Sunday, December 31, 2006

Tonight my sister and her kids are coming over for a "party". We have elected not have any alcohol here to respect the kids' wishes. We are not drinkers really at all. The last time we drank was the end of last year, but we do like to have a couple on New Years Eve. Not this year. The kids are a little weird about alcohol and while I think it is important for them to learn about social drinking, this is not the time to show them. We have many years to provide a good role model on adult beverages and I intend to teach them what is appropriate.

I have been sick for a couple of days so my house is trashed and we have spent a good bit of today cleaning. We still need to go to Walmart for a bit food if I can get some additional help from mu husband. My son is out of control today and P had a rough start this morning. I am wearing down quickly with him this afternoon b/c I was so sick yesterday and am just not quite myself yet. I just had to tell him I assume he must be exhausted and needs some rest b/c he is acting out so badly today. I am not in the mood to deal with him and really just want him to shut up for a bit or at least know where he is. He is screaming in his room for now and we all have a bit of peace. The other children are even a bit tired of dealing with him for now.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Details about the new Technique

I am using a special hand held brush with tons of soft but firm plastic bristles and I run it over every inch of their arms, legs, and back. I use long slow strokes and am careful not to retrace any of the skin. I do 4 short strokes on the tops and bottoms of the hands and feet. I then do joint compressions 10 times for each of the following shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, ankles, and then the neck. I press firmly grasping above and below each joint and never pull the joints apart only push them together. Hope that was helpful.

Brushing Technique

We are back to our many appointments and I love how we can do them during the morning hours and have the afternoons free for other things. I see why large families decide to homeschool their children. I can not fit in all our appointments after school and so they are checked in and out alot.

OT evals are coming along and we are now implementing a brushing technique with D and A. I could not believe the difference in D and how she stopped bugging me so much. No more constant boo boos, rubbing on me, crying, or any other annoying behaviors. She heard her name when I called for her and she was able to focus on a 2 step request from me with heavy supervision of course. She is not so flaky and disoriented. I am shocked it happened so fast and worried it won't last. I can see how tiring it will be for me b/c I have to do this for several minutes every 2-3 hours per child. They love it and are reminding me way before the time. I will have to do this during the day when they return to school probably right before lunch. Great another trip to the school EVERY day. I swear I am gonna request a permanent name tag to save me from writing it out every time.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I have survived and a few

We began opening presents on Christmas Eve so we could spread them out a little. It did not work. I way over did it. They got everything they dreamed of and I became that horrible parent that I never thought I would be. I regretted several of the gifts fairly quickly. Karaoke machine, Heeleys, and in line skates b/c they have not stopped since they have been opened. P even slept in her skates and has had some sort of epiphany that she was meant to be a skater when she grows up. What? She falls constantly and really does not see that as an error but as a challenge. She skates around all the furniture , my In Laws home, and even uses the restroom in them.

B got the Heeleys and karaoke machine and I can deal with the skating around to some degree it is the screaming into the microphone that is bugging me a bit. She may be pretty, smart, and strong but carrying a tune ain't a strength she has. She believes she is the next Beyonce and has forced us all to listen to her over and over. Let me tell ya, you can only fake something so long. I have banned the machine to her room for practice b/c it interferes with the other kids play. LOL

Only one major meltdown, my son had to show his butt on the big day and I felt it coming and couldn't talk him down from the edge, he needed to blow. I eventually had to take him to the ground and restrain him in front of my mother and sister. We are all used to this and quite comfortable with this but my mom and sister felt hopeless and wanted to help. I just wanted them to back up and protect themselves from his kicking feet. My mother just left and my sister watched from the couch. He took awhile but managed to talk about how he missed his parents and hoped he wouldn't ruin his new toys. He was great after we talked and has been VERY careful with them. He even asked me to keep them in my room to protect them from him. He has come so ar, he will be fine with his toys. If he chooses to destroy them then that's ok, too.

