T’s “firsts” with us!

We pulled off the main country road into a dirt parking lot.  My husband and I have been bringing our kids here for years.  It’s the local “Pumpkin Patch.”  They have a petting zoo, a corn maze, and a hay ride out to pick your pumpkins off the vine.  It was one of the first outings that we took T on after he came to stay with us.  The day was beautiful and the weather was perfect!  The kids enjoyed every single activity the small farm had to offer.  And then, we got in the truck to drive home.  The voice from the back seat was mixed with excitement and wonder as he proclaimed, “that was my first time at a pumpkin patch!”  My heart filled with joy!  “Can we carve our pumpkins when we get home,” he asked.  “Sure,” I said.

We searched the Internet for pumpkin designs.  We decided to draw our own after looking at examples.  T helped everyone scoop out the goo from their pumpkins.  It was quite possibly his favorite part.  The face was drawn, oval eyes and a drooling mouth.  He turned it around to admire his work and exclaimed, “I just carved my very first pumpkin!”  My heart skipped a beat!  

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Rage: Part 2

Sad Eyes needs a therapeutic environment.  It is not that he doesn’t also need a loving mommy, daddy, and family, but right now he just isn’t ready for that.  His downward spiral reached a point of him being a danger to himself and others.  His behavior was erratic.  He didn’t listen to warnings of danger.  It broke my heart.  But, I do believe and I do know that his social worker is going to do everything in her power to get Sad Eyes the best help that is out there and available to him.

The day after Sad Eyes left, T and I went on the hour drive to see Sad Eyes and his mom and granny.  We showed up at DHR and T recognized the van that he was used to being driven around in.  He asked if he’d be coming back with me after the visit and I assured him that yes, he was coming home with me after his family visit.  We entered DHR, Sad Eyes was sitting across the waiting room and jumped up as soon as he saw me.  He ran over and wrapped his arms around my waist, “I go home with you,” he said, not as a question, but as a statement.  My heart sank.  Sweet precious boy, I wish you could.  I wish you were ready for the love I want to give you.  I hugged him.  Then, we all walked into the back where we had a meeting to discuss the case with all of the members of the team.  The point of this whole thing is to get these boys back with their biological relatives, hopefully their mother.  So, we talked about what needed to be done while the boys played in a separate room at DHR.  It is then that I learned the sad truth.  Sad Eyes has been dealing with these “outbursts” and “rages” for years.  He has lived with his mother, his granny and several other of his biological family members, in two different foster homes and had a stay in a behavioral health facility, all before coming to our house.  No matter where he lives, he acts out in this way.  I am not the first person to see it.  I hope I’m one of the last, but we can’t be sure.  We all agreed that he needs help.  He needs therapy and a safe environment where he can be free to start his healing.  He has been through so much, way more than any little person should ever experience and he’s got to be able to let that out.  He needs a therapeutic environment, we all agreed.  So, we won’t see Sad Eyes for a while, but we plan on visiting him wherever he stays, so that T and he can stay connected.  I also plan to take T to see his other younger brother who is in a different foster home.  That foster mother and I have met and plan to keep the boys in contact while they are in foster care.  We don’t want them to lose that brotherly bond that they have.  So, lots of visits are in our future.

How long will T be with us?  I don’t know.  All I know is that T IS ready for a loving family.  He is ready for going to school every day, for having his meals made for him, for being taken to the doctor when he’s sick, for being read to at night, for having someone help him with his spelling words, and for love.  He’s ready.  So, as long as he’s with us that is what we’ll do.

