Back to School after Christmas Break

The 2016 holiday season has come to an end.  All the presents have been opened, all the cookies have been eaten, and all the grandparents have went back home.  My husband is back to his normal work schedule and the two oldest little loves are heading back to school.  Bring on 2017

The last day of school  before break I was able to attend both diva’s Christmas party and wild man’s.  At his party I was greeted by his team of teachers.  His team includes his primary teacher, his OT, his speech, his personal aid, his regular kindergarten teacher, and two (of the eight) classmates.  The teachers praised him for how far he has come and how great he is doing.  He laughed and interacted with his two classmates and called them his buddies. He showed me his library corner, the calming room, his desk and where his “girlfriend” sets. It was a breath of fresh air seeing him happy and enjoying his surroundings. Here he was excepted and loved just as he is.  No one judged his autism or sensory issues, here he was just wild man, kind, loveable, funny wild man. The child I see daily but others do not.  It was a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. I left feeling that our move placed him in the best environment for him to get the education he deserves. I get in my car and drive to diva’s school.  I walk in and the teacher looks up and smiles.  “She’s not having a good day” I half smile back and say “Sorry”   I make it over to my assigned station, the Santa handprint ornament area, and quickly start helping the little ones trace their hands and decorate their ornaments. I am greeted by a few mom’s and some of the class as we get the party started.  One of the little girls asked ” So whos mommy are you?”  I answer “I’m Elissa’s mom who might you be?” She gave me her name and then the questions started.  “Why does she never listen to the teacher?” “Why is she ALWAYS is trouble?” “Why does she act like a baby?” “Why does she walk around the classroom and not stay in her sit?” ” Why is she such a brat?” “Do you let her act that way at home?” “No one likes she because she’s so mean” The questions and comments poured out of this little seven year olds mouth and all eyes were on me.  I wanted to crawl under the table and hide.

One of the moms tried to help and said ” Well I’m sure its not that bad” but the little girl insisted that it was and she’s right.  Diva is struggling in school with her behavior.  The teacher and I have tried everything we know to do and its just not working.   We started taking her to see a therapist, even though members of our family disagreed with us. (You can read about that in an earlier post) We received a diagnosis (more than one actually she has ADD,ADHD, RAD(reactive attachment disorder) and FASD(fetal alcohol spectrum disorder) and agreed treatment was necessary.  If only her birth mother knew what she was doing to her child I wonder if she would have changed her actions?  I guess we will never know.  And as her forever mom its up to me to clean up the mess birth mom made.

So over Christmas break we did just that.  We went back to the doctor and received her first medication. For two weeks she was to take half a pill in the mornings and then at the end the two weeks she would take half a pill in the morning and half a pill in the afternoon.  Within two days we noticed a much more calm and focused diva, that is until everyone showed up for Christmas.  There was way to much excitement with all the grandparents and older siblings down to celebrate for any of the little loves to be wonderfully behaved.  She was overloaded and wild mans sensory issues were all over the place, but we made the best of it.

I did not send a note to the teacher to tell her she had started her medication.  I thought I would wait and see if there was a difference at school before I said anything.  When I picked her up from school she told me she had a “Green Day”  For those that do not know our school system has a color code for behavior. The color code goes Green = good/great day, Yellow= think about it, Orange= warning make better choices, and Black= uh oh not a good day at all.  All of November and December she had been on Orange or Black days, everyday.  Yesterday she had stayed on green and she was proud of herself.  The teacher wrote a note saying she had done well and followed directions but did notice she was sleepy and wanted me to know. Sleepy over destructive,  I will work with that.  The doctor said the medicine could make her sleepy, so that may have been what was going on.  It could have been she had not really done anything for two weeks so just being at school on a routine made her tired.  We will wait and see.  She came home completed her homework ate dinner and went to bed.  This morning she was a all over the place with her emotions.  She was mad because she could not wear her Sketchers to school today (she has dance on Wednesdays so she has certain shoes she wears), she didn’t want to brush her hair so I had to, which lead to her screaming and crying out that I was trying to kill her.  She was sad because her dad would not let her take her shopkins to school, then mad at me because she knew I had told him to tell her no. She was making comments like ” I’m not a good girl because I can’t follow the rules” and “I never listen why do you like me?”  Then as she walked out the door she was happy because she got to go to dance and see her friends today.   Typical morning in our house.

