Saturday, August 31, 2013

Happy Birthday Luna

Happy Birthday Luna! She is now officially two years old and we love her dearly. Yesterday we celebrated her birthday three separate times. Till bedtime she was running on adrenaline from too much birthday. In the morning I took her to BCCYS where her mom, grandma and aunts had a birthday party for her. Her mom's visiting rights were terminated back in April but beings both the CW and I have a soft spot in our hearts for mom we couldn't say no when she asked to see Luna. Luna did really well, she wasn't her normal happy, chatty self but she did allow her mom to hold her and fuss over her. We had a small celebration at supper time with just our little family. We had it a day early because this mom had so much on her mind she got the days mixed up. Thankfully Luna is too little to know better. In the evening my family came for family night and to celebrate Luna's birthday. By then she was a pro at blowing out the candles!




I can't post any pictures of the birthday parties we had for Luna because she is on every single one!

The first week of school is now history. Tristan said his teacher makes learning seem like play so he thinks he will have a good year. Kiana and Joseph love their teacher although Miss Kiana needed to have some time talking with Daddy in order to understand that the teacher is boss and must be obeyed. The stress of beginning school brought out some big feelings for Joseph. Not necessarily a bad thing beings it forced us to work through some more layers of fear and grief.

God has faithfully been reminding me of his love and care as I go through my days. In regards to some of the feelings of inadequacy I experience, He gave me this quote:  " God uses and chooses those who are willing."

I often struggled with all the times we "lost" a battle when dealing with trauma. Then I heard someone say this: "It is more important to come to the end of life victorious than to win every battle."

and for the times I felt like my load was extra heavy....
Be thankful for the thorns, they help us realize the beauty of the rose.

An update on Braden: Miss Sharon said she wants to try building a relationship with him. The other methods they tried to help him begin healing were just not working. Miss Sharon hopes that if she can get him to care for her he will be inspired to work on healing.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

1st Day Of School

....and they are off to school! Where did this summer go? I find it hard to believe Tristan is going to 4th grade. Three years from now he will be entering high school! I need to strive to cherish the moments for so soon they will be gone.



Their expressions tell all... Tristan was slightly excited, Kiana was very excited and Joseph put on his nervous smile because he wasn't sure what to think. I went in to their classroom this morning. Was quite the interesting place! Would love to be a little mouse and listen in. Then again, maybe not. Can only imagine what embarrassing tales my two will share!


Not so long ago these two were in diapers! Now they are going to school.


Luna is sitting beside me. We have toads in the window wells and they are trying to hop out. One of them jumped up at the window while she was standing there watching them. Gave her quite a scare! She has been carrying a stick around ever since. Keeps saying, "Frog, hop hop!" and whacking her stick.






Monday, August 26, 2013

There Is Hope


This week end was tough. Seeing normal, healthy families hurts. When we are at home dealing with the effects of trauma and neglect, I forget that tantrums, lying and enduring the hurt and rage that my children have inside, hours and hours of helping a child work through "why didn't my mommy and daddy love me?" ... those things aren't what the typical family calls normal. Then we go away and I see mom's happily chatting while their little ones play close by. They don't fear what their child may do to another because of the trauma they endured at another's hands, their children love them because they are mom and dad, because they have always been there and God willing, always will be. My children don't have that assurance. In their eyes their first mom and dad left them down, they failed to keep them safe, so why should they believe this mom and dad will be any different? I don't blame them for feeling this way but it still hurts.

Then there is the whole infertility issue. Sometimes I think it is harder now than it was a year ago. Last year I was so thankful to be free of the pain, thankfulness trumped all other emotions. A year later, the memory of the pain has faded and all I see is an incomplete human. One who cannot replenish the earth as God commanded us to. I told Dean I don't fit in with the ladies my age because they are having babies and that is where their talk centers and rightly so. I can relate to the older ladies who endure hot flashes, insomnia and a host of other issues that come with such things but they don't have toddlers and preschoolers. So where do I fit in? No where.

