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)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Lemons Into Lemonade

Although we are barely holding it together, I can say that we are growing in the pain. I heard Smiley say to us tonight "I don't want to talk about that" when someone brought up a time she got upset (that we as a family thinknis particularly funny).  Sarah admitted that she was overwhelmed at school and decided to ask to go to the bathroom "for a break". Stella has articulated that while she is sad, she is happy for her sister to be able to have a parent she can count on. And then there is my Simon, who has perhaps grown in his ability to connect to us 100%.

My son, who can't stand to be held has requested extra hugs. He is suggesting conversation topics at dinner. He asked me how my day was. And he asked me to come and lay with him in his room tonight. For the second night in a row. And we talked about all kind of things I've never heard him mention before. Memories of his time in the other state he lived in. Memories of his brothers. Things he misses. Places he remembers. "You know how we are going to make a book about us for Solana? Can we make a book about her so we don't forget?"

Leaps and bounds type growth in attachment and communication over here for my children.

Because let me tell you, the lemons kept coming my way this week. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Counting Down...

About 8 years ago, I learned to never walk away from a conversation that would bring me closure.  I was called into a meeting at my side gig (at my church). The writing had been on the wall that I was not long for the position and that there was a fundamental difference of beliefs happening.  We were parting ways and I had the opportunity to say exactly what I was feeling and thinking and so I did.  In a calm, clear voice, I said everything my heart needed to say and I walked away from something I loved dearly, with zero regret.

Today was kind of like that.  The writing is on the wall that reunification is happening, and soon, and I had the opportunity to put everything my heart needed to say, out on the table, so that when Solana leaves, someone I love dearly, I will have zero regret.

Through tears I explained to her Dad that I believed in him.  That I was proud of how hard he has worked and I believed he was ready. That I didn't fear for her safety. But that my biggest fear was that this special bond that our children have would be broken and that my kids would be hurt and not be able to grow up with their sister and that Solana would be hurt and grow up without her siblings.

And through tears he replied that he has siblings he hasn't seen in almost 10 years and he wouldn't do that to his daughter. That he loves her and he knows we love her and she loves all of us and he wants her to be around that.  She could spend one week with us and the next with him and if he was free he would drive her the hour and a half to our house to see us.

I told him we would have her as often as he would let us and that we want to be a support to him.  I asked him about the incident that landed him in jail and he told me he took the plea (even though it sounded like she may have made a bunch of the story up) to get out sooner so that he could visit in person with Solana.

Guardianship or any kind of shared custody isn't possible in this case and its likely Sheila will try to fight for custody and visitation in Family Court. But we worked out a plan so longer visits and several overnights will happen with Dad before the next court date. They will ask for return home and try to get us some sort of transition/ability to let the kids say goodbye. That's if the judge allows. And if he doesn't delay the reunification.

I felt good about this most of today. It's the right thing for Solana.  Her Dad gets it.  He wants us to be a part of her life.  This is the best possible outcome in foster care. It's what the system was designed to do (see it works sometimes!). And many people could only dream of this kind of scenario.

But it still sucks. And tonight when Solana was being smart and adorable the countdown began in my head.  I'll admit when she didn't want to let go of her book at bedtime and wanted Mommy snuggles, I cried. I whispered to her that I loved her and that I always would.  And I tried to memorize the way she smelled and how soft her hands are.  And I curled up in Hubby's lap in our room and sobbed. A big ugly cry, bordering on a panic attack. I'm still crying as I type this.  But that's because we do Foster Care the right way.  We love without strings. We go all in.  We put our hearts into everything. We leave nothing on the table.

I have zero regrets about deciding to take Solana. Or saying no the first time we were asked. I have no regrets about how we approached the relationship with her Dad or the year she will have spent with us. This part at least, makes all the rest of the raw emotion just a little bit easier to deal with.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

It's OK to Say No

I've got several posts started about how we are struggling. There has been so much crying and tantruming that I opted out of family therapy last week. I just couldn't do it. And that's ok.  For the last 2 + years I've sat with my kids and tried to listen and understand and learn. And in the years before them I spent all kinds of hours talking kids through therapy (remember the 2x week therapy with the Fab Four?). But I just couldn't take another session about the importance of telling Mom and Dad the truth or answering a question when asked. And its not their fault, and its not mine.

None of us asked for the trauma. And its okay to say, I need a break.

I've been practicing a lot of self-care. Even simple things like having a cup of tea. Crafting. I gave into the migraine I had and laid down. (Not easily done with 5 kids.)

And this has been enough to help me get my wits about me and get back to quality therapeutic parenting. And it must be working because we managed to go the whole weekend without any tantrums or rages.  Or maybe its October and whatever traumaversary was happening has ended.

Then of course there is the stuff happening with Solana's case. (And maybe the kids have picked up on our stress and sadness about that.)  This week some Facebook sleuthing led me to information that Sheila is pregnant.  She has missed several weeks of visits and a few months ago had ended visits early because she wasn't feeling well. If that was morning sickness, then I think she's probably due in the spring.  About 18 months from when she gave birth to Solana, which is about the spacing between the other kids. So she's ducking the caseworker, sabotaging her case, and putting our family in another impossible position.

How do I explain to my children that their Mom has walked away from their baby sister for another baby?   Or diminish their worry? Or answer the question- will you take the baby?

How do you make the decision to stop helping the siblings of your children?

And why the Hell isn't their mandatory birth control or pregnancy prevention counseling? I mean Heck, I'll pay for the birth control.

A friend of mine said it best, "Who has THAT much sex?"