Foster to Adopt ~ International ~ Intrafamily Adoption

How to Heal a Fractured Family

How to Heal a Fractured Family

How to Heal a Fractured Family

How to Heal a Fractured Family.  The short, simple answer is trust in Jesus.  Yet, sometimes, that is hard for me.  Our family has been fractured for a long time.  There have been cracks here and there, but this year, it is different.  I’m not going to lie, it has been a struggle since about 2014, but even before then due to some extenuating circumstances.  I don’t want to discourage anyone from adoption, but there is so much more I know now than I did almost 14 years ago.

What You Need to Know

When people are in the process of adopting a child or children, it is an exciting thing.  We do all the things that are required.  Background checks, money in the bank, fundraisers, fingerprints (if international), and so on.  We work hard on those dossiers.  Our homes are spotless for our home study.  We eagerly anticipate our referral or a picture.  There are so many support groups where we get on and talk about our discouragement of NOT getting a referral quick enough.

What We DON’T Realize

Is that we are, quite literally, waiting for a family to fail in some way.  If it is foster care, we are waiting for a family to abuse, neglect, or hurt, a child or children so they will be placed in the system. Then we jump through all the hoops for the next 17 out of 23 mths and wait for the termination of parental rights.

Or, if it is a newborn, we are waiting for a sweet birth mom to make the most difficult decision of her life.  For her life to be altered…forever…by choosing the blessing of adoption.  If international, we are waiting for a birth parent who may be dying, or the child is starving, or some other tragedy that places them in an orphanage.

When you are adopting a family member’s child, you are waiting for drugs, alcohol, abuse, neglect, or abandonment to happen.  There are other circumstances, as well, but that was my circumstance for my son.  You start looking at YOUR sister and think…she is my son’s aunt?  Grandmother?  Both?

The Dark Side

We are walking into the blackest chapter of our children’s lives.  Our greatest joy and what we worked so hard for, comes at our children’s greatest loss.  Whether they are an infant or an older child, that loss will forever be embedded in their brain and heart.  They are the only ones who have heard their mother’s heartbeat from the inside out and your heart is just not the same.

My heart literally aches because, in a perfect world, my kids would still be with their birth families.  Succeeding, thriving, living, loving…yet because of certain things, they are not there…they are with me.  I am grateful.  Indebted.  Forever changed because they grew in my heart and not under it!

Yet…they will always wonder what it would have been like to have been raised by their birth parents or in their birth country.  Try explaining all of the things when they are older.  It’s super fun aka traumatic.

Getting It Straight

I do not regret any of my children.  None of them.  They are my joy and I’m so thankful to God that He wove my family together in such a beautiful and intricate way.

But

Trauma is a bitch.  Plain and simple.  It is a straight-up bitch.  Talk to ANY adoptive parents and they will tell you the same thing.  Trauma can come in all shapes and sizes.  It can come with a list of diagnoses…then there is “traumaversary”  That leads to sabotage of all good things, behavior issues, confabulations, deceit, manipulation, and so much more.

My Family is No Different

We have, and continue to have, all of the above things and the “so much more” times a million.  What started as one child exhibiting out of control behaviors due to FASD, PTSD, RAD, blah blah blah trickled down to other children.  Another child exhibiting similar, yet different behaviors. Then, a third child going above and beyond.  Lastly, the fourth child struggles with anxiety and more.

It has wreaked havoc on my person, my husband, other children, even my pets will lose hair when life is escalated in my home.  This usually occurs November-March and then in July-October…which as I look at that typed out, it is from October-July.  That gives us 2 mths trauma-free.

All the Things We Have Tried

We have done the things.  Doctors, specialists, therapists, counselors, pastors, family, medication, routines, no routines, homeschool, private, public…All.  The.  Things.  One child, nothing has worked for that child.  Another child, we hope is in the process of healing.  The third child is amped up right now.  The fourth child, we just deal with it day by day.

I am exhausted.  My husband is exhausted.  Honestly, even the kids are exhausted. Mix all this crap in with a pandemic and being in this house and you have Funville.  My underwear drawer no longer holds underwear.  It is stocked FULL of candy.  I wake up, in the morning, with a bag of snickers under my arm and wrappers everywhere.

There is a newfound love of Limeade Slushes.  My teeth are going to rot out of my head.  I have become a human GPS because I take LONG drives on roads I have never heard of.  My favorite past time is driving to my neighbors and seeing if their pig is in the front yard.  I cry…a lot.

Falling Apart

Sadly, I feel like my family is falling apart.  That Scripture of satan lurking around the corner to devour my family, it is happening!  Honestly, at warp speed.  I have so many words and so much has happened that my fingers will not move as fast as my brain.

Praying that this pandemic ends.  I am praying for healing for my medically fragile children.  Salvation for two of my kids.  Wisdom with all of them.  Healthy delivery for one (gonna be a granny!)  A healthy relationship for two kids.  School to open for one.  One to come home safely.  Another to stop making REALLY poor and dangerous choices.

I want my family to heal.  To be whole.  For God to intervene and DO SOMETHING.  Honestly, I am just ready for Jesus to come riding down on His white horse and take us all home.  Home…where there is no sadness, no darkness, and no pain.  Just glory.

