Posted in autism, Autism awareness, Autism life, Being a mom, blessed, Children, Children with disabilities, family, foster parent life, life, love, Mom life, RAD, thankful

The Different Emotions of Vacation

Last week my husband and I took our kiddos on vacation, even our oldest son got to go with us this year.  The idea of us going out of our comfort zone of home for a week was down right freighting to me.  With wild mans autism he prefers to stay home where he knows his surroundings and knows what he can and can’t do.  With diva, you never know when her RAD will surface and disrupt the day.  I was not looking forward to a week of the unknowns at all.  I am sure I’m not the only mother that feels like this.  So many different emotions surfaced throughout the week.

 

EXCITEMENT:

Saturday morning the kids woke up around 6.  We loaded up the last of the “must haves” in the van and headed out.  Have you ever packed for eight people?  The amount of clothes, toys, snacks, drinks, and bedding quickly filled the back of our 12 passenger van. The excitement that filled the van made me happy.  We were pulling out of the driveway when the first showing of “LAND BEFORE TIME”  made its appearance on the DVD player.  The kids love Littlefoot, Sarah, Ducky, and Spike.  It’s one of the few things all five agree on.  For the next 7 hours the excitement built.  I can’t wait to see the ocean!!  I can’t wait to go swimming in the pool!!! I can’t wait to stay up late!!! ARE WE THERE YET??!!!  The closer we got the more giggles and and more more questions we heard.

Big Al was not a fan of the ocean so his first day of vacation started off by searching for sea shells.  To his delight he found several shells to his liking.  Excitement filled the air when he discovered a large brown rock that he insists is dinosaur poop.  He carried said dinosaur poop around as if it was the Vince Lombardi Trophy.  Every day after that initial find he surveyed the beach looking for more dinosaur poo.  No rock was safe.  We have a bucket of dinosaur poo that now sets at the end of his bed.   Oh the joy of boys.

OVERWHELMED:

Panic sat in when my in-laws called to give us the news about our house we had rented.  They arrived to our beach rental before we did.  The owner of the house was still in the house.  Her mother had came down to visit the week before.  The night before we were scheduled to start our vacation in her home her mother fell and broke her leg/hip, meaning they would not be leaving the house.  The rental company had tried calling us all morning to work something out with us ( according to the messages on my phone when we got back home they called us 12 times) but were calling the house number not my cell number.  As my mother in law told me what was going on I became overwhelmed.  I had rented the house because it was child friendly,  It had a pool in case wild man could not handle the noise of the ocean.  It had a bedroom set up with two sets of bunk-beds so all the kids could be in one room which would be easier for me to “bed hop” when they could not sleep because they were not in their own beds.  It had extra locks on the doors so I would not worry (as much) about wild man escaping.  I had spent weeks looking and securing the perfect rental house.  How would they find me something comparable in just a few hours.  When we arrived to the new rental, I must say I was impressed. The rental agency had given us and upgrade, a beach front upgrade.  We still had a private pool and there was a bedroom for everyone.  Instead of having to walk a block to the beach we could now be on the beach in just a few steps.  The agency told us they would help us with anything we needed and apologized for having to move us.  I packed sheets for bunk-beds not queens so they brought us sheets and a pack-n-play for baby girl to sleep in.  I went from being overwhelmed with fear to being overwhelmed with gratitude.

 

AGGRAVATION: 

We were at the beach all of a few hours before diva’s RAD started rearing its ugly head.  You can’t baby her when it surfaces, but her grandparents can’t help but baby her. I know they mean well, but it really does not help her or us. No matter what I did for her it was wrong.  I could not comb her hair right, I could not put on her bathing suit right, heck I could not even make her lunch without her screaming at me and saying ” I just quit.  You are being so mean to me.”   She had them eating out of the palm of her hands and she knew it.  Because her dad and I were “so mean” she got to go on not one but three outings with them.  Just her and them.  Once they took her for a walk in the beach to look for sea shells.  The second trip, we had decided to take the kids on a golf chart ride around the isle while my in-laws went down the road to do a little shopping.  Diva did not want to go on the ride so she began to stomp around and fuss that she didn’t want to go.  I tried to talk her into it but she saw them looking at her so she began to scream and they didn’t want her upset so they took her shopping with them.  As she walked out the door she looked back at me and just smiled.   The third outing they were running out to the store for groceries, diva and Big Al had been arguing, so naturally they took her so she did not have to “put up with him being mean to her” Aggravated does not cover what I was feeling.  I was aggravated at the situation not at my inlaws, let me make that clear. They only want what’s best for her.   It’s not fair to the other kids, she manipulates the situations and she got rewarded for it.  We have spent months trying to move forward and it all went down the drain because she refused to listen to us. RAD, ADHD, and FASD are not things we just made up in our heads. Her actions made for a long week. Today at the house was awful, she kept screaming and trying to start fights. When I told her to stop her response was “I will just call my grandparents they will take my side”  Lovely….just lovely.  

