Autism from Our front row seats

It’s been almost three years since wild man was given “the diagnosis” but we knew before that.  I think back to all the early signs and question myself did we act fast enough, could we have done this, should we have done that.  I still remember his last actual meal, he was 20 months old and we were out at one of our favorite restaurants.  He had chicken along with some french fries and I believe he ate just as many fried pickles as I did.  If I would have known that was the day he would pick to stop eating I would have opted for something a little nicer.

It’s not the diagnosis that drives me crazy, it’s how people react to the diagnosis.  Yes our son has autism and sensory issues but we all have things that make us unique. Our days are last longer than most people’s.  He does not sleep.  We have tried all the ideas that people feel the need to tell us to try.  And while he does use his weight blanket and his vibrating music pillow sleep still eludes him. The fact is he just can’t shut down.  And when he does not sleep I do not sleep. I am his comforter. He feels safe with me. You will not find a boy who loves his mommy more than my son loves me. Ask anyone that knows us.  I am his favorite person. Our mornings start off with kisses and “no I no goes today” talks for which I am so thankful for, a year ago these talks were not possible.   I spend my days fighting for him to have a normal education, while inside I question if I am doing the right thing.  I worry if he will be excepted by is classmates in the new class, but I want him to be challenged I want him to add to his ever growing mind and his abilities. He pushes back but he will thank me later, I hope he thanks me later. I want to baby him and protect him from everything, but I also understand I can’t always protect him and that something’s are necessary for him to go through so that he can be the best he can be. In the last 7 months he has far surpassed the doctor’s and teachers expectations.  He is learning sight words and even learning how to hold a pencil, things many take for granted but we were not sure we would ever see him do. His personal aid sends pictures to ease my mind and assure me he is making friends and that he is enjoying class.  After he is home he feels safe and can normally be found in just a pull-up or underwear. Sensory disorder at its finest. Clothes bother him. So if you disapprove of him running around like that don’t bother coming around. He lives here, not you. This is his safe place he will do as he pleases. He can spends hours sometimes lining up his cars (smallest to largest front to back no spacing in between) in long seemingly endless rows that we dare not touch or move for we know a meltdown will surely occur.  He parallel plays most days with his siblings, but on the rare occasion you will find them all playing duck duck goose. He repeats himself if he gets excited or nervous and if he is having a bad day he will sit and spin in circles. As for food this past month he’s sensory issues limited him to: french fries, KFC mash potatoes, stage two peas, yogurt, and strawberry pop-tarts.  He’s obsessions include: airplanes, five nights of freddy’s action figures, the chicken dance, and Disney’s Cars toys.  There are days we dance, there are days we cry, there are days I’m not sure I’m strong enough for him.  Trips to the doctor, like today, I dread.  I pray that no one will be in the waiting room and if so I pray they don’t mind him setting beside them, he will even if they do. Personal space means absolutely nothing to him.  We are out of his comfort zone the sound of a baby crying or another person on a phone can lead to a meltdown, today it was the noise the water dispenser made.  After we were home it was his usual two baths before calling it a night.  It was filled with  “momma hold me” “I  love you’s too” “take me sleep” phrases in his sweet little voice.

 

img_0879

I wish I could go back to the days before we knew he had autism.  Back to the fairy tale people push that everyone is equal and all are treated the same no matter what their gender, their race or their disability. He falls in the middle, their are others who have more severe autism and there or others that are blessed with talents from it. I wish we slept past 5am.  I wish we went to sleep before midnight. I wish he had a normal diet. I wish he could tell me what hurts when he is sick.  I wish I didn’t worry about his future, our future. I wish people would not stare. I wish people would not judge. I wish I had all the answers. But I know that’s not possible.  I wish people could see him as I see him. I wish they would look past the meltdowns and the mood swings and see him. He is the sweetest most kind loving child I have ever met.  He makes me smile daily.  He may not speak much but his actions speak volumes.  His love is unconditional and without boundaries. He sees things through eyes like no one I’ve ever known.  He does not judge others. He enjoys life to the fullest. He is a free spirit.  He is my sunshine on all my cloudy days.

