February 10, 2013…The phone rings @ 7 a.m. as I am preparing to leave for work. A panicked voice, from our single parenting son, “Mom, I just can’t do this anymore! Kaila is so difficult, nothing is working. I just can’t live this way. Please, please would you and dad take her?”
So begins our incredible journey! We knew something was wrong with Kaila but had no idea what we would be facing. There were many signs of attachment disorder along the way, but we as first-time grandparents figured our love would just be enough! I researched the internet and read about this disorder realizing Kaila was throwing us numerous red flags.
Kaila and her dad relocated to MD from MT, when Kaila was three. Her mother was emotionally and physically disconnected from the beginning of Kaila’s life. We initiated two different therapists hoping they would identify her issues, but got nowhere Kaila was in second grade when she came to live with us. The first couple of weeks went ok. As time continued, however, she began having meltdowns after school. Anytime she didn’t get her way, she would bump into me and scream. She was holding it together mostly at school with a few signs of controlling different situations. A pattern of physical and emotional abuse was beginning at home. Kaila targeted me constantly. I was restraining her each day to keep her from hurting me. There were bruises from kicking, bruises from slapping and hitting and bite marks. Her anger was out of control. She could manipulate and rage faster than one could blink. She’s a monster… she was a hurting child! We walked on eggshells constantly. We were living a nightmare!
These dark hopeless days continued…
Until… I made a phone call at the beginning of March to The Healing Place… Kaila was getting sicker and we were headed for a serious family breakdown! We began seeing a wonderful therapist (an angel) who was trained in attachment disorder. Finally, some hope. We were going to get our wounded granddaughter the help she most desperately needed.
We focused on empowering me with the right techniques in order to gain control of an out of control child. I was pretty exhausted mentally and physically by this time and needed a break from Kaila. Our therapist suggested that we look into a respite, located in southern Maryland, called The Attachment Place.
As I am writing this next part, the tears are flowing… We met Sharon and Eddie (the next two angels, falling in love with them) who would open Kaila’s heart and allow her to feel love! We knew we had to have hope and trust that their knowledge of this disorder would turn this little girl around. April 29, 2013, was the day we took her to the respite. It took seven weeks before Kaila earned the privilege to talk with us. We were able to skype and the change we saw in her physical appearance was incredible! A beautiful genuine smile and a relaxed body demeanor were more than we had hoped.
Over the next few months, Kaila worked very hard to overcome the anger and rage towards a mother that couldn’t/wouldn’t bond with this precious child. Sharon and Eddie used various techniques in order for Kaila to meet with tremendous success. Our family was involved with parent coaching, being given the tools that would ensure Kaila’s successful transfer back to our home.
Kaila has been home with us since August 2013. She is enjoyable to be around at home as well as social events. She gets off track now and then. Consequences consist of writing many sentences, strong sitting or jumping jacks. She might have to earn some privileges back. We are being consistent with rules and expectations. Chores are expected on Saturday and scrubbing the bathroom is her favorite. Wiping each and every doorknob throughout the house runs a close second!
We are focused on the goal… a lovable child and a happy home. Kaila will tell others, I have to be with Miss Sharon because my mommy didn’t do her job and I deserve a happy life! Kaila has a unique bond with Sharon, Eddie, and Tori and considered our extended family. She is happy to visit periodically giving our family some time to rejuvenate.
Words could not describe how grateful we are to Sharon and Eddie for their faith and love that has given our family hope and the courage to continue this journey with our gift, Kaila.
*Names changed for confidentiality purposes, but are available upon request for prospective clients.