Friday, April 28, 2017

Programs And Therapy Mom's

Last night was the children's Spring Program at school. Oh the drama, banging and screaming that went on, all because of a program! This year like previous years, Joseph didn't participate in the program. Standing in front of a crowd without someone by his side to regulate him would not be a good idea, besides he says, "Standing up there makes my stomach hurt." Even though he didn't help with the program, he still had a 90 minute meltdown on Wednesday evening. Thankfully it coincided with his sisters meltdown so at the end of 90 minutes they were both calm and in bed.





Kiana is home with me this morning working through big feelings brought on by the program. We had the usual, "I am upset because you adopted me - you aren't my mom - I wish my birth mom would have taken care of me" talk. The other week in therapy Mr D asked Kiana what makes a mom. She said, "A mom is someone who takes care of you, give you food, loves you and keeps you safe." 

Mr D said, "So you are saying anyone can be a mom, even if she doesn't have a baby grow in her tummy?" Kiana slowly agreed because she knew where the conversation was going. In the end she had to admit that I did the things a mom should, making me just as much her mom as is her birth mom.

Near the end of our talk this morning I asked her what kind of mom I am, the kind who cares for her children or the kind who doesn't. She wasn't ready to give in yet, so she said, "You are a therapy mom." 

Kiana is on the floor at my feet with her My Loving Family people busily re enacting the program. Those people have been quite therapeutic over the years. Children naturally act out their feelings through play. Watching and listening as the girls play with their "families" has been a huge asset helping us understand what is bothering them.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Parenting Ideals - Then & Now

Back when I knew how to parent I had this idea of what makes a good parent. These are some of the ideals I had...

My children would pick up after themselves. They would never think of leaving wadded up socks, jeans with one leg inside out and smelly towels lying on the bathroom floor. My children would know better than that. I would teach them how to be neat and clean. We wouldn't have to search high and low for a missing Sunday shoe and we would NEVER go to church with anything less than Sunday footwear. 

School papers, consents and incomplete's would be signed and returned promptly. We wouldn't have to find wrinkled, weeks old "need's parents signature" papers in the bottom of a backpack. In fact, our children wouldn't get such things in the first place! 

We would give our children a "voice" and they would in turn listen to us. Don't laugh, we honestly thought that. Then we entered the pre adolescent years and mental health issues smacked that idea so hard it shattered in pieces. Nowadays we daily hone our skills in the "lie detector" department and plead with God to help us know the truth and not cause further damage.

Our children would have daily chores and take pride in a job well done. Do I hear someone laughing?! I feel like the "job police," constantly checking up and making sure things are done correctly. The bedroom floor gets swept but the paper trash is shoved under the bed or dresser. The clean clothing gets put away - all in one drawer rather than in its designated spot. The toys get picked up but everything is thrown into the toy box instead of being put in the correct tote. Table scraps are taken out to the chickens but they might be dumped on the wrong side of the fence rather than inside where the chickens can actually reach them.

Our children would be each others friends. Instead they seem to thrive on destroying any healthy sibling relationships that even dare to begin sprouting. They used to hit, push and shove now they have "graduated" to doing the same thing with their mouths. The 5 year old is able to give her teen age brother a run for his money in that area. Last night we called a family meeting. Dean told the children, "We have a problem in our family, does anyone know what it is?" No one spoke for awhile then Joseph ventured, "We aren't very nice to each other???" You got it, buddy! Although I do have a little hope, during therapy the other week Kiana was speaking of one of her brothers and said, "He likes me in his heart, he just doesn't know it."

The years have changed my goals and redefined what I view as successful parenting. 

I would have once been horrified at some of the things that my children think and say, now I am so thankful they feel safe enough to tell me these things.

I now see bravery, strength and trust when my child hands me a note from the teacher - the kind of note any child would cringe at having to give to his parents.

When my teen age son scoops his little sister up and carries her because her legs are tired, tears prick my eyes. The sideways grin he gives when he senses me watching him reminds me of his dad and I remind myself to cherish the little moments.

When my child with "food issues" gives the last of the cereal to a sibling, I feel those tears again.

When my son who finds life challenging in most every way whispers, "I am going to do my best to be nice to _________," referring to the sister who has been less than kind to him, I feel like maybe some lessons are sticking.

When I receive a hug after a rage that has lasted hours and my child says, "Thanks mom, I love you!" I tend to think I am the most blessed person in the world.

I think I would tell the "me" of 10 years ago that parenting isn't just about teaching your children to work and behave, it is about teaching them empathy, compassion, forgiveness and building a strong character.








Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Triggers

We had a meltdown of a different sort today. This one was based on trauma and while it manifested itself very differently than the one Joseph had on Friday, it was every bit as intense.

It started this morning. Sundays are major trigger days for Kiana for a variety of reasons, one of which is, listening to sermons brings about a barrage of feelings that she cannot handle and I often have a hard time deciphering. She has some major behavioral struggles right now due to Lyme and PANS. Sometimes she is accountable, sometimes not but she usually feels guilty after an episode even though we have explained why she reacts the way she does. Listening to a sermon often sets her off because as she says, "He is preaching about me!!!!" Since her behavioral issues are often so vast, she can usually find something in the message that she feels is directed at her personally.

The other big issue is fear. This morning we had an excellent message on living so that we are ready when Jesus returns and destroys the earth. It was a very timely message, one that spoke loudly to me but I was sure my 9 year old was listening and taking it all in, especially since she was "intently" reading her Bible. I pulled her close and asked how she is feeling. She gave me a wide eyed look and said, "I'm okay," a good sign that she was not okay!

After lunch she was stomping about the house raising chaos and being defiant. I tried talking to her but she refused to co operate so I was about to send her to bed when Dean said, "I wonder if this mornings message is bothering her." She vehemently denied it. Dean and I have a quote, "Me thinketh thou doth protest to much!" Meaning, the more the child protests that something isn't bothering them the more certain we are that it is. Kiana refused to talk about her big feelings, giving all sorts of superficial reasons for why she has them. By this time I was pretty sure I knew what was wrong but I wanted her to tell me versus me telling her what she was feeling. I explained how I learned in therapy that when something feels big and scary talking about it helps the scary feeling get smaller. "That is why I want you to tell me what is bothering you rather than me telling you what is wrong," I explained. Eventually she said, "I don't want my stuff to burn, what about my toys, my clothing...what about Kobi?" This is where it gets tough with children who have experienced complex trauma. Telling her to trust God to meet her needs will not make her feel any better because she has a hard time with trust. Telling her that she will have better things in Heaven doesn't help because in her mind Heaven is an unknown which makes it something to fear. 

