Saturday, August 16, 2014

Rough few weeks.

The last few weeks have gotten progressively worse for Alex.  Logically I get where his behavior is coming from, but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with on the daily!  I feel like about a month ago Alex really started attaching to us as a family, getting comfortable here, he began asking for hugs and telling me he loves me.  Shortly after that we began seeing MAJOR push backs, the incessant "You hate me, you like everyone more than me".  He even developed a little sing song-y thing based on the Lego Movie "Everything is Awesome".  He would sing "Everybody hates me....." over and over and over, to the point where I couldn't get anything done.  He is constantly pouting, not listening, calling the other kids names or starting arguments with them.  To be honest its wearing me down.  I get it, I really do.  There is a feeling of betrayal for kids when they start to bond with another family.  There is also the understanding that they will go back to their birth family, more than likely even in the best of situations their birth family will not be able to offer them the same things.  Alex is now trying to push us away, convince himself that we don't love him, thus making it easier to return to his birth family.  Today Alex had a visit with his sister, his sister is in the custody of Grandma.  Grandma is where Alex was living before coming here, Grandma was deemed unfit to care for him for whatever reasons.  Since his sister wasn't actually a ward of the state she stayed there.  Today Grandma showed up with Alex's brother, who was living with his dad (different dad then Alex). This brother is now living with Grandma.  How can an 8 year old kid make sense of that?  The only logical inference for him to make is that HE isn't wanted by his birth family, but that pain would just be too much. So we take the brunt of his anger and sadness.  Anger and Sadness that is displaying itself in him screaming stomping and crying in his room for the last hour over a 5 minute time out for calling Matthew a dummy for the 4th time this evening...sigh.    Really wish Starbucks delivered right now!!!!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

It's finally SUMMER!

Sorry its been so long since I updated you all :)  It is finally summer!

The kids did Vacation Bible School last week and had a blast.  Are the VBS's in your area charging?  I was floored when looking for VBS's for the kids to go to that almost all of them were charging 25-35 bucks per kid.  The one I sent them to last week was the only free one I could find.  To me that is just crazy, "Hey we would love to tell your kids about Jesus....it will cost you though!".  Oh well, it all worked out anyway because I found out our city has a playground camp the whole month of July, I thought it was 10 dollars a day BUT this morning when I went to register James, Joel, and Alex I found out it was 10 dollars for the WHOLE month! It is M-F 9-12 for Joel and James and 9-12 and 1-3 for Alex, Matthew will go in the afternoons.  They go on trips like swimming, bowling, etc occasionally. Matthew goes to ESY for the month of July. 8-1 Monday through Thursday.

Buttercup has been doing great, she is SO close to walking, it will be any day now!  Mom has shown up to the visits each week and Buttercup gets so excited seeing her walk in the door.

Alex has visits with mom once a month at the jail, she has been telling him he is coming home this summer. Apparently she is up for parole soon.  Alex is having a hard time understanding that this is probably not the case.  Even if she is released on parole, he wouldn't be able to go home right away.

We had R1 back for respite this weekend, 6 kids almost pushed me over the edge, LOL!  I don't think it would be so bad if they were not all so close in age...and boys (except my Buttercup).  Between R1, Matthew and Alex they are constantly in a control battle.  R1 brought a bunch of toys and of course when it was time to go everyone argued over whose Bey Blade pieces were whose....which I warned them would happen.  Then we couldn't find two of R1's Nintendo DS games.  We spent hours looking everywhere and ended up not being able to go to the Aquarium like I had wanted to.  We could not find them, I thought Matthew had hid them somewhere so I gave R1 one of our games that was the same and told him Id find the other and give it to his caseworker.  About 10 minutes after we dropped him off R1's foster mom called and said they were in his pocket! Grrrrrr......she is supposed to drop off our game at the agency this week, we will see if that actually happens.

We went to the beach for a couple days last week.  The boys woke me up at 5 am to look for shells and we found this little guy.....we named him "Hermie".  The boys took care of him all day and then released him back into his habitat, but only after I promised to buy them each a hermit crab this weekend when we go back!  Ahhhhhh that's a lot of hermit crabs :)



So there is my update for today!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Alex's Sibling Visit

This will be the second weekend that Alex was supposed to have a visit with his sister who lives with  kinship placement. The same kinship placement he was removed from.  Last time the kinship caregiver cancelled.  This time she called and said she will only come for 30 minutes since the Judge said she couldn't be in the visit.  She didn't want to wait in the lobby for 2 hours.  We will see how it goes tomorrow.

Matthew's IEP meeting

I had our annual IEP meeting for Matthew this week.  No shocking information, he is still doing really well in the therapeutic school.  They are recommending he stay there for fourth grade and the school district agreed to pay for it again.  They have a level system and he is on the highest level.  They have taken of all academic goals except writing and OT, so the only thing that remains are the emotional/social/behavioral goals.
I often feel mixed emotions when it comes to Matthew and school.  On one hand I am happy he is doing so well, glad that I get good reports and his teacher sings his praises, trust me that wasn't the case before hand.  Often times though this makes me feel like the problems we see at home are more so issues with me (my parenting or his lack of attachment to me), it makes me second guess everything.  At today's IEP meeting I felt very validated, they noted ALL of the EXACT issues that I see at home as still being a problem in school.  I feel guilty for being happy that he is having these same issues at school.  However, knowing that these same social/emotional issues are presenting themselves in the same exact ways at school really makes me feel like the attachment that I think Matthew and I have gained is real, the issues I see at home are not nearly a presentation of "Attachment Issues" between him and me, but rather some legitimate issues that are consistent across the board.  Many of these stem from the trauma he endured early on, many are from mental illness, but I feel like we have moved past most of the behaviors that were rooted in attachment insecurities or avoidance.
He will probably have a new teacher next year, I have mixed feelings about that as well.  He has been with this teacher for almost two years and one of the reasons he does SO well is because of her.  She is highly structured, aware of what is going on in the classroom, attuned to his issues, encouraging and funny.  On the other hand I think it will be good to see if he can transition the skills he has learned to a new teacher and classroom environment.  He will need to learn how to transition these skills if he is going to be successful in the regular school environment.  They all assured me that his teacher next year is wonderful and that we will keep in touch as far as the transition, so I am hopeful. 
He will get Extended School Year services over the summer, that consists of school 8-12 for about 4 weeks with the bus transporting him, that is really helpful!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Alex turns 8!

Yesterday was Alex's 8th birthday!  he totally screwed up my odd numbered children (9,7,5,3,1) now they are ages 9,8,5,3,1 and with Joel's birthday in another week it will be all kinds of messed up :)
When I asked him what he wanted he told me "A new lunch box!"  He was totally excited when I said he could pick more than a lunchbox for his birthday....sometimes I forget this is all new to him and many foster children.  He brought doughnuts in for his class treat. We went to Chuck E Cheese, came home for ice cream cake and presents.  He had a great time! Happy Birthday Alex :)

Medical Drama for Buttercup

So there have been tons of phone calls back and forth regarding Buttercup's medical issues that need to be taken care of.  First the nurse from DHS called me and told me a social worker from the hospital would be calling with more information about scheduling her needed surgery.  Yesterday I got a call while we were at Chuck E Cheese for Alex's birthday from the hospital social worker.  She gave me the name and number to the specialized clinic at the hospital that would be handling things and told me I needed to call ASAP.  The team only meets once a month and I needed to get her on the schedule quickly.  This surgery should have been done months ago but there were three no shows previously.  I called this morning and got on the teams schedule for June.  Before that she needs to get in to see the pediatrician for a physical.  Remember how DHS scheduled that for today without checking with me first, and remember how I told them I was not available, and remember how they said they would transport.....yeah that didn't happen.  I had left several messages this week with the DHS caseworker trying to find out what was going on.  No return call. This morning I called the doctor's office to let them know she was probably not coming since no one had called about scheduling transportation and asked if I could reschedule.  They told me they couldn't get her in till June and they were nasty about it.  Its not my fault, I communicated with everyone! I told the lady that would not work since the child was in need of surgery as soon as possible, I told her Id have DHS call her back to reschedule. Left another message with DHS.  DHS lady called back while I was at an IEP meeting for Matthew, BUT her message mentioned NOTHING about the doctor appointment, ugh!  When I got home I called my agency worker who told me DHS lady had called her and said she forgot to schedule the transport but would reschedule the appointment.  My agency worker is also trying to schedule a visit with Mom for next week.  Not sure how that will work since as far as I know Mom is still in the hospital. 

