Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Not enough hours in the day!

On the light side...

I have my door painted but can't get to the mural.  I have started the sky but haven't been able to get out there to work on it.  Looking at the ceiling at my entry way gives me ideas.....

Our poor puppy...........need I say more?

Emma lost her first tooth!  Thanks to facebook friends the tooth fairy remembered her duties.

I had forgotten that my mom used to have a little dog that she totally spoiled.

Four elementary kids means 4 sets of paperwork every day and four kids wanting help with homework. 

Halloween shirts are out.  I decided it was safest to buy three of the same shirt.....yep.

Rocko gets plum tuckered out by all the attention he is getting.  Slowly he is getting along better with Roxie although Roxie tends to be a little rough.

Not so light side.....

After the first teacher call on the third day of school, Michelle still struggles to do what she needs in school.  I have talked to the school counselor and her teacher.  We are doing all that we can to encourage good behavior at school.  In our home if you have behavior problems at school then that means that you are too tired.  The afternoon is spent doing quiet activities....reading and then an early bedtime for extra sleep. 

I had signed Michelle up for dance and had bought her shoes.  However, after the first week we determined that she just isn't ready to do that activity.  We do have all 4 of the little ones in soccer and she will play that.  She is actually good at soccer because she is aggressive on the field in getting the ball.

She has so much anger and jealousy in her and she is struggling to overcome them.  She can tell you about the day they came into care and every foster home, children's home and adoptive home they have been in.  She remembers everything. 

Emma is doing great in school!  She is on target academically and gets along great with her peers.  I can't even remember the last time she had one of her explosive tantrums.  She is still working on attachment but is so much more here and now.  She doesn't remember too much of her past, mostly that it was chaotic and lots of moves.  When her social worker came to the house last month she ran and hid from her.

Anthony is doing well at school so far.  He is sitting next to his teacher and that seems to be helping.  Our children's church is working on respect in September so we have decided to allow him to attend.  Sarah is also back in his group now and doesn't allow him to get away with his behaviors.  I hope that this will be a good year for him.

Larissa, well, I am concerned about her.  She has had two episodes of peeing herself at school. She didn't do this at all last year.  The last time she did this was in preschool before she was put on her anxiety medication.

Tomorrow she will be going to the doctors to rule out anything medical.  If it is not a medical issue then I worry it is an issue with her selective mutism.  I asked her why she didn't tell her teacher and she said because her teacher was busy.  I think she is afraid to speak up.  Is it bad to think that it would be nice if it was a UTI?

We are also trying to get her to her neurologist because her nocturnal seizures have increased dramatically.  I wonder if she is starting to seize during the day.  I really need to watch for that.  I have been playing phone tag with her teacher but I will ask her to watch as well.  I know that last year she would sleep during lunch and recess.  Sometimes I wonder if she should be homeschooled but she loves the social part of school.

Sarah has started college at the local school. She doesn't have her drivers license so that means that either me or my husband are taking her there.  She does have her learners permit so hopefully sometimes soon she will determine that it is time to drive.

I have started class as well.  I am having a hard time with it right now.  Both of my classes are online and I am just not motivated to do them!  I know that sounds terrible.  I feel like I have so much to do and not the motivation to do any of it.  My husband asked if I was depressed.  I don't think it is depression, just stress.  I will eventually get myself motivated and pass those classes because failure is not an option for me.  I also have other things to do before I can student teach, Praxis exams and comps.

I am still trying to get my mom on medicaid.  The medicaid office called me and told me that I have to have something in writing from the medicaid office in Texas stating that she is no longer on their medicaid.  Why can't the offices just talk to each other?  In the meantime I have hired someone to come to the house a few days of the week to help with her care.  I just can't do it all!

On a positive final note.......

Joselin came for a visit on Monday and spent the night.  She and Sarah took a long walk together to the gas station for junk food.  They are getting along so much better now that Joselin has found peace.  She is such a happier person now that she has learned acceptance.  I wish that we had been able to reach this point when she was younger but like I told her, better now then never.  She talks to me now about things she never would have before.  I feel like I have finally gained a daughter.  It sure was a long battle to get to this point and lots of forgiveness and grace on every ones part. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

How was your weekend?