Rage: Part 1

I loved him.  He was my Sad Eyes.  I got him all ready for school.  I packed his little lunch.  I hadn’t seen the “rages” or “outbursts” yet that were written about in his already very long case file.  This precious little boy had only been in foster care for one month, yet after coming to us I learned he had already been placed in two different foster homes and a residential treatment facility for a short psychiatric stay.  All of this at six years old.  He was my Sad Eyes.  I dressed him up, I took his picture with a little sign that said, “First Day of School.”  He just needs a mommy, I told my mother-in-law, that is all he needs, a mommy who loves him.  I walked him to his new class, I kissed his forehead goodbye.  I left the building feeling really good about Sad Eyes’ first day.  His teacher had been especially picked out for just him.  She was a soft spoken, kind teacher with a huge heart and lots of love to give.  We were set up for success, I felt.  I did not receive a call from the school that first day, but when I came back to pick my kindergartener up, I knew something had gone terribly wrong.  The school counselor approached my vehicle with a very worried expression on her face.  The words, “it took four adults to control him,” and “I am scared for you and your family,” were used.  My heart sank.  “He has never been aggressive towards my children or myself,” I told her.  Would they let him come back, I asked.  She said that they would, but we would all have to stay in good communication with each other to make sure the situation was handled to the best of everyone’s ability.  Then, the rages started at home.  Uncontrollable, violent, physical rages.  Screaming and yelling rages.  All that it took was the words, “no,” or “not right now,” and Sad Eyes would fly into a rage.  Tuesday night was the worst rage at home.  I video taped what I could for the social worker to see.  She already knew, she had experienced them herself, but she wanted evidence to show the counselor, so maybe she could get him the help that he needs.  Wednesday morning we talked and she said she was afraid Sad Eyes couldn’t be around others right now, but that the best children’s therapeutic home was full and that the waiting list could take months.  Could I hold on until then, she wondered.  Of course I could, I told her.  I am no quitter.  I was sure we could handle this, it would just be hard.  Hard to watch a child in such torture.  A child who is so obviously hurting and he knows no way to express it and can’t keep his body in control.  Then, Wednesday night happened and it was the worst night of my life.  I can’t imagine a more terrifying scene.  Well, I guess I can, but I don’t want to.  To make a very very long story short, Sad Eyes wanted to go to the playground and once he saw one he bolted.  It didn’t matter that there was a busy road in between us and the playground, he was going.  I dropped everything and ran to catch him, yelling for him to stop!  I could see the cars coming!  As his little feet reached the edge of the pavement, I caught hold of his shirt and threw my arms around him.  “Oh my goodness, Sad Eyes!  Look!  Cars!  Big cars!  You could have gotten hit!  You can’t run away from me!”  He didn’t hear me, he fell into a pit of emotion and didn’t come back up for air for a good hour and a half.  I feel like I now know what a wrestler must feel like after a match.  I had to use my entire body to keep this angry little boy from running back into that street.  No matter how many times I tried to talk to him or tell him that we’d get to go he didn’t hear me.  His rage went on and on.  People stopped their cars to help me as they saw a 5’2″ woman holding a screaming, kicking, hitting, raging six year old.  He was somewhere else, his body was in fight mode.  No words were heard, nothing I said or did made it any better.  When I let go, he would try to run.  When I looked into his eyes, I saw nothing, but rage.  We finally were able to get Sad Eyes closer to my vehicle and I stood beside it as he held the door and kicked at us still screaming.  My daughter had to call our social worker.  Three of them came.  Nobody knew how many it would take to get him into their car.  Would the police have to be called, it was an option we all talked about.  It was scary.  I was bawling, my daughter was bawling.  The people around me just stared in disbelief.  It was like a scene out of a terribly scary movie and an hour and a half after it started it stopped.  Like the switch that had been flipped to begin this, was then flipped off.  Sad Eyes looked up at me, took my hand in his and said in his little lisp, “I sawee bout dat.”  “What,” I asked in shock.  “You know, bout wat I dun, I sawee bout dat,” he said.

His name is T.

T is seven.  T is precious and fun and funny!  T talks non-stop.  T is awesome.  Tonight he had us all busting up laughing with his knock-knock jokes.  He made them all up.  Okay, so when I say we were busting up laughing, it wasn’t necessarily because the jokes were that funny, but because he was.  His smile is huge with a mouth-full of rotten teeth and more dental problems than any other child I have ever met at his age.  It is sad.  But, his smile is still beautiful and his face lights up when he laughs.  He is the life of the party, but can also be shy.  He asks lots of questions and he tells stories.  We have had many a “learning experience” about his life prior to he and his brother coming to live with us.  He is very open and honest about what he has seen and heard.

I want the best for him.  I hope and pray he gets what he deserves in life.  He deserves a chance.  He deserves love.  He deserves hope.  He deserves better than he has gotten up until now.

Sad Eyes 

Sad Eyes.  That will be his blog name.  He is my new 6 year old foster son, the youngest of the two boys.  He is precious and adorable.  He also has a speech delay and the biggest saddest eyes that I have ever seen.  I hope and I pray we can help him, so that I get to see those eyes sparkle someday.  He has witnessed and been through so much in his short little life.  It’s time we fill it with some happy!  Time for some joy!

