Friday, June 28, 2013

Joseph lost his first tooth

Joseph lost his first tooth! He wiggled and wiggled that thing trying to get it to come out. I told him to let daddy pull it for him. He was kinda worried though he wondered if it will tickle when it comes out. It came out easily enough but as soon as it was out both Joseph and Kiana burst into tears. Joseph cried cause he wasn't sure what else to do and Kiana was upset that her little brother Joseph lost a tooth when she doesn't even have any that are loose!



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Paperwork, Yuck!

All the paperwork we have been filling out is making me bonkers. I am afraid I could sign my life away and not even be aware of it! I don't mind filling things out but when people call asking for this or that paper with such and such a signature and don't forget it needs to be dated by.... Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what I am doing! Searching for a paper that out lined our family service plan. I vaguely remember some such paper but did I sign it while meeting with COBYS or was it at the meeting with Bradens respite provider? Or was it even for Braden? Could it have been something we were to sign for Luna? We are working through COBYS for both of them so perhaps I have the wrong paper for the wrong child in mind??


Anyone interested in being an attorney/secretary for us? I will gladly put all calls through to you that have anything to do with this whole fiasco with BCCYS/therapist/TAP and Luna's adoption. So thankful Miss Sharon has walked this same road and is willing to walk us through each step. She is even getting a therapist on board and letting our therapist know who it is and why she chose such a person. 

Court went well yesterday, I guess. See, Luna and I didn't even attend the hearing. Our app was at 3:00 so I was there by 2:30 just in case they would be on time or possibly even be running ahead of schedule. At 4:15 we went to the "holding room" as I call it as our case was coming up next. We got situated in court only to have someone say, "Luna hasn't seen the GAL yet!" So out we go and the next case went in for their hearing. After waiting 10 minutes or so the GAL came down and looked at Luna. She said, "Luna is really growing!" You may leave you don't need to stay for the hearing. So we left. There was this cutest little boy there waiting for his court hearing as well. His grandma and I discovered he was Luna's twin! They had alot of fun playing together. They would point and chatter, giggling the whole time. Was a bright spot in my day.


Friday evening/Saturday the men n boys from church are going on an over night canoeing trip. Since it will just be the girls and I at home I plan to spend Saturday morning going to yard sales. Kiana was disappointed she couldn't go canoeing but when she heard about my plans she decided she is getting the better end of the deal.


                                         This where the children spend alot of their time. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Explaining Our Motives

Yesterday we met with a group of people from BCCYS as they had concerns about us posing as an adoptive family for Luna and at the same time sending another child away. We explained why we did what we did and why we didn't do what we didn't do and a multitude of things in between. They also wanted to know if we ever planned to bring Braden home or if this was permanent. I think we got things cleared up between us. Luna's GAL wanted her moved asap. My heart dropped when I heard that! I was literally praying before every word as I could feel things were hanging in the balance and a wrong word would be all it took to have us packing her bags. Thankfully God intervened and they all agreed that Luna is where she needs to be at this point. Thanks to all who prayed for us!

Last evening we met with Bradens therapist Miss Laura. We hadn't met with her since Braden left and since things moved so quickly I wasn't sure what she would say. She is concerned that Braden does not have an "emotional" therapist working with him so I contacted TAP about getting a therapist on board. I am still awaiting a reply. Laura did inform us that Luna's CW was very concerned about the fact that we had Braden doing so much strong sitting. So much so that she asked Laura if CYS should be involved. That scared me! Previously we had been having Braden strong sit for extended periods of time simply because he refused to co operate. Laura suggested telling him he needs to strong sit and it is his choice whether he wants to sit nice for 5 minutes or sloppy for 10 minutes. AT the end of that period we were to go on and consider whatever the offense was as a finished process. Thankfully we immediately implemented that and Laura was able to pass that onto the CW.

Today we have 6 month review hearing for Luna. Pray for both Luna and I as the Berks office will be an emotional place for us. For me because so much drama unfolded there yesterday and for Luna as she hasn't seen her mom for almost 6 weeks. Nothing will be decided at this point as we are still waiting for the appeal to go before the superior judge. It is a mandatory procedure, nothing more.