Can you see where this is heading??? A huge pity party in the making. Believe me, last night I indulged in one! I was feeling guilty the whole time though. You see, I taught Sunday School yesterday and the lesson was on Hope. When The children of Israel were being held captive due to disobeying God. He gave them a promise, If you turn towards me, in 70 years I will return you to Jerusalem. That was all they had to cling to. It was their choice. God can use all circumstances for his good. As christian's we must believe he is all loving, all merciful and totally faithful. Some times he will show us how he is working in our lives and other times he chooses to hide his plan from us. He is God, so however he chooses to display his power it is our duty to love and serve him regardless. So I studied and taught this lesson all the while fighting a battle within myself. God can use my little ones broken lives to raise up strong warriors for Him. He often uses broken people to do his greatest work. I need to look beyond the hurt and pain of today and realize God has a purpose for choosing this path for me and my family. We may not see it now but He is GOD we are just the clay. Everything was one major jumble in my mind and the more I tried to make sense of it all the worse I felt. Dean wisely told me to go to bed. He reminded me it had been a long week and when I am tired things seem much bigger than they really are. So I went to bed with a prayer in my heart and this morning God has given me a feeling of hope. I am inspired to help my children fight their inner battles, to lay more stones on the foundation of trust, to help them understand it wasn't their fault their birth parents couldn't care for them and most of all to show them that God is bigger than our fears and pain.

For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tomatoes

We are spending the last week of summer vacation canning. On Monday a friend from church called to say she has extra corn. Would I be interested? It was already husked and she said since they are all set up, I shall just do it at her place. Two of her sisters in law were there as well and they stayed and helped me cut my corn off. So in 2 1/2 hours time I had 44 quarts of corn! I brought it home and put it directly into the freezer. I felt very blessed!
  Today the children and I did 4 boxes of tomatoes. I made them all into juice and soup. I added some cooked carrots when I ran my tomatoes through the juicer. Yet another way to get more veggies in our diets. I only added them to the plain juice as I was afraid you would be able to taste them in the soup. I also canned some peppers. I mixed Jalapeno and Bell peppers and added dill mix. My neighbor told me she does them that way and they are delicious on sandwiches. Tristan ran all the tomatoes through the juicer for me. He loved that job. He wasn't quite as impressed with his next job.... babysitting Luna. Once when she was once more hanging on my skirt and I had to call him yet again to come get her, he grumbled, "She is into EVERYTHING!" I sometimes wonder how we ever managed three 2 year old's when Luna keeps me constantly on my toes. Dean doesn't think our others were quite as busy as she is, either that or I am getting old! :)


Joseph was the go-for boy. He saved me a lot of steps today


Kiana's job was to keep the bowl full of diced tomatoes for Tristan to juice.


Juice and soup boiling merrily away. Smelled yummy!


Peppers I canned. I didn't do many in case we don't like them. 


....and last but not least, sealed jars of tomatoes! They all sealed except one jar of soup which we enjoyed for supper. The children thought it was so good. They certainly felt a sense of satisfaction for all their hard work.








