After my last post elicited a flurry of concerned emails and phone calls (thanks, by the way!), I feel the need to clarify: the article is not a passive-aggressive stab at anyone. It just gives a dead-on glimpse into a difficult aspect of adopting older children. BUT! Our family, church, and other friends are a consistently wonderful support system. So please take the previous post as purely educational. If it helps you interact with our family, that’s great! If it helps you understand another family—even better. Ok. Cool. Moving on.
Best news of the week: my mom and sister have returned from a month-long jaunt to Europe! Hello, my name is Katie, and I cried several times this month about missing my mommy. Ridiculous? Maybe, but medication withdrawal days, breaking the news of adoption, and oh yeah—parenting two crazy monkeys and a baby will do that to you! I’m glad they’re back. Not least because I plan on bribing my sister to come watch the kids while I write lesson plans. Love you, H!
Speaking of medication withdrawal…I meant to write a post on it as it was happening, but that didn’t work out. Those were the worst two days of parenting to date. I imagine those days were somewhat similar to giving birth—an event that has a crazy good outcome, but you don’t exactly speak of the unimaginable pain as it’s going on. Although I have come across some bloggers detailing their child’s birth with “real time updates”. I digress. Boy and Girl came to us on insane prescription regimens (read: adult dosages of drugs with no evidence of safe use in children). We have since been informed that there is only one psychiatrist who sees foster children in the city where Boy and Girl were previously living, and his general plan was to drug jacked up, traumatized kids into
mind-numbing sedation decent behavior. Reporting him to the medical licensing board is absolutely on my to-do list. Take that. However, we now have a great psychiatrist who was interested in finding out which medications the kids actually need, so she developed a plan for weaning them off.
So we did.
Oh my. We had two days of crazy, off-the-wall behavior. By the end of the first day, I was hiding behind a couch from the children. Seriously. When PJ called to tell me he was on his way home, he hesitantly asked how it was going, having been reading my facebook updates of finding kids playing in the toilet and the like throughout the day. So I told him I was hiding from the children while they terrorized each other. He asked where I was. “ In the pit of HELL, where you need to come join me NOW!” I hissed into the phone. It speaks volumes about my husband’s character that he actually came home to that crazy domestic scene.
By the grace of God, we all survived Operation No More Meds. We reduced Girl from FOUR doses of ADHD medications (hello? ADHD? She’s four) to zero doses! She is no longer sedated out of her mind from her 7 AM sedative, nor is she being stimulated by a stimulant she doesn’t need. (That’s right, she was on both stims and sedatives at the same time). Boy is completely off his ADHD medication (a high adult dosage), and we have found an appropriate medication to help him sleep at night (rather than to knock him out, unconscious). I am so glad to not be subjecting their little formerly appetite-suppressed bodies to unsafe medications anymore. The pediatric nurse and the mommy in me cringed every time I handed over a pill for them to swallow. Which was six times each day.
Can we all agree that grief is not the same as clinical, chemical-imbalanced depression and that an utter lack of loving discipline does not constitute ADHD?? I absolutely believe that true ADHD exists, but I refuse to believe that 80% of the kids in foster care truly deserve this diagnosis when only 5-8% of the general pediatric population has ADHD. Oh, and maybe we shouldn’t subject foster kids to off-label prescribing of medications with ZERO research into the safety and efficacy of the drug in children. Jumping off the soapbox now.
So yes. That is our experience with psychotropic medication withdrawal. Up next…a scathing book review and a post about happy birthdays!