Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Late Night Quick Update

Well, at least my experiences can be of some benefit. Today, I was contacted by the County Mental Health Regional Support director who would like me to talk with the people who write and create the Handbooks about the advice to call 911 and the outcome I didn't have. Not that it will resolve the situation we faced but, perhaps if the systems of support know about the run around and the pointing in the wrong direction maybe they can do something to address these issues.

I'm sure I am not the only one who has found this circle of confusion unbelievable but, I am well known for my Letting people know exactly how I feel about things! I am sure many--if not most parents don't have the energy or ability to beat a dead horse until someone gets the point like I do so well.

Hopefully, tomorrow I can add my 2-cents to the situation and perhaps see if there is any possible way this loop of nothingness might somehow be at least discovered and if lucky maybe something done about it? Of course, I did hear the phrase, "Maybe, it's changed due to recent budget cuts?"

In my experience that phrase is usually just another red-herring so we will see--won't we!

Busy day today--so I will try to follow up after some sleep!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Follow Up about my 911 Call

After the eventful attempt to drive home from torturing last night, (and the lack of response from my 911 call while trying to make it home safely) this morning has started off with a bang! I wonder if all of the people who are charged to care about this society realize how empowering it is to watch your mother try to call for help and get none? It must feel really wonderful to know that at the age of 11 you can run the lives of everyone around you--and your parents can't do much about it.

This morning there was another attempt from our "little girl" of the tender age of 11 and weighing 150 pounds to shove her father of 130 pounds down the staircase as she passed by to hop on the bus and go play her games at school today. Not sure what the People who are supposed to back us up think we are supposed to do when these things are happening?

Once, everyone was off to their places today I pulled out the big file with all the Resources I have been given and started my rounds of phone calls. First to the school because it's pretty clear some of her current issues are brewing as a result of the things happening at school--You know all those "confidential" things parents are not made aware of. The county mental health team has already informed me I am supposed to Magically get an assistant for her to ride on the bus written into her IEP... Like that would ever happen! The schools will just tell me that if she can't ride the bus, then I will need to driver her. And we have already made it clear that driving her anyplace means there is a 50-50 chance we will have a crisis!

Talking with her teacher at the Special Day Treatment School in another district where there are 4 adults supervising her during her class time was a waist of my time. After all like her teacher told me, all they can do is their best to supervise her from 14 year old boys who are completely inappropriate and they wish they could be a "fly on the wall" but, can't.

My question is if 4 adults supervising her for the 6 hours a day, five days a week can't keep an eye on things--HOW the heck would anyone even imagine two parents could do even half as well the rest of those hours in all of the days she isn't being supervised by 4 adults who get to go home every night?

The next call I made was to file a complaint with the 911 system. Quoting from the county mental health handbook page 20 where it specifically TELLS me:
"If in Danger Phone 911--When you call 911, ask for a CIT trained officer. Crisis Intervention Team trained police officers are equipped with specialized knowledge and skills to use when interacting with individuals experiencing a psychiatric crisis."

When I was connected to the Supervisor of 911, he didn't even know what a CIT officer was and told me that 911 is only dispatched IF there is a Crime in Progress. They don't response to a psychiatric crisis and has no clue where I would ever get this kind of advice. When I told him where I got it he suggested that I call the Crisis Hot line again--the same one I called last night that told me they can't do anything to help with a child in a mental health crisis because there Is NOT anything that can be done!

The supervisor of 911 told me he would listen to the call I made last night and call me back.

He called back within 30 minutes and let me know that I sounded calm and under control when I made the call. That my calmness must have made the dispatcher calm as well!? That next time I shouldn't say anything about the Psychiatric Crisis in order to get a CIT officer to come and help with the situation. Instead I need to scream bloody murder and beg for help since I was being assaulted. They don't respond to Mental Health Crisis. I have to be being beaten up when I make these calls.

I guess, If I face this situation again I will just dial 911 and let them listen to what is happening rather then Exercise all of the training and therapy I have had which tells me I MUST always maintain a calm tone and be in control or I am wrong...

So, with the Public Mental Health people I should NEVER ever let myself get Hysterical or I will be the one blamed for the escalation--with the Police I should be completely out of control, hysterical and screaming for help or there isn't any reason to respond.

Then I called the County Mental Health Regional Support Network and got voice mail saying she would be gone on vacation for another week--and left her a message that page 20 is not correct, it's out of date or something. Maybe left over from some distant past IDEA of actually attempting to organize crisis support. Maybe some time back in the 80's the police were being trained and no one bothered to update the handbook? Either way the 911 system is not trained to respond to the words I used.

In the state of Washington the first finger is pointed at the Parents as the failure. It doesn't do much good to be a Parent who is Not the Problem since maybe they have so much success pointing at the parents they have had few circumstances where that tactic didn't work?

Now that we have done all the things we are told to do in crisis... and I have been so well trained to maintain my own emotions as to not escalate the situation. Now that we have used up every other resource offered and have documentation of how well we have BEEN WORKING with the System it appears No One has the Next Page in the Script Written... No one has needed to write the next page for the script given that these tactics of pointing parents to services that don't exists must just eventually cause the rest of the parents to just give Up!