Agency Caseworker Visit for Buttercup

Buttercup's caseworker with my Agency came out to visit on Monday.  It was pretty uneventful as there isn't any new news.  I told her what DHS had told me regarding court and the doctor appointment that was scheduled. She brought out the placement paperwork and medical information, did a quick check of where Buttercup was sleeping.  She then had me fill out two "Ages & Stages" questionnaires which are basically to get an idea of where the child is developmentally.  She went ahead and scored them and everything was on track for Buttercup developmentally.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Monthly Caseworker visit for Alex

Alex's caseworker was out today for her monthly visit...yes you read that right a caseworker came on the first of the month for the monthly visit rather than the last day, LOL!  She told me that she is really glad he is here and he is doing really well here.  She has scheduled another visit with Mom in a few weeks and we will try the sibling visit again next weekend and see if Grandma will bring his sister.

On a side note, Alex has been calling me "Mom" all week....not YO or HEY YOU!  I think he might not hate me anymore :)

Update on Court for Buttercup

Court was this morning for Buttercup at 9:00.  At 4:30 I got a call from my agency worker, I assumed it would be about court, but she just wanted to know if I had scheduled the physical yet. Which NO I have not scheduled since no one has given me any medical or insurance information yet, nor do I even have the official placement paper yet that I would need to take her to the doctor.  After we sorted that all out I asked about Court.  My agency worker didn't even know there was court?! I explained that there was a hearing this morning and she may be leaving to go to a kinship placement.  I then told her that the child advocate had told me she was not recommending the placement due to an extensive criminal background on one of the adults in the home as well as an issue with some teenage relatives that were living in the house.  The agency worker was going to try and call the child advocate.  After I got off the phone with her I decided to call myself and left messages with the county case worker and the child advocate. 
Around 6 the county case worker called me back.  She says that she is waiting on getting the criminal records back on the kinship placement, apparently the child advocate had run her own reports and DHS had not run any reports?  How do you go to a court hearing about placing a child with a relative and NOT run the report beforehand?  Ugh.  Anyway she should have those back in the morning.  She said the child advocate wanted clarification about a child endangerment charge that had been dropped on one of the adults to make sure it "wasn't anything crazy".  Once she had that info she would present it to the child advocate and see if she will approve the move or not.
The DHS worker then tells me some medical information she learned and that they scheduled her for a physical on Thursday....um, well I cant di this Thursday cause I already have two appointments.  Whatever, I told her we'd worry about it next week once we see if she is staying.  She will also need a cardiology appointment before the surgery she needs can be scheduled.  So we are back to the waiting game.
It is utterly irritating how there are SO many people involved in these cases but nobody is on the same page or knows what is going on.  I decided to go ahead and schedule some portraits to be taken tomorrow morning, which will be Buttercup's 1 year old birthday!  Who knows what will happen, but she deserves those and I deserve to dress her up in pretty dresses :)

Buttercup's Child Advocate

Buttercup's Child Advocate came by yesterday morning.  She seemed really on it and let me know she is NOT recommending Buttercup be moved to the kinship placement at court tomorrow.  She told me she is uncomfortable with the length of the kinship relatives criminal record, even though none of the things on it are prohibitive offenses.  She also let me know that the kinship placement has two teenagers who they are guardians of from other family members and one is already in an out of home placement due to behaviors.  She and her supervisor do not feel comfortable placing a baby in that situation.  Court was this morning, haven't heard anything yet.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Phantom Ailments Continue

Sometimes dealing with Alex is like talking to my Grandmother in her Nursing home, each day brings a new pain or sickness that needs to be discussed in length and complained about until I just cant take it anymore.  Ive gone back and done the math, Alex has been here 67 days so far.  He has had something "wrong" with him at least 27 of those days (these are just the ones Ive documented, I know I missed some).  It has ranged from his knee hurting, eye hurting, ear hurting, stomach hurting, throat hurting, ankle hurting and my all time favorite his LIPS are burning.  Back at teacher conferences I had talked with his teacher and he hadn't been complaining of any of these things there, however that is no longer the case.  Last week he told me the nurse gave him ice for his burning lip and that helped SO much, cough cough. On Sunday he fell on the playground and began immediately complaining his ankle hurt, complete with limping....on alternating legs.  Mind you he has been running around outside when he doesn't know Im watching and these pains come up randomly throughout the day, but not when he is busy doing something.  Today I got a call from the school nurse that he was in the nurses office with "knee" pain.  Let me start by saying I was already irritated with this Nurse when she said, "Is this mom?" and I said "Yes." and she felt the need to clarify, "FOSTER mom".  Yes I am foster mom, does it really make a difference right now?  You are trying to reach me, you know my relationship to him, he is probably right there in the office, what is the point of pointing out Im foster mom??!  Grrr.....anyway when she said he was in there with knee pain and had he ben telling me about this.  I explained to her that he had fallen at the park and said his ankle had hurt, but that there was no swelling and he was running around on it fine when he wanted to.  I also explained that there had been frequent issues of aches and pains since he got there.  She told me that his teacher had informed her that I had explained this, BUT she thinks it is probably growing pains and wanted to make sure he was getting enough sleep and calcium??!!!  UM seriously lady, you have NO clue what is going on....maybe I missed the class on lips burning indicating growth spurts? I reiterated that I believe it is an attention issue and that we are trying to balance giving him attention yet also explaining to him that making up injuries is not the way to get attention and that it makes it difficult for people to trust him and know when he is really hurting.  She promptly told me that he is the second child to come in today with these growth issues so she just wanted to let me know and hung up.

Why is it so irritating dealing with the "professionals" who should get it?

Shhhh....Alex just called me Mom ;)

That's right, Alex just shouted from the basement "MOM, where's the juice boxes!!".  Oh my word you all he didn't refer to me as "hey you" or "lady"!  I think he might be starting to like me a little :)

Monday, April 28, 2014

PINK!

For those of you that don't follow me over on facebook, you may have missed some big news....stop what you are doing right now and follow:
https://www.facebook.com/YoungSingleAndAdopting?ref=hl

Ok now that that's taken care of, let me fill you in!

