When I was 30 years old, I made the mistake of marrying a man that I thought I knew. Needless to say, he was extremely abusive and it took me about 2 years to get out of the relationship. During that time frame he had an affair with a 15 year old girl. I really can’t say it was an affair, it was more than like child abuse, being he was 31 years old at the time. He ended up getting the girl pregnant and she gave birth to a baby boy, Tristan. When Tristan was 3 months old, his bio father was arrested and indicted under Federal gun charges and eventually was sentenced to 22 years in the Federal prison.
At the time of his arrest, the girl did not have a place to live, nor did she come from a decent family. Her mother was living from hotel to hotel with 2 other kids of their own. I agreed to help her with the baby and ended up getting temporary custody of the baby and kept him, raised him, and became attached to him as my own. In this time, I divorced his bio dad. I then remarried my current husband, who has been the only real father figure he has ever known.
Tristan lived with us from 3 months until he was 2 1/2 years old. At that time, bio mom had her own place, was going to school, and working. So from looking outside in, everything looked legit. She also, had another child and was providing for that child just fine. So Tristan went with her full time. I still kept in close contact with his life. He came and hung out with us on the Holidays and the weekends. I talked to him as much as I could and spent as much time as I could.
Shortly before he turned 4, I could notice a huge difference in his physical appearance, clothes being dirty and not fitting and in her activity in both of her boys life. For the next year, it got worse and worse. Eventually the youngest dad had taken him out of her care and began raising him. I spoke to her several times about Tristan coming back with us. Her words was “If anyone tries to take Tristan, I will kill him and myself”. Long story short, we found out that she had been doing drugs and had been prostituting to get money for drugs. Tristan was subjected to all of this. He was in the same room as her when the Methamphetamine, she would take him with her when she would meet men for sex, she would allow her multiple boyfriends to beat on him, she would leave him alone in her apartment, he was always in his little brothers clothes, they hadn’t been washed, he witnessed sexual acts between her and other woman and men. He was locked in a dark room at night and had to listen to her being beat by the multiple boyfriends. This is just a small listing of all of the abuse that he went thru.
I began contacting DFS in October. First call made, no action taking. I then called the school nurse and asked for her assistance, being that she is a state registered reporter. She had the same concerns and made a report. Again nothing done, that was November. I began speaking to people that lived in the same complex and asked them to please keep a watch out for Tristan. I was worried to death that something was going to happen to him and there was nothing I could do to keep him safe. In December I received a call from a neighbor letting me know that they had smelled meth coming from the home several time, while Tristan was there. And they witnessed her one time, put him in a truck outside the apartment and told him not to go anywhere, why she went into the apartment with some man. The truck belonging to the man. Again, called Child Service made a full report, called into crime stoppers and called to a detective at the police department this time. Still, by the time they went to the apartment no evidence to justify them removing him. His birthday and Christmas both came around. I went out and purchased a brand new wardrobe for him so he would have clean clothes that fit. I also purchased several learning toys. On Christmas morning he woke up to nothing. No Santa, no tree, no presents, nothing. He called me later that day crying and upset because he thought that Santa didn’t love him. Luckily, I had presents for him at my house. The year before that, he was with us for Christmas and had woke up to Santa at my house, so I told him that Santa just got confused and brought all his presents to my house. Needless to say, he spent the weekend with us and ended up having a lot of fun with his new toys.
By this time, I was going to bed at night and I was scared to death I would wake up to a call saying Tristan was hurt. My heart hurt so bad from worrying about him and what was going on. There had been multiple calls to Child Service with nothing being done. Then on January 12th 2012, bio mom had called me at work, going on and on about putting Tristan in Isabella’s house. Saying she had nobody to keep him and she needed to go out and make money and she had to do this and that. I again, told her just to bring him to me. I told her to call me when I got off at 5, and we’d talk about it more. I did not hear from her. At 1030pm that night, I had 2 police officers knocking on my door. They proceeded to tell me that Tristan was abandoned at Rare Breed (this is a homeless kids center in our town) and Child Services was trying to get ahold of me to see if I would take him. Of course I agreed. A child services worker came to the house and spoke with me and my husband and informed us what was going on and she began working on the paperwork and the emergency placement. After that we went to Rare Breed and picked Tristan up. The entire trip, I was sick with worry scared that he was scared. We found out that bio mom had left him with some stranger and she hadn’t seen him in 2 days. The girl that was watching him, was keeping him at bio moms apartment, however there was no food or anything for him. The night of January 12th, the girl had walked him 1 ½ miles in 17 degree to Rare Breed and just dropped him off.
In the next few weeks I met with child services several times and worked on action plan for Tristan. I got him enrolled back in Wonder Years (preschool), and got him assigned a dr and had a dr’s visit for a checkup. During the checkup, Tristan was prescribed an antibiotic that he had to take for 6 weeks. In August he had got ringworm and it was never treated. His ring worm ended up going to his head and he would have huge patches of hair missing. The antibiotics had to kill the ringworm from the inside out, while I treated it on the outside. Then on his follow-up for the ringworm, his dr did a full physical on him and found that he had an infection on his boy parts. He hadn’t been circumcised as a baby, and his bio mom refused to clean and take care of it properly. So it developed an infection and the skin was attaching. Needless to say he had to be circumcised and that was a horrible experience for a 5 year old to go thru. But we did everything we could to nurse him back to health.
