Saturday, February 28, 2015

FASD Hives and Eczema

In the not so distant past I opened my mouth and said something I shouldn't have. Even as the words were leaving my mouth, a little voice was yelling at me to stop, don't finish what you are about to say! Did I listen? No! You are probably wondering just what dreadful thing I said. These are the words, "We haven't had many tantrums recently, maybe we have moved onto a new stage." Guess what we have had this week? Yup, yelling, kicking and all out "I am in another world" raging.
   Joseph's eczema/hives/rash problem is back again and he is terrified the cream I put on him, will hurt. If I even mention anything about putting the cream on him, he goes ballistic. Yes, I know children hate having cream put on and cry about it but this is much different than that. This requires two people, four hands and all our strength, just to get a bit of cream on him. Dean said he wonders if Joseph is stuck in the "it is going to hurt mindset" and cannot get out of it. I sent Miss Sharon a text and she said that is quite possibly what is going on. When Joseph "gets stuck" nothing will draw him out of it. I even tried blowing in his face like we used to when he held his breath as a baby. He didn't even notice me. We have an appointment with an allergist next week and I am hoping and praying that he has some answers for us. 
  I am certain the FASD/high cortisol levels play a part in his eczema/hives. As common as FASD is however, many doctors don't have much experience treating the secondary illness's that are a result of FASD. I was encouraged when the forms I received in the mail had a section asking about psychological problems. Perhaps this doctor will be able to understand that FASD plays a part in Joseph's misery.
Dean trimmed the top and left the sides long....and no, he didn't leave it that way.

The boys finally got hair cut's the other day. We tried something new. Dean wrapped a bag around Joseph's shoulders and had him stand in the bathtub. All the hair stayed at one spot and none went down his neck.

Lia was quite impressed

I went to school 3 times this week. Once Kiana forgot her medication, one morning I took Joseph in late and another day Tristan had an orthodontist appointment. Mr. Weaver asked me if I would like to be put on payroll. :) I thought that would be just pretty nice.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Happy Birthday Tristan

Tristan turned 11 yesterday. I know I always say this but, where have the years gone?? 

Joseph gave Tristan a bag of his treasures which I thought was very sweet. Joseph wrote a note that said, "Sarry, I fite you" :)

Tristan always requests the same birthday cake. A chocolate cake with caramel poured over it while it is still warm and then topped with whipped cream.

And this is what the youngest member of the family does when we sing Happy Birthday to her big brother!

Happy birthday Tristan! We love you and feel blessed to call you our son. Life has had some hard lessons to teach you these past few years but your understanding of God's special children that has blossomed from those lessons is a joy to see.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Reactive Attachment Disorder Information Post

Through my blog I have met many people who are parenting children who have Reactive Attachment Disorder. Many times these parents have just learned about RAD and are looking for trustworthy information. RAD has already taken so much from their lives and family that they are desperate for help now and do not wish to take the time to wade through RAD information that may not be correct. These folks usually want the basic information so I chose to write this post in hopes that it will assist a mom or dad who is feeling beaten down from RAD and doesn't have enough energy to do his/her own research. 
   I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to share the thing's I have learned (and am still learning!) over the years. Helping others somehow assuages the pain RAD has brought into our lives.

Signs & Symptoms of 

Reactive Attachment Disorder

 in Children & Adults

Symptoms of RAD in Children
  • Superficially charming and engaging, particularly around strangers or those who they feel they can manipulate
  • Indiscriminate affection, often to strangers; but not affectionate on parent?s terms
  • Problems making eye contact, except when angry or lying
  • A severe need to control everything and everyone; worsens as the child gets older
  • Hypervigilant
  • Hyperactive, yet lazy in performing tasks
  • Argumentative, often over silly or insignificant things
  • Frequent tantrums or rage, often over trivial issues
    Demanding or clingy, often at inappropriate times
  • Trouble understanding cause and effect
  • Poor impulse control
  • Lacks morals, values, and spiritual faith
  • Little or no empathy; often have not developed a conscience
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Lying for no apparent reason
  • False allegations of abuse
  • Destructive to property or self
  • Stealing
  • Constant chatter; nonsense questions
  • Abnormal speech patterns; uninterested in learning communication skills
  • Developmental / Learning delays
  • Fascination with fire, blood and gore, weapons, evil; will usually make the bad choice
  • Problems with food; either hoarding it or refusing to eat
  • Concerned with details, but ignoring the main issues
  • Few or no long term friends; tend to be loners
  • Attitude of entitlement and self-importance
  • Sneaks things without permission even if he could have had them by asking
  • Triangulation of adults; pitting one against the other
  • A darkness behind the eyes when raging

