Guest Blogger

Memories with My Mom

Memories with My Mom

Memories with My Mom

 

Memories with My Mom.  The earliest memories I have of my mom is when she would rock me and sing silly old songs that would make me giggle. We would play hide and seek and we would sit outside on the glider and swing for a good long time.

Snuggles in the bed, playing with Barbie dolls or watching me dress up about a million times just because. Riding our bikes down the dead-end street and the car rides we would take to Granny’s house or Jojo’s house.

I love my mom.

She is the best kind of mom a kid could have. My mom and dad were strict but they made rules up for me to keep us in a structured house, and we always managed to have fun. She always took me to church on Sundays and then AWANA on Wednesdays, she homeschooled us for the longest time which I know at times must have been challenging for her with three kids.

We would always do fun things together as a family and we were all close. My mom always opened her home and heart to foster children and kids that we eventually adopted into our family which caused us to grow in numbers.

My Thoughts

I must have made my mom’s life challenging at times because I was a considerably difficult child at times. There were a lot of things wrong in my life.  Our relationship has hit lots of bumps in the road. I am very stubborn and not willing to try new things because Sadly, I am always afraid I will mess it up and embarrass myself.

She gave me so many things that I asked for (begged for) without hesitation because she knew I wanted it. I never truly appreciated all of her wisdom and knowledge because I always think my way is best and that I know what I am doing is right.

So many mistakes.

I have made so many mistakes. I have hurt my mother on more than one occasion, and yet she still loves me and she still forgives me. No matter what. I love my mom. I love her kind and gentle soul, her willingness to help others at moments of notice, the way she cooks with love and affection (she is the most amazing cook), how she is still in love with my dad after years of being married to him, the fact that she still loves me even after all that I have put her through.

So many tears.

I can still see the look on her face when I told her I screwed up again. She gave me so many chances that I honestly did not deserve. She has been there for me through joyous occasions, heartbreak, funny moments, and moments of pride when I do manage to accomplish something the right way.

Communication

She has helped me learn how to communicate.  To use my words even though that is sometimes very hard for me. Sometimes, I do not know how to properly articulate at times. She has been there for me through my depression and anxiety.  Honestly, I do not know how to handle it properly yet. She has been there for me throughout my whole school education.  Also, she has supported me during the hardest moments of college. She is the best person even if she says she isn’t, she really is.

Strength

I do not care what she says. She is an excellent mother who is doing the best she can under certain circumstances that are out of her control. We are the very definition of a blended family. All kinds of issues, mental health problems, physical problems, trauma, etc. And she is so strong to deal with everything she has dealt with in the past.

Hindsight is 20/20

I only wish that I was not the cause of some of her heartache. Also, I wish that I had just listened to her instead of trying to do things my way. I wish that I had not asked for all of those things just because I wanted it. Honestly, I have prayed so hard that our relationship would be strengthened.  That moment, I vowed to her that I would always be honest and communicate with her whenever she asked, even if it is hard for me.

Answered Prayers

I have admitted some things to her that I can not even accept about myself. We have been open with each other and we have gotten so much closer than we used to be before which I am so thankful for. God answered my prayers. I am gaining wisdom from her and my communication has gotten better with time and patience.

She is my rock and the one person I can trust to never judge me. I know she loves me with all of her heart and I know that she prays for me every night. I can only hope that one day I will be like her. She is an amazing person.

Mom, I love you more than words can even describe.

I am so blessed and thankful that God chose you and Dad to be my parents. I am so sorry for all the times I made you cry over me. But I am thankful for all the times you have been there for me, the times you have forgiven me, and the times that you have extended grace towards me. You inspire me with your strength every day.

Mom, you are always the one to go without a moment’s hesitation to help us kids.  Lately, to sit with us in the hospital for days on end. You have such a giving soul and I have seen it through the relationships and friendships that you have had in the past. I can only hope that one day I will be like you.

Thank You

Thank you for everything you have done for me and you continue to do for me every single day. You are a gift and a treasure and I will love you for the rest of my days on Earth. Know your worth (like you tell me everyday) and how much of a blessing you are to your family and friends because of your giving heart.

I love you, momma.

Always and forever.

Love, Peach.

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Becoming a CASA Worker

Becoming a CASA Worker

Becoming a CASA Worker

The above graphic on Becoming a CASA Worker might give you an idea of what one does.  This is a volunteer program, for the most part.  Social workers are tired.  They are overloaded with work and laws that really do nothing in the grand scheme of things.  It is sad.  I have known (and know) some amazing social workers.  Then, I have known some “out for blood” people that turns people away from this important work.  Social work is a thankless job.  Honestly, I have such respect for these men and women going in and trying to do their best to help these children.

CASA

A CASA worker, again, is a volunteer job.  When I was a worker, it was about 9 years ago.  We were waiting for Jude’s adoption to go through.  I needed something to feel like I’m doing something to help someone.

There was a lady that I answered to.  We had meetings and classes.  Also, I would go with her to court and observe to see how things were handled within the courtroom.  I have never been one to shy away from a courtroom.  They are actually peaceful to me.  It can be frustrating when you see something so clear and then another decision is made by the judge.  Once done with the classes and following my boss, I was sworn in, by the judge.  Then I was able to testify if needed.

