Friday, September 16, 2011

Letting Go of Dreams

When it comes to paperwork related to Daughter, I'm procrastinating. I was slow filing for guardianship, and slow making copies of the order once it came. I was reluctant to file for home health aid. I procrastinated on paperwork for respite. I'm not thrilled about looking at residential placements. When I adopted her, these were not my goals for her. I was looking forward to watching her become a productive member of society. I dreamed of her going to college, marrying, having children.

I am finding it very hard to let go of these dreams. I didn't file for complete guardianship, I filed for partial, which will be reviewed in several years to see if it is still needed. I feel like I'm giving up on her. Intellectually, I know that's not the case, but in my heart, that's the way I feel. I grab hold of articles that suggest that her brain is still growing and developing. Maybe she will mature and be able to get a job and live independently.

When I go see the other residents of these homes, I want to go running in the opposite direction. She doesn't belong with these people. She's not like that. There's the man who is nonverbal and stamps his feet because he doesn't want the aide to shave him. There are the people who are content to sit in their room all day, doing nothing. They talk about how active one woman is because she goes to a program 2 days a week and she likes to go shopping for groceries with the house manager.

How do I let go of dreams of a career and family to embrace the idea of life in an institution, no matter how small it may be? How do I send my charming, funny, caring daughter to live with people who can't participate in a simple conversation? The reality is, her mental illness and diabetes are bigger issues than her developmental challenges. I have sheltered her and protected her and she does have intellectual limitations, so she can't protect herself with the street smart individuals in the mental illness homes.

Placing her in a residential setting feels like giving up on her. I've always told her that God will never give up on her. How can I give up on her? Part of the issue with guardianship was finding a backup guardian. How do I inflict her on anyone I love? How do I consign her to a public guardian? While I know I'm not abandoning her, on some level, that's what it feels like, like I'm betraying the promise I made to love her and keep her safe.

Being Daughter's mom has not been easy. At the hardest times, I told myself that God didn't call me to be her mom for it to end in tears. Yet that's what it feels like is happening. I remind myself of how well she did when she was at camp this summer. I try to convince myself that this will be like camp, and give her an opportunity to blossom apart from me. I wish I believed that.


Miz Kizzle said...

I'm sorry. There should be better options for people like your daughter but our government chooses to spend money on other things, like senseless wars and agencies that harass and, yes, terrorize its own citizens instead of funding housing for people who need it most. This is not your fault. You are an excellent mother.

maeve said...

Miz Kizzle is absolutely right, there should be better options for our kids. Miss M. could be living a "normal" life if she'd had some support for her mental health issues and her very low IQ. Instead she was off on her own, trying to scrape be.

You're a great mom with not enough support from the mental health nor the MR communities.

Reverend Mom said...

Thank you both.

Maeve, the possibilities here are better than the possibilities in your state. I suspect Miss M is so damaged that she would have rejected the support. It's too bad there aren't better answers, and more support for struggling parents.