I held him while he cried and cried and sobbed and sobbed tonight.  It was the mournful sounds of grief.  A sound I have made before, but I have never heard a child make it.  It was the sound of broken.  It broke me too.

Meeting the two brothers

I met the two brothers tonight.  The boys have been in an emergency placement temporary foster home for the last three weeks since they came into foster care.  Their first foster mother is elderly and although she is a wonderful person who has taken in probably over 40 children through the years, she just can’t keep up with these two active little boys anymore.  They need a more than temporary place to stay.  That is where we come in.  We are an active young family with a huge back yard, living in an excellent school system, with a huge support network and plenty of love to give.  So, the boys will move in tomorrow.

I wanted to meet the boys tonight; however, before their social worker just shows up at their house tomorrow and takes them and all of their personal belongings and drives them to our home.  How incredibly scary for a 6 and 7 year old.  I met them at their foster parent’s church.  I played outside with the boys, ate dinner with them, flew paper airplanes and eventually sat them down and said, “I have a big house, with four other children to play with.  We have a trampoline and games and would really love to have you over.  Would you like to come and stay at our house for a little while?”  The younger boy didn’t even acknowledge that I was talking, but his older brother looked at me with big eyes and nodded his head, yes.  I didn’t expect any sort of response from them.  I just wanted to make this a little bit easier on them.  They have been through a LOT this month and I just wanted to make this transition from a temporary foster home to our home a little bit less scary.  I hope it helped!

So, tomorrow before noon, I will have 6 kids.  Yes, six!  I never in about one million zillion years thought this would ever happen, but here it goes!  GOD IS GOOD and so in control!  We have been praying for a long time that He would show us our path and while many many doors have slammed shut, this window just flew wide open!  Here we go!

Two Brothers

We got the call!  We will be adding two precious souls to our family tomorrow… Brothers!  One is 6 and one is 7.  I know this will be hard at times and overwhelming at times too, but I am so excited to serve God by loving these brothers!  God is so good!

Joy

I’ve started reading this new book.  It’s called, “Choosing Joy,” and it is written as a devotional book by one of my favorite Christian authors, Angela Thomas.  I love doing devotions.  I really like having a guide to help me with my Bible reading and it helps me stay focused.  A fellow foster mama gave me this book.  She bought it for me the other day after I asked for prayer during this “waiting period.” 

We have had no movement in Baby Girl’s case for months, although there is seemingly nothing holding things up.  We are just waiting.  Not really sure what for, but nevertheless we are waiting.  Then there is the waiting to see if we will be adding another little life to our family through adoption or foster care.  Then there is the waiting while my husband and I do this whole long distance life thing.  My life is just filled with a whole lot of waiting lately.  Have you ever put the two words waiting and joy in the same sentence?  I’m pretty sure I’ve never said something like, “Gosh, I find joy in the waiting.”  Nope!  Never said it.  But, I want to.  I want to find joy in everything!  I want to be joyful.  Not the silly dancing around the kitchen kind of joy, but real joy.  The kind of joy that surpasses circumstances.  The kind of joy that lasts.  A God given joy.  

Reading about grieving 

Our foster agency wants our family to read up on grieving.  They want us to process all of the thoughts, feelings, and emotions we have about Little Man leaving, so that we are sure we are ready for another little person to enter our lives.  I feel ready.  I feel like I have grieved in a very healthy way.  I talk about my grief.  I pray.  I write and journal.  I look back, but spend more and more time looking forward.  But, I’ll do it. I’ll read more and learn more.  I just wish someone would write a book entitled, “How to handle it when you lose your precious foster son: a foster parent’s guide to mourning the loss of the child of your heart.”  

Two friends, four babies

Two of my closest friends received the news that they would be getting new additions to their families this weekend.  One friend now has a four year old, two and a half year old and a 9 month old.  The other has a preemie born at just 24 weeks, who was just released from the hospital after being there for months.  I’m so excited for my friends.  There are so many children in our state that need loving families to come along side biological families and take care of their children while these bio families figure things out.  Sometimes they need treatment of some kind or must serve jail time or perhaps just need to become stabilized on some meds.  Whatever the reason, they need help.  My friends are the moms who will mother these precious children until their biological families can take care of them again.  It’s a big job.  A tough job.  They will become attached to these babies and then have to let go.  But, it’s worth it.  These mamas are brave mamas and they are two of my heroes!