 

HAPPY:

Wild man was so scared of the ocean the last time we went.  The noise hurt his ears and the sand sent his sensory issues into overdrive.  So I was nervous to go back this year.  For weeks before our trip he would talk about the water and how he hoped to see a shark.  Thankfully we did not see any sharks, but what we did see brought tears to my eyes.  As my husband held his hand and walked him out to see the ocean shortly after we arrived my heart raced.  My oldest son held tight to Big Al and Elmo while my father in law had Diva.  Instead of running back to the house like he did a few years ago, wild man ran into the ocean, magic pajama pants and all.  He had found his peaceful place.  He played hard in the water and loved every minute of it.  He even played in the pool once we managed to get him out of the ocean.  All week he looked forward to going out and swimming in the great big blue ocean.  I have never seen him more at peace than what I did there.   Just thinking about it makes me smile and makes me happy.  

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Wild man taking on the ocean
Other happy moments included watching the kids blow bubbles off the deck, getting baby girl to say cheese when she saw the camera, eating ice cream cones after every meal, and seeing the kids enjoy themselves playing with their dinosaurs and play-dough.  Celebrating Diva’s 7th birthday was lots of fun at the beach.  I was happy to see my husband be able to relax for a few days.

SURPRISED:

I was surprised that by children made the trip ( it took us 7 hours to get down there and 8 hours to return home) without anyone getting sick in the car or peeing in their car seat.  I was surprised that we watched most of the 14 different Land Before Time videos and no one fussed about wanting to watch something else.

THANKFUL:

I am thankful for the beautiful works of art God provided in the sky each morning.   His mix of colors in the morning sky is simply breathtaking . I am thankful that God found a way to make me a mom to seven unique kids.  I am thankful my oldest son got to go to the beach with us and for the time we got to spend together.  I am thankful for my husband who works so had to provide moments like this for us.

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As a mom I know there really is no such thing as a vacation for me.  I was still the one up with the kids at all hours of the night when they could not sleep or if baby girl needed a bottle. I woke up between 5 and 6 every morning because wild man does not sleep in just because its summer break and we are on vacation. I still did the laundry and fixed their meals.  I worried, I rejoiced, and I cried.  Being a mom is the most rewarding and hardest job I have ever done.  I am tired, I am unsure of myself, I am loved, I am hated, I am scared, I am hurt, and I am sure I would do it all again.

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We survived our vacation. We had a few bumps in the road but overall we made some great memories.  I can’t ask for anything better than that.

From our beautiful chaos to yours  take time to feel every emotion God gives you.  Emotions are powerful embrace them.

 

Posted in Being a mom, blessed, Children, Children with disabilities, family, foster parent life, life, love, Mom life, RAD, thankful

Even If

Last night was the last night I would place my six year old daughter to bed.  Today is her birthday.  As I tucked her in I let my mind wonder to what the year would hold for us.  Hoping for more giggles and laughter.  Year six was a struggle, no need to sugarcoat it.  An emotional roller coaster where she was the conductor and I was a passenger just along for the ride.  She can’t help it.  Things are getting better, a little better, now that we have found some of the things that trigger her. I wish I could step back in time and fix it all. I wish I could save her from all the pain, all the anger, all the hate.

As I look at her I think about those first few years of her life.  What would her life be like if  the caseworkers would have pulled her out earlier? What if the connection to her half brother was never made?  What if she had been properly cared for from the beginning? What if she had felt loved as a newborn, as a three month old, at a year old?  What if  she never made it to me, to us?   IF such a small word, yet so powerful.

Part of my heart goes out to her birth mom.  She could have easily decided not to go through with the pregnancy and our little girl would not be here.  I don’t know the whole story, and as her foster to adoptive mom I may never know.  I imagine though days like birthdays and holidays have to be hard on her.  I can’t imagine not having my kids with me on days like this.  My oldest daughter turned 22 this year and for the first time we were not able to celebrate together, and my heart ached all day.  So I can’t imagine what the last seven years have been like for her. Or does she even care?

There’s also part of me that almost hates her birth mom.  I know I’m not suppose to, but well I do. Kind of. I know her birth mom was not around from early on, that’s why it took the state so long to make the connection between diva and wild man.  I wish they would have found her sooner. Then again, if they would have chances are she would not be with me. Our whole family may be different seeing four are half siblings we agreed to keep together.  I don’t want to imagine that life.  The emotional damage that was done in those first 16 months is far greater than they will ever know.

My heart breaks for the children that have been in foster care for two years, three years or longer. Bounced around from place to place. We have had placements that have been moved so much they are nothing but shells of children by the time they arrive to us.  There is nothing that breaks my heart more.  Not having the attachment they need early on will led to so many trust issues and so much anger later in life if not so already.

If her birth mom had been around to love her, then maybe she would not be filled with so much anger and pain.  If she would have not done the drugs, maybe diva would be more socially adjusted, if she had just been a mom then none of this would have had to happen.  If I had gotten her early……. There’s that word again IF.

 

Our other little loves all love to love on me(and each other)  I think its because we have had them from early on.  Wild man was only two months old when we came to us, while Big Al, Elmo, and Baby girl were all newborns ( 2 days, three weeks, and a week) when they first came through our doors.  I have rocked them, held them, hugged them, and kissed them from the time they were babies.  Diva did not have that.  If she would have been noticed earlier, maybe just maybe she would not have RAD.

For her birthday she asked me if we could have a special song. She said, “Hey could me and you sing a special song every night? You don’t sing as pretty as the ladies on the radio but you’re all I got”  Not arguing about my singing voice, I told her that would be a wonderful idea.  I thought she would come back with You are My Sunshine, or This little light of Mine, you know something geared towards kids.  She comes to me with EVEN IF by MERCY ME .  Have you ever heard or looked at the words to this song?