A few weeks ago I had called my agency and left a message with placement that I still had a crib available if any baby girls came their way.  Last week on Wednesday placement finally called me back to confirm that they had me on the list for a girl 0-2 and asked if I only had a crib or could I go up higher on the age limit. I said I could make a bed available but it would require some shuffling of rooms, so I would prefer under two but would be willing to take five and under, girls only.  I was pretty proud of myself for sticking with my girl requirement at least.
Several hours later the lady from placement called me back form her car after hours and said, "Remember that conversation we had a few hours ago......".  She had an 11 month old healthy girl who had just been taken into care by DHS and needed a place to go.  Mom was admitted to the hospital.  That was all the information they had. Of course I said yes!  We all frantically cleaned the house which was a disaster and ran up to Walgreens to pick up some formula and diapers. 
The little girl got here that night with nothing but the clothes on her back and is just the happiest little thing.  Ill be calling her 'Buttercup' for the blog.
Friday one of my agency workers came out to do the safety check and let me know who her caseworker would be through my agency, but she didn't have any new information.  I still didn't have any information about her going into the weekend.  I tried feeding her some real food and she did great with it.  I did notice that she was having a lot of milk/food coming out her nose.  She also had a really bad cold, full on snot machine!  Sunday evening it seemed like she might have an ear infection that was bothering her, but she was still as happy as can be.  I didn't have any medical or insurance information yet, so was waiting till today (Monday) to see if anyone had tracked it down.  This afternoon the DHS worker came by and filled me in on what she knew.  It looks like Mom will be in the hospital for at least twenty days if not more.  Two relative placements have been identified.  One is a family member who will be out of town for the next two months, so that probably will not work.  The other was an Aunt and Uncle who want Buttercup, however the Uncle had something come back on his record.  It was not a prohibitive offense (list of offenses that would make it an immediate no-go for placement) but DHS is still not recommending them to the Judge.  Their will be court on Thursday and the Judge will determine if the Aunt and Uncle can get placement.  Meanwhile, it turns out the baby has a cleft palate that was never corrected, which is why the stuff was coming out her nose.  She is also supposed to be on Soy milk, so the cold/ear infection may be from allergies.  The DHS Nurse was trying to get more information and get me her pediatricians information so I can schedule something.
I on the other hand have been thoroughly enjoying tutus and dressed, even if its only for a little while :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Court for Alex

Last week I got a letter in the mail with sibling visit dates and times for the rest of the year, every other Saturday.  Nobody bothered asking me if we were available that day or time, but so goes foster care.  As part of the letter Grandma was asked to attend the visits as we'll to continue a relationship with Alex.  This is the caregiver he was removed from who currently has temp custody of his sister.  Grandma is also supposed to call Friday afternoon to confirm the visit.

Today I got a call from DHS worker, he was AT court in the Judges chambers and needed to know my name and address.  That's right he went to court and didn't even have basic information like where the kid is living?!  He called me back about three times asking questions he should know the answers to.
About an hour later my agency worker called to let me know the sibling visits will now NOT include any of the Grandparents.  Didn't tell me why, but did confirm she would call Friday and let me know if the visit has been confirmed.

Did I mention no one told me there was court today?  Ugh!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Menu for April 14-April 27

Total Spent for 2 weeks- $175
Notes: Kids home from Spring Break 14-18


Monday 14-
B: Cold Cereal
L: Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, Chips
D: Chili and Cornbread

Tuesday 15-
B: Pop Tarts
L: Great Grandmas for Lunch
D: Potato Soup and Hawaiian Rolls (Using leftover ham from Sunday Night)

Wednesday 16-
B: Oatmeal with Blueberries
L: Pepperoni Stromboli
D: Chili Dogs (Using leftover chili from Monday)

Thursday 17-
B:  Cinnamon Bread
L:  Homemade Fish Sticks
D:  Ribs and Mashed Potatoes

Friday 18-
B: Baked Oatmeal
L: Lentil and Sausage Soup with Bread
D: Pizza

Saturday 19-
*****AT GRANDMAS*****

Sunday 20-
B: Waffles and Bacon
L: BLT's
D: Baked Rigatoni, Salad, Bread

Monday 21-
B: Cereal
L:
D: Chicken Thighs

Tuesday 22-
B: Oatmeal
L:
D: Million $ Spaghetti

Wednesday 23-
B: Pop Tarts
L:
D: Sausage Burgers

Thursday 24-
B: Cereal
L:
D: Hot Dogs

Friday 25-
B: Oatmeal
L:
D: PIZZA

Saturday 26-
B: Pancakes and Bacon
L: Cornbread with Hotdog pieces
D: Spaghetti with meatballs

Sunday 27-
B: Donut Muffins
L: Sausage Burgers
D: Ribs

Friday, April 11, 2014

Schedule for No school days due to Snow/Teacher Inservice/Holiday


7:00         Wake Up
7:15         Breakfast, Free time
9:00         Read Story
9:15         ABC Mouse for James and Joel, Reading Comprehension Activity for Matthew, Mom load laundry and dishes
9:45         Snack, Social Skill Review
10:00       Outdoor Play Weather permitting OR Free time on Ipad/Computer, Mom clean kitchen
10:30       Math Activity
10:45       Legos/Blocks, Mom load laundry/dishes
11:15       Writing
11:30       LUNCH
12:00        Nap
2:00          Snack, Social Skill Review
2:15          Outdoor Play Weather Permitting OR Coloring/Craft
3:00           Read Story
3:15           Free Time
4:00           Matthew walks dog
4:15           Family Devotional
4:45           Clean Up/Chores while Mom makes Dinner
5:00            Dinner
5:30            Baths/Get ready for Bed
6:00            Bed for Joel, Read in Room for James
7:00            Bed for James, Mommy and Matthew time
7:30            Read in Room for Matthew
8:00            Bed for Matthew

Manner #1: Proper Posture

 
 
We are working on Table Manners at our house.  I'm making a sign for each "manner" we work on and hanging them near the table.  Here is the first sign, front and back, for using proper posture at the table!
 


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Monthly Caseworker Visit: April

The agency caseworker was out today her monthly visit.  She let me know she got a new job in adoptions so there would be a new caseworker soon.  She let me know she is trying to set up another visit with Mom for May 19th. She played with Alex outside for a little while and talked with him in his room for a few minutes.  We did a clothing inventory, although she didn't actually check the clothes.....just went through the list and I had to give her an estimate.  We certainly don't lack on clothes around here, but you would think they would actually check??  Oh well, it was quick and sweet.  She will be going out to his school in a couple of weeks.  I know there is a court date at the end of this month, though I haven't actually received any information about it.
Later this afternoon the county caseworker called.  He was preparing his notes and wanted basic information like what school Alex was at and what counseling place.  Did I mentioned that he has signed paperwork for both of these places and given it to me???  Don't they copy those things for the file, you would think he would have.  But apparently not.  I on the other hand have everything ever sent to me or signed by me in Alex's binder, go figure.  He also has informed me that they will be starting sibling visits soon, but he doesn't know where yet.  Sibling visits with his little sister, who is still living with the relative he was removed from.....hmmmmm.  Ill let you know how that goes!

Update on Bus Letter

Never really heard anything back from my bus letter, other than apparantly the aide told Matthew to tell me Thank-You.  At least the information was shared and hopefully they will take my advice to heart.
A few days later we also got a note from school saying that they are aware that several parents have complained about the bus and they are trying to reach out to the bus company to discuss the issues.

