Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Who Will Care For The Helpless Innocent Among Us?

   My heart is hurting today. Last night I received a prayer request for a family with whom CPS is involved, the family needs our prayers desperately. Pray for courage and comfort for the parents and safety and emotional security for the children. 

   There is a great need for people who are willing to open their hearts and homes to the children who come into the system needing a safe place to stay. If only it were that simple! But these children usually come with some baggage, sometimes their burdens are relatively small and they can bond with enough love, time and nurturing. Often times, it isn't that simple, neglect, abuse, poverty and trauma have left deeply ingrained marks on their hearts and brains. They come into our home's with walls built around their hearts because of the fear and pain they endured at the hands of those who were supposed to care for them. Those walls are thick and high and the cost of scaling those walls to reach the hurting little person on the other side, comes at a great cost to the foster parents. You love the child and want to help them, while they have determined in their hearts to hate you. They will not under any circumstances, allow you access to their hearts.

   Then there are the children damaged by drugs and alcohol in utero. Children who cannot fully bond because of the damage done to their brains. How do you reach these children? Are you willing to parent a child who may never be able to make good choices, a child, who is now grown into adulthood, and loves you one minute and terrifies you the next?

   Attachment disorders and the children affected by them can be very hard to understand and many are the caseworkers who are sucked in by the foster child's tale of woe. When it is the foster parents word against the child's, who is the caseworker most likely to believe? 

  This scenario or something similar plays out daily, leaving foster parents in fear for themselves and their families. Should we take the risk? 

Then I remember that the pain and fear the child tosses at you comes from the things he or she experienced when they were too small or defenseless to help themselves. The pain they are heaping upon you, comes from a deep reservoir of hurt they carry within themselves. They didn't chose this life, they are the helpless innocents, victims, really.

   Jesus says: Inasmuch as ye did it unto the least of these my brethren,  ye did it unto me. Matthew 25:40

   Did he mean we should only open the doors of our homes when we know the going will be easy?

   I will admit I struggle with this. Is it right for us to say we have our hands full or should we open our hearts and home and trust God? RAD has me running scared, it terrifies me. While I know that the fear doesn't come from God, but from the enemy of my soul, it is still very real. 

 The other day I watched Depraved Indifference, and my heart ached for those little ones. Spending years helping my children work through trauma, gives me a glimpse of what these children, whom I am sure God considers to be among the, "least of these," experience, as they watch the days go by without anyone to love them.

  Are we blind, have we become callous to the needs of the children? Do we consider it someone else's problem? Are we willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus despite the hardships we may face? These are some of the hard questions I battle in my heart. I am thankful to have a God who is willing to answer these deep questions when I ask
    Watch Depraved Indifference and ponder where God is calling you. Maybe he isn't calling you to take his little one's into your home but we are all called to pray for those on the front lines fighting for the lives of the "Helpless innocent." 

*This post featured on Rosalind Jukic Linky Party


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pictures Of Our Building Project

Knocking bricks off the house and loading them onto skids


We don't usually eat applesauce in the family room with the dog by our side but you have to pick your battles and when mom is tired.... rules aren't always enforced as strictly.

My project yesterday. I should have been doing laundry but I saw one of these wreaths on Pinterest and couldn't wait to make one myself. The directions were pretty vague so I did what I thought best. It didn't turn out quite like I envisioned, now I am anxious to make another one and implement my new ideas.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Our Experience: When CPS Falsely Accused Us

  I have always wanted to write a post about our experience with CYS but 2 years later my emotions are still raw. I still get a lump in my throat, my heart beats faster and my stomach threatens to turn over when I think of those awful months we had. Months of not knowing whether or not we could adopt the little girl who had been in our home for 18 months, the little girl we had come to love as our own.

    In June of 2013 we placed our son Braden at Tap (The Attachment Place). Despite ongoing therapy, Braden was growing steadily worse. He was older, stronger and in school so he had more people to manipulate, more people to "tell stories" to. Dean and I felt God leading us to find a treatment home for him, somewhere where he would receive therapy 24/7 versus 1 hour a week, which by the way, is often inadequate for a child with RAD.