“They say it only takes a little faith to move a mountain Well good thing a little faith is all I have, right now But God, when You choose to leave mountains unmovable Oh give me the strength to be able to sing It is well with my soul.  I know You’re able and I know You can Save through the fire with Your mighty hand But even if You don’t my hope is You alone I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt Would all go away if You’d just say the word But even if You don’t My hope is You alone You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good all of my days Jesus, I will cling to You Come what may Cause I know You’re able I know You can….

Wow.  What a big message for such a small little girl.

I asked her why she picked this song.  Her response: “Cause it says God loves me even if I’ve had a really bad day, even if my faith in him is small on those days. He loves me anyway momma, just like you and daddy love me.”  EVEN IF.   She knows we love her, but even better she knows God loves her.  She knows we would move mountains for her.  Her life is not as easy as the others, its hard for her to show love, but she did show me she cared by picking out this song for us.  So I found the song on YouTube and we sang, my not so great voice and all, and it made her smile. Then she hugged me.

She asked to take pictures before she fell asleep because she would be 7 when she woke up.  So we did.  I pray that year 7 brings her some peace. I pray that she continues to reach out to me in small ways.  I pray one day all of this will be behind us and that her past will be just that her past.

 

I may have missed out on her first birthday, but I will not miss out on another one.  I may not have been there to hold her or kiss her when she was scared, or hurting her first year and a half but I’m here now.  I was not there to protect her then, but I am now.  I will do everything in my power to give her the life she deserves.  I will love her, protect her, fight for her, and guide her all the days of my life.  For that I thank God and her birth mom for giving be such a precious gift.

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Happy birthday Diva, momma loves you more than you will ever know.

Posted in adoption, autism, Autism life, Being a mom, Children, Children with disabilities, family, foster parent life, life, love, Mom life, RAD

Summer Vacation

via Daily Prompt: Survive

 

The school year has come to an end.  We survived our first year in our new state and in our new schools.  While most parents get excited that the longer days of summer are quickly approaching I for one almost dread it.  Summer means all the children will be home 24/7 and this year, this summer will be the first summer I will be without the help of my older two kids.  Lord give me guidance for I am in uncharted territory.

Let me start off by saying, my kids are my world, anyone that knows me knows this to be true.  However I have one child with RAD and ADHD and one with autism and three under the age of four.  Sometimes, most of the time, their is no peace in the house if they are all together.

We have reached the point where our almost seven year old (RAD) notices that our six year old (autistic) does not have to do the same things she does and does not have the same consequences she does.  This has become a daily problem for her.  And to be honest how do you explain to a seven year old that her brother is treated different because of his disability?  All she shes is that he does not get in trouble for things like she does.  We try our best to be fair but we are human so I am sure we have messed up from time to time.  We have been out of school for four days now and the time out chair is already getting its workout in.  And don’t get me started on her thoughts about the other three little ones.  I know its not her, I know its all the pain from her birth parents, I know she takes it out on me because in her eyes I replaced her mom so therefore I am as bad as she is, but man some days are hard.

Last summer, I was fortunate to have our oldest daughter with us.  She came down after her junior semester was over and helped us get settled in to the new house.  It was nice having an extra set of hands during the day.  She does so well with all of them, especially with our wild man.  The two of them can spend hours together lining up his cars or playing with his Lego’s.  She is his favorite thing in the whole wide world.  He feels safe to just be himself around her.   With her here I was able to take care of our other little ones. Of course there were days that meltdowns happened, but having someone else here to help buffer was a blessing.  I already miss her this summer.

My husband helps when he can, however he is the one that provides for us.  He works a 40 hour a week job that normally turns into closer to 50 or 60 a week.  By the time he gets in he is exhausted.  He comes home most nights around 7pm sometimes later but rarely at the 5 o’clock hour.  He helps with baths and helps get them to bed. He is looking forward to our family vacation to the beach in a few weeks.  I wish I could say the same.

Vacation to most means relaxation, fun, sleeping in, dinning out at new places, and taking a moment for yourself.  Vacationing for me makes me anxious. The packing and repacking.  The food list.  The activities to take for the car ride, the 7 hour car ride. I know wild man’s sleep pattern will be off because he will not be in his own bed.  It will be days before he gets a good night sleep if it happens at all.  I will spend the first few hours at the house we rented child proofing and making sure he can’t hurt himself and making sure our three little ones can’t get into anything either.  I will check and recheck the locks on the doors to makes sure he can’t get out.  I will make sure the fence around the yard does not have any holes he can dig under.  I will stock up on stage two Gerber peas, because those are his comfort food and we will need his comfort food when he realizes we are spending the night in the strange house.  I will end up in the same room with him and baby girl I’m sure because when they wake up in the middle of the night they will not know where they are and instead of them trying to find me in the strange to them house it will just be easier for me to sleep in the extra twin bed.  Correction I will not sleep that week, for I am sure he will not sleep.  If he does mange sleep we will be up at his normal 4AM, autism does not sleep in even on vacation. We will not go out to new restaurants for dinner or lunch because the noise will be much to loud for him to handle.  And as for a moment to myself, well I have five little ones I can’t even go to the bathroom by myself.  I am thankful our oldest son is going with us.  The kids(and I) miss him not living here so it will be nice to have him with us for a week.