I thought my adrenal fatigue issues were coming along really well until I got the load of stress dumped on me yesterday. I found out that yes I do feel good, so long as there aren't any major stressors in my life. Maybe someday my stress hormones will regulate themselves! For now I am spending the day being lazy until I need to go to court. Yesterday zapped any energy that may have even been attempting to resurrect itself. It is a good reminder though cause feeling this way helps me remember why we needed help with Braden and maybe I can stop thinking did we really do the right thing?


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Grief and Forgiveness

I have begun to feel the grief that I knew/hoped would be coming. I hoped I would be able to grieve Bradens leaving in order to confirm that I still do feel normal emotions. I figured it would come sometime because you don''t send your child away without some tears. I felt this vague unsettled feeling one that felt familiar but at the same time I wasn't sure why. Then the other evening I felt this longing to give Braden a hug even if he would turn around and hurt me. I still want to hold him close, assure him that mom and dad really do love him. Then I remember that those hugs he did receive didn't spell love to him they made him feel scared and sad inside. Those hugs were more for us as his parents, desperately trying to reach the lost little boy that was hiding under that anger and defiance.
  I grieve that we couldn't reach him, couldn't help him feel loved and accepted.
I grieve the loss of the those toddler/preschool years that were spent grappling with huge feelings and fears we didn't understand
Those times we punished him and expected things that his injured brain was not capable of doing.
The times I insisted he dress himself cause he was perfectly able to do so. Why didn't I just take the time to help him?
I grieve because the pain of rejection hurt so bad. The wondering why, what is wrong with us that our little boy doesn't love us?
So often while mulling this over, my thoughts go to God and my relationship with Him. How often he has forgiven and loved me even though I raged and manipulated trying to find a way out of the circumstances he chose for me. When all the while He was gently molding me, making me into the person He desires me to be.  Then I tell myself that the next struggle I face will be different and I will trust God to work things out. But no, each and every time I want to try my own way before resigning my will to His. How thankful I am that he does not give up on me! I am also thankful He didn't allow us to give up on Braden when the going was tough. Even now He is providing Braden with a good home, therapeutic care 24/7, schooling and a christian environment. When we could no longer carry the burden God already had another plan in place!
Earlier this week I was listening to Focus On The Family's morning program. A lady Named Susan Bateman was telling her story. She went through some deep trials and once while in the thick of it her husband said, "I have learned that I can live with deep pain in my heart because of who is in control." What a testimony!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Introducing Socks

Tristan finally has another cat. We seem to go through cats quite rapidly around here. The last cat Brownie, was around for a couple years then he got into one too many fights and we had to get rid of him. An elderly neighbor tried giving Tristan two full grown cats but after two days of spitting, hissing, biting and scratching Tristan left them go. Yesterday we picked up a kitten at the neighbors. Their children already had the kitten quite tame. Tristan spent all afternoon playing with it. Luna was scared of it at first but like all babies, she was soon trying to pull its tail and squeeze it.



Two of Tristan's favorite things, cats n computers!

We are enjoying Summer Bible School even if it does make for some hectic moments! If I have everyone's clothing laid out, supper made, diaper bag packed and house semi clean till Dean comes home it usually goes pretty well. Our topic is on Interpersonal Relationships. Thus far I haven't gotten much out of it as Miss Luna wants to sit on my lap rather than daddy's. Last night I was watching the other children her age and none of them had a Nuk or bottle. Luna loves her Nuk and begs for her bottle when it gets close to bedtime. I have/had all kinds of excuses as to why she still has it.... she needed security during/after visits, she is getting teeth, she isn't that old..... Seems to me I am just ignoring the issue and hoping it will go away.

