“I’m sorry, but she’s not a good fit.” the program coordinator told me after our visit to a day program.
Those words have haunted me since we visited the “facility” almost 2 months ago. I just haven’t had a moment to truly write about it and release it to the world.
I’ve been on the hunt for a day program for Angela for a while now, and just recently I decided to get a little bit more serious about finding her an outlet to go enjoy life with. Angela knows that it’s a day program, but she affectionately calls it “School”. Everything revolves around school for her. It’s where she touts that she can learn how to write her name again, learn her letters, do her homework, have parties throughout the whole year, and yes…try to get herself a boyfriend. No…I honestly have no way to even want to try to interpret that little statement. Boyfriend. I’m done.
Anyways, I finally got some answers that I needed and a couple of referrals to get her to a psychiatrist/psychologist to see if there were other underlying issues that I haven’t been able to hone in on and see what’s been effecting her……and to see if there other factors that might come into play with her meltdowns.
The first company I called, they were so nice on the phone. She wanted to find a way to help me, so after we talked for a while…she said she would call me back to see if she could gather up any information for me and to see if she would benefit from their program. 30 minutes later: No. They aren’t equipped to help someone of her needs.
Feeling slightly defeated, I took a deep breath in and picked up my piece of lined sticky note paper of where I scrawled a few other numbers to reach out. And I did. Right around the corner from where I live is another amazing company! Literally 5 blocks away! I squealed with delight. I called them up immediately and came across the single most kindest soul I could have spoken with that day. To give a small back story, I just finished a 2 day run with Angela and some meltdowns. This led to me bawling on the phone with this amazing angel of a lady. She just kept on replying, “It’s okay. We understand how overwhelming it can be. You truly love your sister and want the best for her. That alone is amazing, and so often unheard of.” It was like I was talking to an old friend on the phone that I hadn’t connected with for so many years. She stayed on the phone and chatted with me for over an hour. She gathered up some background information, and then invited the both of us, Angela and I, to come and visit for a tour. The next day I was there!
Yes, I might have ran there and dragged Angela with me by her Ah-MAZINGLY gorgeous long hair. Y’all…I’m serious. Her hair is simply amazing, and I’m completely jealous of it. But whatever…squirrel.
From the moment we entered the doors, I already knew in my heart of hearts that it wasn’t the right place for Angela. However, I went along for the tour. With each step my heart sank. These other adults here aren’t like Angela at all. I can tell that most were medicated to keep them calm Not from the facility, as they are a day program facility, but from the caretakers. The family. The parents. The siblings maybe?
There were lots of different “break out” group rooms, and everyone has a chance to talk, to be artistic, and to just roam around. Just the overall “feeling” was there kicking me in the gut. My first thought, “Angela will absolutely drive them crazy, and they will not be able to handle her.”
At the end of the tour we talked me, and she interacted with Angela. She gave her some coloring sheets and markers….so Angela was in total heaven and in her own element. She was coloring and chatting. Life doesn’t get much better than that for her. The lady brought in the main program coordinator and another “teacher”, and they chatted with me and Angela.
I already saw the look on the face of the program coordinator. His face, showed it all. Angela didn’t hear him speak, as she was a woman in her element speaking to other women. “She’s not going to be a good fit here.” He said more words after that with his super kind practiced facial expressions, even though I know he was being sincerest of sincere with me. He just told me something that I already knew in my gut. I already knew this wasn’t going to work out well at all, but I had kept a small glimmer of hope inside of me that maybe it would be great. Maybe I’m just being cynical. Maybe I’m over analyzing everything too much.
The end result is that they are just not equipped to help anyone with Angela’s extreme needs and demands. Angela requires a lot of one on one attention. I already know this. She’s a toddler that’s always yanking on apron strings to ask just one more question of 30,000 other questions that she just asked or a topic she just talked about.
I guess I was hoping to find other individuals in similar situations as myself, and to be able to relate. Angela is different than any other “special needs” person. She wasn’t born this way. She was born with a “normal functioning brain”. She went brain comatose at 6 months old, and that is what cause her neurological disorders she has today.
It’s taken me two months to truly process this information. Two months to try to get this mess out of my head with everything else in life going on, and now I’m going to have to spend another 8 – 10 months in explaining to Angela of why we can’t go to her new special school. I’ve told her the reason why, but she doesn’t want to accept it…and is determined to go there.
Until something else pops up, the search is on. We will find her place in this world of where she fits in, and a place that can truly be in her presence for the day…while this #DadBro gets a small break throughout the day.