Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Status of Foster Kids

We currently have three foster kids. We had two for a bit and then DSS started calling us for placements. After several call for older kids coming from possible sex abuse homes I told them that because of the children in our home we could only take a child under the age of one. The next day they called me to tell me that they had a child under the age of one could we take him. I had to laugh, his birthday was a few days away. I laughed and said to bring him.

At 6 months old little man tested positive for cocaine and came into care. We are his fourth placement. He is so confused. He also doesn't like to sleep. The first few nights I spent a lot of time rocking him. He wouldn't nap at all and looked terrible. Babies need sleep! Eventually he started falling asleep right after eating in his high chair. If you moved him he woke up so we just let him sleep, he needed it so bad. We got sidetracked by the flu and other viruses but we are now on track. He will take one nap a day and sleep through the night. He is settling in and we are working on attachment.

We still have Itty, he is 10 months old now and at a very healthy weight. He is well attached and developmentally on target. They are still working on sending him out of state. These ICPC's take entirely too long. They started this the first of November! We have been told that he will be moved in April or May. We will surely miss him, he is so content where he is. I was asking myself what bothers me about his case so much and I finally realized that it is the lack of visitation, the lack of gifts at Christmas, he is growing so fast and we are the only ones who see it. No one has made a road trip to see him, no one sent him anything at Christmas. If their dates are true, he will celebrate his first birthday here, will they notice?

We also have little miss. She will be turning 3 Next month but is so much younger in so many ways. We have a friend who comes in our home every week to help with speech. She has an appointment the end of March to address an eye issue. She has an appointment to get evaluated at the school right after she turns three. She has developed some allergies and we are addressing that. The blood work says milk, I say peanuts. That is ongoing. Our biggest concern is her lack of attachment. I have been doing a lot of carrying and working on attachment. She has had one visit with her mom who moved out of state. It was terrible, she was so confused. It is very apparent that she has no attachment with her. Actually we came to realize that she thinks that her social worker is her mom! The social worker has stopped picking her up and turns her to me. She is a work in progress.

We accepted the 1 year old because we thought that Itty was leaving soon. Silly us! I do think that he will move early summer and we won't take another placement. I think that the other two need our attention and need to learn to attach.

Taking kids from other counties makes life crazy. We have three different social workers, three different GAL's, one licensing worker and three different visitation schedules. Well, actually only one kid has regular visits.

Tomorrow, changes coming up...

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hard Stuff

We have been dancing on the tables at our house, what have you been up to?




Some days dancing on the tables is required to keep our sanity. Let me tell you, some days life is hard. Some days I struggle with how to help some of my kids. Some days I feel that I fall short. Some days I feel as though no matter how hard I try nothing will change.

For awhile I have struggled to write because I feel as though a huge boulder is sitting on my shoulder and I really don't know how much to say. Then I think that I started this blog to educate and to share. So I am going to take that big boulder off my shoulder and share. 

Attachment, such a strong word for me. At one point in my life it wasn't a strong word, it was just a simple word like any other. Then we adopted, then we fostered, then we adopted again and again. You think I have read, I have educated myself, I have resources, I have patience...I can do this.

No, I am not throwing in the towel, that is not possible. However, I am at a stalemate. I have been to therapists, I have even had a therapist not willing to work with my child because as long as the child thinks she is the victim and there is everyone else's fault then nothing can be done to help her. We live in an area that does not have much mental health support when it comes to attachment. One such specialist recommended having the girls moved early on, she didn't feel that there was any hope. 

I have done a lot of reading. The brain is hard wired by around 3. After that it is very difficult to change a child's wiring. I think that perhaps it all depends on the child but as I am living life I am seeing that it is very difficult to change after 3.

. We adopted Joselin when she was 10 years old and we really struggled. The base of that struggle was her anger, so much anger that got directed at us because we were there. Yet today we are attached. We have a relationship. BUT, I believe that she had attachments before she came to us. A big person in her life was her grandmother. She talks fondly of her and tells me stories of her and how she protected her. What a gift, the ability to attach was given to her.

Anthony came at 2 1/2, he was a difficult child. So wild and unattached. Honestly, I think that all those hours he spent in my lap getting his hair done helped with attachment. For years he struggled with anger. In the last year he has tackled that anger and it has dramatically improved. He has worked his way out of the self contained classroom and now receives help when he needs it in the resource class. He got all A's and B's last grading period! This is a child who was rejected by other foster parents and who everyone thought had intellectual disabilities. He was at that cusp of 3 years old but he attached.



Larissa came at 5 months arching her back to avoid being held. She came without attachment at a very young age. We did everything that is recommended to get her to attach. Today she is very attached. She has a lot of other issues going on with her but they are not attachment related.



