Labels

ACR (1) acupuncture (1) adoption (30) Adoption; RAD; emotions; tantrum (1) adoptive families (4) Amazing people (2) anger (6) Anxiety (1) appointments (1) Attachment (4) Attachment therapy (1) babies (1) banging my head (8) Bed wetting (1) beds (3) bedwetting (3) behavior (25) bio families (2) bio parents (26) biological parents (5) Biological parents; adoption (3) Biological parents; adoption; co parenting (1) Bioparents (1) birth families (20) birth moms (1) birth parents (5) birthdays (3) blogging (5) Boundaries (4) CASA (1) caseworker (9) challenges (4) change (1) Changes (2) co-parenting (16) confessions (15) Consequences (2) Court (19) crafts (1) CW Visit (5) DCFS (9) decisions (3) diary (1) dicipline (1) drama queen (2) emotions (129) Fab Four (14) Fab Four: Post Reunification (2) faith (10) family (12) Family fun (9) family outings (7) family support (15) family therapy (4) feelings (7) fertility (2) flowers (1) food (1) foster care (25) foster parenting (83) Foster parenting; permanency (3) fun (1) Gabby (4) grief (9) healing (5) Holiday (8) Holidays (5) Homework (1) honesty (1) Hubby (2) husbands (3) If I'm being honest (5) illness (1) investigation (1) Jelly Bean (4) laughter (1) legal issues (4) licensing (2) Little Mama (2) loss (5) love (8) lying (1) marriage (1) meetings (1) meltdown (1) Mental Health (3) migraine (1) milestones (1) Mommy Humor (5) mother (1) motherhood (46) Movie review (1) Mr. Mohawk (7) music (2) names (2) Neglect (1) neurosarcoidosis (6) Nostalgia (1) nothing to do with foster care (8) Open adoption (2) organization (1) other people's reactions (7) Overnight visits (2) parenting (12) permanency (10) perspective (6) photolistings (1) photos (2) pictures (5) placement (1) Placements (23) Post Reunification (26) Post visit behavior (2) Post-reunification (5) PRIDE (1) progress (1) PTSD (5) puberty (1) Quartet (3) Questions (1) RAD (5) relationships (6) return home (1) reunification (10) safe haven (1) Sarah (3) sarcasm (1) school (10) Sexual abuse (4) shopping (2) sibling (1) siblings (5) Simon (6) sleep (1) Smiley (1) Social Media (2) Solana (4) Stella (1) stress (9) Suicide (1) support (5) tantrums (3) Team Work (1) Teamwork (5) Thank You (1) The Quartet (1) The System (2) Therapeutic parenting (2) therapy (19) TPR (7) training (1) Transition (10) transition plan (10) trauma (9) triggers (4) typical kids (1) Urine (1) verbal abuse (1) Visit behavior (3) visits (38) waiting (2) where to start (3)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

We made it....

Through Christmas. With no major tantrums or meltdowns. Through THREE DAYS of celebrations. To be honest it was the adults in my life I wanted to put in time out. Can I just say how much I love my mother? After all the support she gave me in the last month she spoiled these kids and THEN had them sleep over so my Hubby and I could have a night to ourselves. We opted for a movie at the theater and then another DVD at home.

I was surprised the kids didn't get sad about thier Mom. We had talked about it before And had given them the green light so to speak to let us know if they were feeling sad. Maybe it was distraction or maybe we will pay for it later but the kids and us had 4 days off from reality where we were this happy, adjusted family enjoying quality time together. We had lots of talk about "next year" and tradition from the kids. I hope we fulfilled thier wish of the best Christmas ever because it sure was mine (well second anyway to the Christmas my husband proposed on 7 years ago).

It's hard to go forward not knowing what the next few months will bring or take away. From us AND from them. But tonight my prayer will be one of thanksgiving. And wisdom - as I have no idea where we are going to store all of these gifts!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Really?

So JB came home Saturday. Sunday she struggled. Monday she got sent home from daycare. She spent the entire evening tantruming and at one point screamed at the top of her lungs while crying for 30 minutes straight and then fell asleep on the floor. Tuesday she was fine at daycare but fell to pieces at sibling therapy. Going as far as to call her sister an F*ing B*tch IN FRONT of the therapists.

We spent a great deal of time creating a support plan for the girls with the therapists. Since they were as much to blame for JB getting sent home as JB was. (Really? You cried every night your sister was in the hospital and slept in her bed and not 48 hours after she is out you exclude and mock her and kick her at day care. Really?) so they started thier sibling session late. At 9:45pm I finally got to eat some canned ravioli and by 10:00pm I was doubled over with severe abdominal pain. As I'm vomitting in my bathroom I hear the girls come upstairs and JB start to throw a full blown temper tantrum because my husband told her she could have any water.

