Friday, September 27, 2013

Call me back....I found you a baby!

One of my good friends just sent me a message, "Call me....I think found you a baby?!"  Of course she didn't answer when I called her back, LOL!  I'm sure it wont amount to anything, but of course I'm now sitting here daydreaming.  You see I have always really wanted to adopt a baby or younger child with Down Syndrome.  This friend of mine has the most adorable little boy that brings joy to everyone around him with a simple smile.  I have known several families throughout my life who have been blessed to raise children with Down Syndrome.  I would just about have a heart attack if I was chosen to raise a precious child with Down Syndrome......

How to Help: Birthday Bags

How to help foster kids without being a foster parent?


I just saw a great idea over on Facebook and HAD to share!  A lady and her "group" created "Birthday Bags" for foster families.  These bags contained a cake mix and packaged frosting, plates, napkins, forks, a cake pan from the dollar store, candles, party hats and noise makers! How cute is that?!  I love this idea and would be super easy for a Women's Ministry, church group, or classroom to do as a project.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fingerprinting

After waiting MONTHS for the social worker who is completing my home study to send me my registration number for fingerprinting, it finally arrived!  I had to bring a little one with me, but overall it was fairly quick and painless.  I went first thing in the morning, my little one has been really wonky from about 11am-1pm lately, no idea what that is about! We waited about 30 minutes and it took about 30 seconds to complete the fingerprinting.  She said I should receive the results in a week - 10 days, quicker than I had read online!  Hopefully this will not slow anything up. As far as I know we are still on for submitting my home study to the board on October 1st.  I would love to have some more kiddos by Christmas time.....specifically some girls so I can finally do some toy shopping that involves dolls and everything pink :)


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Empathy: Resources

Resources:

Activities to Develop Empathy in Children
Developmentally appropriate Empathy by age
Empathy exercises for kids:  List of resources and activities

Back to school night for Matthew

It was back to school night tonight for Matthew, I found out about said back to school night at 4:30 this afternoon!  The boys grandma graciously agreed to come over and watch the boys.  I wouldn't have blamed her if she said NO and ran screaming.  The last time she came over to babysit involved some physical aggression, Matthew trying to jump out the window and pretty much a lng ride on the crazy train....but she came anyway :)  I take it all as a sign that the boys are finally really starting to attach to her and feel the need to push back on that attachment.   In light of previous events, I took Matthew with me and put Joel to bed early so really she only had James to deal with this evening.  James in charge of snack tomorrow so I had them put that together to keep him busy. 
The back to school night was uneventful, Matthew has the same teacher as last year and I communicate with her regularly.  This is his second year attending a special private therapeutic school that our local district pays the tuition for.  He is in a class with about 5 students, there is his teacher and her aide as well as some one on one aides for some of the students.  His teacher is great and Matthew is doing great at school most days.  This will probably be the last year the district pays for him to attend and I am anxious to see if the skills he is learning in this highly structured and monitored environment will transfer to a "regular" setting.  In all likelihood he will transfer to a emotional/behavioral unit of sorts at the local district, so he will still receive support but there will be a lot more interaction with typical peers.
There was only one other parent who showed up to the back to school night and the teacher is constantly thanking me for the amount of communication we have, I don't think there is much involvement from parents of other students.  This makes me sad, many of these kids are here because of a lack of parental involvement, I get that, but here I am desperately trying to help my son change his past and we are all still here in the same place.  Sometimes it makes you wonder if it is even worth all the effort, but I know it is and have hope that this is just the beginning of a successful journey to adulthood.

Medication Approval

The insurance finally approved Matthew's anti-psychotic medication!  Woohoo!  We are only using this in emergency situations where he is unable to calm down.  I'm hoping having this on hand will help us avoid anymore trips to the ER.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Adoption fundraising letters

Have you seen these pleas for money to adopt kids on all the social media outlets lately? Its come up in several groups I belong to and it bothers me immensely! I'm not exactly sure why it bothers me so much.  Maybe its the sense of entitlement, like just because you want something I should pay for it?  Maybe its the fact that if you wanted a child that badly and didn't have the funds to pay for your private domestic adoption of a healthy white baby you could wait till you saved enough or maybe not purchase that daily Starbucks or trade in your brand new car for a clunker like the rest of us.  Maybe its the fact that if you really felt like God was calling you to adopt, maybe he wanted you to adopt the 6 year old African-American boy living the next town over who has been dreaming for a real family his whole life instead of the cute chunky baby.  Maybe I'm just jealous no one forked over a bunch of money for me to foster/adopt?  Who knows, but in light of it I have decided to write my own fundraising letter:

Dear Friends and Family,
I would like to introduce you to a very special little person but I cant due to my agency's privacy rules. He is my child, regardless of whether he stays here an hour or forever. I do not know who will be dropped off at my door yet, but we are so excited to meet him whether at 1:00 PM or 1:00 AM. Im open to adopting him if his parents are unable to safely have him return home, and we need your help to keep our home updated to meet my agencies ridiculous rules and provide room. No words can capture the true joy and excitement we feel as we anticipate the blessing of his presence in our home.

As most of you know, we have continually gone through traumatic experience taking in child after child who had been abused, neglected, and traumatized.  We have bonded with these children only to have them ripped from our hearts at a moment notice, sometimes returned to families who are not prepared or able to keep them safe.  Despite the continuing heartbreak, God has healed us physically, spiritually, and emotionally, and we are so excited to begin this journey again.