God is Bigger

I just have to trust in that…right?  Right.  Yes, trust.  The hardest thing for me to do is trust Him with my family.  Maybe that, alone, needs to be my prayer.  Lord, let me trust in You that You have plans to prosper and not harm my family.  Help me to realize that You and only You, can heal the fractures.

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Guest Blogger

The Reality of my Nightmare

The Reality of my Nightmare

In The Reality of my Nightmare, my guest blogger writes about her interpretation of the trials I have been walking through.  She writes it as if she were me.  I read it the morning of my friends funeral.  She is pretty spot on in all that she said.

The Reality of my Nightmare

Writing this seems like a nightmare

I am waiting to wake up from this nightmare because of how real it feels. But when I open my eyes, it will all go away. No. This nightmare is real. I can’t believe this is happening to me. Why? Why me? What did I do wrong to cause these people to knock on my door? Who has been watching me and observing my every movement?

I am afraid

Afraid to raise my voice even the slightest bit because someone might be watching. Also, I am afraid to take my child to the other room for fear that someone might think I am going to punish them. Afraid to go out in public with my child for fear that someone will judge me the wrong way and call them again. Why me?

Raising Kids

Raising kids is hard, especially 7 of them. They are all so different in so many ways.  Yet, I would not change a single hair on their head because I love them so. I love my kids with every fiber of my being. I would gladly take any strife or burdens off their shoulders.  Honestly, I would put them on my own if it helps them and their future.

My kids are special

Some have mentally challenging issues.  Then, there are others who have some physical issues that need my constant attention. Being a mom is hard. Tiring even. Yet, I am glad God chose these beautiful children to be mine.

I love fiercely and I will do anything in my power to protect them from the world and its temptations. Sometimes, I help others before I think about myself and my needs. I have run myself ragged going in all different directions to help those in need as God calls me to do. Honestly, I try to open myself up to other moms in different clubs and organizations that my kids participate in. I try to help them and converse with them when they need a friend or a shoulder to cry on.

But You

You took care of my child when he played sports on your team.  He became best friends with your kids.  I thought you loved him like one of your own. He stayed at your house and slept over so many nights.  Every time, he had a blast when he came home beaming from ear to ear.  He would tell me all about how fun it is at your house.

Invitation then Betrayal

I invited you into my home which we manage to keep clean amongst the chaos of having multiple children and animals in the house. And yet, you betrayed my trust by calling them. Why? Why me?

You know my child is well-fed.  We give him clothes and things to play with.  Furthermore, we keep him involved in sports. Importantly, we teach him the love of Jesus in everything we do. We fight for him daily because he is different. And that’s okay because I love him so much.

How Would You Feel

You are a mother with kids of your own. How would you feel if someone called them?  They showed up at your doorstep asking to be invited in.  Then ask you probing questions about your home and relationships with your kids? And what if you found out that it was a supposed “friend” who called them on you.

How would you feel?

Betrayed?

Confused?

I should hope so.

Because that is how I felt.

Terrifying Agony

The terrifying agony that my kids could be ripped away from me with no warning. Sadly, the wailing and uncontrollable sobbing happened in my car when I got the call. My heart can’t take it anymore.  I am so tired of having to justify myself to these people. Justify every action that I do and every word that comes out of my mouth.

How would you feel?

Would you demand an explanation from your “friend” and say some nasty things to them in retaliation? Would you constantly be looking over your shoulder to make sure no one was watching you if you ever had to punish your child in public? Or are you one of those parents that let their children run amuck and let them do whatever they want?

Either way, I want you to know that it is understandable if you did not know the family or if you had never been in their home and seen how the family operates. It would be understandable if you didn’t know me or my son at all.

But you did know us.

I was at every game. I talked to you all the time. And yet, you still called them. I thought I could trust you. You have betrayed my trust. But I choose to let God be in control of my situation. I choose to let God be the judge of your actions when you get to Heaven instead of judging you, which I am not called to do.

Honestly, I choose to love like Jesus with skin on and be the city on a hill for you. I choose to let God listen to my sorrowful prayers and collect my tears in a jar. Furthermore, I choose to let God pick me up and comfort me because he knows I am the mom He called me to be. I am not perfect. But God does not call us to be perfect. He calls us to be his disciples and to love our neighbor in his Word.

My house may be messy sometimes and my kids may drive me crazy most days, but in what reality is a house always tidy and the kids always clean and well-behaved? I would love to meet those people and that family.

Haven’t you ever made a mistake as a parent?

Because if you say no that is a bold-faced lie. We fail daily at things but the key is to learn from those mistakes, move on, and leave the past behind us. Those failures are also successes. I have put several of my kids through a full education (and I have homeschooled them for many many years as well).  Two of them have graduated from college, with honors, which is a huge accomplishment.

Mama Pride

One of my kids is married with a baby on the way.  I could not be happier for my sweet child. My smallest child is excelling at things that doctors told us would be impossible.  Yet, with me by his side, he has survived those odds.

The moments of pride I feel for the children that I raised surpasses the moments of sadness that I feel when things like this happen. I choose to find the beauty in the ashes. I will stand tall and not be shaken by people’s opinions of me and my family.

My Choices

So I will also choose to continue to stand by my children and attend every activity, club, and sporting event that they are in. And if you other moms judge me or whisper tall tales about me that are not even true, I will smile and turn the other cheek as God has called me to do. Even if it is the hardest thing I have ever done.

