Karey’s Story: One Parent’s ‘Glade Run Experience’

Hi, my name is Karey.  I’m told that I am blogging – don’t have a clue what blogging is, but since I love to talk I was asked – so here goes:

I tend to see my life as a series of blessings and the people I choose to share it with are a very large part of those blessings.

I have had to place two of my sons in Glade Run separately because as a single parent I was not capable of providing 24/7 care to help them overcome their fears, anger and difficulty bonding.  Son #6 came with a long history of failed relationships and psychiatric placements, as well as in RTFs (residential treatment facilities).

He arrived (Karey is an adoption mom –ed) August 1, 2007 at 9 years 10 days with a brick wall of defiance and arrogance that makes Fort Knox appear to be built out of cardboard.  I absorbed physical abuses and vandalism meant for his biological mom until May, 2009.  That’s when it became clear that his behaviors were scaring son #5.  I was forced to place son #6 in Southwood four times, then Mercy DAS and finally Glade Run’s RTF.

I felt such an overwhelming sense of failure – that day I realized none of my efforts were working.  When I met with Danielle from (Glade Run’s) intake the first time I was in worse shape than my kid but I knew what I wanted and I spoke it right out.  I wanted my faith recognized and honored in dealing with him, I want to come and see him whenever I could manage (about 5 times a week), I wanted to speak with him whenever I chose, but most of all I wanted the staff to see beyond the mask of mean, angry, vindictive, hateful human to the 11 years old child who couldn’t see beyond his fears.

I wanted to be consulted on everything – in other words – just because I couldn’t make life better for him, I am his mom and nobody better forget that.

The staff at McCoid Cottage (and later Johnson Cottage), medical director Dr. Altman, therapist Maria K., and case manager Kasey K. acted as though I was not overbearing, pushy, inconsiderate, passionate or bossy – I was always treated as if nothing I was asking for was outrageous and they were thrilled to have me on the team.

Son #5 came to me in November, 2004 at 40 months old; suffering from severe neglect, failure to thrive, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), RAD (Reactive Detachment Disorder) and a whole slew of Diagnoses.  As son #6 prepared to return home in May, 2010, son #5 was falling apart.  He didn’t believe I was safe; that son #6 had learned and changed and son #5 continued to fear if something happened to me (as his real mom) because of son #6, he would be lost and unwanted again.  His experience with adults was that they couldn’t make good decisions and he had to do it for them.  So son #5 had to be placed in Glade Run in August, 2010 because in order to keep me safe he had to kill off the threat of son #6.

I have seen such incredible acts of acceptance and love from almost everyone with whom I’ve worked at Glade Run.  The one time I had difficulty with a staff; I went to the cottage supervisor and asked for assistance in dealing with that person.  He listened attentively to my issue and the reasons it was an issue and assured me he would personally deal with the matter and no, I wasn’t crazy.  He did just as he said he would and at that staff’s next workday, that that staff was unaware that his responses to my son were triggering the PTSD of his earliest youth. 

Everyone at McCoid cottage worked to present a calm and safe environment of healing for him.  One staff, Luke, spent nearly 5 hours with #5 helping him figure out how to deal with him behaviors that would allow him to return home: together they made charts and then staff Heather and Kristen made all kinds of reminder posters to keep him on tract.  He would call to brag about his latest efforts.  When he failed, staff would have him call me to explain what he had done and then together – he and I – we would re-assess the difficulty and possible alternative behaviors he could utilize.  Many, many phone calls staff and I had about both boys as we worked to hammer out their treatment plan.

Lest I forget – Dr. Altman was always open to discussing his medications, i.e., possible changes, dosage adjustments and precautions.  While many people think me certifiable, Doc never once suggested out loud a possible placement for me even as he may have thought it.  Then there is Maria K. – she honored my knowledge and path working with me and my son’s adoption worker and therapist.  She can graciously and lovingly see around the northbound end of the southbound frustration and anger of a tired, overwhelmed and disillusioned person to the heart and love of the parent.  Her willingness to devote hours to brainstorm alternatives, to teaching and using the Sanctuary Model, to sharing one on one therapy on the phone as gas price skyrocketed are so appreciated.

I could go on and on – there are so many, many people who have made a difference in the blessings with which I am surrounded – Starlett, Bonnie, Beth, Dr. Lockwood, Lance, Justin, Rob, Josh, Leah, Jason, Luke – you all know who you are.

If there is a place where there is an opportunity for my boys to be made whole and happy, I’m saying it is Glade Run Lutheran Services.

Thanks guys for keeping my hope alive and kicking.  My deepest respect and sincere appreciation for all you have and are doing for my family.  May God continue to bless you as you bless us.

Karey, mom of two boys who have been helped by Glade Run’s residential treatment program.

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