Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


The school situation is improving...... 

We have had lots of meds changes for both Anthony and Larissa. 

We have implemented the weekly treasure box for behaviors.

A point system for Larissa and her wetting/classroom avoidance issues.

We are working on different study modifications for Anthony and charting his grades.


Michelle has had all greens for two weeks.

Larissa has been dry for a week and visits the bathroom a lot less.  She actually only went with her class yesterday.

Anthony's grades have improved.

Parenting sure gets complicated at times!


Michelle loves soccer. She is my most aggressive kid and plays most of the game.

Larissa is less enthusiastic but is involved in the game for the most part.

Emma....well, she is more interested in digging in the dirt.  At least she is running with the crowd in the above picture.  That was the only moment she did that.  The rest of the time she was dirt digging.

I know that this is normal and I saw it a lot in the TBall games when my older kids played it.  I can understand better in that sport because there is a lot of standing around.  No one was standing around in soccer, they were all running in a gaggle.

I guess that Emma is not a gaggle type of person.  Yes, this is all midfield.  I was surprised that she never got run over by the gaggle!

I take the girls and John takes Anthony.  I have given him the camera and asked for pictures but the lack of any Anthony pictures tells the tale....John is not a picture taker.

Monday, September 24, 2012

What is the Delay?

I have been wondering why we have not been able to sign the adoption agreement for our teen.  It is well past the 30 day waiting period.  Well, I got an answer today...........

The order was clocked and filed on the Sept. 13th, the Judge signed it on the 9th, and the order was sent to birth father certified. A child is legally free 30 days after the parent has been served with the order. So, the 30 days will not start until we receive the green card back to show that he has been served. If he does not pick it up, I’m told that it will still be sent back and the 30 days will start then because of the attempt. If he happens to sign for it, the 30 days will start the date that he signed. So, we are looking at the end of October or November. Our paralegal said that the green cards are usually sent back within two weeks. I’ll keep you posted as I learn of any new information.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

3 Years Ago

Three years ago two girls were found wandering along a highway.  They were running away from home. 

In the last three years those two little girls lived in 7 different homes, two of them children's homes.

Emma has been in foster care half of her life.  She remembers very little of life before our home.

Michelle remembers everything, even walking along the highway.

Their biodad has relinquished.

Last week their biomom relinquished.

Still we wait for the November court date for TPR because there is a legal dad.  A man who has never claimed the girls and has never visited with them.  Yet, he has rights that must be terminated because the biomom was married to him when she gave birth to the girls.

Three years and counting.  Some days I wonder where the most harm was done; in their biohome or in the foster system.

Friday, September 21, 2012

To the School We Go

We were called on Wednesday and asked if we could meet at the school on Thursday morning.  This was a meeting we had scheduled for Anthony in October and they didn't want to wait.  So, once again off to school we went.

At this meeting were; my husband and I, the principal, guidance counselor, psychologist, resource room teacher, classroom teacher, and two psychologists in training.  A lot of folks to discuss Anthony.  We started with their thoughts that he needed a 504 plan. Anthony was arguing with another student and made a threat to him.  He later told everyone who questioned him about it that he would never actually do it.  I think he was surprised by the attention he gained from it.  I don't think he is going to repeat it.  It is the only time he has threatening someone and he is really not a violent type of kid.  He has not had any other issues in the class and has never had a violent episode.  All his issues are task avoidance.  So I said that I didn't feel that this warranted at 504 plan and that it was an isolated event.  We all discussed it and came to that agreement.  However, the counselor is going to discuss with him the appropriate way to respond when he is mad.

Academics....well, that is a challenge.  Testing shows that he is capable.  However, he has no motivation.  That is hard to change.  He has never had motivation to do his work.  We always struggle with ways to motivate him. Finding the thing that motivates him is hard because he is not  big into anything.  He plays with his toys but isn't interested enough to have them as a motivator. We are going to try some things and try some different studying tactics to see if we can find a motivator and what type of studying helps. This week we had him write his vocabulary words on a card with the word on one side and the definition on the other.  Spelling words were put on cards also. 

His social studies was studying an article.  He read it and then I quizzed him on it.  His teacher had highlighted what was important.  When I quizzed him on the highlighted area he couldn't answer any of the questions.  I reread the article to him and then quizzed him again.  Still no answers.  Finally I told him what the important part were and asked him what I had just told him.  Of course, he then got the answers correct.  We ate mushy macaroni and cheese because this process took a lot longer then I expected.  I also realized later that I will not do it again next week.  He wants everyone to give him the answers and I played right into that.  Next week I plan on reading the article and writing him questions and make him look up the answers. 

