Last week I drove to our agency about 45 min. away and met with two of the Social Workers (SW) there. The purpose of this meeting was to start the ball rolling to see if they can help get additional services for Katya and our family. While I choose to focus primarily on the good things and the progress Katya is making on this blog, reality is that there are also a LOT of challenges that our family faces on a on-going basis with Katya.
While we are excited and grateful about all of her exciting and amazing progress, reality is that the challenges do tend to wear, like water dripping on rock steadily. Our family came to the point that we knew that we had to reach out and ask for some additional support services so that we can stay healthy and strong enough to care for Katya well. I think we have done pretty good handling all of this for over a year now, and especially since Katya got out of school in early March and was not able to go back--we have done it primarly alone now for months and months, without even the break that school was providing. We have had a couple of times of respite for 3 hours, and that is great, but it's just not being enough. School will soon be starting for Katya again and while that will provide some relief it will also be a challenge as we have to try to revolve our lives around her schedule. And homeschooling and a public school schedule often just seem to collide. And then there will be the stressful IEP meetings and other challenges that come with school. So school is definitely NOT a real solution to relieving stress for us . . .
The SW who did our first post-placement report had told us originally that Katya's needs were severe enough that we should have a full weekend of respite once each month, at a minimum. As a family, we haven't had one single night's break in over a year.
I broke down and cried various times during the several hours long meeting with the two SW's last week, thereby comfirming to them that we do certainly need more help, as they know I'm not one to usually cry. But I think the idea that there MIGHT be relief in sight made me feel really emotional. If all the applications go through, hopefully we will be able to have respite for more than 3 hours here and there . . . and also, we will have a therapy type session at least once a month with one of the SW's so that we can get support/ideas/vent or whatever is most needed. This will sometimes be play therapy with Katya and various members of our family, family therapy and therapy centered around helping promote on-going healthy attachment.
We are hopeful that this will all fall into place and provide our family some much needed support and the ability to breath a little bit again. The one SW told me, "We want to support your family in caring for Katya, because we don't believe it would be in her best interest to be relocated to a new home. You guys are doing a great job with her, and we want to see you stay strong and healthy as a family so you can keep meeting her needs." Yeah, us too. We sort of knew all that, but it was still good to have the Social Worker say that they believe we are doing what is right by Katya and meeting her needs. Even though we often feel frustrated and feel like the tough economy/medical bills etc. are preventing us from being able to provide for her all that we think she needs and deserves, I know Katya is getting far more than she would have been getting overseas . . . but it's still frustrates me when we can't afford all the things that I know would be good for her but just aren't in our budget. I have to try to console myself with the fact that her #1 need is love, and that we are certainly pouring into her and on her and over her. ;-) Katya knows she is loved, I have no doubt about that.
Katya sits at the end of our table for meals, so she can be between Paul and me. Today at lunch time, I looked at Katya and smiled. And I think, for the first time ever, Katya looked into my eyes and smiled happily back at me, out of the blue--with no words having been said! It was so special and warmed my heart to the core. . . and then Katya signed, "Happy! Happy!" as she grinned at me . . . WOWZERS . . . Yeah, me too, Sweet-heart. Me too . . . Mama is soo happy because a year ago, if I smiled at you, your face usually stayed blank . . . and your eyes dead. To be able to look at you, and have you smile back at me instantly, with no words exchanged is so precious . . .