What I Did

I was the voice of the child.  That is the whole point of being a CASA worker.  We advocate for the child.  Sometimes you take the stand and sometimes you don’t.  Each person has someone working for them and being their voice.  There are the attorney’s (for both parties and the who represents the state), guardian ad litem (represents the child as their attorney), social worker (works towards reunification and closely with the parent(s), R&C worker (the foster parent’s advocate), and a CASA worker (the child’s advocate).

It sounds intimidating but it really isn’t.

Yet, it is a responsibility that you have to take seriously.  You have to look the part, behave the part, and know your stuff.  There was a situation, where a certain social worker, who didn’t care for me, put me on the spot.  It is no great secret there is no love loss between us but I tried to remain civil.  She had a hard time with that and refused to take the stand.  In fact, she said I “knew it all” and that I would handle it.

Well.  He called me up to the stand.

Guess what?

I handled it in direct opposition that this worker wanted it handled.  This is not a sparring match between two people who can’t play well together.  Honestly, this is about the child(ren) and helping them keep their core family together if we can.

I Loved the Job

For real, I would have done this permanently had Jude not been with me.  When he came home, he was my 100% focus.  Maybe one day I will get back in the groove.  I’m sure things have changed in the last 8 years.  So, it is best that you call your local agency and find out what you need to do in order to be a CASA worker.  It is totally worth it.

Call to Action

We are not all called to adopt BUT we are all called to do something.  Is this something?  Shadow a worker and see if what they do fits into your idea of what a CASA worker does.  Seeing positive family reunifications is so rewarding.  There are other things that you will see that will hurt your heart, to the core.  Yet, we are placed in that position for a reason.  Spread the love of Jesus in all that you do.

If you have any questions, let me know!

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Foster Care Awareness Month

 

Foster to Adopt ~ International ~ Intrafamily Adoption

Foster Care Awareness Month

Foster Care Awareness Month

Foster Care Awareness Month

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month.  Foster Care…scary words, huh?  It was for me and Big Daddy when we started this journey many many years ago.  I have so many thoughts going through my head when I even utter that phrase.

Foster Care.

When we began our journey, we went in SO naive.  I mean googly-eyed and just eager to “fix,” “save,” and “help.”  Oh, my goodness.  We learned, quickly, that that was not the case.

Please remember, this is OUR journey.  These are OUR feelings.  This is OUR story.  Your story will be different.  That’s the beauty of life and different perspectives.  I’m PRO foster care.  I just wish we were better prepared for what we went through.

Before I Begin

In the lakes area, where I live, the numbers are staggering.  Across the board, staggering.  Every child deserves a home.  Also, every child deserves a last name.  Every child deserves safety and their basic needs met.  Bless…every child deserves love and a chance.  Every.  Single.  Child.  Whether they are fresh from the womb or 40 years old…EVERYONE deserves a family.

My Feels are Feeling

We were so naive.  I think I mentioned that.  We were eager.  First, we had our PS-MAPP classes.  10 weeks, 3 hours a week, sitting through classes re-learning how to parent.  We were not completely welcomed.  Judged, if you will.  There were people there that were older, older couples, younger couples, singletons.  I remember looking across the room and this one couple flat out asked us what we were doing in that class. That we had no business being in there because we already “had” children.  It wasn’t fair for us to make available children when some people in this world “can’t biologically have” children.  Bear in mind, in this class, I was there by myself.  Big Daddy had to work and did one on one classes.  So, I fielded some of the hate all alone.

Punch in the Gut

That statement took the wind right out of my sails.  I have many friends who cannot “biologically” have children.  Some have remained “childless” from society’s perspective.  Yet…they are just as much a parent then I am.  They love, deeply.  Sacrifice for others whether that is for their stepchildren/nieces/nephews/cousins/god-children or animals.  It is beautiful to witness.  There is beauty to be found in the ashes.

I have friends who have chosen to adopt BEFORE they biologically had children.  That is how they wanted it all along.  Some women can easily conceive and then make the choice to “prevent” conception in a permanent manner.  Then, they regret “playing God” and move towards adoption.

However, you come to the cross in how your family is structured…it is YOUR journey.  Yours.  No one should judge another for having no children or 1000 kids.  It is simply none of your business.  Gracious.  There can be so much hate, judgment, and condemnation.

Ways You Can Help

Not everyone is called to adopt, but we are all called to do something!  Here are so many tangible ways to help a foster child(ren), foster family, adoptive family, or a child you see that may need a little extra love.

  • Pray.  For the child, their parents and bio family, the foster family and extended family, judges, attorneys, guardians, social workers, counselors.  Can you even imagine, going from the chaos of an unsafe home, the only home you know, and leaving with a stranger?  Then, being left with a stranger.  Sleeping in a strange bed with people that you don’t even know their names or where the light switch is.  I cannot even begin to imagine.
  • Respite.  Provide a weekend, afternoon, or just a drive for the foster family with this new child.  Respite is a paid position if you so desire, it is basically babysitting.  Believe me, everyone will welcome a short break.
  • Meal or Errands.  Provide a meal or errands for the foster/adoptive family.  Cook one for now, and have one extra ready for the freezer for later.  What a help.  Running errands helps to contain the chaos.  It is so hard to get out and about sometimes.  There are just moments when we need someone to run to the bank but due to a crisis, we just can’t get there.  Be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Other Ways To Help

  • Help Around the House.  Mow the yard.  Do a load of laundry.  Come clean while people nap.  Oh, if I had that…people to go to the doctor’s appointments with me.  I was wagging 5 kids, by myself.  I had no help.
  • Be a Non-Judgemental Ear.  I never had that either.  Just listen.  Listen to all the words, even if they are un-Scriptural.  Don’t try and fix it.  Just listen and love.  Pray.  Point to Christ.
  • See a Need.  Meet a Need.  No questions asked.
  • Volunteer at a Boys and Girls home.  Big Brothers Big Sisters.  Youth facilities.
  • Become a CASA worker.  Be the voice for the child.  Worth it.
  • Donate to Moses Basket or Bags of Love (these are specific to our area).  You can call your local DCBS office and find out who you can donate items to help children coming into care.
  • Love.  Be Jesus with skin on.  Be His hands and feet.