Dean told her that just like Mom and Dad make sure she is safe and taken care of, in that we provide food, clothing and shelter, Jesus will do the same in Heaven. The more we talked the safer she felt and eventually we got her talked down from the place of fear and the thought of "losing my stuff" was no longer an issue. She gave me a hug and went cheerfully off for her nap.

Kiana and I spend many Sundays in the basement at church talking through her big feelings. While she despises doing this, it gives her and I an opportunity to work on our bond, which is always a blessing.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Math And Meltdowns - Life With FASD

A math paper was the cause for a total meltdown today. An all out physical, verbal, hitting and throwing match that ended up with a certain young man needing to be restrained for his safety.  

  Joseph has a book, a ring binder, where he keeps all his important papers and "records." He also writes stories and keeps his diary in that most treasured book of his. My brain was missing in action when he came home from school and asked if he may write in his book. I said, "Why don't you do your math paper if you feel like writing." Totally forgetting that writing in his book is his way of unwinding. He got his paper out cheerfully enough, but when he sat down at the table across from where I was cutting out a dress, a cloud came over his face and he began grumbling. I told him I will help him as soon as I am finished with my project, which he initially accepted. Suddenly the grumbles became yells, the paper was tossed onto the floor and things went flying across the room. I should have figured out what was going on, but I didn't. My emotions weren't exactly the most stable at the moment, so I left him rage rather than confront him and join him in his frustration. Sometimes he runs out of steam when no one pays attention to his storming about, but not today. He went into his room where his door and the walls received a dreadful beating. When that didn't bring about a response he upped the ante. 90 minutes later he was calm enough that I could talk to him and ask what was wrong. His answer? "I wanted to do my math tonight so I don't have to do school work tomorrow!"

"I understand that," I said, "But what did mom tell you?"

"You said you will help me when you are finished," he replied.

"So what was the problem?" I asked, "Does mom do what she says she will?"

"You do what you say you will, but sometimes other people don't so I didn't know if you would help me. I did not want to have to do school work tomorrow and I was afraid I would have to!" 

Communication is something people with FASD sometimes find difficult. As their parents, it is our responsibility to help them use their words and not be pulled into their drama. Easy to say, hard to do, especially when something as simple as a math paper trips you up!

Joseph is beside me working on his math as I type this and I am finding out there was more to his meltdown than I first thought....3rd grade learned about fires today. Fire's (think lights/sirens) are one of Joseph's biggest triggers. Now that the adrenaline has worn off his mouth is going a mile a minute, typical for our little guy.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Update On Kiana



We are nearly 2/3 of the way through Kiana's first month of treatment with her LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor). Thankfully her rages have decreased greatly in intensity and they do not last nearly as long as they had even two weeks ago. We feel she is more emotionally unstable  and she certainly has a lot more physical symptoms, although that can be a good thing as it means the Lyme is dying off, but neither Dean nor I are sure that is what is happening. The more I learn about Lyme the scarier it is. The good thing is that knowing how devastating Lyme can be, gives me yet another opportunity to increase my trust and faith in God.

 Her therapy is also going pretty well. Mr D is a lot like Miss Laura, who used to be B's therapist. He and I talk about how Kiana was since her last visit before bringing her into the room which greatly hinders her ability to manipulate the session. Best of all he is a Christian! Her homework assignment for this week is to ask God to show her ways that she is special and then to report what she has learned at her next session. That is a tough assignment for someone suffering from her level of trauma and insecurities, but it is our prayer she will be surprised to learn just how special she is. Since she doesn't trust/believe Dean and I she doesn't believe us when we tell her we love her despite her actions. Neither does she believe she is a special girl, which we honestly think she is!




Sunday, April 16, 2017

NeuroPlus Review

A while ago Dean was reading an article about NeuroPlus, an affordable "homeowner" neurofeedback program, used for ADHD among other things. We have had an interest in neurofeedback as it is also used by therapists when a child or adult is dealing with trauma, however the cost has always been a drawback.

We contacted the NeuroPlus company and they agreed to give us special pricing in return for a review on my blog.

One of the things about the NeuroPlus that appealed to us was the fact that nothing is subconsciously or otherwise entering the brain, as can be the case with some forms of brain therapy. The NeuroPlus measures/senses your body movement and muscle tension which directly impacts how well you can perform the game. When you are relaxed and focused the game proceeds effortlessly but when you become tense or distracted, you lose points. The program is all about teaching your brain how to focus.

When we received the NeuroPlus, there was only one game available and our then 12 year old son grew a bit bored. However at least one new game has come out since we have it.

The NeuroPlus is an asset in training your brain to stay on task. It is not a quick fix, it is estimated that you will have to practice for 30 minutes for at least four weeks before you notice a significant improvement. I think this program has the potential to help many people.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Affirming The Parents=A Stronger Bond




Children who have trouble bonding and those who have an insecure attachment need to hear people from outside the family praise their parents. Mom and dad can say, "I love you, that is why I don't allow you to do xyz," or "Mom's who love their children keep them safe," but it won't mean nearly as much as when someone else says it. Children who learned early in life that adults particularly mom, are not to be trusted, need constant reminders that mom will keep them safe. However hearing it from their parents isn't nearly as effective as hearing it from people outside the immediate family.

   Yesterday our neighbor was at our place. As we stood outside chatting, Kiana was swinging from a huge vine that was growing in the woods. It broke, dumping her unceremoniously onto the ground. As I held her while she cried, our neighbor said, "Isn't it nice to have a mom who loves you and takes care of you? Some moms don't take care of their children, imagine that?" She and I exchanged a smile over Kiana's head, because this lady is fully aware of the struggles we face in the bonding department.

In therapy Kiana and I have been working on our bond. Anyone else out there dread the hard work of therapy? Her therapist has a gift for using the exact same words Dean and I use when we are working through an issue with Kiana. Many times when Mr D is talking, Kiana gives me a sidelong glace that speaks volumes.

If you are relating to a family with children who are attachment challenged there are a few things you can do to encourage the bond between parent and child. The bonus for you is that once the bond is more concrete and stable, you will have more opportunity to interact with the child. When a bond is fragile, there are multitudes of innocent actions and comments that can deliver a staggering blow to a bond that has been slowly beginning to form. As parents we know it isn't done intentionally but we also know how much work has gone into the bond and how much work it will take to repair damage that was done in unintentionally. That is why we are so very protective of our children's interactions with others.

