I’ve often joked around with phrases like “He’s gone crazy!” or “The kid is psycho!” I never imagined there would come a day, however, where I would actually teach a kid who had gone crazy and was psychotic. I guess there’s no time like the present.
Meet Adrian, the newest addition to our family. I knew he was a different case when my principal called me into her office an hour before meeting with his parents in order to read me his psych evaluations. His rap sheet was more decorated than a five-star general.
The only words Adrian spoke until he was three-years-old were “mom” and “dad,” and it wasn’t until he turned five that he started speaking in complete sentences. It was around this time that he also started showing legitimate signs of psychotic behavior. He would scratch and pinch himself until he bled and beat his head against a wall repeatedly when he grew angry. The incidents grew worse, as well as more frequent, until he was arrested when he was ten-years-old for actually trying to strangle his brother.
Adrian’s mom sent him up north to live with his dad because she didn’t know what to do with him anymore. While there, he spent two months in a psychiatric hospital where doctors tried to diagnose his condition. The reports stacked up—ADHD, ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder), Bipolar, OHI (Other Health Impairments), and on and on and on.
His dad moved him back down south to try and co-parent with his mother, but they saw little improvement. At least twice a week, they said that he would snap and lose control and destroy everything around him. He was even put on half-days at school his entire fifth-grade year because teachers could not control him. He spent two weeks in another psychiatric hospital in town where they advised that he be admitted full-time. However, his insurance won’t pay for it until particular procedures are followed (which is why he wound up back in school).
One week before he was placed in my classroom, he was suspended for punching a teacher and then trying to evade arrest by our school officer. His dad informed me that they now have him heavily medicated (17 pills a day to be exact), which mellows him out enough for him to be able to function half-way normal. Oh, and I should probably mention, he’s only in the sixth grade.
In the Bible, it says that long before God knit Jeremiah together in his mother’s womb, God was thinking about the plans that He had for Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5). I don’t understand why God chooses to form people the way He does, or birth people into particular families in particular countries, or gift some people in massively different ways than other people, but I do know this—God doesn’t make mistakes. He is intentional. That means that Adrian was born with a purpose, and his purpose is no less important than Felicia’s, or Gabriella’s, or Carlos’s, or Davion’s, or Khianna’s, or Ashton’s, or Cody’s, or mine, or yours. And that means that there is hope in his existence, even when he doesn’t understand why he acts the way he does or thinks the way he thinks.
I don’t know how to teach someone like Adrian, but I do know how to pray for someone like Adrian. And that’s exactly where I’ll start.