Autism is like an amusement park ride, to be more specific an old wooden roller coaster that beats you up while taking you to unreachable heights only to drop you hard and fast.  Everyday is a new adventure.  Around every turn something new slaps you in the face and you find yourself praying that you don’t screw things up.   Its our life. It’s real.  It’s a struggle.  It’s frustration.  It’s small victories. It’s spontaneous laughter. It’s meltdowns. It’s love. It’s hope.  It’s our normal.

 

From our beautiful chaos to yours look past the disabilities to see the person.  You don’t know what your missing.

 

Our Day Trip to the Moon

Our adventure for the day:

It was 75 degrees outside and the breeze was blowing just right.  Hard to believe its the 24th of February.  Today’s weather was made for going out and playing in the yard.  After a few weeks of our little ones being sick and stuck inside they needed a day out in the sun, I needed a day in the sun.  It was the perfect ending to an otherwise stressful week.

img_0833
Our swinging rocket

 

As the kids played on the swing set and ran around the yard this weeks challenges started becoming a distant memory.  The yard was filled with laughter and the sounds of happy free spirited children.  It was definitely what they needed to feel better.  After playing on his own for a few minutes our five year old came over and sat beside me on our double swing.  With his big blue eyes he looked up at me and pointed to the sky.  Mommy can you take me there?  he asked.  Can I take you where?  I replied.  There mommy, to the moon.  Can we please today?  I replied with a, No we can not go today sweetie, how would we get there?  His sad little eyes teared up and as he looked back at me he said I have a rocket.  He jumped off the swing and ran over to the spaceship he received at Christmas two years ago and brought it over to me.  I pulled him back up on my lap and said Well I guess we are taking a trip to the moon then.  He smiled great big and hugged me tight. Thank you mommy, thank you.  I yelled for the rest of the kids to join us on our magic swinging rocket but they were still busy playing cars. So wild man decide to go without them.   As we swung we had our countdown: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 blastoff.  As our legs went back and forth we closed our eyes.  I told he to imagine flying through the air and as we “crossed into space” I ran my fingers through his hair.  As we got closer to the moon we came across a meteor shower and it bounced our rocket side to side. Thankfully my son is an excellent pilot.  Our landing was rough due to some damage from the meteor shower,  but we made it safe and sound.  When we made our way out of the rocket, they rest of the kiddos made their way over to the moon.

 

img_0828
moon walking in zero gravity

We spent the next two hours lost in their imaginations.  We watch moon creatures (aka squirrels) jump from land formation to land formation.  We explored deep moon craters and moon walked in zero gravity. We got lost in the beautiful songs of the native bird like creatures.  We looked around for the man in the moon and we discovered that the moon is not in fact made of cheese.  As the day started to turn to night we thought it best to head back home, we did not want their daddy to worry if he made it home and we were gone.  We all loaded back into the swinging rocket and prepared to leave our new favorite place.  As the rocket took off wild man looked at me and said, Close your eyes momma it could get scary.  I closed my eyes tight and he let out a happy squeal and with that our homemade rocket took off into the night.  We sailed past the sun and stopped off at the milky way to grab a drink and before we knew it we were landing in our backyard. As the other kids made their way out of the rocket, wild man stopped and grabbed my hand.  He looked up at the sky and said, Look momma we “lefted” tracks in the sky.  He was so pleased with his piloting skills.  It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

fullsizerender
Wild man knee deep in a moon crater

 

img_0835
wild mans rocket tracks

For those few hours our world was at peace.  There were no meltdowns or fighting.  There were no judgmental eyes watching. There was no, mom he’s looking at me make him stop.  There was no, I’m not playing with you and no, I hate you’s. There was no autism, no RAD, no ADD, no FASD,  no ADHD there was only happy loving children playing.  Days like today are few and far between but oh how precious they are to me.  Our lives are not what most people call normal.  Our house is usually loud with at least one (or more) children crying.  If I could go back and tell their birth mom’s one thing it would be Please don’t do drugs, please don’t drink, but if that could happen then I would not be blessed with days like this.  I am thankful for wild man’s ever growing imagination.  I am thankful for a good day after a long week of not so good days.  I am thankful for the weather that allowed us to be outside today.  I am thankful God placed these little loves in our care.  I am grateful that I get to share in all the new and exciting things they discover how to do as the figure them out in their own time.  I am blessed to hear giggles and belly laughs tonight.  I will be forever thankful for our swinging rocket and our quick day trip to the moon.

