Saturday, November 30, 2013

Braden's Home Visit

Bradens first home visit is now history! It went very well "all things considered." My sister Shari, and I went down to pick him up on Wednesday. Here is a tip: do not travel on the day before Thanksgiving. The traffic was awful! Going down wasn't so bad but coming home we were stuck in 6 different traffic jams. Miss Sharon, Braden and I had a short debriefing before he cam home. We went over what is expected of him, how long he would be gone and when he would be coming back. Then we packed up to go. Braden was so excited!
   On Thanksgiving day had brunch, made cookie turkeys, took four wheeler rides, smoked a turkey and listened to story cd's. Braden is used to a very structured play time so free play didn't work so well. Kiana and Joseph had quite a few rough moments. Kiana cried her heart out Thursday evening. She has deep feelings that she seldom talks about. Having Braden home brought back a lot of memories she thought she had successfully buried. She told me she dreams that Braden is doing things to her. She wants to play with him but then she remembers how Braden used to be and it makes her so angry. I feel like the children have moved into the anger phase of healing. Joseph went from loving Braden to pushing him away. Braden's control popped up a few times but as soon as we called him on it, he backed down. So very different from how he used to be. All in all I would say Braden's first home visit was a success!!!! Thanks for all the prayers lifted on our behalf, they played a big part in helping us all enjoy this visit.

                                                                  Four wheeler rides

Listening to Bible Friends


Cookie turkeys that were a flop because I forgot to get corn candy


Dean smoked a turkey. It was delicious!


carving the turkey


Having a chat with daddy. Braden freely talks about how he is feeling


We stopped at Friendly's for lunch on our way down to TAP. Braden chose the monster ice cream sundae.


Shared on: Tell It To Me Tuesdays








Monday, November 25, 2013

Braden

I didn't mention much concerning Braden in my last post and since I haven't been posting very often, people are asking about him. Braden is doing great, better than we even hoped possible. God is still working miracles! We plan to bring Braden home for his first home visit this week. Will be a very short stay as we are picking him up on Wednesday and taking him back on Friday. Yes, we are going to be driving to MD on Black Friday. Hopefully most of the shoppers will be taking naps after their early morning shopping spree's and the roads will be empty. Braden is excited about coming home and we are excited about having him with us for a few days. However there is a lot of anxiety floating around our house. Many tantrums, much late night talking, explaining, re explaining, assuring that Braden will not act like he used to, that we will keep a close eye on everyone so if things get difficult we can take over. It is hard for children to understand that they can feel excited and anxious at the same time. My sister Shari, agreed to go along down to pick Braden up. Dean has been taking off work pretty often this past month. which he gladly does. He does have quite a few projects going on which can make it unhandy to take off.  We plan to stay home on Thanksgiving Day as it will be enough of an adjustment without adding other excitement to the mix. Dean wants to smoke a turkey in the smoker and I want to plan a few small projects we can do as a family. I saw these cute turkeys made with cookies and Hershey's Kisses. That would be something we could work on side by side but wouldn't be as overwhelming for Braden. Miss Sharon advised us to keep our expectations low. In other words do not plan a lot or try to do detail oriented things that require Braden to closely follow directions. We will be spending Thanksgiving Day loving, hugging and encouraging our blessings for which we are so thankful.


The top picture shows Braden with his typical cover up smile
The bottom picture shows him with a  genuinely happy smile


See Mr Eddie and Miss Sharon beaming in the back ground? This is what they work for, reunification and their hearts are rejoicing with ours to see their efforts pay off.

As always, please keep praying for our family. With God all things are possible!