But, of course, I can be confronted with the fact that "I am doing the Right Things and making sure everything is Documented" I guess, having a good record will save us when someone is hurt or dead? And, to top it all off I can tell these people that without the support of some kind of system It seems my only options would be those things that Most would call abusive. I mean I could have just tossed her out of the car and drove home--or found some physical way to get her under control which would most likely result on leaving a mark on someone!

Apparently, a Parent should have the Marks on their body--be violently attacked by a child and this isn't a problem? It would only be a problem if during our defense we were to somehow leave a mark on her body! And maybe I am being told that It's fine to do that since I have such great documentation and remain in control of myself? No one even seems to react to my suggestions that this system appears to leave parents with choices that really are abusive? Frankly, I would be surprised if anyone even responded to the fact we may ever leave a mark on her? The documentation apparently indicates she should be abused--locked in her room or a box we build in the garage.

At no time has any person in this house even raised a hand to her... She however seems to have the right to hurt us and make death threats, abuse animals, abuse her younger sibling and run every moment of a families life--she can leave marks on us, and on her little brother and we can be left here with all the services pointing us in an never ending circle of Nothing and that's all fine?

And, if anD when Someone in this House Snaps and Crosses a Line at least it's all documented--at least we have done our part in this... I can be pretty confident the parents in Our home will not snap and cross a line but wonder how other parents could maintain this level of Crazy without going over the line?

I am back to finishing up the paperwork to take the last step I think there is for ALL of the people in this family. I started in October trying to have her placed into residential treatment for Children her age with her Diagnosis--but, it's in another state so the Hoops to jump have been one right after another and it's been all this time to get where we are with that process--which I can't even figure out where we are? It's been another 6 months of Washington telling me to get this help from here or there and apparently we have gotten to the There again. I believe I am supposed to FAX a document to an office I don't even know how to contact in another state and wait for them to coordinate with Washington? I think?

All I know for sure is that the treatment center has Everything except for whatever is needed to have whichever Free Public Service our adopted foster child is entitled to receive agree that she needs it and agree to fund what isn't covered on our primary insurance? Good thing she isn't dying of an illness because by the time we figured out how to use these Free Services it would be too late.

I get the Point Washington state! I get it. The services my taxes pay for are designed to be a run around until my child breaks the law and is placed in the criminal system--or gets too old for the benefit  to be worth anything. Helping a hurt, a mentally ill foster children be adopted and have these special needs considered important, doesn't seem to matter once the ink is dry. At least they do have resident facilities to care for adults... And by that time all the documentation will Just LOOK like everyone Did Amazing things and what should have helped was not enough!

Truth is, so much could have made so many huge differences but, everyone knows that if the game is played long enough the child won't be the issue anymore because the child won't be a child!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thanks to the Clark County 911 Dispatcher I Called! NOT!

Now that we have used all of the Clark County Mental Health Services and basically been told there isn't really Anything Anyone can or will do to help children with Mental Health problems beyond what has been offered and used, and used and used. We were getting used to the fact that we are alone in this situation.

When I have begged an answer as to "WHAT" I should do when things are NOT SAFE at home, in public or for the worse--ongoing been a problem since 2004--issue of being attacked while I drive the car I have been told I should Call 911. It's even Printed on the Center Page, of the Consumer and Family Handbook, A Guide to Public Mental Health Services to Call 911 in a situation where Safety is an issue.

I have always done my best to avoid the need to call 911... I mean, it really shouldn't require the police to protect a family and the citizens from an out-of-control child. Parents really should be able to control their children well enough to drive a car at least!

Not always the case. Especially, when a mother informs her daughter that because she decided to Leave the house and Yard without permission unfortunately it was going to result in a consequence. Especially, when we have an appointment for tutoring because Mom has never had a moment of peace and couldn't teach a 7 year old his ABC's due to the constant 6-years of out-of-control behaviors making it impossible to even think about anyone other then ONE PERSON.

I should have just Let her Break the Rule I suppose? Let her do as she pleases and get away with anything she wants. After all, it's unreasonable of a mother to even suggest a consequence for a behavior that has been repeatable an issue and something that isn't permitted. Like walking away from the home without permission! I should have picked my battles the Therapists will tell me! Why push her buttons and Cause a Negative reaction? I should have smiled and talked to her like I did the first 250 times she broke the same rule! And besides--what's the big deal about walking down the block. Not that there ARE any Level-3 Sex Predators listed on the State Website of anything Right? There are just down the block believe it or not.

My 11 year old daughter should be allowed to go as she pleases and I should most certainly Pick my Battles. It's not like in a few years or less walking away without permission isn't going to turn into Whatever Other thing she decides she should be able to do! I'm sure I should pick my battles then too! Or when I find something illegal or when she disappears for however long.