 

img_0824
Looking for the man in the moon

From our beautiful chaos to yours the imagination of a child is the key to some of lives grandest adventures.

I’s love you forever mommy

Where do I start?  My world is made up of many different things.  I have one child the sees things so beautiful and bright most days, I have one that sees things negative and always someones else’s fault, and then I have a few who fall in the middle.  We live day to day.  Most days are peaceful until all five little loves are home and then you can count on one thing, I will play the referee among at least two of them until bedtime.

Autism and RAD could not be any different.  Its like day and night.  Wild man is for the most part easy going. He sees things in a totally different way than most kids his age.  Autism has given him an insight to the world that many of us overlook, he can find beauty in everything.  Yes he has meltdowns, but for the most part he is the sweetest, loving, and caring child I have met.  He looks at the ordinary things ans sees something extraordinary.  Then we have diva.  From the time she wakes up till the time she goes to sleep its a fight.  Bad behavior at home and at school is always blamed on someone else.  She shows little emotion, and if by chance she does its almost always negative. She can’t help it, the drugs and alcohol birth mom done while pregnant with her have helped plan her fate.  It’s heartbreaking, its sad, and it oh so tiring.   The two could not be any different if they tried.  Which brings me to the last few days.

 

Last week wild man and diva had a short school week.  Classes were cancelled due to the flu both Monday and Tuesday.  Wild man was perfectly fine staying home with me were as diva blamed me for the school being closed.  Come Wednesday school was back on a normal schedule however by noon wild man was sent home with a high fever.  When I picked diva up she was mad that wild man had got to come home sick. Not that she wanted to be home, she just didn’t want him home.  The next few days proved to be difficult because he was sick and she didn’t like that he was getting “treated special” (I guess making him stay in bed with a blanket on the floor to catch his vomit made’s for special treatment in her eyes)

img_0750

Sunday night around 630 she was getting ready for bed and said her tooth was lose and needed to come out.  Sure enough it was and I asked her if I could pull it.  She bit me as I got a hold of the tooth, which fell into my hand.  There was no blood for the tooth was barely attached to her gum.  I go downstairs so I can place the tooth in a baggy so the tooth-fairy to find it easier. I get to the bottom of the stairs and she starts screaming and kicking the wall, her dad runs up to see whats going on only to be told that “mommy is the meanest mom ever she pulled my tooth out of my head and then took it for herself.  She made me bleed daddy.  She is so mean”  My husband told her to calm down that I was only getting a baggy to put the tooth in so the tooth-fairy could find it. He told her I was not being mean and that I loved her every much, none of which mattered to her.   Monday rolls around and  she wakes up fighting mad.  She was mad that the tooth fairy had not shown up to take her tooth ( I tried several times to get the tooth but she was up over 15 times that night. Every time I went in she asked me “what are you doing in my room?”  I played it off as if I was checking on her baby sister) She screamed as I brushed her hair, she yelled because we only had chocolate granola bars instead of peanut butter ones, she could not find both of her gray shoes so instead of just putting on another pair she throw the one gray shoe across the room and said she was just quieting and never talking to us again.  What should have taken 15 minutes to get ready took over an hour and a half (thankfully she had gotten up and was wide awake at 5:30) Off to school she went.

I pick her up from school and ask how her day was, to which she replies “You can read check the note yourself”  I knew at that point the day was not great.  Upon reading the note the teacher wrote I discovered she was on black (color code for bad day) She had 1) refused to follow directions 2) refused to come inside after recess was over 3) standing on her desk and 4) she had cut up her shirt(a brand new shirt I had bought her) during art time. I asked her to take off her jacket and sure enough the shirt was ruining.  I asked her why and got the standard “I don’t know” answer.

Tuesday morning I was hoping would go better.  The tooth-fairy was able to come so we were hoping she would be excited.  Instead we were met again with an angry 6 year old.  The morning went much like the previous morning.  By the time she went to school she had started two fights, one with wild man over who was sitting on the couch and one with baby girl because she wanted the blanket that baby girl was carrying, she walked out the door happy with herself that baby girl was screaming.  When I picked her up she greeted me with “Don’t ask just look at my folder”   Again we were on black for the day.  This time it was for 1) skipping line, 2) back talking the teacher, 3) not following the rules 4) not doing ANY classwork, and 5) eating glue and gluing stuff to her desk.  Again I asked what was going on and why she was asking out to which all she did was scream and say “I don’t know”   The evening went down hill.  She refused to do her homework, she picked fights with her younger siblings, she did not like what I made for dinner and she was not happy I was making her go to bed early.  (I thought maybe she just needed some sleep where she had been walking the halls the last few nights)  As she stomped her way the stairs she was screaming “I hate you.  I hate your rules. You are the worst mother ever. and I hate everything about you”  I placed her in her bed, told her goodnight and that we would try for a better day tomorrow.   I closed the door and she started kicking the walls and slamming herself against her bed.