    At the time of placement, we were pursuing adopting Lia. Parental rights were terminated but mom appealed so we were waiting to hear from the judge.

    One day CYS called Dean and I into their office because they had some questions for us. Legitimate questions which we were only to happy to answer. I want to add that they were only doing their job by asking questions. One of their concerns was that we "got rid" of Braden. Rueters had just released information about what they called rehoming. And Children and Youth Services were under scrutiny by many people, so they obviously wanted to be sure we hadn't passed Braden "Under the table" where he could vanish without a trace. We shared information on TAP, explained why we placed him there as well as answered any other questions they had. Finally the caseworker agreed that we did what was necessary, we made this decision for Braden's emotional well being not out of spite, so they left Lia stay. We rejoiced and thought that was the end of it.

   From time to time I asked Lia's caseworker C, if they had any concerns and she assured me they didn't. 

  In October, the 3rd to be exact, S from COBYS, the agency who did the adoption paperwork came to our home to gather more information about Lia, which is the customary practice. She insisted Dean be here when she comes. It didn't really suit him but she was adamant that he be home when she comes for her visit.

   S made small talk then asked if we were aware that CYS still had serious concerns about allowing us to adopt Lia. We were speechless, I had asked C just one week prior if there were any concerns and she said there weren't.

   We asked S how to handle the situation, should we be hiring an attorney? She said it was up to us but she thinks it would be best if Dean and I, herself and all the CYS staff involved in Lia's case were to sit down and discuss the issue. She promised to attend as she was Braden's advocate through some prior interaction we had with COBYS, other than adoption that is.

   Emails flew between S, C, Dean and myself, not all of them good, as S struggled to have CYS agree to a meeting. We finally scheduled a meeting in October. In the meantime we did hire an attorney as we sensed CYS wasn't being totally honest with us. We informed CYS we had hired an attorney and she would be attending our meeting, which in retrospect was not wise.

    When the day of the meeting finally arrived, we met D, our attorney and proceeded to the CYS office where we met C and her supervisor D. Right away we knew things were bad, they were less than cordial and C wouldn't look us in the eye. We proceeded to the meeting which began with a bang. Accusation upon accusation. D our attorney, interrupted and asked if everyone could please introduce themselves, which we did. J, CYS' attorney was in attendance as well as C and her supervisor D, our resource worker A, and her supervisor M. Poor Dean was the only male in a room of women, all of whom had one mission: settle Lia's fate.

     Without going into great detail, here are a few accusations we faced: We were getting rid of Braden, which made us parents of the worse kind, I was mentally unstable etc.... none of which was true. The meeting became a heated, one sided yelling match. CYS told us we were awful people, bad parents and said they never should have allowed us to foster or adopt....they had concerns about us all along they said. In the end they unanimously agreed that Lia must be moved ASAP. Everyone that is except Lia's guardian, B. CYS said they would give B 2 weeks to decide if Lia should be moved, if she agreed, then they would begin looking for another resource family, if not the case would go to court where a judge would decide. 

          B said she didn't think CYS' accusations were enough to warrant moving Lia after she had been in our home 18 months, but of course she would be thoroughly investigating the matter. We thanked her and with tears, turned to go home. We had many people praying that day and I knew they were wondering how things had gone so I sent mom this brief text: "looks like we will loose Lia, don't call me, I can't talk"

   That afternoon I sat and held Lia. She wiped the tears from my eyes making me sob even harder. "Why God?" I asked. We followed your leading, we placed Braden at TAP because we love him and want him to get help while he is young enough to heal, what did we do wrong?" It seemed as if God was silent and my heart broke into a million different pieces.

