Friday, July 30, 2010

It's official, they are placed here as a relative placement. We still have lots of paperwork and time for her to complete the adoption update on our home study but they are mine. I feel a deep sense of relief.

Now off to my busy day. First to the school, then to therapy, back to the middles school for open house, and home to cook, eat, bathe, and do our chores before hitting the sack.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cautiously Optimistic

The G Gma came this morning and brought all their things, including their BC, SSC, IEP, Psychologicals, and school records. She stayed for hours and had lunch with us. I'm so glad she will continue to be a part of our family.

This afternoon, the SW came to inspect us. She was very pleasant. A really nice lady. She had only one concern, our state requires any foster child that has been sexually abused must have their own room. OK, that is great in theory but impossible here. I explained most of our children have been sexually abused and we had a safety plan in place to keep everyone safe. This nice lady that has been doing home studies for new families wanting to foster or foster to adopt just about fell over when I explained what they were. She kind of sputtered and said she would talk to her supervisor but she couldn't promise anything.

I took her on her tour of the house and pointed out all of our safety devices and she personally witnessed how it all works. She was surprised to find the bedrooms doors all locked so the children can't get in them and nearly giggled when the alarms went off letting the entire house know we were going in their room. She knocked on one of the bathroom doors and a kid informed her no one can be in the bathroom if the light is off and the door in unlocked. Again, a slight giggle. She liked the play room and saw the TV with the video monitor flashing all the rooms with cameras on, she paused and watched. I showed her how the entire available upstairs was not only caught by the different cameras but also recording them with sound. My son asked to run downstairs to grab his toy, I gave my permission and he began counting REALLY loud while running to get it. I didn't notice because I'm used to it but she asked why. I explained it keeps their mind actively engaged, they can't have a secret conversation or act, and I can tell by their voice exactly where they are. She was impressed.

In the end, she compared us to a therapeutic group home and praised us for our knowledge for caring for such high needs children. She told me she would call their SW on her way to her next appointment and see about getting them enrolled in school. I think it means we passed. I am only concerned because of her original statement about Michael having his own room. We offered to build a room this weekend, if needed. Not that we can afford it but would if we had to.

I contacted there SW and she was surprised about the room arrangement issue. She agreed to go ahead and send me the paperwork to enroll them the moment she spoke to her. I still haven't received it and just found out their office is closed on Fridays. This means the kids will miss the first morning of school, at least.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A New Day and A Better Perspective

Don't worry, folks, I've come back from the ledge. I have a much calmer view of the situation and a grip on how to really make this work. After speaking to the SW, therapist, G Gma, and the SW working on their Life History preparing them for adoption, we all agree that we can manage with my new and improved safety plan and they are darn lucky we are so experienced with this issue.

Speaking of that experience, I was thinking today about the time I spent working in a residential program for sexually abused children that were also predators. I could never have imagined that time would come in so handy now. It was not a pleasant time in my life. It was stressful and I resented some of the children for their behaviors towards me. I am so glad I don't resent my children. I find myself irritated but never resentful. I can look past the behaviors and love my children for who they are. I never excused the behavior or take it lightly. It is dangerous and scary but for some reason, I'm meant to parent children with this need.

I spent my entire life preparing to parent these children long before they were born by surviving my own sexual abuse, spending time in a group home as a child and working there as an adult, being involved with DJJ as a teen, healing through therapy, and going on to work in a residential facility that treated this behavior. None of those events individually means much but when you add them all together it has given me the ability to help MY children heal and cope with their own sexual abuse and acting out.

I know the next year or so will be difficult with all the adjustments. The new kids, the out of home placements, and their reentry to our home but we will all be ok. It may never look like the other families at their school but we will be connected through good and bad. They will know they can come home to be loved, accepted for their strengths and weaknesses, and wanted. All of them. Always. Hopefully, they will all return to live and help each other heal from this horrible mess. I know they want to but more importantly, I want them to.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two Pregnancy Tests

In the past, I have been very open about what is going on here with their behaviors and choices. I can't right now. I can tell you they continue to shock me after all these years. The damage those pieces of crap parents have done to them is far reaching and we will all continue to pay for the rest of their lives. I am raging with anger for the wrongs done to all my children both old and new. I will never stop giving all my effort to keeping them safe here as long as they can be. I have no idea how I am still managing but I am. I feel stronger than ever. I WILL HAVE A SAFE HOME! I will teach them appropriate ways to show affection. I will model a healthy familial relationship. I will love them and help them heal regardless of their issues. I will do my very best to increase their self esteem and give them skills to help them stop being a victim.