Monday, August 19, 2013

Our Weekend

Tristan is home once more. Kiana and Joseph were thrilled to have him home again. We picked him up at my parents on Friday evening. We don't get down there nearly as often as we should. The children think it would be so neat to live on a farm, guess the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence!
  Saturday morning we went to meet John Houton a  BCCYS approved RAD specialist. BCCYS wanted us to get a second opinion on Braden... to be sure he has RAD. After we introduced ourselves John asked why we were there. Ummm, cause CYS told us we have to! We told him our story and he said this happens often and he will gladly inform BCCYS that we are doing what needs to be done. We thought we would be out of his office within ten minutes but then he began sharing stories of his years of caring for children who have RAD. Some of the stories he shared made me cringe. He also clarified that we are not the problem Braden is. You cannot pull a child out of a troubled home, place him in a good home and expect smooth sailing. The child will continue to act out. They have a saying among therapists that if mom doesn't have PTSD or chronic depression the child doesn't have RAD. Very good observation. He also shared a the story of how he spoke to a group of CW and CYS professionals. He was explaining how RAD works, giving examples of the behaviors these children have and why they do the things they do. There was a group of people in the front row and he could hear them saying, "A child couldn't think up of these things on their own." "I don't believe it" etc. There was a foster father in the group and he stood up and verified everything that was said. The people still were not about to believe such a story so John told them they can come to another room after the meeting and meet with him and the dad if they want more info. They took him up on the offer and after talking awhile John discovered the foster child was in another room at the time. Dad gave permission for John to speak to said child. This little fellow walked in all smiles as charming as ever. He sweetly answered all of Johns questions. The last question was, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" The little fellow looked at John and said, "I want to grow up to be big and strong so I can kill him (pointing to dad) and her (pointing to mom). You could have heard a pin drop in the room. That my friends is RAD! Sweet and charming on the outside and a scary mix of feelings, emotions and thoughts on the inside.
    Last night I had Deans family for the evening. It was kinda wet outdoors due to all the little showers we had through the day. The boys didn't mind, they played outdoors anyway. I didn't enjoy my evening very much as I had a nasty case of dizziness. I felt fine all day then around 3:30 a wave of dizziness came over me. As long as I stayed sitting and didn't turn my head to much I was ok. I did bump into the wall a few times while getting snack together and felt very out of it. I have an appointment with the chiropractor this morning. Usually one or two of my vertebrae are out of line. Not hard to fix but it does get wearisome running to the chiropractor every time I use my right arm too much. For some reason lifting or using my right arm to much makes the vertebrae twist.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Busy Hands

                         
                                               These little brown hands are so busy.....
                                         
                   .... cleaning out my purse looking for "dum"
                     ..... taking the caps off the chap stick tubes so she can bite chunks off
                ....... taking the wheels off big brothers match box toys
                   ..... cleaning out mom and dad's dresser drawers
                    ...... wrapping little hands and arms around my neck and saying, "luv you!"
          ..... picking all the pieces of corn from her casserole and laying them on the table
                   ..... finding the "PaulB man" on the back of daddy's work shirts
                  ..... they learned to open doors so now she can go where she pleases
                  ..... picking up toys and putting them away    
              ...... pushing chairs to the counter then climbing up and help herself to candy
                   .... carrying daddy's lunch in when he comes home from work
                ... rocking her babies while singing, "Here Comes The Bible Train"
 

                     Today Luna's CW worker is coming out for her monthly visit. Ever since our "interview" with BCCYS I am a tad bit intimidated by them. Especially since we need to discuss a few new things that have come up since her last visit. Thankfully Dean agreed to come home and join me for our little meeting as I lose my train of thought very quickly when I am nervous.


                                       New crayons and coloring books are so much fun!





I put the children's crayons and books away over the summer. I like when they go outside and play when the weather is nice. School shopping brought on the urge to color again so out came the tote of supplies once more. Luna had a blast, all those crayons just waiting to have the tips bit off! Kiana and Joseph were not at all impressed.  How do you help a child who presses down way to hard while coloring but when using a pencil barely scratches the paper? Is it a sensory issue or am I once more seeing red flags where there aren't any? For some reason I am  famous for thinking there is a problem when others pass it off as normal childhood behavior. Someone told me when you have a child with RAD you are suspicious of everything. That is me alright! 


                            


Monday, August 12, 2013

Poison

Kiana doesn't have fifths disease, she has poison! I was giving her Benadryl yesterday and till bedtime I thought the rash looked better. This morning it looked awful. Her eye was swollen shut and her cheek was twice as big as yesterday. Her cheek and nose had a yellow crust on it that made me think of an infection. The doctor got us in at 10:45 this morning which worked out great cause Tristan had a 9:15 dentist app. Tristan got a clean bill of health and a card to schedule an appointment with the orthodontist. His teeth are crowded and he has an extra permanent tooth that needs to go. Onto the doctor... Kiana's poison got infected so the doctor put her on a whole bunch of meds. Steroids, anti inflammatory, Allegra, Motrin and a cream besides! Just have to keep everything straight and be sure I don't end up forgetting something.

