I hate that dress!

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I’m throwing it out!  I HATE that dress!  It was something I bought right before court a year and a half ago.  I wore it the day I took my precious Little Man to be reunified with his birth family.  The family that had made absolutely NO effort to gain custody of him, but because “blood is best” as far as courts are concerned, he was gone.  My little boy!  My heart!  The one who clung to me and wouldn’t get out of my truck that morning.  My baby who called, “Mama, no go!  Mama, no go!”

Oh how I hate that dress!  I wore it that day.  The ugliest dress in my closet.  It has hung there for a year and a half just staring at me and making me sick.  I’ve kept it just in case these”feelings” went away and I could wear it again.  It cost money, was my rational.  It makes no sense to just throw it away.  I’m being silly.  The dress if fine, it is basically brand new.  I’m being wasteful.  BUT, TODAY I DON’T CARE!  I’m tossing it!  Not in the trash, but in the donation pile!  Someone else can wear that dress.  Someone who doesn’t know about the heartbreak.  Someone who doesn’t feel the pain.  Someone who doesn’t ache for the little boy who was mine.  Someone who didn’t see him in the distance getting into a stranger’s car at the courthouse with all of his earthly things, as I rode away.  Someone who didn’t sob and sob and sob as my friend drove me home.  Someone else can wear that dress.  I hate that dress!

 

 

Working to fix the problems…

A worker from an agency contracted to help the family showed up at my house at 7:30 a.m. today.  She took The Baby and T to see their mother for a two hour visit at DHR with a specialized worker there to supervise and work with their mom on proper parenting techniques.  She told me that she has been doing this kind of work since 1997.  I packed the boys each a bag.  I included snacks for T and money in case they needed to stop at McDonald’s while on the one hour drive.  I wrote a note to their mom about The Baby’s schedule and included pre-portioned formula and pre-measured bottles.  And… I sent them both off with a stranger.  It felt so weird to do this.  I would NEVER in a million years put my children into a car with a stranger, but this woman is contracted to do this for the family and I had no choice.  So, off they went and they will be back here later today.  This case is so different than Little Man and Baby Girl’s case.  This mother will see The Baby at least two days a week and she will see T at least twice a month until the next court date where reunification is expected to happen.  We will all be very busy during these next three months working with so many people’s schedules and making sure that everyone is getting to where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there.  God bless this family.  I really really hope and pray they can make this work.  These four brothers deserve to all be together again.  T deserves for his mama to be his hero.  He NEEDS her to succeed.

 

 

When parents don’t call…

She has officially missed two out of four of the weekly phone call visits with T.  It totally stinks being the foster parent in these types of situations.  He fidgets, he acts silly, he engrosses himself in something trying to keep his mind busy and he waits.  The phone rings and he jumps up only for me to answer it and talk to a friend for a few seconds before hanging up again, because its her time to call and I want the line to be available.  I walk back and forth past my phone and check it for missed calls.  Two hours go by and I officially give up.  Parents have been late with their phone calls before, but it is bedtime now, so I assume it is probably not going to happen tonight.

I put T and Oldest Boy to bed.  I read them their stories.  I ask them if they have any prayer requests before I say their prayers with them.  My son asks for his foot to feel better and then I look at T.  I already know what he’s thinking.  He is worried about his mom.  He asks me to pray for her and of course I say that I will.  We pray to God and ask for T’s mom to be healthy, happy, and safe.  I hope that my words ease his mind now that he knows our Heavenly Father has heard his prayer.

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.

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!

I miss you!

Dear Little Man,

I can’t stop thinking about you today.  It was exactly six months ago today that I had to let you go.  Six months.  It doesn’t feel like that long ago.  I still ache to hold you again, to be your mama again.  I miss your sweet voice, the smell of your clean skin and soft curly hair.  I miss your hugs, your screams of joy and your laugh.  I miss you!  I pray for you!  I still love you!  Are you okay?  Are you happy?  Do you go to preschool?  Do you use the big boy potty yet?

I’m taking good care of your sister.  We love her so much!  I pray that one day in the future, I’ll be able to find a way to let the two of you see each other again!  I will try!  I promise!