    The next day my mom came because I was to emotionally exhausted to care for my family. I remember eating a total of one teaspoon of soup, food simply wouldn't go down. I couldn't eat, Dean couldn't eat. Of course our traumatized children reacted to such a huge change in us and reacted accordingly. Dean told Tristan a little of what we were facing because Tristan was so concerned about us. Lia woke up multiple times a night whimpering, "Mommy! Mommy!" Sometimes she wasn't even awake, she simply cried out in her sleep. And my heart broke a little more if that were possible.

      S, Lia's adoption worker wasn't at the meeting and I was hurt because I felt she could have spoken on our behalf and perhaps calmed the other people down. When I asked her about it she said CYS never told her they were having a meeting. "They didn't want me there because they knew that I knew what they were doing wasn't right," was her conclusion. 

   Shortly thereafter we began to get emails from CYS with further accusations. We received them any time, day or night and once on a Sunday morning. The accusations ran from not allowing Braden to go to Sunday School, to locking him in his room, which we did not do.

   Through various means a man from Philadelphia by the name of J called Dean. It turned out J was over various children and youth agencies and he was going to be auditing our particular agency the following day. He asked for names and other information, then promised to get back with us. J fully understood why we needed to place Braden where he could get more therapy and thanked Dean for his honesty.

   After J's visit, the emails stopped abruptly and we wondered what had unfolded. When J finally called back he wasn't concerned. He said Lia's GAL (guardian at litem) did not want Lia moved and he himself didn't think CYS had a case. 

   In January Dean and I had to go for Forensic Parenting Evaluations, where we were evaluated (cross examined) to see if our stories lined up as well as to see if we were emotionally stable and competent parents. The man doing the evaluation said we were parents who had a difficult child, we did what we thought was best but our caseworker was pushing the issue to far. Those aren't his exact words but I shall refrain from sharing them in their entirety here.

   Whether we would adopt Lia or not, depended on the evaluation and while we knew that the evaluation was in our favor, we were still very anxious as we waited and waited to here what the agency had to say. One day when C came for her monthly visit and said, "You may adopt! I am so glad the county is finally allowing you to adopt Lia!" Dean and I looked at each other as if to say, "What? You were the one sounding the alarm and making the accusations!"

   From that visit onward, C never came to our home alone, she always had another caseworker with her. I don't know if she expected us to retaliate or do something to get back at her or what. 
   This post is only a small piece of the story. I will add that up until this episode we had enjoyed a good relationship with the various people from our agency. This experience was hard, it is extremely hard to love a child, plan to adopt him or her only to face having her removed due to false allegations. I struggled knowing how to relate to Lia, I loved her dearly but in my humanness I wanted to shield my heart from further pain by placing a wall between us. However when I heard her sad cries and held her as she clung to me day and night, I knew there was no way I could possibly do less than give her my full heart, all my love and if I had to give her up I would have to trust that God knew best. Oh but it was so hard!!! Thanks to the many people who were on my "secret email list." When things seemed to be out of our control or when my fears threatened to overcome me, I sent out an email asking for prayer and without fail God came through! Sometimes the situation was resolved, other times he removed our fear and a deep peace settled in our hearts.

   Sometime during this experience God impressed upon my mind these words: Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord! This was such a comfort when we would be faced with an an accusation yet again.

   While this was hard, God used it for his good. I can now say that, "God is all I need." I knew that even if our worst fears came to pass, I would be okay because God was by my side. How did I know this? Even when we were certain she would be leaving, we had a peace that can only come from God. JESUS is all I will ever NEED! What a blessing, what a privilege, what an honor to have the King of kings meeting our every need!

*I use CPS (Child Protection Services) and CYS (Children and Youth Services) interchangeably in my blog. The agency we fostered with was called CYS but CPS is a much more common term

Monday, September 21, 2015

PTSD, Triggers And Patience

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

TRIGGER - a trigger is anything that sets you off emotionally and activates memories of your trauma. It is particular to you and what your experience has been. Triggered, we revert to the feelings and behaviors we had in the traumatizing situation.   -Healing from trauma: A survivors guide to understanding your symptoms and reclaiming your life.