Cruelty of Others

People can be so cruel nowadays and they always look at the plank in someone else’s eye rather than focusing on the speck of dirt that is in their own eye. Words can definitely slice through a person and bring them down when we should be standing together as moms and supporting one another rather than bringing them down and jumping to conclusions by calling the organization before they have the facts straight.

No, we mom’s are not perfect. But we are doing the best we can with the circumstances we are currently in and with the children that the Lord has blessed us with. I will continue to be the city on a hill and shine my light bright for my kids and for you.

And I know deep down in my heart that God will be pleased with my strength and integrity, and when I get to Heaven He will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I can not wait for that day to come.

In the meantime

I will continue to be the most amazing mom to my kids and be a faithful spouse to my husband. Showing them the light of God.  Continuing to shield them from the World will be a lifelong journey, but I would not change one thing about it. Not for you and not for any other mom who says a spiteful word towards me.

I will pray for you even though it is painful. Because in my darkest moments is when I cling to Jesus the most, and when my faith is tested, I come out stronger than ever because my Redeemer is with me. No more hiding. No more fear. I will not be afraid.

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Foster to Adopt ~ International ~ Intrafamily Adoption, Medical Issues

Dear Amygdala

Dear Amygdala

Dear Amygdala

Dear Amygdala,

You are not my friend, my Dear Amygdala.  The emotions that you project are not welcome.

It has come to my attention that satan is using and abusing you.  He is controlling you.  In doing so, he is taking past trauma that is inside of you, from a past life and family.

He is taking all that anger and those memories and making someone project that trauma into the present and onto a person’s new family.

I am onto you and your sneaky ways.  Bite me.

God is BIGGER.

Insincerely Yours,

Brandi

For Inquiring Minds

The Amygdala is the “fear center” of the brain.  It is your primitive brain that begins development when a person is conceived.  The Amygdala holds all your memories from conception to 3 years (the implicit memories).

It is a butthole.

The amygdala is an almond-shaped set of neurons that can be found deep in the brain’s medial temporal lobe. Shown to play a key role in the processing of emotions, the amygdala forms part of the limbic system.

Hard Conversations

There have been some hard conversations this past week.  Truths that have been unspoken and revelations that have been eye-opening.  Such clarity and peace with those revelations.  Yet, uncertainty as to what to do with them.

It’s a long-winding road we are walking.

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6 Month School Update

6 Month School Update6 Month School Update

It has been a bit over but here is our 6 Month School Update.  As you may or may not know, I am a former homeschooler.  I homeschooled my children for about 20 years.  Successfully, I have graduated with 4 children.  For my younger 3 kids, I decided to try public school.

Myriad of Reasons

I love homeschooling, for the most part.  It has been a bit harder because I do have 4 special needs children, so it was also not the easiest.  Our decision to put them in school was a quick and swift decision.

I knew when I was done, I would be done.  Honestly, I was just overdone.  My exhaustion level had reached an all-time high.  When you have a child who is medically fragile, life changes.  Our traveling had hit another level and I wasn’t doing anyone any justice by being 1/2 in.  Their education is far too important for me to let it slide by.

Ben and Bug

They are well.  Almost ready to celebrate 2 years of marriage.  They are both working hard and learning so much.  Bug is moving through some things and she has made some brave decisions.  I’m incredibly proud of her.

Peach

She just started the first day of her last semester of college.  **Cue the angels singing.**  I have no idea why it seems she has been in college for 549 years, but it sure has.  She has done well.  There is that excitement mixed in with the “oh crap” mixed in with the thrill of fixing to truly start her “adult” life!  She is also working and loving her dog.  I’m incredibly proud of her.

Gigi

Thankfully, she has finished high school.  Good gracious that was a chore for both of us. She was about 6 mths late in doing so, but she worked 7 days a week to get finished.  A good friend hired her to work and that is going well.  She has MASTERED getting ANY types of stains out of clothes and she is really good with kids.  There is still a lot to figure out, but we are taking one step at a time. I’m incredibly proud of her.

Boo

He has started the last semester of his freshman year of college.  That seems unreal to me.  He is working part-time and helping out at home.  Still, though, uncertain about his major, we have ruled things out and then put things up closer to the front.  He will figure it out.  There is a little female that he has been spending time with…I just can’t talk about that right now.  I’m incredibly proud of him.

Catfish

For a kid with SEVERE dyslexia and FASD…he is rocking school!  He has had great grades and is learning to navigate life.  There have been some social issues that we have had to work through.  Mostly learning who is safe and who isn’t.  How to work around bullies.  Oh, and have there been bullies.  Bullies are not limited to children, ya know.  Adults bully too and we have certainly dealt with that.  I am not well-liked, at the school, by some people but I really do not care.  I’m incredibly proud of him.

Jude

He has excelled, as well.  Academically and with sports.  He is so much fun to watch when he is playing ball.  We have, again, dealt with bullies.  Also, sadly, lots and lots of racism.  Racism now is more underhanded and calculating.  Methodical and intentional.  There isn’t the outward act of separating out things just the subtle undertone.  It has been so sad to see and to deal with.  Again, I’m not well-liked by many.  I really do not care though.  I’m incredibly proud of him.