You changed my life Little Man.  You changed me.  You left a legacy of love in this house… unconditional, crazy devoted love.  The place in my heart that is your’s will ALWAYS be your’s.  No matter what, you have my love.

Love,

Mama

The answer is, “no.”

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We heard back about the boys today.  After trying to get ahold of social workers by myself, I asked our social worker from our agency to help us find out more about The Boys.  We wanted to know if we might be a good match to be their family.  As it turns out, the boys have an approved family pursuing them already.  This is a PRAISE!  I am so incredibly happy for them.  So incredibly happy.  Only thing is, my heart hurts a bit too.  I had this sinking feeling when our social worker told me that, “if you were praying for the boys to have an excellent, happy, and loving family, then your prayers were answered.  If you were praying that it would be your family, then I am very sorry.”

So, I will let go of all of those thoughts that I’ve had during the last two weeks.  Thoughts of what our first vacation would be like with The Boys.  Thoughts of shopping for a first car with Teenager.  Thoughts of redecorating a bedroom for Only Boy and Brother.  And, then there is the whole fact that I have to share this news with my kiddos after school today.  I am dreading that.  The tough thing about foster care and adoption is that we HAVE to involve our children.  We have to ask them their opinions on things that will affect the rest of their lives.  We have to ask, “Would you be willing to bring two more kids into this family?  They might come with some baggage, bumps and bruises.”  We have to involve them, but then when they say, “Yes!  We want to do that,” and we look into it, well its just hard when the answer is, “no.”

So, there’s the story of The Boys.  Its over.  I pray we get to see them again someday!  I pray we’ll run into them with their new family!  That would be so awesome!

Our second visit with the boys (Part One)

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We headed over to the Children’s Home right after school yesterday.  I bought 5 awesomely good pizzas, brought all the fixings for ice-cream sundaes, and we brought video games and beading kits to make necklaces or bracelets with the kiddos.  We arrived at the house around 5:20 p.m., by the time I had collected the kids from school, drove to get the pizzas, and found my way back to the home which is about a 30 minute drive from our house.  The kids and I prayed several times as we drove the 30 minutes to the Children’s Home.  We prayed that God would let us minister and love on each and every child there and that we would especially get to spend some quality time with The Boys.  I think I’m going to have to give each of them a “blog name” now.  We’ll call the oldest of the two, “Teenager” and we’ll call the younger of the two, “Brother.”

I didn’t know what to expect on this visit.  We had such an amazing time the first time, so I was nervous about trip two.  Why was I nervous?  We were just going to hang out and spend some time with some new friends.  But, I was nervous.  As we pulled into the drive-way of the Children’s Home I saw them.  They were standing on the front porch.  Teenager waved at us and Brother came running toward the truck.  I parked, we got out and Brother ran right to Only Boy and wrapped his arms around his chest yelling, “I missed you Buddy!”  I almost burst into tears right there.  The connection we felt was real.  The boys picked up right where they left off, goofing around and being silly.  (Now, I know some of you reading this are VERY educated in adoption and foster care and of course because of that know a lot about “RAD” Reactive Attachment Disorder.  I am aware that children from hard places, often will make connections with just about anybody.  I have read A LOT about RAD and am not blind… I know the danger signs with RAD, but it still just warmed my heart to hear him say that because honestly, WE HAD MISSED HIM TOO).  Okay, so moving on… Teenager came up to the truck and asked, “Where’s the big guy?”  “He had to fly tonight,” I said.  “Oh, I thought he might fly his helicopter over here to eat with us,” he joked.  I smiled and I handed him the pizzas.  After all, I had brought them for him!  He was the reason that I got “delivery pizzas” instead of bringing the stuff to make homemade!  He smiled and said, “PIZZA!”  We all walked inside.  I brought flowers from my garden for the house mother to show our appreciation for them letting us come to visit again.  We were just so happy to be back.

The younger boys took to the game room and got out their games.  I started to set out the food.  I asked the house mother if we should start to eat and she said sure, that I could call all the kids into the dining room.  I went to get the boys and they were already sitting back in their “gaming chairs” playing a racing game on the XBOX.  I smiled and took a picture.  No matter the future, I just wanted to remember that moment.

We ate.  We played.  We talked.  We had a blast!