Symptoms of RAD in Adults
  • Avoidant
    • Unreasonable or inappropriate anger
    • Hostile
    • Overcritical of others and self
    • Intolerant of rules and authority
    • Lack of empathy or remorse
    • Views others as untrustworthy and unreliable
    • Shallow/Vain
    • Feelings of self-importance
    • Feelings of entitlement or arrogance
    • Self-reliance; prefers to work alone than with others
    • Views relationships as threatening, or not worth the effort
    • May be a workaholic, as a way of avoiding relationships
    • Feelings of being unique
    • Grandiose or unrealistic fantasies
  • Anxious/Ambivalent
    • Compulsive caregiving
    • Feels underappreciated
    • Many short-term relationships
    • Idealizes others
    • Possessive; makes unrealistic demands of partners in relationships
    • Preoccupied with relationships, and easily makes declarations of affection
    • Obtains feelings of security through relationships
    • Sees relationships as imbalanced
    • Oversensitive to rejection, easily gives in to jealousy
    • Sees others as being difficult to understand
    • Unable to understand the concept of altruism
      Extreme emotions
  • May Also Include
    • Prone to depression
    • Socially inappropriate behavior
    • Impulsive
    • Manipulative
    • Risk-taking
    • Self-mutilating behavior
    • Often do not remember much of childhood experiences
    • Darkness behind the eyes when angered
    • At risk of abusing their own children
    • Children with RAD may become adults diagnosed with sociopathic, narcissistic, antisocial, or borderline personality disorder
The Primary Caregiver 

. will appear hostile

.be easily moved to tears

.seclude him/herself from others

.react negatively to your efforts to help

.be very fatigued


Reactive Attachment Disorder Resources:


- bottle feed the child even if he is no longer a preschooler. Bottle feeding is an intimate act between mother and child. It helps cement the fact that mom will supply my needs into the child's brain and it will help mom bond with a difficult child.

- rock the child, all children need to be rocked. If the child missed out on this as an infant, fulfill that need now.

- pop sweets into your child's mouth as you rock him

- mom must respond to the child's needs, or dad if he is the primary caregiver. If the child needs or wants something he will only get it from mom. If you have an infant, only mom feeds the baby.

- mom is always the one who comforts the child

- keep your child by your side. 

- continually reassure your child that he/she is safe

- empathize with your child. Say things like, "If I were a little boy/girl, I would have been very frightened if _______________ would have happened. I wonder if that is how you felt?"

- give lots of hugs, strive for 12 every day

- find one thing to praise your child for every day. Sometimes this can be almost impossible so you might have to say things like, "Good walking!" 

- fill a bag with nonperishable snack's and allow your child to eat them whenever he chooses. 

- pray daily, hourly and even moment by moment

- TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. If you do not take care of yourself you will burn out and be unable to help anyone. Find a good therapist or mentor who can speak into your life when things seem impossible.

- Find a respite provider whom you trust to care for your child

Your child will need an experienced attachment therapist. When looking for a therapist, be sure the therapist not only understands RAD but has experience working with attachment disorders. A good therapist will always allow the parent to be in the room during therapy sessions with the child. He/she will realize the child has to bond with the parent, not the therapist.

Always honor the threat. If your child threatens you or your family, take them seriously. A child with RAD is often successful when carrying out threats

*I will probably periodically update this page so if you have any tips, advice or resources please let me know. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Parenting A Child With RAD

Why is Reactive Attachment Disorder so difficult for others to comprehend? I have been mulling over that question with another mom this past week and haven't come up with any good answers other than the usual: 
RAD is counter intuitive to healthy human reasoning 
When a person has a severe psychiatric problem, the general public is not the one who is responsible for the welfare and treatment of the seriously mentally ill. A child with RAD usually lives at home, with parents who often have had little or no trauma training so they are left to sink or swim. Through trial and error the parents learn coping methods and if they search long enough they might find a good attachment therapist. 