Tomorrow

I may share the story of our first placement.  It was a hard time, personally, during my life.  Then these children blew life into my life and I was renewed.  Only to be devastated a short time after.  I know what satan’s eyes look like.  Met him, in person.  Still struggle, after all these years.  Today is not that day that I want to revisit that pain.

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Faith Journey

Thoughts on Psalm 71

Thoughts on Psalm 71

The second part of verse 2 in Psalm 71 has struck a chord in me.  It directly speaks to a situation I am currently in.

Psalm 71

Lord, I have come to you for protection;
    don’t let me be disgraced.
Save me and rescue me,
    for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me,
    and set me free.
Be my rock of safety
    where I can always hide.
Give the order to save me,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.
My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked,
    from the clutches of cruel oppressors.
O Lord, you alone are my hope.
    I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.
Yes, you have been with me from birth;
    from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.
    No wonder I am always praising you!

Thoughts

“Turn your ear to me and set me free.”  Oh, Lord, to be set free.  I have been tormented for over 30 years.  There has been an ongoing memory for as long as I can remember.  Yet, my memory is stagnant.  I know that it is real and validated because I have asked other people who would have known.  Also, I have talked to many therapists.  Yet, it remains at a point where it does not move.  I have no clarity.

It is to the point where I would go and see a hypnotist help me remember because I am desperate.  Now, will I ever do that…no?  I believe that is against Scripture and I do not want to go against God.  Yet, I do want to close my eyes and see the face.  I don’t need details of the event because that will not help me.  Honestly, I just want peace.  I have it to a degree but then again, I don’t have it.

Lord, turn your ear to me and set me free!!!!!!!!!!  Either allow these memories to flood me or give me contentment to let it go.  Oh, and if You see fit to put my crystals back in place, I’d appreciate that too!  He does say to be prayerful in all things. 🙂

Section 2

My life is an example to many,
    because you have been my strength and protection.
That is why I can never stop praising you;
    I declare your glory all day long.
And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside.
    Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing.
10 For my enemies are whispering against me.
    They are plotting together to kill me.
11 They say, “God has abandoned him.
    Let’s go and get him,
    for no one will help him now.”

Section 3

12 O God, don’t stay away.
    My God, please hurry to help me.
13 Bring disgrace and destruction on my accusers.
    Humiliate and shame those who want to harm me.
14 But I will keep on hoping for your help;
    I will praise you more and more.
15 I will tell everyone about your righteousness.
    All day long I will proclaim your saving power,
    though I am not skilled with words.
16 I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord.
    I will tell everyone that you alone are just.

17 O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,
    and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.
18 Now that I am old and gray,
    do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
    your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

Section 4

19 Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.
    You have done such wonderful things.
    Who can compare with you, O God?
20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
    but you will restore me to life again
    and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
21 You will restore me to even greater honor
    and comfort me once again.

Thoughts

Yes, I have suffered hardships.  In the middle of them, I could see no way out.  Now, on the other side of the rainbow with many of those hardships, I can see where God moved and grooved.  I just had to get out of the way.  Give up.  Stop controlling every aspect of these issues.

If I would yield to the first sign of trouble, God could move more fluidly throughout all these issues.  Yet, I hang on.  Much like a leech that is stuck to someone’s body after they took a swim in a lake or pond.  One day, I will learn.  Hopefully, sooner rather than later.

Section 5

22 Then I will praise you with music on the harp,
    because you are faithful to your promises, O my God.
I will sing praises to you with a lyre,
    O Holy One of Israel.
23 I will shout for joy and sing your praises,
    for you have ransomed me.
24 I will tell about your righteous deeds
    all day long,
for everyone who tried to hurt me
    has been shamed and humiliated.

Related Posts:

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Faith Journey

Psalm 52 & Proverbs 21

Psalm 52 & Proverbs 21

Psalm 52 & Proverbs 21

Within my thoughts on Psalm 52 & Proverbs 21, it talks about the “uglies” we have stored in our heart.  I have those uglies and as the Lord is refining me…He is cleaning out those parts.  It is painful.

Psalm 52

Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior?
    Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever?
All day long you plot destruction.
    Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor;
    you’re an expert at telling lies.
You love evil more than good
    and lies more than truth. 

You love to destroy others with your words,
    you liar!
But God will strike you down once and for all.
    He will pull you from your home
    and uproot you from the land of the living. 

The righteous will see it and be amazed.
    They will laugh and say,
“Look what happens to mighty warriors
    who do not trust in God.
They trust their wealth instead
    and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.”

But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God.
    I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.
I will praise you forever, O God,
    for what you have done.
I will trust in your good name
    in the presence of your faithful people.

Proverbs 21

1The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord;
    he guides it wherever he pleases.

People may be right in their own eyes,
    but the Lord examines their heart.

