Yesterday, C-son left our home.
This is hard to describe, not only because there are so many emotions but because there are so many parts to the story. There is the side of C-son's social worker who said, "I'm sure you can work through this." And the side of our own social workers, who said they'd never seen a case this difficult. There is the side of my step-daughters who say, "but every time we saw him, he smiled and was so cheerful." But there's also the side of K-daughter, who was there when he was throwing hammers at the house and pulling knives out of the drawer in a rage, who is terrified that he'll come back to our home.
I think I agree with all of them. He's a poor kid who has been through a lot. I know we were his last shot at having a family, so I felt an especial obligation to work harder than I have so far: if we'd just gotten him on the right meds, could it have worked? I wanted to be superwoman. I wanted to be the one who saved him. I don't at all like admitting that not only was love not enough, but love and discipline and positive reinforcement and everything else I could think of were not enough. *I* was not enough.
He'd gotten increasingly defiant and angry this past week; the stealing I mentioned a while back was just a small part of it. There was an argument that started when my husband told him to come home from skating by 8:45 -- C-son reacted by cursing, throwing things, locking himself in the bathroom. The next night, a similar discussion resulted in the hammer-throwing and knife-pulling. I sent the other kids to the attic to get them out of his way. He left under custody of the police, who took him to the local hospital under a "302" (mental health observation). He won't come back to our home; there is a good chance I won't ever see him again.
A weird irony of this is that my last few hours with him were much like my first week with him: buried in paperwork and a confusion of bureaucracy. My first few weeks, I spent hours trying to negotiate the tangle of insurance questions to get him the medications he'd run out of. Admitting him to the ER was a tangle of custody questions: was I allowed to sign him in? Which of the two social agencies actually has legal authority to admit him? I spent about two hours at the hospital filling out paperwork, and they asked me to stay longer in case they had more questions in a few more hours. But by 11:00 I was going brain dead and had to leave.
And so today we begin the process of figuring out what our lives will be like without C-son here anymore. For us, I expect it will be much calmer and more predictable. There is an uncomfortable sense of relief. Here.
But for C-son, I know, not so much. Drat drat drat.