I sat outside her door and cried.  I knew I could not calm her down but I could not walk off either.  She’s my girl, my daughter, and I hate seeing her like this. I needed to be close in case she would fall off the bed or hurt herself from kicking the wall.  After she settled down I went back downstairs and found our three little boys playing cars while baby girl had fallen asleep in her playpen.  I could not help but cry again.  They are so use to her acting out like this they have grown numb to it.  I tried to pull it together and put on a fake smile but wild man could since that I was not okay.  As I sat in the floor Big Al handed me a car to play with.  Wild man just sat there and looked at me.  When I told him everything was okay he climbed over and sat on my lap.  He wrapped his little arms around my neck and gave me the biggest hug and said “It’s ok, I’s love you forever mommy” And he just sat there hugging me and patting my back.  Big Al and Elmo saw him and they quickly joined in.  So we sat, in the middle of our living room floor all three on my lap, and hugged.  I’m not sure exactly how long we sat there but its exactly what I needed, and wild man knew that.  Eventually he let go and looked at me as if to say, “Its okay she does not mean it mommy” He kissed my forehead, guessing he has seen his daddy do that, and smile then went off to play taking the other two boys with him.  And I felt better. God knew exactly what I needed.  The evening wrapped up without any more outburst or meltdowns.

 

Sometimes a question why God picked us to go on this path.  I know He will not give us more than we can handle, but there are days I don’t know why He thinks I am strong. No one really knows what its like unless you have a child that deals with these same issues. People can say,”You need to do this when he or she acts that way or I would never let my child behave lie that.” The truth is it’s easy to judge from the outside.  I’ve done it myself, maybe that’s why I’m where I am now.  God knew I needed a lesson on patience and understanding. Days like the past few make me feel weak, so so weak but He will get me through He always does.  I don’t know what set off the chain of events over the last couple of days.  I may never know.  But I am thankful for the moments when God shows up and says “All is well child.  You are strong enough, You are more than enough, You will make it through this storm”  I am thankful for wild mans calming ways.  I am thankful for Big Al and Elmo’s happy giggles. I am thankful for text messages from my older kids at just the right time.  I am thankful for baby girls babbles. I am thankful for mornings diva smiles. Today was a better day.  I am thankful to be their momma.  It is not always an easy journey but it is one I would do all over again if asked.

img_0693

 

From our beautiful chaos to yours in the storms of life remember God loves you.  He shows us daily that we are enough.  And on those really hard days, He uses those around to let us know we are never alone.

 

Thy Will be Done

Valentines Day, the day of love.  I’ve thought about this post over the last few days so forgive me if its a jumbled mess.

Valentines Day has a different meaning to me now than it did when I was in my early twenties and early thirties.  As I was getting our little loves gifts prepared I could not help but to think back to my two oldest kids last Valentine’s Day with their father (my ex-husband)  He was not around much leading up to the end of our marriage.  He was a nurse and was always “working” so he spent many nights away from home.  I knew what was going on, I just didn’t want to admit that my marriage was over.  So when he was not around the first few weeks in February that year, I didn’t think much of it.  I remember making the kids baskets that year, almost as large as the ones kids get on Easter.  I made sure they had candy, and movies, coloring books, and even a new outfits.  I wanted them to know that I loved them, they needed to know someone loved them.  So I went overboard.  At that point I was still covering up for him and that even included all things involving our kids.  I finished up the baskets and had them setting in the middle of the living room floor so the kids would see them first thing as the came in from school.  I went to take a shower before they came in so we could spend the evening doing whatever they wanted.  When I was finished and came back into the living room, there he sat.  The kids walked in and immediately ran to the baskets.  They were all excited when they opened up their gifts and then they opened the cards and read “Happy Valentines Day Love Dad”  He had placed cards in the baskets while I was gone.   I had not bought cards for them.  In their eyes he had come home with these amazing gifts for them just in time for Valentines Day. I was so angry with him, but never said a word to the kids.  He packed a bag a few hours later and was gone again.  Later that month the kids and I moved out, and I filed for divorce, not because of that but for many other reasons.