We were busy.....

Larissa continued to fine tune her hairdressing skills.

Emma always seems to be a willing participant.

I made a roast.  Kind of an oops roast.  Normally I sear my roast before setting it to simmer all day long.  I add extra flour and seasonings to the water to end up with a nice thick gravy at the end.  I got a lite start so I decided to cut it up a little so it would be tender when ready.
Well, I must have cut it up too small because it fell apart.  Oh, there were a few chunks of meat still left in there.

Actually, it was quite tasty.

On Saturday night our church had a program called the FX (family experience).  The lady I sat next to asked me if we wanted a pappy.  Then she showed me a picture.....need I say more.
We got a new baby.  Meet Rocko the mutt, because we pretty much do mutts.

I don't think that his feet hit the ground too much today as everyone carried him around.

The kids included him in all their play.  Can you find Rocko?

The girls started soccer.  Notice that Larissa has different socks on.  I got those at KMart.  All they carried was adult sizes and I couldn't find cool ones for the little footed girls.  I think that we need to work on posing with Emma, ha.  Anthony starts his practice on Thursday.

Tomorrow Sarah has classes, kids are back to school, I need to get serious about my school, I am picking Joselin up to spend the night and Larissa starts dance.

Now I need to go do laundry because I am not sure what the situation looks like up there.

Have a great evening and tell me, what did you do this weekend?

Friday, August 24, 2012

One Year Ago

One year ago today we received a call from DSS asking us if we would accept placement of a 16 year old foster child.  We were not licensed for that age group but we said yes anyways.  It was way beyond our comfort zone.  They also told us that she was a runner and probably wouldn't stay more then a few days.

When you read her story think about what your thoughts are on children who are considered incorrigible.  Children who run, why do they run?

The following is her story, written by her.  I have only added some paragraph breaks and taken names out..........

My name is Kassi. I'm 17 years old and i have a story, just like everyone else.

I'm a foster kid.

 For 15 and half years I lived with my grandpa. He wasn't the greatest grandpa and he wasn't the greatest parent either. Every day when I went to school I had a secret, not just a little secret, a life changing one that corrupted my whole life all day everyday for the rest of my life, and no one even had a clue about it. I was being abused in every way you could think at home; verbally, mentally, emotionally and physically.

Growing up and being in that house broke me. I used to cry my eyes out every single night, because I never had anyone to talk to about it. I was scared and alone.

When I was younger, about 7 or 8 years old, my older brother lived with me and my grandpa. He abused my brother and I was just too young to understand what was going on or I would have told someone. At 15 he got taken away and I remember it was the worst day of my life because he was always there for me when I needed him. After he left I was alone with my grandfather.

As time went by, slowly my grandpa started to be mean, then angry, and finally just completely crazy. I didn't understand at all what was wrong with him or what I did wrong. I never meant to do anything wrong but it seemed like everything I did was wrong to him.

I think the worst abuse I was forced to deal with was the physical. Every day I would go to school with a new secret, not just a little secret that I could tell my best friend, a life changing one. Thinking, I always thought if it ever got out my life would come falling down faster then it already has been. I would go to school crying or with big bruises; go to the store upset and faking a smile. Everywhere I went "How did you get that, are you okay"? I'd always have to make up some dumb lie. It hurt me bad to go places and having to lie, especially to my friends. I always tried to fake my smiles and attitude. I thought if I told them they wouldn't believe me or just laugh because they know how I am around them; Happy and always with a smile on my face, they never knew it was fake.

Summer 2011, I was 15 years old about to turn 16 in June and going into my junior year at high school. Everything just seemed to be getting worse at my grandpa’s house. The words were worse and the hits started getting more and more extreme. I don’t think I was ever in so much pain in my life. To deal with my pain I started hurting myself because it’s not like there was anyone there for me and my grandpa sure didn’t care about my feelings and the tears falling from my eyes. One day he was screaming and my neighbors heard him, I was so embarrassed. Getting in the car when he was mad was even more traumatic because sitting there beside him I can’t really get away from him when he hits me. All I could do is sit there and deal with it.