I will be curious to see what his grades are this week.  This is challenging for me because this is our first child who really doesn't care what type of grades he all.  Any suggestions out there for motivating a non-motivated child?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

School Revisited

Life just seems to stay interesting around here.  Before I could get to the school counselor for Larissa's issues, Anthony got into some big trouble.  He now has recess suspension for three days and I have a child study appointment for him with the possibility of an IEP change (he is failing everything) and the implementation of a 504 plan..  Then the counselor asked me if he could be MR!  Uh, no.  I have his last IQ test, he tested average, but, he hasn't grasped the idea of studying.  He sees no problem with failing, they are just a grade on the paper.  We have bought packages of flash cards, showed him studying techniques and are trying to get him involved in his education.  How do you motivate a child who doesn't care?  Ugh

Back to Larissa, she is "unique".  I have come to the conclusion that her issues are wrapped up in task avoidance.  Plain and simple, she isn't enjoying school and would rather wander the halls.  She did get her ADHD meds increased today so maybe that will help her to attend to her teacher better.  In October we plan on asking if there is any way they can admit her and get her seizure meds adjusted in the hospital.  They wanted to do that in Texas but we were literally moving the next day and couldn't stay.  We do believe that she is sleep deprived every day.  She goes to bed between 7 and 7:30 and yet is hard to wake in the morning.  The other kids pop right up and are ready to go.  I do hope that we can find some way to get the seizures under control without playing with more medications.

To motivate her to stay in class and not have accidents (which I believe are another way to get out of class) we have implemented a positive behavior plan at home.  For every dry day she gets a star.  For every day that she doesn't have to go to the nurse for an extra bathroom break she gets another star.  When she gets 20 stars she will get to go to a movie (her choice of motivation).  Today she earned 2 stars!

I feel that we are going in the right direction with Larissa and school right now.  Of course I also know that with our life, that can quickly change.  On a positive note, she is doing great socially!

Emma continues to do great in school.  What can I say but "Wow!  She has grown so much!"

Michelle, well, some small behavior issues.  However, she is smart enough to realize that she is just not getting away with her stuff.  We implemented our own treasure box at home for good behavior all week and she really wants one of the harmonicas in there.  She hasn't had a good full week yet but maybe this week will be it.  She had MAP testing in class and came home all excited because she got one of the highest scores in her class.  After having her tested over the summer and realizing that she has not been working up to her potential we have been really encouraging her to show her bright side.  She was so proud of herself today.  I think that performing to her full ability will really help her self-esteem.  Perhaps it will also help with her behavior once she realizes that excelling at her academics is more fun then having behavior issues.

Anthony, well, read above.  The last few weeks have not been good academically as we try to help him grasp the concept of studying and what failing grades mean.  As for his recess suspension, lets just say very bad choices were made on his part.  (insert eye rolling here).

On a good note, the school still welcomes us and the school counselor says that we help to keep her employed. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Our Day

My day started with trying to get this hair under control.  Larissa is willing to wear it looking this way....uh, I am not!

30 minutes later......ready for church.

Lazy afternoon....Larissa and Emma can play well together.

This room is seldom presentable.  Piles of toys and possible chew doys for the dogs.
The size of this room is 500 sq ft and it is where a lot of our living/playing happens.

Emma is presenting me with a necklace/bracelet that she made.  Michelle notices that I am taking pictures and she must be in on the action.

I bought all the girls lightweight jackets this weekend and Michelle wore hers all day.  No, the weather did not warrant the use of the jacket today.  It has been cool in the mornings when the girls head off to school.  Yes, they all got the exact same jacket.  It was soft on the inside and outside and came in only one pattern.

Just because.........for the dog lovers out there.

Larissa is Miserable

Well, we thought that we had things under control with Larissa but it appears that we don't. She continues to have accidents or spends half her day in the bathroom or hallways.  She is miserable at school and we don't know why, she will only tell us that she is bored.

We have taken all the kids off of the morning bus because of problems there with both Anthony and Larissa.

I have appointments to meet with the school counselor tomorrow, her teacher Tuesday morning,  Tuesday afternoon with her psychiatrist and her neurologist on October 1.  I would love to get all these parties together at a round table to discuss her issues.  It is hard when you have a child with so many different issues. 

Her ADHD, anxiety and seizures medications have not been changed in a year.  I think that she needs a change but I am not sure in what. We do know that her seizures have increased and that impacts her sleep.  Let me tell you, a sleepy Larissa is a mean Larissa.

She goes to school where she is "bored" and either she has an accident or loiters in the hallway then she comes home and is super grouchy.  This has started with school so I know it is something with school.  Her grades are excellent and her cold reads are great so it is not academic.  She is missing a lot of class time and is still doing well.

Part of me thinks that she is tired from her seizures and her anxiety and ADHD meds are not sufficient to keep her engaged in class.  That would make school boring.  But, I am not sure.  I just know that she is miserable and has asked us to homeschool her.

I have never caught a picture of her seizing before but......I was taking a picture of her sleeping on John.

The next moment she was seizing.  She will do this several times a night.... or any other time she is asleep.  If you decide to kiss her in her sleep you will be guaranteed to make her seize.  Put her cover on her and she will seize again.

