Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Bad Choice

Well, P has not had a great afternoon. She had a sample test to do last week for the CRCT that she must pass to be in 4th grade next year. She can not read and her teacher sent it home for me to read to her and for her to answer. It took very long, close to an hour and a half and we stopped. I asked her to bring it home the next night and we would try again. It never came back. Today I get a note from the teacher explaining she had asked P for it many times and she had shut down and refused to look up. She asked for 3 days and finally gave her a check for it.

I am not really surprised about the school issue. Right now we are more focused on her honesty and attachment to this family and that is where my next question came from. "P, I have a note from your teacher about that test, I asked you about it a couple of days ago and you told me you turned it in. Do you want to take a moment and tell me anything else? Here is your chance to be honest with me." She did not make a good choice. She raged from 3:25 PM until 6:45 PM. She got up and cleaned her room and came to find me. She told me to look at her room and she wanted to make me proud (ok, I am correcting how she said it but the intent was that). Then she repeated the word I have said to her hundreds of times, "Just b/c I made a bad choice doesn't mean I am a bad girl. Right?" She smiled so big, I hugged her really tight and and agreed. This is so big for her, we are seeing more and more of this new child. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed.

The Plan

My friend, E, came over yesterday and we spent about 5 hours with all the kids and talking about her baby. She doesn't call the baby hers and I corrected her, I told her if she chooses adoption she does not lose her right to call her child her child. She is still the mother and the baby will be her son or daughter, too. She is trying not to hurt my feelings and walk on eggshells, it made me sad. At one point, she even claimed I was doing her a favor and helping her by adopting her baby. She has this so backward, I just do not know how to convince her of this. She made me promise not to pressure her to keep the baby, so at this point we have agreed to make this plan and if she has any lingering doubts I want her to share them with me or her therapist. She knows I will not be upset with her if she changes her mind, I want her to parent. We agreed she can not make this decision fully until after the baby is born and she has had the chance to hold the baby and really feel if this is what she wants. (Mostly it was me telling her she will actually make the decision then and this is just a plan. I sound so bossy, I really do need to back off a bit and be mindful of this tendency.)

It is a tightrope I am walking, the guilt of parenting another woman's baby at her and the child's expense is eating me alive and I have no idea how to get control of it. I am excited but holding back. I want to encourage her but be prepared. I don't want her to be pressured and I don't want her to think I don't want the baby or won't love the baby. If this is this hard for me, what can she possibly be going through? She said she felt relieved last night, she feels she has a plan and some control. I guess this is normal. We agreed I would wait to ready a room for the baby until she is much farther along and we are in the new house of course. I can just put money aside to make a huge shopping trip (a very well organised one) when the baby is born. I am sure my sisters, Mother, and MIL will help me get things together quickly if need be.

Emma's Mother called me yesterday and asked if I was obsessing about E's feelings yet. She has me pegged, I did it with her. She thinks I should respect E and move forward with the plan. She felt like I tried to shove her baby down her throat at times, that was never my intention. She also claims it helped her be sure she made the best decision for her and her child. She feels she might have blamed me or regretted it otherwise. (She did go around telling people I stole her baby but she never felt that way.) She is worried that E will use like R did. R was her friend, she suggested we adopt R's baby and R used us horribly with the intentions of parenting the whole time. R actually encouraged me to set up the nursery so she could have everything when she "changed" her mind. Her boyfriend felt bad for us and told us. E wants nothing from us, she won't even let me buy maternity clothes for (legally it is ok in our state). Emma's Mother felt really bad for us and is really happy that we are considering another baby.

My Dh has already claimed no diaper duty! He says there are enough girls in the house for each one to take a day and the boys are free to just hold and feed the baby. I think his plan is flawed! He has always wanted another baby in the house, it was me that was adamant, "No Babies!". Funny how that can change so easily, I can't even put up a good argument why I didn't want one anymore. Time can erase those all the tough nights with a newborn.