Anyway, we barely didn't even make it to the tutors (because of the violence in the car) 15 minutes late. After all the tutor isn't All about HER so now she has decided to do what she can to make us late, like leaving the yard just before it's time to go and then assaulting me while I drive. Making death threats to me and her brother, spitting on us and throwing things at us as the car drives to the appointment that's not For her. She demands I should leave her at home so she can steal everything I don't have locked up, call everyone who ever gave her their phone number 38 times, or as she suggested today, walk to a friends house. I wonder which friend because our phone doesn't ring at all with anyone asking for her?

I should just Pick my Battles. And now she has decided to make it impossible and unsafe for someone else we pay $20.00 an hour to help her brother learn his ABC's! It wouldn't matter if the timing were later--Dad has been advised to NEVER be alone with her... and he has enough to do in life doing everything he does and 3/4 of what I should! I get no time with her brother anyway--why should I even think I could drive him someplace to learn what I can't teach him? Why should it Always be Daddy who is left to take care of my little boy?

Hearing him cry the whole way that he didn't feel safe in the car... with Real terror in his eyes because when his sister says she is going to do something she usually does. She said she was going to kill us both more then once on the way. But, we got there and he went in.

I got her clam and took authority, put her in her place and made it perfectly clear I would call 911 if she EVER did any of this behavior again while I was driving the car.

When he came out I decided to put him in the Front Seat and risk the air bags or the ticket I might get. She was in the far back seat of the van. When she saw this Again she was Angry--I should have put her there where she could grab the steering wheel while I was driving like she did in dad's pick up before we made the rule she can ride in the truck. NOT! So, I put him there to feel safe and just in case.

She got out of her belt, opened the van door while I was driving to the corner... I didn't stop so she did shut it. She tried again at the stop light and I told her if she got out I would just drive away and call 911--she shut it. Started the other stuff kicking the seat while I drove--jumping around while the car was moving--tossing things at me--and threatening to kill us, pop her brother's basked ball from the Harlem Globetrotter's.

Completely out of control--Doing Exactly the same things that landed her in the VERY First Psych Hospital stay in 2004! So, I pulled off and did call 911! Finally, Brave enough to actually call when it was a crisis I really couldn't handle... For 4 minutes and 50 seconds begging for someone to help!

I was told No.

I was told that an officer would not come and help me. I was told so what if I sat there all night until it was safe. I was told again--sorry, lady but we don't give a crap about Crazy out of Control Children or there Parents. And Again I was told We are on our own and No One Cares!

So, tomorrow I will have to tell all the people who told me to call 911 that the Police don't have any answers either and that they need to take the page out of the handbook I was given and stop telling me to do things that No One Cares about when I do! Its not a police problem... The Crisis line can only offer Adults Help, and our great mental health services providers all go home from work leaving the operator to tell me to call in the morning! I can't even take this Child to the Hospital for Crisis Mental Health Services in this State because they don't have anyplace to keep children!

I hope everyone wants this kind of treatment when they need Medical care with the soon to be Public Medical Health System we will all be paying taxes to have provided for us--for Free! I'm sure those services will be as Free as the so called Public Mental Health Services the children of the state of Washington Deserve! They may be even as Great as the Free 911 services was for me today! Wonder what it's going to be like when we start seeing people Die because all the Free Stuff Cares so much!

If anyone wants to Pretend the State of Washington is doing Anything Special for the children and former children from Foster Care by providing these wonderful Free Services then--it's all only on paper and because everyone Points to Some other agency or service No One really Knows what's actually happening! I never in a million years would have imagined this to be the wonderful services My Tax Dollars pay to provide. I could SAVE Washington a butt-load of money if they would just pay me to answer the Phones and give people nothing more then some Crazy Run Around that takes years to even figure Out! Why pay all these other people to do what I could do for $15.00 an hour!

How hard could it possibly be to tell people Washington Doesn't Care -- Deal with it lady it's your kid! HECK, I won't even charge $15.00 an hour to do that I will take minimum wadge since that's about what these Free Public services have been worth to our family!


Friday, March 13, 2009

Well, since no one else seems concerned...

It has been months since we started working on the paperwork to have our daughter spend some time away in treatment. Over six months to be honest. There should be a million hoops to jump in order to make such a dramatic decision but, this is really amazing to me. What part of the whole story has been lost with the fact that there are times we don't feel we can control the safety of our own home?

On one hand I am completely dumbfounded by the amount of time things have taken, yet on the other hand I am thankful it has been taking some time. It scares me half to death to think of all the bad things that could or might happen to a little girl in her situation...so, the longer it takes the better. Right? Her File just wreaks of the implication that no one would believe anything she said happened is true. Just this fact is the big one that keeps me from making the last steps to have her placed.

Only recentely she has shared some of her feelings about the times she was in the last residential treatment program, and the two times she was hospitalized. While everything was going on she was stone-cold calm. She didn't show a sign one of discomfort, she seemed to like where she was at. During the past few weeks she has talked about how she really felt--or she is dramatic now?

It doesn't really matter if now she is dramatic about the past, the fact is she is dramatic about it. Even if she only remembers it from her feelings of today, she is telling me things about her time away that I would have thought she had felt while it was all happening. I guess, if these were not the real feelings she had at the time then at least now she is showing at least that she knows what a normal responce should have been. That should be a positive indicator?