Parent-Teacher Conference and stuff

 I had been sick since last Thursday and finally broke down and went to the CVS minute clinic on Saturday, strep throat....ugh!  Medicine finally began kicking in on Sunday and I could begin picking up the disaster zone that had become my house. Praise the LORD, that I had spent the week before teaching everyone a morning and evening chore to do around the house.  That alone kept us together while I was sick.  I'm so proud of Matthew especially, he is rocking the dishes, which I absolutely despise so it is a huge help for me :)  Sunday night and Monday morning James was looking a little lethargic so I didn't take him to preschool.  We dropped Joel off and did a few errands together, in the dollar store he told me had had to use the bathroom and then promptly peed his pants, which wouldn't have been a big deal.  However, the next day (Tuesday) he then pooped his pants.  He's never had an accident since being potty trained so this was bizarre to me.  Not to mention inconvenient because Tuesday was packed with appointments, Matthew, James, and Joel all had their 6 month dental check up on Tuesday.  Alex only has half days so we had to pick him up at 12:30 and then head to Joel's speech therapy.  After that we had to go straight back to Alex's school for his parent teacher conference!  By the time we got home and got James in the tub he was pretty embarrassed.  I'm hoping this isn't going to become a thing and rather was just a coincidence  or a result of him not feeling 100%.  When I got him in the bath I noticed that he had pieces of "floam" in his stool.  Its like playdough but made with tiny bead shaped things.  Obviously he had been eating it, gross, and probably why he wasn't feeling well.   The permission to evaluate from the school was in the mail when we got home, so that is a blessing and hopefully they will put James back on an IEP for kindergarten next year. 
Alex's parent teacher conference went well, his teacher said he is transitioning well into the school and as made friends.  She doesn't have any behavior issues with him.  She admitted she was a little nervous because he is the first "foster kid" she has ever had and wasn't sure what to expect.  Alex is definitely a great ambassador for the idea that foster kids are just normal kids who are in a bad position due to know fault of their own.  He is a great kid!  Academically he is doing great, scoring at the advanced level on the last reading test, consistently getting 100% on spelling and math tests.  I'm so glad to hear he is doing well and he LOVES his school.  The teacher said he tells everyone how he is staying here and doesn't have to move homes again till his Mom comes back.  He shared with his teacher about going to visit Mom so it seems like he has a good relationship with her too. 
James had two small cavities and they had openings to get them filled Wednesday and Thursday morning, which meant no preschool for him those days either.   The dentist said he did a great job.
We have the agency caseworker coming over for her monthly visit tonight and she called yesterday to see about setting up another visit for Alex and Mom in May.  So far she hasn't shared much information with me, but I know there is a court date sometime this month so maybe I will hear more. 
I may be calling the agency soon to let them know we still have a crib open and ready.......... :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Therapy 101- EFT: Emotional Freedom Techniques



Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) also called "tapping" is a quick easy intervention or coping skill you can teach your kiddos to deal with big feelings anywhere at anytime.  Similar to acupuncture, the child will tap on certain points of their body while running through a script helping them process their feelings.  There is a wide variety of variations on how you can do this with your child, and an internet search will give you tons of ideas, videos, scripts, etc.

First you need to teach the tapping points.  Below is a video teaching a child to use the points.  For younger kids I would recommend using a stuffed animal and putting stickers or sewing buttons on the tapping points so they can practice with it.  You can choose to only teach a few tapping points if that is all your child can handle right now, I would do at least a minimum of four.  For my youngest we use four tapping points King's Crown (top of head), Mustache (Under Nose), Tarzan (Collar Bone), and Monkey (Under armpit).  For my oldest we do all of the tapping points and I made a "cheat sheet" that has pictures of him doing each tapping point so he can reference it as he works through the script.






Once they know the tapping points you can find scripts online or make your own, check out youtube too! You will find that most of the "adult" scripts are too long or complicated for kids to follow, here is a great page showing a way to develop simple scripts for kids:  Dumping, Dreaming, Deciding Technique for developing EFT Scripts.  Here is an example of a script I made for my son dealing with angry feelings: Printable Anger Script.  I used the Dumping, Dreaming and Deciding technique but also added in a section for Physical Symptoms because I think it is helps my son connect the physical symptoms to the feelings.

Here's the thing about the scripts, if your kid doesn't want to say it out loud, that's okay.  If they want to copy and repeat after you, that's okay.  If they want to read it silently, that's okay.  If they refuse to do the script at all and just sit there listening to you, that's okay too :)  The thing I've found most helpful with the scripts for my son is having him hear/say that his feelings are valid, that there is a way to have those feelings and work through him, and that he is an awesome/smart/brave kid.  He struggles with self esteem so having those positive affirmations reinforced while tapping is great for him.

We are working on making him a binder filled with different scripts and I have video taped myself doing the scripts on his Nintendo DS so he can watch them whenever he needs.  Its super simple to do and it can never hurt to give your kids more tools for their arsenal!



Resources
Do's and Don'ts of tapping with Kids
EFT SUPER STAR:  Brad Yates
Community Forums for Parents and Professionals using EFT with kids


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bus Issues with Matthew

 
I had an unpleasant time this morning when the bus aide almost didn't let my kid on the bus because of his "disrespect".  The aide made Eric walk back home this morning from the bus and demanded that I come to the bus stop and speak with her or Eric was not allowed on the bus. This is the FIRST issue we have ever had in two years on the same bus (however this is a new aide)! Not to mention I had three other children in the house, so running down the block to the bus stop with no notice was not ok. The aide was rude and disrespectful to me and I was still fuming about it 5 hours later so I can only imagine how her tone and body language escalated whatever issue happened yesterday morning.  Basically she said he is jumping around and hanging on seats an when told to sit down is very disrespectful.   She told me while waving her finger in my face that she is "NOT going to have some punk disrespectful KID talk to her that way!"  I politely responded that I understood and asked her if she had let the bus know when she dropped him off at school yesterday.  She told me that she had not, she wanted to speak to me first.  I asked her to please let them know.  She said to me, in a very aggressive demeanor, "Aren't you going to say anything to him?!".  I told her I would address it at home later and she flipped out telling me that that's the reason he is disrespectful.  Needless to say I think a big part of his bus issue is the bus aides demeanor and tone, but regardless my kid need to learn how to respond appropriately. I wish schools would have bus drivers, cafeteria workers, etc take training a on trauma or behavior/discipline! I felt the need to write them a little note telling them about my kids issues, the effect of trauma and what works for him. I'd like to offer some suggestions for them to try and make the bus ride go smoother?
I did end up calling the supervisor to ask what the protocol is for bus discipline, as I suspected what was done was not appropriate.  I nicely informed the supervisor directly that I would be happy to do a training with all the bus drivers if he would ever allow it I plan on having Eric write an apology note and pay me back for some Starbucks gift cards I bought for the driver and aide and enclose a copy of my letter for them tomorrow morning. Hopefully it will make a difference, if not Ive tried! 

Here's the letter I wrote:

Dear Bus Driver/Aide,


    Thank-you for informing me of Matthew’s recent behavior on the morning bus ride to school.  I know that you have a tough job, especially on a bus filled with children who have special needs!  Please know that we will deal with Matthew’s behavior appropriately at home,  he has written an apology note that I have enclosed as well as purchased a small gift with his own money to thank-you for your hard work.  I am hoping that by sharing a little about Matthew with you, you will better understand his behavior and be able to utilize some of his strengths to make for a smoother ride to school.  I am more than happy to speak with you anytime by phone/email or to set up a time to meet in person if you have any questions or concerns.
   
I adopted Matthew out of the foster care system three years ago along with his two younger brothers.  Matthew’s first six years of life were filled with severe abuse and neglect.  As a result of the trauma and toxic stress that Matthew endured for those years he was left with special needs that he struggles to overcome daily.  He is very bright and has made an incredible amount of progress in the last three years, but still has difficulty in some areas.  Matthew has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), ADHD, and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) as well as other mental health issues.  Due to his history and diagnosis Matthew’s ability to trust adults to keep him safe or meet his needs is severely compromised.  He does not have the ability to read social cues including tone of voice or body language and often perceives things in an aggressive, accusatory manner.  He is highly impulsive with a lack of cause and effect thinking, causing him to be unable to think through his words or actions and determine consequences.  He lacks skills in empathy and has difficulty understanding how his actions/words may cause another person to feel.  


    It is a lot of issues for someone so young to have to handle on a daily basis, having adults who are consistent and keep his environment structured and routine make a huge difference.  Here are some ideas that may help his behavior on the bus:
  1. Visual Reminders:  Matthew does better with lists or visual reminders rather than direct verbal confrontation.  If you would jot down any specific bus rules and hand them to Matthew to put in his book bag I would be happy to create a small laminated card with the bus rules/routine on them that could be handed to him in the mornings when he gets on the bus.
  2. Immediate Consequences: Matthew needs immediate consequences for his behavior in order for him to make the cause and effect connection.  Please let the school know of any issues as soon as he is dropped off, so his teacher can address it with him immediately.  Feel free to write a note on any behavior issues in his planner as well, both the teacher and myself would then be able to see it and address the issue.
  3. Close Proximity:  If Matthew believes he has gotten away with something he will escalate his behavior quickly, by keeping him close to you on the bus this will help eliminate the opportunity for him to cause problems.  
  4. Verbal Prompts:  If verbal prompts need to be given it is best to keep them short and avoid excessive talking or back and forth arguing.  For example, a simple “Sit Here” works well, do not engage in explanations or respond to his arguing.  It is best to keep your tone and body language calm, positive, and even tempered.
  5. Keep him Occupied:  Matthew responds really well when given a “job” or “responsibility” to do, even something as simple as asking him to look for a specific street name may help keep him focused.  I’d be happy to provide Matthew with some “Books on Tape” that he can listen to while on the bus ride if that would be allowed.