This baby brings on a whole new set of concerns for me. HAIR! I am a CC woman possibly adopting an AA/CC baby, I have a lot to learn about taking care of my potential child's hair and skin. We live in a multicultural area and have AA friends and friends parenting AA children so I feel we can encourage the child to feel good about themselves and their heritage by including others with similar families into our lives. I will have to get busy reading and learning more about the culture to educate my children. I would never want my child to feel alone or different in our family so if this adoption takes place, we will only consider AA or AA/CC children in the future.

My kids are holding their own. I am using a few new techniques that are really working. The big one is taking better care of myself. I am picking my battles a little better, putting the responsibility back on them, giving them alot of praise about good behaviors, and since the evaluations I have been responding in a flat tone "I know how smart you are, you can't fool me anymore." That is huge, they laugh and know they are caught. They are starting to work harder and seem to want to be a part of the family. We have so many social issues from lack of exposure that seem to be helped tremendously by just role playing a few minutes before a situation. As we pull up a place we all go over the expectations, how to handle personal space, and what is appropriate. They do it! Amazing at what has happened when I tell them what I want and expect they will do it.

I can help my son control his anger by growling at him. He dies laughing. How cool is that? My crier, D, is making some improvements. B is the most difficult now that we are so close to adoption, she is pushing for control constantly. She is refusing hugs and affection now that I am on to her. P rocks. She thinks that she is going to heal all her siblings b/c she is getting better herself. She also asked me if I thought she was the prettiest girl ever b/c she did. LOL This from a child that hurt herself and called herself names a year ago. The twins are irritating but we are moving forward.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I am Officially Crazy!

I have a friend that I met when I was working to help the survivors from Katrina. She and I talk about weekly and she has continued to have struggle after struggle and they are mostly from self inflicted situations. I give her a little pep talk and help her see the positive in the situation or her options.

Well, she has a doozy of a decision now. She had a brief affair with her married neighbor. She is pregnant with a biracial child. She refuses to see any positive and after many conversation of encouragement she got a little angry at me. She refuses to consider parenting, she is too far along for an abortion, and she has stated many times before this pregnancy she will not have another child. She thinks I was not listening to her and she wants me to adopt the baby. She said, "I know you are trying to find a way to help me parent but I do NOT want to. Please quit trying to help and just tell me you will love my child and allow my children to know each other." The father is not "on board" but he does not want his wife to know and said he is willing to talk to us.

I have huge feelings of guilt for wanting to parent this child. I want to help her. I wanted to help Emma's Mom, too. Both seem confident in wanting to place no matter how much I offer to support them. I am worried she will change her mind after the fact and regret this the rest of her life. I have tied to discuss this with her and she claims to know and still wants this. I have told her things may change along the way and she is supposed to worry about herself and her children over my feelings or anyone elses. I have lined up counseling for her and she promised to go.

On the flip side, I am thrilled to have the possibility of a baby in the house! The new house has a nursery in the master bedroom that is way out of the way of the rest of the house and the baby could sleep w/o knowing we have a hundred kids running around. I did not think I wanted babies but after talking with the OT, she assured me all of Emma's issues were Sensory Issues and since this baby is drug/alcohol free it should not be an issue. Even my DH is a little excited but he claims if it is another girl he will not tell anyone and just dress her as a boy to even things out a bit here. 7 females to 2 males really just isn't fair.

All my kids will be in school by the time the baby is born and we could be alone all day to bond. The greatest thing about my kids are that they adore small children and babies. They are kind and gentle with my niece and try to mother her. I think it could be a real help in attachment for them with us as a family. They can help be a part of building this family and "taking care" of the baby and the family. The good part about this woman is she knows my kids and loves them, she feels she wants her child raised in a large family that loves all the kids with their faults.

Back to the kids, my son is learning to control his anger before he has a full blown meltdown. He had several starts yesterday and between he and I we have worked out a plan to get him to think first. The trick is, I have to catch him before he gets there and show him. Not always easy but big time success in a short period. He has not hit anyone this week and only threw his shoe once and then he cried and apologized.