Friday, November 22, 2013

Our Week

Not much and a little bit of everything has been happening around here this week. I know that doesn't make sense but that is the best way I can think to describe it. Either Dean/and/or I had an appointment every day. I took Joseph for therapy Monday morning then dropped books off at the library. The children are participating in the Book It Program through school. Every child who reads or has an adult read to him for 200 minutes a month gets a free personal pizza from Pizza Hut at the end of the month. Tristan takes care of his own Book It papers, however I need to do the reading for the younger two. Getting books from the library makes all that reading easier as our books get really old after awhile.
 On Tuesday we went to a viewing. Our elderly neighbor Herbie, passed away last week. He and his wife didn't have any children and not much extended family, either. Audrey (Herbie's wife) and her sister plus a cousin of Herbie were the only people there. I felt so sorry for Audrey. When someone passes away I am used to an outpouring of support from the church and community. I think we take our church family for granted to often.
  Wednesday was spent sending emails and making phone calls along with a meeting. Thursday I had to go to Reading for a doctor app. Did some shopping while I was in town.` I got a huge bag of clothing at Goodwill, something that always makes me happy. Today the children and I stopped at the new Giant that just opened in Ephrata. Joseph was not at all sure he wanted to shop there. He kept asking me what they sell in the store and if I am sure I want to go there. It finally dawned on me that he is concerned because of the name... Giant! My brother got married a few weeks ago and Kiana and Joseph cannot understand this honeymoon business. Joseph asked my mom if they went in a rocket and today he wondered if they "came down yet." We have tried explaining that they did not go to the moon and a honeymoon has nothing to do with going there!

Joseph has graduated to a bigger bike. He hung onto his beginners bike as long as possible. Eventually Dean convinced him to try a bigger bike. At first Joseph wasn't sure he liked it but now he spends a lot of time riding around.


Keep praying. We are continually amazed at the power of prayer! We have been greatly encouraged by all the deeds of kindness shown, may God bless you richly!


                     A friend gave me these flowers from her garden as well as words of encouragement.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Trust Me

The past two days have been stretching, exhausting, beautiful, encouraging and enlightening all at once. I have been taught about trust, faith, love and how great my God is. I have gone from despair to rejoicing and plunged back to despair so many times I will need a few days to sort everything out in my mind in order to process it all. Here is a short version of Friday and Saturday.

Friday morning we left home around 7:15. We dropped the girls off at friends/neighbors of ours who have their childline clearances and were able to keep Luna overnight. Tristan went to a school friend and Joseph stayed with my parents. We had reserved a motel in Capitol Heights MD. I dropped off Dean along with his stack of paper work that he wanted to work through while I spent time with Braden. I arrived at TAP right on 12:00. The plan was for Braden and I to go out for lunch together. First we went over the guidelines Miss Sharon had rehearsed with Braden; obey mom, no fake emotions and say, "Yes mom" when she tells you to do something. Saying, "Yes mom" is really hard for a child with attachment disorder because they are intentionally handing over the control to the parent. Such a small task is truly a monumental challenge for Braden. We went to Chipotles and enjoyed taco's and quesadilla's. When we arrived back at TAP, Braden, Sharon and I sat down and discussed how our lunch date had gone. He was pleased when I reported that he had done a wonderful job. Braden and I then had a one hour break. He showed me their animals, we played kickball and I pushed him on the swings. Then it was back to the house to get a few more instructions and we were free to go to the motel.
    We left Braden choose where he wanted to eat supper, he chose Papa Johns Pizza. There wasn't an eating area at the restaurant so we took our pizza back to the motel. Braden wanted to carry the pizza but it was hot so Dean told him he cannot. Usually that would have sent Braden into tantrum mode but not this time. He said, "ok" and that was it! After supper Braden got a little sad. He was worried that Miss Sharon was missing him and it made him sad to think she might be hurting!!!!! That is huge! This from a little boy who didn't know how to feel empathy for others. I was really tired so I rested while Dean and Braden browsed through a Home Depot Store that was nearby. While they were gone I suddenly felt the need to pray for their safety. Later Dean told me a man had stopped them in the parking lot, told them his story and asked for money. Dean told him he would pray for him and the fellow thanked him and left. God whispered, "See, you can trust me!"
   Saturday morning I realized I had left one of my medications at home. I go through severe withdrawal within three hours if I don't take this medication. My first response was to panic. In an almost audible voice God said, "Will you trust me?" I knew I wouldn't be able to work with Braden if I didn't have my meds. I prayed about it and we went to a nearby pharmacy. They called my home pharmacy to be sure I really did have a prescription and then gave me a pill! I was praising God when once more I heard that voice. "You can trust me!" What a mighty God we serve! I spent the day sitting on the sofa watching Miss Sharon and Mr. Eddie interact with the various children who are in their home. All of the children had attachment disorder except the Fullers own daughter. It was amazing to watch! Half grown children acting like toddlers, throwing fits then going to either Sharon or Eddie and asking for hugs and forgiveness. We plan to bring Braden home for a few days over Thanksgiving and I honestly cannot wait! Dean and I drove out the drive with thankful hearts and I heard that voice once more, "You can trust me." I didn't get pictures because I forgot my camera. Dean took a few but they aren't with the other pictures on the computer. Maybe I will be able to find them later.