Thank-you again for all of your hard work keeping the children safe while transporting them to school each day.  I hope that some of these ideas may be helpful with Matthew.  I will continue to impress upon him the importance of following the rules and routine on the bus.  If there is anything specific you would like me to do please let me know and I will be happy to help.  You can reach me by phone at _________or email ________________                  
 

 

Update on First Visit

So here's how the first visit went down!

I picked Alex up from school and drove him downtown to drop him off with the County DHS worker around 2pm.  The night before, Alex and I went around the house and took pictures of his room and toys, and a picture of him with the dog to show his mom.  I wrote her a short note letting her know how great he has been and how he is doing in school.
When I dropped him off I asked the DHS worker to please explain to Alex that his mom was in prison on the ride over there, he believes she is at "Sleep Away Camp".
Around 6pm DHS worker brought him back to my house.  He told me that he didn't need to say anything to Alex because it was "clear where they were at" so clearly Alex understood.  Needless to say Alex does not understand, he now things mom is at a "very bad school" and she should have picked a better school to go to!!!!! AHHHHH!!!  I'm letting it go for now, but will probably have the conversation with him before the next visit.  DHS worker said mom was very appreciative for the letter and pictures and extremely emotional.  I think (hope) it was clear that he is in a good home, which I know has been an ongoing concern for his birth family.  His previous kinship home would frequently tell him they would send him to a bad foster home if he didn't behave.  She asked for me to get a specific lotion for him, which we have since done.  You can tell he really likes putting on the lotion that his mom wants him to use and it gives him a connection to her.  We really haven't had any behavior issues due to the visit.  We still have a lot of faux illnesses going on, but its been that way since he came so its not related to the visit itself.  No word on when another visit will take place.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Guest Blog over at The Last Mom

 
 
 
I was so lucky to have shared a guest post over at Last Mom!  Not only do I love her blog, she is a fantastic parent to Princess, but I've gotten to know here in real life too :)  Below is a copy of my post that I shared with her readers, be sure to check out her page too!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I'm so excited to be sharing with all of you in The Last Mom community today!  For those of you who don't already know me, my name is Bessy and I blog over at www.youngsingleandadopting.blogspot.com.  I want to talk with you today about having a child who seeks out attention, comfort, and sympathy from everyone and anyone.....other than you!

My journey into the world of foster care and adoption began about four years ago when I took in my first placement, a sibling group of three boys ages 5, 21 months, and 7 weeks old......oh and did I mention I'm a single parent?!  It was a whirlwind and roller coaster right from the beginning.  This "we just need a place for them to stay for a weekend" placement never left and we became an official family two years later.  The boys are now 9, 5, and 4 years old and we still foster 1-2 kiddos at a time. 

Things have been far from perfect in our journey, shortly after the boys came my oldest was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder and in the years that followed we received additional diagnosis of ADHD, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder and more.  My middle son has also been diagnosed with ADHD and a Mood Disorder as well as "attachment issues".  I knew we were in for it when this cute little boy jumped into my car that first day, within minutes of meeting me, and said "Can I call you Mommy?  I LOVE you SO much!!!".  I thought it was slightly odd and had knew about attachment stuff, but had no idea the trauma a statement like that really signaled.  Oh how na├»ve I was then!

The first few weeks were great, my oldest would tell me he loved me and hang on me and play with me, showering me with affection and adoration.  However, as the weeks went on that affection towards me dissipated and was replaced by distance, anger, and pushing me away. I began noticing that he would easily walk up to strangers or acquaintances and climb in their laps, hold their hands, ask them for help tying his shoe or reaching something high.  Oh and the ladies loved it, they would take in his big gorgeous smile and shower him with special attention, hugs, kisses, and treats. They would tell me what an adorable, affectionate,loveable sweetheart he was and I was left feeling like something was very wrong.  As I learned more about early childhood trauma, reactive attachment disorder, and my own child's personal history, the pieces all began to come together.  My son was able to accept "love" from these other people, his relationships with these people weren't a threat to him, they were superficial, he was getting what he needed (attention, affection, things) without having to worry about attaching, trusting, being vulnerable with someone only to have that person abandon him, abuse him or neglect him.  It further reinforced this idea he had learned that adults were stupid, worthless, and dangerous, that he didn't need to rely on me for anything. He could take care of himself by manipulating adults into getting him things he needed by being superficially charming. Something had to be done to enforce my role as parent, a trustworthy caretaker who could meet his needs without abuse, neglect, or abandonment allowing him to just be a kid without worry.

Here are some of the things we have done over the years to help encourage my son to seek me out to meet his needs instead of others:
  1. Keep your child's world small:  One of the most important things you can do, when trying to discourage your children from seeking out others instead of you, is to keep the child's world very small.  Try to avoid environments where your child will have the opportunity to seek out others.  For us this meant using online schooling for a year so we were able to focus on bonding, trusting, direct instruction of social skills, and fun!  If you have to go out keep your child close, this may mean they hold your hand or stay by your side but you want to minimize any interactions that would encourage further separation from you as the caregiver.
  2. Inform those around you:  Often times people have the best intentions when interacting with your child.  Most of the world has no idea about attachment issues and no idea what to do to support you in parenting a child with attachment issues.  They may question your parenting when you wont let your child out of your site or go to a friends house for dinner.  I have found that the majority of people are willing to listen.  Most of the time I don't get into a lot of details, but I have shared that my child is working on bonding with me and learning to trust me to provide his needs.  For those closer to you or who may see the child often, you may want to provide a list of ways they can support your child or explain a little of your child's history if appropriate.  Another idea you may want to use is developing a small business card relevant to your child's struggles that you can pass out to strangers or acquaintances you come in contact with when out http://youngsingleandadopting.blogspot.com/2013/12/business-cards-for-special-needs.html.
  3. Look for missed areas of development:  Our children often missed some pretty important areas of development, go back and look at some development charts and get an idea of what skills your child doesn't seem to have.  You may need to provide Direct Instruction (see #4) in order for them to learn those skills.  Children often learn through play in their early years, unfortunately many of our children never got the chance to play with Mom or Dad and create that bond while also developing.  Many kids love to go back and play some of those games, or read some of those stories that are typically geared for younger children.  Having some special "play" time set aside each day or week to play with Mom or Dad can be a great way to encourage trust and bonding with you that they never received. Over on my blog I am doing a series on "Teaching" Our Kids how to Play, going back and working on those missed play stages, come on over and check it out :)
  4. Use Direct Instruction to teach them how to get their needs met:  Many times teachers and other adults have told me that my son would "pick up" appropriate social skills by watching others or by modeling it for them.. I have found this to NOT be the case for my kids, maybe because they have holes in their development from before they came (see above), but I have found they need direct instruction.  For example,  if my son wanted a snack he would just go take one.....or twenty, lol!  Instead of just saying "No" hoping he just learned this was not okay and understand why we would teach it as a skill.  We would develop steps for getting a snack 1. I feel hungry 2. Go ask Mom for a snack 3. Listen to the choices of snack 4. Pick one 5. Sit at table and eat.   We would then put the steps on a sign with pictures of the child doing each step or illustrations of the step and hang it where it will be needed.  Whenever the issue arose we would head over and check what the steps said to do.  Pick one or two things to work on at time; maybe how to ask Mommy for a snack or what to do if you are hurt.  Think of an area your child doesn't come to you to get their needs met and break it down into simple steps for them to follow.  I found it easier to reinforce when it was coming from the sign, then it wasn't ME telling them what to do and reduced some control issues.
  5. Have your child ask for everything:  As kids get older and gain independence it is really easy to let them "take over" certain tasks.  What we want is for the child to learn they can trust you to provide everything they need and accept it from you.  One way you can encourage this is to require your child to ask you for everything, sure my 5 year old could get his own snack or pour his own water, he had been caring for himself and his brother long before I came along.  However, requiring him to ask me first began to create a need based relationship and allow him to accept me to be the provider.  If he did something without asking, I would simply respond, "Oh it looks like you were hungry, you got the yogurt all by yourself.  Next time, you need to ask me for a snack first and then we can get it together.  You might even be able to get a cookie for a snack if you ask.  Would you like that?" There is no punishment, just reinforcing that Mommy is the one who provides, which leads me to my next point!
  6. Say yes whenever possible:  You want to be associated with good things, find ways to say yes to things instead of no.  There is a great article talking about this over at BeTA (Beyond Trauma and Attachment) http://www.momsfindhealing.com/index.php/blog/yes/