WAYS TO ENCOURAGE A BOND BETWEEN PARENT AND CHILD:

-Always affirm mom and dad (even when you don't really agree with their way of handling a situation)
-If a child asks for a drink, snack, or wants you to read them a book and the parent is present, send them to the parent. The parent will know if it is "safe" for little Johnny to sit beside you for a story or not and they will guide the situation accordingly.
-When you see the parent helping their child, a comment such as, "Your mom/dad does such a good job taking care of you," may be just the words needed to strengthen the bond. A word of caution, don't say it if you don't mean it, our children are masters at sensing artificial words/actions.
-If the child asks for permission to do something while in the presence of his parents say, "That would be a good question to ask your mom/dad." Our children are good at getting things that they know are against the rules from other adults. They also know which adults mom and dad are willing to stand up to and which one's their parents will tend to avoid a confrontation with.
-If the child is being ornery for their parents, don't try to draw them out of it. This can be helpful for the well attached child, but not for those who are not fully bonded. The child will assume you are on their side thus against mom/dad and this will only feed the fire. The best thing to do is simply ignore the child, he will quickly sense whether or not you are willing to engage in his silent fight against mom and dad.

We have had situations where a child was really having a hard time with the relationship necessary between a parent and child, when someone stepped in and said something like, "Isn't it nice to have a mom/dad who knows just what you need?" The child gives us a sheepish grin and we silently bless the speaker.  


Monday, April 10, 2017

Complex Disability - Life With FASD



Jeff Noble shared this quote on his FB page:

 "FASD is devastating. What disability results in sufferers being good at small talk, but without substance? Then add a kind heart but a violent temper, complex needs, but no insight, a small frame with big expectations and perhaps worst of all, a damaged mind but a beautiful face."- Elizabeth Russell

This perfectly sums up Joseph except for one thing, "a small frame." Many people with FASD have small stature for various reasons, although there are some like Joseph who do not fit that part of the picture.

"Good at small talk, but without substance," Joseph is excellent at small talk. He can carry on a conversation with anyone. The trouble is, he often has no idea what he is saying, he is simply repeating what he has heard others say. This leads to people expecting him to be as intelligent as he sounds. They don't realize that just because he uses a word doesn't mean he knows what it means. I remember reading somewhere about a child with FASD who was in therapy. His therapist explained that he will not be allowed to go on a family camping trip if he doesn't change his ways. He didn't change and when his therapist asked him why, he admitted that he didn't know what camping was. Which was why he didn't have the incentive to try. The moral of the story is, "make sure your child understands what you are saying." Let me add that this is not necessarily appropriate actions to encourage better behavior for someone with FASD.

"Kind heart but a violent temper." Joseph is very kindhearted. He cares for those smaller and weaker than himself and it isn't unusual for him to be upset when he knows someone it having a hard time. The flip side is his temper for which he has no brakes. Like many with FASD, he tends to cycle through times of calm and times of rage. When it is "rage season," we all hunker down and do our best to wait out the storm.

"Complex needs, but no insight." It took me a bit to figure this one out. FASD is complex, no doubt about that. I think Joseph's lack of insight into situations, is what makes caring for him emotionally so difficult. 

"Damaged mind but a beautiful face." Behind the chubby cheeks and winning smile, is a brain that is severely, permanently damaged. Sometimes I look at Joseph and wonder what his life would be like if only his mom hadn't drank. I admit it takes accepting over and over again. In my bitter moments it is hard to see the bright side but there are always those times when I feel blessed that God saw fit to allow us to parent a child like Joseph.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Glimpse Into Our Life

On Monday Kiana had an appointment with a Lyme specialist. Her PANS doctor was willing to treat her but we came to the conclusion that she needs more help than he could provide so I began calling doctors trying to find help. I heard, "She is too young," and "We are not accepting new patients," time and time again. Thankfully I found a doctor and he only had a two week waiting list! 

Enjoying one of the few smiles we get from this girl these days. We mostly see black, clouded eyes filled with tears of frustration and rage.

Daddy patiently trying to help Kiana work through an issue...can't even remember what it was. She finds life very hard right now.


My method of coping with things that are beyond my control and comprehension is to read up on it and inform myself. These two books came in the mail today. The first one is a personal Lyme story and the second is what Dean refers to as a "textbook." It has a wealth of information that I am trying to force feed into my brain.

Dean smoked some delicious ribs the other weekend. We all enjoyed them even Lia who doesn't like spicy food. Joseph wasn't impressed with the idea of having to work so hard to get such small pieces of meat off the bones.


Dean smoked pork several times over the past few weeks. I have quite a stockpile in my freezer. We enjoy it on sandwiches or over fries and topped with cheese sauce, onions and bbq sauce.

I am the class mom for Kindergarten so I had the privilege of driving a van load of 5&6 year olds to Hands On House the other week. They were quite the lively bunch and oh, the discussions they had! I am still laughing.

We carpool with two other families so when I took I the school van to the next family, Kobi went along because my plan was to walk home. I often take him on walks but never along a busy road. He firmly planted himself on the road and refused to budge. Thankfully I had my phone along so I called Dean and he came and picked us up. Kiana and Lia thought it was hilarious, it took me a bit longer to see the humor in the situation.






Saturday, April 1, 2017

How To Encourage A Family Who Has Disrupted An Adoption

When we disrupted B's adoption I craved empathy, I longed for a shoulder to cry on and cherished the words, "I am praying for you." Many people find it hard to relate to someone who has disrupted an adoption and rightly so, disruption is a complex thing. Something that is not easily understood even by the people who are doing the disrupting!

I remember wishing we could have a memorial service of sorts for our son because it felt like he had died....except he hadn't. Our dreams were dead, empty things now that we knew our little boy wouldn't thrive in our home and how that hurt! I remember sitting in our camper at Penn Valley (a conservative christian adoption retreat) and feeling bitter and angry about our situation. I felt like nobody understood, here was a group of people celebrating adoption and we were deep in the pain of disruption. I heartily wished we had just stayed home. I called a friend who has walked a similar path and poured out my heart to her. She assured me of her prayers and as we talked, she guided me into a better frame of mind. 

God heard and answered her prayers and that afternoon through a God ordained event, I was blessed to have a group of friends encircle me while I cried. Having someone come alongside you when you are in deep emotional pain is priceless. Those tears were the beginning of a long path to healing, something that is still a work in progress.