I have been struggling with trust this past week. I want to trust God but my flesh is so weak. I have prayed about it but I still felt this great lack of faith and trust. I could not let Luna's case rest with God. My mind went around and around trying to figure things out. That is a dangerous thing to do as that is one of the first steps down the slippery slope to depression. That is why those whispers, "You can trust Me," meant so much. As always, keep praying that God's will would be done and we could feel that peace that passeth all understanding.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Another Visit With Braden



Tristan didn't have school today so we surprised the children and went to see Braden! They were really excited but also a little nervous. We rang the door bell and had to wait a little till Miss Sharon opened the door. Kiana was fairly dancing and Joseph volunteered to knock. They got all shy when Miss Sharon welcomed us in. She spoke with us a few minutes before she went to get Braden. He came into the room and sat beside Miss Sharon. I asked if I don't get a hug. He came running and gave me a big squeeze. 


A big bear hug! I love this little guy. 


Joseph and Braden


Kiana and Braden exclaiming how tall they had grown


Tristan and Braden


After hugs and small talk, Braden apologize to each of us. We readily forgave him.
He was so amazed by how much Luna had grown and how much she could talk. Luna followed him around the whole time we were there. It was so special watching them interact. We all found it hard to leave him behind but I know it is in everyone's best interest to slowly adjust to the "new" Braden. Next week I go down for an over night visit/training in preparation for his first home visit over Thanksgiving. Thanks for the prayers, they helped make this visit such a success. As for Luna, we are still waiting. Your prayers are keenly felt and mean more than we can say!


















Monday, November 4, 2013

Skype & Hot Chocolate

First thanks for all the prayers that are being lifted on our behalf. We received a discouraging email on Saturday which left us feeling overwhelmed. I sent out a quick email asking for prayer and within a few hours both Dean and I felt our burden being lifted. God is good! There isn't much to report on Luna's case at this point. Keep praying.
  On Saturday Dean and I had our first Skype visit with Braden. Felt kind of weird talking to a computer screen. Braden kept putting his face closer to the screen in order to try to see us better. Luna was in on the visit, the other children were playing as we felt it would be better for them to talk to him in person. Braden is doing so well, we are just thrilled! He was so happy to see Luna and kept exclaiming over how well she can talk. He said he is going to give her a hug when he comes home. I asked if I get one as well and he laughed and said, "YES!" We are anticipating having him home for Thanksgiving. Thanks to everyone for your prayers and support while Braden has been gone. It hasn't been easy but when we see the progress he made it is all worthwhile.
   We spent another lazy weekend at home. Luna's case has us so exhausted. We could just sleep and sleep. We did go away for lunch on Sunday and enjoyed a delicious meal. Sunday evening the children were begging for hot chocolate. I am not sure which they had more of, chocolate milk or marshmallows.


After supper we all sat down and watched the video Dean took of our Skype visit with Braden. We asked the children if they are ready to go see Braden and they were all excited. We plan to take them down for a day sometime before he comes for his home visit over Thanksgiving. He will also be home for Christmas and then if all is still going well be home to stay in January.