Thursday, September 30, 2010
We are in urgent need for a family for an 8 year old boy available immediately for placement due to disruption. This child was adopted from Ethiopia and is now legally adopted in the USA. This little boy is in need of experienced parents who can help him overcome the struggles that he has had in his early life. We are seeking placement in a family with no other children in the home or much older children only. Please contact Nina for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to re-post this and share it with other potential adoptive parents who may fit this situation. Thank you!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Risking her face and nearly
Sunday, September 26, 2010
My husband, Grace and David left early this morning to volunteer work at a local marathon that's happening here today (despite the rain). And I find myself still in bed, finishing up waffles that Sophie made for me, and even though I have spent sometime catching up with my children about the past few days... they have SO much to tell me. (Love it.)
The best part about the conference:
The people that I met.
The Moms, Dads, Social Workers, Therapists (some with more than one of those titles and roles). I met some amazing people that I know I will keep in touch with and who really lifted me up whether they know it or not. There is something strangely therapeutic about parents who have been through so much with their child and they still can hold their heads up high, smile and laugh. I do find myself grieving the loss of the relationship I wish I had with my child and more so grieving the loss of the future that I had dreamed for her that I know may just not be possible. And admittedly spent way too much time grieving the loss of the family I wish I had. The warm and fuzzy all of the time loving and snuggling kindness, rainbows and sunshine! And I wish I could FIX it all.
Interesting fact is that more than 50% of social workers and therapists have alcoholism in their families- and I would go to suspect that its the same for therapeutic parents. So because of the way that we were raised or because of the things that we experienced we have the innate desire to FIX things. So when working with a child with RAD it can become very frustrating because there is no FIXING anything. There are ways to parent and encourage the relationship, and hope that someday the child will understand cause and effect and their brains will heal thus healing their hearts- but there are absolutely NO quick fixes.
Because of this a good deal of the past week has been spent in reflection within myself and looking at my triggers, and then further looking at our family and how each one of us can work on ourselves and ultimately help to heal our hurting children. Because there is no behavior modification program that's going to work, there are no punishments that will stop the lies, there are no "normal" parenting tricks that stop the rages, there is no amount of therapy that will fix the child in and of itself, there are no easy answers and no quick fixes. So throw out all that you normally know with normal children- or even with children who have ADHD etc. Because it won't work this time.
I will write more about the conference in the upcoming weeks but if your a RAD parent reading this do try to take the time to understand why the things that your child does frustrate you so much. OK perhaps that wasn't a fair request. Because you are a human being with emotions the ridiculous, often unexplainable out of control behaviors which are SO totally irrational in nature easily can irritate, frustrate and annoy you- and that's normal. But get to know yourself and your own attachment history better. This is a good starting place. OK?
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I am currently at the attachment conference and skipping out on one of my classes. Terrible I know? My legs are numb from sitting for so many hours two days in a row so I thought an hour with my feet up was a good idea. Since we are "in between" hotels and waiting for our room to be ready I am actually in the hotel lounge, on the laptop, shoes off, kicked back like I own the place... all alone and wondering if someone is going to come in and then I will feel foolish... well maybe not- I am pregnant and entitled to a bit of rest here and there right? :)
I must tell you all that this ATTACH conference is incredible. All adoptive families, and adoption professionals should be REQUIRED to attend a conference once a year. Not to mention the therapists! I am just sick over the time that we have wasted finding the right people who know what they are doing to work with our kids. Ugh. And seriously-even if you don't have kids with full blown RAD- if your an adoptive parent with children who have challenging behaviors... be sure to come next year.
Just being a place where there are many other parents who have walked this walk and know what we go through as families and Mothers on a daily basis is just such a blessing. And you all might be wondering about Corey- my roomie- yep- well she's just as fun and funny and outgoing and passionate as she is on her blog. She's the real deal! I am blessed to get to know her better this week.
So about this little guy above... this is Patrick.
Patrick is 10 years old and lives in Eastern Europe. I was asked to post about Patrick and write a plea for a family for him because he has Spina Bifida. He is doing amazingly well and he is walking and really a typical child in more ways than not. He just really wants to find his family- do you know them?
There is a full medical report and more pictures available of him. You can leave a comment with your email address and my sister will contact you. (She is the adoption worker working hard to find him a family.) And realistically we know that finding his family is going to extremely difficult given:
1. his age
2. his sex
3. his special need
So help me get the word out!