He is 6 and wears pull ups every night and we noticed he wets them immediately after they are put on. Now we know he is just trying to protect himself. My husband was getting angry b/c he smells and does it right after he puts them on and we had a talk about how we understand now and it is ok to do it if he needs to. He was so surprised it was ok now and shocked when DH apologized to him for getting angry before. He can do it and wear them forever if he wants. All of the sudden he is self conscience about people knowing he has them. When he first came he was loud about them and did not care if anyone found out. He even told the people at the store they were for him. For $7 a month, he can wear them into college for all I are. I hope he is able to feel safe enough to stop someday but today is not the day.

We just took it easy today and played with the new stuff. It has been a great day,except a pipe broke in our garage and we had to shut the water off to the house until a plumber can get out here. Fun, fun.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Kids are Gone

To Nanny and Papa's house for the night. They will be attending lunch with Papa's side of the family. Nice folks, well, some of them. Papa's mother is really self centered and down right rude at times. I have a hard time holding my tongue so we usually skip it. About 7 years ago she announced in front of about 50 people at Papa's birthday party, "OMG! You are getting so fat! You are gonna make your poor husband and those foster kids fat, too! You should do something about it!" At the time had gained about 10# and was wearing a size 10. I would give anything to be that size again. She is mean to her son, Papa, and he is kinda a jerk to think of it, too. He loves the kids and his dogs , that's it. He is a whole other story himself. The first time he ever spoke to me I had been married to his step son for over 2 years. He and I were getting Thanksgiving dinner in a buffet type style in his SIL's home and he just started telling a stupid joke. I looked around to see who he was talking to, I was dumbfounded he actually spoke but even more surprised it was to me. Did I mention he loves the kids? He is someone completely different with them, they have no idea he has no social skills.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

You knew it was coming...

The after math of the "memory". It is here in full force but not from the child I expected. P has the memory and I fully expected her to rage, tantrum, smart mouth, or something. Nothing but lots of growth. She is talking about how she feels (w/o discussing the details of the incident) and she is respectful, thoughtful, and caring about her siblings and me. She continues to amaze me.

My son on the other hand does know that she has had a memory resurface about his parents doing something abusive to him but he has not been told any details or hints as to what that would be. For all he knows it was about how his parents spanked them too hard. He usually falls right to sleep and gets up several times but that has changed abruptly and he can't go to sleep. He is afraid of something and can't quite figure out what it is. He says that his mother used to wake him up and scare him but she was not mean to him so now he can't go to sleep. I think he is on the verge of remembering or perhaps he already does know and isn't telling us yet. He has had severe rages even for him and today made the top of the list and it was in Walmart. My other children were so upset b/c we went to the one near our home (I had been traveling a little to avoid this issue but since I felt we had done well lately I miscalculated the situation) and a couple of classmates watched me restrain him in the cosmetics isle. He screamed how mean I was, he hates me, I wasn't his mother, and on and on and on. After and hour or more I had to get my food and go so he had to be carried in a tight hold all through the check out line. He had kicked off his shoes and socks and looked homeless and very angry about it. The sweetest lady behind us was cooing to her baby and I wanted to cry. I missed that with him and that is why he is hurting so bad. I was sweating from holding a 40# boy for so long and she approached me to tell me I was a very good mom. She was impressed with my patience and ability to manage all 7 kids and wished she could take the stress from em for just a minute and let me know that. She made the horrible day a little better. I can do this, he is my son and he needs me to be strong. I felt like I was getting very frazzled but I guess ordering the other kids to pick up the slack for a minute looked well organized. Go figure.

He has to make this up to them and as I type he is cleaning like a trooper. He "loves" me again and willing to do anything I ask. The girls are at the movie with Dad and they are going to dinner after. He will be busy with all their chores all night and by my side snuggling after that. He is the best snuggler when he wants to be. So sad it's always on his terms unless I force snuggle time and get him giggling first then I have the control.

Another cool thing happened right after that meltdown at Walmart. We get in the van and of course he is still hollaring nasty things at me, picking at himself, and being just rude the entire way home. I have had enough by the time we were home and I checked the mail box for a moment to myself and I got a Christmas card from Jensboys. I was so taken back I burst into tears (ok the card was great but not tear worthy) she sent a picture of all her kids and a wonderful newsletter about her year. It made my entire day. Thank you, Jen, you continue to amaze me with your strength and shear willingness to put yourself out there for others. Your family is beautiful and inspiring. You had no way of knowing how badly I would need a pick me up at that moment but you had the best timing.

