give her money. We pointed out that for the unskilled, there are many alternatives to both panhandling and the sex trade, and that no matter what, she IS our daughter - but she's the one who wanted to turn her life around, we were providing that opportunity, and when she's serious about that again, she knows what she needs to do. We'd discussed hundreds of times that our home will not be a shooting gallery, her traveler friends are not welcome here, and if she wants to work the sex trade in ANY way, she will not do it from here. (Her great idea was phone sex - then we wouldn't have to worry about driving her to and from a job as well as to and from the methadone clinic). She keeps missing the point - this is about changing her life. Going to school. Gaining skills that mean she doesn't have to resort to selling sex, in whatever form, because she doesn't have the will or the patience to clerk at a store or something for minimum wage. We've all struggled in our lives, and there's no damn shame in minimum wage. We've had these discussions a million times too. If she were a nymphomaniac, by all means, find your niche in the sex trade. It's a way to make money doing what you love. And great - if you've changed your mind and you've decided school is not for you, that's fine too. Going to college was never a condition of becoming our daughter or living at home. All of this is dealable with. But not being on her meds is not, and running away from the program - not discussing it, not saying Hey, I'm not into this - none of this is OK.

We'd gotten to the point where she was on low enough doses of methadone that her schizophrenia and other disorders were a problem. A seriously disruptive problem. None of us was functional, and that's not good for anyone.

So.... in the meantime, we are paying the methadone clinic. And as long as she uses the cellphone primarily to communicate with us, we're keeping that for her. We don't know how she did it, but she did get her biological father to purchase a used car for Peter. The very sad thing, though, is that Peter is no longer communicating with us about what's up with her. She has probably threatened him with leaving or going back on smack full-time.

We have seen her several times (she's out in NJ every day except Sunday, and we're in the city several days a week now, so it's easy to get together on her way back in, or out here), and she had definitely shot up several times, because you can see it. She said she was getting a job as a waitress - and two days later she told us that she had lied about that, and a "friend" of hers did get her a job working as a dominatrix in some "club" in the city.

She continues with the I want to come home - and we continue with the When you complete residential treatment combined with family therapy....

The saddest thing is that she's lying about so many things now that she messes up so that we know she's lying. She is back on heroin, though to what extent we don't know. It's not "bad enough" that they haven't kicked her out of the methadone program. But Gary and I feel very much like we have failed, miserably, as parents, and while we know we did our best, and we did most likely at least save her life, right now it's really hard not to feel like she's worse off now than she was. She does have a roof over her head, because she's mostly staying with Peter. And he's definitely getting her to the clinic every day. But the phone calls and visits are so disturbing. The "rational" Naomi that we'd come to know just isn't there, and it's depressing talking to her, because you just have no idea what's the truth and what isn't. And it's so hard not to feel like we should let her move back home - but the fact of the matter is that we just can't work properly on a full-time basis when she's here. She isn't sane, and it is completely disruptive, and we can't afford full-time home care.

So.... we don't know what twist or turn this relationship will take on any given day. But for right now, we're pretty set in not having her move back home until she's done something to indicate that she really wants to become part of this family, however dysfunctional it is. We know this is a healthy decision for us - but what none of the psychs have completely convinced us of yet is - is it best for her?
post #337 of 414
God Laurie, I don't even know what to say. Tough love sucks, and it's hard from all angles. I wish I could look into a crystal ball and tell you that it will be OK, that she'll come home and take her meds and... But we all know that there is no crystal ball, and the addiction plus the mental illnesses make this so much more difficult for her to decide to make the change to be a healthy and happy person.

My love is with you and Gary. I can't imagine how hard this is for both of you. And my heart is with Naomi too, that she stays safe and in a moment of clarity that stays with her, she realizes that you do have her best interests at heart and she needs to stick with the program and get well.
post #338 of 414
Years ago...when my youngest son had a serious drug problem, as a last resort, I joined a Tough Love group. It changed me. My son after years of trouble, finally went into a program for a year. He lived there. They were really tough on him. It worked. He has been clean & sober for 15 years ... still there are no guarentees that he will remain sober. One day at a time. Tough love is your only option. Anything else will enable her to continue her self destructive behavior & if you let her, she will take you down with her. I feel deeply for all of you. I hope that you have a good support system. There are no easy answers.
post #339 of 414
Laurie and Gary - I still have a lot of admiration for you both, for what you have done for Naomi, for your strength and patience. You are doing all you can and no one could do it better.

Bless and thank you both!
post #340 of 414
I totally agree. I hope that my post about tough love did not sound unfeeling. When I read your posts, they brought back a lot of emotion about the difficult times with my son. As I said ... I hope that you have a good support system in place to help you make the right decisions for all of you. You will be in my thoughts & prayers.