I never seemed to have a good day with him, and if we did it never lasted long. He’d always find something to scream at me for and an excuse to hit me. As soon as summer ’11 started I was super afraid of being home all day with him because I couldn’t talk to anyone or go anywhere with my friends. I finally just had enough with everything and I started telling the people the truth. I started opening up to my neighbors and telling them what’s been going on. Then I started running away every time something happened. I would always go to my friend’s house. When I first ran away my grandpa came and found me he was with my other neighbor that was his “best friend” he completely turned her against me and made himself seem like the good guy in this. Let’s just say after I got home I got a big scar for it.

I ran away about 20 times that whole summer and I started telling my friends family more and more about what goes on in my house. They called DSS or “Department of Social Services” and they came out and talked to me. They didn’t believe me and all my grandpa would say to me is “Don’t try it, you don’t have any proof.” I just didn’t know what to do anymore. My life just felt screwed up and I felt like why should I be here if I’m just going to continue to get hurt?

I called the cops four times and every time I was told I was an “incorrigible child”. Meaning I was the problem child. I really was just in shock; there I was crying my eyes out in front of officers that were supposed to help people in need or people that are in bad situations. My grandpa was an ex officer in the next county over. So it seemed like every officer that came out the house was my grandpa’s “cop buddy friend”. I’ll never forget what his one cop friend came up to me and said after my grandpa got done talking to him. "The way you talk, you make is sound like he beats you every day.” I just shook my head in tears. It was just unbelievable, all because I had no proof on my body. No word I said no one believed but my friend and her family. Some world huh? My grandpa always seemed to know his way with his words and how to act like he was the sweet, old grandpa he tried to pretend to be. It was sickening.

One day I got a video of him screaming at me and showing his true colors. He didn’t know I was filming. He admitted on tape “yeah I beat you, it’s because you deserve it” and so on. I finally was tired of it so when school started back up I was telling my friends what happened. 2nd or 3rd day at school I brought the video in with my friend and we took it to my school’s resource officer. We watched the video together. He looked shocked and sick to his stomach. Later on that day I was called to the front office and I went and was sat down with an investigator and he was asking all these questions and wanted to see the video.

We watched the video again and this time my principal who has heard how my grandpa was over the phone was in the room with us watching it. I looked at them, their faces all so familiar the “shocked” look. I was in the office for hours talking and crying and they finally told me that they are taking me into “Emergency Child Protection”, meaning, “the prevention of and response to abuse, neglect, exploitation of and violence against children in emergencies’’. I was taken to the DSS office and I stayed there until the found me a foster home to live at.

My social worker finally came and told me that I’m going to be living with a foster family named the “M’s”. I was confused and really didn’t know how to respond. I guess I was excited, I really didn’t know. I just knew I was relieved. Why didn’t I ever speak up sooner to anyone? August 24th, 2011 will be a date I won’t ever forget.

My social worker went to my grandpa’s house and got all my stuff, they didn’t get everything so I was kind of upset. Afterwards they got me and dropped me off at the gymnastics place where their younger daughter was playing. That’s when I met my future mom Felicia and her two daughters Sarah and Larissa. They signed the papers that said they are my foster parents and off I went to live with them.

I felt awkward at first because they were strangers to me. What do I do.? What do I say.? Everything was happening so fast. My life was changed for the better and all I knew I was finally smiling a real smile. My foster mom and dad seemed pretty cool and they quickly accepted me into their family as their daughter really quick. They had 7 kids and I was like whoa that’s a lot of kids but I realized 2 of them are adopted (Anthony and Larissa). I realized I was with a good family finally.