I really thought at that point I must be in Hell. I must have done something really awful in a former life. Which continued in the emergency room when they gave me the pain medication that made me unbelievably sick that 4 hours later I was still throwing up.

So Hubby sent her back down stairs to the therapist. Called my brother and asked them if they could wait 10 minutes until he got there.

Wednesday they went to their visit. Which of course led to acting up at daycare. Then today rolled around we got a call that Gabby was having a meltdown and saying she wanted to kill herself. Really? I'm surprised the day care hasn't asked us to leave yet. Gabby may get her wish I might actually kill her when she gets home. The day care teachers felt this was all for attention and drama but we've made it clear that this is a serious thing to say. And after some one on one she was back happily playing.

Now I can understand wanting a break. But if anyone gets to check out of this family for mental health reasons it's me*

I have a mind to take her to the grave site of my friend who committed suicide when she was 13 to scare her but I have to clear that with the therapists so as not to traumatized her. I think she feels JB really wasn't seriously I'll and that she saw her hospital stay as a week off of school and away from the choas these kids create and time for everyone to focus on JB. Just more reason that I don't know how their Mom is going to be able to do this if I know it happens and can't avoid it despite actually trying.

*I know suicide is serious and that this kid could possibly be having these feelings. We checked in with her therapist who also feels this is attention seeking and not a serious threat and if it was serious I would be taking her for an evaluation but this is also my drama queen. Who will pretend to forget going someplace to "test" her acting skills.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Amazing Educators

Tonight was visiting hour for JB. Her teacher, principal, ESL teacher, reading teacher, and school social worker all came with. Bringing her books and Teddy bears. Can I just say how impressed I am with these people who truly care about this kid.

They gave up their Wednesday evening to spend an hour with my kid in a mental health hospital. They brought cards and notes from students and other teachers. They even checked on me. I have friends who are teachers like this but I had never run across them in a school setting. Sure I think she's special but I'm her "mom". They are worried and concerned and I'm so glad they care because transitioning her back in to school is going to be so much easier knowing they will support her.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So not prepared

If they go home I'm going to need a serious time out- from life. Having JB gone just 6 days and I'm so sad. I catch myself starting to imagine what that would be like times 4 and without the phone calls.

She called me yesterday about an hour before we were to see her at family therapy. "Thats too long Mama." I know it is honey I know.

Family therapy was a lot of background. We scheduled a session with her sisters for Saturday. Well see if she's still there.

My heart hurts. But the duty of Mom never ceases as I'm home with Mr. Mohawk who has a fever and a stomach bug and was kind enough to share the bug with me.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Jelly Bean has been struggling for the last few weeks. I really feel this is due to an increase in time spent with her Mom. Her medication that was working wonders seemingly stopped working. And the meltdowns and tantrums began to become frequent Agian. Last weekend she made a statement about wishing she was dead. We got her calmed down and Monday she seemed fine. Tuesday the attitude returned and she threw a tantrum because she was afraid she wasn't going to see her therapist because I was talking to her. Wednesday I got a phone call from the principal that she bit a kid during reading class.

That night I was taking Gabby to see the psychiatrist to be evaluated for anxiety. It's the same doctor so I asked if JB could be seen since she was struggling. The doctor asked her if she felt like hurting anyone and she said herself. The doctor asked her how and she said a knife. And with that a call was made to the hospital next door and we were sent.

We saw two admissions evaluators who spoke to two psychiatrists. At one point partial inpatient was mentioned but it was decided full inpatient was the path we would be on. Some 5 1/2 hours later I wa s leaving her. She cried and cried when she figured out she wasn't going home. Telling me over and over she was going to miss me. That she didn't mean what she said.

If she wast serious on any level this will be a really hard way to learn about the boy who cried wolf. If she was we did the right thing and she's getting the help she needs.

The facility is specifically fo children and it's he only one in the state. I feel fortunate that it's only 20 minutes away from our house. They let Jelly Bean participate in out meeting yesterday about her treatment plan. They believe this may be a ton of anxiety and what to figure that out. She will be there at least a week, probably more. Her caseworker asked if her Mom could come see her if she provided a supervisor. The psychiatrist told her no. This would not be in her best interest. We need to gt her more stable. I asked if it was still ok for us to come and he said absolutely. I asked her if she needed anything and she said "I just need you."

Her sisters did not take any of this well. They are scared they are never going to see her. It reminds them of the 9 months they were separated. Everyone they love leaves or is taken away. Little Mama cried all day Thursday and when leaving her visit with her Mom Friday. She came home and cried and for the first time I can remember shared difficult feelings right when she had them.