It can be really difficult to feel like the rest of the world is getting to interact with your sweet loving child and you are getting the cold shoulder.  You just have to realize that this is a marathon and not a sprint, slow and steady my friends!  Its been four years with my boys and I can honestly say each year has gotten better and better.  Sure we have our ups and downs and regressions and progress, but I'm pretty confident at this point my son prefers me, he may not be fully "attached" in all senses of the word, but if given the choice he would pick me.  Four years ago, that wouldn't have been the case, he would have happily climbed in any persons car and driven off into the sunset asking "Can I call you Mommy?".


Thanks to The Last Mom for having me over today and you all for letting me share a small part of our story!  I'd love to have you join me over at my blog www.youngsingleandadopting.blogspot.com or on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/YoungSingleAndAdopting

Bessy

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Alex has first visit tomorrow

Today around lunch time I received a call from Alex's DHS case worker. He wanted to set up a visit with mom in prison for TOMORROW!  Nothing like waiting till the last minute.  He also told me he should have done it weeks ago and he's not making excuses BUT there was snow and he was sick, blah blah.  So now I have to pick him up early from school and drive him downtown, which will take about 45 minutes.   The best thing about all of this is that NOBODY has told Alex that mom is in prison.  He thinks she is at College learning how to be a great mom.  Anyway I probably should have kept the information about the visit to myself, but I told Alex he was going to have a visit with mom tomorrow.  We went around the house taking pictures of things he may want to show her and talk to her about, like his room, some toys, and the dog.  Now it is 10:00pm and he is complaining about his ear hurting and will not go to sleep.  His ear hurt last night when he didn't want to do homework too, only it was magically the other ear, and there has been no mention of either ear hurting all day.  Im getting really tired of all of thee phantom illnesses that only come around when he doesn't want to do something or is needing some attention.  Don't get me wrong I completely understand the "why" behind this behavior, but it doesn't make it any less draining.  I've taken care of his ear and babied him and pointed out that I think his ear probably hurts because he has some big feelings about tomorrows visit.  He told me he wants to be happy about the visit but is just afraid his ear is going to hurt too much for the visit.  He guesses he will just need to go to the hospital.  I'm trying to be patient, but I've been up to his room at least ten times now, the wailing and fake crying at the top of his lungs is pushing me to the edge.  Anyone have an overly dramatic, phantom illness kid at their house?  Any ideas?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Post for Flying Solo: I'd like to pee alone please......

I've got a new post up at Flying Solo, a blog for single foster/adopt parents.  Go check it out :

 
 
 


Getting my BRAVE on!

I'm not one for confrontation, Ill pretty much grit and suffer through anything rather than confront someone.  That is why this is such a HUGE brave for me.  I'm going to be asking for a new Mobile Therapist for James. 

Allow me to vent.........

He is really unprofessional and inconsiderate of our time and its driving me crazy!  He originally scheduled with me to come on Tuesdays.  He has always been late at least twice during the month, anywhere from 15-60 minutes and would never call.  He began consistently showing up an hour late for weeks,  it finally caught up with him when his supervisor stopped by to observe the session and he called an hour after he was supposed to be here claiming he was stuck in traffic and couldn't come.  The next week he switched us to another day claiming the traffic from his appointment before us was causing the continued delay.  While once again he was never on time (one day he was an hour early cause he had to take the bus) and he never calls to say he is running late, sometimes he just doesn't show up.  The funny thing is the BIG thing they said I needed to work on was to create a visual schedule and consistently follow it.  Aside from the fact that we already had that and a visual schedule is the least of James problems, don't you think its hard to have a consistent schedule when the therapist is inconsistent in showing up on time or at all???   SO a few weeks ago he asked if it would be possible to do a couple of Saturday sessions when he has other clients who have signed up for an evaluation during out normal therapy time.  I said that was fine to do a few.  Saturday however is our ONLY day to relax.  Furthermore he never specified what Saturdays he needed to do this.  So for the last month he hasn't shown up on Monday(our normal day) at all, he showed up last week on Saturday after calling Friday night and asking to come at 1.  He then claimed he hadn't shown up cause I was on vacation in Orlando?? BUT he only heard that from someone else, he never called me to schedule anything, AND we were available on Mondays our normal day both weeks.  Furthermore he could have still come on Saturdays as the boys were here!   As he was leaving last Saturday I asked if he was coming on Monday and he said no he needed to do Saturday, I said fine.  I assumed it would be the same time.  Well its Saturday and he was supposed to be here at 1.  At 2:30 he called and asked if he could come at 3:30.  I told him I thought he was coming at 1 and he said he "told" me he would call on Saturday with a time.   EVEN if that was true what were we supposed to do, just sit around all day waiting for him to call and tell me what time he was coming??  Its already 2:30!!!  If he hadn't been coming we would have gone to the movies or the park or something!  When I asked if he was coming on Monday next week he said no he couldn't he needed to do Saturday and then got irritated when I said Saturdays were not going to work for us.  I'm so irritated, sorry for the novel!  Our Behavioral Specialist is coming this week and I'm going to ask about switching Mobile Therapists.  My boys really like having a male at the house but he doesn't do anything productive and I cant handle this scheduling anymore!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sending your child to Respite



I went out of town March 6-10 for the BeTA (Beyond Trauma and Attachment) Annual Retreat, one of the conditions of me taking our latest placement was that they needed to find a respite placement while I am gone.  On such a short notice it is not feasible for me to find any other options. I really hate having him go to respite so soon after placement :(  This is the first time I have ever sent a kid for respite so I'm trying to get everything organized.

I've created a form that can go with your child to respite placements.  It includes all of the relevant information they would need as well as an inventory of items you are sending with them.

Brief Hiatus :)


My apologies for the brief absence, lol!  Things have been busy around here.

The new placement is going well.  Alex really gets along with James and Joel.  Matthew is struggling a bit because Alex does not let him get away with his bullying behavior and need to be in control of everything all the time.  James and Joel just let Matthew have his way....not so much anymore.  It has been really good for me to see what areas Matthew still needs a lot of work in and also good to see how great James has been doing with learning "friend" skills.  I have to say I'm feeling a little odd about this placement.  Maybe because Im used to kids with attachment issues who were calling me Mommy after day one or overly affectionate.  Alex doesn't seek me out and frankly wants little to do with me, he doesn't really need anything other than food and clothes.  Im left feeling like a babysitter most of the time.  To be honest I don't think he even knows my name!  He's fairly well behaved and polite and so far isn't displaying any type of issues.  I guess I should just be thankful things are going well in all of those areas.