However, the secondary damage to the family has already been done and how do you begin explaining the trauma a child who is only a fraction of your size can cause in a family? The other children in the family pick up on the RAD child's behaviors and mimic them. Our children are experts at "playing dumb" as we call it. Braden started it as a way to get under my skin. He would pretend he didn't know how to do something like opening his bedroom door. He made such a commotion about it that after a bit I would begin to wonder if perhaps he didn't know how to open doors. Never mind that he had opened the same door multiple times through out the day. I would tell him he can either open the door and get his toys or he is welcome to find something else to do. When he "played dumb" he was looking for a fight. When I refused to engage in the fight he would rage for hours. If I opened the door for him he would pretend he couldn't find the toy he was looking for. If I handed him the toy he wanted he would destroy something...he didn't want the toy he wanted a fight. He was very creative at finding ways to draw me into his turmoil so I had to be constantly on guard . Very soon I found myself on high alert, which naturally heightened his anxiety. Children with RAD are like newborn baby's, they cannot lower their stress levels themselves, they rely on mom's calmness to help them calm down. Just like a baby, they are highly tuned to mom's stress levels. In spite of knowing all of this, I often found myself getting up tight inside, even though I may have appeared calm outwardly. It was a constant battle to keep myself calm both inside and out. 

Children with RAD feel most comfortable when their surroundings are chaotic because that is what they were accustomed to early in life. When they can get everyone around them riled up, the child calms down. If everyone is calm and enjoying themselves the RAD child feels ill at ease and does whatever necessary to stir up chaos.

When parents are misunderstood they begin to question their own integrity and parenting ability. These parents are so desperate for answers they are willing to analyze their parenting technique's even if it means totally revamping their methods for the umpteenth time. 

Parents share tips that worked for their emotionally healthy  family and when those same things not only don't work for your child but cause him to react in negative ways, they assume your parenting is the problem. Sometimes I think if only the problem was our parenting, then we could change what we are doing! 

Then there is the age old, "God will supply all of your needs." Insinuating that the parent hasn't been relying on God and if they would only do so God would help them. The truth is God has helped us, if it weren't for God and our faith in Him I have no doubt that our story would be very different than what it is today. See, God does supply all of our needs but he doesn't always supply those needs in the way we wish he would. God has faithfully given peace, wisdom and patience when those things were hard to find. He hasn't healed our children like we might desire but he has used their disabilities to make Dean and I stronger people. 


                         Image result for reactive attachment disorder quotes

  Lia likes to bring the cats in the house. I don't really like the idea but if it keeps her happy, I am willing to compromise a bit. The other day she had this cat in her bedroom. She came running to me and said she lost her cat. The girl's bedroom is small so I figured I would quickly be able to find it. Not so! I looked high and low without success before finding it crouched under the dresser. When I pulled the cat out I found it was wearing a dolly diaper!

Here is another quote I found. Maybe I am slow to catch on but while I knew transitions are hard for children with trauma, I never really thought about why that might be.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Another FASD Resource

I stumbled upon this FASD link the other day. At first I found it a little boring and was going to skip over it but something prompted me to take the time to watch it. I am so thankful I did! It has incredible insight into FASD. I told Dean we are doing this FASD parenting all wrong. It makes you feel awful when you are trying to help your child only to realize you are going about it in all the wrong ways. There is only one problem, we are going to have to figure out strategies as we go. There is no simple across the board answer for helping children with FASD.
   This seminar was held in Alberta, Canada and I really wish they had clinic's in the USA. Their take on FASD is that it is a whole body disorder, which is 100% correct. They have special clinic's that do full body exam's to rule out over 200 anomalies related to FASD. Some of the anomalies they spoke about, I was familiar with and others I had never heard of. A woman who works at one of these clinic's spoke, as well as a grown man who has FASD. Their experiences shed a great deal of light on why our son does the things he does. For instance Myles, the man who has FASD spoke about "bubble trouble." His body feels like it is full of constantly popping bubbles. His body moves of it's own accord with the popping of those bubbles. Today, the ADD/ADHD diagnosis is handed out right and left and he would fit the ADHD diagnosis. However if he would have been given medication for ADHD, he would have been a dull, flat child, not the joyful enthusiastic little guy he truly was. 
  Joseph was diagnosed with ADD and I have never felt that was the correct diagnosis. We even tried medication, which was a mistake. :) I want to ask Joseph how he feels inside. I will give him the bubble description as well as another one that I have yet to think of and see what he has to say. If I just give the bubble description he is likely to agree with me without giving it any thought as agreeing is easier in this instance than thinking it through.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

PTSD, Sunshine and Rain

PTSD -Post Traumatic Stress Disorder -PTSD may develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events. The diagnosis may be given when a group of symptoms, such as disturbing recurring flashbacks, avoidance or numbing memories of the event and hyperarousal continue for more than one month after the occurrence of a traumatic event.