Somehow I managed to get both of them to stop crying. It involved a lot of silliness and everyone sitting in an oversized chair all piled on top of me. Truth be told I needed them too. They weren't ready for bed so we watched A Christmas Story with hot chocolate and Marshmallows. I tucked them into Jelly Beans bed. I have a feeling they will both sleep there until she comes home. They even left the light that they fight about on in her honor.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Things going through my mind

I'm writing this post to hope Murphy's Law will work and the judge will call us in to the permanency hearing. I'm sharing a couch with my kids Mother after a really really crappy week. I was just going to write the thoughts popping into my rapidly firing brain. Then I thought well maybe I can use this time to learn some more of the kids history.

So I asked and she answered. And for a few minutes we were Moms sharing stories. Until we realized we were sharing stories about the same kids. I tried really hard to be kind. To nod when she was making comments while my brain was screaming SHE DOESN'T GET IT. I felt empathy as she shared some of her background. But that doesn't mean I'm going to just roll over and stop protecting these kids. I did bite my tounge when I could have said they are terrified of you. But it took a lot to do so.

Then we got called in. And the judge commended us on working together. She told us that she kept the boxes the girls decorated to bring their cupcakes to her. They are on her shelf. She also recommended the enter the court house artwork contest.

But it made me feel like a fake. Yes I work with Mom because I know is best for the kids but I do it grudgingly. I don't think very highly of ther Mom. I sometimes pray she disappears and then change my mind because I'd just have to pick up the pieces. I don't write nice things about her because I don't see her being able to care for thee kids.

This is perhaps the 2 mr worst week of my life. A close second to the week my Grandma passed last year. We had an ACR, family/team meeting, holiday concert, therapy, testifying against abusers, permanency hearing, licensing worker visit and on Wednesday the hospitalization of Jelly Bean for suicidal thoughts.

I'm a wreck the kids are a wreck and I sat and listened to the judge say that Mom was meeting the reasonable effort standard and renewing the goal of return home. She told her she has a long road. And she won't send the kids home until she is sure they are safe. And set a hearing for one month for results of the psych eval which rumblings I'm hearing are not positive in Mom's favor. She assigned a CASA worker to be another set of ears. I see they are crossing all the Ts. But I get the sense that the preference here is to drag this on. at least that's how it feels.
And I get to handle the fall out. I'm the one who had to leave the child at the psychiatric hospital. I'm the one who spend hours yeterday calming sisters down. I'm the one juggling these appointments. Somehow it feels like I am the one doing all the work.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Yeah so I spoke too soon....

As if this week isn't going to be hard enough (administrative care review, family meeting with therapists, holiday concert, prep for testifying for LM, actual testifying for LM, remembering their uncle who was murdered, permanency hearing, and liscense worker visit oh yeah and our annual wine party for which I got nothing accomplished this weekend.) Jelly bean raged all day. Gabby raged for part of the day. I'm exhausted. The screaming and yelling and crying. The possessions that were confiscated are now sitting in my room. The new pair of jeans Jelly bean wrote all over are somewhere in her room. was assigned writing sentences and it took her all afternoon. She then threw a fit right before dinner and when she was finished eating was sent straight to bed.
I have no idea why today was such an issue. Too much family? Bad visit? Fear about the holiday concert tomorrow?

The other one? She was dealing with seeing Molly yeaterday. She ripped up her class picture and threw away a porcelian doll Molly gave her. She also could have been playing off JB. She desperately needed attention and everyone went about it the wrong way. Myself included. I'm tired of the amount of energy needed to settle everyone down after these visits. The kids seem truly scared and I can do nothing except write emails and watch them be in pain.

Yeah so I spoke too soon....

As if this week isn't going to be hard enough (administrative care review, family meeting with therapists, holiday concert, prep for testifying for LM, actual testifying for LM, remembering their uncle who was murdered, permanency hearing, and liscense worker visit oh yeah and our annual wine party for which I got nothing accomplished this weekend.) Jelly bean raged all day. Gabby raged for part of the day. I'm exhausted. The screaming and yelling and crying. The possessions that were confiscated are now sitting in my room. The new pair of jeans Jelly bean wrote all over are somewhere in her room. was assigned writing sentences and it took her all afternoon. She then threw a fit right before dinner and when she was finished eating was sent straight to bed.
I have no idea why today was such an issue. Too much family? Bad visit? Fear about the holiday concert tomorrow?