Why do I share this? Because I am becoming aware of just how many family's are out there facing disruption all alone. Many parents make the decision to disrupt not because they are mean or vindictive, or even because they are tired of living the restricted lifestyle necessary when parenting children with intense behaviors. They disrupt because they truly believe the child will do better in another family. Perhaps the child needs a fresh start, many of these children make life very miserable for their family and when they begin to heal, some are unable to move past what happened. Other family's run out of money, some have younger children whom their child preys upon, still others are in poor health due to years of stress and chaos. These parents love their children, in fact they love them enough to lay aside their desire's and focus instead on what is best for their child.

Chances are good that you will come in contact with a family who has disrupted an adoption sometime and when that happens, offer your support. It may not make sense to you but that is okay, we don't have to agree with the choices others make in order to support them. A hug, gift, note or a few words of encouragement may be what makes the day bearable for a family who has made a decision that they never dreamed they would have to make.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Chaos And Redemption

Most people have heard of the push pull relationship, if one can even call it a relationship, that many parents have with their child with RAD. They pull you close, push you away, pull you close, then push you even harder, it's a never ending cycle.

Those who suffer from RAD, are terrified of bonding with anyone because in their minds a bond means opening the door for abuse, abandonment and even death. At the same time deep within themselves, so deep they most likely aren't aware of it's presence, is a desire to be loved. That desire causes them to reach out for love but as soon as they receive it, their terror pops up and they push the giver as far away as possible. Then there is the aspect of manipulation... they know their parents are trying to build a relationship with them so they will "offer" their affection as a means to attain something they want. This type of relationship wears a parent out in a hurry.

While we are no longer on the "Raddercoaster" as some call the roller coaster of emotions that go with RAD, we are on a similar ride but this one is even more complex if that is possible.

This ride is parenting a child with FASD alongside a child with an autoimmune syndrome that attacks the brain. Sometimes I get whiplash from the back and forth and round and round. The hard part is knowing if the child's actions are due to fear i.e. separation anxiety, control - because they are scared of a relationship, since getting close to mom means it is going to hurt so much more when she dies, brain inflammation which makes a child feel ornery and out of control or is it just typical childhood behavior? Each and every different scenario requires a different mode of treatment. Many times the child is either unable to tell you what is wrong, refuses to do so because he is out of sorts or sometimes he truly doesn't know. So before you can go about figuring out what the problem is, you have to decide if the child has the ability to tell you what is wrong and if so, are they telling the truth or intentionally leading you down bunny trails to throw you off.

Then there are days when you have two or more acting out at the same time and while you are trying to make sense of it all, they begin feeding off of each other and the child who was telling the truth about what is going on is suddenly triggered by the lying and screaming coming from another child, so he proceeds to join in the chaos. 

There are days when I don't know if I am coming or going. I call Dean and say, "So and so is doing xyz and I have no idea why. What do you think is going on?" Amazingly he often has an answer to my dilemma or at the very least some insight into what is going on. The children know if they are successfully snowing mom and she calls dad, the game is over because dad can usually see through their antics. 

What complicates matters is I can tolerate only so much before my brain begins shutting down. My children can sense when this is happening and it sends them into hysterics because they realize mom is no longer able to handle the junk they are throwing at her. This triggers their abandonment issues, which in turn kicks up the the fight or flight response. Our two middle children may either run or rage, you never know but you can count on them to choose to respond the same way if they are both melting down at the same time. We either have two runners or two screamers,  sometimes it feels like the walls vibrate with the noise.... maybe the foundation is cracking? :)

This is all fresh in my mind because yesterday was one of those days. We were all a mess, mom was tired, the two middle children were totally dysregulated, Lia was tired, big brother was fed up with the whole mess and dad was working a bit late. It is almost funny now but at the time it was anything but. The three little's and mom went to bed early and we all awoke in a better frame of mind. Now we get to go for therapy this afternoon, which is sure to bring up lovely issues which are in a class all their own. 

As I was pondering all this and feeling like a failure, this amazing post came up in my newsfeed: God's Amazing Grace For Parents and I realized my problem, I am trying to excel at this whole parenting thing and end up falling on my nose more times than not. Where did I get the idea that I can do this? I can't, but with God in me I can and so can you!


Friday, March 24, 2017

Two Big Questions Christians Face When Considering Adoption Disruption




An unexpected blessing that came out of one of  the toughest decisions we have ever had to make, that of disrupting an adoption, is the many wonderful people I have the opportunity to connect with via email and phone calls. I thrive of helping others who are in situations that they feel are hopeless. That is probably due in part to the intense relief and gratitude we felt when others have been there for us over the years.

 Two questions come up time and again when I am talking with people who are considering disruption. The questions are ones that I wrestled with at one time or another over the years B was in our home and when we were trying to decide if we really had dissolved all our options in seeking help for our family.

The first question is, "My husband is not ready to take this step, but I feel like I am drowning," or if I am speaking with the father, I usually hear, "My wife says I have to choose between her and the child."

My answer to this question is to explain why a child targets his/her primary caregiver, which is usually mom. Mothers are the nurturer's, they are the ones who hug and kiss the scraped knee's and stubbed toes. She is the one children go to when they need extra love and support. Naturally as a mother, when a new child comes into your home, you want to do all you can to bring healing and happiness to this hurting child. But many times, the child has already learned that the world is an unsafe place. He has learned to hurt others before they can hurt him, especially in regard to adults. The harder mom tries to get close to the hurting child in her care, the harder he is going to push against her. For various reasons, dad  doesn't often receive this same treatment. For one the child typically doesn't spend as much time with dad, thus the threat of a relationship building is not as great. Second the child knows part of keeping mom at bay is getting between her and dad so if he is mean to mom and but is a sweet charmer when dad is around, he will cause conflict between them.

The second question I hear is, "Is it right for Christians to disrupt an adoption? The Bible tells us if we trust in God, he will supply all our needs. Does the fact that I am struggling so badly indicate that I don't have enough trust?" I wrestled with this question for a long time. As Christians we are brought up on the concept that God is all we need, making us feel like their is something wrong with us spiritually when we come up against a block wall. When that wall is being unable to build a relationship with a child, you feel really helpless and like the worst kind of person. When I brought the verse from Philippians 4:19 into the equation, Dean told me that perhaps finding a new family for a child is God's way of supplying our need's. God doesn't always answer prayer the way we think or even wish he would, sometimes he allows us to go through things that feel so twisted and complex that there seems to be no way out, so he can reveal his awesome power. I am in no way suggesting that disruption is something that should be done lightly but there are times when a fresh start is the best gift you can give a struggling child. 