Originally Posted by Kiwideus
Laurie and Gary - I still have a lot of admiration for you both, for what you have done for Naomi, for your strength and patience. You are doing all you can and no one could do it better.

Bless and thank you both!
post #341 of 414
You guys have done your very best and cannot blame yourselves. The mental illess is your enemy not her, she is just lost and confused about everything.Is there any way you can have her family commit her to a hospital where she can be safe? This is so hard on you both and my prayers are with you. I know what you are going through as three of my six children suffer from bi-polar disorder. There is no way to convince tham that they have a problem as it is every one else that is causing their trouble. I hope you can find peace of mind and hope in the near future!
post #342 of 414
Laurie, I really don't know what I could say, other than my deepest respect and admiration goes out to you and Gary for all the work you're putting into making things better for her. You're both incredible people - I think the world would be nicer if there were more people like you in it. Hang in there.
post #343 of 414
its 3:15am i just spent about 2 hours reading this, so ill keep it short. God bless you 3 wonderful people.
post #344 of 414
Laurie I need an update!! I hope things are all going as well as can possibly be expected.
post #345 of 414
i concur!!! :

post #346 of 414
me too!
post #347 of 414
Anyone hear whats going on here?? Its been so long!
post #348 of 414
Thread Starter 
As long as I'm around, I figured I'd better post a Naomi update! I know it's been a year - and if I were watching the story unfold through someone else, I'd want to know what's happened!

Ummm.... where to begin. The calls and short visits became less frequent. I'd eventually get a response to most e-mails - but she would never answer anything I asked, and communication was very disjointed. She was on methadone, but not in a structured program. We expected the cold of Winter might bring a renewed interest from her in returning home, but we decided to stick to our guns. Her room is her room, and some of her things were still here. But she needed a structured program, and until that happened, we weren't going to let her move back home.

She disappeared for a while, as did Peter. We still don't really know what happened, but I think Peter went back to Chicago (where his family is from) and she headed down to Florida to catch up with a number of traveler friends.

She reappeared in January, and we negotiated a "settlement." She knew that if she came off the methadone that she would exhibit all the problems of her mental illnesses (paranoid schizophrenic, bipolar, manic depressive). There are a number of programs to treat these illnesses, but they aren't combined with detox. And Gary and I couldn't afford anything private at that point, and we didn't have our new job yet, though we were in discussions with several firms and there was light at the end of the tunnel.

Even though it's not a great place, because we couldn't help money-wise, the decision was hers to make. She checked in to the State facility in Trenton. We're still not exactly sure why, as she qualified for other programs at nicer facilities. Anyway, that was back in March.

We speak to her weekly now, and because she's off the methadone, and they're working out the right "cocktail" for her, things are really up and down. Sometimes she's wonderful and sweet - other times, she thinks that if she ever moves back home we'll knock her out so we can steal her organs to sell them. It's a total emotional roller coaster.

The outlook for her to live on her own isn't so good. Because it's apparently juvenile onset schizophrenia, the outlook for successful treatment isn't so good. Heroin and methadone are good beta blockers - but she doesn't have the personality that would allow her to function on constant but minimal doses of methadone (not that that's really a treatment option to begin with). She's an addict, and without intense supervision and determination on her part, the usage would likely always end up ramping back up.

So - I don't really know where that leaves us. With the assistance of one of our customers that has a schizophrenic son, we've found a great facility she can move to once we can afford it. She knows this, but fears moving to Vermont, so isn't too anxious to go anyway. It's a long drive, but we see her down in Trenton at least once a month, and usually twice. "Family counseling" isn't part of the program. It's usually depressing - but she's stayed in this long, so who knows what will happen? Right now, this is an open-ended treatment and she is there voluntarily.

We know she communicates with her traveler friends over the Internet, to which she is allowed restricted access. Naomi, like most travelers, uses a different name in that community, which really isn't helping. She gets very confused about the difference between "Naomi" and "Lily," though at other times she understands that part of her job is to "reconcile" the two. It isn't that she has a split personality per se - but the schizophrenia certainly doesn't help with this particular issue.

So - that's where things stand! Not the happy ending we would love to share, but certainly better than it could be.

Thanks to all for caring, and thanks for all the good thoughts and support for Naomi!


post #349 of 414
Thank you for the update, Laurie I was thinking about you and Naomi recently!

I'm sorry it's not the fantastic news that we know you and all of us wanted to hear, but it sounds as though Naomi is progressing in the right direction!

Sending continued 'steps in the right direction' }}}VIBES{{{ to Naomi and many to you and Gary.