Kid

He has made great strides in school and in his therapies.  For a little guy, he is in a different therapy 5 days a week.  He has OT, PT, SLP, Vision, and Horse therapy (the best one of them all)!  One major accomplishment is he has learned to spell and write his name.  The thrill is unlike anything I’ve ever had!  Our hardest thing has been treatment monthly, steroids monthly, and keeping him well.  He has had 2 flare-ups since starting school.  One attacked his hands and legs.  The other attacked his hands and his speech.  I’m incredibly proud of him!

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Faith Journey, Foster to Adopt ~ International ~ Intrafamily Adoption

Psalm 54 & Proverbs 23

Psalm 54 & Proverbs 23

Psalm 54 & Proverbs 23

Psalm 54 & Proverbs 23 are pretty straightforward.  There are some sections, amongst these verses that I will address.   so I will just let them speak for themselves!  Quite often, in Proverbs, you will see verses related to disciplining children.

I would like to note that not all kids are the same.  First, there are kids who are biological and come from a “normal” home.  Then, there are kids from homes where divorce has occurred.  Next, you have kids that are, sadly, in foster care or orphanages.  Lastly, there are kids that are adopted.  I’m sure there are more groups.  Well, now that I think of it, there are many other groups.  Like a lot of other groups because my mind is now swirling and twirling.

Let’s just put it this way, take each kid and each situation on a case by case basis.  Do not “blanket” parent or discipline your children because no two children are the same.  I feel like that made sense in my head but rereading this, I’m confusing myself.

Psalm 54

Come with great power, O God, and rescue me!
    Defend me with your might.
Listen to my prayer, O God.
    Pay attention to my plea.
For strangers are attacking me;
    violent people are trying to kill me.
    They care nothing for God. 

But God is my helper.
    The Lord keeps me alive!
May the evil plans of my enemies be turned against them.
    Do as you promised and put an end to them.

I will sacrifice a voluntary offering to you;
    I will praise your name, O Lord,
    for it is good.
For you have rescued me from my troubles
    and helped me to triumph over my enemies.

Thoughts

God is my Protector, Defender, and Rock on which I stand.  Honestly, whom shall I fear?

Proverbs 23

1While dining with a ruler,
    pay attention to what is put before you.
If you are a big eater,
    put a knife to your throat;
don’t desire all the delicacies,
    for he might be trying to trick you.

Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich.
    Be wise enough to know when to quit.
In the blink of an eye wealth disappears,
    for it will sprout wings
    and fly away like an eagle.

Thoughts

Verse 5 needs to be embedded in my heart.  I don’t want an abundance of money.  That isn’t something that I desire.  However, I do want to be able to not worry.  For instance, I know that we have enough to pay our bills.  Then, we save what we can to get out of debt.  However, there are things that I feel we *need.*  Then, I realize that we don’t necessarily *need* it, it is more of a want.  In the end, God provides for all those needs.  When it aligns with His will, maybe just maybe, He will give us the desires of our hearts.

Section 2

Don’t eat with people who are stingy;
    don’t desire their delicacies.
They are always thinking about how much it costs.
    “Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it.
You will throw up what little you’ve eaten,
    and your compliments will be wasted.

Don’t waste your breath on fools,
    for they will despise the wisest advice.

10 Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers;
    don’t take the land of defenseless orphans.

Section 3

11 For their Redeemer is strong;
    he himself will bring their charges against you.

12 Commit yourself to instruction;
    listen carefully to words of knowledge.

13 Don’t fail to discipline your children.
    The rod of punishment won’t kill them.
14 Physical discipline
    may well save them from death.

15 My child, if your heart is wise,
    my own heart will rejoice!
16 Everything in me will celebrate
    when you speak what is right.

Thoughts

Don’t fail to discipline your children.  This phrase is also used, quite often, in the book of Proverbs.  Bart and I have never shied away from disciplining our children.  Yet, each child has required something a little bit differently.  We thought we were so smart in doing things equally amongst our children.  Then, we were blessed with kids from hard places.  Wow, that changes everything.

Section 4

17 Don’t envy sinners,
    but always continue to fear the Lord.
18 You will be rewarded for this;
    your hope will not be disappointed.

19 My child, listen and be wise:
    Keep your heart on the right course.

20 Do not carouse with drunkards
    or feast with gluttons,
21 for they are on their way to poverty,
    and too much sleep clothes them in rags.

22 Listen to your father, who gave you life,
    and don’t despise your mother when she is old.
23 Get the truth and never sell it;
    also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment.
24 The father of godly children has cause for joy.
    What a pleasure to have children who are wise.
25 So give your father and mother joy!
    May she who gave you birth be happy.

26 O my son, give me your heart.
    May your eyes take delight in following my ways.

Section 5

27 A prostitute is a dangerous trap;
    a promiscuous woman is as dangerous as falling into a narrow well.
28 She hides and waits like a robber,
    eager to make more men unfaithful.

29 Who has anguish? {Who} has sorrow?
    Who is always fighting? {Who} is always complaining?
    Who has unnecessary bruises? {Who} has bloodshot eyes?
30 It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns,
    trying out new drinks.
31 Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is,
    how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down.
32 For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake;
    it stings like a viper.
33 You will see hallucinations,
    and you will say crazy things.
34 You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea,
    clinging to a swaying mast.
35 And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it.
    I didn’t even know it when they beat me up.
When will I wake up
    so I can look for another drink?”