Tears are words to painful for a broken heart to speak.

The body remembers. Stuffed until an event, a sound, a sight, a touch, a word or a person awakens them.

The inability to get something out of your head, is a signal that shouts, "Don't forget to deal with this!" As long as you experience fear or pain with an experience or flashback, there is a lie that needs to be confronted. In each healing step there is a truth to be gathered and a lie to be discarded.
       Christina Enevoldsen

   You may be tired of hearing about PTSD and how it affects those suffering from it. If you are, skip this post because I am rehashing it yet again. 

   I am continually amazed at how pervasive PTSD can be. It truly is a "whole body experience." It affects how you think, feel, perceive the world and people around you and invade's every day, every moment of your life. Even though our experience with CPS was hard and I still suffer from it, I am thankful for it because it help's me understand my children and why they react as they do to certain situations. 

   Our building project has been an endless source of fear for the children. Not having gone through what they did, I don't have the ability to appreciate how terrifying this is for them. But I can relate when I think of CPS and the fear and pain we experienced in that situation. I have every right to think that the triggers they are faced with each day as the project progresses is every bit as severe if not much worse than the pain we went through, partly because we were adults and able to rationalize and "help ourselves" during that time while they were helpless babies, unable to defend themselves, plus they had no understanding of what was happening and why.

   Since they experienced most of the trauma prior to being able to talk they don't have words, just feelings. So when they get over stimulated, ornery, defiant or meltdown kicking and screaming, they usually cannot tell us what is wrong. That can be very frustrating for us as parents because there are times they truly don't know what is wrong and other times they know but are feeling to cantankerous too tell us and we have to decipher if it is a can't or a won't.

   Part of "teaching them to talk" has been helping them recognize what they are feeling because happiness i.e. over excited can come out as anger. It took us a long time to figure out that one. 
   So we start by giving them a list of emotions; mad, sad, scared, worried or happy. When they identify the emotion we think what could be causing that feeling and keep breaking it down until we have the child calm enough to talk through their problem. The only hang up is that it can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hours to 5 days to get to the root of the problem. Just to clarify, we do not talk for 5 days straight, we address the problem and then take a break before addressing it again. We keep doing that until they feel safe enough to talk, all the while watching the child for clues. It is both heart breaking and frustrating to know our children trust themselves and their interpretation of the world over what we tell them. The trust issue as we call it, has improved but we still have a long way to go.

   Kiana and Joseph had a rough weekend. Joseph refused to sleep at nap time even though he was very tired. He crawled out of bed crankier than when he climbed in, he couldn't follow commands and was constantly doing things he knew were off limits, all signs that something is wrong. But would he talk? No way! Finally he said, "Where will the kitchen be?" Now we were getting somewhere! Due to early food deprivation, Joseph does not trust us to supply his food. Never mind that he came to us at six months and is now almost 8, he still worries about food. We fill his plate because he literally, never feels full. 
  He was also struggling to understand some things that were going on at school. The students take turns being the leader. The leader gets special privileges and responsibilities. Joseph loves to be the leader but he gets overstimulated trying to juggle the extra assignments, even though those assignments are fun things. After we talked it through, I asked him why he hadn't told me what was wrong when I asked. He looked at me and said, "But mom I didn't know what was wrong until I sat on my bed and thought really hard!" Earlier Dean told him to go to his bed (where it is quiet) and think about what might be bothering him. It must be so hard to have memories but no words to express them. As we work on the trauma in their lives I need to remind myself time and again that trauma doesn't tell time, their triggers make them feel just as terrified as they did in the beginning.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Forfeiting Sanity Documentary And The Pain Of Parenting A Child With RAD

I just finished watching the documentary, Forfeiting Sanity, What If Love Is Not Enough?
My heart is racing and my stomach is churning, the stories shared sound so very familiar and bring back memories, none of them good.