We are in the process of looking to purchase a home that can accommodate a large number of children. Due to our constant love and care for children in need our current home has undergone significant damage including pee soaked carpets, burns on floors from fire setting, molding and doors broken, drywall kicked in, permanent door alarms and surveillance cameras and broken windows.  Houses are very expensive, and we would like to invite you to be a part of our foster care/adoption journey by giving financially. The total cost of a new house meeting our needs is $300,000, and we are hoping to raise half of that. We trust that God will provide the funds needed to complete this journey.

Im too busy and exhausted chasing children, filling out forms and reports, waiting for CW to return my phone calls, and dealing with 14 other professionals telling me what to do after visiting 20 minutes a month to do any actual fundraising so just paypal me money at XXXXXXXX

Thank you for taking the time to let us share our journey with you.

Sincerely,

XXXXXX and XXXXX XXXXXX

"Wait....what flowers??!!": My most embarrassing parenting moment thus far


If you've never had a child pee off a balcony at the beach house onto unsuspecting beach goers below....you haven't lived!  I really thought someone was just up there watering flowers....until I realized there was no flowers up there only a little boys wee-wee and the top of some red hair.

Updates

Over the summer James was finally evaluated by our local mental health agency, they gave him an ADHD diagnosis officially but admitted that there is certainly a trauma and attachment piece underlying his behavior issues.  The next step was to determine what services he would receive.  My biggest concern was school.  He was going to be starting preschool, 5 days a week in the morning.  This is our last year before he enters kindergarten and I am really trying to get as much of this under control as possible this year so he can have a successful start to his education....yeah I know, but I can dream cant I?  Anyway, my main concern and desire was to get him started on medication.  Never in a million years would I have imagined I would be that parent desperately trying to convince the professionals to put my 4 year old kid on meds.  He needs them, desperately, and given everything we went through with Matthew spending 2 years going through dozens of medications and even more combinations and dosages of those medications, I want to get this right before James starts Kindergarten.  SO, the only way that they would consider meds is if he was receiving in home services....you know those services that were a waste of time with Matthew, the ones we were finally discharged from mere weeks earlier....yep, those ones!  So much for a rest from people in and out of my home offering a million suggestions that have already failed or are outright contrary to all leading experts in the field of trauma and attachment.  Folks, these kids CANNOT be parented, counseled, taught like a "normal" kid and doing so just puts you farther behind....I've already been there and done that with one kid, this is not my first rodeo.  Regardless, I agreed to the services and so far the BHRS and Mobile Therapist are nice enough and certainly better than the last pair we had.  After the last few months the BHRS is definitely starting to not only see James for who he is but is making the connections that that his behaviors are attachment based.  She even said to me today, "You know I notice that James doesn't really seem to have a good grasp on emotions and feelings,  like he is missing the empathy piece."  BINGO lady and it is pretty hard to discipline, consequence, or help form cause and effect thinking with someone who has no desire to please others or understanding how they effect others.  She also feels medication is the only way we are going to have a chance to get his brain to slow down enough to try and get through to him....6 days...not that I'm counting or anything :)  6 days till our medication appointment which brings a whole different set of stressers with insurance approvals and prior authorizations and overrides...ugh!  I know what medication I want to start with, Intuniv, it was literally a lifesaver for Matthew and our family.  I don't know that he would have safely been able to remain in our home if we hadn't found that medication after 2 years of rages, door alarms, fires, and violence.  It was like a switch that allowed the healing to begin.  I want to start there, but I know the insurance wont.  It took us 6 months after we moved to get the new insurance to approve it for Matthew, and that was with clear documentation of everything we had tried and the positive effect the medication had had on him prior to moving.  Fingers crossed the psych will listen to me and the insurance will approve without hassle.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I spent this past weekend with four other ladies, all foster/adopt mommas!  If you would have told me two years ago that I would have met so many friends who have walked a similar journey online AND had the chance to meet them in real life I would have never believed you :) 

Homestudy

Ill update this post as I go through the homestudy process.


I received a call from the caseworker assigned to do my homestudy.  He co-taught my Saturday Classes 3 and 4, and is teaching Class 5 next week.  He scheduled to come to the house Tuesday afternoon for our first session.  A few days later I got a packet in the mail with some documents and forms he will need.

They are requesting the following:
10 years of income records, in the form of W-2s and/or Social Security Statements-  This seems a little excessive to me, in the other state I just needed to provide the last years tax return and current paystub.  Since I am self-employed it makes this a little more difficult.  Hopefully he will accept my 1040's from the years I have no W-2's.
Health Certificates for entire family-  This is seriously irritating because the physical has to be done within 30 days of the homestudy being completed.  The kicker is we have all already had our yearly physical earlier in the year and the insurance wont pay for another one till next year, so I have to pay out of pocket. Update:  I had the doctor fill out the form based on the last physical anyway and am just submitting that, we will see if they say anything!  BUT I am not about to shell out $100 per physical unless I absolutely have to!
Pet Shot Records- Already have those :)
Drivers license and Insurance- Check
Renters Insurance- Check

Fingerprinting:  After months of waiting for my registration number to get my fingerprints done, the CW has finally sent it to me!  I will be going tomorrow!

The caseworker came out to the house three times for the interview phase, the questions were typical.

Caseworker says he will be submitting the homestudy for review by the agency on October 1st....we will see if that actually happens, fingers crossed.
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