With that said. It's been a rotten night full of confessions. More admitted abuse by extended family members and more horrific details about recent issues here. I will now have 3 leaving my home for RTC as soon as beds are available. I have administered 2 pregnancy tests to 2 separate minor daughters. Both were negative, so far. If positive, I would be the only grandmother this child would have. We are now on full alert with many new rules that a residential placement would be thrilled to have me install in their safely plan. I am armed with the knowledge of recent events and the motivation to change their lives.

I had a child cry to me tonight and ask how I can keep them all and why do I even try. I took both her hands and told her it was simple. I had a daughter once that hated me. She hated herself and her siblings. She sexually abused them and blamed them for it. She had no other emotions or connections to anyone. I was convinced she would be a serial killer and a sexual predator. I kept her. I made the house safe. I became a hard ass about every rule. I forced her to confront her feelings. I convinced her she was worth it. Now she is a lovely young lady, still making stupid choices of course, but she is safe. She has love and admiration for me and for herself. She laughs from her gut. She speaks her mind and feels her feelings. If I can watch her grow into the loving child before me, all my other children deserve the same chance. I have to try until I can't keep the others safe. Then I have to find a place that will work deeper and let them come home again.

All this crap on the heel of our home inspection Thursday to officially place the children here. I worry they will back out and remove them. We have the full support of our therapist and I hope that helps. I know we can not only manage but succeed with all the children. If you pray, do it for us. We need it now.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Punishment

Things have become much calmer here without Patches home. She called me the first afternoon she got there and hasn't called since. She has had the opportunity every day at noon and again at 7PM. She doesn't want to talk to me. This is her way of hurting me.

Ruthie is terrified she is going to leave and has made a major change in her behavior and attitude. She is following me around like a puppy. She goes straight to her room if I go upstairs for any reason. She hasn't tried to come out of her room at night even when she was having nightmares. I'm hopeful this will continue. She seems to really want to be here. Don't get me wrong, I don't trust her but I am proud of her recent changes.

School starts August 2nd. I have to enroll them today or tomorrow. It makes my heart ache every time I begin gathering their paperwork or think about the school year. Patches won't be here. Ruthie will start school but will be leaving right around that time. I'm really hoping they get all the help they need quickly so they can return to us. To me. I have fought this so long that it feels like a giant failure. I know I did all I could. I know they both need help I can not give them. Neither child can be in our home safely right now. Knowing they have to be somewhere else doesn't make the separation any easier.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Involuntary Admission

The last few days have been very difficult. Patches' interpretation of every conversation she has is very different than what the rest of us hear. She seems to focus on 1 word and twist it around to be the worst possible meaning. An example would be a couple nights ago I removed all her favorite items from her room because she was so destructive that I was worried she would ruin them all. I usually let the child destroy their own property, if they wish to and the consequence for it is the loss of their property. In Patches case, she barely has anything and the few things she has left can't be replaced or are way to costly for us to replace weekly. They are things like pictures of her birth family, her glasses, her bedding, her clothes and shoes (she regularly destroys them in a rage and has very few nice things left), and gifts she has received from her old beloved teacher and family. I explained to her very clearly that when she was done with this episode, they would all be returned to her. Nothing would be sold or given away but if she began to destroy other people's things, she would have to earn her items back. All she got out of the conversation was that I was taking all her stuff to sell it. Really?

We sat in the ER last night after she made threats to kill me, my DH, and herself. Not a biggie until she calmly told me that she thinks about it alot and thinks she may do it, if I make her mad. Great. She is mad ALL the time. Literally. She has moments of freedom from her anger but they are few and far between.

In a rage the other night, she screamed something about being abused by her mother's boyfriend. I tried to ask her what she meant but she was too angry. I mentioned it again in the ER, she unloaded. Both Rosa and I were shocked to the point of fighting back tears. Sadly, I'm a little jaded from all the horrible stories but even this one took my breath away. Their mother deserves to spend the rest of life behind bars, if what she told me had ANY truth to it. Of course, I believe her. It sounded true. It matched up to some of her sister's stories, in the past, about locations and situations. I had always assumed the other person had been another woman.