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Trying Differently Rather Than Harder

Trying Differently Rather Than Harder

Trying Differently Rather Than Harder

Trying Differently Rather Than Harder is a book is by Diane Malbin, M.S.W.  I have had this book since 2016.  There are times I wish my brain would soak up and retain all the things that I have read.  This is one of those books that I need to retain about 98% of what it says.

FASD

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is COMPLETELY preventable.  First and foremost, it is NEVER okay to drink while pregnant.  I would go as so far as to say do not drink EVER during your childbearing years if you are sexually active.  No birth control works 100% of the time unless of course, it is ABSTINENCE!

I do not make those statements lightly and I am fully aware that I will get flack for it.  Frankly, I don’t give a damn about your flack.  Why you may ask?  Because I am raising 2 humans that didn’t ask for the cards they were dealt in life.

Types of FASD

There is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (what my kids have), Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Effects, Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder, Alcohol-Related Birth Defects, and Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure.

This begins at conception, people.  It can also carry through sperm, so there’s that little tidbit.  I was talking tonight, to a friend, about this book.  She asked I told her what it was about.  This young girl, 16 or 17 maybe, overheard our conversation and she said “I thought it was safe to drink wine while you were pregnant.”

Guarantee, I scared the crap out of this girl.  Unintentionally.  My friend and I looked at each other and then at her.  We both raised our voices and said “NO!”  It is NEVER safe to drink while pregnant.  EVER.

This Sweet Girl

She was genuine in her questions.  Truly, she thought it was okay.  I explained to her the problems/issues/medical side of the dangers of drinking.  She was thoughtful, curious, and asked very appropriate questions.  Then she smiled and said “You taught me something today.”  I kindly replied with “remain abstinent and pass the dangers of this onto your friends.”

Their Story

I will not go into their stories because it is a violation of their privacy.  However, the things we deal with, on a daily basis, are hard.  We deal with memory loss, no cause/effect, misdiagnosis, the physicality of FASD, learning disabilities, executive functioning issues, sensory, speech, receptive/expressive skills, simple tasks, confabulation, and so much more.

What I see, in a “typical” child as being defiant, lazy, or just finding their way is different in a child with FASD.  I am struggling.  There is no reason to lie.  The last 5 years have been HARD.  I don’t mean a little bit hard.  Seriously, I mean H.A.R.D.

Picking It Back Up

As I was looking for another book to read, I saw this on my shelf.  It had a layer of dust and lots of coke stains (and tears).  As I was reading it again, my eyes were open to the difficulties that we have been facing with one of our children.

I am *so* tired.  This child is in a stage of stealing and has been for a few years.  Sadly, it has amped up to an alarming level.  Yet, this child can justify it because the “intentions” were to ask but the reality is “there just wasn’t time to ask.”

Hurts my soul.  I called my sister and said “there is no amount of punishment or discipline that affects this child.  I don’t know what more I can do.”  In the preface of this book, in the second paragraph, it says, “A common misperception that “nothing works” surrounds people with FASD.”

Cue…this is the book I need to read at this moment.

Co-Morbid

So many times, these kids are labeled as ADHD, ADD, OCD, ODD, DMDD, Bipolar, etc.  When in reality, they have a form of FASD yet since they don’t have the “classic” facial features, they are misdiagnosed.  These kids may have been adopted and don’t know the history.  Sadly, out of shame, a mom doesn’t tell the whole truth about drinking or the father drinking some.

There is no hard evidence to show how much drinking is too much.  How scary is that?  One time can change the course of a child’s (and parent’s) life.  These kids are medicated, sometimes heavily, and then we wonder why the meds don’t work.

Cause ya can’t fix BRAIN DAMAGE.  That’s why!  See, that pisses me off.  A doctor will medicate for anything.  You can’t sit still, ADD, here is a pill.  Struggling with depression, here is an anti-depressant.  Anxiety?  Here’s a pill.  Can’t sleep?  Oh, here’s another pill.  This cycle is vicious.  Unless you are trained in knowing the signs or look deeper, if the facial features or history is not there…they overlook the obvious.

Not Here to Shame

I am not here to shame moms.  Really, I’m not.  I want to educate, bring awareness to doctors, schools, and therapists.  Not gonna lie…due to my EXTREME frustration with one child (and the fact this child was getting violent), I had to send her to another place for several months.

It was not the answer but it gave my family time to heal and this child the space needed to realize that violence is not the answer.  We were (are) SOLIDLY looking at a facility for another child, again, no shame, because behaviors at home are reaching high peaks.

No Easy Answer

There is no easy answer to the questions I have, daily.  I guess the only easy solution is to not drink while pregnant.  For the love, not while you are breastfeeding, and if you are super extra do NOT put it in a child’s bottle.  Yes, that is done all too often.

This Book

This book is not the be-all and end-all in FASD.  It does give a different perspective that I needed to see, at this point in my life.  I will reread it tomorrow and probably the next day.  Also, the school needs a copy.  They have zero clues as to the effects of alcohol on a child.  Oh, that is for another day to blog about because I am still fired up.

Pay Attention

For now, I will encourage you to pay attention.  If a behavior is a constant pattern, it is likely not defiance…it is something deeper.  This book can be geared towards those with neurological deficits, as well, without FASD.