Benjamin came to us right out of the NICU, he is firmly attached and spoiled.

Emma and Michelle, we struggle. They were almost 5 and 6 when they came to our home. The most concern was with Emma and her constant screaming. The first year was hard. The screaming stopped and with time the lying lessened. She has a level of attachment but I wish it was stronger. If she could get rid of some of the diva/racist attitude it would go far for her. Honestly, I believe that if she had been adopted without Michelle she would do better.

So that leaves Michelle. I thought that we had a level of attachment. Then at some point I realized that what we had was what she wanted to portray. Once I started to really notice the lying and manipulation some of her mask fell off. Today I don't feel that we have much. I don't feel that she has much empathy, her jealousy pushes out so much. The lying has long been a problem, I tell you, she has lied to me every day she has been in our home. Every day. How do you form a relationship with that? I have talked to her original social worker/Gal's and was told that her mother was the same way. Couldn't tell the truth if her life depended on it. It isn't just lies. It is the constant need to hurt me without appearing to hurt me. The need to have control. The hurtful words to her siblings, Emma included.

How does she hurt me without appearing to hurt me? An example is all my nick knacks on the shelves. She is "clumsy" and breaks them from time to time. One day she accidentally broke an item that I had actually bought at the Goodwill. The sticker was on the bottom. I realized what she was doing so I showed her the bottom and told her that most of the stuff on the shelves was from Goodwill. That we had so many foster kids that I didn't put anything special up there. I never told her that I knew what she was doing. I sure haven't told her that I do have things that I value on the shelves. Since that day she hasn't broke anything else. 

I feel that it is always a game. Kids get hurt playing with her and it is always an accident. She never accepts that she is wrong, every time she is corrected she cries and tantrums and says that it isn't fair how she is treated. I sometimes will talk with her to show her how it isn't unfair, that all our house rules apply to everyone. I am not sure if she is playing me or really thinks that it isn't fair. I have given grace, started all over but she just takes advantage of that. I have talked with her when no one is mad to try and work on our relationship. I believe that I want it more than she, she just wants to use the lack of one against me. 

She can do well for a short period of time to gain something that she wants. As soon as she gets what she wanted she reverts right back to her behaviors. I have never had a child roll their eyes, shrug their shoulders, look away from me is disgust as she has. My concern is that Benjamin is watching all of it. Anthony has gotten quite vocal about her disrespect. The older kids can't stand it and Joselin who has been around lately is constantly pissed at her.

I work on limiting her impact on the other kids. I do not feel that she is a big danger to the kids. She bumps into them but isn't violent. I don't believe she will become violent. She gets much more effect with playing games; lying, manipulating others. It is written in her psych evaluation that she will lie about others if she isn't getting her way. I worry about the boys. I worry about false accusations. I worry that something will really happen and we won't believe her! Right now when she is lying and I don't believe her she has crying fits and tantrums. I really don't know why she continues because it doesn't work for her but I wonder if it will outside the home.

But life goes on. On good days she can play well with the kids and their funny games. I pray often and offer grace when I can. On good days I still have hope and on bad days I struggle.


Tomorrow foster updates




Sorry for the delay

Sorry, I have been overwhelmed, frustrated, happy, sad, and behind in my laundry. I will be back on tonight to update. Not sure if one big post or a couple of smaller ones.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas

I know I have been absent. I have been busy enjoying the holidays. I guess I am not much of a blogger these days! I have lots to say and little time to do it. After the first of the year I will be writing a series on attachment and challenges with that. But for now, how our Christmas went.....

I decided that I wanted to have a small painting party so I did. We had a great time.











I had a friend contact me and ask me to paint this picture for his wife for Christmas. She loves frogs.


I had someone else contact me and ask me to do a Christmas painting party for 20 kids.


I had a great time, the kids did too.

We did lots of cooking to include some chicken soup because we fought off the cold several times.



I decided to gift Joselin with the nativity set that I bought in Guatemala during our pick up trip.






When I went to Guatemala I picked up a piece by the same artist.




We made ornaments.








And we made cookies.




Anthony and Larissa put up the lights.


Curious as to how our foster baby looks?


Benjamin put out the cookies.



All the stocking were filled with care. All of them had different stuff.




Benjamin was happy


He took grandma her gifts


and she gave him his gift from her.


He helped her unwrap her gifts. 



Christmas kiss, the best gift of all.


She loves her chocolate covered cherries.


Jason spent the night and left before Tasha got here and Kassi came after Tasha left so we didn't get a total group shot this year! 


Kassi came by but Noah wasn't feeling well so she didn't stay long.


Noah was happy with his car.


We wore him out.


It was such a good day that I forgot about the trampoline in the garage! My husband says to wait for a warm day before I mention it.

How was your holidays?