We spent the whole week end at home, very unusual! Sunday afternoon I walked around the block. It is a 2 mile walk. Not very far but if you are as out of shape as I am it leaves you huffing! The children went for a quick dip in the pool after their naps. They have been begging to go swimming and I kept telling them it is too cold. Finally gave in and told them to have at it! They weren't out long before they came in shivering.

Tomorrow Tristan plans to go to my parents and spend a few days with them. Staying there is a highlight of his summer and he has been after me to plan something so he can go. The play area is a mess of weeds and junk. Dean told Tristan he may go to Grandpa's but that play ground needs to be cleaned up first. Tristan recruited Joseph and Kiana to help pull the weeds because there were way to many for him to pull himself. Least that was his opinion on the matter.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Yesterday I noticed Kiana had a rash on her face. I thought it was poison and didn't give it another thought until Dean asked where she would have found poison. Good question, she spent most of her time indoors this week and haven't been somewhere that she would have played in it. Last evening her eye began to swell and she complained that it was sore. I looked up "childhood skin problems" and found a picture of a child with fifth's disease. His face looked just like Kiana's. This morning she could scarcely open her one eye. We ended up staying home from church and listening to the service from our sofa. Fifth's disease is very contagious before the rash breaks out and I didn't want to spread it around.



She wanted to go along with Dean when he fed the animals this morning. Excuse her choice of clothing!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Decisions, Dentists and School Shopping

I am certainly feeling much better since my last post. Thanks to everyone for all the encouragement and words of wisdom. One mom told me that sometimes God calls people to plant the seeds and others water and harvest the crop. That spoke to me! Another person said that if Braden would need to live elsewhere maybe there is a someone who will hear about God who wouldn't have other wise. The bottom line is: we need to make the decision and may not let anyone shame us or send us on a guilt trip for making the decision we do. Also, God is all powerful and he can take our muddled efforts and use them for his glory and maybe Braden will heal and reintegrate into our family with ease!

This morning I had Kiana and Joseph at the dentist once more. They both needed some more work done. Kiana did wonderful, Joseph was another story. I dreaded telling them they have to go back because I sensed they thought getting their teeth fixed was a once and done thing. Kiana cheered when I told her and Joseph didn't say much. I was relieved they took it so well. Joseph did pretty good while they gave the Novacain but there was no way he was letting the dentist put that drill in his mouth. We tried all the bribes we could think of. The dentist even promised him two airplanes, no luck. Kiana picked her prize out and Joseph was going to get his when I reminded him what the dentist said, No work, no airplane. He fussed and whined about that for awhile. He was royally bent out of shape cause they didn't give him an air plane anyway. He doesn't do well with the cause and effect thing. Usually if he misses out on something as a consequence he can be mad at mom n dad, this time he there wasn't much he could do. Dentist said all the cavities were small so he will wait a year and try again. Last time they did a pulpotomy (baby root canal). There is a temporary filling in that tooth and Joseph might get a bad tooth ache. If that happens we will take him to a pediatric dentist and have him sedated.

Last night Dean worked till 9:00 since I didn't have to have supper ready at a certain time I dove into other projects... shampooing the carpet and canning tapioca. Sort of ignorant to begin something 1/2 hour before your normal supper time. I am a very impulsive person in that respect. When I decide to do something I dive in with both feet then realize I should have put a little more thought into my project. Till then it is usually to late. Here is the recipe:

 Canned Tapioca
8 1/2 quarts water
6 cups small pearl tapioca
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups jello
6 cups sugar

Bring water to a boil and add tapioca and salt. Boil five minutes then remove from heat and let sit for 1/2 an hour. Add Jello and sugar and stir till dissolved. Put in jars and cold pack 10 minutes.
To serve add whipped cream and fresh fruit (orange jello & pineapple) (grape jello & red grapes) etc.


I was rushing around doing multiple things and I read 8 cups of water versus 8 quarts. Thankfully my tapioca didn't burn but when I dumped the sugar and jello into it I knew something was wrong! I added the rest of the water making sure it was good and hot then wished for the best. It actually turned out pretty good. Kiana shudders over it but everyone else likes it.