There will not always be facial features, be aware of that.  Kids from hard places that are adopted…learn as much as you can.  I’m not saying do not bring them into your home.  I am saying, however, to become a student.  Watch.  Get them and you into therapy.  Read, learn, implement what you learn.

My Kids

They had a crap beginning.  I’ve always been honest with them about their diagnosis.  There is no reason for them to just think they are stupid because they aren’t stupid.  My kids have areas where they are BRILLIANT.  Then, there are areas that they struggle in deeply.

They will have a bright future.  I will do all that I can, provide what I can get the services they need to ensure that they have every opportunity that anyone else has.  It is hard.  Every day is hard.  I have had to make some hard decisions and I will continue to do so.  Though, I will ignore the judgment of others.  I’m doing the best that I can do.  Until you jump around in my skin or the skin of my children and walk around a mile…shut your freaking pie hole.

Can You Tell?

Can you tell I have faced intense judgment?  Honestly, can you tell my children have been made fun of and judged?  Can you tell my kids have been picked on and bullied by kids AND adults?

Mama may be tired but I am still fierce.

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Psalm 48 & Proverbs 17

 

 

Faith Journey, Foster to Adopt ~ International ~ Intrafamily Adoption, Medical Issues

Psalm 36 & Proverbs 5

Psalm 36 & Proverbs 5

Psalm 36 & Proverbs 5

Here is my take on Psalm 36 & Proverbs 5.  I hope you are enjoying this as much as I am!

Psalm 36

Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts.
    They have no fear of God at all.
In their blind conceit,
    they cannot see how wicked they really are.
Everything they say is crooked and deceitful.
    They refuse to act wisely or do good.
They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots.
    Their actions are never good.
    They make no attempt to turn from evil.

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.

Thoughts

There is a person, very close to me, that I see when I read verses 1-4.  I shudder at this thought.  This person has said “I feel the darkness coming up from my feet.  It moves up and I feel powerful.  I can’t stop it and I don’t want to stop it.”  Cue:  Buh bye now!

I see it happen. This person’s eyes go from green to black.  The transformation is physical.  I know that we are getting ready to rumble.  Thankfully, I begin with “Not today, Satan.”  Then, I throw in James 4:7  Submit to God, resist the devil.  He will flee.  

Once the Name of Jesus is spoken, the enemy and his “friends” have to flee.  Yes, I roll with it sometimes.  Those days I feel like I’m in the pits of hell keeping the flames away with a water pistol. Then, there are days when I can pull out what is etched on my heart.

Section 2

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
    your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.
    How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
    in the shadow of your wings.
You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
    letting them drink from your river of delights.
For you are the fountain of life,
    the light by which we see.

10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you;
    give justice to those with honest hearts.
11 Don’t let the proud trample me
    or the wicked push me around.
12 Look! Those who do evil have fallen!
    They are thrown down, never to rise again.

Thoughts

“All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.” Can you even?  I think of the Lion King and the one part of the movie where you see the dark land.  Let’s switch that up and put a Jesus spin on it.

Can you imagine the “shadow” of His wings and how far they spread?  All we have to do is a step in that shadow and we are protected.  We are fed.  There is light.  Unfailing love and protection.

Just.  Step.  In.  The.  Shadow.  Of.  His.  Wings.

Proverbs 5

My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
    listen carefully to my wise counsel.
Then you will show discernment,
    and your lips will express what you’ve learned.
For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey,
    and her mouth is smoother than oil.
But in the end she is as bitter as poison,
    as dangerous as a double-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
    her steps lead straight to the grave.

Thoughts

Listen to wisdom.  Carefully listen to counsel.  Show discernment.  Talk about what you have learned.  It is so simple, yet it is so hard.  Why is that?

Section 2

For she cares nothing about the path to life.
    She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.

So now, my sons, listen to me.
Never stray from what I am about to say:
Stay away from her!
Don’t go near the door of her house!
If you do, you will lose your honor
and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.
10 Strangers will consume your wealth,
and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.

11 In the end you will groan in anguish
when disease consumes your body.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
13 Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?
Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
and now I must face public disgrace.”

 

Thoughts

Again, listen.  Take heed.  Be wise.  Your body will betray you when it is shrouded in guilt, shame, and ignorance.  Oh, that makes you think.  Stress on a body can do SO much damage.

When we do not stay away from, do not listen, ignore wise counsel…is that a direct relation to our physical health.  Verse 11 is very clear in saying that disease will consume your body.

That is a revelation to me.  In the last 2 weeks, I’ve struggled with some vertigo.  I have Meniere’s Disease.  There was a diagnosis when I was 19 years old.  It settled in after a head injury.  Yet, I have been symptom-free for over a year.  I mean, once I did my holistic treatment in St. Augustine, FL…it left.

Lately, I’ve struggled.  My struggle comes directly on the heels of a great amount of stress within our family.  What wise counsel am I not listening to?  I have not sought the Word to help with any issues.  Giant mistake.  Now, I’m going to remedy that situation!

Section 3

15 Drink water from your own well—
    share your love only with your wife.
16 Why spill the water of your springs in the streets,
    having sex with just anyone?
17 You should reserve it for yourselves.
    Never share it with strangers.

18 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.
    Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.
    Let her breasts satisfy you always.
    May you always be captivated by her love.
20 Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman,
    or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?