Reactive Attachment Disorder is terrifying at it's very best, it is a disorder that goes against all human instinct. It is something few people with healthy minds can begin to grasp and if you are among those who cannot wrap your mind around it, praise God! Imagine, if you will, that you are longing for a child, you have pleaded with God, gone through demeaning procedures and shelled out money right and left all because you want a child. One happy day a little one comes into your life, you praise God, share your good news and praise God some more but you forget that the little person in your arms has a past, a dark traumatic past and you will have to reckon with that past someday in the not to distant future. But for now you revel in this little one, the answer to your prayers.

Days pass and the love you felt those first few days is waning and you feel awful. Friends and family ooh and aah over how adorable and sweet your child is and you feel something like resentment creeping into your heart. But why? You toss idea's around in your head, is it because he cries so much or is it because he is so incredibly needy and I am not used to caring for a child? But deep inside you know that isn't true, the truth, if you allow yourself to acknowledge it, is simple: you don't like this child you prayed for. On the heels of that thought comes guilt, intense guilt, what kind of mom doesn't like her child?

So you throw your all into loving this child but the more you love and nurture this little one, the nastier he becomes. Oh not to everyone, just mom and sometimes dad. So you think, "He can't handle love so I will back off and give him some space," but by now he has placed you squarely in the enemy camp and nothing you do makes a bit of difference, he is terrified of bonding with you and his fear comes out in hate and rage. 

In desperation you reach out for help, but no one see's what you do, so they assume it must be you. You are a bad parent, there is something wrong with you if you cannot love this sweet child. The things you share are unfathomable, could it be you are, well, going crazy? So the talk goes on and bits and pieces trickle back to your ears, isolating you even more, making you doubt your ability to parent, maybe you really are messed up. 

You take your child to therapists who assure you that if you do XYZ they will be okay. You follow their instructions to the letter, you are so desperate for help that you want to be sure this child's failure to heal is not because of something you failed to do correctly. But your child continues to become more and more emotionally unstable. Your other children withdraw from you because they cannot understand why this child who is so mean to their mom "get's away with it." They also see their sibling being super sweet away from home, all the while remembering the screaming, raging and terror he deals out at home. Naturally, they distance themselves from their sibling. One day you "wake up" and realize that your family is falling apart. Your traumatized child has nearly succeeded in breaking down the family unit so vital to their healing. Now what?

The therapist agree's that something must be done, but what? You search through your options but you cannot find a place that adequately meets your childs needs. If you don't find something DHS will become involved and you may well lose all of your children because DHS is notorious for misunderstanding RAD and the resulting problems. You are stuck, you prayed for this child, pleaded with God for a baby and he graciously answered your prayer, but now you are in over your head. Were you wrong for asking? Is God punishing you? 

The future looks dark, there is no way out. This child has succeeded in dividing your family, there are times you are terrified of him, what if he.....? Will your family tragedy appear on the front page of your local paper someday? And what of the hurting child you promised to love and care for? He is becoming more ill by the day, you failed him, you feel you failed your family.... professionals have no answers, no one can care for your child because of he lies and tells horrible stories of the things you did to him, none of which are true but they sound plausible. 
You feel trapped, there is no way out, you are under chronic stress and there are years of increasing pain ahead unless something changes, this my friends, is where many parents find themselves. They no longer trust their own parenting skills because they failed so miserably to reach their child, the future has no joy, every day is a repeat of pain and fear. Your heart feels like it is missing in action but somehow in it's absence it continues to break and die a little more every day.

You can buy your own copy of Forfeiting Sanity here

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Adrenal Fatigue and Spinach Smoothies

...Adrenal Fatigue is soooo frustrating! I have battled this for several years. Welcoming three babies into our home in 4 months time set me on a down hill slide. That alone would have been enough but RAD is what did me in and FASD is doing it's best to make sure I stay in this rut. 

What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?
Inability to lose weight
poor digestion
low blood pressure
poor recovery from exercise
brain fog/memory problems
sensitivity to cold
..and a whole host of symptoms.