There are days I want to find their birth mom and just scream at her.  The choices she made has effected my children more than she will ever know.  Wild man struggles daily with his sensory processing disorder and autism, Diva has deep emotional scares I may never fully understand, and the three youngest ones have not been diagnosed with anything but I see similar traits in them only time will time.  Some days I question why God felt I was strong enough to handle this load, while other days(most days) I feel blessed beyond measure that He chose me to be their forever momma.  Lord give me patience, give me strength, guide me, help me fight for what is right, help me protect my children from this evil world, and use me to make the world a better place for my kids.

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From our beautiful chaos to yours we will all get through this thing called life one day at a time with one foot in front of the other.  Have faith. God allows the storms in our lives to water the seeds of faith in us.

 

 

 

 

 

My Son’s Magical  Pajamas 

Most kids have a favorite toy or blanket they use to comfort them when they are upset or hurt. Stuffed animals and soft silky blankets can make all the wrongs of this world right again in the eyes of a child.  For my son it’s not a favorite toy or a blanket, it’s a pair of Disney’s Lightning McQueen pajamas. 

A few months before we moved one of his former preschool teachers, a friend of mine, stopped by my house for a visit with our wild man as she did from time to time.  She came baring gifts: toy trucks, balls, airplanes, shirts, and a few pairs of pajamas that had belonged to her boys but they had decided my boys could use them more.  My boys were in heaven.   

Up until that point wild man  never wore pajamas to bed.  He has many sensory issues and most days clothing and him don’t get along well. His wardrobe is limited very limited.  His teachers and I worked together to find clothes he could tolerate long enough for school. Usually his shoes and socks and even his shirt was off before we walk in the door of our home after school.  Weekends and evenings you could find him running around the house in a pull up only.  That is until he discovered his “magical pajamas” 

When Mrs Julie brought the boys their new treasures the boys were of course excited for the toys, my boys never get excited over clothes.  It wasn’t until later that evening when I was going through the clothes that wild man picked up the Disney Cars pj’s.  He held them up and looked at them and motioned for me to put them on him.  So I did.  He sat there feeling them, smelling them and hugging himself in them. And for the first time ever he went to bed and slept in pajamas.  The next day he came in from school ran to the dirty clothes and grabbed the pajamas out and put them on.  He has worn them everyday since.   As soon as he gets in from school his school clothes come off and his magical oh so comforting pajamas go on. 

The problem with wearing the same pajamas everyday is trying to keep them from wearing out.  Thankfully they were a little big for him when he got them so he has been able to wear then for a while. But a little while back I started to worry.  What happens if he out grows the pajamas?  What happens if they tear while he plays?  What happens if they simply wearout from being washed so often?   So I started looking for an extra pair or two in different sizes so he could have them as he grew.  That’s even I ran into a problem a big problem.  The pajamas had belonged to Mrs Julie’s son when he was small so they are about 8 years old.  They are no longer carried in stores.  So I started buying similar pj’s hoping they would work.  I’ve bought ones made from the same material, ones with Disney Cars characters,and ones that are the same color green……Nothing worked. Bad news for wild man but at least our younger boys are hooked up in the pajama department for years to come.  I don’t know what it is about these pajamas but they are the only ones he will wear.  So after a few months (and a few hundred dollars) of buying new pajamas I took to Facebook to enlisted the help of my friends on the search. Within a few hours I had several people looking for these pajamas.  I even sent an email to Disney asking if they had any that I was not looking for a hand out but that I was willing to pay for them if they had them.  They replied back with ” We are sorry but we no longer make these please follow the link to check out our new design”  I own the new design, it’s not what he needs.   I’ve looked in fabric shops for the material, I have a friend that said she could make him more if we could find it, no luck.  I checked Amazon and Esty no luck. Then I searched Ebay. And there I found….. one pair size 6.  So I bought them. I figure he could grow into them next year.  The real test would be would he wear them?  The day they came in I quickly washed them and took them to his room.  When he came in he ran up saw them and….. put them on!!!!  These are not from Mrs Julie but they are the same in every other way.  Why has he choose this particular pattern? This particular color? Who knows. But it’s what he likes. These pajamas give him a sense of security and comfort I can not explain. I am grateful that he has found that in something. I am grateful Mrs Julie gave them to him. I am thankful Ebay had one pair.  What will we do in a year or two when neither pair fit him? I honestly have no idea.  For now we will just wait and see what happens.  We adjust to what works for him. And for now it’s 8 year old Disney Cars  pajamas.