I got another update on Braden. He is trying out Miss Sharon. She had him write sentences because he disobeyed and it took him days to write them. I am glad he is treating her like he treated me. Often children with RAD go through a honeymoon stage when they are living with someone new. They are as good as gold and the new caregivers wonder what on earth the previous people were talking about. Sooner or later they show their true colors and look out when they do! Braden's honeymoon obviously didn't last very long but Miss Sharon was very up front with him right away. When we dropped him off she told him he may choose to obey and  have a large world which includes privileges, playing with toys, looking at books etc or he can choose to disobey and have a tiny world where he stays by her side. I could imagine him sighing inside, "Oh dear, another one of those people I have to work super hard at fooling!" The other children are slowly adjusting. Kiana and Joseph mind it the most. Both of them have had some pretty undesirable behavior going on. We have needed to tighten their reigns. Now that we have done that things seem to be going better. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day! I am thankful for my own dad and my husband who is a wonderful daddy to his children. Dean can get the children to talk about their deepest struggles and fears while I can't seem to be able to reach those hurting places. He can love and cuddle them after they have hurt him as badly as they are hurting inside while I tend to need a little time to get my feelings in their proper places. When he comes home from work every child yells, "Daddys home!" and make a rush for the door. Luna loves to carry his lunch inside while getting daddy to carry her. We are blessed with a husband/daddy who values Godly principles and is willing to spend the time instilling those values into his family and then following up to be sure those principles are carried out.

  I can't post pictures of Dean with the children because Luna is on them. Not being able to post pictures is another downside of the appeal. I have so many cute pictures of her that I would love to post. I asked the CW if I would be able to post pictures on here but she said, "Nope!" That was that. :) I am sure we had an inspiring Fathers Day message yesterday. I didn't hear more than a few words beings Miss Luna was my responsibility during the service. I intentionally told Dean I would take her so he could hear the message. She  just doesn't like to sit still n be quiet.


Kiana our bubbly, chatter box


Tristan the little man who makes his mom despair that he will ever grow up and then turns around and is so grown up it scares me!


Joseph our little man with feelings that run deep but overflows with hugs n kisses


Kiana and Joseph our "almost kindergardeners!"

Last night Deans family was together at Deans brother keith n Kendra for supper. He smoked some yummy pork for us. The cans of soda rated higher than the sandwiches in the childrens eyes. Joseph wanted to walk around drinking soda. He slyly came in and quietly took a second soda when his first one was finished. Thankfully his grandma spoke up! Joseph loves any kind of juice, soda, lemon ade.....anything. If I don't watch him he will spend the whole meal sipping his drink and forget to eat.

Our first Fathers Day as an incomplete family is now history and I am thankful God blessed us with joy and peace where sadness and sorrow used to reign unrivaled! Maybe next year I can post a picture of our complete family including Luna and Braden.... who knows maybe we will have another foster baby till then. Gulp! :)



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Stretching and Growing

This morning my sister called and asked if we are getting adjusted. I thought, adjusted??? To what? There was this vague niggle in my brain that told me I should know what she is talking about. Suddenly it clicked! Oh yes, Braden is not here and she is wondering if we are getting used to it! I hadn't even given him a thought all morning. Granted I had only been awake about an hour but still I felt sad. The children don't mention him, it is almost as though he never lived here. How can we possibly "forget" a sibling/child in just a few short days? I guess it is true what another parent told me, "How do you miss stress/strife?" Later I went to hang a shirt in the boys closet and looked at the long row of shirts on Joseph and Bradens half and it hit me again. We have a child who isn't able to live at home. Miss Sharon called the other day to ask a few questions one of them being if Braden is able to bathe himself. It felt so wrong to tell another mom how to care for my child. Sometimes it feels like my emotions, trust, faith, my very being is getting stretched. I suppose stretching and growing is good but is it ever uncomfortable! When I grew comfortable being a mom we moved onto relating to others who were dealing with infertility, then it was foster care, then adoption, endometriosis, surgeries, RAD and now we are among those who have children living in another home due to mental health difficulties. In each stage of life I found friends who walked the same road but every few years we moved into a different "specialty" if you will and I learned to relate to another group of people. After awhile it feels as if I don't belong anywhere anymore. Normal mom things are on the back burner, endometriosis along with yearly surgeries to remove it are not on the radar at the moment, even RAD that monster that took up so much of our time and emotional health is now being pushed to the back of the line. So where do I belong??? I know these earthly trials are what keep us pushing on towards heaven!