I have no idea if anything will come of this. I'm not sure how dependable Patches would be considered. I believe her. Everything she has ever told me about her past has been backed up, eventually, by the other kids. She has been the first to tell just about everything. Patches is known for her brutal honesty.

I'm not sure if Patches will be returning here after her short term stay at the hospital. The nurse led me to believe it is possible to get her moved straight into the long term program we are waiting on. She will be deeply missed until she is well enough to return to us. She will return to us.

The other kids are doing well. Time to enroll the kids into school. We still aren't clear if the new ones will be enrolled here or not. The G Gma thinks they should and the SW wasn't sure how to legally do that since they are on a "visit".

All the rooms are rearranged and kids are sleeping in them. The house is mostly unpacked. The house is usually a mess. They are all little piggys and require constant reminders to pick up their toys, clothes, and trash. It is still a bit overwhelming, at time. I do see the light though. They will all learn their part in the family and be fine. In time.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Great Day

We spent a good part of the day at The Children's Museum. They had a ball. Peyton wouldn't let Rosa drag him away from the ball section. He threw a major fit with screaming and kicking. I took pictures of him. LOL It was too funny watching poor Rosa try to politely and gently bring him back to the rest of the kids. Not gonna happen.

They drove tractors, planted and picked veggies, made all kinds of stuff out of moon sand, threw moon sand, threw balls, ran like their butts were on fire, showed their butt crack to the entire place, slid on the slide, dressed up, tap danced, listened to a story, made electricity to turn on a light and a fan, and checked out every stall in the restroom.

We came home to have Banana Splits for dinner. Before you go thinking, "How can she serve her children ice cream for dinner? She's a terrible mom." Think about it this way, the ice cream, whip cream, and chocolate sauce has calcium, the bananas, pineapple sauce are fruit, the crumbled cookies provide our starch, and the nuts are full of protein. It was a well rounded meal. The new kids called their Granny to tell her all about their dinner. She giggled the entire time. It was a good day.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Keeping Them Safe

One of the girls is acting out again. I don't think she will ever be a completely safe child. She is on meds to curb her libido and they aren't stopping her urges. I know most people think, "How can you keep her there?" or "How can you be sure other children are safe with her there?". The fact is, there is a chance in any family that has children that have survived sexual abuse that you will have some acting out. She is safer in our home because we know. We have taken special precautions to protect the other kids.

Remember when we discovered we had a predator in the house? I believe that was October 2008. Right before we finalized the adoption of the sibling group. I was a mess, at first. I loved this child. I had been completely snowed by her. I feared the rest of my children were in danger and I needed to figure out a way to keep them safe, even if it meant she had to go. The therapists that specialized in sexual abuse felt we cold mange.

We did many things to make our home safe. We moved her to her own room and bathroom. All the children were required to dress and undress in the bathroom only. We turned the video monitors back on with the focus on her. We paid attention to the things that got the kids excited or wound up and stopped those activities. Things like Hide and Seek, any chasing games, playing house is a trigger for one of my kids, personal space is a biggie, no shared blankets ever, no hands under the blankets, and there is always 3 or more kids playing together. Those are the general house rules but the child in question is kept close to an adult or in their room when they can't be watched. They are allowed to play with all the kids, just never alone with any of them. It is important for them to have interaction that is safe and appropriate but monitored.

I think the single biggest help was talking as a family. No secrets. We openly discuss (no details) what is going on with who. We talk about ways to be safe. We talk about how to handle specific situations. We give permission to protect yourself and examples. We talk about feelings towards each other without consequences. We talk about their past and how they are recreating it with each other. We talk about how these behaviors are not normal. We use that word because it does have an impact. Acting out sexually with your siblings is not in any world, normal. We talk about how to show your love in a more appropriate way. We do not freak out when they tell us they have a "tingly feelings". We talk about masturbation being normal and healthy as long as it is alone. We praise them for talking about these things with us and not acting out.