PTSD has been both a blessing and curse, if I dare put it that way. It has been a blessings because I can understand first hand why my children react to situations as if their lives are in danger. I understand the terror and fear that comes into their eye's when they hear sirens, gun shot's or sense mom is fearful or worried. When they see shadows and hear imaginary noises, I can feel for them. 

When you have come through a traumatic situation all the sights, sounds, smells, taste's and well, everything you experienced while going through that trauma is embedded into your brain. The next time you experience any of those senses, even if you were feeling calm and at peace the moment before, you will automatically go into fight or flight mode. You find yourself reliving the feelings you had during the initial trauma and the terror is every bit as real as it was the first time.

RAD left it's trauma marks on me as did CYS. If I am confronted no matter, how kindly about something I said or did, I go into fight or flight mode. I can reason with myself but my body doesn't listen to the sound of reason at those times. 
If I see a car like Lia's caseworker drove, I get sick to the stomach.
When I hear a child screaming in rage, I panic.
If one of my children throws a fit in public, I am right back in the room at CYS where we were accused of mistreating our children.  If someone attempts to help me with the child who is acting out, I will over explain why my child is acting in such a way. I have a desperate need to make people understand why we parent our children differently. 

"PTSD is a whole-body tragedy, an integral human event of enormous proportions with massive repercussions."   -Susan Pease Banitt

How true, when PTSD has me stuck in a situation it affects my whole body. I feel nauseous, fearful and need to make a special effort to calm down.

"Past Traumas are like old scars on tissue that never quite heals properly - they occasionally must be cut open, re-examined and sutured anew."    -Sarah Hackley

Sometimes when  I feel like I have conquered PTSD, I "pick at it" attempting to see if the wound still hurts. If it does, then I make myself relive the trauma because I need to know if the memory is healing. Is the pain lessening? Does the pain last as long as it used to?

"An observant friend will recognize the signs of the rise of grief, eyes that easily well with tears, a smile that is difficult to sustain, a tendency to withdraw. And ultimately, perhaps we each need to create our own symbol of grieving - to wear our version of black, or maybe to color with black crayons for awhile."    -Sandy Oshiro Rosen

Today I had the privilege of speaking with a woman who has had many experiences in her life. This woman is an inspiration to me and today she reminded me how we can use our circumstances to make us bitter or better. We can allow God to mold us into people who better the Kingdom or we can choose to become bitter and miss out on the blessings God wants to shower upon us. 

Some days I find it easy to allow God to work in my life but other days are dark and dreary, with storm clouds of fear, doubt and grief gathering over me. Then I stumble and sometimes even lose my way for a time. I give in to the thoughts that come crowding into my mind. Thoughts that God doesn't care, why do my children need to suffer so much and most of all, why did God choose me to be the one who gets the brunt of their pain? 

Thankfully God doesn't keeps calling me back from that dark place and showing me signs of His love. He reminds me that Jesus bore all of my sins and never once complained, how can I do any less for these hurting little one's He placed in our care?

On sunny days, I love the challenge of meeting their needs. I am loving, patient and kind when a child throws a fit because I told him to put his shirt on. I can spend hours talking with my little girl when she is hurting because she is afraid something will happen to her birth parents. I spend time rocking them and reading stories, make play dough and play Lego's with them. On those days I have high ideals and love the mission God has called Dean and I to fulfill. Now, I just need to figure out how to bottle up some of that sunshine for the rainy days!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Belated Valentine's Supper and Walmart Dad's

Another cold blustery day. When it is below zero what better way to warm the kitchen than to bake sticky buns? The rolls rise beautifully when I set them on top of the wood stove.