What can you do about it? My doctor told me to avoid stress, I just smiled and shared a little about our life. Thankfully she acknowledges adrenal fatigue, as it isn't considered a medical condition. She is sending me to a specialist who will hopefully get things leveled out so I can ditch this fatigue, sore throat, muscle aches and extra weight once and for all.

In the meantime I am drinking spinach and fruit smoothies. They help my fatigue and increase my ability to cope with the demands of being a mom. Lia gave the smoothies a thumbs up but her big brother says they are gross. 

Rather than get all the ingredients out every day, I put a serving into freezer bags and froze them. Now I empty the contents into the blender add fresh fruit or whatever else I choose and it is ready to go!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Good Bye Summer, Therapy and School Days

     I believe summer is gone and fall is well on it's way. Is it just me or did this summer fly by faster than it did other years? Time seems to go by faster every year, making me want to hang on to it with clenched fists. 
   The children have begun their fourth week of school, how can that be? I see advertisements for pumpkins and mums and think, "What is the rush!" Then I go outside and feel the cool air and realize that it is no longer summer. We have traded laziness, Popsicle's, swimming and spur of the moment plans for the business of the school year along with schedules, books, backpacks, lunches (what do you put in them?) and earlier bedtimes. Joseph told me he wishes he was still in kindergarden so he could take a nap instead of going to bed early.
   It is just Lia and I at home once more, and I spend a lot of time playing doll, tea party and play dough. This is her last year at home with me and when I get tired of hearing, "Mom play with me!" I remember that next year she too, will be leaving me to begin her years under influences other than her parents. She will have someone whom she loves almost and sometimes more than she loves mom, Dean and I will no longer be her only favoritest people, as kindergarden teachers are held in high regard by their students.

Lia loves paper, pens, stickers and anything else related to school. This morning Joseph had his first OT appointment. I put Lia on the van with Tristan and Kiana since the lady driving the school van agreed to keep her while I was gone. She was all smiles!

Joseph enjoyed therapy but he was totally worn out till the end of his appointment. Most of the activities were designed to strengthen his hand muscle's. The therapist sent some "thera-putty" along home along with a list of exercises Joseph needs to complete every other day. Another goal is to strengthen his core muscle's, I think some of those exercises would be good for mom as well! 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Conundrum's Of FASD

CONUNDRUM: a confusing and difficult problem of question.

The reasoning of a child with FASD, should be listed under the definition of conundrum. 

Mom says, "Do not throw balls in the house." The child throws a ball and breaks something but it isn't his fault because he didn't try to break anything. Giving a consequence may result in a rage.

Your child cannot understand you when you are speaking directly to him but he can hear and decipher what you are saying in another room when you are speaking in "code" to his dad.

He is unable to comprehend some children's books but is able to read adult books fluently.

Is unable to comprehend cause and effect in relation to himself but can clearly see how it pertains to everyone around him.

He is unable to recall events and relate them accurately, but he can tell elaborate lies that are perfectly believable.

He reminds his little sister not to talk to strangers, but he talks to everyone and anyone.

He cannot remember the words for every day items, mayo is called white ketchup and doors are called window things you walk through but he can carry an intelligent conversation with an adult.

This is the sobering reality for those who have fetal alcohol:

With most kids with an FASD, we should cut their age in half, and that is often the age they are functioning in most areas. Imagine sending a 9 year old into the real world with little to no support…


Developmental Age Equivalent

Actual Age18 years 
Expressive language20 years
Comprehension6 years
Money and time concepts8 years
Emotional maturity6 years
Physical maturity18 years
Reading ability16 years
Social skills7 years
Living skills11 years
Streissguth, A.P. & Kanter, J. (Eds.) (1997). The Challenge of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Overcoming Secondary Disabilities (300 pp.). Seattle: University of Washington Press.