From our beautiful chaos to yours find and take comfort in the small things: an old shirt, the smell of a favorite perfume, wrap up in a blanket from a dear friend, or cuddle on the couch in your magical pajamas and just take in the joys of life. 

November 30 Things I am Thankful For

1. I am thankful for my children God has blessed me with

2. I am thankful for a hard working, God fearing husband that goes above and beyond to provide for his family

3. I am thankful for my parents who love me as I am and raised me to chase my dreams

4. I am thankful for my in laws who love me as their own

5. I am thankful my God gives us second, third and fourth chances in life

6. I am thankful for my brother and my amazing neice and nephew 

7. I am thankful for foster care, even though the system is broken sometimes

8. I am thankful for all the children who were placed in our home along our foster care to adoption journey. Everyone one of you ( 20 plus placements) have a forever piece of my heart.

9. I am thankful for adoption.  Our family has grown by five through this beautiful gift

10. I am thankful for great friends who understand our beautiful chaos 

11. I am thankful for our new home 

12. I am thankful for the simple but necessary things in life : water, food, shelter

13. I am thankful for my ever so large extended family: uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents 

14. I am thankful for early bedtimes and goodnight stories

15. I am thankful for the gift of today

16. I am thankful for growing up in the 80’s 

17. I am thankful for God’s promises to me 

18. I am thankful for our new church

19. I am thankful for those who accept our son (autism and all)

20. I am thankful for all of things that make us unique 

21. I am thankful for sunshine and rainbows

22. I am thankful for forhead kisses after a long day

23.  I am thankful for giggles and the occasional cry

24. I am thankful for phone calls and unexpected texts

25. I am thankful mountain air and ocean  breezes 

26. I am thankful I call pray whenever and wherever 

27. I am thankful for Sunday afternoon  football (GO PACK GO)

28. I am thankful for the kindness of strangers when I need another hand at the store to open the door

29. I am thankful to be an American 

30. I am thankful truly thankful for the life God has given to me.
What are you thankful for? 

A Day in Our Life with Autism 

 If you have looked at any of my posts or know me personally you know that our JR is autistic. He however does not see himself as such. You see he has always been JR in our eyes. Autism does not define who he is, He defines who he is. If you know my son then you also know he is the most loving caring child around. He loves to give hugs, hi-fives, and he has been known to give a few kisses out in his day. His smile can make my worst day great and my worries disappear. He has overcome so many obstacles in his life and he has done so with a joyful heart and his infectious giggle.  He does not see himself as an “autistic child” he just sees what we see…our son, our charming, sweet son that God saw fit to bless us with.  Wish everyone could see him through my eyes.

The problem is not autism, it’s people who don’t understand it.  Let me share two somewhat recent events with you. I apologize in advance for some language:

Thr first from a few months ago on adoption day. A day that should be full of love, laughter and wonderful memories. I am thankful that baby girl is now forever ours, and now that I have all of my paperwork  in hand I feel safe in sharing.  
We were told our adoption hearing would take place at 1:30. We arrived at 1:15 with our large support group(seriously like 40 plus people) of friends and family there to celebrate with us, yes they all were allowed to be there the judge said we could invite whomever we wanted and he had preformed the boys adoption so he knew there would be many attending.   As luck would have it there was a case in front of us taking a while to finish up. We did our best to keep the children entertained in the hall while we waited our turn.  JR was playing and fell into the backdoor of the chamber hall, not even the courtroom door when the bailiff stuck his head out and said, “This is not a play area it’s a courtroom for God sake control your kid” and he slammed the door.  All I had time to say was ok.  Later the same bailiff stuck his head out the main door and said “Jesus fucking Christ are you all here for one hearing?” And slams the door again.  Around 2:15 after we had waited an hour in the narrow hallway, and were out of snacks, we were told to go in the courtroom. We did and there, we found the judge trying to decide which case needed to go next.  As we sat down JR looked up and saw the judge, he took off and went to sit on the “big seats” like he had at Alex and Eli’s adoption, which the judge had said was fine. Before I could grab him he was gone through the doors up to the seats. That’s when the pompous bailiff started screaming at my son saying, “this is a fucking courtroom act like it, Jesus Christ get ahold of your out of control child” along with some other things I could not make out because I was trying to get my kid. Who was now scared because this “man” had started screaming at him. We took all the kids out while they figured out what case was going to happen, I even apologized to the lady, who was obviously there for the other hearing  and she said,” no worries I have 3 boys myself they would have done it to”.  