I have been battling Joseph's eczema all winter.  Many kinds of lotion made specifically for eczema make him break out even worse so I stick with vaseline and cortisone creams. It was all cleared up when he went to school on Friday but when he came home he looked awful. I gave him allergy medication and smeared lotion on him. Till bedtime he was breaking out in hives and continued to break out over the weekend in spite of all the benedryl I was pouring into him. Yesterday I made a doctor appointment for 3:00. It was 4:15 till they called us back to the exam room. Thankfully I had left Lia and Tristan with a babysitter or the wait would have seemed much longer. The doctor ordered a bunch of lab work, he said the hives could have something to do with the Lyme Disease Joseph had a couple years ago. He prescribed Prednisone..... Joseph on Prednisone isn't exactly a picnic. :)

We had a very belated Valentine's supper last night. I had great plans but those plans did not include spending 2.5 hours at the doctors office and the Lab, so our meal didn't include many of the special touches I wanted to include. Our menu included spaghetti, salad, sticky buns and cinnamon applesauce jello.

My men need haircuts, badly. Dean was fluffing up his hair and Lia told him he looks like a Walmart Daddy!?! 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

FASD and Neurotransmitters

I am attempting to educate myself about FASD. I have heard a lot about neurotransmitters so I got busy researching. Here is some of the basic information I found. I know this is an old topic for many of you experienced moms out there but I am still learning about it and I know there are other mom's who are in the same shoes. So here goes!

Neurotransmitters are endogenous (substances that originate from within an organism, tissue or cell) chemicals that transmit signals from a neuron to a target cell across a synapse (a structure that permits a neuron (or nerve cell) to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another cell).

*I am getting in over my head so I will wait to share the remainder of the information I gathered from the article containing the above description. When I can wrap my brain around all the information the article gives I will share it with you all.

Prenatal alcohol exposure interrupts brain development and impacts many brain systems, including the regulation and production of various neurotransmitters, including:
 Dopamine (happy, excitement)             may be too low 
 Serotonin (happy, calm, contentment)  may be too low
 Oxytocin (warm, tussling, loving)        may be too low 
Testosterone (aggression, libido)           may be too high 
Cortisol (stress, fight or flight)               may be too high 

FASD means the brain may not produce enough dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin, and may produce too much testosterone and cortisol. These levels fluctuate over the course of the day. 

The child who demands constant attention, who pushes other people’s buttons to get a reaction, who manipulates others, or who incites drama, may have too little dopamine. 
The child who seems sullen and depressed may have too little serotonin.
 The child who is hateful and mistrustful may have too little oxytocin.
 The child who is angry all the time, who intentionally breaks the rules, or who engages in self abuse, may have several neurotransmitters out of balance. 

There are ways we can help the brain produce a healthy balance of the neurochemicals so the brain can function better, giving the child more control over behavior. We can help the overall performance and function of the brain by making sure the child gets adequate rest at night and lots of fluids throughout the day, and by eliminating artificial additives from the diet (no Red 40 and other colors with numbers, no MSG, no Nutrisweet/aspartame). 
DOPAMINE can be increased with Adderall Lots of personal attention (5 minutes per hour) Vigorous daily exercise Reward systems that change every month Humor and silly play Competition, games that can be won, prizes Music and rhythm Thrilling activities (roller coasters, races) Video games Vacation, party, day trips (zoo, park) Anticipation 
SEROTONIN can be increased with SSRIs (Paxil, Celexa, Prozac, etc.) Chocolate (dark or light, but no colors) Green tea, fish oil Turkey, chicken, nuts, cheese, eggs, bananas Mild exercise, a walk outside
OXYTOCIN can be increased with Cuddly pets with soft coats Hugs, massage, cuddling Playing with happy babies Pleasant sensory experiences Generosity, gift giving
TESTOSTERONE levels and libido decrease with some medications, like SSRIs.
CORTISOL can be decreased with relaxation exercises, calm music, a walk, positive self talk. 

Here is the link to the website where I got most of this information. I advise you to go to the website and read the whole article, I found it very helpful.

We don't have an official FASD diagnosis for Joseph. Braden was diagnosed by a Dr. in VA. but I would like to take Joseph somewhere closer to our house. Joseph lacks cause and effect thinking and if I am not careful I can get super frustrated with him. We need to get him diagnosed so we can help him better. I educated myself on RAD but FASD is proving to be much more complex and involves a lot more knowledge of psychology than I shall ever have. 
  Joseph cannot understand that his actions have a direct impact on how others relate to him. He thinks the worlds rules pertain to everyone but himself. If someone says or does something he doesn't like he feels he has the right to retaliate however he see's fit but that rule doesn't apply when he is the one causing trouble.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Whoopie Pies

BRRR! It is cold! 2 degrees, is just plain cold for around. Tristan is responsible for keeping the wood box filled. This cold weather keeps him busy. He cannot understand how I use so much wood in a days time.
Bundled up to drive school children. 