We are still moving and I am desperate to really start house hunting but my DH is freaking out about the church idea. Kids are loving it but he insists he could never be intimate again. I am thinking that's great, too, no more excuses. LOL

C's IEP was just located and she will start Pre K in a contained classroom in the public system 2 days a week in January. A little bus will come and get her and bring her home. She thinks that is so cool. She has not thought about the fact my leg won't be there for her to attach herself to. She will figure that out soon enough, for now we are getting her pumped up for "real" school. Her twin, A, is just starting the process of evaluations to qualify her for it and her needs are not physical so they will not be in the same class. The really bad thing is our home school does not offer Pre K or contained classrooms so I could potentially end up with 4 different elementary schools since D may have to change schools for a better suited program, too.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Great Weekend

What a great time we had. We have 2 birthdays this month, P and D turned 9 and 8 so we took them roller skating. I have not been on skates in 17 years and it took me about 5 rounds to get decent balance and help the others. B and P had been before but only B could do it but P thinks she rocks at it. She is thinking professional career, this from a child that can not walk a straight line due to some undx neurological issue. She is too cute, I refuse to ruin her dreams. The others barely could stand until the end and then all but C tried to go around on their own. C tied to skate but her feet turn in so badly and her legs have been hurting so much that after 15 minutes she asked to have tennis shoes back on. She loved watching and laughing at the kids fall.

We went to the therapist to discuss this horrible memory that P has and she was amazing. I can see real progress in her. I love to see how proud she is about telling me what her parents did. The therapist is of course a mandated reporter but I have no idea what will happen. She is the only child that remembers and she would never tell anyone else about this and it will be her word against his. She did for the first time ever say she was mad at them. That alone is huge for her.

Their CW called and I am going to meet her today for the gits and coats she has been promising them. I can't wait, I have done all the shopping already so some things may just get put back until birthdays later.

B is getting a mini (kids) camcorder, Heelys, clothes, and a karaoke machine. She was the most expensive and got the fewest gifts. I was so worried she would be upset I explained it to death. The rest of the kids are getting clothes and tons of toys. They are doing so much better with destroying things I think they are ready for a few nice things. They have been without for awhile and while I did go over board, I was careful to choose specifically what the child could handle. Most are educational and for group play so I am supper excited for the holiday and why is it taking so long???????

Friday, December 15, 2006

OT Evaluations

Well, I was thinking I needed some more weekly appointments in my life and decided to have the kids all evaluated for OT. Turns out I will get my wish.....B is fine, P and D have mild to moderate neurological issues, C and A have moderate neurological issues and probably dyslexia, and P, C, D, and A(girl) have sensory integration issues but my son, A, has severe auditory sensory integration issues. Sound like fun? I realized filling out the million and a half forms that my daughter E has a lot of those issues probably from prenatal exposure to Meth so now she is having an evaluation next week. She has always freaked out about water, her hair being brushed, loud noises, can't stand to get her hands dirty, blah blah blah. Great, she was feeling left out and now she can fit in. Some how it feels like we are taking steps backward with her but that is to be expected. I hope to get everyone on the right track next month after psychological evaluations and we can begin working towards a healthier family.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Memory

My 8 almost 9 yr old had a sudden memory about her parents tonight and not a good one. She has been so dedicated to them and has fought us regularly about not wanting to be adopted b/c she loves them. It is b/c of this I am so upset for her, she was devastated and confused why she did not remember before. Her parents were violating her brother and she witnessed the entire thing. Of course no one else remembers but she says no one else was there. I am not in the least surprised given her father's extensive family history of incestuous sexual abuse. The Dad's sisters both claimed he had hurt them growing up and their father had been imprisoned for many years for it. We found it weird that the children had never claimed anything. She still wants to see him but said she understands only now why DFCS thinks they aren't safe at home. I see this is a huge step forward for her but expect to see lots of steps back before she accepts it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