Next year she will start middle school. Her annual IEP meeting is schedualed and I am certain it will include a transition plan. I am 99.9% sure that it's time to pull her back into home school or, un school. I have been involved with the State Special Education Home School lists for several months and learned some important information about what can and cannot be done with regard to home school. The fact of the matter is that middle school is a stinky place no matter what Kid you are, but it will be a complete nightmare for our little girl.

Our best progress and her greatest strides forward happened when she was able to just live her life as it happened. When she left the last residential treatment I home schooled her from April to Novemeber and it really was the best time for her behaviors. I don't know if it was just because she had just been discharged or not, but those months were some of the most peaceful for her emotionally.

Most babies and pre-school children get those early years of living peacefully without a care in the world. Her memories and the stories she shares don't make her early years sound very stress-free. It seems she saw herself as an equal with her mother and they were both little babies sometimes--and other times worked well as a team to solve problems. Like watching a house for a few days and being sure No One was going to come home--so they could go inside and find food and sleep.

Keeping her home for the next however long may be something she really needs and never had when she was so young. It's clear to me she never just played outside the window with her dolls while mom did the dishes... She clearly never had a time when peace just was what the day was about. Even when she was placed we were told she had to be put right into pre-school, I wish I had argued that point a lot more then I did.

...anyway, Like I always try to remember, a decision that is not written in stone or on a contract can me changed later. What I decide today doesn't mean I can't decide different in the future. Since none of the Official people seem concerned and we have 50 people to subphona in the event of a false allagation it seems we are really on our own with this situation. I will be pondering the choices and let everyone know.

Be sure to check out all of our fun pictures on our New Memories Blog and look in the trunk at the albums of our Past Memories.

Monday, March 02, 2009

What goes down Must come Up?

Or was it 1-steps forward, 3-steps back? Oh, it doesn't really matter because everything seems to be like that right now! Not even looking at the 401K, or thinking about anything that isn't actually happening right now.
Steady-state I guess. Things are intensely manageable, at the time and we have a few fun things planned.

I have been doing a lot of Faxing and it's all slow business. After 6-months, I have stopped wondering about why paperwork moves as slow as molasses in the snow. Anyway, at least I seem to be feeling better this week.
The kids are done being sort of flu-ish, it would have been better if they had just gone down for the count but, instead it was one of those bugs that just make body fluids and no sleepy restful times. And, I guess that's okay considering that I didn't go down with it either.
I wanted to just drop in and say, this week is starting out a little better. But, it's a lot easier to just take one day at a time, sometimes.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Notice to the World in the Event of something Awful:

We do not know what to do anymore. In 2003 we adopted special needs siblings from the State of Oregon. My husband worked over the river in Washington for more then 11 years and after the oldest child completed 14 months of Day Treatment with OHSU we decided to move closer to dads job in June 2006. Thinking it would be beneficial for our family.

This was the biggest mistake of our lives.

We have used every mental health resource there is in the state of Washington and been told by DHS there are no services left. In the past we were told that our only choice was to voluntarily place her into Foster Care which was not something we wanted to do to her. Last week we were told that wasn't even an option. We have access to Oregon Service (Oregon Health Plan) and Washington State Medicaid as well as our own Private Health insurance however we can't seem to get our child HELP.

Tonight we had to cut twine off our youngest child's neck. He has lived in this Mentally Ill home with his biological sister and been repeatable abused for his whole life. This morning the children were home from school sick and it was calm I let my guard down and thought it would be a nice day. At about 9:00 our son came screaming as he had just witnessed his 11 year old sister poke a needle through the family cat's ear. Our little boy wanted to Kill himself tonight because he doesn't want his sister to say she loves him anymore.

I spent the day calling and Faxing the people who are supposed to care. You see we have residential treatment placement for her in Oregon--near our oldest daughter who is currently living near the facility. We have had a place that is willing to take our youngest daughter since October 2008 and for 6 months I have done everything I know how to get her placed there. Only because there isn't anything in Washington except foster care.

Today, I was told (again) that Washington doesn't offer Residential instead they offer Medicaid to the age of 21 instead of cutting off at the age of 18... I could care less. We have funding for these services and when we agreed to adopt special needs sibling were promised this would not happen--yet The Clark County Mental Health lady seems to think that if we find respite things would be just swell. As If! And we have been repeatable insulted by these people suggesting that if we get a Break things will be fine. Sorry, a break is the last of our needs. When we have tried to find respite NO One will accept the liability of providing it for our daughter.

We have been told by the people we pay to provide services that we should split our home up and have two separate households. Nice to see that the state of Washington cares about families so much.

We currently live in a home with an 11 year old who we can't take anyplace as she attacks us while driving or steals things when we do go--I can't leave her at home with her father as she is 150 pounds and grabs his privates, or hits him--he is 135 pounds and 47 years old... The police have come to our home and told us to lock her up or hit her--even suggesting I be sure to turn my wedding ring around when I backhand her as to not leave a mark. The Highest level of Crisis intervention Catholic Communities suggested we build a safe room in our garage, only problem is we couldn't put her in there even if we did build the Cage we were told to build.