Chocolate roses for their teachers. Here is the link to last years "chocolate rose picture." 

This is what I did yesterday.... went to a friends house and made whoopie pie's!
Chocolate, oatmeal, pumpkin and chocolate chip...take your pick. They are delicious if I do say so myself.
Tasting the finished product. The smashed cookie on the table is one of the girl's handiwork. They begged to help so Roseann put icing on several cookies and they put the tops on.

I think she gives it a "thumbs up!"
 The school children cheered when they saw the box of whoopie pies I brought home. They each enjoyed one for an after school snack. The boys would have eaten seconds if I would have allowed it

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

One Of Those Mornings

This was one of THOSE mornings. 

-The kind of morning where people are moaning and groaning before they have their covers thrown off. 

-Our house rule is if you are to tired to get out of bed cheerfully in the morning, you will be going to bed early that night. I had a little lady kicking up her heels because she didn't want to go to bed early tonight but she was sooo tired, she could only move at a snail's pace.

-Another child was slowly getting dressed and when I asked if he was dressed he said he was still looking for the buttons on his shirt.

-Tristan told Kiana to get the milk for him. She was finally sitting down to eat her breakfast... she went and got the milk for her big brother who was perfectly capable of moving himself and didn't have anything else to do while she still had to get her school things together.

-Kiana was upset about something and spent the entire morning playing dumb. Making comments like: Is today Saturday? Do we eat cereal for Breakfast? Why do I need to wear shoes for school?

-The boys fought, Kiana fought and Lia was grumpy. 

Image result for quotes about kids arguing

-I was combing Joseph and he started yelping I asked what was wrong and he said something came into the bottom of his shoe and was poking him

-Lia tried to get into big brothers gum stash. He came roaring after her and she let out a howl.

-To top it off mom was tired and all the nonsense was irritating me. How did those pioneer's who lived in sod houses cope during the long winter months?

Just trivial things but such a commotion. What do you do to make your mornings go more smoothly?

Awhile ago I made to do lists with pictures for Kiana and Joseph to use when they are getting ready for school. They worked fine but Joseph was always losing his list and spending valuable time looking for it.

Food is important to our children so I have them get dressed and combed before they eat breakfast. On good mornings this works but on mornings like this one, where everyone is so grumpy they can only think of one thing at a time, breakfast slips their mind. When I remind them to hurry they fly into a tizzy.

I pack lunches the evening before and store them in the fridge overnight. One less thing to do in the mornings!

Kiana and Joseph signed Valentine Cards for their classmates when they came home from school yesterday. Tristan's class spent the evening at their teachers house and not having big brother home was tough for my first graders. Kiana said she misses Tristan and I reminded her that they spend most of their time fighting when he is home. She looked sheepish and said she still wishes he would be home. A long time ago Dean and I decided fighting must be our children's love language!

Tristan is sure they wouldn't fight as much if Kiana and Joseph would "act right" I told him I well remember fighting with my siblings, he was surprised that we would fight. Seems he couldn't imagine that. If he only knew. :)

Image result for quotes about kids arguing

....You know what amazes me though? I still love them dearly and they love each other. Let someone else try to treat a sibling the way they treat one another and they all gang up against that person. I remember the good times I had with my siblings, not the fights and I hope my children can do the same. Although anyone listening in this morning would have had a hard time believing these little people love each other!

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Boarder

   To many late nights lately have left Lia and I feeling incredibly unmotivated. Cup after cup of coffee, chocolate....and still we sit, wishing the laundry would somehow get washed, dried, folded and put in the correct drawers all by itself. 

Dean took Tristan and Kiana ice skating yesterday while Joseph, Lia and I took long naps. One of the affects of FASD is poor motor skills and Joseph would have spent most of the time falling and hurting himself, which is why he stayed home. We had plans last night as well and I knew Joseph would enjoy his evening so much more if he got a good nap in.