I got back last week from the annual BeTA (Beyond Trauma and Attachment) Retreat in Orlando.  Once again it was a great experience, I really had a chance to get to know a few more women and enjoy a break from all the kiddos.  Alex went to respite while I was there and that was touch and go at first.  He started pretending he was sick and didn't mesh real well with the older lady who he was staying with the first few days.  However by the end they had a great time!

We have been having some sleep issues with Alex.  He is up at 4am everyday.  James was sleeping in his room but the waking up early thing was creating all kinds of chaos.  I moved James out of the room, which Alex was really upset about claiming he was too scared.  Alex will continually turn the light on at night, which I finally conceded and let him leave on.  I will then turn it off when I go to bed, but at 4 am he has it back on and will refuse to go back to sleep.  The light was waking everyone else up and I was trying to get him to keep his door closed if he wants his light on.  He would close it and then ten minutes later open it back up, waking me and others up again.  He will drive his cars around the floor causing noise.  Ugh, last night I gave my boys Melatonin because things were getting cranky around here without them sleeping.  They slept through the morning crazy with Alex and things went so much smoother getting ready for school.  Not sure what Im going to do yet about this? Any ideas?

Hopefully Ill get another post with more details about my BeTA trip and respite up soon!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Alex's Fear

Its always amazing to me how some kids have to live in fear.  I wish no child ever experienced that feeling. I have seen increasing "fear" in Alex as he lets us in on more of his life and experiences.  From what I can tell his life was relatively good, but birthmom wound up in jail and Alex was passed from family member to family member before he was placed here.  As we were shopping for some clothes he told me he had never lived somewhere like this before, "You take care of me AND keep me safe".  Like it was an either or sort of situation, and in his case I think it was.  Some family kept him safe but couldn't meet his needs and others met his needs but put him in unsafe environments.  Alex is registered for school, he started Thursday.  He couldn't believe how nice his teacher was and that he had made friends. His DHS worker came by the house yesterday. I knew it would be interesting when he called to introduce himself.  I asked how he was and he said, "Yous know I be maintain'n."  When I told Alex he was coming he told me, "I hate that guy".  I asked him why and he told me he always comes to take me away and put me in bad places and he never tells me what's going on.  Alex then his under his bed when he heard him pulling up.  It took some coaxing and reassuring that he was not coming to take him away to get him to come out.  Well when the DHS worker showed up I quickly saw how communication with Alex was probably not his strongsuit.  I couldn't even get a coherent sentence out of him, it was all "Yous know....um, well Yous know".  Ummmm no I do NOT know, that is the point, I have NO clue what is going on in this case, this is the first time Ive talked to you??!!  Let me give you a visual of the DHS guy, some gold teeth, gold sunglasses (its cold, snowy, and dark here!), pants hanging off his butt and a sideways hat to top it all off.  Oh my....fun times.
Today as the boys were playing Cops and Robbers outside Alex kept telling me he heard gunshots and people screaming (more like a little girl playing a few houses over and a car door).  He was terrified.  I keep reassuring him he is safe here and will keep doing so.  Looks like visits may be starting with mom at the prison soon.

Monday, February 24, 2014

2/24/2014 Super Busy Day and hoping this is not a sign of whats to come...

Today was REALLY busy! We dropped off R1 last night so got a later start on the bedtime routine than I would have liked!  This morning we needed to get out the door super early to get Alex to his school in another county.  I did the best I could with a "uniform" for him, he thought they needed blue pants and a white shirt.  I was able to get a pair of blue corduroys that fit him in the waist, but were way to long and a light blue button down shirt.  Got him over to the school at 7:30 and walked him to the office (with my three boys in toe).  I briefly explained what was going on and that the Caseworker would probably be picking him up cause the dismissal time was not feasible for me to get there.  Another lady in the office began yelling at me that I'm not allowed to drop him off before 7:45, by this time it was already 7:40.  I explained that this was all very sudden and I had to get my other boys to school too and I'm sure the caseworker would get everything straightened out, but they needed to let Alex sit here for the 5 freaking minutes!!!  It is crazy how little education professionals (and medical professionals) understand the foster care system or the foster parents role.

Next, I took Matthew to school, then Joel and James got dropped off at preschool.  Whew after that I had to rush over to a testing center about 20 minutes away and take some licensing exams to have my teaching license transferred to this state.  I'm hoping to be able to get an online teaching position for next year so I can still work from home.  Took the tests, passed!  Check one off my to do list.

Okay raced back to pick up the boys from preschool and over to have lunch with Grandma.  Then passed Joel over to Grandma and took James over to a Psych Eval appointment (we have to do one every two months now for insurance purposes).  This eval was with the same lady as the last one she irritates me. Once again at the end her recommendations for me were not in line with any , professional working with kids who have endured early childhood trauma and attachment issues.  Furthermore, when she found out we had a foster placement she began asking me some questions that were none of her business, "Why are you taking in more kids, it would seem to me you would be overwhelmed with the ones you have?" My response, "No not overwhelmed.  I'm a foster parent its what I do.  I enjoy it this boy fits in great with our family and needs a home. We are happy to provide it for now!"  Her next question, "Well the other three are adopted right?  You're not looking to adopt anymore are you?"  Mind you these were asked dripping in condensation!  My response, "Not particularly but I'm not against it."  Ill admit the last time we were in her office I did get a bit emotional, but she told me my kid was brain damaged and would never recover, which is just an idiotic thing to say!  And regardless cant someone just have a bad day?!  This is why its so hard to share things with people, there is such judgment and blame on the choices rather than support.  Yes I had a bad day I was feeling overwhelmed on that day, everyone feels overwhelmed occasionally.  If I were pregnant with a fourth child would she have still thought it was her business to express her opinion? Grrr.....next time I want to switch to a different evaluator, but then I have to go through the whole history again, blah.

After that ordeal was over, we met Grandma and Joel over at the car place to drop off my car for inspection.  Then we headed back to my house with Grandma,  a few minutes later CW brought Alex home and gave me some paperwork.  This evening I was able to look it over and find some names to stalk on facebook, eye opening to say the least.  Lets just say I don't think the birth parents would be happy with him being in my home.  They have some pretty strong beliefs/opinions.  From my stalking I also found court records so it looks like birthmom will be away for another 8-20 months.   Mind you I got NO information from the caseworker.

Then it was time for Mobile Therapist to arrive.  Shortly after he came Grandma left with Grandpa and we got started with therapy.  The therapist even pointed out how much easier it seemed with the four of them opposed to the three.  SO far it seems like having Alex here really breaks up the trauma bond between the three of them.  James and Alex are really hitting it off and James seems to be modeling some good play skills from Alex.  We will see how long it lasts but right now I am happy.  Matthew is still adjusting but doing pretty well, I knew he would have the hardest time despite him being the most vocal about wanting more kids.  Its giving us some great opportunities to practice skills and have conversations.  I've been trying to carve out some extra time in the evenings for us to spend together.

And now everyone is finally in bed :)  Have to register James for Kindergarten and get Alex transferred to our local school tomorrow!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

2/22/2014 Placement Arrived!

