Despite all her progress, Raine still suffers from a great deal of social anxiety. This became overwhelmingly apparent when we visited the pediatrician on September 15, 2014. Normally she’s a little out of hand. But that day she was wild.
That prompted a referral for behaviour therapy. Owing to the fact that I don’t have private health insurance, our case went to the regional government funded organization. In a matter of days, someone contacted me to do an intake interview over the phone. I explained Raine’s history and the issues we’re still dealing with – which are social anxiety and the acting out that comes with that. The courteous woman informed me that, due to limited funding, private therapy was in the process of being done away with. “Group therapy is the direction the organization is heading in. As this services more families in a shorter amount of time.”
“It’s really unpredictable,” my pediatrician warned at our appointment. “You might get someone who is wonderful. You might get a therapist that isn’t really helpful. In which case, just end the treatment.”
Those words put this whole process into perspective. It might be helpful. It might not.
“Group therapy really isn’t going to work,” I told the kind woman on the phone. “Raine is very disruptive. It wouldn’t be a good situation for her or the other participants.”
“Well…….we do have a few one on one therapy options. But the wait will be considerably longer.”
We went with that option. Our intake appointment was booked for December 16, 2014 but the office had to rebook to January 20, 2015.
I explained to Raine where we were going and why the day before our appointment. She woke in a rage and proceeded to have a complete meltdown before breakfast. “I’m not getting dressed! I’m not having breakfast! And we’re not going anywhere!” she shouted as the sun came up. It was frightful as she rolled on the floor growling.
This used to be a daily occurrence. This used to be what our life looked like most of the time. It’s been so long, I’m caught off guard by the occasional slip backwards.
She did get dressed. She did eat breakfast. We did go to the appointment. We arrived a little bit early and the therapist was somewhat late. Raine had time to play in the waiting room and calm herself down.
We were escorted into the one office by the woman who we were scheduled to see. She introduced us to another therapist. We all sat in his office for a few moments. Then it was revealed that I would be staying there to meet with him and Raine would go elsewhere with the lady. Raine was eerily silent in the room while we were all together. This turn of event surprised us both. Reluctantly, she went.
And I thought, This is ridiculous! My child has sever separation anxiety issues. I explained that in the telephone interview. The whole scene was rather awkward and terribly executed. When I spoke to the therapist on the phone to confirm our appointment, she might have let me know this is how it would look. But she did not. And, apparently, this is how it’s done. So that’s what we did.
Perhaps being part of the foster care system makes me exceptionally suspicious. I wondered if the point of interviewing us separately was to fish for “causes of concern” or some sinister secret in our life that is causing her anxiety. I don’t know for certain what the rational behind the separate interview on day one is. The execution certainly left a lot to be desired. Still we did what was required in hopes of accessing the help available.
My interview involved repeating everything I’d said on the phone interview. The man made notes, underlining key items. I recounted what I know of Raine’s birth family, why she came into foster care, how adoption ended up being her fate, etc. He took it all in with detached professionalism. Then one of the standard questions had something to do with “violent images seen in video games or elsewhere.”
The man stopped and started with great alarm when I said, “Raine doesn’t play video games. Her media intake is very limited. She doesn’t have any computer access or anything so I don’t think she’s really seen violent images.”
“She doesn’t have computer access?” he inquired, with alarm.
“No,” I answered, wanting to laugh that this of all the information shared was his greatest cause for concern.
“She must ask for it, though.”
“No, she doesn’t. Raine’s happy to play with toys or draw. I find too much screen time increases her aggression. She watches movies some, but doesn’t use the computer.” The fact that she doesn’t ask for computer access seemed to console him somewhat. We moved on. That statement – no computer access – was written down and underlined.
At the end of our interview I was informed of the process moving forward. The gentleman will write up a report. The lady who interviewed Raine will write up a report. It will take at least 4 weeks to do so. Then, based on the report, someone, somewhere, will somehow decide on a therapist to see us for treatment. Then we will go on that therapist’s wait list. All of this, obviously, takes time. If Raine’s needs become more pressing, I was encouraged to call and they will see about speeding up the process. (Perhaps Raine’s lack of computer access will speed things up.)
Aside from that, the situation is hardly pressing. Raine is doing the best she has since her arrival nearly four years ago. There’s still some lingering issues that it would be helpful to resolve.
The gentleman escorted me to the room where Raine was being interviewed. The therapist informed me that my daughter didn’t want to go home at all. And I started to worry. Despite the finality of legal adoption, despite nearly four years together, there’s still a lingering fear of loss. It’s something that plagues Raine as well. She worries that one day she’ll once again be apprehended and lose me the way she lost her first mother.
I smiled and encouraged Raine to come along “because it’s nearly lunch time and I’m sure you’re getting hungry.”
The therapist quickly told me, “I said she could finish drawing the picture she’s working on. I think it’s important for her to complete it. She’s working very hard.”
I’m terrible at small talk. I sat where I was told to. The woman made a few comments about Raine, I responded warmly. But resisted being drawn in. I worried about what Raine had said. There’s absolutely nothing that would ever warrant her being apprehended by child protective services. But we didn’t exactly have a great morning. She wasn’t really happy with me for bringing her there. At times, Raine can put a nasty spin on the truth. I suddenly felt insecure and wondered if I really am failing.
When Raine completed her picture. The therapist walked us, through many locked doors, out to the waiting room. “I’m really glad to have met you,” she said with surprising sincerity. “It was great to get to know you.” I took a deep breath. Maybe Raine didn’t paint such a bad picture.