As months went by things start to get better and better, but some relationships with friends and other’s weren’t going so well. I was dating a guy I knew for almost a year soon right after I got moved to my foster family. But things started getting stressful with school and my past things popping up. I just couldn’t handle the stress so we broke up.

October came around and we got two new little girls in the house to be permanently adopted. We were their new family. I thought it was cool, but they were brats when they got here and were so angry, the total opposite of me when I got here. At five and six years old I don’t think I ever met a child so aggressive and mad in my life.

It’s 2012 now and I told my foster mom and dad that I do want to be adopted, because this was the first family I’ve ever really had where there’s a mom and dad around. Being here for almost a year, I’ve seen so many changes in my life, amazing ones, I got a great family and great siblings. I have met some great people along the way. If it wasn’t for that video I don’t think I’d be here in this amazing family.

God is completely amazing, he changed my life when I thought I was done for and worthless. I don’t ever want to leave this family, they saved my life. I can tell them anything when I need to talk. Being seventeen now and looking back at everything in my past it just makes me wish I would have spoken up sooner. Hiding it didn’t help at all, it just makes everything worse. I know I’ll always remember my past and all the bad things but I’ll never forget the people in that made me the person I am today. I’ve grown stronger talking about it and more acceptable with myself and who I am. Without God, my friends and family I wouldn’t be who I am right now. Hopefully soon my adoption paperwork will speed up so I can officially call myself a M.


Yes, my front door is now purple.
I am still woking on it.  I am in search of a door knocker.  I feel in love with one that I saw online but it is only sold in Australia.  Figures.  I am also looking for a welcome mat that is appropriate for our family.  I think I am going to design one for myself.
My husband has given me approval to paint a mural on the ceiling of the entryway!  When you look up you will see the sky with some branches and the bluebird of happiness flying around.  Right now I am trying to decide on a blue.  Do you have any idea how many sky blue colors there are out there?!

Any other suggestions?

Thursday, August 23, 2012


My front door was in sad shape.  It needed repainting.  Unfortunately it had been painted so many times that it required stripping off of all the old paint.

I am extremely lazy so I decided to strip and paint the door in place.  I bought some spray paint stripper and it worked great.

The door has been blue, green, beige and maroon.

At one point I ran our of the spray stripper and went out and bought more. I didn't know which one I was using so I just picked something up thinking that they were all alike.  Wrong!  The new stuff did not work near as well as the old stuff.  The second can I bought is sitting on my counter top to be returned.  I headed back out to buy this worked great.

It was a serious paint o strip though.  The mosquitoes about carried me, at the very least I felt that I needed a blood transfusion.  I bought some mosquito yard stray when I took the second, or perhaps third trip out for spray stripper.  It did make me realize something, back when we had more disposable income we would have gone out and bought a new door.  It took me two days to strip the door.  But when you have money, it just doesn't seem as though it is worth it to take the time to do such a project.  That would have been such a waste.  This door is 23 years old and has character of it's own.  Besides, Larissa's writing is on the back.
Can you guess the new color of my door?  (facebook friends excluded!)
In the middle of that project I started on a project for the next Guatemala mission trip since we were having a meeting.  More to come on that. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It has Begun

Third day of school and I received the first phone call from school.  Michelle's teacher.  Behaviors and lying.  We had a long conversation. The other three kids have had all green days so far.  Next week I plan on contacting all the other teachers and seeing how the kids are doing.

 Anthony's issue is work avoidance, lying and defiance. 

Larissa is medical, she is seizing more lately so she will likely fall asleep at school.  Last year she would sleep during lunch and recess.  I did talk to her teacher about it briefly.  I wonder if I need to get some type of accommodation for her.  She sees the neurologist in October (the earliest I could get her in).  I laid down with her at 7pm tonight to ensure she fell asleep and see how her seizures were doing.  She had numerous seizures.  If you just touched her she would seize.  It really sadens me when a loving touch sends my child into a seizure.  John came in at one point and rubbed her belly then walked away.  He didn't see that that touch made her seize.

Michelle is bullying, lying and work avoidance.  Although this week she has had issues with talking and getting out of her seat as well.  She may need her ADHD medication adjusted.