At least part of the apathy I am feeling has to do with the DVD I watched on Saturday. It is called The Boarder and most of you who live in the "RAD World" will be familiar with the title.  Jolene Adams, the director said: "My intention for "The Boarder" is that it serve to shine a light in one of the darkest corners of human behavior. You can read more about it here
I found myself holding my breathe during some of the scene's I knew what would happen next.... I had experienced it. I saw the fake smile, the manipulation, lying and satisfaction the child received when he succeeded in getting someone on his side. I saw the adoptive mom being bullied, tormented and beaten. When she turned for help no one believed her..... I cried for the pain of that mom and her son.....a pain I am so familiar with. Braden isn't as violent as Carl in "The Boarder" but I have no doubt that if he would have been left go until he was a young teen, he would be just like Carl. It is frightening to think about.

RAD is among the most misunderstood psychiatric disorders simply because it is so unbelievable. It is so counter intuitive to our beliefs about human behavior. Those diagnosed with this disorder appear perfectly "normal" to everyone outside the home. 

The first stumbling block for outsiders looking in on the situation is the child's cheerfulness, his excellent manners and most of all his charm. Children with RAD can turn on the charm at a moment's notice and unless you saw first hand the damage this child can do, you would be hard pressed to believe the stories his family could share.

Second we tend to think a young child, or even an older one cannot possibly be so skilled in being two faced. Surely he will trip up sometimes? I have lost count of the times I have been told children do not have the ability to manipulate adults into believing they (the child) is someone they aren't. Oh yes they can! Other wise those of us who parent these children wouldn't lead such secluded lives, in an attempt to limit situations for the child to fool others. Every time a child with RAD succeeds in his efforts to hurt mom and dad his illness becomes more firmly embedded.

And if per chance the first two things don't trip you up the third reason will: Why would a child want to act like this? Why rage against his parents and cuddle up to a stranger at the store? Why smear things on the walls because he is angry? Why steal/sneak food after living in your home for years? Why??? Because they truly believe they will die if they let themselves get close to you. They are determined, whatever the cause to prove they are unlovable and don't need you to parent them. They will be perfectly fine on their own, thank you very much. Never mind that they cannot read, write or spell and are only 8 years old! That isn't important, it is more important that they never give an inch in allowing you access to their heart. If perchance you do get a peek inside their wounded heart, they will act out tenfold, just to make it clear to you that they resent your very presence in their life. You are a threat to their safety. 

So, if you doubt RAD is as bad as your friend, neighbor, sister or daughter claims, watch The Boarder. I can testify that every single thing they share is 100% true and actually does happen over and over in the homes of those parents who are trying to help their troubled child. Sometimes they succeed but far to often they fail. When they fail they don't need condemnation, they need your love and support. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Lia's Day

Lia and I met Dean for lunch yesterday. We went to Two Cousins where Lia enjoyed her two favorite foods: french fries and pizza.

She ate almost 2 slices of pizza and a pile of fries.

Lia's day ended on a not so happy note. I took her to Quick Care because she had an ear infection. The Dr. gave Lia ear numbing drops as well as antibiotics. Are numbing drops something new? None of my other children ever had them. They must have helped because she was able to sleep for several hours before waking up and yelling for mom.
She kept begging me to take her home. She was one unhappy little girl
Lia fast asleep and mom wishing she could join her

I was researching sensory play and found a hammock/swing that came highly recommended. Rather than buy the expensive one from the website Dean found a cheaper version on Amazon. For those of you who have children with FASD and are looking for sensory items, check out autism stores. The swing is a favorite of all the children, they twist the swing and then give it a shove so it unwinds. I told them I don't mind if they do circles but if anyone pukes they are responsible to clean it up. 

Someone is supposed to be in bed, not hunting.

A blurry picture of Joseph, fast asleep. He loves this thick blanket, even uses it in the summer time. Sometimes he wraps up in his weighted blanket but this one is his first pick. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Adoption Talk Link Up

                                               No Bohns About It

I am always looking for ways to learn to know other adoptive mom's, they have so much wisdom to share and as any mom know's, parenting is always easier when you can learn from other mom's. The Adoption Talk Link Up is an open forum with a scheduled list of topics you can choose to write about on your blog. Go to the Adoption Talk Link above for a list of the rules and the scheduled topics.
  Todays topic is: Your Adoption Story