We got Word

The kids' worker emailed mine and felt this 4 wheeler was a non issue b/c she was not transporting it. Ok, I understand but the parents are asking me and expecting me to so this. They are emailing me every day to see if I have gotten a response. I do not mind being the bad guy but legally I have to dance around a bunch of people to make any decision for the kids until we finalize.
I am going this weekend to see a church that is for sale that my realtor/friend thinks might really be an awesome idea for us to renovate as a home. It is really well priced b/c churches do not resale well and are usually bulldozed. I am thinking if it is decent it could be really cool. Think of how huge our living room would be. It has several large rooms that were used for offices and classrooms, a very large kitchen that would need updating, several bathrooms that would need showers installed but it would be cool to have his and hers. The parking lot holds 23 cars so they would have a place to ride their bikes. It has a couple of buildings on it that we aren't clear on, we hope one is suitable for my husband's reptile breeding and the other for storage or rec area. It is in the right area of town and I am getting a little carried away. It might be all wrong, but we shall see. (My hopes are a little high.)

Other than the church he has given us about 12 more houses that I really like. My husband is not so thrilled about the daily drive for the first year and is kinda being a pooper. He always comes around eventually and when we find a house he loves, the drive will be worth it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

No Word

Still no confirmation about the 4 wheeler but someone helped me out and showed me the Foster Parents Manual for my state. Guess what? They are allowed. Can you believe that they allow any age child to ride any all terrain vehicle with the foster parent's discretion? They won't allow FP to cut a child's hair but sure ride a vehicle that is meant for older people and had killed children. I can't even focus on that right now.

Holiday shopping is almost over and I want more. Now I have to focus on my baking and candy making for all the friends and extended family we give to. That's the part that exhausts me, the cooking. Cards have gone out and I need some things wrapped but almost done with the money part. Everything was in cash and no credit card bills to pay off next year.

We have begun looking for a larger house. It is painfully obvious that we need to go much bigger. Not to mention the acreage we need for out new 4 wheeler, not. We have 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths but no basement. We are looking for 5 bedrooms and an unfinished basement in the "country". The farther out we go the more house for the money so out we go. I have to have a huge kitchen b/c I seem to live in there and need to be able to have a visitor occasionally. Our plan is to finish the basement into 2 more large bedrooms, bath, and a rec room. Yes, we will be adopting again and we have definitely decided another large sibling group with lots of boys in it. When or where is yet to be determined but we are planning now for another expansion in the future. We have not gotten our fill of door alarms and video surveillance equipment.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Parent's Gift

I got an email last night from the kid's Aunt that the parent's bought the kids a 4 wheeler. At first I was mad. I thought they were crazy b/c they are homeless, jobless, and their van is always breaking down then I called the Aunt as she requested to tell her I have to see what DFCS thinks and hopefully put it all off on them. She is such a nice lady, the first thing she said was that she tried to convince them not to do it but they insisted. She would totally support us if we wanted to reject it. I explained I thought it was inappropriate for their age and we live in the city with no where to ride it but if DFCS said it was ok I would do it. We talked for an hour about the parents constant bad choices and how she was so happy we had the kids. She really misses them but she knows we will make good decisions for the kids and protect them.

Then she dropped the bomb, she thinks the parents are going to drop the appeal. She was feeling me out to be sure I will open the adoption and how the kids are doing w/o the family visits before saying what was on her mind. I was honest, the kids really worry about their parents. They want to be sure they are safe and have food. She wanted to know how open we would be. I told her I will not pin down a schedule and felt it would be slow with lots of weekly phone calls until we could establish a trusting relationship. We will do what is best for the kids even if it hurts every one's feelings. We discussed our relationship with Emma's Mother a lot. What our rules were, what we expected from her, how often we see her, and her role in our daughter's life. She was completely blown away and started crying. This is the best thing for their parents b/c we are so comfortable being honest and laying everything out. We do what we say and say what we mean. I see a great relationship with her in the future, we really click.

She was able to relate to the kids feelings of betrayal to their parents. She discovered as an adult that her Dad was her step dad and now has a relationship with her father as well. She had a great deal of guilt about finding him and caring for him and what that meant to her Dad. He approved and encouraged her but she still has a hard time with it. She vowed to help the kids deal with this issue and help the parents understand their role in this guilt. I feel that will help so much.