The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just
    than when we offer him sacrifices.

Haughty eyes, a proud heart,
    and evil actions are all sin.

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity,
but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.

Thoughts

Though we think we have it all right and all those uglies are safely tucked away, the Lord looks at our hearts and He sees.  I had a hard conversation with a kid tonight.  It was a conversation I never intended on having with my children.  Yet, a situation forced my hand.

I had to reveal a part of my heart that I have kept tucked away for 13 yrs.  This child saw the hurt, anger, and I could even say hate in my eyes.  The part of my heart that stored these thoughts and memories have no reason to surface, yet…God has a different story.

I am faced with a task that will require more brainpower, energy, forgiveness, and mercy then I have shown in a long time.  He did not want all of my heart except for a couple of “rooms.”  Honestly, He wants it all.  This “examining” part of my journey really does suck.

Section 2

Wealth created by a lying tongue
    is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap.

The violence of the wicked sweeps them away,
    because they refuse to do what is just.

The guilty walk a crooked path;
    the innocent travel a straight road.

It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic
    than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.

10 Evil people desire evil;
    their neighbors get no mercy from them.

11 If you punish a mocker, the simpleminded become wise;
    if you instruct the wise, they will be all the wiser.

12 The Righteous One knows what is going on in the homes of the wicked;
    he will bring disaster on them.

13 Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor
will be ignored in their own time of need.

Thoughts

I giggled at verse 9.

Section 3

14 A secret gift calms anger;
    a bribe under the table pacifies fury.

15 Justice is a joy to the godly,
    but it terrifies evildoers.

16 The person who strays from common sense
    will end up in the company of the dead.

17 Those who love pleasure become poor;
    those who love wine and luxury will never be rich.

18 The wicked are punished in place of the godly,
    and traitors in place of the honest.

19 It’s better to live alone in the desert
than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.

Thoughts

Is He trying to hammer in a point with verse 19…seems like a lot of Proverbs talks about this complaining wife.

Section 4

20 The wise have wealth and luxury,
    but fools spend whatever they get.

21 Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love
    will find life, righteousness, and honor.

22 The wise conquer the city of the strong
    and level the fortress in which they trust.

23 Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut,
    and you will stay out of trouble.

24 Mockers are proud and haughty;
    they act with boundless arrogance.

25 Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin,
    for their hands refuse to work.

26 Some people are always greedy for more,
    but the godly love to give!

27 The sacrifice of an evil person is detestable,
    especially when it is offered with wrong motives.

28 A false witness will be cut off,
    but a credible witness will be allowed to speak.

29 The wicked bluff their way through,
    but the virtuous think before they act.

30 No human wisdom or understanding or plan
    can stand against the Lord.

31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
    but the victory belongs to the Lord.

Related Posts:

Psalm 51 & Proverbs 20

 

 

Life or Something Like It, Medical Issues

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

Here I am, sorting through the 58,882 pictures and the 1300 videos and it happened.  I began Falling Down the Rabbit Hole of memories.  Frankly, I am an emotional wreck!

The Basics

I mean there are the annual Christmas pictures, birthday pictures, and such.  Those pictures are fun to look at.  To see the kids’ faces change over the years.  The laughter and joy on their little faces.  These are fun.

The Rest

Then, there are the ones that make me choke back the tears.  I sat and looked through the pictures of two of our children, Shay and Tay.  We had them for a short time, but our goal was adoption.

The social worker was evil.  Just pure evil.  I know a lot of social workers and the ones that I know are hardcore and good.  They want the best for these children in tough places.  I am blessed to know them.

This one, however, was not one of the good ones.  She convinced the judge that I’m an unfit mother.  This was all done because she wanted to adopt these children.  Vile human.  I struggle with forgiveness.

Ethiopia

Looking at the pictures from Ethiopia makes me feel so many feels.  The referral picture of Jude.  I remember where I was when I saw his little face the first time.  The pictures of our first trip.  So full of joy and promise and excitement.

Then the trial…15 mths of fighting for our son.  Seeing other people’s pictures of my son.  I’m so thankful for them and for thinking of us during this time.  Yet, it reminds me of the darkness that fell over me.  The uncertainty.  Pain.

Joy That Comes in the Morning

Then, there is the joy of seeing him again.  The look on his face.  Him, in all white, with these beautiful wildflowers he had picked.  The “mommies” all walking with him.  I remember the joy on their faces of us *finally* coming.  Also, the sadness, as he was a staple at the transition house.

Granny’s House

Then there was the year that granny died.  Wow.  Gut punch.  I didn’t realize I took so many pictures of her house.  Yet, there they all were.  Memories of such joyous times with her and a twinge of sadness of other things.

Hunter Before

The pictures and videos of Hunter blowing into our lives.  He was like a whirlwind that blew new life into our family.  His presence created so much healing within my family and my extended family.

As we should all know with adoption…with great joy comes great loss.  He has experienced so much loss in his little life.  His biological father, whom he will never know.  His biological siblings from his father’s side.  The loss of his biological mom to drugs and prison.  Also, the loss of the only “father” that he knew and his kids.  The loss of his health.

Bigger Picture

The thing I have to look at is how far he has come.  Yes, he will never know his bio dad.  On the flip side, Big Daddy is a phenomenal daddy to him.  They have a wonderful bond.  The only “father” he knew, from his past, has made some epically poor choices and is in a bad state of being right now.  He is not safe.  His biological mom is my niece and oh how I love her.  I’m doing everything I can to keep her in his life.  We can only do so much, right now, since she is in prison.  However, once she is out…that is when the rubber meets the road.