And at the conference here I have been amazed and deeply saddened by the number of situations so similar to our RAD and so many children adopted as infants/toddlers/etc. who have HUGE issues because of past trauma. And I want you all to know just as I have shared with people here- we have done an older child adoption... of a 12 year old boy. I have written before about our older sons and the resiliency that they have shown. How healthy attachments formed quickly and how easy it is for adoptive parents to overlook the older waiting children- especially the older boys.
Praying you home Patrick!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
You brighten everyday
Monday, September 20, 2010
The story of The Lonely Doll is about a doll that's lonely. Two bears coming along and befriend the little doll but at one point in the story the little bear and her are VERY naughty while the Daddy Bear is gone. When he comes home he is so upset but he still loves the little doll and little bear and reassures them that he will never leave them even when they are naughty.
A friend send along another good attachment resource the other day HERE- which is a book called How Full is your Bucket? This book is about building attachment with the school age- and possibly adolescent crowd through reciprocity for the traumatized adopted child. Its about filling up one another buckets with kindness which equal drops of water to make the bucket full. The attachment therapist that is reviewing the book here mentions that she asks her clients each session how their bucket has been filled and how they have filled others. I like the simplicity of the book and how it makes attachment so hopeful and attainable through tiny drops of water which are representative of love and kindness. There are several versions of the book on Amazon.com which are for different ages of children. Be sure to check them out- mine is on the way in the mail!
Today I am finishing getting life in order to leave tomorrow for the ATTACH conference that I am SO excited about. I am in dire need of a good nights sleep (pregnancy + Jude in my bed = no sleep) and a break from real life- and a chance for learning so many valuable tools that will help my family. Yeah! We are skipping all activities through the week for the younger kids and the schedule still looks like a nightmare- no wonder I am tired! Thanks to so many folks for stepping in to help out this week make sure that things are run smoothly at home and that no one misses medication, cathing, therapy, etc. It means so much to me to feel your love and such a full bucket!
I will be bringing my laptop so I can share all that I learn throughout the week. And all the fun I have with Corey too. lol
If you have an extra moment... please pray for my kids and hubby here at home- especially that no one gets sick while I am gone, for the helpers who are helping out, for safe travels, for peanut and my body/feet keeping up with the busy pace of the week ahead and for my friends who leave again tomorrow for Africa... they finally have court this week and hopefully things go smoothly so they can come home soon!
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Not only was I a bad Mommy for forgetting our beloved OT yesterday. But I got a new calender over the weekend and forgot to write him in on ANY Monday for the next two months. I managed to fit in every soccer game, therapist, swim class and picture day and plum forgot to put the OT on there anywhere. (I won't be admitting this to him anytime soon.)
I was a really bad Mommy yesterday when I also spaced out on getting dear RAD's medication refilled so that she was able to take it before going to school today so that maybe the level of anxiety that she felt wasn't as bad as it surely was. And you know what...
I was a super bad Mommy when I woke up at 5am... then fell back to sleep with Jude at 6am and slept right through my high school and middle school children getting ready and leaving for their first day of school. But did manage to wake up at 7:23 as the door shut behind them. And you know what? I was a bad Mommy for not acknowledging RAD and the fact that she made it this morning without drama, without Momma, without medication and WITH a smile on her face.
So hold on a minute- and I will tell her now.
And I did feel the real bad Mommy role when I finally did make it to the grocery store this morning and bought myself coffee ice cream... and an IN Touch magazine... because I deserved a little something special... while the Mom in front of me was buying her children $2.99 EACH "Happy first day of school cupcakes." And I think I was a worse Mommy because I wanted to slide my ice cream into her section so that she could have a special reward too.
Not that I agree- but someone else tried to make me into being a bad Mommy today when I had to sign an old (that someone had forgotten to get signed in time) 120 day review for RAD and it said something to the affect of "with 8 siblings in the house RAD finds it hard to get enough individual attention." ouch. and. ouch. First off if you want to make me feel like a bad Mommy please be sure to refer to the flow chart and be accurate about the number of children in our home... and perhaps visit our home... and then make you judgements. Each of our children get far more time with US and one on one time than I got being raised primarily by a single Mom of four children who worked full time and had to travel a great deal of time for her job. And I turned out OK... even if I am a bad Mommy. (And can I mention that this was from when my husband was laid off- so make that two full time at home nothing but about the kids kind of parents.) Where is the love?