21 For the Lord sees clearly what a man does,
    examining every path he takes.
22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins;
    they are ropes that catch and hold him.
23 He will die for lack of self-control;
    he will be lost because of his great foolishness.

Thoughts

Can’t get much clearer than that!  Abstain from sex until you are married!  Anything you choose to do with a man/woman to who you are not married too is adultery.  I say that because the Lord has created our family from before creation.  He has chosen the perfect person.  Some people, he has blessed with singleness.

So, when you hold hands, kiss, hug, have sex with outside of who He created for us is straight-up adultery.  If I allowed myself, I could be swallowed up in shame but God is good, and his grace is forever!

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Update on Our School Situation

Update on Our School SituationUpdate on Our School Situation

Here is the Update on Our School Situation.  The kids have been in school for 2 weeks.  In those 2 weeks, I have done a whole lot of nothing.  I spot clean the house.  Supper is usually done by about 10 am because I can cook uninterrupted.  I pet the dogs and the cats.  Chip, my outside cat, and I have gotten to be besties.  There have been days I’ve just mindlessly scrolled through the internet.

Lest We Forget

Still did an infusion for Hunter, one day.  Baseball drop-off, pickup, and a game 3 days a week.  A deer through a windshield.  There were a massage and 2 dates with a bestie for lunch/breakfast respectively.  Oh, and naps.  I’ve taken naps.  Homeschooling.  I still have one kid here trying to finish her schoolwork.

Next Week

I have a hair appointment.  Then there is another all-day doctor’s appointment with Hunter.  Again, drop-off, pickup, and another baseball game 3 times a week.  Horse therapy.  A birthday.  And…homeschooling.

Maybe I do still do things.

First 2 Weeks with Daniel and Jude

Daniel is coming into his own.  It takes him a bit more time to do his schoolwork.  He has been dubbed “the smart kid” in his history class.  That title, he has beamed with pride.  He is making friends and eating more than he probably should.  He does love food.  I believe he is finding his way and that brings me joy.

We have discovered that in Jude’s apprehension to wear his hearing aid, he is now okay with it.  Once the student’s asked their 5000 questions, he is now considered bionic.  The obviousness of his skin color has been met with pride. He is wearing his heritage and proud of where he came from.  He is jovial, excited, and thriving.

Then There is Hunter

Hunter tends to express his needs/wants with a great and determined expression.  He now has 2 girlfriends..PA and then the girl with the long pretty hair.  Food has been challenging.  As he has some dietary restrictions, he eats what he can at school, and then I pack food for him.

On the first day of the “strike” system and he gets one for calling a kid “bad.”  Good times.  He has met the nurse with a good amount of blood and scrapes.  Apparently, in the stampede to go outside he got tripped up.  We do homework at night and he is focused.  He is loving it.

Noah Started College

He began this past Tuesday, so as of this posting, he will have been there a full week.  His nerves were shot.  He was so very nervous and anxious.  I think he is finding his footing but he has yet to experience the full-fledged experience of college.  I foresee that it is going to shock him.  He’s got this though.  I know that he is smart and determined.

Alyssa’s School

She has started the first day of her last year of college.   Gracious, she is overwhelmed but gaining traction.  She moved to another apartment and is getting her feet wet in the world of being in a fast-paced last year.  I’m so proud of her.

Grayce Plugging Away

She is still working on finishing her last year of high school.  I was hoping that she would be done by the end of December but I am not sure.  For a fact, according to the state of Kentucky’s requirements, she does have enough to graduate.  I, personally, just have some things I want her to complete.

We have many irons in the fire with what our next step is.  Yet, we just don’t know where to move.  Until I have a clear direction from Jesus…we stand still and do what we have been doing.

Ben and Bug

They are not in school but working hard.  I’m super proud of them both too!  My children bring me such joy.  I’m blessed beyond reason.

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Feeling all the Things

Feeling all the Things

Feeling all the Things

Here I am, almost midnight, the eve before 2 of my boys start middle school.  I am Feeling all the Things and then some.  Fear creeps in and then I hear my sister say “Fear is a Liar.”

There is so much I worry about.

Will Jude remember NOT to go through the metal detector?  Then my thoughts swirl to “I cannot believe my children have to walk through a metal detector.”  Will he lose his hearing aid?  What if he doesn’t wear it?  He may fall asleep during class…will he get in trouble?  Did I tell all the teacher’s about his hearing and his sleep problems?  Do I have all the things he will need to get started?  Will he be bullied?  What will he do if he is bullied?

Then there is Daniel

He is not like other kids.  I know that he knows that but others don’t know that.  They don’t know what he struggles with, internally that can manifest in strange ways externally.  What if he can’t handle the class load because his brain works a couple of steps behind the “typical” kid brain.  Will he be made fun of?  What about testing, he doesn’t test well and needs more time.  Will they know that?  He eats a lot.  What if he is still hungry and his brain slows further because he needs an extra protein or water?

Friday

On Friday, I send Hunter for his first day.  I have loved, hovered, protected, fought for, rallied with, held up, spoon-fed, and more for the last 3 years.  The last 2 years we have literally been to hell, knocked on the door, and then fought off demons with a water pistol.

What if he gets sick?  Will that put him back in a wheelchair?  What if he can’t sustain?  Will kids make fun of him and bully him?  What if he shakes so much he can’t do the things that he wants to do?  If he gets lost in the hallway, falls in the toilet, rages, struggles…what then?