 

Jump forward a few years and I am now married to my husband.  I love him dearly, however he is not one to celebrate birthdays much less holidays. Every now and then he will surprise me on a holiday, take this past Christmas for example.  We had agreed to not get each other anything, but I knew he needed a new coffee pot.  Not a great Christmas gift I know, but I knew he would use it.  So when he told me to open up my gifts ( that’s gifts not gift) I was completely shocked.  He had bought me a new laptop (which I am typing on now) and an autographed Brett Favre jersey  (I’m a huge Green Bay Packer Fan) to hang in my Green Bay Room.  He didn’t have to but he did out of love.  Kind of made the coffee pot look a little silly but hey he loved it. And then there was last Sunday where I needed some me time, so he watched the kids while I went and seen the movie Lion.  It’s the little things. So when Valentines Day rolled around and I only got a kiss on the forehead with a “Love you more” that was okay.

image

 

Back to the kids, Diva and wild man were both excited for their class parties at their new schools.  My husband had went and picked up Valentine’s Day treats for their classes because our little Elmo was sick and I didn’t want to take him out.  The kids worked on their boxes and signed the cards to make sure they fit the right friend.  They worked on their Valentine’s Day things for two days.

image
Diva’s box

.

image
Wild Man’s Box

Then the county school board calls. ” Classes in the county will be closed Monday and Tuesday next week due to the number of kids out with the flu” The kids were heartbroken.  They really wanted to give out their Valentines to their new friends.  So on Tuesday I got up and we made cupcakes for their daddy, something to keep their mind off of not being at school celebrating with their friends.  We had frosting all over the place, but they had fun.  The school board called that evening and said that school would be back on a regular schedule the next day and all parties would take place Wednesday.  They were excited.  They got up, got dressed, ate breakfast and headed to school.  By noon wild man was sent home with a high fever, his party was scheduled for 2 he was heartbroken again.  He came home and fell asleep on the couch.

image
Hubby’s cupcake bouquet we made

 

My husband called around 4 and said he was stuck at a job sight and he would not be able to pick up diva from dance practice, so I loaded all the kids up and went to get her.  When I got their her instructor told me that diva was not acting like herself.  By 6 last night all five of our little loves were sick.  Three with high fevers and two with diarrhea. By 6:15 one of our new friends from church was texting me asking what was going on?  We were not at small group at church, obviously so she knew something was wrong.  Our new group of friends started praying for us as soon as they heard what was going on. I called my husband and gave him a list of “must haves” from the store before he came home.  He walked in around 8 and jumped into help with bath time and bed times. The night was long and the kids were sleepless.  The fevers went up and down, a two of the five were up throwing up here and there, and I felt like crying and did so.  Then at 2:48 this morning I heard a noise coming from our daughters room.  At first I thought the baby was babbling in her sleep but then I realized it was someone singing.  I went in to see what was going on.  Diva was laying in her bed  singing along with the radio “Thy Will be done, Thy Will be done, Thy Will be done”   The song Thy Will by Hillary Scott and the Scott Family.  I asked what she was doing and she said “I’m practicing so I can sing as pretty as you do in the car”  And I cried again.

 

Even through her sickness she was was praising God.  Some of the lyrics of that song: “It’s hard to count it all joy distracted by the noise just trying to make sense of all your promises”and “I know you see me, I know you hear me, Lord Your plans are for me Goodness you have in store”  As she sang the words rang so true. If she could praise God at almost three in the morning, so could I.   I thought about life, my life. Ten years ago I did not see myself celebrating love on Valentines Day, I felt no one loved me and all alone. I did not see God’s Will for my life.  This year I have a husband who adores me, kids for love me, friends who worry about me, and a Lord that died for me.  I am blessed so blessed. So what if Valentine’s Day did not turn out the way I had wanted.  I am exactly where He planned on me being.  I did not know that my life would be like this ten years ago. I did not know the true meaning of love.  It’s not about the gifts or how much you spend, its about the simple things like forehead kisses, running to the store after an extra long shift at work to pick up Gatorade for the little ones, its calling or texting a friend just to check to see if they are okay, and being dead tired but running a bubble bath at 11pm because your sick little one needs one.  My daughters sweet angelic voice reminded me of that.  Yes the day was overwhelming and I was stressed.  Yes I felt helpless and alone while my husband was at work and I was here with all my sick little loves, but the truth is we are never alone.  God is always with us.  And He reminded me of that through her singing.

