International Adoption Book

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Daughter Is Missing!

This afternoon I went through about 40 minutes of pure terror. I now have a brief glimpse into what mothers of missing children endure every day. I couldn't imagine having that kind of grief and horror in my world for days, weeks, months or even years. God help me, but I could barely think of the two kids who were at my side. I knew MJ needed to eat and M needed to help me babysit so I could focus my attention where it needed to be, but I couldn't make myself accomplish any of that. All I could do was watch out the window for my daughter as I waited for the police to arrive.

Okay, that all sounds a bit melodramtic, so I had best explain...

C went on a field trip today to the state School For The Deaf. It is nearly 2 hours away. Yesterday morning C's busdriver asked if C would need transportation today or if I would provide transportation. I explained that Matt was out of the area because he was attending his mother's funeral (sending much love and many prayers with her soul) so I was not in a position to provide transportation. She said that it would be no problem, but that C would be picked up about an hour earlier.

So, 7:00am comes rolling around and here comes the bus. C gets on and I followed to buckle her up (as I do every other time I put her on the bus). As I was departing, I asked her driver when I could expext C to be dropped off. She said, "I don't know, but I'll just honk as I drive by." Every day, the bus passes our house in order to make a u-turn at the end of the block and drops C off on the return route (a 2 minute trip during which time I can see the bus).

4:10pm comes and goes... Okay, so she'll be a bit later than usual. 4:30pm... Hmmmm, they're going to be really late. 5:00 hits and my heart stars beating... I had better call Transportation. I took my time, thinking that nothing could be wrong. By the time I got around to phoning it was 5:11pm.

As soon as the operator answered the phone I explained that I was just checking on my daughter's status. I just wanted to know when I could expect the bus and if they were still on their way back from the southern school. "What do you mean? All our busses are back." This, of course, made me panic instantly (as I don't do well with someone misplacing my kids). She said, "Let me check with a few people and I'll call you back."

Nearly 10 minutes later she finally calls me back and says, "C never got on the bus so we don't know where she is."

WHAT THE F*^@?!?! And yes, that did come out of my mouth! At this point I began screaming and demanded that they find my child. The lady kept telling me, "Calm down ma'am or I can't help you." Calm down my rear! This is my child we are talking about and she's missing! I explained that they needed to find my daughter or I would need to call 911!!! What else was I going to do? She then suggested I call her school and find out if they knew where my daughter was. The lady asked if I wanted the phone number. Since that was FAR more expedient than looking it up myself I said, "Yes.... And don't you leave that office until I call you back!" So, did she give me the number? Nope.... The B*#&% hung up on me!!! SERIOUSLY?!?

I, of course called back and demanded to speak to her supervisor (who then repeated teh "Calm down or I won't help you" phrase). I got the phone number, repeated my "Don't you dare leave" demand and called the school... Was there an answer? Nope. Just the recording that tells the school hours of opperation. So, I called Transportation back again. And do you want to know what that woman said?

"I think you should call 911!"

OH CRAP!!! Needless to say, I totally lost it. I, yet again, told them not to leave until my daughter was found as I was hanging up the phone.

In the next instant I'm screaming on the phone to the post dispatcher. She was telling me to calm down and all I wanted to do was scream that she had to be joking... My daughter is missing and she wants me to calm down? How insane is that?

Suffice it to say, I'm suprised I didn't have the entire block outside looking at me or seeing what was going on because I was screaming so loudly that my throat is still aching (and it's been nearly 4 hours).

I paced to different windows wondering if C would be able to find her way home on the off chance that she did get on a bus and got dropped off somewhere. As I stood outside waiting for the patrol car to pull up I was praying for C's safety and hoping against all hope that someone didn't kidnap her and yet hoping against hope that someone find her and would be able to understand her signing.

The feelings of pure helplessness that I endured for those short but long lasting moments of my day were so overwhelming that even now I can't seem to shake this overwhelming feeling of nausea and sadness.

Thankfully, at nearly the same instant (around 5:45pm) the school Transportation officed and 911 called back to tell me that C was still on her way home from the school for the deaf and would be arriving at her school around 6:00pm where I needed to pick her up.

WHAT?!? Seriously? I don't recall reading that on the permission slip. And I still had every right to be upset and angry because I was asked if I needed transportation provided ("Yes, please"), I asked what time she would be dropped off ("I'll honk as I drive by"), which indicated that they would bring her home, if they weren't then they should have called since the bus driver verified that she would bring her home, and the Transportation office should always know which students they are picking up/dropping off and which of their regular students they are not picking up/dropping off and why. Had Transportation had this information available and told me that I was supposed to pick her up at the school then that would have solved half of the problem.

Dare I say that when Transportation called me back for the final time and told me that they had found my daughter (which they should have done in the first place instead of telling me to call 911 because they didn't know where my kid was) then there would have been no problem... Because this whole thing started because I was calling to verify where C was at and what time I could expect her back... And guess what? That's the information that they gave me on that final call... My reply? "I F'ing HATE YOU PEOPLE!" with a swift hang-up!

The 911 operator? "Thank you sooooo much and I am soooo sorry for all of this." She gave a swift laugh of relief and, with a smile in her tone, said, "No problem. It's my job." She then worried about whether or not I would be mentally stable to drive. What else could I do? I had to pick up my daughter and I had to drive, so I called my parents to vent, pulled it together and drove my scared rear into town!

C is home, safe and sound... And I'm so relieved (though Matt laughed at me like I was an idot, but hey... what can I say?). Sigh........