Kiana and Joseph got letters from their Kindergarden teacher today. They didn't open them yet as it is quiet time. I am sure they will be tickled! They are getting more excited as the days go by. Yesterday we went to buy some shoes and jeans for school. Shoe prices are ridiculous! I went to Vanity Fair in Reading hoping to find some bargains. The shoes were on sale but they still cost as much as I used to pay for a good pair of sneakers for myself. I think everyone is set now so bring on school ...... but not too fast as I still have things I want to do this summer.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hard Questions

If you had a child who had the potential to tear your family apart would you keep that child in your home or would you place "it" elsewhere? God gave you this child, "it" is your responsibility so he will help you through the tough times. Pray that God would give you the love and strength you and your other children need and he will do so, all we need to do is ask. If this is true, then why couldn't we meet Braden's needs at home? Wasn't my faith strong enough? Why were our children falling apart? Didn't we pray hard enough? If trials make you stronger should we have just kept on struggling along and prayed that our family would come through intact? My heart is full and over flowing with questions this morning! We felt we were doing what God wanted us to do when we placed Braden at TAP but what will we do if he doesn't heal? He will come home worse than when he left, can we handle that?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Our Weekend

8 weeks ago we took Braden to TAP in MD. He still hasn't begun to hand over his control issues. In some ways it is disappointing in other ways it validates that I wasn't the problem. I knew it wasn't me but there was still a fear there that Braden would thrive in another home and then I would need to figure out what was wrong with me. Miss Sharon was taking him to see the therapist whom she works under. BCCYS was concerned that Sharon was not licensed so we chose to have Kate Oliver join his team. I spoke with Kate one day last week and was very impressed with her empathy and understanding of RAD. So many professionals seem to have "book knowledge" but do not understand how draining and traumatizing it can be living with a child like Braden. I am anxious to hear how things go for her.

On Saturday we babysat for friends of ours. We take turns having a date night once a month. They decided to go for a lunch date beings the restaurant they wanted to go to didn't have evening hours. Our neighbors little boy was also here over lunch time so we had a table full of hungry children to feed. In the evening the youth from church had all the members for a baseball game and supper at Blue Lake. We enjoyed Burgers, fries and soft ice cream. Dean helped play ball. Kiana told him, "Daddy, I saw you run!" I guess she was amazed that her daddy could run like that.

Sunday we got invited away for lunch which was very nice. I was planning to have a leftover casserole that didn't turn out quite like I had hoped. No one minded not having to eat it for lunch! After quick naps we spent the evening visiting with another foster family. We shared our experiences raising our little ones adopted from the foster care system, gave each other encouragement and advice and had a nice evening all around. Joseph's behavior has been anything but pleasant to deal with here of late. I have been trying and trying to figure out what is bothering him, to no avail. My friend suggested loving him as he is instead of trying to fix him. That gave me lots of food for thought. Thus far we have been having a good day but that is subject to change as we have therapy tonight! Therapy stirs up all hurt and pain from the past. While I understand it needs to be dealt with, the healing process is tough!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Last night we went to Green Dragon. The children beg to go every time we pass the sign on 272, which is pretty often! Dean needed a new belt and years ago he used to buy them from a man who made genuine leather ones and sold them at Green Dragon. Yesterday I told the children we are going to go somewhere they have wanted to go for a long time and had them guess. Their guesses were anywhere from going to grandma to having their birthdays early! When I told them, Tristan literally deflated and said, "I thought it would be something more fun than that!" Guess you can't please some people! He did have fun and was the one complaining when it was time to leave.

                   Dean bought the children funnel cake and lemonade. Kiana was begging to eat every few minutes and Luna kept saying, "eat, eat!"




Joseph lost another tooth yesterday. He was so proud of himself and Kiana went and cried cause her second tooth just wasn't quite loose enough!

I bought an 18 pound case of cherries this week. They were delicious but there is no way we were going to eat that many before they spoiled. So I canned 7 quart. My mom used to can cherries and I always liked them. Not sure my children will be impressed though.