Our Adoption Story began years before we adopted, in fact for me it began when I was a young child. My family was visiting with another family who had several adopted and foster children. I was fascinated and decided that someday I wanted to do  that to.
  Fast forward several years and I remember as a teen praying God would allow me to have at least one biological child. At that time I didn't know why I was so certain I would not have biological children, now I feel God was slowly preparing me.
  God answered my prayer and blessed Dean and I with a son in 2004. When we learned we would most likely not have any more biological children we looked into foster care and I remembered how as a young child I wanted to provide a home and love for hurting children.
  The spring of 2008 found me cuddling a little baby girl. I loved her with all my heart from day one. Kiana is biracial and I remember her grandma saying her skin is the color of coffee with cream. I thought I had never seen a more adorable baby.
  After having empty arms for so long Dean and I were more than ready to fill them up if we could. In June of 2008 two brothers, Joseph and Braden joined our family via foster care. They were placed in our home by the same fostering agency that placed Kiana with us. We learned to know the people who worked at the agency quite well as I was taking the children for visits at least two days a week, sometimes more if we couldn't coordinate visiting schedules.
  In December 2009 we adopted Kiana. Her adoption was held two days before Christmas and we considered her our Christmas present. I liked to think that perhaps I knew just a little how Mary must have felt so very long ago when Jesus was born.
  July of 2010, Joseph and Braden officially became Zimmerman's. They had been Zimmerman's in our hearts for a long time before it was made legal.
  Lia was placed with us as a foster baby in February 2012. She was five months old and the older children doted on her. I remember driving home from the agency, I called Dean and said, "I lost my heart to this little girl already."
  We had the honor of adopting Lia in August of 2014 and are no longer foster parents as the children need our time and attention for now. Maybe when they are older, we will get in to fostering again or maybe we will do a private adoption or even adopt internationally. We will see where God leads, perhaps his plans for us do not include foster care or adoption and we want to be open to his will for us.

Tristan and Kiana

Joseph and Braden


Monday, February 2, 2015

Why I Am Thankful For Trials

I saw a comment this morning that made me stop and ponder: "I prayed desperately for a baby and God answered my prayer. He gave a child who will always be a baby in some way."

You can take that as a sarcastic comment or as an answer to prayer. Most people wouldn't choose to have a child who will "remain a child" but oftentimes God answers our prayers in ways we never would have imagined. 

I was feeling very unmotivated this morning, when I suddenly got the notion to visit a friend of mine who just got a foster baby. Since I remember how nice it was to get meals after a new placement I whipped up some cookies and grilled burgers. My reward was getting to hold a squirming, bundle of sweetness for an hour.

The other day I mentioned that I will be writing a post on why I am thankful for the things we experienced, here they are:

1. God is much more real to me. As the Sunday School Superintendent said yesterday, "How would you know God has got your back if you never went through trials?" 

2. I learned not to judge other's parenting skills. When I see a mom chasing her middle school child around the grocery store, I am much more inclined to wonder what hidden disability the child has than to think, she should make rules and enforce them.

3. When someone is nasty or rude, I feel sorry for them rather than being tempted to return the attitude. (Most times)

4. God gives us more than we can handle so we rely on his strength and not our own. I used to be a fan of the quote, "God never gives you more than you can handle." Now I know he gives strength and grace to bear whatever befalls me.

5. When life is hard, you find joy in the small things. A child's smile, flowers, sunshine, dirty dishes which means your family has food to eat....

6. We need to let our light shine in this dark world. I always knew that but when we were working at adopting Lia, one man told Dean, "I am amazed at how transparent you are." Dean told him he has nothing to hide and the man was amazed. The man who did our forensic parenting evaluations said he didn't know there were people who consistently told the truth even if that truth would be used against them. 

7. I learned the power of prayer. God has answered many prayers over the years but when prayer was all we had left, God moved and we stood in awe of a God who loved us enough to care about what was happening to our family.

For years I struggled to trust God, I viewed him as someone who is holding a stick over my head, just waiting to bring it down on me. It was a deep set belief of mine, one I tried to work through many times. Just ask my dear, patient husband! :) I even tried counseling because I knew "my thinking" was wrong but nothing helped. Then God brought hard trials into my life, God stretched me in ways that really hurt sometimes but oh, the joy and peace that I can now call mine!

*The battle is by no means won but with Jesus by my side, I need not fear.....then why am I trembling, wondering what form of testing is coming my way since I so boldly said all this? :) Yes, I am still 100% human! 

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