We laughed over C's choice for a name change. She is 4 and originally wanted to be Tinkerbell but has changed her mind now to Ella. We are still uncomfortable with them changing their first names and try to down play it. She refuses to answer to her name and insists on being called Ella. My DH has changed it to Smella due to her constant smelly emissions. It has stuck and this adorable child is now known as Smella in our home. Her Aunt thought it fit perfectly and loves it. She was very happy to hear they will all keep their current last names and add ours.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Tree

After tons of dental exams, speech, OT evaluation, and the visit from the appraiser we managed to get homework and showers done with enough time to finish putting the ornaments on our tree. We had hot chocolate and were laughing and having a great time when the tears started. The youngest first and then the oldest. We sat down and talked about their feelings for a good half an hour. The holidays are bittersweet and we let them know this is normal. We asked them the things that they did at home and what made it feel like the holiday for them so we could do some of those things here. They are worried their parents won't have a tree b/c of so many years w/o one. This is the biggest one they have ever had and it's only 8ft tall. My oldest said it looked like a tree in the movies. Today I get to work on presents while the little ones sleep and before the older ones get home.

My CW just called and asked if I would speak to their current class of potential adoptive parents. This is a huge honor b/c they usually would not ask a family not finalized yet. I am so excited and can't wait. This is right up my alley. I have been involved in fostercare for years and say it through a child' s eye when I lived in a group home as a teen. I watched all the other kids w/o families and heard how they felt. I have worked with fostercare on some level my entire adult life and now we are adopting through it. It should be fun to see other adults not in a waiting room between therapy visits.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I had the appraiser out this AM at 8AM so we can refinance the house. I have Speech therapy at 11:30, then off to check out all my school age kids for back to back dental cleanings, and to the hospital for an Xray on B for the ENT. WOO HOO!!

D needs her bottom tooth fixed b/c she has chipped another tooth. She must have very fragile teeth and that means lots of future visits for her. I finally had the long awaited IEP meeting for D and again nothing happened. They did some more extensive testing and feel her IQ is actually a 56. Not what I wanted to hear! They are scheduling another meeting to place her. I mean come on, I don't have time for this many meetings for nothing to happen. Let's move forward, get this kid some help.

A had a great night last night and did some of his homework. Hopefully he will catch up over the weekend w/o too much screaming. His room is decent and he participated well with all of us. He is starting to pick out his own clothes at night is feels like a big boy. His OT evaluation shows he has auditory sensory and attention issues. I am hoping to get a grip on this stuff soon.

D's evaluation was what I expected, sensory issues and a lack of understanding anything the poor woman was saying. The therapist was so calm and sweet, D just doesn't get it.

Off to my day......

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I went tto the dentist on Friday and he was able to save both teeth and refill them. It was close and he kept saying he was so sorry, that kinda freaked me out until he later explained. He was sorry my mouth was gona hurt so dog on bad. He is worried I might be back this week for 2 root canals. I wished for death about an hour after I left his office and had to ask him to call pain meds in. I am now back to eating soft foods and can read online now that I am off the meds. I kept getting dizzy and could not focus. But I am back.

The meds and pain also did something I was not prepared for, I doubted myself and the decision to adopt auch a large group of crazies. (I mean that in the most loving way, we all have a bit of the crazies but my kids have got a bit more than I had anticipated.) I knew the day would come but I was very upset at myself, I felt our life was hopeless and we would never be normal again. I missed the days alone with Emma and reminised about a quiet house and all the fun we used to have. I also told the kids in no uncertain terms that I have had it with the tantrums and how they slide right back in forgiven each time. I want an heart felt apology for each incident and will not give them the warm fuzzy me until they make restitution for their behavior. SO far so good. It may take them awhile but we are seeing it happen.

I have a booger eater that is driving me crazy. I swear she prefers them over cookies. I don't know what to do, it is embarrasing in public and her hands are gross. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

We are starting asessments on all the kids. They need them and I need to know what we are dealing with. OT started yesterday, the rest will happen soon.

D, broke another tooth so off to the dentist with all the kids for check ups tomorrow and hopefully fix her tooth , too.