We were told that sometimes a child who is not doing well in a particular family, feels he is unable to move beyond the pain he has brought upon his family. In such instances, a fresh start may be all he needs to succeed. 

 Another reason many family's are led to disrupt is because the child is abusing younger siblings. Moving a child to a new family where he is the youngest child, thus not faced with the opportunity to re-offend, may be what he needs to begin healing. 

Sometimes one or both parents are ageing or in ill health. A child who has RAD/attachment issues will not feel safe with someone whom he knows is not strong enough physically to keep him safe from himself. Many of these children, if they were able to reach deep enough inside and were willing to acknowledge it, would admit they are scared of themselves. They are longing for someone "strong enough" physically and emotionally to stand up to them and keep them safe.

Sometimes a parent will remind a child of their abuser, through no fault of the parent. Body language, tone of voice, hair color....many things can remind a child of the person who once hurt them and while they know this is a different person, they are still triggered and unable to heal. In such situations finding the child another family, a family where he is not daily triggered may be all it takes for him to move on in life.

Finances play a large part in the equation of  parenting children with attachment disorders. This is no run of the mill issue that will resolve itself. It requires years of therapy, inpatient treatment, psychiatric medication and typically, therapy for the rest of the family who is on the receiving end of the child's pain and abuse. Finding affordable care along with knowledgeable staff who can invest the time and emotional energy required to help these children heal is tough. Many family's simply can't afford it.

These are just a sample of the many things parents and their hurting child are up against. As parents, we are charged with keeping our children safe both emotionally and physically.Sometimes that protecting involves finding the child a new home, a home where he has the opportunity to succeed.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Tough Emotional Knots



We were invited away for lunch yesterday and on Saturday evening I casually mentioned to Dean that I need to text his sister to see if we are supposed to bring place settings. 

  A short while later Joseph's began giggling hysterically, a sure sign that something is wrong. I asked him if he has big feelings but  he denied that he does, so I told him to sit on a chair and tap. Tapping gets the two sides of the brain to work together and sometimes the child can then figure out what is bothering him. Joseph wasn't impressed because he honestly had no idea what he was feeling.

I asked him to tell me some of the feelings he has sometimes. He started with worried, which supported my hunch about what was bugging him. With my help he was also able to list mad, sad, scared and happy.

I asked Joseph if there is something that is worrying him. He said there isn't so I asked him to tell me about some things that do worry him. He immediately said, "When we go away and there are lot's of people."

"Can you tell me some places where there are lot's of people?" I asked. He said, "When the whole family gets together." Meaning mine and Dean's brothers and sisters.

"Did I say anything about any of them recently?" I asked and he thought for a bit before shrugging his shoulders.

"I said something about them when we were eating," I said. "Do you know what I said?" He shook his head but then he said, "They are probably coming here." I assured him that they aren't and his face brightened. Let me clarify that there isn't anything about our extended family's that give him big feelings, it is groups of people that unnerve him. Even going to church has been upsetting him lately, it seems being in a crowd drains his brain of it's ability to function.

People with FASD often have a hard time understanding their feelings. They need someone to come alongside them, someone to help sort through their emotions and reactions to situations. Joseph would have gone to bed tonight overwhelmed with big feelings and most likely he would have thrown a tantrum because he didn't understand the anxious feelings he had inside.

Because of their inability to define individual feelings, they are all jumbled into a ball we call "big feelings." Big feelings can be brushed under the carpet but trust me, they will return with a vengeance at a later time. When they return they bring along all kinds of additional feelings that were attracted to the ball of undefinable feelings. Then you have to pick them apart, kind of like un-knotting a string that has multiple knots, if you pull to hard on one knot or big feeling, the whole mess just gets worse. The key is to catch those big feelings and lay them out on the table before they have a chance to grow. The trouble is, who feels like beginning a chat that has to potential to last hours? 

I wrote this post on Saturday evening then left it as a draft, never completing it. After this hair raising day I came back to it and was reminded that there are bright spots in this ongoing challenge called trauma parenting, amazing how quickly I can forget them!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Living With PANS/PANDAS

Thanks to everyone who watched and shared the PANS/PANDAS video on yesterdays blog post. I received quite a few questions and thought I would do another post on the topic and give a little more insight into what PANS looks like for Kiana as well as why it is so difficult to find and acquire treatment.

How will I know if my child may have PANS/PANDAS?
Both diagnosis have an acute onset. Overnight the happy child is gone and in it's place is a child who has anxiety, fits of rage, OCD and tics among other things. 

How is PANS/PANDAS treated?
With antibiotics, anti inflammatory's, supplements and IVIG. The trouble is, most long term treatment with antibiotics is not covered by insurance, so doctors who successfully treat this illness do not take insurance. IVIG is a successful treatment but the cost of $5000-$10,000 per 10 pounds of body weight is not something many people can afford. Diet, supplements and life style changes are also incorporated to aid healing.

What is a Flare?
A flare is when you see an onset of new or recurrent symptoms. For instance, Kiana can be doing well and suddenly the rage is back. This rage is slightly different than a "trauma rage," although I can't really explain the difference other than it feels different and it is an angry rage versus an afraid rage. We are still working at getting Kiana back to baseline. She hasn't returned to the happy, healthy child she was over a year ago. When she returns to baseline and remains there for app. a year, she can discontinue treatment, although the disease can and will, return at any time.

Are the symptoms always the same?
No, they constantly change, although for Kiana, rages, verbal tics and intrusive thoughts have always accompanied a flare. Verbal tics are when a child makes constant noise with their mouth, not usually words, just noise. A morning of constant noise is enough to make my ears hurt. Intrusive thoughts are when a child has thoughts they cannot control, most often thoughts of harming themselves or others, which is terrifying for them. There is a huge variety of actions/behaviors that can be classified as tics, including facial grimacing and awkward body movements. The anxiety that usually accompanies this illness can be debilitating. Many children cannot even attend school because of their intense anxiety. Thankfully Kiana has not experienced it to that degree and the school has worked with us when it has been a problem. There can also be a host of physical side effects in addition to the devastating mental ones. PANS/PANDAS is an auto immune illness so one never knows what will be affected.

Will she ever be cured?
There is only speculation at this point as to how a child with this illness will be affected in adulthood. For now once she returns to baseline, if that ever happens, we will continue to treat each new flare as it comes. PANS, which is what Kiana has, is triggered by infections/stress and due to the trauma she has already suffered in her life, she is prone to stress which makes her illness more complex. This also makes it more difficult to get her to baseline as she is constantly faced with things that trigger her PANS.







Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Faces Of PANDAS And PANS

A fellow PANS/PANDAS mom made the following video to help create awareness of this devastating disease. It is also a tribute to a brave young man who lost his life because of the pain and emotional turmoil he endured. Please watch it and share it, our hope is that by sharing our children's struggle's the medical field will recognize and be willing to provide affordable treatment for these children. 
                 The Faces Of P.A.N.D.A.S. And P.A.N.S.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Empathy - When It Is Hard To Love



Do you know what is so hard about parenting children who's lives would be "so much better" if only they hadn't been adopted? 

Empathy. Being empathetic when a child is intent on proving that you ruined his life when you adopted him, therefore you must pay can be devastating.

When he cannot face the pain of accepting that his birth mom/dad messed up or whatever the case may be, he has to project that anger and frustration somewhere. Guess where? Usually it's mom.

In order for the child to heal from past trauma, he needs someone who can take his pain and his rage and still love him in return. That is hard, really hard.

Saying "I am so sorry you cannot live with your birth parents," while remembering the situation your child was removed from can be difficult. Add in the sacrifices your family made for this child, sacrifices that you made willingly, but the child brushed aside and trampled because he is so full of pain and rage from things done to him by his birth family, and it is doubly hard to be empathetic.

When your heart is torn between sympathy for your child and pain for what the rest of the family has to endure because of his rage, it is tough to keep things in perspective.

It would be so much easier to say, "If that's the way you want it, then have it your way," effectively closing your heart to further pain. But the hurting child wouldn't heal and he is just as much a victim of circumstance as you are, although it can be easy to lose sight of that fact when he is the one unleashing havoc in your home.

As an adoptive parent you will have to choose between empathy and closing your heart. The latter is easier but the former is the only way to healing.

Parenting children with trauma, especially when that trauma causes attachment difficulties, means opening your heart to pain and anguish. 
It means making choices for your child, choices that may make your child turn against you for a season because he cannot see the big picture. 
It means fighting for your child when everyone else wants to give up or punish him for the seemingly atrocious acts he has committed, without looking at the driving factor behind the act. 
It means loving a little wildcat who would sooner die than allow you into his heart because he has learned that adults only want to hurt him.
It means holding your child close after he intentionally destroyed a project you spent weeks completing.
It means choosing love when your heart wants to wither and die from the pain this little person has brought into your life.
It means loving again and again, when you really wanted to throw in the towel the day before yesterday.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

We Found A Therapist!

Our "therapist finding fiasco" may finally be over! I have been calling therapists near and far, searching for an attachment therapist to no avail. No one was willing to work with Kiana and I together, they all did "traditional therapy" where they meet with the child for a portion of the visit then with the parent and child together. Anyone who has a child with attachment or trauma knows that you Never leave your child alone with a therapist. One reason is that therapists are mandated reporters and are required by law to report anything they think signals abuse. The other reason is that these children are prone to lying. If the child has an attachment disorder they will intentionally lie to keep a wall between them and their parent or caregiver.

A good attachment therapist will laugh when you ask if they meet with the child alone. They know that doing so puts not only the parent but the therapist at risk because there is nothing to keep the child from making up stories about their therapist. I am amazed at how many child therapists still insist on meeting with the child alone, don't they understand what is at stake?

Anyway, two weeks ago I called a therapist that friends have given high marks. I left him a message and when he returned my call he was very professional. He told what types of therapy he uses and why. H said he would never see Kiana alone unless both him and I agreed it would be necessary for her healing. But the what really made me happy was when I mentioned that Kiana has PANS and suffers from tics/compulsions and tantrums. He told me he works with a psychiatrist who works with children who have PANS/PANDAS! He said it is nearly impossible to get an appointment with her but they work together so he is sure he could get us in. Best of all, he said if I was willing to make appointments as we go, rather than having a set date/time, he could see Kiana immediately! 

Kiana had her first therapy appointment this week and I was very pleased with how well it went. Kiana talked and the therapist knew what he was talking about. Both the therapist and I came away amazed at what the other knew about trauma. 

We even talked about B! Kiana said she sometimes acts out to see if we will find her another home, which wasn't news to me. We have discussed this umpteen times, but as is typical for children with a history like hers, she didn't believe us when we explained the differences between her needs and B's.

Kiana told the therapist that she really likes horses and he told her that his wife has one. "You may come live with us, then you can ride as much as you want," he offered. I will admit I suddenly had serious doubts that he knew what he was talking about, but I shouldn't have worried. Kiana looked at him and said, "I don't want to!" He asked why not and she said, "I don't know you." He agreed and said, "So are you saying you wouldn't feel safe living with me? Do you feel safe at home with mom and dad?" She nodded her head and he said, "I don't know B but I am guessing he didn't feel safe at home. He probably would have wanted to come live with me. That is the difference between the two of you." I saw the light bulb go on, so I knew Kiana was taking in what he said. That is exactly the kind of therapist we were looking for, someone who can reiterate what we tell Kiana, someone who can help her see that we really do love her.

Even though the appointment went better than I even dared hope, I came away exhausted. I had forgotten how hard attachment therapy is! Please pray for Kiana as she continues therapy, we got a glimpse of how bringing up all this junk will affect her and we covet your prayers. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

World Perception - Life With FASD

Having a child with FASD requires parents to always be on their toes. These children often have complex social/emotional difficulties and perceive their world in ways that are foreign to the majority of society. I have struggled to understand how Joseph's mind works so I can better understand him and what I have been discovering is sobering. 

It often seems as though Joseph is deliberately lying. We used to get incredibly frustrated because when we had a situation we were trying to figure out, his answers just made the problem worse. Asking him a simple question such as, "Where were you when xyz happened," can result in multiple answers some of which make sense while others make no sense at all. Asking the same question two minutes apart guarantees two different answers. It looked like he was lying to protect himself. As I learned more about FASD, I came to understand that those affected perceive the world differently. For instance, this morning we heard the train blow it's whistle at a crossing nearby. Joseph said, "It is going to be cold, Dad said when you hear a train that means it is going to be cold outside, I think he said that about two years ago." What Dean really meant was, when we can clearly hear the whistle it will probably rain soon due to the air moving in the right direction. Joseph thought he meant the coming rain makes the train blow it's whistle.

