MRI Results Are In

5 12 2017

I called for the results. I was too nervous to wait much longer. And today was the day the radiology nurse suggested I call if I hadn’t heard anything. So really, I did a pretty good job waiting πŸ™‚

So, the results: The MRI is stable. No change. We still have the same abnormalities we did last year. She did say that the regression we saw could be indicative of autism and suggested we have him evaluated at one of the other clinics there.

A couple of things to note:

First – never ONCE did I think our results would be worse than before. It never crossed my mind. If you read the first blog post about this scan, I was actually a little concerned the opposite would be true. I’m SO grateful that this possibility was not the outcome. I never would have seen it coming.

Second – little man has been on autism watch for the last 6 months or so. So this wasn’t a surprise. We don’t have a name for what’s going on with him, but we have symptoms, and we’ve been treating those almost since the beginning.

Third – our pediatrician and I have already been talking about taking little man and his 6yo brother to the genetics clinic to see if they can find some answers for both boys. I would LOVE to see a brain scan of the 6yo to see if it looks anything like his little brother’s, but they don’t let parents request those πŸ˜‰

So, no miracle brain mending yet, but that’s okay. I’m more at peace with this outcome than either of the other two. I think part of that is just the comfort of knowing that what we’re dealing with hasn’t really changed. And although we don’t know what we’re dealing with exactly, we know the symptoms and we have the services in place to deal with those.

Thanks for coming along on this crazy ride with us.

xoxo

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Can We Put that Miracle on Hold?

1 12 2017

Im sitting in the MRI waiting room.

My son is sedated and having his brain scanned. We’re looking for more answers or clarification of information we already have.

I’m trying not to stress about the results of my foster son’s second MRI.

But not for the reasons you might think.

Our foster son’s adoption case hinges heavily on the previous MRI which showed some abnormalities.

What if the scan comes back normal? This could potentially give the parent’s attorney a little more ammunition to dissuade the judge from granting the termination of parental rights when he hears the case at the end of January.

A normal MRI also leaves us with more questions. It actually takes away possible answers. I mean, we kind of have an explanation for his multiple delays. We’re just not sure how/if it applies yet. We’re still in the information gathering period.

But something is going on with my son. The neurologist listed his diagnosis as global delays. Not only do we have delays – some profound – we’ve seen regression in some areas as well this year.

I’m advocating my butt off for him trying to get him seen so we can unravel what’s going on. Then I can make sure we’re meeting all of his needs correctly. The abnormal MRI from last year can be a significant puzzle piece.

So I’m conflicted.

I would love to see a miracle. But I dread it a little at the same time. And it stinks that I’m sitting here in an empty waiting room worried about seeing a miracle. Who does that?

But I believe in a God of miracles. So I’m also working on moving the fear out and making room for the faith. Faith that whatever happens, it’s in His hands.

No matter the results, we’ll navigate them and I’ll continue to advocate for my son.





Family Court Business

28 11 2017

Tomorrow morning we have family court. We’re hoping it’s the last one before the TPR (termination of parental rights) trial at the end of January.

As always, a mountain of butterflies are swirling in my tummy. I hate court dates. It’s not likely that anything will change, but it’s so hard to predict a broken system.

Wish us luck!





Crafting and Speech Therapy

2 11 2017

My littlest kiddo is developmentally delayed. One of the delays is speech. The evaluation report used big scary words like “severe” and “profound deficits” in describing his delay.

At about 16 months old, his skill set was equivalent to that of a 3-6 month old.

So we’ve been doing speech therapy. He’s making progress even though it’s kind of slow going, but we have great people with great ideas and experience to back him up πŸ™‚

We’ve introduced signs, and he’s starting to get the hang of things now that he’s realized that communication makes his life better πŸ™‚

In addition to signs, we have pictures. The idea behind these is that he exchanges the pictures of the things he wants for the actual things he wants.

The therapist had a good system that worked for her when she’s working with kids, but it wasn’t as quick and easy as my situation needed. I needed something easy to get to and easily portable.