This week we will be trying to figure out what is going on with Larissa.  Say a prayer for us as we decide what is the best course of action for her.

Party Time

Warning...picture overload!
I was gone all day Friday so John had to bake the cake for me.  When I got home I put the cake together and skimmed the first coat of frosting on and put it in the fridge to finish in the morning.
Larissa was delighted with her cake.  I love how they are so thrilled with what we don't consider to be perfect.  She woke up in the middle of the night and asked me about her cake, I guess mom being gone all day made her a little worried.

Sarah, Kassi and I decorated while John took the girls to Anthony's soccer practice.  We had 1 1/2 hours to put it together.
Pin the eye of Happy Tails.

The suckers had balloons attached and the pencil toppers were both for guests to grab as they left.

Larissa wanted to wear her hair down.

She is growing up too fast!

Some of the kids had never played a pin the tail on the donkey type games.

If you look at Michelle's face that tells the tale, jealousy (I expected it).  She did ask about a party next year and I told her she could but that she needs to get friends.  Her birthday is in July so she can't just go ot school and invite her classmates.

That pinata was very tough!  First, all the kids took a turn with three hits blindfolded.  Some of the kids had never done a pinata before, they loved it.

Then the adults who wanted a chance got to go at it.

Then the kids got to go again without the blindfold.  Jenna finally got it!

Larissa had 9 friends show up.  She had a great time and everyone left with a sugar high!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Planning a Party

Saturday we were all sitting at the table and Larissa announced that she wanted a birthday party this year.  I had wanted to have a party for her because I felt that socially it was time but I decided to not plan one because it would appear to be unfair.  However, since she asked....I said yes. 

Michelle asked if she could have one next year.  I told her that she could if she has some friends to invite.  She has struggled to make friends and can lean towards being a bully. We are working on social skills so I hope that she can make some friends to invite to a birthday party.  Strangely Emma didn't ask.  Maybe by next year she will.

Larissa wanted the theme to be Lalaloopsy.  We have sent out invitations but it is really last minute so I am not sure how many of her friends will come.  I am not sure how many kids come to home parties anymore but that is what we are having.  I feel rusty about planning a party!  It has been a long time since we had one.  Some time ago parties gave way to sleepovers at our house.

I have been trying to get the house to look somewhat respectable.  Sorting through lots of "stuff".  We have dolls everywhere, most of them nakie.

My mom was helping with homework.  Larissa read her book to her.
I received a surprise in the mail from Tasha....the box kind of gave it away.

I found a spot for it next to my very tall salt and pepper shakers.....Tasha laughed at them when she was home for R&R.  She said she read about them on my blog but didn't realize how tall they were until she saw them.

Well, back to decluttering.  Why does the house look worse when I decide to declutter?  I don't seem to get very far with it, I feel like I just shuffle things around and then get disgusted and throw everything back into boxes.

Friday I will be on the road to Atlanta to take a friend to day surgery.  One day road trip. So I guess tomorrow I really need to plan a party!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Yesterday Larissa wanted to wear her hair down.  If she wants to wear it down then she has to have it washed and combed in the morning so it will look nice and curly versus looking like a big afro.  So she got up early to do that.  She loves to wear her hair down.  Why shouldn't she be able to wear her hair down versus always braided, beaded or corn rowed? 

Honestly I was worried.  I love her hair but I know that others don't feel the same way.  I was worried that she would be teased. 

She talks about her hair all the time.  I tell her that she is beautiful and the God made her that way.  She wants to know why God would give her hair that people make fun of.  Last year she had one girl in her class that made fun of her hair.   It starts in Kindergarten. Kids can be so cruel to each other.

Well, when they got home Larissa didn't say anything but Anthony did.  He said some boys were laughing at her on the bus and in the cafeteria.  Larissa didn't want to talk about it too much....but she did ask for the top part to be braided before dance class.  Already society is directing what she can do with her hair.  If she wants to wear it down then she should be able to do so without being teased.  It is so sad that kids are teaching her that she can't.

I didn't get a picture, I wish I had because she looked beautiful.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Emma is 6

Emma is now 6 years old.  We celebrated as a family at home.

She is a slow, meticulous present opener.

But a big piece of cake eater!

Maybe some day she will let her hair grow.

She requested and got some pink jingly earrings. (I had to make them since I couldn't find them)

She requested Moe's.

Emma has grown so much since coming into our home.  I can't remember the last time she had one of her big tantrums.  Her lying has decreased.  Her anxiety level is at a much normal level now.  She corrects us when we call her by her original name, she wants to be Emma.
She loves school and her teacher.  She has had all green days so far and is doing great academically.
She has her moments.  She is still working on attachment and can be mean and say some real inappropriate things.  However, she acknowledges when she was wrong and is willing to do the consequence associated with her action. 
But, overall, she is not the girl who walked into our house 11 months ago.  She has come such a long way and I feel that with time she will heal and attach.  Her sweet moments outnumber her not so sweet moments by far.