I was a bad Mommy when my husband was talking to Angeline and she said that "someday I will grow up and move out- but I will come and visit you." And I realized that it all goes so fast. Far too fast to take anything for granted and far too fast to not offer grace and understanding as much as humanly possible. I still can't believe we have five adult children... it was literally yesterday that Lauren and I were going to her first girl scout meeting... and that Leishan got her first bra... and Danny and I wrote a notebook back and forth to one another... and Tyler climbed through the dollhouse door... and Jeremy played with action figures in the bath tub. It.All.Goes.Too.Fast.
I was a bad Mommy for not taking my own advice when one of my older children snapped at Isaac earlier. Isaac sometimes doesn't hold still really well and needs reminders. Gentle reminders are enough but teenagers aren't built for a great deal of patience. So sometimes they overreact... and say things like "stop it Isaac- your SO annoying!" And I said "no you stop you- stop being so fast to be frustrated!" Then I gulped... and realized... I too need to stop getting frustrated so fast sometimes. Don't we all need that reminder?
I felt like a definite bad Mommy earlier when Dom and Lulu got home from school and Dom was being super mean to Lulu. I asked Dom to head down to his room until he was ready to stop being angry and mean to Lulu. He came back up full of tears... today was a tough day for him. He struggles sometimes with academics and he felt bored and lost with most of the day because his "small groups" didn't happen for him. So he was expected to keep up with his peers and understand all that was going on around him- which just isn't possible with 31 children in his class! So I should have known better that his attitude and angry meant something self directed even though it was being projected on his little sister.
Even though sometimes I am a bad Mommy- I am so thankful for this most blessed job in life. Even for this challenging big family who has little and big ones healing from all kinds of terrible things- the kind of healing that can take a lifetime. This isn't easy but this is A GIFT.
And I don't want to take another moment for granted- even the bad ones. I have the greatest kids on earth. (I know most of you feel the same way about yours too.)
Monday, September 13, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
One little RAD ate the treats out of the prize.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
In bed for a day
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
So pray that things get resolved soon.
I am delirious with anticipation of peace and quiet for a few hours.
And this doesn't do much for helping with the anxiety levels of many small children.
Monday, September 06, 2010
And as far as other back to school shopping goes each child got 2 NEW outfits from old navy ($10 jeans) or other discount stores and everyone got a new pair of gym shoes from Ross. (better brand shoes for similar prices to walmart/target) and new socks/undies
Since we break the budget with athletics and other school fees- not to mention the supply lists we don't go wild on clothes shopping for back to school. We basically stick to what we need and I buy supplies throughout the summer from different stores as they are on sale (and I buy them in bulk so we can replace them throughout the year.)
I can't wait to see your guesses... and I hope I got as good of a deal I think I did! LOL
Here is an article about back to school shopping and averages spent. We did MUCH better!!
(And if you see my couch and think its a funky color- IT IS. Its a slipcover for my IKEA couch and the light pink was $29 on sale while the "normal colors" were $159- so I bought the pink and we dyed it twice... funky but CHEAP. Love it!)
ok I think this might have been too hard for people to guess so let me give you some ideas of what things cost here (in the pricey pacific NW)... a polar fleece Columbia jacket would be $12.99 at the thrift store. But today WAS 1/2 off day. This info might help... or might not! Good Luck!! :)
Sunday, September 05, 2010
On Friday we went to a local lake for some swimming and fun. RAD was having a fabulous time until she got out and threw her towel in the sticky sand. She kept trying to get rinse off in the water and dry herself with the sandy towel only to find that she was getting covered in more itchy sand. This kept going on over and over and both my husband and I just watched her each time getting more and more angry and frustrated. Then she said... "Ugh.. why can't I get clean??" I gently told her "I think your towel has sand on it, try shaking it off." Well that just set her over the edge. She didn't really want me to say anything to her. So then she jumped in the lake and swam and swam as far as she could. We ignored her (she's a good swimmer and was within the safe swim area). When she came back to was enraged, stomping around, talking to herself, with this look in her eyes like "I am going to rip some one's head off!" So then we had to pack up and leave- it was only getting worse from there. So we loaded up many disappointed siblings who managed to leave with only sad faces and no rude comments. I felt terrible for them all. Terrible that she has to have mental health problems. Terrible that my other children's lives are ran by whether or not she is having a good day.