Peace or No Peace

The past month, I have had such peace with this decision.  So ready.  Theoretically.  Now that it is here.  I am an anxious ball of stress.  Living on the edge of the mountain and looking down thinking…”It doesn’t seem so far…I’ll just jump.”  I can’t sleep and my mind is going 1000 different places and all at the same time.

Knowing the Right People

I know a lot of people in the system.  From the top dog to the bus drivers and that is all a good thing.  They know my kids and my kids know them.  I know that I am 5 minutes away from Hunter and about 8 away from the boys.  There have been a lot of words spoken over the course of the week but for the life of me, I cannot remember a single conversation.

Homeschooling Has its Own Struggles

It is not all peas and carrots.  I am strict, focused, and on it.  The bar is set very high for my standards whether you are “special needs” or not.  We aim high and do our best to get there by any means necessary.  I feel accomplished in graduating 4 of my 7.  Yet, there is guilt for not “finishing the race.”

That is Satan, whispering in my ear.  I know this, deep down.  Yet, I still turn my head as I hear that voice.  It still penetrates me and makes me question all the things.  I see all these “got it together” homeschooling mamas.  Yet, I know.  I know the struggles.  I’ve lived it for 20 years.  Secret time.  I HATE teaching a kid to read.  I’ve done it with 6 of my 7 but it is not something I enjoy.

I Miss My Lady

If she were here, I would drop the kids off and go to her house.  We would sit at her kitchen table and talk about all the things.  She would tell me that it was going to be fine.  Then, she would line me out on listening to Satan instead of Jesus.  Next, she would tell me the newest and latest sandwich at a particular restaurant and we would go and partake.  Finally, she would make me cry and then nap in her green chair.  I can play this all throughout my mind.

It Will All Be Okay

We will get into the flow.  Pray for the best for Hunter.  Hopefully, he will not get sick and flare-up.  If I cry, that is okay.  I know that at any point, I can change my mind and so can the boys.  My plate has been overfilled for the last 5 yrs due to many many things.  I know that I can take this time to heal, mourn, work on my health, and my passions.

For the last 23+ years, I have wiped butts, noses, educated, loved, kissed boo-boos, and more.  I sort of forgot who I was in the process.  That is okay because I have pretty awesome kids.  Jesus gave me the privilege of borrowing them for a time.  I will continue to treasure each and every new moment.

For Now

Let’s just pray that we will all bloom where we are planted.

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Harsh Reality of Raising Kids with FASD

 

Foster to Adopt ~ International ~ Intrafamily Adoption, Medical Issues

Harsh Reality of Raising Kids with FASD

Harsh Reality of Raising Kids with FASD

Harsh Reality of Raising Kids with FASD

This is a tough post to write but so many thoughts on the Harsh Reality of Raising Kids with FASD are twirling through my head.  Also, both of these kids have Reactive Attachment Disorder.  Again, in FASD and RAD, they are on opposite ends of the spectrum.  It has been almost 13 years since 2 of our adoptions.  We met these children in the spur of the moment.

In the Beginning

One was bouncy, wild-eyed, busy, and inquisitive.  The other was withdrawn, quiet, and shy.  One could not keep their hands to themselves and was very affectionate to everyone.  The other was content standing behind the social worker’s leg.  One wanted to touch all the things, eat all the things, and do all the things.  The other wanted to lay in my bed and watch a movie…without speaking or being touched.

Their Early Lives

2 children, from the same mom, living in the same environment, removed for the same reason.  Trauma.  PTSD.  Abuse.  Neglect.  Alcohol.  Drugs.  All the bad things that you can imagine done to 2 unassuming children who didn’t ask to be born.  Yet, here we are.

What a birth mom, 2 birth dads, and a set of grandparents placed upon these children, our family is dealing with.  There are days when it is too much.  Lately, it has been too much.  I’m so tired.  My other kids are tired.  Big Daddy is tired.

All the Things

Now, I know what you are thinking.  Is she in therapy?  What about under a doctor’s care?  Have you tried medication?  Food?  Yes.  This child has been in therapy for many years.  Yes.  I have made sure this child is under a doctor and psychiatrists care.  Yes.  This child has taken a multitude of medications, been off them, back on them, supplements, etc.  Yes.  We have worked on food.  Had this child in church.  Counseled.  Loved.  Supported.  Advocated.  All the things.

My Feelings

I simply do not know what to do.  One thing I do know is that I feel defeated, broken-hearted, angry, confused, and a lot of other emotions.  My other kids are on edge all the time.  We have lost friendships, churches, and sacrificed many things for this child.  What more can we do?  What am I missing?

Beginning till Now

One child started out on target, advanced is even a word I would use.  As time has gone on, this child never has moved past that of a 5-10-year-old.  It’s like the mind has stopped yet flows between those ages.

The other child started out developmentally delayed.  Learning disabilities, even school was a struggle.  Everything was just hard and slow.  Very immature for this child’s age.  Now, as this child gets older, this child seems to slowly be catching up.  I see progress in some areas, maintaining in some areas, and then the area of memory is still a struggle.  Still, there is progress in one and worsening in the other.

Help

All suggestions need to be kind.  As well as, prayer.  Prayer is REALLY something that we all welcome.  I will not tolerate anything negative said about my parenting style of my children.

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