P, asked what her evaluation said and I told her on her level that her heart and emotions were starting to heal and this doctor saw it like I do. I gave her multiple examples of how her behavior and emotions have changed since her last home and now. I swear it is getting harder to get that head in the door since has grown so big over the months. She has now decided she is going to help her siblings get better and show them how. Too cute.

B and I are playing a game we made up about when she is trying to maintain control over me. She gets points for giving up control (not having the last word, not checking up on me, anytime she lets me be the parent, etc). I get points for her trying to have control. I give her a point if she backs off when I get a point and I have had us come out equal a couple of times and plan on making her win a little more each week until she doesn't need the reminder. So far she likes to play and is pretty competitive so it seems to be working. She will get to choose something special to do every week when she wins. The special thing will increase as the difference between her score and mine do.

D is hanging in there. We have started to have her be more active and that seems to help with the crying. I have been telling her how smart she is and that has encouraged her to try harder when it gets hard with school work.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Weekend

We had a very nice time in Helen at the retreat. We had wonderful food and laughed a ton. My husband is using the "techniques" way too much and is driving me crazy. He thinks he is funny but I want to make him a victim of domestic violence in his sleep.

The kids survived at my MIL's but we had some issues that I will pay for for some time to come. She lost control of the kids and my son had a small tantrum for her. She called with a ton of guilt for her reaction to him over the weekend but no harm came to him.

We did get confirmation that the appeal was actually dropped on the 9th of this month not Thursday. DFCS, the state, and my agency are getting things together ASAP to place the children on a Level of Care so we receive the correct amount of adoption assistance. They are hopeful to have all the paperwork in place within 2 weeks. I am very happy and hopeful about giving the kids some closure with DFCS. I am concerned they will not help us with Attachment Therapy or provide enough support to afford it ourselves. We have asked to have all future psychological needs be taken care of but I have heard horror stories and know they will try to get out of it.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

House and an Appeal

We should be moving into our new home in June. I am so thrilled. It turned out she was wrong about the appraisal and it was actually$330K. We are getting such a great deal all b/c of some cosmetic issues that are so easily fixed by my husband. They are going to work out a schedule to get the work done over the next couple of months so it will be ready for us. She has a lot of investment properties that she wants my husband to take a look at and do some work on. Her husband used to do it for her but considering the situation she is in a bind.

More news about the kids' parents. They went to court this morning b/c after 5 years the state decided to fight them for child support for the time the kids have been in care. They were ordered $1000 a month. Their Dad asked if they dropped the appeal would they still have to pay and immediately signed to drop the appeal. This is all 3rd hand and we are waiting for confirmation from the county but it sounds about right.

My husband and I are going to Helen, GA for a training weekend. It will focus on building up our relationship and parenting such difficult children. It will also give us the training hours needed to maintain our license.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I Think We have Found House

We went to look at a huge house in a great school district that I was not really that interested in b/c I was told it needed some work and I know my DH, it would take forever. Turns out the woman is desperate, her 55 yr old husband has been using Meth and doing "projects" while she sleeps at night. He ripped off the laminate counter tops, the carpet off the stairs and painted them black, tore up the flooring in the kitchen, and randomly taken doors off the bathroom cabinets to name a few. She just wants out of this house but she can not sell this house as it is. That is where we come in. My DH is a Commercial Contractor and she is willing to pay him and his guys to fix the things I can not move in with in that condition. She has most of the materials there already and anything I do not like she will take back and I will pay for the upgrade. We will be able to do the work while she is still living there and it will be completely ready before we close.

It has 7 bedrooms, 4 baths, huge eat in kitchen with a great pantry, dining room, gorgeous stone fireplace in the very large family room, an office, a lundry room off the kitchen and a room off the master that we can make a second laundry room, a fantastic rec room for the kids, and 2 huge storage rooms. The yard backs up to huge wooded lots so the kids can run around forever. (When they can be trusted.) It has a playground, pool with kiddie spool and sprinkler mushroom, pavilion, and tennis courts all in a gated community. It was very active with lots of families out with their kids riding bikes.