Joseph wants to give the right answer to a question so he will say what he thinks we want to hear whether it is the truth or not. He isn't trying to deceive us, he has a childlike desire to please us. It took us a long time to figure that one out.

Another twist is that those with FASD have gaps in their memory and due to their slow processing they don't always hear every word that is said so they fill in with what they think happened. Last night Joseph and Lia were picking on each other. I didn't see what happened but it was a he said/she said situation. Their stories didn't line up but both of them made sense. We were trying to figure out who was in the wrong and the story kept getting more complicated. I finally looked at Dean and said, "Remember what we just listened to the other evening? Why are we doing this?" I was referring to a video by Diane Malbin entitled The Fred Example. If you have someone with FASD in your life do both of you a favor and listen to the video. 

People with FASD are often gullible and get the bad end of the deal. Another video I listened to: FASD And Practice: Issues For Probation Officers shared this example. A group of teens takes a car for a joy ride. When they hear sirens in the distance they hand the keys to their friend with FASD and tell him to hold them until they come back, they then make a run for it. When the police arrive they find the individual affected by FASD holding the keys, patiently waiting for his friends to come back, he never realizes he was taken advantage of. 

A friend shares the story of a child who was implicated in a "crime." Eventually his name was cleared and he said, "You mean I didn't do xyz?" These children can't trust their own memory. If everyone insists they did something they assume they did. To make things even more complicated, they are very good at making up a plausible sounding story about the happening. We had this happen with Joseph he admitted to something he didn't do and we believed him because the evidence pointed to him. Later I asked him why he said he had done the deed when he hadn't and he said, "You said I did so I thought I did." That was a very sobering moment for us, I felt terrible the poor boy!

At the end of a training on a video the question was asked, "How do you go about getting a credible story from someone with FASD?" The answer was, "You may have to accept that you won't be able to get one." 


Monday, March 6, 2017

Encouragement From God

I am continually amazed at the many techniques God uses to show me truths as well as encourage me.

Our children always seems to be dealing with something which is typical when a child has multiple levels of trauma. Adoption always includes loss and pain add in a sibling with RAD and a disrupted adoption and it is little wonder they sometimes drown in grief.

As children and adults tend to do, they try to assuage that grief by various means, most of which aren't helpful.

Yesterday at church I was encouraged and blessed by comments from various speakers.

We were challenged to fully accept and embrace our God given calling in life. I had a very disgruntled child by my side. This child had been making very poor choices over the past 24 hours leaving Dean and I begging for prayers and wisdom. The other three children were having a very hard time dealing with the chaos and drama brought on by hours of raging. A friend texted me and said when this happens at their house the rest of the family leaves until the storm dies down. This text came at a crucial point and was just what I needed. I packed up the three remaining children and we went to the local donut shop drive through. We went home when Dean texted  that things had calmed down. Thinking back over our tumultuous evening I was convicted to stop trying to create what I would call a typical family setting and instead create a home where my children can thrive and grow even if it draws me out of my comfort zone.

The message at church included the story of the men who carried their sick friend to Jesus for healing. Upon finding the house crowded they risked their safety and took apart the roof, creating a hole large enough to let down their friends bed. They did everything they could to get their friend to Jesus. We were encouraged to look around us and find those who need us to bring them to Jesus. I once more thought of my disgruntled child. I caught Deans eye and we both had to smile. 

Dean had a talk with Tristan over the loss of dreams, something everyone deals with from time to time. In his 13 years Tristan has had to give up some pretty significant dreams. Dean encouraged him to use those losses as building blocks rather than stumbling blocks. The message reiterated many of the things Dean pointed out as he tried to help Tristan understand why he feels some of the things he does. We are continually amazed at how often God uses Dean and I to reaffirm what the other has been telling a child. When Dean or I spend time guiding a child through an issue we usually have the child tell the other parent what they have been told. It is easy for our children to agree with what they are hearing but when they have to tell the other parent what they have learned and why, it helps them own the conversation. Usually the parent who is listening to the child tell what they learned has a few points to add and we often hear a sheepish, "That is what mom/dad just said!" Hearing something from two different people has a way of driving the lesson home and God continually gives us the words to do just that.


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Friday, March 3, 2017

Does Your Child Know He Has FASD?






Does your child know he has FASD?
If so, when did you tell him? 
If not, when do you plan to tell him? 

How do you tell a child that his brain is damaged because of alcohol, which is a preventable disability? 

How do you explain that he will never be like children his age, or do you just gloss over the topic and hope he never asks?

I think every parent has to know when, how and if they are going to share this information with their child. It depends upon the child's ability to understand, process and not abuse the information. You probably won't be doing your child a favor if you tell him his brain is damaged if he is unable to understand that he is different.

We struggled with this issue more when Joseph was younger and the gap between him and his peers wasn't as large. This gap made him appear to be less affected by alcohol and we often wondered how we will explain things to him when he begins to ask questions. At 9 years old, he is still very much like a 3 or 4 year old and thus far the question hasn't come up.

A few years ago on one of his good days, we were riding on the trail wagon. There was a warning sign on it stating the dangers of operating it while under the influence of alcohol. Joseph was reading the sign so I took the opportunity to explain what alcohol is and how it affects the body. I causally added, "Your birth mom drank alcohol when you were in her belly and it hurt your brain. That is why you feel so frustrated sometimes." He looked at me and said, "Does that mean I will have to wait until I am 16 to drive the trail wagon?" That was my signal that he couldn't process what I was trying to tell him. From time to time I will make a statement concerning his struggles, opening the door for questions but so far he hasn't asked for more information.

While it would be so nice if Joseph's brain were healthy and whole enough to ask questions, it is a blessing that he is unable to realize the depth of his disability. He is quite content to have mom and dad be his external brain and as long as everyone requires strict boundaries, he feels safe and secure.

Earlier I mentioned abusing the diagnosis of FASD. Many children with this diagnosis have times when they are able to use their disability to their benefit. As parents it is our responsibility to teach our child that this diagnosis is not an excuse for negative or irresponsible behavior. However we must be aware that there are days when our child is unable to take responsibility for their actions and we need to advocate for them in these situations.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Testimony Of Praise After Disruption

Yesterday Dean and I enjoyed lunch with the folks from TAP where B spent nearly 2.5 years beginning in June of 2013. We have been blessed by their wisdom and continued concern for our family since B has moved on. 

A year ago B's move was still very fresh in my mind. The mere mention of his name brought pain and I wondered if I would ever feel whole again, if I would ever get beyond the guilt I felt over disrupting his adoption.