You truely are wonderful people!
post #350 of 414
Thankyou for the update. All you can do is take each day at a time and you seem to be doing that wonderfully. Naomi is a lucky girl to have you and Gary there waiting for her, whatever she decides
post #351 of 414
Sending Naomi the best vibes for her at this time and for you and Gary. You two are so wonderful to open up your home and hearts for this young girl.
The world is a greater place cause of you, I know first hand how great adoption parents are. I know cause I am adopted myself.
post #352 of 414
Hi Laurie,

I wasn't a member at the beginning of your journey but I read this thread from start to finish and I feel like I know you and your family!

First I have to say that I am so amazed with you and your husbands strength and courage and unconditional love for this troubled child. God definately has his hand over your heads. I've always believed that things happen for a reason and I just trust in that.

I can share your experiences because my younger sister was a drug addict. Thankfully she never got the oppertunity to try or get addicted to heroine (the only two drugs she's never done are heroine and crystal meth). It was so hard to see her change from this sweet girl into the chemical. Fortunately after two years and some really tough love, she's clean, atleast from the drugs.

I've had to learn that my sister is never going to be that sweet innocent girl again, but she is much better now that she is clean. She still battles with being obsessed with her weight and deals with drinking although she tries to deny it. She is also dealing with depression right now. She feels like she's screwed up her whole life because she never graduated highschool and she feels guilty for all the things she's put everyone through. SHe also told me she feels like she can't live up to what everyone wants her to be.

The way my parents got her clean was that my dad left his work and stayed at home full-time and cut her off from all of her friends perminately. (it was helpful that the two main girls that were doing this with her were sent away too) and she detoxed at home. They went to family therapy a lot and she went to narcotics anon. too. She was forced to find new friends and she wan't allowed to go back to regular school. It took a long time but she's getting better. It will take a few more years for her to be completely straightened out and get back into school and get her life on track, but only if she wants to. I have offered my home to her as a support and will be here for her if she decides to make that step.

I think you made the right decision for Naomi and I offer you all my prayers for you sweet daughter and love.
post #353 of 414
Thread Starter 
Kallie, you sister is lucky to have such a supportive and amazing family! What your dad did for her is truly an act of love.

Since being welcomed "back" to TCS as an advisor, I've received a number of PMs asking for an update on Naomi.

First of all, I'd really like to thank everyone for their good thoughts and wishes for her. Poor thing has had SUCH a tough life.

Here's the latest news:

A couple of weeks ago she ran away from the facility she was in. We heard from them - and, of course, shortly thereafter we heard from her.

She was picked up by the police in NY City. And, of course, it's not as straightforward as usual. This time she threatened one of them with the needle she was using, which is now a felony offense (because of the potential for infecting someone with HIV). It looks like because of her diagnosis when not on heroin that she'll get away with probation (again). Thankfully the last probation period was up, so this wasn't a probation violation.

She's not staying with us now, but keeps in touch via cellphone. We're pretty sure where she's staying in Brooklyn. But really - most of the heartache has worn down, and it's more like we're caring for a really difficult feral case..... only she's a colony of one. We love and care about her very much, but we don't ever expect to have any kind of "normal" relationship with her. With a diagnosed manic depressive, bipolar, paranoid schizophrenic - especially with juvenile onset schizophrenia - it just isn't possible.

The saddest thing in the world is that heroin is such a great beta blocker - it really seems to be the best medicine for the problems she's got. Western medicine just hasn't improved that much when it comes to juvenile onset schizophrenia (heroin was used to treat this problem until sometime in the early 60s).

We don't know what happens next. We've got to get this thing straightened out with the police in court (I'm sure that will go fine). After that? I really don't know. There's a place in upstate New York she liked, and we found a place in Vermont that's ideal. But she doesn't want to move so far away - and it's not sounding like she wants to go back to a facility just now. Of course, the only way to settle things in court will be for her to agree to go. But... being in because she wants to be, and being in rehab because she HAS to be are two different beasts.

Thanks for keeping her in your thoughts! She really needs all the support she can get.

post #354 of 414
Sending many prayers
post #355 of 414
I just wanted to add my prayers to the pile, and to say that you and your husband are two of the strongest people I have ever read about (and met, if I ever met you). I pray that you two will have the strength to continue being there for her. I can only imagine what you two have been through.

My parents went through something similar (and at the same time completely different) situation. My Step mother worked at a shelter for young homeless mothers, and that is how they met Denita. Denita was (2003) 18, weighed about 90 pounds pregnant and a herione addict. In order to stay at the home, they require sobriety and have a no tollerence policy for drug use, so miraculously, she did not take drugs (or didn't take a whole lot of drugs) while pregnant. In 2003 she had Shaheim, a healthy boy. A few weeks after he was born, she was back to herione and prostitution. My parents took care of Shaheim while she "looked for work" and eventually she stopped calling to get him back (which is a whole long story made painfully short).