As for Diva she will be in heaven for her daddy and grandparents will be with us.  I know that the first day or so will be fine for she will be on her best behavior, like she always does around them.  I know though her behaviors will surface.  They always do.  Unless you live with RAD everyday you can’t understand the struggle’s we face daily.  The mood swings, the screaming, the always fighting are real and painful.  What if I’m not enough for them by myself this summer?  What if they need more of me than I can be? I really miss home in times like this.  My parents, friends, and in-laws.  Here its just me.  I hope we can survive  summer vacation.  GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

My prayer is that God will show me the way to make the most of this summer.  That He will show me how to be the best mom to each of my kids.  They all have pasts, they all of troubles and yet God chose me to be their momma.  Maybe He sees something in me that I don’t see.  Most days I think I’m an okay mom.  Some days however I know I’m not so great.  I don’t want to be perfect just better.

Earlier today I read a blog “Eighteen summers: It’s all we get, so this is my promise to you” over at simpleasthatblog.com  And it got me thinking.  With my oldest daughter I had 21 full summers, with my oldest son 17.  Time does go by so quickly.  I’m not going to lie and say that I am excited now to go on vacation since I read this blog, but I will say it opened my eyes.  I do want to see baby girl’s eyes when she sees the ocean for the first time.  I want to watch the boys run freely on the beach with the sand between their toes.  I want to hear the giggles and laughter coming from their rooms as my husband tucks them into bed each night.  I want to steal a moment under the stars with my head on his shoulder and breathe in all that God as blessed us with.  We will survive we always do, sometimes it just takes a little more work and patience to get to the end.

From our beautiful chaos to yours.  Summer can be hot, long and hard.  Not everyday will be sunshine.  God washes us with the rain from the storms.

Posted in adoption, autism, Being a mom, Children, family, foster parent life, life, love, Mom life, RAD

The Seven Wonders of My World

My world is made up of many things.  Good things, bad things, big things and small things. But nothing holds more value than my seven wonders that call me mom.  Each one unique and different but yet still the same.

Sphinx and Khephren Pyramid
Sphinx and Khephren Pyramid
It is only fitting we start with the one that started it all, almost 22 years ago.  I was a young 18 year old scared out of my mind.  How in the world was I going to be a good mom to this precious girl when I was but a kid myself?  But the moment she was placed in my arms I knew my goal in life was to make sure her life was the best it could be.  Her early years were filled with laughter and joy, trips to grandpa’s, and movie nights with grandma.  She has always been “an old soul” and she has a beautiful heart for helping others.  She is my gift from heaven.  She made me want to be a better person, she continues to make me a better person.  Her school years were made up of cheer leading, piano, dance, taekwondo (she is now a 4th degree black belt) , honors classes, color guard, and winter guard.  She is a fighter for what she believes in and a friend that will stand by your side when everyone else has walked away.  She tries to find the good in the darkest of places, but if you hurt her or someone she loves watch out.  It seems little only yesterday I was bringing her home from the hospital, how can it be she is about to graduate college in just a few short weeks?  The first in our family to achieve this accomplishment. True to her overachiever fashion she is graduating with a double major in Political Science and English with minors in Religion and History.  Proud momma is an understatement.

Statue of Zeus, Olympia
Statue of Zeus, Olymipa
Next comes my boy, 18 and full of life.  His sister wanted a puppy but got a baby brother instead.  His first year was touch and go.  Filled with hospital stays and surgeries (almost nine full months we spent in the hospital his first year) We lost him more than once that year but by God’s grace and the doctors He provided my boy, my miracle made it back to us. I am blessed to be his momma.  His school years were challenging to say the least but we made it through. He played T-ball when he was little but taekwondo quickly became his life( he is now a 3rd degree black belt, not quite old enough to test for his 4th degree). He became a gifted saxophone player in high school and marching band, concert band and jazz band filled our weekends and evenings.  He can make me laugh harder than anyone else with his silly jokes and corny puns. He will always be my baby. He is the perfect gentleman, opening up doors, pulling out chairs, and quick to give a complement. He goes above and beyond not to do the things his father done, he strives to be more like his step dad.  I know he is nothing like the man who helped create him. He is good and loving and kind, wish I could take the fear away. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is slow to anger. He protects/ guards his siblings with everything he has. He worries about others and is the best big brother anyone could ask for.  He works hard at his job and goes to college, while still trying to figure out what path he wants to take.  He knows me better than I know myself and can make my darkest day bright with a phone call or text.  Love being his momma.

 

 

I have worried about them for more than I should.  There were a few dark years where I was not sure if I was doing what was best for them.  Part of me feels guilty that their father and I divorced but the logical side of me knows if I would have stayed I would be died and they would be on their own.  I hope they can forgive me for the tough choices that had to be made back then.  I think they have turned out pretty perfect given the darkest we escaped.