Emma....well she is my wild card.  I have no idea how she will do.  Her tantrums have about gone away.  She has really grown in so many ways.  She may just do great in school.

Tomorrow soccer practice begins.  Not sure what I was thinking when I signed them up.  Let the insanity begin!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Last night I realized that I have got to get Anthony's disrespect under control.  He made my mom cry.  He sees her as weak so he picks on her.  He will walk past her and say little things or do little things to her that upset her.  He knows what he is doing. He has been corrected on this exact issue before.  He continues to do it.

I find it sad that we have not found a way to stop this behavior in him.  It is not just my mom, it is also that way with the teenagers and at church.  He will be sitting with us at church from now on.  It is sad that he can't go to the children's program.  He simply does not respect anyone who is kind.  He sees them as weak. 

He came that way at the tender age of 2 1/2.  How do you change it?  Everything we have tried has failed.  I have been working on a very cool Marvel Comics room for him to get him out of the FROG.  He loves the room but is not willing to do what he needs to get there.  At this rate there may be a different boy in there besides Anthony!

(the bottom is now grey, not purple)

For the time being Anthony is my shadow.  He is not allowed to be alone with my mom at all.  He disrespects the teens so when I have to go run an errand he gets to wait in his bedroom until I return. 

He has also lost his new shoes.  Funny, that seems to be the only thing that bothers him.  Following me around doesn't bother him.  Not moving into the new room doesn't bother him.  Losing his Nike's hurts.  Obviously he is motivated by material things. 

It is so hard when you see your kids with behaviors that you know will not help them in the long run.  When he acts that way it always reminds me of his biodad.  During one of his court appearances he flat out told the judge that he wasn't going to do anything and they were going to give him back his kids.  He was threatening to her and she was actually afraid of him.  He also tried to take the kids during one visit.  He truly thought that he would get his way through intimidation.  Obviously it didn't work out the way he planned. It hasn't helped him as he has been in and out of jail or living in the park. 

Is it possible that this is a bipolar thing?  Could it be a fetal alcohol thing?  Or is it simply from the severe early neglect.  So severe that he tested as MR.  The one thing that we have been learning at school is that all that doesn't matter.  You have to treat the behavior regardless of the cause.  I need to keep that in mind as I start a new plan of attack. 

First we are going to learn how to mimic respect while under my very watchful eye.  Sigh, I am already tired.


Monday, August 20, 2012

New School Year

The new school year starts today.  This year I have kids in K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, high school and college.  No middle schoolers.

Sarah is going to the local community college so she can stay home.  She was accepted to a university in Columbia and had planned on staying in the dorms.  However, she realized that she didn't want to leave just yet which was fine with us.  An added benefit is the it will definitely be cheaper in the long run.

I actually enjoyed waking up Dimples, normally she wakes me.  Does that make me a bad mommy?!

What to do with my day?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Water Park

I gathered all the kids up and took them to the water park on Fort Jackson.  I really should do it more often, 7 of us got in for $31.

Emma scrapped the skin off of three knuckles.  She didn't complain about it or cry.  It looked like it really hurt, I wish she could actually come to me for comfort.  That is such a hard thing for her to do.

We played with the underwater camera.

What makes Sarah laugh?

Pictures of me underwater!

Water ahead.....

 Larissa found out that shaved ice cost $2.  She put up a huge argument as to why she should get some.  She shouldn't have worried, I am a huge fan of shaved ice.

Happy faces when I say yes.

 This was the first shaved ice experience for three of my kids.

We had a great time at the water park.  No fighting at all.  Everyone got along great!

I did find out that the girls who said that they could swim, actually can't.  Michelle can a little but only if she can stand.  Emma, not at all.  My teen can't swim either! The teens were a great help since Anthony and Larissa can swim well enough to do the bigger water slides.  With four little ones with different swimming abilities it is impossible for one person to keep them all entertained.

The water park was our last summer activity.  School starts on Monday, I am ready.