Independence; perception counts more than reality. Adopted children surrender to the "rich"benefits. As Katy had. Katy had found rich parents in the business world and clergy. She had found "rich" is not independence. It was dependence, and she collapsed.
Staff notes indicated that 11-year-old Katy adoptee from South America had a habit of eloping every other day. She broke trust with staff and escaped hospital security lock-in. Attempts were being made to move her to PHP (Partial Hospitalization Patient). Her pattern was of negative hostile defiance, losing her temper, arguing with adults, refusing to comply. She had annoyed, blamed others, and was touchy, spiteful or vindictive. She had vandalized her school by deliberately plugging the drains that had flooded two rooms. Katy met criteria more typical of children her age and developmental level, but Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) were her only defenses.
Katy, her clergy mother, and businessman father toured the Psychotherapy Center with staff who brought them to my classroom with the sign "School" on the door. I greeted and shook hands with the parents, but when I offered my hand to this lithe girl, she postured defiance, turned her head away rudely rejecting me.
I quietly and calmly backed into my classroom and closed the glass door. School is where we learn and accept boundaries. Boundaries had been previously clarified for Katy, and, earlier, she had pulled her defiance stunt in lock-in.
Two days passed. Katy was back in our classroom. Entry was stifling for her. I gave her a pinched greeting and offered my hand. She took it. I gave her my perfunctory, "Good morning, please sit by your name card." She dispassionately complied. We balanced our relationship with smirks of accepting acknowledgment. We would share power. I basked in the healing that had begun. This South American orphan with the tortured past had come to like seeing me write, "In AmerICAN. Here anything is possible."
Sometimes at the conclusion of the Pledge of Allegiance 'and justice for all' I would ask, "And is there justice for all?" The children usually answered, "No." Without skipping a beat I would say, "No, but we Americans are working on it. It is what I like the most about being an American.
These parents had their own perception of independence for this girl. They had their own character issues. They expected Katy to embrace their martyrdom. They had forgotten to monitor their own behaviors of dignity and worth toward this young child. She was not just a pawn in their lives.
Parents and or public give to children insincere apologies attesting arguments isn't morally right; it's meaningless.
On this week of 4th of July celebrations, I feel Lincoln"s words, "heal wounds of civil war "with malice toward none with charity for all. Remain authentic - morals. Feel the good in 'all' of us to uphold the rule of law is OUR independence. The Katys of the world will thank us.
Kaye is a teacher and author of multiple works including Valerie Valentine Visits Vincent Vampire