Jump forward we are now back in the hallway and JR is in full meltdown mode because his friend (the judge) is in there without him.  Sierra offers to take him to the car because there is no calming him down. She misses all of the adoption. The only pictures she and JR are in are the ones we took before hand while waiting in the hallway.
We go back in and the adoption takes place and all is good, I do not see the bailiff’s face anywhere which is probably a good thing. Then it was time for pictures. We only did a few with the judge.  How could I do family photos with part of my family waiting out in the car?   
 If Mr bailiff had bothered to talk to me or any of us as a human he would have learned that my 5 yrs is autistic. If he does something one way one time he will always do it that way.  The 1st time we were in that courtroom, with that judge,  the judge allowed JR up front, he gave him M&Ms he became his buddy. He let them be kids because it was their day.  He had no right to yell at anyone like he did let alone yell at a 5 yrs old child, autistic or not. You Mr bailiff should be ashamed of yourself. I understand that this man deals with drunks and drug addicts all day long, so maybe he was having a bad day but this was a child, MY CHILD, and there is simply no excuse.
I am afraid he has now scared JR far worse than he will ever realize, in fact I am sure he went home and told your wife about that uncontrollable kid and then forgot all about him. But the problem is JR will remember him and those that look like him (other cops)  He will never want to go back to the courthouse he is scared. As a bailiff he was suppose to set and example for everyone to follow. My child may not have behaved the best, but he was doing the best he could.  I personally thought he was doing fine considering all the waiting we had done. And for the recorded most thought it was funny & sweet that he wanted to go set with his buddy the judge. The judge even asked where JR was after the adoption was done. So Thank you for being an ass and scaring my son. 

And now fast forward to a few weeks ago. JR and I were waiting on his bus to pick him up for school. As the bus pulled up so did a car going down the road.  I didn’t think much of it after all she did stop at the flashing sign.  I help JR up the steps and hand him over to his aid. She takes him to his seat and starts to buckle him in his seat belt.  I made small talk with his driver while we wait for him to get seated.  The lady in the car starts honking her horn repeatedly. I look over and she flips me off. The bus driver looks at me and asks “What’s her problem?” I said I didn’t know and that’s when the aid said JR was good to go and she sat down beside him. Taking four minutes tops. The bus pulls off (the ladies horn still honking) and I turn to walk back up my driveway. As I do so the lady in the car wipes around the bus with her window down yells “Its a bus stop not gossip time, some of us have things to do you stupid bitch”  I return the name calling as she drives off.  Not the most grown up thing to do but I was mad. I could hear her cussing me until her car was no longer insight.  What if that had been her kid? I guess I could think she was running late, or maybe she had gotten some bad news that morning in either case she still had no reason to act like that.  It’s a special needs bus, the stops take a few minutes longer The bus driver will not pull off until everyone is seated, that includes the aid. Just be patient.

I have cried more than I care to admit over both incidents. They both still make me so angry and upset when I think about them.  If they only knew my son. I pray that neither ever have to deal with the daily struggles of having a child with a disability. I pray that neither of them have to go through hours of therapy weekly for years just so their child can try to fit in with “the normal world”. I pray your child sleeps more than 10 hours in a week, or at least a few hours each night so you can rest. Running on little sleep would not do well with your aggressive attitudes. I wish you a life of ease for mine is not. Mostly I wish you took the time to understand before going off on MY SON. Its not easy seeing how others see your child you either get the “You poor thing it must be awful”  look or the reaction of the two individuals above. When people learn he is adopted we get the “He’s adopted right? Why pick a kid with so many issues?” Seriously ,we have heard that one more than once.  I won’t lie, there have been days I wish things were not as they are, some days all I want to do is cry and hold him tight. We deal with meltdowns and behaviors that many don’t have to, however there is beauty  in autism.  My son does not judge, he does not see race, he does not hate, and he does not lie. He does love, he does see the world in a beautiful light like so many of us can’t, he is full of life, he is a great big brother very protective and compatioante, and he is one of my greatest blessings.  If you could see the world as he does what a wonderful place this would be.  

FYI I did see the bailiff about a month later at another adoption (new cousins for me woohoo 💖💙) and he was much better in the courtroom,  no cussing this time around. And as for the lady in the car, the bus driver reported her and we have not seen her back down this way, I assume she is leaving earlier or taking a different route.  Let’s just hope it stays that way.

From our beautiful chaos to yours spend more time lifting others up. The world is full of heartless people it’s important for those in our life to know just how much they mean to you.