For Now

I will absorb it all.  Take it all in stride.  Be thankful for the memories that were made and the lessons that were learned.  I can see God’s hand and the crimson thread He has woven throughout my life in pictures.

Related Posts:

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Medical Issues

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy.

These effects can include physical problems and problems with behavior and learning.
Often, people with FASDs have a mix of these problems.

What are FASDs?

FASDs refer to a range of effects that can happen to a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These conditions can affect each person in different ways and can range from mild to severe.

They can affect the mind or the body, or both. Because FASDs make up a group of disorders, people with FASDs can exhibit a wide range and mix of symptoms.
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is one condition among the full range of FASDs. A
baby born with FAS has a small head, weighs less than other babies, and has
distinctive facial features.

Some of the behavioral and intellectual disabilities of people with FASDs include:

Difficulty with learning or memory
Higher than normal level of activity (hyperactivity)
Difficulty with attention
Speech and language delays
Low IQ
Poor reasoning and judgment skills
People born with FASDs can also have problems with their organs, including the heart and kidneys.

What causes FASDs?

FASDs are caused by a woman’s drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord. When a woman drinks alcohol so does her baby. There is no known amount of alcohol that is safe to drink during pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant. All drinks that contain alcohol, including wine and beer, can harm an unborn baby. There is no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy.

Alcohol can harm a baby at any time during pregnancy. So, to prevent FASDs, a woman should not drink alcohol while she is pregnant, or even when she might get pregnant. This is because a woman could get pregnant and not know it for up to 4 to 6 weeks. In the United States, nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned.

How many people have FASDs?

We do not know exactly how many people have an FASD. Few estimates are available. Based on community studies using physical examinations, experts estimate that the full range of FASDs among 6-7-year-old children in the United States and some Western European countries might be as high as 2 to 5 out of 100 school children (or 2% to 5% of
the population).

Are there treatments for FASDs?

FASDs last a lifetime. There is no cure for FASDs, but research shows that early intervention treatment services can improve a child’s development.
There are many types of treatment options, including medication to help with some symptoms, behavior and education therapy, parent training, and other approaches. No one treatment is right for every child.

Good treatment plans will include close monitoring, follow-ups, and changes as needed along the way.
There are a number of factors that can help reduce the effects of FASDs and help people with these conditions reach their full potential.

These factors include:

Diagnosis before 6 years of age
A loving, nurturing, and stable home environment during the school years
Absence of violence
Involvement in special education and social services

What can I do if I think my child has an FASD?

~Ask for a Referral.
If you or your health care provider thinks your child could have an FASD, ask your provider for a referral to a specialist (someone who knows about FASDs), such as a developmental pediatrician, child psychologist, or clinical geneticist. In some cities, there are clinics whose staff have special training in diagnosing and treating children with
FASDs.

For providers and clinics in your area, visit the National and State Resource Directory from the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS)  or call 800–66–NOFAS (66327).
~Get an Evaluation
Call your state’s public early childhood system to request a free evaluation to find out if your child qualifies for intervention services. You do not need to wait for a health care provider’s referral or a medical diagnosis to make this call.

Steps for a free evaluation from the state depends on your child’s age:

For children younger than 3 years old, contact your local early intervention system. To learn more, call (973) 642-8100.
For children 3 years old or older, contact your local public school system.  Even if your child is not old enough for kindergarten or enrolled in a public school, call your local elementary school or board of education and ask to speak with someone who can help you have your child evaluated.

To help your child reach his or her full potential, it is very important to get help for FASDs as early as possible!

For More Information

To learn more about FASDs, visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or call 800–CDC–INFO
American Academy of Pediatrics FASD Toolkit 
Center for Parent Information and Resources call (973) 642-8100
National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS)  or call 800–66–NOFAS (66327)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s FASD Center for Excellence

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So Many Decisions

 

Medical Issues

What is Reactive Attachment Disorder?

 What is Reactive Attachment Disorder?

What is Reactive Attachment Disorder?

What is Reactive Attachment Disorder?  RAD is a condition in which individuals have difficulty forming loving lasting
relationships.  Let me just tell you…this is HARD.  Seemingly, on the outside, things look great.  However, at home, it is like living in a nightmare.  Sadly, this is a nightmare that you do not wake up from.  Sometimes, it can be manageable.  For instance, medication for moods and sleep can help, sometimes.  However, their body starts building resistance to medications, so trial and error become the norm.

Some General Traits

Often have a nearly complete lack of ability to be genuinely affectionate with others.

Typically fail to develop a conscience and do not seem to trust.

Do not allow people to be in control of them due to this trust issue.

They can be surface compliant for weeks if there is no loving relationship involved.

However, with strangers, they can be extremely charming and appear loving.

Uneducated adults misinterpret this as the child trusting or caring for them. If they cannot trust and love their own family that loves them, they will not trust and love a casual acquaintance.

They do not think and feel like a normal person.