 

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love.  Love from your spouse, love from your kids, love from your friends, but most importantly its about the love from God.  Even if you are alone or feel alone on days like Valentine’s day we are not, He is always with us.  He will never leave us.   When we feel unwanted or unloved or unappreciated that’s when He loves us most Go to Him and let Him show you.  We are all worthy of His love.  In our darkest times we must look for His light.  Father God, thank you for the sweet music in the wee hours this morning.  Thank you for allowing diva and I to share that precious moment together.  Thank you for your strength and comfort but mostly thank you for your unfailing love.

 

From our beautiful chaos to yours Let His Will be done in your life.  You may not understand why you are going through a storm in life right now, but in ten years you will look back and say ” Thank you Jesus for your Will on my life. Thank you for getting in through the storms and delivering me here. ”

 

 

 

Phrases I Never thought I would Say

“Because I’m your mother that’s why.”  And “Because I said so” and we can’t forget “I don’t care who started it, I’m going to finish it” Oh how I hated those phrases as I  was growing up.  What did they even mean? Why did it matter? Both logical questions for a child to ask when mom was yelling one of these at the top of her lungs out of frustration.  I will never say those things to my child when I’m older said my younger self.  Guess what younger me?  You lied to yourself.  Liar liar pants on fire.  
Last week I found myself saying these very phrases to my little loves.  With my husband way on business I was out numbered and on a few occasions stressed to the max, as my daughter would say. After finding myself locked in my bathroom for a few minutes of peace I could not help but think about my younger days when I told myself I would never say those things to my kids.  I now understand, sometimes you just get so overwhelmed you say things that don’t really make sense to the conversation. But you say them just hoping they work. Hoping your kids don’t continue the arguement or the behavior. So Mom, I’m sorry for all those times when bub and I got you to that breaking point. I get it now, I mean I really get it.  And while I thought about these phrases another list popped in my head. If your a mom admit it, we all say things that are a bit odd from time to time. So here are a few things I thought I would never say, but have some more than once:

* No you may not wear “paghetti” on your head

* Toilet water is not okay to use for tea parties

* No you may not lick my armpit 

* Crayons do not go in the dogs butt 

* Yes you must wear pants, we can’t run around naked 

* No we can not trade your brother in for a new one because he “looked at you” funny

*Stop barking at your sister

* I know I’m the meanest mommy ever but your stuck with me sorry

* The rug in your room is not your personal bathroom

* No we can’t play the burp game till someone throws up

*You put your dirty underwear where?!

* If you can’t lick my armpit I’m pretty sure you can’t lick my feet 

* You know we don’t eat things off the floor…. it’s the last cookie? Fine just stop crying 

* Mommy put herself in timeout ask me again in 5 minutes 

*You used my lipstick as a marker because you ran out of pink….awesome

* No jumping on your bed also meant no jumping on your brothers bed

*You wiped your own butt yeah!! You used a whole roll of toilet paper? where’s the plunger 

* Toothpaste should not be used as shampoo to turn your hair blue

* You need me to cover your feet with the blanket that’s in our hands? 

* No I don’t want to see how far you can get your finger up your nose

*Is that brownie in your hair or is that…..omg go to the bathroom now don’t touch anything

* No we can go fishing for matchbox cars in the toilet

* Wait why would we need to fish matchbox cars out of the toilet????

Oh the joys of little ones.   Never dull Never boring always entertaining 

From our beautiful chaos to yours what are some things you’ve said to your little loves that you never imagined would come out of your mouth?

Adoption ~Overwhelming Love

via Daily Prompt: Overwhelming

“Adoption is a beautiful thing”, I have heard this phrase time and time again, from people who have never adopted.  And while they are correct adoption is beautiful, it is so much more than that.

