Monday, June 26, 2017

Finding Balance

Slowly we are finding our balance. Going anywhere requires a lot of coordination. We do employ the buddy system specifically for safety reasons. The kids all buddy up when going to the car and leaving the car. When we get to our location my husband and I take over. We simply don't have enough hands to hold crossing the street! 

Ypday was my birthday so we went to San Jose to eat. We took all the kids and two cars in case John had to take anyone home early. He didn't, all the kids did great.


The weather here has been wetter than usual. We work to get in swim times. All the kids love to get in the pool. 





Vaida continues to come and spend her one night a week at Mimi's house.


Our kitten is growing up fast!


Anthony and Larissa took it upon themselves to make some slime. They looked it up themselves, gathered the ingredients and even cleaned up by themselves. Growing up on me.


Benjamin is working hard on learning to swim. If you listen to the video at the end he tells me he loves me mostest. Such a sweetie.



We feel like we are in a holding pattern. Itty Bitty is supposed to be going to his grandmas in state and the other two have an aunt out of state who wants them. Grandma spoke up very quickly for Itty so I am wondering how much long it will be. Seems like it shouldn't take months, it has been almost a month already. The out of state will be quite a while from what I understand, we have never had that happen before so I am not sure. Guess we will learn.

Tomorrow, update on Emma and Michelle. Trying to get my gumption up to write about those struggles.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Foster Care Placements

When we fostered before all of our placements were in county. In the short time we stopped fostering they changed how they place children. They now have regions, sort of. Actually it seems like a free for all, whoever they can find and it doesn't matter how far away they are.

When we took Itty Bitty it wasn't bad, two counties over, a little less than an hour away. Close enough that we took him to his first visitation. If I had to I could have taken him to his doctor. Still it is an annoyance. His social worker picked him up for his last visit. As soon as she got there the family called and cancelled so she immediately turned around and returned him to us. Her time wasted - almost 4 hours and no visit occurred.

Then we received our other placement. They were working their way further and further away to find a home. We are almost 2 hours away. So far they have only had one visitation because, well, the parents are in jail. That one visit was an all day affair. As far as doctors, nope, I am not taking my brood 2 hours away for a doctor appointment. There will lots of doctor appointments because the mother says that they are behind on shots. In order to see a doctor around here you have to have the medical records first. I have called several places that take their insurance and have been told the same by everyone. Also, when you request records they have 30 days to send them! That means that we are relegated to urgent care or emergency room for everything. Makes it kind of hard to get that initial exam. When kids were in county it was easy, just take them to their doctor.

We are in a learning curve, no kids over 5 and they must be less than 1 hour away.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Struggles

Well, Little Man passed his hearing test. This means that he can totally ignore a cow bell and isn't responding to anyone calling his name and has no words for reasons other than a hearing problem. This leaves the autism screening. I called the lady from Babynet who evaluated him and told her that he passed the hearing test. She said this means he is on the spectrum. This took me back to the very first text I sent to his social worker, "has anyone mentioned autism with him?" She seemed shocked at the suggestion. Honestly I was hoping it was a hearing problem.

I have been struggling with the question of whether we could manage him and everything else we have going on in our house. Our entire lifestyle has changed. We love to eat out but have only taken him to Chic Fil A, he barely handles that so we don't go anywhere else. While in public he has to be restrained in some way. If his feet touch the ground he is bolting and he is fast. I was sweating by time I got back from the hearing test because holding him is not easy, he is constantly pulling from you. I let him down once and he bolted. Running through the office is not fun. If a door were open to the outside he would go and never look back no matter how much you were screaming at him.

At home someone must always have an eye on him. He loves to climb and fall and he doesn't care how high or what he is falling on. Yesterday he developed a passion for climbing onto the computer table. After one fall and many times taken off we put him in the play pen. The play pen is a struggle because the entire time he is in there he is screeching. However, we know he is safe.

We try to contain him within the family room. This is a 500 sq ft area. However, it is hard. The little ones open the gate and leave it open often. He is not safe wandering the house. He has a fascination for breaking glasses. He puts everything in his mouth. He loves to climb and drop. He puts himself into danger and doesn't know it, over and over with the same things. If someone were to leave the front door open it would be a huge problem.

We have been told that a relative out of state has spoken up and wants the kids. I do not know how long an ICPC takes but I know that it isn't quick. I also worry that she will not be prepared to take all the kids. The family had no idea that Little Man even had any struggles.

Little Miss is doing great. She calls us mom and dad and fits right in. She did qualify for services which is great for her because I feel that she could use the extra speech services. Moving her at this time to a different placement would be detrimental for her.

Our home is not a therapeutic home or a medical home. Those homes take fewer children and are paid quite a bit more than we are. They have more training and are prepared to deal with children with special needs.

When children come into care DSS really doesn't know much about them. This is something to consider when looking at ages. You don't know what behaviors you will have, neither does DSS.  We had to have the older sibling moved because of safety concerns for our pets and younger children. Some things were seen on the hallway camera upstairs and by my children. DSS had no way of knowing that we would have those types of issues. When new kids come into your home and you have children already in the home you have to quickly access the kids and be hyper-vigilant in keeping them safe. When kids walk in the door they may have a honeymoon period or simply be in shock about all the changes in their lives. As they get more comfortable you can see how they are doing.

Typically with neglect there is some type of delay. I see a lot of speech delays and less gross motor skills delays. Little Miss has only speech delays, Little Man on the other hand has global delays. When Babynet showed up they had a lot of questions. Even though we had only had the kids a short time, my correct answer of the questions helps to get a better assessment.

At this time we are trying to make adjustments in our home and expectations so that we can keep the kids until the ICPC is complete. However, I don't think that we could keep them long term, we would all be too exhausted.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Progress

Babynet came today to evaluate all three of our foster kids. Itty Bitty was easy, he is on target. He is reaching for toys, smiling and chatting.