Some famous people with RAD

Hitler

Saddam Hussein

Edgar Alien Poe

Jeffrey Dahmer

Ted Bundy

Helen Keller

Isolated type, Predominant feeling is Sad

1. no friends
2. no touch
3. verbally compliant actually defiant

Evasive type, Predominant feeling is Fear

1. clingy
2. fake
3. charming
4. chatter
5. chameleon

Defiant type, Predominant feeling is Rage

1. cruel
2. charming
3. self-absorbed
4. destructive

Bizarre type

1. act crazy
2. constant noise

Causes

Any of the following conditions occurring to a child under 36 months of age puts a child at high risk for developing RAD:

~Maternal ambivalence toward pregnancy
~In-utero trauma, drugs, alcohol exposure
~Abuse
~Neglect
~Sudden separation from the primary caregiver
~Undiagnosed or painful illness such as colic or ear infections
~Inconsistent or inadequate daycare
~Chronic maternal depression
~Several moves and/or placements
~Unprepared mothers with poor parenting skills

Attachment Disorder Symptoms in Children

Superficially engaging & charming
Lack of eye contact on parents terms
Indiscriminately affectionate with strangers
Not affectionate on parents’ terms
Destructive to self, others, and material things (accident prone)
Cruelty to animals
Lying about the obvious (crazy lying)
Stealing
No impulse controls
Learning Lags
Lack of cause and effect thinking

More Issues

Lack of conscience
Abnormal eating patterns
Poor peer relationships
Preoccupation with fire
Preoccupation with blood & gore
Persistent nonsense questions & chatter
Inappropriately demanding & clingy
Abnormal speech patterns
Triangulation of adults
False allegations of abuse
Presumptive entitlement issues
Parents appear hostile and angry

Attachment Disorder Symptoms in Infants

~Does not use crying appropriately to get someone to address needs
~Often does not settle when needs are met by Mom
~Overreacts or often startles to touch, sound, and/or light
~Listlessness with no medical reason
~Limited holding onto or reaching for a caregiver
~Lack of appropriate stranger anxiety between 6 and 9 months of age
~Shows minimal interest in interacting with people
~Does not smile back or respond with activity to smites or baby talk
~Often does not follow human movement with their eyes
~Avoids eye contact
~Self abusive behavior
~Is resistant to cuddling

Great Quotes

When your brain works right, so can you. When your brain doesn’t work right, neither can you.” Daniel Amen, M.D.

“Experience changes the brain,” Bruce Perry, M.D,

Attachment is at the heart of all human endeavors.” Bruce Perry, M.D.

“Traditional therapy is useless for severely traumatized people, but especially children because it does not reach the parts of the brain that were most impacted by trauma.”  Bessel van der Kolk. M.D.

Complex (reactionary mind/brain stem) Survival mode

Fight – Defensive, tantrums argues, negative
Flight – Runs away, hypervigilant, stress-filled, anxious
Freeze- Shuts down emotions, shuts down learning, disassociates

Talking:

This is the first area that a child must gain self-control to begin the healing process.

Lies
Dumb questions
Unclear Speech
Jabbering
Swearing
Not answering
Why?
Arguing
I don’t know
Not accepting responsibility
Interrupting
Whining

Consequences vs. Punishment

Punishment turns thoughts to the outside of the child.

Consequences turn their thoughts inside.

Dramatic Displays:

Children need to be kept in close until they no longer need an audience to manipulate.

Flipping the bird
Overdramatic
Pity Parties
Fit Throwing
Aggression
Eye Rolling

Excretions:

It is essential that the child be 100% responsible for the clean-up of their own excretions after the age of five.

Urine
Feces
Flatulence
Vomit
Nasal Discharge
Spitting

Food Issues:

On one hand, you can’t make them eat it. On the other hand, you can’t make them stop eating either.  Sadly, they have to learn to control themselves. Honestly, a parent’s obligation as the nurturer is to provide nutritious meals three times a day.

Hiding food
Eating too much
Not eating
Picky eating
Eating rudely
Eating weird things

Friends and Family:

Relationships must begin between the mother and child.  Second, generalize to the father.  Third, to the family.  Fourth, to the community.  Lastly, to the world.

Peer relationships
Siblings rights
Abusing other kids
Setting up
Tattling
Pets

Prescribing the Problem:

When it’s not harmful to the child, pick your battles.  For instance, one avenue of intervention is prescribing the problem.

Chewing clothes
Chewing hands
Thumb sucking
Biting nails, lips, toes
Cracking knuckles
Picking boogers
Picking scabs
Masturbating
Crying wolf
Refusing medication
Nutrition
Allergies

Bedtime Issues:

Children need to sleep 10 to 12 hours a night with no light on. On the other hand, adults need to sleep 8 hours a night with no light on.

Setting alarm off
Not going to bed
Noise at night
Getting them up in the am and dressed

Restitution /Respite/Responsibility

~Restitution for stolen or intentionally stolen items should be double the replacement value of the item.

~It is the child’s responsibility to fill in the hole they dig with their inappropriate behaviors. The way they fill it in is by paying back with their time, their talent, or their energy.

~Stealing
~Running away
~Knives/weapons
~Destroying property
~Sabotaging fun
~Hygiene

From Others Toward Parents:

~Sometimes we have to say No

~No I won’t put my child in harm’s way by giving them freedoms they can’t handle.

~Parenting too tough, Nazis

~Not strict enough

~Munchhausen, Histrionic, Borderline, etc.

~Bad parent

~Don’t like/love child

~Scape-goating child

~Try harder

~Just love him more

Support Ideas

Realize this is a very painful situation. If you are on the Mom’s side, you are on the child’s side. Sadly, if you take the child’s side against the Mom, they both lose.