Friday, May 7, 2010

Update... Has it really been that long since the last post?

Okay, so it's been a looooong time since I posted any sort of real update (not including the update regarding C tonight).

MJ is growing like crazy-cakes! He is easily wearing 12 month clothes and 18 month jammies. He learned how to walk using the furniture about 2 weeks ago and M and C are both helping him walk about the house (it's absolutely adorable). It was fabulous because one day he sort of figured out how to walk. I had been infrequently attempting to teach him how to walk since March. But suddenly he figured it out. Now he wants to walk around the house and will actually try to let go and take off by himself. Of course, he instantly falls down and cries out of pure frustration. But at least he tries. His two top teeth came in just a week or two ago and both within a week of each other. They were a long time coming, but now that they're through we have peace in the house again (for the most part). MJ is eating table food infrequently. He likes it a little bit, but he definitely prefers the jars of baby food. He sucks on the bottle like a professional but he has trouble learning how to chew. So, needless to say, he doesn't eat too much table food. He does love his Num-Nums, though! ;)

M is doing GREAT! He earned an award yesterday for making good choices. He got "caught" applogizing! So, Matt went to work and told his co-workers what M received his award for. They were really smart... "Hmmm... So, a kid can beat up another kid and if he appologizes without being told to he can get an award?" LOL! Of course, I don't know what M did that he would need to appologize, but I'm glad he did say sorry.

On the other hand, M pulled a good one on us today! We arrived home today from our walk home from school and stood outside chatting with our neighbor. As she and I chatted our two kiddos played. Just as I was getting ready to go inside her daughter came up and showed her mom what M had just given her. Mom said, "He gave you $20?!?" Of course, this startled me because, heavens, where does a 7-year-old get $20? After much interogation (on our drive to my hair appointment... A Mother's Day gift from my beloved husband) I learned he stole the money! Not that it makes it any better, but, he stole it from C who had been saving it from her birthday (to my surprise, since I thought I had deposited all of her money months ago). I tried to get Matt to cancel my appoinment so we could take M to the police station. I thought it would be good for him to have the living crap scared out of him for stealing! But, Matt said no and we are still discussing what we are going to do to punish M.

C is doing very well. She's bursting into tears at school and, on the bus, is being rude by calling her fellow students names and such. Of course, tonight, as part of my Mother's Day gift, we went out to Olive Garden where C proceeded to make fun of and be obnoxious to a very overweight lady. And I mean she was rude! She actually signed, "That lady is FAT! That's bad. She doesn't need to be so FAT!" And she kept going on and on, no matter how much I was telling her to stop! I was doing my best not to turn beat red from embarrassment as she totally ignored my demands. But, I finally figured out (once my brain started working) to take C to the bathroom and get onto her there. I think I got her to understand that she was awful and mean to that lady, but I just know it will happen again because this is not the first time she has said things of this nature.

So, what a Mother's Day gift... A son who steals money and a daughter who is rude and obnoxious to overweight people! God help me!!! Please!!! ;)

Anual Opthamology Appointment

C had a fun and semi-interesting, though confusing, doctor's appointment this morning. She saw an Opthamologist who took one look at her records and said, as she blanched, "I think your daughter needs to see the Pediatric Opthamologist. I'll put that referral in today!"

Great! :( There goes another 2 or 3 months of waiting to see another eye doctor. But, such is life, right!?!

In the mean time, the doctor did give C a quick exam and found that, though her eyes did deteriorate, they did not have significant issues (at least prescription wise). C went from a +2.50 and a +2.75 (with each eye having a .50 astigmatism) to a +4.00. She said that C's current glasses would be fine until she can get a more accurate assessment from the Pediatric Specialist.

I also explained that C is complaining about it being "dark" a lot. The doctor said that this was a direct result of the Retinitis Pigmentosa and that the specialist would need to check the degree of deterioration at his appointment. So, though the prescription didn't change dramatically, the RP could have.

For example, on Wednesday morning at 7:30-ish, I was signing to C in the livingroom. The curtains were all open, but the lights were off. It was overcast, so it wasn't as bright in the room as it would normally have been, but it wasn't dark enough to warrant the use of lights. But as I was signing to C, she complained about not being able to see me, so I had to turn on the lights in order for her to be able to effectively understand my signing. Talk about hitting home! If I had any doubts before that C was loosing her eye-sight this totally threw that out the window.

What's fun, though, is that C came home from school yesterday with "fun homework". It wasn't a requirement, but her teacher sent home a little project with his students. He explained that there was a student in the class who had to learn braille and that he thought it would be "fun" for everyone to get involved. I burst into tears as soon as I read that, both from gratitude that he would involve his class like that and at the realization that C would soon need to utilize Braille to read.

When the VI specialist (in California) told me C was learning "Braille" she explained that she was only going to start teaching how to find the beginning and ending of lines and that she wouldn't be learning actual Braille for quite some time (though I could have totally misunderstood what she was explaining). Here they have chosen to take a more direct route and actually teach Braille itself. I was surprised when I read C homework because when the VI teacher and I spoke I understood that she would teach the same things C had been learning previously rather than learning actual braille... But, hey, at the rate things seem to be going with C this might be a better route!

And, yes, it seems C might actually become legally blind by her late teens/early twenties (according to several people who work closely with people who have Usher Syndrome). I had, for some reason, had it in my head that C would have her sight until she was 40 or 50 years old. It's still a possibility, but the way things look to be progressing that's not too likely.