The best part is the house has been appriased at $315K in it's current state and she is willing to let it go for $279K b/c that's what she has in it. The rest of the houses in the neighborhood have been selling between $350K and $400K and this is one of the fasting growing areas around. I can't imagine out growing this house even if we adopt another large group.

Please keep your fingers crossed that my husband gets busy and makes it the house of my dreams!!!!! We won't even have to change any of out therapists!

Monday, March 12, 2007

My son missed the bus again today. It was not entirely his fault b/c I overslept. I warned him about 6 times t was time to go and he decided he had plenty of time to clean his book bag out. He has never made any attempt to clean anything so I guess he was trying to avoid the bus. He will be allowed to clean out all the book bags this afternoon to be sure they will not have to take te time and miss the bus themselves. Whay a good son to take car of his sisters that way. LOL

My niece threw a rock at C's head and boy did it bleed. No need for stitches but lots of drama. My niece is 2 yr sold and thought she was helping them clean the yard. She is quickly becoming on of my little Crazies. (The kids love that term and think we are all Crazies with our own versions of it.)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I Need to Brag

I went out Friday night with my Dh to a monthly dinner we attend with other parents trying to heal their children with RAD. It always makes me feel better, ok the drinks may be a small part of it but their kids are older and dealing with nastier stuff. I always hate to leave and wish we could see each other more often.

My son has been holding it together for 3 days so he can attend his first birthday party for a classmate. He has no idea the name of the child b/c he does not view them as people but more like objects. He is still very excited to play putt putt with Dad.

C is officially driving me crazy, I find myself avoiding her. Sh is constantly breaking any rule she can and chatting my ears off about nothing. She covered the slide yesterday with nasty mud, I mean the entire slide was an inch thick of mud. SHe could not come in the house b/c she, too, was covered head to toe. This happened while she was supposed to be cleaning the bathroom and she somehow snuck off and did this in about 5 minutes. It has recently been brought to my attention that she is also a willing participant in the sexual acting out that has been happening around here. She is always the first to fall asleep and usually does this on the sofa after her bath, she freaks out and tantrums for an hour when it is suggested she should go to bed (with the others). I hate that I am letting all the things she does get to me and I am making sure to five her extra love and positive attention until it passes. I am not sure it will be I must fake it until I fell it again. She is also extremely clingy and does not give me a second to breathe alone if she can help it. AAAHH!!!!

I got the final copies of the Speech, OT, PT, and Psychological evaluations together for my SW and she picked them up this AM. We are still waiting on B and P' s but I expect them soon.

I have a lady coming Monday for an interview that I am completely convinced I will hate her. She has a degree in Psychology and does not believe my children have no conscience or empathy for others. She feels I need Super Nanny and all will be better. I came so close to telling her off but decided I would allow her to see them as they are in their natural habitat. She was condescending and I may have to be restrained to keep from slapping her but I thought it would be fun to torture someone else for a change. She actually said she knew what I was going through and when I see her I will understand she can fix the situation. HA! I feel like giving the kids candy for the bus ride home and letting them eat her alive.

Friday, March 09, 2007

My son has been invited to a birthday party. The sad thing is he doesn't know who invited him b/c he can't remember the names of the kids in his class. I remember the little girl from skate night so I have reminded him repeatedly in hopes it will stick. It is as if he doesn't view the children as people but more as objects. Very strange that after all this year he does not know a single name. My husband is planning on escorting him to the party to play putt putt. I hope he is able to handle it.

I am busy planning a birthday party for my oldest next month. She turns 11 and shares her birthday with my niece and she wants to share a party with her this year. My niece is turning 3. We have rented a pavilion at he local park and I have reserved the local celebrity clown, Twinklz. We are having hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. She has never had a real party before and is getting very excited. It is funny to me how immature she can be at times, like wanting a clown at 11 yrs old. I sure hope someone from her class does not tease her for it later.