Equally important, listen with open ears and hearts. For instance, you should not judge, or be critical. Again, condemning, criticizing, or blaming Does Not Help to Lift the burden, don’t load it down.

Make short, loving phone calls (occasionally) to listen and encourage, not to advise, not to gather information, or “check on them”- Tell her she can chat whenever she needs an ear.

Finally, do Not give unasked-for advice.

Take all information as confidential.

It Is very helpful to educate yourself about Attachment Disorder.

**** Do not say just say ‘Let me know if I can help.’  Do something to help.****

Practical Ideas

1. Take her to lunch or dinner.
2. Rent a funny movie and share it.
3. Send her flowers, chocolate, or cards with love and a smile on it.
4. Bring her some dinner or baked goods,
5. Hugs are always heading. Moms need 12 a day minimum.
6. Pray for them.

More Ideas

Run errands to help lessen the load,
Take the kids somewhere for the afternoon. Be sure she knows it’s because she deserves a break and not because she can’t handle it.
Consider giving her a gift certificate for a massage, manicure, or hair salon.
Give her Mozart’s music or some other calming or uplifting tunes.
Give her a good book.
Buy her bubble bath and watch the kids for an hour or so white she soaks to music.
Remind her of her special traits and talents.
Tell the child often, in front of her, how lucky they are to have a mom like this.
Absolutely, never show up without calling to check for an appropriate time to visit.
Never tell her to “Just love the child more”. If you already have, beg forgiveness for not understanding.

Families by Design

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Foster to Adopt ~ International ~ Intrafamily Adoption, Medical Issues

Confabulation The “True” Story

Confabulation The "True" Story

Confabulation The “True” Story

 

In Confabulation The “True” Story according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

CONFABULATION means

1to talk informally 
2to hold a discussion 
>>>>>>3to fill in gaps in memory by fabrication<<<<<<<

A major characteristic of brain-damaged patients is the tendency to confabulate—to hide and dissemble about their damage.  —Peter R. Breggin

Now, I have stumbled upon another site called FASD FAMILIES.  Though it is geared more towards younger FASD kids, it has a ton of useful information.  One has to realize that, say there is a kid who is 16 years old, physically.  On a good day, they are developmental, emotionally, or mentally 8 yrs old.  When they are escalated, you are dealing with a 4-year-old.

No-Fault of the Child

This is at no fault to the child but to the situation of why they have FASD.  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome causes prenatal brain damage that they deal with for the rest of their lives.  The poor decision of a mother (or father), leads to a lifetime of struggles for their children.  This author defines confabulation, as well, and I thought it was PERFECT.

CONFABULATION: The fancy word is confabulation. Some would say it’s lying. I think it’s more like their version of the story becomes their truth because they don’t know the difference between truth and reality. Once they tell a story, they accept it as gospel.

^^^^^YES, HOLLA, PREACH IT, YOU GO, GIRL, ^^^^^

I have had a shit-tastic day with my oldest dd, 17.  Seriously, if it wasn’t one thing, it was 500 others.  The excuses flowed, the lies confabulations were on point and I fell for it.  I freaking fell for it.

These are the mistakes I made (in no particular order):
  • I asked a question, I knew the answer too.
  • I began escalating because she was escalated.
  • I’m not even in town to deal with it because I am in the hospital with another child.
  • I used too many words.
  • Other people were involved, though they were stepping in for an absent me not realizing they were jumping into quicksand.
  • We talked too long.

What an evil vicious cycle FASD is….or any of it!

FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome)

FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)

PFAS (Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome)

ARND (Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopment Disorder)

ARBD (Alcohol-Related Birth Defects)

It is a horrific, invisible disease.

I feel as if I have failed as a parent because I cannot get through to these children, though we are the only family they remember.  That damn Amygdala brain (primitive brain that remembers in utero to 3 yr memories).  It is always there.

We have tried therapy, meds, regular dr visits, pastoral counseling, reading the Word, writing the Word, putting positive people in their lives, talking till I am blue in the face…nothing gets through.  Nothing.

Now, the big question is…

HOW DO I PARENT THAT WITHOUT LOSING MY MIND?

The quick answer is “I have no clue.”  The longer answer is “I REALLY have no clue.”

I guess it is time to not only continue to study about Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome, in order to help Hunter…but to find the answers.