She has had two Psych Hospital stays, at *** in Portland, 14 months day treatment at *** Child Psychiatric, 3 months residential treatment at *** in Portland, a Year of level 3 crisis services, is currently recieving Level 2 at school. She has been kicked out of the local public school for assaulting her special ed teacher and currently attends a public day treatment as nearly the only female student. She has always had therapy from before the time we met her--and has had the same psychiatrist for the past 4 1/2 years. He has recomended residentail treatment and written a letter requesting it. He currently wants me to "Chemically Restrain" her. Something I shouldn't have to do and don't believe is something a parent should need to do.

Today, she has threatened to hurt me, kicked in the back of the drivers seat destroying it as I drove to take her little brother to a tutor since at 7 he still can't even say his ABC's and our home is a war zone we can't even keep him safe let alone teach him his alphabet. We have a cat with pierced ears, and a little boy who at 7 wants to be dead. We all have our own therapists, shrinks and have called everyone we know to call--yet, it's just fine we all live here like this.

When we adopted these children we were promised that we would have support for these kinds of issues. That was Not True and frankly I am at a point I don't believe Washington State cares one little bit.

I write a blog--with very few of the details just enough to keep some kind of timeline in my mind. http://newmemories.blogspot.com Tonight we will go to sleep again with dad and brother safely locked behind the master bedroom door to protect themselves from a Known and Proven threat living in their own home. I have been threatened several times today and just rescued a 7 year old from a suicide attempt--I have already called all the numbers where someone is supposed to help. I get the impression we are simply supposed to lock her up until she breaks out and commits a serious enough crime to enter the Judicial system.

And people wonder how mothers get killed with Hammers by 14 year old daughters--or why so many nuts go to school and kill people? I know why--it's because the system is all about making it the fault of the parents. That is all we have seen and when they can't make it our fault they simply tell us how sorry they are...

Tonight I am emailing EVERY ONE on the face of the earth with our story--and how Washington will wait until a body bag is needed before finding help for a mentally ill--Fetal Alcohol child we lovingly Adopted because we foolishly believed we could provide what was needed... There isn't even anyone we can pay to help. And Washington believes it's in her best interest to stay in the Home until someone dies.

I am emailing Every Senator, congressman, television news show! I am Emailing the world this letter because when my dead body is found--or our 7 year old is dead from his own hand--or my husband is arrested for a false allegation I want this story to be well documented and I want it to be known We have done our best!

Anna Glendenning

Please forward this letter to anyone you know.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thanks Dad!

My father isn't one to call often and is always forgiven for the late birthday calls or whatever. I know my mother always had to remind him to call his Own mother for her birthday! Usually, when dad calls he has a reason. Last night when he called his reason was Makala--and letting me know about Mia. Dad, has no clue how great his timing was this time and how much I needed to remember sometimes it's possible to see a miracle.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

...A Parent is the one who makes the hard Decisions

If children were born able to get a job, pay rent and live their lives they wouldn't need moms and dads. Right! It's easy when we Begin the Journey of parenting to think of the things like feeding, diapers and teaching our child to walk and talk as the major responsibility. The reality is that childhood is long and parenting is a daily activity, even when they can get their own job, pay rent and live on their own!

It doesn't seem to matter how old and wise our children become, so far the best I can tell is that one of the most important roles I play in the lives of all of my children is to be the one who makes the Hard Decisions. The ones that matter the most.

With a baby it wasn't too difficult to make the decision the diaper needed changed or it was time to start toilet training. But, as that baby starts to become the person they are--it starts talking and giving a parent of piece of their own mind. They take risks, do things outside of your control, and learn to handle life from their own experiences. Sometimes we get lucky and our children are more compliant--other times we find we are parenting a child who--well, has their Own Perspective on things.

Personally, I want my children to become who they are. I want them to have opinions, know how to defend their positions, and understand why they have the positions and opinions they have. Even if, sometimes they have opinions and positions I can't agree with. I would much rather have my child be strong in their beliefs and viewpoints then just follow.

I don't expect my children to fall in line and become what I want them to become. I might have dreams, or have imagined them to be based on watching them develop but in the end I can't live their lives for them. I expect them to have their own lives but at the same time expect them to respect me the same way.

There is so much more to being a parent then the issues of taking care of a dependent baby's needs to survive. Sometimes being a parent means taking risks and making decisions. Some of the decisions we make as parents can be huge and may or may not always be right. We take risks when we love a child and face times when our decisions will impact their lives. Sometimes no matter what decision we make there will be an impact on our child's life.

No matter what we do or what decisions we make the fact is our children will ALWAYS grow up to find some fault in the decisions we made for their lives. They are right--we don't always call it right, we don't always make the best choice, we don't always know exactly what to do and parents always screw something up.

I guess, for me the goal is to keep the screw ups to a minimum and hope that my children always understand I made every decision I made because I love them.

Right or Wrong, the only thing I know how to do is be responsible for the fact that it's my JOB as a mother and parent to be the one who Actually makes the hard decisions based on the specific needs and issues for each of my children. Considering just exactly how often I am forced to make Mom Decisions I am sure I have made some real humdinger mess ups. I am sure I will make more mistakes along the way. I just hope my kids can recognize that I am not super human, can't see the future and have my own opinions and viewpoints which are equally as valuable to me--as the fact they have their own.