The other one? She was dealing with seeing Molly yeaterday. She ripped up her class picture and threw away a porcelian doll Molly gave her. She also could have been playing off JB. She desperately needed attention and everyone went about it the wrong way. Myself included. I'm tired of the amount of energy needed to settle everyone down after these visits. The kids seem truly scared and I can do nothing except write emails and watch them be in pain.

How far we have come

So I couldn't sleep tonight. I hade a Diet Coke at 11:00pm and well that was a silly thing to do after a 4pm nap. I'm sure I'll pay for it later. In my continued quest to build up my readership, traffic, and ego I was checking out my stats and noticed that this post is the most often viewed.
Reading it now nearly 8 months later I can't believe how far we've come. We barely survived that trip to Disney world but we are wiser now and are actually trying to plan another trip in June. Of course now our plans are dependant on where their caseplan heads. We have hit our groove of a family of six and I've almost gotten used to what that equates to in the amount of groceries and laundry. Almost. I no longer have a panic attack when going to Costco.
And while the first few months were rocky the kids have gotten over the shock of living together once agian and actually giggle together at times instead of constant fighting and yelling.
I don't regret my decision to say yes that day. Or my decision to say no the first time they asked us. And the kids like to hear how they each came to stay with us. Which is pretty cool. Clearly, I'm still not getting that much sleep but Hey - I'm a mother to 4. We still hear almost daily how crazy we are or how people don't know how we do it but I've learned to ignore that or smile politely. Most days I wouldn't trade it for anything.

You let me say all those mean things?

Last weekend we got together with Jelly Bean and Mr. Mohawk's 3rd foster family. We've seen them twice since LM and Gabby moved in. This was hard on them as they didn't understand why their first foster Mom (we'll call her Molly) had not made an effort to visit them. Well she had, but then cancelled last minute something she apparently did a lot. The girls also reported that she lied a lot skipping trauma therapy appointments telling the therapist they has ballet when they stayed home.

So after we met the 3rd family and had a great time at a moon bounce place and pizza pub Gabby had a little rant. She had been working up to it all day. My little actress who looks a lot like Tinkerbell when she scrunches up her nose was ready for her dramatic monologue which went something like this:

I bet Molly doesn't even care about us. I bet she never did. Why did we have to live with he anyway. I bet she forgot about us and hopes that we forgot about her. She lied all the time. I bet she lied about loving us too. She lied about coming to see us. Her boyfriend was always more important than us.

All true feelings. All valid. Not dissimilar to feelings she has about her biological mother. Now I knew we had made plans to see Molly. But I kept my mouth shut for fear that she would cancel and break their hearts all over agian. I couldn't do that to them. So I let her get it all out and said something like, "I'm sure she does care about you and thinks of you often how could you not? You're amazing."

Today Molly confirmed our meet up. I still didn't tell them. We walked into the restaurant and even though I had never seen a picture of her I knew instantly who she was. We turned the corner and the girls saw her stand up. Gabby started to cry instantly. In the middle of hugging this woman she called Mom for 7 months she turned around to look at me and she mouthed "thank you". And with that I started to cry.

My sweet sensitive Gabby knew that that moment was for her. She knew we put aside any feelings we might have about the choices this person made or the promises she broke because it was important for her to see her. To learn that people don't have to disappear from your life because you move on. That you can love others from afar and be angry at them but still care about them. And then she gave me a gift. She called her Molly instead of Mom.

At this point I have been one of her "Moms" for longer than Molly. I have dug in and done the hard work with her and LM when Molly wouldn't even take them to their appointments. And call me selfish or absurd but I feel that it counts for something. Now I would have been ok if she called her Mom. I have tried to put myself in that situation and if I was the former Mom I think it would be very hard for her to feel like she couldn't call me "mama" but something about the fact that she didn't slip- not once made me feel very self satisfied. That this jockeying to become the protector and care giver was finally over. I surpassed this first foster Mom and am now THE foster Mom.

This pails in comparison to actual Mom and I understand that. I live it in fact. Today when LM was raging about pretty much everything I knew it was because she was living with me and now with her Mother. And it was exhausting trying to stay patient and not say all the things I actually think about her Mother's inability to get it together for her children. To urge her to either speed it up or let them move on. Its hard sometimes to remember that what I would do if my kids were in foster care and not back in my custody after 18 months is not the same as a person who abused their children because they couldn't handle their situation.

Tonight as we were working on their first Christmas stockings Gabby asked me "How could you let me say all those mean thngs about Molly if you knew we were going to see her?" I explained that I wasn't sure she was really coming and that just because we saw her didn't mean that her feelings weren't real or true. "You really are always trying to keep us from getting hurt aren't you?"

Yes my sweet girl. Yes.