Custody (or, Dear Anonymous)

Someone keeps commenting on my posts under the guise of “anonymous” about how I’m a hypocrite for putting my son in residential, after this post about the story of the Gertz’s. I don’t post them because they are jabs at me and won’t help anyone and, let’s face it, this is my blog, and I post the comments I want (I post more than 99% of them, good and bad).

I’ve never said Mrs. Gertz was / is a bad mom. I understand how hard it is, how her other kids – and probably she – are suffering from PTSD. I know the situation is complex. And I know that sometimes adoptions are disrupted because of issues as severe as this.   It’s a tragedy, for the child and the adoptive family.  Trust me – I’m the last person to judge anyone in this situation.  I was merely drawing a parallel between the choice they made, and the choices we made.

I’ve posted here before, if you, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, want to look at the posts where I detail how we were advised to give up custody. Advised to disrupt the adoption, 11 or 12 years later.  When Tim was violent and delusional.

We refused.

We kept fighting, kept looking, hell, we MOVED more than halfway across the country, to get services that we felt – still feel – Tim needs.  Residential means yes, he’s not here in our home every day.  And it’s given him the intense treatment he needs to learn coping skills, get his meds stable, and – his goal –  learn some independence.  It’s given us time to get our daughter through a year of therapy to deal with HER PTSD.  It’s temporary – he is already on the list for the next group home opening and, after a successful time there, he will come home, for good.  Being in residential is akin to being in the hospital or at boarding school (or a combo).  He may not physically be here every day, but he’s still my son.  Tom and I have custody.  The school, the state – no one has legal custody of him, temporary or otherwise.

I get about a dozen emails and phone calls a month from parents asking for help, and I offer all the help I possibly can.. I’ve attended IEP meetings with others for their kids. I’ve taken parents to SASS offices to apply for ICG grants.  I’ve introduced parents to our psychiatrist.   I firmly believe that help can be found that is appropriate for the child in question, and can keep that child as a part of the family, rather than relinquish custody.   That was the point of my post on the story of the Gertz’s.

I’ll never stop believing that, and I’ll never stop feeling sorry for the Gertz’s and the daughter they could only help by giving away,  no matter how many snarky comments you make.

  • Barbara December 14, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    What an ignorant individual. And a coward to hide behind anonminity! (spelling?) No 2 people, or situations are identical. You being brave enough to blog your experience and thoughts for everyone to read gives support, knowledge, insight, and a gateway for conversation about schizoaffective d/o to people who might not otherwise have began talking. I appreciate what you are doing. Best wishes to you and your family. – Barb

  • Chrisa December 14, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    J – You made me cry at work. 🙂 Love you bunches.

    Barb – best to you as well. I appreciate your support more than I can express.

  • Jen December 14, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Chrisa, I think what many people don't ever understand is that sometimes the bravest and hardest choice is residential because you are risking everything – walking blindly, trusting strangers to know what's best for your child (sometimes they do, sometimes they dont, but it is part and parcel of this bargain), you risk losing a bond with your child, and, let's face it, you open yourself up to the judgment of all of those around you who have not been in your shoes. I have lost friends and family over our very painful devotions, and I still deal with questions – sometimes well-meaning, sometimes just cruel, but I know in my heart I am doing the right thing for my girls, all of them. You are too. You are amazing. Keep marching on.

  • Anonymous December 14, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    I will go away now. Why? Because you typed that very last sentence. Instead of criticizing the Gertz's for the choice they painfully made (which you did at first) I only wondered why you couldn't try and support each other. I know neither of you, but your post was shockingly harsh and self righteous when you could have been so supportive.

    People who deal with mental health issues, either in their own lives or thru family members should stick together NOT play I am better than you.

  • Chrisa December 14, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    The intent wasn't to get you to go away. It was to get you to engage in dialog about the choices and options, rather than make snarky, personal attacks.

    In this print medium, what was "harsh" and "self-righteous" to you wasn't that way when I wrote it. But you never considered that. You just left nastygrams.

    I'm a big fan of robust debate. I have enough drama in my life without poison pen pals on every-single-post.

    Please stay and debate – but please leave your insults at home. Thanks.

  • Jen December 14, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    I meant to say decisions not devotions, btw – darn that auto correct 🙂

    And Chrisa has been nothing but supportive of *so* many families and the choices they have had to make. I don't think it's fair to come here, hide behind a veil of anonymity, and throw your stones at her.

  • Chrisa December 14, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Thank you, Jen. I know you get your slings and arrows too. I'm wearing my Teflon underwear. 🙂

  • picklesprincess December 14, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    I found Chrisa and this blog a couple of months ago and I can't even put into words how many times I have come back to just re-read older posts that I have already read a dozen times. I can't tell you how replies to my pesky, ranting, venting emails have been returned with words that not only made sense, but that calmed my nerves and helped me remember there is a light in this dark tunnel. Chrisa's support and strength has given me the strength to try to reach out to others and to get through the next meltdown, and day.

  • Roberta December 15, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    During those times when I felt frightened and confused. I thought of you. When I just wanted to tell everyone to leave me alone. I don't have the strength to help others any longer. I thought of you. You may not have known this but know it now….you have always been and always will be a hero in my eyes.

  • Chrisa December 15, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Dang, Roberta, I'm tearing up at work for the second day in a row…. 🙂 Thank you. The friends I've made at CABF support groups are all heroes to me. I cherish each of you.

  • Anonymous December 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    My experience is that you only post comments you agree with, so there,s really no debate here. What's the fear of learning from others? It's a one way street with you. so, you end up with people who only agree with you.

  • Chrisa December 20, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Chrisa December 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    I'm completely for learning from others. Absolutely. We need to share information! What I am against is guerrilla tactics and militant-ism. And, this is my blog – I'm not a journalist – if I think a comment is inflammatory for no good reason (i.e. it's not debate, it's a personal attack), I don't post it. If you don't like it, don't comment. No one's making you.

  • Anonymous December 21, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    No your censoring not debating. Did you ever think that your readers are smart enough to decide for themselves about who's off base and whose not. Yu don't have to respond to the posts but if you were really that interested in hearing from all sides uy would at least post the comments. So, you aren't taking the high road. You're micromanaging for us.

  • Chrisa December 21, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    This isn't a democracy, dear. 🙂

  • Anonymous December 26, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    I am sorry the anonymus poster can't identify themselves, and hide behind their uneducated comments. And when I say uneducated, I mean they must not know the woman who didn't know me at all and offered to come sit in a er with me when my son was being admitted. A woman who so loves her children so much she spends endless days fighting and advocating for other children with similar illnesses. The woman whose child is falling to pieces before her very eyes and still takes the time to answer a phone call for a parent in crisis. The woman who blogs openly and honestly about her pain. The woman who had never given up on her children even in the darkest of hours. The woman I consider to be my hero and I am honored call her my friend now.
    So before you judge, really get to know the woman named Chrisa because she is surely one of the most passionate, loving, and selfless persons I have ever met. She has fought wars not on the battle field but in her own home, and somehow still manages to survive and still help others. Walk a mile in her shoes before you judge. ~JJ

  • Greg B. January 7, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Keep up the good fight, Chrisa. You're an inspiration to me (who knew you way back in high school).

  • Chrisa January 7, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Oh Lordy, Greg, don't say way back. Makes us sound so old! :-). And thanks.