The first time she was arrested, they convinced her to sign over partial custody of Shaheim to them to that he wouldn't be sent into the foster program. The first time they found her strung out when she had visiting time with Shaheim (they would leave him with her for afternoons), they got full custody. That was two years ago. After multiple heartaches (too many to list here) they gave up on Denita. Saving Shaheim from that life is all they can realistically do.

Shaheim is their son now (although they haven't been able to adopt him yet). They have full custody of him, and he is just over 3 years old. He has started school (he goes to Mommy's Morning Out twice a week) and he has proven that he is a brilliant shining child. Denita calls when she is in court appointed rehab, which never last long. She wants nothing to do with him, and has not seen him since his first birthday. He has no idea who she is(other than a friend of Mommy's), and he knows my parents as his own. Last year Denita tested positive for HIV when she was admitted to a rehab. She swore this time she would get clean (heard that a thousand times). She checked herself out of rehab a month later, and has since been living on the streets. My parents have told her that they would help her get a job, apartment, and life if she is clean--which she is unwilling to do.

Shaheim will have a life that would have been unimaginable from where he was born. Denita has told Marti (step mom) that giving her son away was the smartest thing she has ever done. She is right. We just keep waiting and hoping for a smooth adoption.

Here is Shaheim on his 3rd birthday at Disney World.
post #356 of 414
Laurie, thankyou for the update. You and Gary are amazing people.

Missinthesouth, what a story. So sad about the childs biological mother but at least your parents have given him the life he deserves
post #357 of 414
Thread Starter 
What a doll!!!!!!!! Adrianne - what an amazing story. Shaheim is such a lucky boy to have "found" your parents - and what wonderful people they are!!!

I know their heartache in relation to Denita. Some addicts are ready and in the right place to want to heal - and some just can't fight King Heroin. It's a horrible, horrible thing.

This is a discussion more for IMO, but after taking down the Taliban in Afghanistan, that country has gone from producing no heroin to being the country with the largest heroin production (again). Over 2000 tons were exported last year - much of it to the U.S. Prices have fallen so much, and "quality" has improved so much, that it's actually "affordable" to be a heroin addict just getting by on begging (which is primarily how Naomi gets the money for it).

We did work with two sets of Naomi's friends - and one of the couples we were able to get off the dope and off the street. They live about 20 minutes away from us, have a cute little apartment, and both work full time at a nearby supermarket. Stephanie was just promoted to head of the Deli section. Friends of ours own a local furniture store, and they provided all of the furniture (used) for their home for free. So many people pitched in to make it happen. (Thank GOD the lawyer was willing to donate his time to help get Tommy's license back!!!) But they really wanted to change their lives - and they did. While working at the supermarket, Tommy's getting certified as a mechanic.

On the other hand - neither of them is mentally ill. I suspect that many "permanent" heroin addicts are actually self-medicating, as Naomi basically did.

The other couple - disappeared. Hit the road. Last I heard Terry had been arrested in Florida, and was going to be extradited to California to serve jail time there for what I don't know. They weren't ready, and there's nothing anyone can do about it.
post #358 of 414
Wow! I just came across your amazing thread! Laurie- wow, your husband and you are angels!!! MY prayers and my heart go out to you and your family
post #359 of 414
Laurie, your story of heartaches and unconditional love is both so sad and so beautiful. Bless you for being Naomi's rock, even when she doesn't think she needs one.
Adrianne- your family's story with Shaheim is incredible. Thank GOD for your parents and the love they have shown him and they life they have given him. He is a precious child and certainly deserving of the life he now has with your family .
post #360 of 414
It is a very difficult task to deal with issues involving drugs, I have been living it for some 15 years with my oldest Daughter, and she doesn't have any mental problems. You are right when you say going to rehab is not what they want, and giving up is not what we are willing to do, but at some point you have to step back and take a good hard look, because no matter how much we want them to get well it doesn't work if they don't want it to.
I realized when my Daughters friend commited suicide a few months ago that it could have been my daughter, I was Heart broken I really cared about this person and I thought how dare you do that and leave everyone heartbroken. I told my Daughter who is 43 not a teenager you need to think about Sherry. I don't want to get a phone call some day like that. All we can do is be support for them and I have alway's done that when she is doing the right thing and I will never beat her up for her mistakes, she is now trying once again I have not told her what she needs to do. I always have it in my mind why do they keep doing the same thing over and over and I finally firgured it out they do it because it works for them, I do not beleive that you need to hit rock bottom before you can pull yourself up. I just told her please don't tell me what you are going to do just do it then let me know.
I applaud you for sticking in there wanting to help and I will be praying that things will get better. I just want to know that everyone I Love and Care about is ok so when my time is up I don't have to wonder how everyone is...Take Care and Best wishes for recovery for your daughter
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