 

Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Next we come to diva, six and sassy and everything in between.  Her past is clouded with darkness but she shines so bright.  At sixteen months she made her way to us, in a t-shirt three times to big and jeans that could not button for they were two sizes to small.  She did not talk, she did not walk, but she did warm our hearts.  With her situation comes baggage that did not surface until two years ago, long after we fell in love with her.  She was RAD or Reactive attachment disorder, ADD/ADHD and FASD or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  None of which are her fault, that lies with her birth mom’s poor life choices.  When she is good things are beautiful and bright, but more days than not we struggle to figure out what is making her so angry.  Her imaginary world where her life is perfect with her birth mom crosses over to our world some days making reasoning with her impossible, but we love her anyway.  I wish I could go back and change the things that happened to her.  I wish she could see what I see in her. Her behavior may not always be great but she is gifted with knowledge.  She is so smart.  Spelling and reading come easy to her and she can do math in her sleep.   She is so eager to learn and try new things, and she loves going to church and singing God’s praise.  I am thankful to be her momma.

temple of Artemis
Temple of Artemis
Wild man, my spunky five year old.  Oh how my world changed when he come into my life.  At two months and four and a half pounds, he redirected my path the moment he was placed in my arms.  It is because of my love for him diva came to live with us, siblings (in their case half siblings) the department tries to keep together.  He, like my oldest son, spent much of his first year in and out of hospitals.  Surgeries and sickness consumed his early days.  He too is a fighter.  Innocent victim of a drug addicted mom that wanted nothing to do with him. He survived the drugs in his system and being shaken then thrown across the room. He is destined to do great and mighty things. He has proven doctors wrong time after time.  When they said he would not walk or talk he showed them he could and would.  He was diagnosed with autism at 3 but that has not stopped him. Autism does not defy who he is.  He makes me see the beauty in everything.  Through his eyes the world is such a kinder nicer place.  He does not judge others and does not notice when others judge him.  His laugh is contagious and he can melt my heart with his smile.  God knew what He was doing when He had the caseworker call me.  I am blessed to be his momma.

 

Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
Wonder number five we find Big Al.  Its funny how after we decided we were finished being foster parents God puts His plan in motion.  At two days old he was in my arms. He has the biggest smile and the most gorgeous brown eyes I have ever seen.  His hair is as wild as he is.  He is one of few words but his facial expressions do his talking for him.  He loves to set with me in the mornings and share a cup of coffee.  He is beautiful both inside and out.  He is the peace maker in the family.  If someone needs a playmate he is the one to drop whatever he is doing and go play so that the other child is not upset.  He has a calmness about him that is unique and welcomed on days of complete chaos.  I am grateful for  my grandfathers advice the night the call came in about the “little boy who needed a temporary home” Rest In Peace grandfather and know I still hear your voice of reason. He makes my days more enjoyable by just being here.  I can’t imagine my life without him in it.  I miss him running around during the days now that he is in preschool.  Its so quiet here now.   I am honored to be his momma.

colossus of Rhodes
Colossus of Rhodes
Our Elmo is wonder number six.  Just thinking about him brings a smile to my face.  Three and a half and full of energy.  He is definitely our class clown. He can make you laugh like no other.  His silly faces and sweet little voice warm my heart daily.   He too had a rough start but has overcome those sicknesses and is growing leaps and bounds.  His eyes are are blue as the ocean and his heart is even bigger.  He is not afraid to tell you he is “momma’s baby” and he proudly wears that imaginary badge.    He brings much needed laughter to our home.  He is the cuddlier on rainy days and the “come lay with me till I fall asleep” at night boy.  He loves to learn the names of things and is always carrying a book around and asking “Whats this things name?”  His imagination has dinosaurs running in our yard most days and with race cars chasing them away.  Oh what an exciting world he gives us to live in.   It is my joy to be his momma.

lighthouse of Alexandria
Lighthouse of Alexandria 
Last but certainly not least is our wonder number seven, our precious unexpected peanut.  In the mist of our already crazy lives God saw fit to bless us one more time, this time a sister to our three little blonde cuties.  She was so tiny but healthier than the rest (Praise God) She is the one we did not know we needed until she was placed in our arms.  In her I get to redo all the joys that make up being a mom.  I get to be mom one last time.  The late night feedings and the early morning wake ups don’t bother me like they did 20 plus years ago, for I know when I blink she will be off and going to college.  I was not as hurried for her to walk or talk as I was with the others,  though she did both early.  In her short 18 months she has changed our lives more than she will ever know.  I am so thankful for the caseworker that took the time to locate her half brothers and sister, it would have been so easy to just place her somewhere else.  But now, even though they are not with their birth mom they are together and with me.  Her sweet dimples when she smiles take over her little face.  Her hair so thin but we manage to get those big bows in.  For now she is a girly girly but I know in time she will be out in the mud and riding bikes with the rest of our pack.  I am thankful God gave me one more chance to get this mothering thing down right.  I am overjoyed to be her momma.

 

These seven wonders have made me the mother/person I am today.  I can only hope that I have given them the love and guidance they need for this world.  I know we do not always see eye to eye on things but I hope they understand that I only say and do what I do because I love them so much.  My two oldest laid the foundation for the type of mom I wanted to be, with the five youngest I get to do the things I wish I had done with them.  I am older and wiser and my choices are much easier these days than back then.  I am happier now than I have ever been, which is completely crazy seeing I get every little sleep.  I treasure both the memories made and those to come.  I would love to see the Seven Wonders of the World someday, but until then my seven wonders are all I need.

 

From our beautiful chaos to ours make today better than yesterday and the foundation for a greater tomorrow.

much love my friends

Posted in autism, Being a mom, Children, family, Mom life, RAD

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)

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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.

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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.

 

Posted in adoption, Being a mom, Children, life, RAD

Why Must Everyday be a Struggle: Life with RAD

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This week has been long, very long.  We started this morning off the same way we have started off every morning; arguing over her hair.  I am tired of arguing over her hair.  Correction I’m tired of arguing.