Its easy to say things like that or ” I am so proud of you for doing what you do” or “I don’t know if I could love someone else’s  child as my own kudos to you”  But what we really need are people willing to take a stand and open their hearts and homes to children in need.

When I was younger I knew I wanted a large family.  But do to circumstances out of my control, I was only able to have two children. Now, I know there are people out there that want children and can not have them so I am very thankful God saw fit to bless me with my two oldest. Being their mom has brought me so much joy. I accepted the fact I was unable to have more children and moved on, raising them as best that I could.  However shortly after I married my second husband I started thinking about the sounds of little feet again and it made my heart sad.  He had never been married and never had children.  He was a natural father to my two ( at that time a preteen and teen) but I could not help but feel bad that he would never experience the joys (yes joys) of 2am feedings, the smell of a newborn, the sound of a babies laugh, and the countless other things that make parenting a blessing.  So we prayed about it, I knew we could not have a child the “old fashion way”but there where other avenues we could pursue. That’s when we found out about adoption through foster care.

Straight adoption can be extremely expensive.  And while we wanted a child we wanted to be able to afford things after the adoption was final. Sounds crazy I know but the average adoption can cost over $45,000 dollars. Adoption through foster care normally costs nothing but filling fees (depending on your state anywhere between $200 and $400) the state covers the rest. I called our local DHHR and inquired about being foster to adopt parents.  By far one of the best life changing calls I have ever made.  Fostering opened up our eyes and hearts to a world, many do not fulling understand.  Not all the children in foster care are there because of that they did, in fact most are placed in state care because of things their parents did.  The system can be challenging to deal with but the outcome is so worth it. Dealing with court dates, parent improvement periods, and visitation plans can be aggravating but helping a child overcome the most stressful time in their young life is worth all of it.   Over the past six years we were Momma C and Daddy T to over 20 children.  It is hard to fall in love with a child to only have that child reunified with their birth parents or to be placed in another adoptive home if they do not blend well with your family, but then there are times that you get to say “Yes we want to be their forever family”  And thanks to God we have been able to say this three separate times allowing us to adopt our five little ones, four of which are half siblings. They would not be together if we had not followed our hearts and adopted them. God made a way for us to have our large family.

We have been blessed to make wonderful new friends with other foster to adopt parents.  So many children finding their forever families all because someone thought they were worth it.  Children in foster care are not any different than children who are not in care.  They still want someone to love them, to make them feel safe, to feed them, to play ball with them, and to play dress up with them.  Yes many have been through some terrible things but deep down they just want to be a child loved by someone.  I do feel bad for the birth parents, however if you have been given chance after chance to get off the drugs, or to take anger management classes or whatever the reason was that the child was taken away and still can’t manage to do it then the child deserves a family that can provide a good life for them.

Today a dear friends of mine will be adopting be adopting their little girl.  And I could not be happier for them.  This past summer was filled with friends and family adopting little ones, my heart was overwhelmed with excitement was our extended family grow in size through the process of adoption.

So yes adoption is a beautiful thing.  Adoption is overwhelming love.  Adoption is everything to a child in need.  Adoption made our family complete.  Is adoption the answer for you? Pray about it, think about, ask questions about it.  Adoption is a blessing.

 

image
Our first Forever Family Day Welcome Diva and Wild man 9/20/2013

 

 

image
Our second forever family day  Welcome Big Al and Elmo 6/17/2015

 

 

13532939_1356773074338127_6568475950056130430_n
Our third forever family day 6/28/2016

Thankful for one more day


Just when I feel I cannot go one more step God gives me a beautiful day and whispers “You’ve got this. We will get through this together”. Thank you Lord for one more day.

This week has had its share of ups and downs.  My husband has been away training for his new job position since Sunday so that means its been me and our five little loves here at home. Just me and them.  The first night was not so bad, they are use to daddy working late so to them it was nothing. They worked with me so that dinner and their bedtime routine went well. Then morning came. Daddy was still not here and diva insisted on him taking her to school (that’s their morning routine) when I broke the news to her, again, that daddy was away and that I would be taking her to school our peaceful weekend came to a screeching or should I say screaming stop.   I was reminded that I was not her dad and that I do not do things the way dad does.  I’m use to this argument so I gathered up her little brothers and little sister placed them in the car and then carried her to the car kicking and screaming.  I’m sure if our neighbors were not up they were by the time I finally got her loaded.  The rest of the week has not went any better.  But tomorrow is almost here.