Thanks to everyone for your feedback on the "Gifts and Pictures" request. We have made a hard decision about this matter. We have shared pictures and have asked that gifts not be sent at this time. Not because of any "adoptive parent" knee-jerk reaction but, because of all the OTHER important decisions we are needing to make for the children the gifts would be sent.

Our children are not ready right now for gifts to come from where they are hurting so much. They are "dealing" with too many emotional and adoption related issues on top of the special needs they have as a result of prenatal alcohol and drug exposure, abuse and neglect...as well as foster care and adoption all well remembered by one child and scary to another who doesn't remember.

If I could have my way, I would much rather communicate with the legal office to establish some kind of communication between me and the children's birth mother. Just as we have with the adoptive parents of the younger biological siblings. I believe with all of my heart that Makala will need to have some kind of something as time goes on. She will look for her birth mother the moment she is old enough and have access to the Open Records offered in Oregon. Marty could be just a teen. A teen-aged boy with Adoption Issues and his older sister will lead the reunion.

For both children it is important we consider the future as well as Right Now. At this time, they are both dealing with intense feelings that are completely different about their adoptions. They are both in therapy and both have special needs that impact them emotionally. They have more toys and things then they even have time to play with and we are advocating for some rather serious education, medical and mental health issues.

We have been working close with our "Counsel" and our support system in order to provide for all of the special needs our children have, emotionally they are just not in the place where gifts from birth mom would be positive. Our decision about this matter is to work directly with the "experts" and service providers and have them assist us and the children in how to consider future contact including gifts. We don't want to shut the door, but we do want to approach this with only the best interest of the children in mind.

The one thing I do know about Decision Making is that it's a fact that a decision made today doesn't mean it's the decision written in stone. Decisions are always subject to review and open to change. The decisions made today do not rule-out the right to make a different decision in the future. It's a long journey to parent a child and parents are the ones who need to make the hard decisions--over and over and over.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An Unexpected Request

I always wondered how I would feel, or what I would think and most of all how I would react if we were ever contacted by the children's mother. Now I know.

This afternoon I received email from the State. At first I thought it must be due to the birth of another baby. Instead, it was an "legal" representative letting us know that our children's birth mother wanted to send gifts and wanted to know if she could have pictures.

It's been Six-years, and seems so strange to be arriving Now. Could it be that my prayers for HER have come true--at least to some degree?

I have often sat an wondered, if she thinks of them, if she has the ability to "care" in a way that wasn't self serving. To me it couldn't be possible to have my rights to 5 children terminated--without having a care in the world.

Sharing pictures is Clearly not an issue to me, I do that all the time. We need to think about the Gifts at least at this time anyway. We need to talk with all the professionals and consider how this might effect the children, especially our little girl.

With things being so ALWAYS hard for her--can she really deal with this out of the blue?

I asked the representative to let birth mom know that the most important gift she could give our daughter would be a copy of any baby picture--any picture before the age of 4! And, maybe the name of someone who might be called birth father.

I'm also not so sure how little brother would take this. He is so confused about all of these things considering his sister has told the story in Not Always the most loving or healthy way I would have wished. Marty is still dealing with so much anger--and asking a lot of the questions that make me know he is dealing with the whole "adoption" matter in some of the less then positive ways. It's been hard with his older sister presenting her side of things...too early, too detailed and with a bit of romance included.

Not sure how presents from out of no place might impact the children.

I do know that it's only a few days before M's birthday--and a few days after the TPR for the Only child of 5 her mother parented for any time at all. It must be difficult I am sure. I wonder if the fact both of the children we adopted have their birthdays right now--prompted this request?

Monday, January 26, 2009

No Surprise just Disgust

It has been well over 90-day since the "last" time we tried again to find the correct care for our daughter... I discovered this morning that our Second Case for "Voluntary Services" with DHS was closed--AGAIN. The only way to access the services she needs, is to relinquish our rights as her parents... That's gonna help.

Just the "list" of "things and issues" since July is longer then my arm, and that list would only include those things worth remembering. We have become so accustom to living in complete chaos with a child controlling everything--we don't even notice the little things anymore... It's hard to keep count or notice when it is 24/7 for six years... After awhile, it's NORMAL.

I am still trying to figure out what "Magic" words or piece of paper is needed to have her placed in residential treatment... Since the state we live in NOW doesn't even have it--I have been able to fall back on Oregon, but--no one seems able to tell me which hoops to jump through to get her placed there...

I have had 5 appointments with her psychiatrist since October. Each costing $112.00 our of pocket under or primary insurance. We have paid over $600.00 for a page and a half letter that May or May not be what's needed.

She will be kicked-off the bus if there is another problem. I'd like to know why anyone thinks WE might have better luck driving her to and from... We hardly made it home the 3 miles from Marty's party the other day. I guess, no one believed me when she was 6 years old and I started telling everyone...She isn't SAFE inside moving containers.