Two weeks ago our six year old got in the car after school and I noticed she was in different pants than what she had went to school in.  When questioned why she was in different pants she stated she had an accident.  I assumed she had spilled juice or milk on herself at lunch but after reading the note from the teacher I discovered she had actually peed her pants.  The teacher went on to say that our daughter had spent an unusual amount of time in the bathroom that day and wanted us to be aware of it.  I asked diva what was going on to which she replied “Nothing I just have to pee a lot.”  I called the doctor and made an appointment to make sure there was nothing going on.  To make a long story short, she had a UTI.  She was given medicine for 10 days and we were to follow up yesterday to make sure it was cleared up.

The last two weeks has been argument after argument.  First it was my fault I “let her get sick” When I told her she had not said anything to me or her dad about feeling bad it turned into” Well you should have just known”  After the initial doctor’s appointment we had to run to pharmacy to pick up her medicine and while there she insisted I buy her a toy.  I of course said no which lead to the, ” Fine!!!! I will just tell daddy you were being mean to me again” argument in the store.   I should be use to this types of outbursts, and for the record I don’t see myself as a mean or bad mom, but sometimes I just want to hide when she starts acting that way out in public.   We waited for her prescription and  headed home.  Once in the house, the topic became ” Ha ha I get to take medicine and YOOOOOU don’t” to the boys.  She always has to have the final say and always (in her mind) has to have something they don’t, even if that thing is medicine.  Of course the boys could careless if she is getting medicine, none of them what that yucky stuff.

No one told me when we were adopting things would be like this. Adoption is suppose to bring closer and happiness.  I did not plan of arguing with my six year old everyday.  I know being a parent is not easy, my two oldest kids taught me that, but I didn’t think it would go like this day in and day out. I look back at the photo above and think about the way it was then.  We did not know what the future held for her or for us. She had already started to show signs that something was not right.  When I started making note of the behavior and questioning things no one believed me.  I was met with statements like “She’s fine she will grow out of it” and “Well if she were an only child you would not be having problems”  Neither statement helpful.  She wasn’t growing out of it.  The screaming, fighting, lying, and acting out were only getting worse.  And the whole ‘only child’ thing was never an option. I keep telling myself things would get better after all she is only a child and she has been through more more than any child should.

 

But I found myself not prepared.  I was not prepared for the daily battles.  I was not prepared to hear “I hate it here” and “I hate you”  I was not prepared for the always acting out for attention and the bad behavior at school and at home.  I was not prepared for the consent fighting and screaming with her siblings. I was not prepared to have birth mom thrown in my face day after day.  I was not prepared to have this fairy tale life she has made up about her birth parents constantly blowing up over evening conversations.  I was not prepare for how well she can manipulate a situation or others. I was not prepared to deal with a six year old that lies and steals things (money, candy, toys).   I was not prepare to be a parent of a child with RAD. I find myself lost sometimes.  I love her so much and want only whats best for her. But there are days I wish her words and actions did not hurt so much.  There are days I wish time would get slowdown and then other days I wish college was around the corner.  I don’t expect many to understand my feelings, but I know there are some that do. We have had family members offer to let her stay with them, and while some days that sounds wonderful, that will never happen.  Having her go somewhere where she will be able to have her way all the time will not help her any.  She needs rules and boundaries.  She needs to figure out that life is not always about her and that life is not always fair.  Yes I understand she is only six, but she will be a teenager one day, then an adult and the world does not cater to all of our wants and needs kids need to learn that early on. Besides, if we did allow that to happen all she would see is that once again people gave up on her.  And that is simply not the case.    I will never give up on her.

Which brings me back to yesterday.  We had her follow up appointment.  The doctor said everything looked good and that the UTI was gone.  Then the doctor asked if she had had anymore accidents.  I told her she had peed the bed multiple times since our last visit but I know she is doing it to get back at me for things ( like not letting her have anything to drink after 6 or telling her no she can’t play outside because its 20 degrees) I explained that she pees to show me she’s in control (or so she thinks).  Its something that she started doing over a year ago to push her boundaries and something she finds funny because I have to clean up after her.  Then the doctor asked if I made her carry her dirty bedding to the laundry room, I answered yes thinking I would hear “Good for you” but instead I was met with ” Well instead of using negative enforcement like that why not try giving her a treat in the mornings that she does not pee the bed”  What the heck??? Seriously?  I need to give her a treat for doing something she is suppose to do anyway?  She went on to say it did not have to be a large treat, it could be a sticker or a small piece of candy and while she could be having accidents because she is acting out they want to have renal ultrasound done just to make sure nothing is wrong.  The doctor then gave her a lollipop and we headed to the car.  Diva was all smiles when we got to the car.  She told me that she wanted M&M’s as her morning treats and that she also wanted to chocolate milk instead of white milk.  When I told her there would be no treats in the mornings she went off, screaming, yelling, kicking the back of the seats, and throwing herself against the carseat.  I told her that just because she had heard the doctor say that did not mean it was going to happen.  She came home and the night when downhill.  When she woke up this morning she refused to come downstairs to get ready.  After walking back in from taking our son to the bus stop and seeing she was still not downstairs I went up to her room to get her.  I opened the door and I could smell it.  I asked her why she had peed and her response was “You can wash them if you wont give me treats”  I counted to ten to myself before telling her to gather her bedding and take it down to the laundry room.  Its after one and its still setting in there.  I have thought about it and I believe I will let her learn how to do laundry this evening when she gets home, if she refuses then she can sleep without blankets this evening.  I will not be bullied by a six year old.