- See more at: http://www.mofas.org/2014/05/developmental-skills-timeline/#sthash.bsfSdmdm.dpuf

In our experience, Joseph's "emotional age" varies from day to day. The difficulty in this is that some days he is "good enough" to do a certain activity and the next day he may not be. Sometimes he plays outside and some days he needs to be in line of vision at all times. Of course he views this as unfair and he is right, it isn't fair. Life isn't fair for anyone but especially for those affected alcohol in utero, they have a totally preventable disability.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


                 Today I made applesauce.....

I did my applesauce outside and while it was nice having all the mess out there, I missed the smell of apples cooking on my stove.

         I might have said that but I didn't hear myself say it, so I don't know if I did....Joseph logic. :)
   Thanks for all the prayers for Joseph. He is adjusting to school better than we dared hope, I wouldn't say it is going great, but neither is it horrible. He need's a lot of sleep, especially during the school year, so he is back to early bedtime. Last night he told me he wishes he was back in Kindergarden so he could take naps, then he wouldn't have to go to bed early.
Lia keeps us laughing with her comments. Recently she came to me and said, "I oopsie densty (accidentally) made it rain on myself and now I am all wet."

"Dad's aren't sweethearts only mom's are, so don't say that to dad."

Saturday, September 5, 2015

September Is National FASD Awareness Month


                                      State-Specific Weighted Prevalence Estimates of Alcohol Use Among Women 18–44 Years of Age, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2012

                                             I found this map here

   No amount of alcohol is safe when you are pregnant. An unborn child cannot process alcohol because it's liver is not fully developed, thus they absorb all the alcohol and have the same alcohol blood content as the mother. 

Of all the substances of abuse such as Heroin, Cocaine and Marijuana, alcohol produces by far, the most serious neurobehavioral effects in an infant.

FASD cannot be cured. The damage is permanent, although many people can learn to live a functional life if they have loving families, support and learn strategies for managing their disabilities. 

       Here are a few of the difficulties those diagnosed with FASD may face. It is by no means a complete list, I doubt such a list even exists since Fetal Alcohol can affect every part of the body. I will share a few examples of how the things listed below pan out in daily life.

- Lack of appropriate social behavior. This is a big one for us and it seems that almost everyone affected by prenatal alcohol exposure struggles in this area. 
- Increased startle response
- Manipulative behavior
- Attachment issue's. We have put a lot of effort into building our bond with Joseph because he views relationships in a different way than you or I. For instance, he thinks we don't love him if we give him consequences.
-Demanding parents time and attention
- Just doesn't "get it" cluelessness
-Selective Hearing. Another one of the things we deal with, although I must say this malady seems to affect all of our children, not just Joseph.3
- Inability to understand and obey laws. This one is where many people get in trouble. They cannot understand the laws, so they ignore them. 
- Unable to hold down a job. This is, in part because of the good day/bad day aspect of FASD
-Can't follow directions
-No resistance to peer pressure. I am sure I am not the only mom out there who worries about this one. Joseph will do anything, if he thinks it will gain him a friend.
- "In your face personality"
- Likes living on the edge
- Memory problems
- Inability to focus
- Forgets medications
- Homelessness
- Drug and alcohol abuse. I read an article once that read something like this: Usually when a teen tries alcohol he becomes sick, that is often enough to turn him away from the stuff. Teens with FASD however, find that they make "friends" when they are drunk, people include them, they no longer feel like outsiders, best of all it makes them feel good, something they seldom experience. This may explain in part, those with FASD, may be more prone to abuse alcohol.
- Lying and stealing. It has taken us a long time to come to grips with this issue. If Joseph see's something he wants he takes it. He will lie about it so convincingly you believe him, besides how can a child with his disabilities think up such "intelligent lie's?" 
-Argumentative nature. Joseph loves to argue, he thrives on it, much to our dismay. At the moment he is doing better at doing as he is told because, "Mom said so." But as is typical for FASD the symptoms come and go.
- No concept of time. Just today Joseph came to me and said, "I feel so sorry for Abraham Lincoln." I asked why and he answered, "Cause someone shot him in the brain, it just makes me so sad." 
                          Image result for fetal alcohol disorder quotes 
                                     Image result for fetal alcohol disorder quotes

Image result for fetal alcohol disorder quotes

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Trauma Drama

We have been talking about building onto our house for quite some time and now it is actually happening. I knew it would be dirty, busy, messy etc but I forgot trauma. How dare I? Sometimes I get annoyed with myself for not thinking ahead and expecting the trauma drama, I mean we have lived with this for 7 years now, one would think the lesson would stick. Sadly, I still forget and am still rudely shocked with trauma comes knocking.