Saturday, I caught her shoplifting and the only feelings she expresses is that I am Evil for being mean--I guess, because I caught her? Not sure and today I don't much care about HOW she is feeling.

I called the so-called Crisis Mental Health line Saturday and heard the same kinds of WRODS I heard when I was a battered wife... "Mam, when you are READY to make a decision we can help you..." The Decision I am supposed to make is to SAY, "I give up my rights as her mother..."

That will only mean they stick her in a Foster Home someplace... So she can Get the Services DHS can only offer children in Foster Care...

Marty continues to suffer, and our marriage is stressed. Actually, not our marriage just every other moment of our lives day and night.

I am disgusted with the system. I thought all these Do-Gooder's wanting money to fund programs REALLY wanted to make a difference for children. Guess, I was wrong to think this since apparently all the rules and laws insure that at some POINT the Parents don't have a part to play in the care of their child.

It's a great way to keep everything that doesn't happen in a file No one ever sees.

It disgusts me that when there is REALLY a child with a CLEAR need of care (normal parents could never deliver) the only way to help a child is to Dump the problem on the State? It's clear to me that the only goal in treating Child Mental--emotional or whatever problems--is to WAIT until the child commits a horrible crime or isn't a child anymore.

The time when help COULD have made a difference has already been lost. Thanks to the approach of "lets just fix it good for now". Band aids don't usually fix broken legs yet the system seems to think just good enough to stop the bleeding is all a child needs.

If we had gotten her the help she really needed in the past--we would not be here today. I think the problem is that there is no help for some children--and NO ONE wants to admit that fact or do anything about it. It's just a lot easier to say, the kid was a messed up Foster Child who turned out to be a Sociopath because of unhealed RAD...

It's easy for the World to NOT see any of this -- no one has any idea how HORRIBLE it is to see a child in such need with a bunch of Stoned-Faced people who don't have answers...

As if the answers will be better if she got them from Foster Parents... pffft! Seems that children only get care if their parents have failed. It doesn't seem to make a difference if the Parents Fail because they are "Crap for Parents" or if the are the parents of a child with one of the Undiagnosable Personality Disorders that COULD JUST HAPPEN to any child. Can't Call it that instead we will call it every other letter in the alphabet and hope something Sticks!

...To help some children with the most serious needs--the parents have to fail. Is that even okay with ANY NORMAL PERSON? Seriously, is there one person any place who will look me in the eye and tell me that isn't EXACTLY what has happened with the adoption and post adoption of OUR BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER!

If all the "so-called" do-gooders actually stood up and Told the Public the truth... Bottom line is that a child with "Mental Health" or "Behavior Problems" should Pop up, the system is ONLY about determining when the Parents have reached the point of Failure. Then... swoop in take a child into "The System" and house them until they become adults... Cuz, that's all the want us to do.

Our system as it is Right NOW should be considered Criminal and Barbaric. All the while wrapped-up in Double-Speak and psychological terminology just so it all sounds important. Bottom line is that the teachers want these kids Doped, the doctors like to give them Dope and everyone spends years saying the same things over and over and over in one big loop of endless--Non Answers.

...It is NOT just ME an Adoptive Mother who feels this Pain! Trust me, in my 6-years of walking this walk the vast majority of Parents and Children I have seen receiving the same "Care" as my child--have Not been adopted children... Truth be told, I believe that a LARGE number of children WAITING in Foster Care had Parents Who Failed--just they Failed in a less Stylish way then I do--as the Saint who would dare to love one of "those kids."

And to top it all off... They actually force the parents to Say the Words out loud. They force the parents who have Failed to say, "I give up:. It's like a Game of Uncle. We either continue to Endure the Torture or we Say we Give Up... The State, police, schools, whomever--don't care because so long as WE Endure--NO ONE Else is obligated. We have to say, "You are NOW Obligated to Care because We Failed and Now Give Up our Right to say we Cared at all..."

At this point OUR family is no different then any other family with the Risk of a Child being placed in Foster Care. We just choose to GET here a different way but, it is the same spot I know parent after parent faces. Has to be because--it is the Only actual answers we find if there was anything different I can assure you I would have found it by Now!

...It makes me wonder how many children are Foster Children just because they had these Mental and Behavioral Disorders in the first place, and parents who were forced to Give Up and agree they Failed. Hopeful the kid would get help. I think it is a bigger problem then most Americans could imagine and I think it's sick.

Yes, I am hostile and upset at this time. Doing the "Phone-nice" routine and really seeing the TRUTH is so hard for a Normal Person to do under this kind of circumstance.

If the Do-Gooders really wanted to make a difference they would try to HELP. Maybe it's good the economy stinks maybe after Mass Lay-offs and cut backs for the services I don't think even exist happens perhaps some of them will start to speak up about the truth...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wow! and Other Exclamatives

Yes, I am aware the title of this blog includes a misspelled word--To You. But, to me the word is just fine as written and means what I think it does.

Thank Goodness Our Holidays will be drawing to a close sooner or later. Three Birthday's down and only one more to go! Now I turn my attention to planning a birthday for an 11 year old. Who has an amazing talent of making it hard to want to make her happy!