Our day started off following the new Saturday Schedule, it was going brilliantly!  The boys all read quietly in their rooms while I took my shower and then downstairs we went for a morning meeting to go over the schedule.  In fact all morning the boys were asking me, "Are we on schedule?".  We went to the library where I paid my insane library fines of almost 40 bucks...that's right we have problems, lol! When it came to nap time I got everyone settled in their rooms with some books and toys and headed down to take my break from reality and catch up on some Netflix while I cleaned.   That didn't last long because shortly after nap started I got a call to come pick up our placement (we will be giving him the blog name:  Alex), they found him!!!  OR rather the kinship placement dropped him off at the county office with nothing but the clothes on his back and his Nintendo DS.  County called over to our agency (who is relatively closed on weekends) and the emergency on call worker went and got him bringing him to the visitation center.  They called and we were off. 
He is an adorable little boy who played all afternoon, like REALLY played, got out trains and built railroads, drove around the firetruck pretending to rescue people, this was totally out of my element!  All the kids I've had thus far do not PLAY other than ramming things into things and pretending to "fight".  It was great for Joel, he jumped right in with him. 
I had several conversations with Alex over the afternoon, he asked to go back to the county office or when I was going to take him home to his kinship placement.  It appears no one explained anything to him and the kin told him they were coming back to get him when they dropped him off.  His regular caseworkers weren't working since its the evening.  I really didn't have any answers for him as I was expecting to discuss the case when his caseworkers dropped him off Friday...which never happened.  The on call person at my agency had NO clue what was going on and was understandably confused about everything.  My agency does not get calls after hours it is unheard of so she was really thrown for a loop.  Anyway Alex told me a little about his family and past few living arrangements.  He told us all that he was scared cause usually when he moves houses they take him to "bad places".  The other boys did a great job telling him that this was a safe house and showing him all the toys.  At bed time he went right up and was ecstatic at how "cozy" the bed was, he fell right asleep nice and early....a boy who could really fit in here lol :)
Ill probably have to get him to his old school a county over on Monday (he tells me they have uniforms, we will have to wing that unless I can get out and shop tomorrow with 5 boys).  I have several licensing examinations I need to take first thing Monday morning that I cant miss.  I have no idea what time his school starts either and cant really tell online.  The on call worker was trying to put together a call for tomorrow with caseworkers but I don't see that happening. 
Things are going much better with R1 this weekend, everyone knows each other so it seems to run smoother and the schedule has definitely helped.  His birthmom did call my cell phone today once earlier in the afternoon.  The conversation was short and sweet and she said she would call back at 7 before bed.  The 7 oclock call was not as easy, the discussion was bordering on inappropriate and probably crossed the line.  It was of course focused entirely on her and contained too many adult things such as whether she still loved his father and some argument with an aunt.  I was proud of R1 though when I heard him say, "Well you need to figure your life out because I DO NOT LIKE THIS AT ALL!!!".  I don't really know anything of his situation but I hope things work out for him, he is such a hoot and fun to be around, makes me sad to think that they are missing out on his life and his spirit is dampened by all that he has to deal with in the system.
Looking forward to another day with 5 boys tomorrow!

2/21/2014

I received a call about a placement for a 7 year old boy today, being removed from his second kinship home due to kin's "non-compliance".  Who knows what that could mean?  Maybe not getting the child to school or medical appointments.  My forever boys came from a kinship placement, but were being removed due to more abuse/neglect occurring within the kinship home.  I was told he had some "aggression" issues and they were looking into getting counseling set up for him.  He is in another county but the county has ok'd a move to our local school if necessary.  He has no visits currently as birthparent is incarcerated.  I agreed to the placement and he was to arrive at 3:30. At 4:30 I got a call that they could no locate the child or kinship caregiver.  At 5:30 they still had not been located, DHS will call if they turn up this weekend otherwise I should here from the agency on Monday.

R1 (Respite placement- 8yo boy)  arrived for another weekend at 6:30.  His foster mom called me around 7 to tell me she had given my number to birthmom and she would be calling??!!  Um maybe you should have checked with me first before giving out my number?  Of course no call ever came anyway.  I worked on getting our Saturday schedule together and printed to try and reduce electronic time.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

2/20/2014

I listened to a great interview with Bryan Post that was taking place during an Online Training Summit put on by Full Potential Parenting, there are speakers all week so if you haven't yet go register!  It really hit home when Bryan was talking about letting out children feel what they feel, that when we suppress their feelings and suppress their attitudes what we get is the behaviors.  When Matthew got home from school he almost immediately through a tantrum about not being able to get on the Ipad.  He is not allowed to play electronics during the week, so this isn't anything new.  After being refreshed by the interview this morning I was able to stay calm, validate what Matthew was feeling and redirect him to getting something to eat so his brain could think.  We sat at the table together and really connected once he calmed down.  Win-Win, thank you Bryan Post!  I would love to get his DVD/Audio series for Parents but at almost $300 it seems a little out of my price range right now.

Matthew and I just finished a great game of Battleship, playing games is something I don't usually enjoy doing with Matthew.  I'm hyper-vigilant waiting for him to have a meltdown anytime he thinks he is losing, stuck in my own PTSD from all of the major rages and violent meltdowns we have been through that have been triggered from playing games with him.  Today was our first time playing Battleship, he had never played before, meaning I had to teach him the game, another trigger. Mathew doesn't like to listen to people explain or teach him things, see....he already knows it ALL :)  Then when it turns out he doesn't know it all and he is not as good at things as people who have been doing them and practicing them another meltdown begins.  You know what he said when he lost the game as we were cleaning up, "Hey Mom, I didn't even get upset I lost!".  You are so right my boy, you are awesome, I know how hard that is for you and you totally rocked it!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Schedule for Saturdays



 
With all these snowdays lately I've been feeling a little disorganized as far as keeping to a schedule and routine!  Having an extra here for respite this past weekend (and coming again this weekend) didn't help our routine any either.  This in turn leads to more time on electronics which reeks havoc on attitudes around these parts, not to mention the nonstop arguments over whose turn it is now.  I've decided I need to get our routine back in place and the easiest way for me to do that is to set our schedule in stone (or at least on paper).  Once I have the schedule set and visible in the house it is easier for me to follow.  Here is our new plan for Saturdays:

7:00         Wake Up
7:15         Breakfast
7:30         Get Dressed
7:45         Free time
8:45         Leave for Library
9:00         Library
10:00       Snack
10:15       Outdoor Play Weather permitting OR Free time on I-pad/Computer, Mom clean kitchen
10:45       Legos/Blocks/Potato Heads, Mom load laundry/dishes
11:15       Clean Up/Chores while Mom makes Lunch
11:30       LUNCH
12:00       Nap- Silent Reading or Quiet Play in Room
2:00         Snack
2:15         Outdoor Play Weather Permitting OR Coloring/Craft
3:00         Read Story
3:15         Free Time
4:00         Matthew walks dog
4:15         Family Devotional
4:45         Clean Up/Chores while Mom makes Dinner
5:00         Dinner
5:30         Baths/Get ready for Bed
6:00         Bed for Joel, Read in Room for James
7:00         Bed for James, Mommy and Matthew time
7:30         Read in Room for Matthew
8:00         Bed for Matthew

 
I printed our schedule on a piece of paper and hung it in the living room. We gathered around first thing in the morning and ran through what the days schedule would be for the day.  I also printed 4 small copies on a piece of paper and cut them up so each kiddo could have their own schedule to cross things off on as we went through the day.

What does your schedule look like?

Single Mom Tips: Handles for Traveling with Kids

When you are out and about with multiple kids, things can get a bit tricky!  Especially when you may have kids with special needs or kids from foster care who don't understand the need to stay close and stay safe.  Having a child run out into the street on your watch can be a terrifying experience. When you have more kids than you do hands, holding hands no longer becomes a valid option, so what can you do:


We have these handles they come in multiple designs and you can add many handles to accommodate more kids.

 

Amazingly my kids hold on to these handles, apparently they don't realize they could just let go and run off, LOL!  Must be something psychological, but I wont complain :).  You can either hold your end of the handle or they easily clip onto a shopping cart or stroller.  At the beach I clip it on to my beach bag so they can hold on as we walk down to the ocean.

I also prefer these to the "leashes" many people use.  There are a lot of people who are very against them, I admit I used to not understand it, now I TOTALLY get it and if that works for your kid by all means use it!  These handles just feel better to me and I think help teach the kids some responsibility to stay safe.
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