My only concern for Little Miss is her speech. The evaluation showed that she is on target in all areas except for speech. However, to qualify for services she has to be 40% off the norm.  If you have two areas with deficits then each has to be 25% off. It was hard to tell if she .qualifies for speech services yet. She told me she would plug in the numbers and let me know later in the week.

Little Man, well she didn't do much testing with him. She watched him a few minutes, asked a few questions and said that he qualifies for services. She mentioned autism, I mentioned my concern about hearing. She brought out a big cow bell and rang it, he ignored the obnoxious noise. So she is recommending a hearing evaluation and an autism evaluation. She handed me a copy of service providers and said she would call me Friday to see which one I want to go with.

She left after noon and I wondered if the Urgent Care place I went to was not going to come through. I nagged the foster worker and she said that she will have the medical records by the end of the month. Apparently when requesting medical records they have 30 days to provide them. Surely they don't have many records.

Later in the afternoon I did receive a call from the doctors office. Their computer system had been down all morning and they couldn't access anything. We talked for a bit and I said that at this time I really needed a hearing test to rule out or confirm that hearing was an issue. She said that she would get him a hearing test and asked for his foster care workers name and number. She said she would call me back. I have gotten so skeptical about people calling back that I was shocked when she did. She actually called back with an appointment to get a hearing test tomorrow! I called my husband and had him take half a day off so I could take Little Man. A hearing test isn't something you can drag an extra 7 kids to.

Anyone do hearing tests for their children? I wonder if you get the results at that time or they make you come back for them later. I don't have a primary doctor for them to send them to!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Frustration


I have been so frustrated. Since day one I have been working on getting the kids to the doctor. Every doctor in the area that takes their insurance has net been willing to see my foster kids unless I have medical records. I have told them that I really need my 20 month old seen and some referrals. So sorry, without medical records they can't see him. I have nagged DSS, nagged the investigative worker, the assigned social worker, the GAL. I have sent them videos of why I need the records. So far no records.

Since I am questioning his level of hearing I figured that at least getting his ears checked for obstructions at the local walk-in acute care place would at least rule out something. Last night I took him in. He has no obstructions in the ears and the doctor does agree that he needs some referrals. However, he couldn't do that, he says the primary doctor needs to do that. He is pushing for a doctor to see him. He told me that they would call me today. Babynet is also coming today and I will be curious to see what she says.

When we took kids from our own county we didn't have this problem. We simply took the kids to their existing doctor. We were able to get shot records and histories very easily. I don't have shot records or anything. I am beginning to wonder if he has even been seen anywhere! The biomom has admitted that he is behind in his shots and has given three places that they took the kids to.

He sure can ignore. He is 20 months old. Anyone have a child who consistently does that?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Deep Creek Continued

Saturday was a beautiful day. Before we left for Deep Creek rain was forecasted for every day. That didn't happen. If you look carefully at the pictures of the kids in the creek you will see lines of rocks. Those close in a space for the kids to play.






The water is very cold, warming up in the sun is required after playing in it.


We took our tubes and the kids took turns letting it just a little up stream and then floating to our area.


Anyone waiting to take their turn helped to grab friends/family floating by.





Ethan grabbing his daughter and Larissa. Larissa took Benjamin and then Vaida down the little route.


Sending a group down the river from the park.




Benjamin sat in my lap. He went last year but the creek put him to sleep. This year he was a big helper, using his stick to try and keep us away from the rocks.

If you put in at the beginning of the park there really isn't anywhere to flip over. If you walk up the trail and put in turning over is a possibility. Since I had Benjamin I wasn't willing to chance flipping over. However, when you get stuck on the rocks it is hard to get off of them! It isn't easy to get in and out with a kid on your lap. You need support.




Larissa was a huge help for me. She helped me out of several hard spots!


Our trip this year was very short but great fun. We got to spend some great time with family and friends who are like family. The little ones got to play in the water and various play areas. The older kids who weren't under restriction got to have a little more freedom and the adults got to play and visit with each other. We are hoping to go back next year after Tasha graduates.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Deep Creek

We arrived late to Bryson City so we went to a local restaurant for pizza and then grocery shopping. Joselin drove up with us but the older kids had to work Friday and were coming up after work.

We normally stay at Deep Creek Tube Center and Campground but I decided to stay at Creekside Cabins this time around. Two reasons for the change, they have a house that accommodates 12 people and they have a little swimming hole that they have made on their property that is lined with rocks and is perfect for little kids.


The swimming hole was a big hit with all the kids. The water is very cold but they didn't care.



On Friday we rented some tubes and I dropped off a crew at Deep Creek National Park. They float down the creek right to our camp site. The float time is about 2 hours if they walk up to some falls to put in. We met with Kathy's crew so there was a good group floating down.



I went back and put dinner in the oven then took some kids who couldn't float down to the swimming hole and sat and enjoyed the weather and creek.








Not a typical camp meal but so simple. (Meatloaf, baked potato and broccoli and cheese)


After dinner Benjamin and I had a little chat over popsicles.


As night fell I made a fire just in time for the second crew to show up and enjoy some smores.






Some of the older kids played board games until it was almost midnight. After a volleyball game the adult kids sat outside and talked well into the night. I love that my adult kids enjoy each others company. We were missing Sarah though.


Friday ended quietly and everyone was in good spirits. The adults were discussing whether they wanted to go white water rafting or just tube. They decided to just tube and save money as well as spend time together.

In the pictures you will see my family, Kathy's family and our friends Angela, David and their son Chandler. Kathy rented two cabins at the Tube Center so we were all within walking distance to each other.