In other news, Tristan is now the proud owner of a motor bike! It is an ancient thing that looks pretty funny but who cares about looks? When Joseph saw it he told me, "Daddy bought a John Deere motorcycle!" It kept Dean and Tristan occupied all evening. I even drove the thing. Once was enough for me. It bucked and jerked about while I tried to keep it upright and not fall off. Dean and Tristan just stood there and laughed. At 9 my son has already passed me up in the dirt bike riding field. 



Last night our neighbors took Kiana and Joseph along to Bible School at their church. They left their 5 month old prison baby here since they didn't have enough room for all the car seats in their vehicle. It kinda gave me baby fever again. Trevor is a happy little fellow and hardly made a peep all evening. Luna just loved him. He spit up a little and poor Luna was so grossed out. She was like, "Mom, baby, baby!" We spent the evening in the dark. They are replacing some poles among other things along our road and they dropped a pole onto the wires. We heard this booming sound, the lights flickered several times and then it went dark. Our dogs went nuts, running around the house barking and whining. Dean put our AC window units in via flashlight so when the electric came back on around 9:30 we could cool our house down before bedtime. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Hard Day

We got Braden settled in at The Attachment Place (TAP) yesterday. He is in a good home with parents who totally get the stress, turmoil and anguish children with RAD lavishly pour out upon their parents. TAP is in MD almost exactly 3 hours from here. I don't think I will be making the trip by myself anytime soon! We won't have much info concerning Braden for the first two weeks at least, as that time is usually spent trying out the new care takers. Seeing how far they can push them.... will they break if I scream for hours while banging my head against the wall, if I hurt the other children, if I tell them how much I hate them or maybe I will just sweetly tell them they are doing things wrong and tell them how to do it correctly, even if I haven't the first clue what they are doing. Once Miss Sharon feels his need for control is beginning to crack a bit we will have more contact and later we will either skype or visit weekly. We stopped at Wendys for lunch on our way down. He quietly ate his hamburger and fries and I began to think perhaps we are doing the wrong thing. As the miles passed and his anxiety escalated, I came back to earth assuring myself that we are doing what is best. Dean commented that our meal at Wendys felt somewhat like the "last supper". In a sense it was the last supper for us as we will hopefully never eat a meal with him while he is this emotionally disturbed. As glad as we are about that prospect there is still something scary about the unknown future! In the meantime we are trying to adjust to being a family of 6 versus 7. I catch myself setting 7 places when I set the table, looking around to see what Braden is doing and feeling like I forgot someone when there is an empty seat in the Explorer.


This morning I received an email from Luna's cw saying her mom appealed the courts decision to TPR. I thought I was prepared for that to happen but obviously I wasn't. Her case will go before the judge sometime in the next 6-12 months. I am struggling not to feel resentful towards her mom. Even though  I know she wants her baby back, I am selfish enough to want her for my daughter!

This morning I met a friend at Myerstown Park and enjoyed an iced coffee and girl talk. It was good to get out of the house and away from the drama for a bit. We stopped at Kountry Korner for lunch and enjoyed burgers n fries. After we got home Joseph and I had a good talk and it is as I thought, he is wondering when it will be his turn to go away. I tried to assure him but am not sure how much he was able to process. When we were finished talking he had his usual smile on his face so even if he couldn't understand all I told him he is obviously feeling better inside.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Decisions