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Content a 7 Letter Word

Content a 7 Letter Word

Content a 7 Letter Word

There is a word, I do not like so well.  Content a 7 Letter Word.  On October 14, 2015…..I remember sitting on the pot (yes, my revelations come in the bathroom) and contemplating life.  I have always yearned to have more children.  Big Daddy and I took that matter into our own hands and chose to “get him fixed” when Noah was about 2 maybe 3….at the time, he was 14.  I was looking up at a picture that my kids had made.  Each one had done their handprint in yellow and decorated it.  My frame was full….literally and figuratively.  We even traded in our suburban that, easily, fit 9 people for a smaller minivan.  Yep.  My life was complete.  Change is good with Content a 7 Letter Word.  Next up:  Grandchildren.
Been There, Done That with Adoption Avenues
Ethiopia was closing.  Foster system…..yep…..did that.  We couldn’t really afford any other type of adoption, so I just sat there, praising God for the children that I have and I uttered the words “Lord, I choose to be content.  I am content.  My kids are getting bigger.  I have more freedoms.  Life is good, and I’m thankful.”  I am thinking He was sitting on His heavenly throne, eating popcorn, and laughing hysterically at me.
The very next day.
THE.  VERY.  NEXT.  DAY.  Bart was home, and it was the tail end of fall break.  I was on cloud nine.  I felt like a thousand elephants had jumped off my chest and I was excited about letting go of a dream and moving forward.  In moving forward, we decided to throw caution to the wind and take 5 of our 6 kids to the movie.  Our oldest daughter was working.
Surprising our Kids with a Movie and Lunch
We were all getting dressed and almost out the door when the phone rang.  Normally, since most of us were in the van, I would ignore the phone and go on…I didn’t for some reason (or a God reason), and I looked at the caller ID, and it was my oldest sister.  A little mini back story about my sister and me.  We come from a very close-knit family, and when one of us is hurt or threatened, we surround that person and become a barrier of protection and love.
Yet…my sister and I were never really close.  She is close to my oldest brother, and I’m was super close to my sister 2 yrs older than me.  K is 6 yrs older, and my brother is 10 yrs older.  We loved each other….that has always held true, but that was about it.
A Little Backstory
About a year before this event, I had an appt with my number 6 child.  That trip took me close to where my sister worked.  I ran by there to say hi.  Also to get an update on her kids/grandkids.  Lastly, I wanted to give her an update on my family.  I suggested that we go to lunch together.  To get to know each other and to figure out who we are, as adults.  To my surprise, she said yes.
Faithfully, for a year, we met for lunch once a month.  It came to be a time that we both loved, and we didn’t want to miss it.  We started calling each other….texting each other….having jokes…solving the world’s problems.  I would now consider her one of my best friends.  My sisters are my strength, and they hold me up with love, consistency, prayers, devotion, honesty, and fussing at me when I need it.  When we told our other sister what all had transpired between us, she just cried.  She said that is what she had been praying about for years.
Always Answer Your Phone
So when I saw her name, I picked up the phone.  I knew she and her husband were out of town, so my first line was “what is wrong.”  I heard the panic in her voice…..she kept saying “can you go and get the babies.  Go and get them.  Mom is out of town.  I’m out of town.  Daddy is with them but can you get them.”  Uhm…..YES, I can.  We all loaded up and headed to town and when we pulled up tears and chaos surrounded us.  I will not go into detail because first, I do not have my sister’s permission….second, it is her and the babies’ stories….not mine to share.
Adding 2 Kids for the Weekend
We kept the babies that weekend (by babies they were 5 and 2), and she picked them up on Sunday.  I remember thinking “God, I have helped the least of these…may You bless them and protect them during this journey they are walking on.”  Then, I went to bed cause I was tired LOL.  I have not had a little one here since Daniel, and he was 2 1/2 when he moved in.  Jude was 5 when he came home.  To thrust me into little people’s clothes and diapers…..no thank you…I am good LOL.
Oops, We Missed One
Fast forward just a little bit to November 2015.  See….K and J had a little brother, Hunter.  He was living with, whom we thought was his father, but in reality, he was not.  His mom, my niece, was living in the streets wheeling and dealing and drugging.  Broke our hearts.  My heart broke for this little dude.  I knew my sister and her husband were working full time and had a toddler and a 5 yr old who are both dealing with PTSD and severe trauma from their beginnings.  Could she take on a baby who was 21 mths old?  Yep….would she go bald and run down the road naked screaming at the top of her lungs?  Yep.
Yielding
I talked to Big Daddy, my kids.  Also, I spoke to my other sister and my mama.  Then, and only then, did I talked to Kim.  One of the rawest, difficult, blessed events that have occurred between us.  We cried.  She agreed.  Niece agreed.  Judge agreed.
What On Earth Am I Thinking
So here I am, just turning 43 yrs old.  One out of the house, one almost in college, one in high school, one in middle school, two in grade school, and a baby…..a baby who wasn’t rocked that often.  My life consisted of standing in the baby aisle crying because I didn’t know what he needed.  Sippy cups.  Diapers.  Baby toys.  Diaper bags.  Smooshed up foods.  Car seats.  My van didn’t accommodate everyone.  Oh.  My.  Stars.  What have I freaking done!  I have a BABY!
So Much More to this Inter-Family Adoption
There is SO much more to this story.  Sadly, there is still so much fighting and many days in court.  There have been many tears.  So many “thank yous” from my sister and her husband.  Also, so much therapy and so many hospitals stay.  So.  Very.  Much.  You can read, from my sister’s perspective here on her blog Mom By Proxy….and God’s Grace.  We “officially” adopted him right before Christmas, last year.

 

Through It All…His Eyes Were On You

Through it all…..God knew what He was doing since before He created the Earth.  He knew how my family would be shaped.  That my relationship with my sister would be healed.  Also, He knew that I would be in my 40s still raising babies.

Straight Up Joy

This boy……..this baby………he has bound my crew together.  He has changed one of my daughters.  My little dude has his biggest brother wrapped around his little finger.  He is loved so deeply and completely.  His laugh, smile, and “I love you, mom.”  The fact that he says “daddy you are my favorite.”  Also, “Mamaw is my girlfriend.”  His imagination, drive, and determination are to behold.

He is my joy, the calm in the storm.  That little dude is my baby and he melts me.  Am I finished with babies?  I don’t know.  Grandkids are in my future…one day….but so may a little one who needs a family.  We shall see what God wants.  Till then, I will NEVER utter the phrase again “Lord, I am content.”  I will never use Content a 7 Letter Word again.