Maybe that makes me a bad mom.  But I can’t see trying to teach her responsibility as bad parenting.  My parents taught me that for every action there is a reaction and that’s what I try to teach my kids.  I don’t think telling her no shes not getting treats was a bad thing.  I don’t think having her carry down her dirty bedding is bad either.  I do think one day she will look back and see that everything I ever did for her was done out of love and done to make sure she could make it in the world without me one day.  Some reading this may think I am being to hard on her, and that’s okay.  If I were on the outside looking in I might think that also.  However daily life with a child who has RAD is not always rainbows and sunshine, many days are thunderstorms and hurricanes.  But God placed her in our lives and we will get through this.  Maybe He know we would call on Him when others would not. He knows my strengths and all my weaknesses.  And He still thought I was the perfect mom for this little girl.  Thank you Jesus.  We will get through this season of life with You by our side.  I ask for wisdom, and for You to guide me.  I pray for patience and understanding.  I ask that YOU Lord show me a way to make things a little less stressful and a lot more peaceful.  I ask these things for I am one human and I fail her daily and I want nothing more than to be the mom she runs to with a huge smile on her face says ” Mommy I love you”  Until that day Lord let me feel Your presence as I try my best to parent her.

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Photo : Hope/ Coming Full Circle comingfullcircleblog.com

From our beautiful chaos to yours, life is not always easy but its the life we are given.  Take it day by day and make the most of it.  One day we will look back and see all the beauty in the mist of the storms.

Posted in adoption, Being a mom, Children, family, life, Mom life, RAD

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.

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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.

 

 

Posted in adoption, autism, Children, family, foster parent life, life, RAD

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in adoption, Children, family, foster parent life, life, RAD

The Bio Mom Fairytale

From the moment we became foster to adopt parents I knew one day the questions would start.  Why was I placed in foster care? What was my mom or dad like ?  Do I look like them?  Did they not want me or love me?  All valid questions and deserving an honest answer.  I just did not plan on them from my six year old so soon.

We have always been open about what we do as foster parents and about our adoption experience. We celebrate our “forever family” dates and we talk openly about foster care and adoption, after all adoption is beautiful. So I guess it really should not have shocked me when a few weeks ago diva said something about her birth mom.  We were sitting in our living room watching cartoons when the first statement was made.  Out of nowhere diva says ” My birth mom and I use to watch this all the time.”  My chin hit the floor as the old saying goes.  I asked her to repeat what she had said, thinking I surely miss understood her.  But when she said it the second time the words birth mom echoed in my ears.  I was speechless.  I didn’t respond I couldn’t. In my mind I knew she could not remember much about her birth mom, she was only 16 months old when she came into our care and for 15 of those months she lived with her “dad” But still I wondered.

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A few more days go by and again she brings up the subject of her birth mom. This time it was ” My birth mom and I use to have so much fun together.  We danced and played games and went to movies.  We always had so much fun. I sure do miss her.”  This time I found my words and asked  “What do you remember most about her?” To which she replied “I remember everything about her.  She loved me so much that when she could not take care of me anymore she gave me to you and daddy.”   And that’s when I realized our “truth” about her birth mom is what she remembers, not her actual birth mom, and that is what she was using to create this fairytale world between them.

Diva understands that we have adopted her, her brothers and little sister.  She understands that we did so to keep them all together because we love them so much. What she does not understand is the how that came to be.  She asked me about peanut’s (our youngest baby girl)mom before her adoption earlier this year and I stated that her birth mom was not able to take care of her (baby girl) anymore and that other people had made a way for us to become her forever family.  I figure in her six year old mind that means their birth mom (same mom for four out of five of our little loved) loved them so much she wanted a better life for them and she found us.  That’s not exactly true.

Their birth mom was not mother of the year.  Did she love her kids? My answer would be she loved them the best she could or the best she knew how to.  But she loved the drinking and the drugs a little more.  From the few times I talked with bio mom at court hearings and MDT meetings I can make that assumption. Deep down she wanted what was best for her kids, however she thought that was for them to be with her moving from one drug fix to the next.  Not ideal circumstances to raise four small children according to the court system.  After our adoption of diva and wild man was final their birth mom told the judge she was “okay” with her (the judge) taking her (birth mom) kids away because she (birth mom) knew they were going to a good home (our home)so she could just keep having kids because they would be well taken care of. Does that sound like someone thinking clearly or someone in their right mind?  I didn’t think so either.

No one wants to tell their child that their birth parents were drug addicts that lived on the river bank.  No one wants their child to think about the lack of food, the neglect  or filth they lived in before being placed in state care.  You want your child to feel loved and protected so you kind of tell small truths so they can sleep at night, not lies just not the whole story. That will come when they are old enough to process the situation.  In her own six year old way of thinking she has made up this whole world that makes her happy.  In that world she and her birth mom went to the movies together, danced to silly songs together, ate pizza late at night together, and watching her favorite tv shows together……none of which ever happened.  The truth is her birth mom split the day after she had her and left the supposed daddy to raise her.  She only saw her here and there throughout those first 16 months and then after the state took over she received weekly visits until her parental rights were terminated. That “perfect” mom diva is talking about or as she says “remembering” is me. No I am not perfect but  I am the one that takes her to the movies,  I am the one she dances silly with in the afternoons after school, I am the one that slips her pizza late at night, and I am the one who watches endless hours of her favorite tv shows. Me. Not the birth mom.