This is what I came up with πŸ™‚

I have things he knows the signs for, as well as words we’re starting to work on. I’ve also included family members’ pictures so we can add signs for their names, too.

I used my Silhouette program and machine to size and cut the pictures then laminated them. Lastly, I punched a hole in the corners and slid them on a binder ring. This ring is then attached to my belt loop. Easy to carry, always at our fingertips and I can continue to add pictures as necessary.

My hope is eventually, he’ll be speaking verbally. If he can’t, signs are good, too. The pictures are a good starting place for both and a good back up for him.

Thanks for stopping by!

Xoxo





WHY MY CHILD WITH REACTIVE ATTACHMENT DISORDER ACTS DIFFERENTLY WITH YOU THAN WITH ME

27 09 2017

 

Article

As a heads up to friends and family who may see my sonΒ  differently than I do, this is one of the things his doctors are looking into. He may not have it, but he may have RAD like tendencies. Regardless of any future diagnosis, I see a lot of him in this article.

I know there are times that good meaning people think I’m too hard on him. Or that I’m not patient enough. Or that I’m doing it wrong. Or that he just needs a good swift kick in the pants.

 

Thank you for caring, but please understand, his brain processes things differently than the NINE other children I’ve parented. Techniques that worked on NINE OUT OF TEN of my kids DO NOT work for him. We’re forced to think outside the box and try to find things that will work, but won’t do more damage.

The mom too exhausted to make it out of the house? Me.

The mom crying in the shower because I don’t know how to help my son? Also me.

The mom who feels like there are very few (sometimes NO) judgement free zones and just wants to give up and stay in bed? Me again.

The mom who doesn’t know how to quit and will keep trying, keep being judged unfairly, keep pushing for answers and help, keep fighting for her son – ALWAYS ME.





Jesus Would Give Him Cookies – Lessons Learned as a Foster Mom

1 09 2017

It’s been a long almost 16 months since we received the phone call alerting us that the children we’d recently adopted had a new baby brother. The state asked if we could take him home when he was released from the hospital that night. We rearranged our lives in nine hours to fit in a newborn we weren’t expecting (there was no heads up from the state that bio mom was expecting).

It’s been emotional and hard and terrifying. We just never knew what to expect, but we’d heard the stories of foster families who’d had children in this situation and the child was sent home with the bio parent straight from court. We were going to court every 90 days. It’s wreaked havoc on my nerves.

But going through this situation has changed me in good ways. (Before I go any further, let me say, I’m a Christian. I’m not perfect and have NEVER professed to be) I feel like God has been tutoring me in compassion. Teaching me to not be so judgmental. Opening my eyes to the needs of those around me. Going into this, I didn’t think I needed those lessons. I thought I was doing okay.

Through this journey I’ve had to work with the team from the state to help the bio parents successfully reunify with their child – the child I fell in love with the first day. The child who helped unify OUR family in a way we hadn’t been able to accomplish on our own. The child I felt the need to protect; I had to help facilitate reunification with these parents and their child.

To do this, I had to work to see them the way God sees them. It wasn’t easy. Because I have two of this little one’s older siblings, I had a good idea of what their life was like before being removed from their family and put into the foster system.

I had to work on forgiving these parents for the hurt they caused my children before they were mine. I had to forgive bad decision making that could have lead to catastrophic consequences. I had to forgive times when my children were INTENTIONALLY hurt by, or not protected by these people.

I had to forgive before I could see them in a more compassionate way.

I want parental rights terminated so we can adopt this precious boy, but I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand what a big deal this was to his bio mom because I didn’t care. I didn’t see her as a daughter of God that was just as deserving of compassion as any other woman I know and admire and love.

SHAME ON ME.

Even though all those court dates and all that worry and anxiety were hell on me, I’m grateful for the heavenly tutoring sessions those times provided. I get it now. I understand that this is a HUGE deal. I don’t see her as the bad guy. I got to understand how she might have felt everyday she wondered if she was going to get her son back. I see her as a mother who is facing one of the most profound losses of her life.