 

By yesterday I was really questioning myself.  Sure I am use to taking care of them but as the week as slowly past by I wonder how well I’ve done.  We have not been late to school nor did diva miss dance class Wednesday but I did opt out of going to church last night.  I really miss not being there but I thought I would play it safe and keep our little loves home instead of trying to hold five little hands while walking across the crowded parking lot.  So we had church here.  We played some music video’s and got our praise on and then watched a video that our old church had streamed on social media.  The kids enjoyed it because they got to see their cousins and I enjoyed hearing an old familiar voice.  Not exactly like our new small group, but it worked.  I could have taken the easy way out . I could have had my in-laws or my parents come down and help out but after thinking about it my husband and I decided against it.  It’s not that I didn’t want them here it’s just it would have thrown off our new routine and really messed with the boys especially wild man.  He can’t handle change. Having them coming and going all week would have lead to more than one major meltdown for sure.  So even though I was not sure how I was going to do this on my own we decided it was best that I did.

The one thing  I discovered this week is that I am strong enough to do this on my own, well with the Lord’s help. I did not think I would find “me time” this week but I have.  I have still managed to get my devotional time in and still managed to get the kids to bed (may not have been exactly on time but they got there)  I found myself talking more to God during the days and the nights, asking Him for strength, for patience, and for more arms(holding five on ones lap has its challenges) This has been one of the most stressful weeks I’ve had since we moved here, but at the same time I have had more peace than normal.

While at small group last week I jokingly asked our group to pray for me this week.  I may have been joking but I could feel their prayers in my weakest moments. God knows what we need before we do and He sends His angels.  Yesterday we were having a pretty terrible day.  Diva had not behaved well at school and the boys had made one mess after another here at the house.  I felt beat down and defeated.  Dinner ended up being a “Fine whatever you want just eat something” meal.  Bedtime well lets just say Big Al was still up at 1 this morning with sleep nowhere in sight. But during all of the craziness one of my new friends from small group sent a text.  She had said something about bringing us dinner one day this week, but I had not put a lot thought into it.  But just as God had planned, she was seeing if today was a good day for her to bring us over dinner.  I told her she really didn’t have to do that, but she insisted and who am I to step on her ministry of kindness.  She told me that she would call me later and we would figure out the details. Perfect I thought. I drifted off to sleep sometime between 1 and 2 this morning dreading what the day would bring and praying that Friday would just get here already.

But then God gave me today.  My alarm went off at 5:45 just as it does every morning that my kids don’t wake me up before then.  I went downstairs and prepared wildman’s lunch for school and pulled out my devotional.  Today’s devotional message came from “Devotions for Women on the Go” and the reading for the day started out with this:

The key to overcoming has been the realization that God created me with ALL the tools I need to overcome all things if I rely on him to guide me to them”

Thank you Jesus for the word this morning.  God would see that this day was better than yesterday. So the day started.  We made it to school and to the grocery store without any major meltdowns.  Once home I was able to do some laundry and pick up the house some, then it was time to go back after wildman and diva.  Wildman’s bus driver said he had a great day according to his teacher and when I picked up diva she was smiling ear to ear.  She had a green day today, not just a green day but a “Great day green day”  (this has only happened one other time)  We made it home and finished homework all before our friend showed up with dinner.   Today was the complete opposite of yesterday.

image
Dinner thanks to my wonderful new friends 

When our new friend dropped off dinner she smiled and said” I did not do this because I thought you weren’t capable I did this because I know you are more than capable and wanted you to know we think your awesome”

Man did I need to hear those words. I may not have it all together. And more days than not I find myself questioning my parenting skills but I am thankful that God has entrusted me to be the mother of seven wonderfully crazy kids.  That He has given me one more day to walk with Him and lean on Him to guide me along this path.  I am thankful for the sun that broke through the morning clouds and for the sounds of giggling this evening during dinner and bath times.  I am thankful that later I will have five little loves fighting over who gets to set on my lap and for the one who stays awake the longest so they get one on one snuggle time.  And I am thankful tomorrow is Friday and my husband will be home to share all of this with me.

From our beautiful chaos to ours not everyday is going to be great but if we are lucky  God will see fit to bless us with another day to make things better. Until then we must make the best of what we’ve got.