The agency who helped us legally disrupt the adoption asked if I would be willing to serve as a reference to other folks who inquire about their services. I agreed, never realizing what a unique healing opportunity helping others would be.

Sometimes it goes weeks between calls or emails from folks wondering about Second Chance, the agency we used, other times I get several questions in a matter of days. Being able to offer hope to people who are in such turmoil about the decisions they are facing is something that gives me joy. I remember when I called Second Chance, I had a protective wall ready to put up because in my emotional pain and grief, I wasn't sure I could bounce back if I was condemned for wanting to do such a dreadful thing. I had learned the lesson, "Not everyone who is supposed to help you will do so," well, and I was ready to defend myself. Hearing a kind understanding voice on the phone was a blessing. My desire is to help others like the folks at Second Chance helped me and having the opportunity to offer hope is one way I can do that.

All that to say, nearly a year after disrupting the adoption, I feel at peace with the decisions Dean and I made. I know B is healthy, he has opportunities in his new family that we couldn't provide due in part to the other special needs in our family. Does it still hurt? Of course! I think there will always be an ache when I think over what could have been if the years of therapy had been enough to heal B.

When you have to make a decision like we did - the decision to disrupt an adoption in order to save the rest of the family, it brings a host of feelings. A year later I can see the healing that has taken place in our other children now that our lives do not include RAD. I am not saying that children who have a sibling with RAD cannot thrive, not at all. I am saying that for our children, particularly the ones who experienced loss in early child hood, it was for their good. It was also good for B to be in a home where he is not constantly faced with the past, he was able to make a fresh start and for that we praise God!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Intertwined Fears - Life With FASD


Joseph has a deep set fear of any and all emergency vehicles. One would think that after all these years I would remember this. 

  Yesterday our neighbors had a small trash fire and the local fire company was called to put it out. We didn't arrive home until everything was over, although the trucks were still on the scene. Since we share a drive with these neighbors the vehicles all went past our house on their way out the drive. Joseph had had an excellent day at school but the sight of those trucks rocked his world. I left him watch the trucks leave, thinking that might calm him. Our evening was slightly rocky as both Kiana and Joseph were struggling with fear that the fire would come down and burn our house.

This morning I got everyone up and out the door, never once thinking of the fire. This afternoon, Josephs teacher sent a note home from school describing their day. She told me how she handled each situation that arose and wished us a good evening. Joseph was ornery, obnoxious and over the top emotional. I couldn't figure out what was going on and he of course, couldn't tell me. As I was mulling over what could be going on I remembered the fire. Of course! Poor boy, I hadn't even reassured him before he left for school this morning, no wonder he had been a handful.

I told him I want him to write a story for me which he cheerfully agreed to do, but when I told him I wanted him to write about the fire, he stalled. "I don't want to," He said, "Then I will remember all the scary things that happened and feel scared all over again." I told him that writing down our scary feelings is a good way to make them feel smaller. He looked doubtful but in true Joseph form, he wrote a detailed story about what he saw and felt. I read his story and praised his good work. He finished his paper by drawing a picture to go with the story.

Dean is working late tonight so the children and I ate supper without him. Joseph had several meltdowns during the meal and intentionally provoked his siblings, all things that point to an emotional instability. When he began sobbing I sent him to his room and told him I would talk to him when he finished crying. Sometimes he, like me, just needs a good cry before he can talk.

When I went to his room I asked him what was wrong, "I don't like getting consequences!" He wailed.

"Why do you get consequences?" I asked.

"Because I like to fight!" He exclaimed. 
"If you don't do the naughty, you don't get consequences," I reminded him. He wasn't convinced so I asked if he gets consequences when he is making good choices. He shook his head, then said, "But I don't like consequences!" We went went through the whole thing again and I finally decided it is pointless to pursue that topic as his FASD making it impossible for him to comprehend what I was explaining.

When it was all said and done, he was worried about an upcoming school meeting and the fire. Eating supper without daddy was the straw that broke the camels back. He is now happily playing in his room...until the "big feelings" overwhelm him again, which could happen at any time. One of the symptoms of FASD is something that is referred to as "Swiss cheese brain." The brain is likened to a block of swiss cheese and the holes are where the information gets lost or misplaced. This means that even though we had this discussion and Joseph is now calm and cheerful, in five minutes he may totally forget we ever talked and the fear will be back in force. Then we will have to start at the beginning and work through everything again. This will happen many times over the next few days, until he finds something new to worry about.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

When Doors Close


"When one door closes another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon that closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us." -Alexander Graham Bell

Door and door after door has slammed in my face in my search for health care for Kiana. The therapist we were so hopeful would work out is no longer taking new clients, neither is the PANS/PANDAS specialist. The nutritionist doesn't have openings until April and the price is a little overwhelming. Besides, do we have until April? The doctor Kiana is currently seeing prescribes one antibiotic after the next and while they take the edge off the more severe symptoms, that is about all they are doing. I find myself saying, "God, we need help here and every door is slammed in my face!"

Do you know what God reminded me of? The many, many times over the years when there wasn't a way out. Each and every time he made a way. So why can't I just sit back and trust him this time? Partly because I know what could happen if we don't get treatment and partly because I am tired of calling doctors only to be told, "Sorry we can't help you." So I began mentally going over the times God has made a way when there was no way.

-When I called TAP to talk about placing B there they initially told me they won't have an opening for 6 weeks. At the time I couldn't fathom waiting another six weeks. The very next day they said they had a room open up suddenly and we could bring him in 3 days!

-When CPS wanted to move Lia, God knocked down walls and opened doors that we didn't even know were there.

-There was the time I took Kiana to the doctor, feeling certain that she had PANS but not knowing if her pediatrician would be willing to discuss this controversial diagnosis. The doctor listened to my story and said did you ever hear of PANDAS? (PANDAS is caused by strep, PANS by stress & infections) 

-When school became to much for Joseph and the school board found a teacher willing to teach him for the remainder of the school term. I was so relieved, as I didn't feel up to homeschooling him which was our other option.

-When Joseph's dermatologist agreed that his eczema was caused by stress and worked with us to get him some relief.

-A long time ago before we knew much about RAD, I called a woman who lives clear across the USA, begging for help. She had experience parenting children with RAD and was able to give me many inside tips. We talked for several hours and when we hung up, I told Dean, "I found someone who believes our story, we aren't crazy after all!" 


"Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters..." Isaiah 43:16

How can I not trust a God who can make a way through the sea?