  This weekend we began taking the bricks off the side of the house and Joseph and Kiana were so worried. Will there be a hole in our house, will they knock out our bedroom wall, where will I sleep and of course the fear that is always present: what about me, will you still love me, will you still be here for me, how will my life change? 

    This morning the builders were here for awhile and poor Joseph was overwhelmed with fear, he refused to get off the sofa, then he planted his feet firmly together and wouldn't walk out to the van. Thankfully Dean was still home and he assured Joseph that everything will look exactly the same when he gets home from school. All it took was daddy affirming what mom had been telling him. His face brightened, he strapped his seat belt and all was right with his world once more.

Kiana isn't as vocal about her fear's. She acts out and it takes all the patience I can muster to react calmly and assure her she is safe and she is loved. When we have brought down her anxiety, she is able talk and work through her fears. 

Lia hasn't been much better. Defiant, into everything and tantrums over the smallest things. When I am tempted to get frustrated, I remember school just started, she doesn't understand what we mean when we tell her we are building her a new bedroom, all she knows is that things are changing and change is scary.

   It is also helpful for me to remember trauma doesn't tell time. Trauma takes time, patience and understanding. It is hard not to get frustrated when you are doing all you can to help a victim of trauma and they just don't seem to be getting better, but if you consistently stay calm, cool and collected (telling myself this) the wound will begin to heal. It is easy to do the right thing when your child melts down and you have the time and resources to help them work through it. But when you are busy canning, it is past time for supper to be in the oven, you are anticipating an important phone call any minute and your baby is crying, then it is really tough to put everything aside and meet the needs of a child who is sobbing because his shirt has a hole in it and now he won't have anything to wear, he might get cold and does mom still love me?

                                Image result for trauma quote

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Lia's 4th Birthday

Guess who had a birthday this weekend? Yes, Lia turned 4! She celebrated her birthday three times and thought she should turn a year older every time we celebrated.

Thankfully she is young enough not to mind a store bought cake with a few sprinkles and candles. The past week flew by and I didn't have time to make her a cake, unless I would have stayed up late but mom needs her sleep. So I bought a cake at the local grocery store, stuck four candles in it and called it good enough, she was thrilled.
A year ago, I found a toy guitar at a reuzit shop. Lia loved that guitar and the songs were not overly loud, they were all decent songs as well. Then it stopped working, batteries didn't make a difference either. I thought I would find a guitar for her birthday to replace the one that no longer works. I searched high n low to find one that fit my criteria. This one was the closest I could find, Lia loves it, while my ears cringe. You can set the volume, but what fun is a noisy toy if you can't make lot's of noise. Dean sometimes fills the speakers on noisy toys with clear silicone. You can't see it and it muffles the sound.

On Sunday evening, we celebrated Lia's birthday as well as two of her friends birthdays.

We love you Lia!
It was 3.5 short years ago that I brought you home. You have brought much joy and laughter into our home   

This morning I bought a half bushel of peaches to make peach pie filling. Lia helped me for awhile then ran off to play. I found her playing in the school van when I went to check up on her. I pulled the keys and figured she can't hurt anything. Guess again! Someone left a tube of green chalk paint in the van and Miss Lia found it.

And this is what I found....paint on every car seat, on the windows, steering wheel and even on herself and Kobi.

After cleaning up the mess I scolded her for putting paint on Kobi. She ran off to play in the sandbox but was gone a moment later. I found her filling a sandwich bag with water and trying to bath Kobi, "Cause he still has paint on him, mom!"