That August he started kindergarten. Before that I had started seeing some small traits of emotional outbursts. Crying for no reason, getting angry, etc. In kindergarten, we started to see more and more. And school started to be extremely hard for him. There were days I would have to take 2 hour lunches just to go and sit with him in the classroom in the afternoon so he could work. We started therapy right after he started having problems in school. Over the first few months he was kicked out of school several times. He was totally kicked out of one school and had his transfer revoked. He went back to his home school, and the principal at that school really helped us out. She set us up with a 504 review and as soon as he started at that school had the accommodations in place. By this time he had a diagnosis of ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). We took him in for an ADHD evaluation. However the doctor that did the testing did the testing without receiving the forms from me, and the school and made his diagnosis after only meeting with him for 15 minutes. I went back to his primary and she put him on a non-stimulant medication to try and help him control his outbursts. It helped a little in the beginning. But as the school year went on, he was constantly kicked out. More than not. We attempted having him in an alternative school and that was still extremely hard for him. His outbursts became more and more violent. Where they would have to take the other children out of the room. He would scream and cry and throw things. His therapist had referred us to a different doctor to do a full evaluation and this was a tremendous help. She meet with him for 2 hours and did all kinds of different testing on him. She came back with the diagnosis of ADHD Combined, Impulse Control Disorder and Depression. By this time we had switched primaries and his new primary specialized in children with ADHD. Once I received the evaluation, I made a dr appointment with his primary and got him started on a stimulant and a anti-depressant. In the next 3 days, I could see a HUGE improvement with his moods. He was my loving little boy, without all the crying spells. We had to make some adjustments over the next month or so for his medication, but overall he was doing AWESOME.
First grade came and it was such a huge improvement from kindergarten. Tristan had to be in a special reading class, since he had missed so much school in kindergarten, he was reading on a mid-year kindergarten level. By December, he had already graduated the class and was reading above where he needed to be for a first grader. The rest of the year went just as good. He even was rewarded for student of the month in January for attitude. By the end of first grade, things started to get a little rough for Tristan. His primary thought it was time for him to see a psychiatrist, we had to make several changes on his medication. Even tried different types of medication and nothing was controlling his ADHD, and his anger was out of control. We still were doing therapy once a week, and I kept him involved with different sports and tried to get him to develop social skills. The new psychiatrist changed his medication and placed him on a mood stabilizer. This was a huge mistake and we spent the rest of his second grade year trying to stabilize him from this. Tristan is not bi polar, but the psychiatrist was treating him with medication for bipolar. That mixed with his ADHD, and his anger and depression created a clicking time bomb. He would explode and they would have to vacate the other children from the class and he would just totally destroy everything in his path. Assault teachers and threaten others with physical harm. After he calmed down, he had no memory of what he did. He continued to black out. When he would get in a rage like this, from October to March he was kicked out of school about 85% of the time.
During this time frame I switched his psychiatrists to a children’s clinic in our home town (Burrell). He immediately made small changes with his medication and how he was taking it. He also ordered a full psychological evaluation and an occupational therapy evaluation. The psychological evaluation revealed that his PTSD had been triggered in October; there was an incident on the school bus with him and a child in his class. The child had slammed his head into the window of the bus, and it triggered him. Which made sense, 9 times out of 10, when he would go into this rage it was triggered towards that child. The psychological evaluation had stayed with the diagnosis from the year before for the ADHD combined, with Impulse Control and Depression. However, the occupational evaluation did reveal that he had sensory issues as well. From what the therapist had explained to me, since Tristan was actually around when meth was being smoked, he was taking that into his body in the later of his developmental years and this has caused him to have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).
The entire time I’m going thru all of his medical, I had to file for FMLA at work so I didn’t lose my job. I also was battling with the school. Tristan would do the smallest thing and he would get kicked out of school.. I was fighting and praying for an IEP. And luckily right before Spring Break we received one, with a special placement in an Emotional Behavioral Social classroom. After he was in the class we still had some problems with him. He had been taking off of his anti-depressant along the way. The end of April I had to hospitalize him for 2 weeks. He was at school talking about he wanted to kill himself. That was an experience I do not want to deal with again. My husband and myself was lost without him. I came home from admitting him and just was lost. Tristan is a huge part of our lives. 2 weeks later, he was released and it was a total reset for him. We have had a small percentage of problems here and there, but overall. He is doing phenomenal. He is currently working thru his program in the EBS program. He has straight A’s, and he’s getting 100% at least 3 days a week for behavior. The other days, he’s getting a 92 or higher. He’s slowly learning to make friends and have healthy relationships with them.
Tristan is already our son, in our hearts. But we want to make it official. He wants to have our last name. Actually he has decided he wants to change his first name. And we are letting him. He has picked out the name of Quill Tristan Davis. He is so excited; he tries to tell his teachers to call him that now. He’s such an awesome kid.
We need help trying to pay the attorney fees and everything that goes along with it. I am currently setting up fundraising yard sales, as well as trying to do odds and ends to make any extra money for the fees. I did a lot of research online and found that the Federal government provides over 1 billion dollars a year to the states to help fund adoptions from foster care and the subsidizes. So I contacted someone in Central Office in my state capital and asked if we would qualify for any assistance with the adoption. I was informed it would be looked into. I never received an email back and my attorney provided me with who I would need to contact. I reached out to the county and then was informed that since Tristan was never placed in actual Foster Care, they could not assist me with anything. Even though they removed him from the home and placed him with me, there is nothing available for kinship placement.
Thanks for your time and anything that anyone can do to assist.