It's been a long time since we have had any incidents. The addition of the new kids has triggered some activity. Being completely honest, I'm not surprised but I am angry. The one acting out has been clear all along that she was struggling. She will now be videoed and recorded at all times that she is not with me. It makes me sad for many reasons but she is not a predator. She is acting out around others and crossing lines. She is manageable.

I believe that almost any child that is not predatory can be managed in a home with certain precautions in place. It isn't easy but can be done safely. I think a parent that educates themselves and their family about this can make this work. I have worked with well over 100 children in a residential setting that were predators and I have seen my own child work through this.

Some worry about the victim living in the same house with the child. Our experience with our sibling group has been amazing. We empowered the other children. We have watched them grow closer in a more appropriate way with a lot of guidance. We have seen real healing that could never have happened if we had given up. We have seen remorse and empathy that was not there just a couple of years ago. I was skeptical, at first. I have spoken to each of my children numerous times about it and I think it would have done more harm for them to lose another family member. They now consider that child the safest one in the house. This child has openly, on her own, begged for their forgiveness and promised to keep them safe. They trust her because she worked very hard in therapy and has kept her promises.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

I Realy Wish....

Cyr put hairbows in both their hair. He loved it!
Someone could make the 2 yr olds stop screaming! I can deal with 20 kids playing, heck even playing really loud. I am about lose my mind with all the toddler screams. I swear, one of them screams every 3 minutes. It isn't a joyful scream. It isn't even a scream they are in pain, most of the time. It is a blood curdling scream that they are about to die! It is always over nothing. One has a toy so the other wants it. One is too close to the other. One wants something to eat so the other joins in screaming. Time outs are worse because they scream louder in them. We are forced to place them on the porch and watch them through the glass door. It is the only thing that calms them down quickly. I can't wait for them to outgrow this stage!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Michael Was Run Over By A Car Today

As if we didn't have enough going on my DH decided to add some excitement to our lives. He called me at noon today to chat while he finished his lunch. I was going on about something and heard some guy yell "Watch out!" in the background. At first, I assumed he was goofing off with someone and I was irritated he wasn't paying attention. I said hello a few times when it went silent on his end. I immediately heard a lot of commotion and then screams. I knew they were his screams. I felt my heart beat nearly out of my chest, my hands began to shake, and I told the kids to get dressed with shoes NOW. I listened for 8 minutes to the other customers yell out his injuries. I heard him yell to get the car off him. I was panicked. I had Cyr call Rosa and I answered the other line that kept ringing once I heard the EMTs were helping him. They had been eating in the restaurant.

He was taken to the hospital and treated for a crushing injury on his left leg. He may require surgery to relieve the massive swelling. He has chunks of skin missing all over. They had to scrape and scrub pavement and rubber out of his skin before the cast it. Both legs hurt and are injured but the left is by far the worst. He will live to torture me, as only he can do. I can't believe he survived this, too.

Monitoring Cameras

We currently use this one with 2 cameras. Our adoption agency was kind enough to purchase it for us when the sibling group came. It is portable and clear. I was able to use the restroom and watch them. LOL Sounds silly but I was holding it all day for fear someone would end up hurt.

We will investing in an internet based system that allows us to add a bunch of cameras and run it all through the internet. My DH has a friend that does it. It is expensive but we can start small and add on as we can.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Bad Dentist

I took the youngest to the dentist only to leave before they did any more damage to him. They wanted to strap him down without me back there. He was terrified. I made him an appointment with a doctor that will take his time, allow me back there, and try to make it as pleasant as possible. He is going to need extensive work. At least 4 teeth are rotten.

I spoke to our county Resource Development person today at DFCS. SHe faxed me tons of paperwork to get started and we'll be getting our fingerprints done again on the 15th. She seemed really nice and was excited to take our case personally so she could get a look into the house. She has always been curious about it. LOL I've been working like crazy still trying to unpack.

The oldest boy is back here. He informed me that he was going to try us out and if he doesn't like it, he will just not be adopted and live with his Granny. He has had his heart broken by another couple that promised to adopt them but ever did.

Emma is visiting her Mother for the week. SHe has manged to get her first bee sting and in the face. Today she was caught jumping on the sofa and chipped her front tooth. I keep trying to tell her Mother a few dings and bruises are fine just bring her back with all her parts. I'm beginning to think I need to rephrase that. LOL I'm really not mad, Nikki.