I’ve learned that if God finds something redeemable about them, if He, the creator of worlds and universes finds them worthy of His love, His commitment, and His sacrifice, then I have to be forgiving, too. I was reminded that Jesus lived, died, and conquered death for ALL sinners. If he did it for the perfect people it would have been useless – there are no perfect people. The best we can hope for are people who are trying their best.

Today, I saw the change in me that God has been working on. I saw it in my thought process and my actions. And it has nothing to do with my little one’s bio family.

To be as brief as possible – there’s was a misunderstanding. My daughter and I were yelled at, intimidation was tried, and we were threatened (it was very specific to a situation we had today and not just a random thing that happened on the street.)

I was furious. I almost drove away, then decided that it just wasn’t okay. I drove back into the parking lot where this man worked and two giant mama grizzly bears took over my body. I’m a whopping 5’1″ and I tore back into the store and proceeded to yell back at this man (who was an employee). There are more details, and I still can’t believe I did that, but kids are my hot button and you don’t threaten them. Luckily, the man my husband and I usually deal with in the store was able to intervene and we worked everything out (at one point the yeller was on the phone to someone telling them they needed assistance with an angry customer in the store. I was the only customer in the store, so it’s possible I may have been a little scary, but again, it’s not okay to intimidate and threaten my child). In the end it all worked out and I don’t have a mug shot.

Maybe you’re thinking that I don’t come off looking all that Christ like. And maybe it wouldn’t be a big deal if I hadn’t just spent five hours opening up and baring my heart to the internet. And I agree, at that moment I probably wasn’t very Christ like. But I’m human. I’m fallible. I’m going to mess up.

I process things by talking them out with friends. The consensus is the same – the man was wrong. Some have said he deserved it.

Maybe.

But maybe he deserves something more. Something better.

I told a friend that I was thinking about taking in cookies tomorrow. I don’t feel like I properly forgave the man. I just wanted out of the building, I didn’t want to be around this man (99% of the time, I go out of my way to avoid confrontation). He heard the insincerity in my one word answer of, “Okay.”

I know at that point, he was probably trying to do damage control and save his job. But you know what? He still deserves my forgiveness.

My friend said he owed ME cookies. But here’s the thing, I DON’T NEED COOKIES. I don’t know what this man’s life is like, or what his story is, but my guess is that it’s harder than mine. There’s a reason he reacted the way he did. Maybe someone showing him a moment of grace will change, even just a little bit, how he sees the world around him and how he treats other people.

Some say he doesn’t deserve cookies. But I don’t deserve all the things Jesus did for me, and yet,Β  He still did them. I’m so grateful He looked at me and found someone worth saving.

I think Jesus would give him cookies.

 





This Crazy Foster Care Thing Update

11 08 2017

I've blogged a bit about my family and how it's put together. I've shared the books I've made for my foster son's bio mom. I've asked for prayers at crucial times in our case.

Yesterday, 70 days after the state suggested the case goal be changed to adoption (with us), we finally got the news.

The judge CHANGED THE CASE GOAL TO ADOPTION.

So, if you've prayed for us, thank you so much. We're not done, we're on a different path that may still take some time to finish. But we're on it and that's the important thing.

You might think I'm jumping up and down in excitement. I'm not. That sounds odd, doesn't it.

I'm relieved. I'm grateful. I'm conflicted.

This was the right call. But somewhere today, there's a mom, a mom who truly loves her son, who is learning that she will probably not get him back.

A mom who's heart is probably breaking. I can not celebrate my good fortune, not when I understand the magnitude of her loss. And I think that was a lesson I needed to learn. My heart aches for her.

The next goal is for the state to file the appropriate petitions in a timely/quick fashion. So, if you're a praying person, we'd be grateful for more prayers on our family's behalf.

And while you're praying, please remember his bio mom. I'm sure she can use some prayers, too.