Yesterday she was having a pretty darn good day. Well it was pretty good until Grace got asked to come and play for an older girls team as goalkeeper. (They were in a tournament about 40 mins from home and their keeper got injured in the morning game so they needed a replacement.) I wanted to take Grace to the game and watch and that meant that my dear husband got to take all the other kids with him to a friends house for a cook out. Then once the game was over we would be there with him later. As soon as RAD caught wind that Mom was going with Grace (and Lulu came with me too) and that I wasn't going to the party with her- she was pissed off. I knew that she was going to have some kind of an issue but I prayed it would be something mild and knowing my friend and her family- I know this friend has mucho experience with teens and mental health so she would understand should something happen. Well let's just say before I got there RAD raged about having to help with the younger kids (remember that we are missing Lauren, Mom, Grace and Cole burned his hand the other day so its been bandaged by the doctor- so basically we had David and Dad watching Jude, Angeline, Isaac, Joy.) Since this friend has a large swimming pool, trampoline, big playhouse, and a campfire going it was especially important to watch the little ones in their big back yard. Helping watch them meant things like pushing someone on the swing, or just being sure that they didn't walk into the fire. Not a terrible big deal. Well RAD didn't want to help and she was ticked her Dad asked her so she sat out in front of their house until my friend went out to intervene and tell her that she needed to calm down and then go talk to her Dad instead of raging in the front yard. She said "I can't go inside because I will break or throw something at my Dad."
ugh. RAD hates her Dad and always does her best to try to triangulate us. She doesn't like that I "take his side" and she doesn't get that "we are a team" and we aren't going to let her see us disagree when it comes to her.
I had two good friends have a little heart to heart with me this week. One suggested that maybe RAD isn't meant to live at our home. She separated the fact that she will always be a part of our family but maybe being in our home isn't what is best for her (and we know that it isn't best for the other kids a lot of the time or our marriage). I admit that my husband and I have made a few phone calls and we are gathering information about residential treatment. I think not being informed about this possible option is a bad idea- we need all the tools that we can get and I just keep seeing my children getting older and older and I am missing SO much because RAD controls most of the moments of the household with her good mood, or bad mood, or ability to function within this family or not.
The other friend (the one who saw RAD in all her glory last night) suggested that when she was raising her daughter (who also had severe mental health issues) that she now understands she needed to separate the mental health issue and the behaviors. And mostly be allowing the mental health diagnosis to become an excuse for bad behaviors which tended to escalate the more she gave the excuses. She realized she was failing her daughter by not expecting her to be able to behave and make good choices. This conversation was eye opening and it also stung because there are MANY times I will just "do her dishes on her dish night to avoid a bigger rage from her" or "allow her to only half way to a chore or homework because I know asking her to the correct way she is capable of will cause a rage". When I do these things I keep the peace and in many ways in my mind keeping the peace to me = winning this war for my family. But what I have done is caused additional resentment from my other children to RAD and RAD now has this "I don't really have to" kind of attitude that is more of her just being "a big brat" rather than her "mental illness". People with mental health issues do dishes every day- its not an excuse any longer. And we had a heart to heart about it already. And she is ticked... and I know what that means for today and the rest of us. But I choose joy and I choose to spend my time and energy on everyone else and not her. I am done giving her attention for her bad behaviors. All together I am feeling really done these days.
(And guess what? School starts in three days.)
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
We are just a little over one week until school starts.
The past two days have been gray and rainy.
Fall is going to happen soon around here- I can feel it in the air.
And change means tough times for children who have experienced trauma. And change means that they are full of more anxiety than most children. And change means that they are testing every moment of my patience!
So instead of whining and complaining about how hard life can be sometimes parenting this many children- and instead of going into all the newly discovered horrific behaviors of our child with RAD. I will focus the last moments of this summer on the memories of the little children in our family and all the memories made. I know other Moms of adopted children who feel that they have no right to ever complain- this was what they worked for, what they chose for their lives and how dare they not rise to the occasion. That is a bunch of bull- being a Mom is HARD- and being a Mom to children who have lived through extreme trauma is really HARD, and doing it with several of these children can feel impossible at times.