"Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action."
-- Mother Teresa
The basement of Blues Moon contains the working part of the lair. The largest office below the lunch room belongs to Boss White. The one across from it is the guest room. The accounts/manager and board room offices are shared space. The big corner office in the upper right is the patch room. They actually don't have an exercise room in their own lair; instead they have a group membership at a nearby gym.
Here is the layout of the main floor showing the jazz club and restaurant.
Permanent relationships matter to everyone, but especially to foster children and adults who were fostered. There are various ways to achieve this: long-term placements, adoption, mentoring, etc. Terramagne-America makes use of something called a "want-contact form" that everyone involved with the foster system can fill out regarding anyone else. Shiv's were deliberately mishandled, and Finns are fuming about that, because it has made a mess they now have to clean up after. So Shiv is really struggling to understand how permanent relationships even work, because he's never had one that lasted more than 2-3 years. Here are some perspectives from foster youth and ideas on creating permanence.
Restroom vending machines often offer condoms along with other things such as feminine hygiene products. Specialized reproductive health machines may offer a mix of condoms, lube, spermicides, pregnancy tests, and morning-after pills. These supplies are more widely available in T-America than in L-America, and some places even offer them for free. Accessible birth control offers many benefits ... if people use it.
Most often, baby-daddy is used by a woman in referring to a man who fathered a child on her without being in a relationship, and baby-mama is the counterpart. Shiv seems to be using both in relationship to the baby itself, implying that they are not suited as parents.
Pregnancy can be detected pretty early now but the timing varies by brand. Nausea is among the earliest symptoms of pregnancy, typically developing around 4-6 weeks, and hormones likely play a role in that. Chyou's NoAlc implant interacted badly with the pregnancy, alerting people very quickly that something was out of the ordinary.
Emotional shock can result from any distressing event, and may leave a lasting imprint in the form of complex trauma. This is just one of many long-term effects from child neglect and abuse. It's especially bad with sexual abuse, which produces some different challenges for boys than for girls. Abandonment and neglect leave their own emotional scars, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder of Abandonment. Past shocks to the psyche can cause flashbacks, which in turn evoke fresh feelings of emotional shock. Understand how to cope with emotional shock, or help someone else through it depending on how long ago the trauma occurred.
Panic is a normal thing when it happens occasionally in unusual circumstances. It only becomes a disorder when the intensity and/or frequency go so high as to interfere with everyday life. Here Shiv panics over a potential disruption in his tentative family structure, due to past maltreatment. There are mental and physical skills for getting through a panic attack. Understand how to help someone through a panic attack and stop panic attacks. Once the mind is calm again, analyzing the fear can reduce the chance of future panic attacks.
Family services provide foster parents with various reimbursements for expenses. If the parents take good care of their foster children, the state money covers maybe half of the total expenses. However, many foster parents treat that as personal income, spending as little as possible on the children, thus making money on the deal. Foster children may be badly neglected and used for child labor (or worse) as a result. Look at this document on the sliding scale of payments, and you can see that more damaged children draw bigger checks to cover their higher expenses -- but that money doesn't always get spent on them. One reason for Shiv's numerous placements is that his poor condition put him toward the higher end of reimbursement, which many foster parents found attractive; but most of them quickly decided that no amount of money was worth having him in house with it.
Lara B. Sharp, former foster kid
Fascinating to see so many foster parents saying ‘NO, foster parents do not foster just for the money’. I was an ACTUAL foster kid, not a foster parent… and YES many people DO become foster parents JUST for the money.
That WAS My Experience, REPEATEDLY. And, depending upon the situation, they CAN make, what for them, is considered quite a bit of money, without even leaving their home!
Dysfunctional families have a number of typical roles, one of which is the scapegoat. This family member is set up to take all the blame for everything. They tend to develop certain strengths. Abusive parents break a lot of things -- in Shiv's case, his attachment. Therapists can serve as flying monkeys for an abuser, actually supporting the dysfunction. There are ways to break free of the scapegoat role, stand up for a scapegoat, and support someone in an abusive relationship.
Age regression is a common result of childhood trauma. Developmental trauma often begins before birth and disrupts the growing child. In gifted children, asynchronous development can resemble age regression, as abilities mature at widely divergent rates causing some to grow rapidly beyond others. In foster children it's the opposite -- parts of them get "stuck" at earlier stages of development. The best way to deal with these issues is to meet kids where they are. If they act 2, treat them as 2; if they act 6, treat them as 6. It may be aggravating, but it's actually a good sign and a precious opportunity to form healthier bonds. Shiv only drops like this around people he trusts, and his brain is taking advantage of the chance to fill in the gaps that he missed earlier. It's freaking him out, but he'll be healthier for it in the end.
Shiv's brain is basically doing this.
There are reasons why people deflect compliments, especially abuse survivors like Shiv. Fear and low self-esteem often contribute to this. This can complicate relationships. Self-bullying is a related issue in which people pick on themselves with negative self-talk and resist more positive portrayals. There are ways to reduce self-bullying and overcome negative self-talk.
Feeling unwanted, unloved, and unlovable are common effects of foster care and other traumatic experiences. Troubled teens share their perspectives on these issues. Positive bonds can aid in healing from trauma, but survivors often resist these. Here are some ideas on how to cope.
Abuse survivors may experience love differently than usual, because for them, sometimes it hurts to love. This hurts too: "One day someone is going to hug you so tight that all of your broken pieces will stick back together. -- Author Unknown"
Mindful breathing can help with pain relief and relaxation. In T-America, most counselors, health workers, bodymod artists, etc. know at least the basics and coach people to use them routinely. Most quiet rooms have a poster, cards, or handouts of breathing exercises. Just giving people something to try can reduce feelings of helplessness and overwhelm, thus lowering the risk of worse complications. Shiv is gradually picking up some better coping skills from his support network. Explore some breathing exercises to balance your mind, body, and soul.
Shiv is clearly not in his usual headspace, but Tolli and Simon still ask him for permission to do certain things and help him work through the decision-making process as best they can. Not everything is safe to leave for a calmer time -- Dr. G needs to know that Shiv might need extra help, and some foster "parents" should be removed from the system sooner rather than later -- but it is still Shiv's choice. Here is a previous discussion of impaired consent and assisted decision-making.
The linen closet metaphor of PTSD helps explain intrusive thoughts. Shiv's imagery is just a lot more concrete and complex than usual.