My SW called yesterday to inform me she has sent A and D's evaluations to the Assessment Specialist and they feel they will be placed on a much higher Level of Care. I am very happy to have someone deal with this issue and I am hopeful we will see an increase in assistance to help cover the cost of Attachment Therapy and help here at home. Please keep your fingers crossed this woman had the power to help and she acts on the evaluation.

I got an email from the kids' aunt again and she was informed by their Mother that they missed their appointment with their lawyer to sign off the appeal but are still planning to do it soon. I am not holding my breath.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Two More Evaluations.

The twins both came in today. A has Depressive Disorder and an IQ of 103. C has Disruptive Behavior Disorder and an IQ of 96. I am shocked by their IQs, I never would have imagined them to be anywhere near that and C has tested considerably lower a few times. Shoot, D tested at 56 in school and now she is testing at 73. I am totally confused by these numbers and while I understand that I should not get so focused on them, it is hard b/c they are so off.

I see the Depressive Disorder and the Disruptive Behavior Disorder in them and agree with that. They both had a GAF score of 53! What? I understand now how that number can vary and is not reliable at all. How could it be when my son is a 52 and he is a complete behavior disaster and my sweet A is a sobbing fool at times over nothing. They can not be compared in terms of difficulty and yet they score nearly the same. I can't wait to see what B and P turn up.

My SW thinks they can get the children assessed with thtis new information and properly placed on a level. YEAH!! I am not holding my breath.
My son smells again. He refuses to shower regularly now and he pees on himself as soon as he puts a pull up on at night. His classmates are teasing him and I am sad to love the smelly boy in school. There is no amount of begging that will encourage him, he must decide on his own to shower. It really does bother me a great deal.

I got the evaluations back for 2 of my kids. They are taking a very long time and I hope to have the rest this week or next. D and my son have a GAF score of 50 and 52. Not good. At least someone else sees they are not "normal" as DFCS claimed. I hope this will open he door for more services for them and they can begin to heal. At least clean would be nice.

Monday, March 05, 2007

I am having no luck finding help. I have been honest about our family and no one has shown up for the interview. We are 0 for 6. It is not looking good. I have another interview for Wed and I was not as forthcoming. My kids are so adorable, I figure if they see them they will assume they are sweet. My kids can hold that lie up for at least a few weeks. LOL

I am finally up and at it. I feel good and my patience is coming back slowly. I have lost a ton of weight and I look like I am wearing someone elses clothes. We just joined the YMCA and I hope to continue to lose some weight.

My DH is still in Puerto Rico and I hope to be able to contain myself and not beat him to death for leaving. I could really use some adult company even if it is him.

I have Emma home from school vomiting. Poor thing has had to ride in the car all morning so I could take A and A for a CT scan and B and P for therapy. Hopefully she can rest all afternoon and get over this bug w/o spreading it throughout the house.

We had a great weekend. The kids were excellent and made great choices or bounced back very quickly each time. I was completely amazed that the simple reminder to my son that I now know how smart he really is (we got back his psychological and he has an IQ of 101) and how he is my good boy seemed to really work. The power of persuasion seems to work well with a few of my kids. Even as he was melting down I would tell him he was such a good boy and he would scream he was a bad boy. I would respond with a smile he was wrong and he was my good boy, he was only making a bad choice. He moved through the tantrum quickly and wanted the praise for it. This is huge for him b/c he does not accept praise at all and always has very long drawn out tantrums. I reminded him throughout the day as I kissed him or hugged him that he was my good boy, Sunday he even called me his good mom. A tiny gleam of hope , I'll take it!

P struggled on Sunday afternoon and threw a fit that required her to step outside since she was using an outside voice with me. She flipped out and screamed I was going to let the wolves eat her. What? We don't have wolves. I sat right there with her while she rammed the glass door over and over until I had to grab her to keep her from breaking it and really getting hurt. She was able to get it together and finish her chore (all of 5 minutes). She apologized on her own but it leaves me wondering what is going on with her for her to lose it a few times in the last week. Her fits are so much better than they used to be. They are shorter and she always finds me to apologize and be sure I still think she is a good girl.