We have had quite a week! Bradens issues have been getting decidedly worse and things came to a head on Monday. He had a really bad day. Didn't want to do anything he was asked to. If I told him to pick up a toy he got a book instead, when told to do his strong sitting he cried and kicked and told me what he thought of it. Till evening he was totally out of sorts and the rest of the family wasn't in much better shape. Braden was supposed to be doing his strong sitting but was doing anything he could to irritate Tristan who was quietly reading. When Tristan ignored him, Braden kicked Tristans magazine out of his hand and ripped it. Tristan promptly punched Braden in the back. Suddenly I viewed the situation with "new eyes". The boys are big enough to hurt each other and while Tristan must learn not to retaliate, is it fair to put him in a situation where a sibling harasses him constantly day after day? I was also beginning to be afraid I would lose my temper and do something I would regret. Dean and I talked it over and decided Braden would need to stay elsewhere for the summer. I emailed his therapist and told her how things were going and informed her Dean was coming along to therapy to discuss out of home placement. Just to clarify things, the examples I gave were just to give you an idea of the kind of things we deal with. There were many, many more things going on and some were very intense!
   On the way to therapy I was feeling like I was going to trial because I was not at all sure Miss Laura would agree with us. She did, thank God! She said she will support us in what ever we decided and each family needs to know when they have had enough. When you reach that place it is in everyone's best interest to make other arrangements. Our options were limited: find a foster family familiar with RAD and see if they would take him for the summer, place him in a RTC, Do an intense two week family therapy or find a family from the Mennonite circles who would take him in. The latter looked most appealing but we weren't sure whom to ask. I went home and googled Christian therapeutic programs and found one in MD who takes boys Bradens age, they are adoptive parents who had a daughter with RAD, they provide on site schooling with their own tutor and best of all they could take him at any time! God moved mountains and opened doors! I had a major shopping trip to make in order to get the appropriate clothing, doctor app, paperwork, baby sitters etc.... but it all came together and Lord willing we will be taking Braden down on Monday.
  People ask how I feel about this. Good question, the answer is different from one moment to the next! I am relieved because we now know Braden cannot heal in our home without outside help. I feel guilty because other families care for troubled children and those children heal without "going away" why couldn't we help Braden? I feel joy because Dean and I were losing our other childrens hearts due to resentment and the intense power struggles the children witnessed. I also feel a huge sense of awe that God moved and made this possible! it is incredible! Things like this do not just happen, usually there is a many month waiting list but they had a bed right now when we needed one. God is good and in control but I know we will need to be reminded of that many times in the future. Please pray that we can continue to make decisions that will help Braden heal so he can come home again. I also ask for prayers for Joseph. Braden is his bio brother and this all stirs up feelings of abandonment. He hasn't acknowledged it but I know that deep inside he is wondering when we will send him away as well.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Strawberries coming out our ears!

Tis strawberry season! Yesterday a friend called to say her sister in law got a bunch of strawberries at the produce auction, would I want to buy some? You had better believe I would! I am so spoiled those strawberries were delivered right to my door .... no picking, finding a babysitter so I could pick, nothing! I bought three flats and promptly pureed most of them to make jelly. I wanted lots of jelly cause the stuff I made last year was like water. I bought liquid pectin made by Surjell and the jelly didn't set. Thus we went a whole year with jelly that ran off the bread and made puddles on the table. I thought each recipe takes at least four cups of strawberries, turns out it only takes two cups per recipe. At that rate I will be making enough jelly to supply the neighborhood! Tristan helped me by stirring the strawberries and sugar together. When I finally ran out of containers he was more than ready to call it quits!


Lots of empty boxes plus a bowl of berries to make into pies! I made two pies and there was only a tiny slice left after lunch. This afternoon I made two more but made them extra special by putting a layer of cheesecake filling in the crust and putting the strawberry pie filling on top of that.


Sink full of berries to wash!


Tristan busy stirring jelly


And the finished product! Dean is working late this evening so supper will be pbj's with fresh jelly and pie n ice cream for dessert. I think we will soon be "strawberried" out! I still have an ice cream bucket of pureed strawberries sitting in my fridge which my neighbor plans to use. I also have 10 four cup containers in my freezer to use in smoothies and desserts. Is it possible I went a little overboard?