With her RAD she does not always show the affection that most children her age do. I don’t get the hugs and kisses from her like I do from our other little loves. So instead of being upset that she has created this fairytale world with imagines  of her birth mom I am going to count it all joy. Its good that she is using her imagination to think of positive things. And even though she “remembers” these thing happening with her birth mom, somewhere in her mind maybe in her heart, I know that she knows all of the good things all of the happy things come from mom….and that my friends is me. I will take this as her way of showing me she loves me instead of the negative spin I first placed on it.  As she gets older I will explain more to her about the circumstances that surround her situation. And as she asks I will tell her more about the woman who gave birth to her but for now I will let her play out this fairytale.  I know she knows I love her and I will choose to let her work through this her way.  Until the time comes for her to want to meet her birth mom I will continue to watch her tv shows, dance to silly songs, slip her an extra slice of pizza and love her as only a mom can.

From our beautiful chaos to yours remember all fairytales can have great endings if we allow ourselves to believe in all good things

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in adoption, family, foster parent life, RAD

We have a diagnosis…finally

I look at my six year old and my heart and mind both fill up with mixed emotions.  I love her more than she will ever know, which makes what’s going on with her so hard for me.  She looks up and smiles at me while she looks through the pages of a new book. For now all if fine, but I know soon very soon we will be at war.  She can’t help it.  So I will take this moment and hold on to it. I will recall it later  (how precious she is and how much I love that smile) when she’s screaming she hates me, it will happen.  It happens daily.  
I am her mother, but my blood does not run through her veins.  I did not give birth to her or raise her for her first two years, Lord knows I wish I had. I really wish I had.  Maybe then things would be different. Even before she was born she was unloved and unproctected.  Her birth mom drank, smoked, and did drugs (all of which she denied up till the adoption) while pregnant. She never had someone to love her, care for her, or protect her like a child should, not until she came here at least. I wish her birth mom(and dad) knew what an impact their poor decisions had on my daughter. However seeing I have three more of bio moms children who are younger, I don’t figure she would really care. Addiction is a sick twisted disease. I pray for birth mom every day I hope she finds help one day.

I can’t change the past for my diva. I can’t take away the pain or the hurt. I am thankful she does not recall what happened, but the aftermath is still there.   And when she was a little over four it started to surface.  When things first started going down hill we got the typical remarks like  “She’s acting out because of the new babies” or “Maybe she needs to be an only child” or “She’s only four it’s just the terrible twos hitting a little late” 

Then last year things got worse.  She started acting out in school, not doing her work, eating glue, eating pencils and erasers, and back talking the teacher. At home it was fighting with her brothers, hitting walls, cutting up her sheets and her hair, and defining everything  I said. She was five.  People have no clue how bad it was.

My husband moved out of state for his job in October last year. I opted to stay back so our oldest son could graduate high school with his friends. I was not moving him his senior year.  She went from bad to worse. She would do things to be spiteful (spitting on her brothers, biting, and even using the floor as her personal toilet both number one and number two)  she never made things easy. Everything was always my fault and she made sure to let me know. I was reminded daily that she hated me in both her actions and her words.   

When I started looking for help for her I was met with comments like “She just misses her dad” and “She will be fine after everyone is back together under one roof” and my personal favorite “You should have stopped adopting after the first two”  No one believed it was as bad as it was….. no one except her pediatrician.  Thank God for her pediatrician.

Her doctor suggested we start seeing  a therapist. So we did.  We talked about the screaming, the fighting, the cutting stuff up, and a list of other things I will keep to myself. But after months we were still nowhere and it was time for us to move.  We quickly found a new therapist and pediatrician after we got settled in. Here we are getting somewhere. Here people are listening to my concerns and the concerns of her teacher.  Here we finally got a diagnosis.

Last week after months of tests, consults, forms and personal one on one visits we finally have a diagnosis ….. RAD & FASD along with ADD and ADHD. The truth is I am not surprised. In fact I am relieved we finally have something to work with. For all those that thought I was “just making it out to be worse than it really was” I guess I do know my daughter better than you do.  I am her mother, I know her better than anyone. I am with her every day and every night. I see the struggles the rage and the pain and I knew something was not right. Now that we know what’s going on we can get her help that she deserves.  
I know we are in for a long road. There will be huge obstacles to overcome, and we will do just that.  We will fight the uphill battle with her past demons because she is worth it. Will she ever just run up and hug me for no reason other than she just wants to, maybe not. Part of RAD is the attachment issues. Her therapist assures me my daughter loves me very much that’s why she takes everything out on me.  She is afraid I will leave her (maybe because her birth mom did) so she chooses to distance herself from me so she won’t be hurt.  And I know she loved me, but man some days it’s really hard for me to see it.  So I cling to the small moments. 

God placed her in my arms for a reason. And I promised to love her and protect her just as I promised Him I would love and protect my older children. Adoption made her legally mine but she was meant to be my child before she was born, God had a plan. And I am thankful for His plan.
From our beautiful chaos to yours always trust your mom gut.  You know your child better than anyone. Never stop fighting for them, the answers are out there for those that seek then.