Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Visiting the mental hospital

On Saturday, we made the trip an hour-and-a-half down the road to see C-son.  It's the first time we've seen him since the night the police took him away, although we've talked on the telephone a few times. In a way, this was meant to be a "good-bye" visit, although we'll try to continue to see him several times a year once he moves out of where he currently is -- the mental hospital -- into his group home.

We brought a few things for him to keep.  I printed out some photos we'd taken of him; most kids in foster care have very few photos, and C-son is no exception.  No baby photos.  No pictures of his birth mom or birth siblings.  No first-day-of-school photos.  None at all.  So I figured he could use these.

Because I printed them out on regular paper, I had the all three boys write comments about the pictures -- who was in them, what was happening.    That helped to kill a bit of time while also reminding the boys of fun they'd had together.
It was good that we'd brought something to do, because we were pretty much stuck in a conference room the whole hour.  Security was tight:  on the way in, there were two different locked doors we had to be buzzed through, and on the way out, the receptionist had walk us out herself, unlocking each door with a key.  We'd brought C-son the black shoes he'd left at our home, but we had to remove the laces before we could give them to him.  In that environment, there wasn't a lot of room for the usual kinds of play.

Of course, kids can make toys out of just about anything.  J-son made himself some "ears" out of the shoes . . .
And then J-son and C-son made themselves hats with the shoes (without even knowing of Dali or Schiaparelli!)
Mostly, though, the boys played with J-son's Bionicles.  N-son and J-son more or less played together, and C-son played next to them, but quietly by himself.  Back when he lived with us, I used to say C-son talked half as much as Clint Eastwood; on this visit he spoke even less.  I'm guessing that's partly circumstances and more-than-partly his medications.
He seemed to be happy to be with us (or perhaps just happy for the chance to be away from his roommate).  It was a calm visit.  An I'm-glad-we-could-see-you visit.  After our hour was up, we said good-bye with hugs all around and made promises to meet up again in the future.  And then C-son went back to his room, and we drove home.

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