As usual, I am behind with my plans for the new year which should be No surprise to anyone! We just don't get a break from celebrating from Thanksgiving to Valentines day and to be honest all this Glitz and Gifting gets pretty old when it all happens at once every year.

It hardly seems any of us have a "special" day all our own. But, that's just the way things turned out. I once knew a woman who had several children and three of them shared her husbands birthday. Wow! That's unusual.

With all the celebrating it's hard to HELP Makala say within the boundaries. For these months things are just not ordinary and we are supposed to maintain a prolonged attitude of celebration. At the same time, teach and guide and discipline. Not easy-and it wouldn't be for any family. For us these weeks are as much a celebration as pure agony!

...a few more weeks and the whole whirlwind will die down--and hopefully we will make a new step of progress. It's hard to see under the circumstances of things I'm not actually writing about in order to respect the feelings of other people.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another year older...

After about 29 Birthday's is it really that important to keep making such a big ordeal about something I didn't even do! Today my best birthday gift was realizing that I wasn't turning 47 but instead 46!!!!

my next best gift was being lazy.

Tomorrow is back to work!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Two Birthdays Down, and Two to Go!

When everyone living in the same house has a birthday during the same 30-day time period... The Month is Declared "Birthday Month" and the celebrations blend and go on for weeks! We always have our Own Party on the Day of the Birthday... and fit in all the other parties somehow during the month.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Small Clique of Control Freaks

As a parent I seem to walk with a crowd along with only a few others. I believe it is true that children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and other serious emotional issues are rare. During my years in support groups and surfing the Internet I seem to run into the same people over and over. I'm sure there are many who hide behind the doors wondering what to do?

I have to look back and ask myself if my reactions or the choices I made have caused things to be worse or better for our little girl? There are those who have told me that, "Unless her RAD is healed--nothing else will help her." and "until the RAD is healed no other therapy or issue will matter!"

I regret buying into this narrow-minded idea. I regret that for a time I was "SEEING" my little girl as only ONE THING, as someone who didn't want to hug me, or wouldn't look into my eyes, and caused all these problems just to "show me" she was in control, not me. I am angry that I allowed myself to feel like I was a victim and that I had to seize control over her--over every part of her--over even her Hugs.

Not that I wallowed around in this way of thinking too long. I thank God for the fact that he made me logical and analytical. That HE gave me a spirit of compassion and understanding. Otherwise, I fear I could very well still be socializing with the small clique of control freaks who make RAD all about themselves instead of their child.

I am the kind of person who could enjoy the position of Control Freak. It's one of my personality traits I do my best to keep at bay. I often hear myself say, "let go of that!" when things are not going MY WAY. So joining the clique was surely a risk for me... and a risk for my little girl.

With the past 6-years under my belt and having searched under every rock I come across a few things are crystal clear to me now.

#1 - It is the "Chicken or the Egg" argument. Did the Unhealed RAD cause the Adult Personality Disorder or Mental Illness... Or did the personality disorder or mental illness cause or contribute to the Reactive Attachment Disorder?

#2 - When there are other diagnosis, (mental illness or medical conditions) that ALSO include attachment difficulties and symptoms on the List of RAD Signs is it WISE to think that unless the RAD is healed the child is doomed? I have decided it's a mistake to think the Attachment disorder must be healed before addressing the fact that FASD has attachment symptoms as well.

and #3 -- It's my job to raise an independent person. A child who will become an adult who IS in Control of their own life. Does it really make sense that a parent would "Take Control Away" just to prove the child can trust them? Or just to have a hug on the parents terms?

It seems that within the small clique of control freaks there are so many wonderful ideas and methods of seizing a child's own independence and control away--but, I fail to find much information about what to do once the child's will has been broken.

When I have hung-out with my fellow RAD Parents whom have joined the clique it seems the prolonged need to Take Control away from the child never really comes to an end. Every independent act their children make appears to be viewed as an assault on the attachment with mommy.

Even the NORMAL independent acts MOST parents would be thrilled to see in their child, are viewed as if the child intentionally deprived their mother's of her right to control them--and prove they can depend on her. Rather than some of my fellow RAD Mothers being excited to see the natural development of a child who knows how to control their world and become independent some view every natural development as a Dagger in their hearts.

or worse, a sign that they have failed to Heal the RAD.

I have yet to read or find anything that would help me figure out if my little girl is Healed or if her normal desire to become independent and control the things she can is ever something to delight over?

I wonder just exactly how many of my Hugs does she need to accept on "My terms" and how many times do I need to PROVE to her that she can depend on me to control her life? How many conversations should we have where she is able to maintain eye contact, before I can say, "She is able to maintain eye contact." ?

When does the mother of a child with RAD step back and say, now that I have proved to you that it's safe to Love, trust and depend on me--it's time to teach you to Love, trust and depend on yourself?

to be continued...

Be very careful about the kind of therapy you find and use if your child has been diagnosed as Reactive Attachment Disorder RAD.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I wish my Child had Cancer Instead...of

If she had Cancer instead of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders -- FASD, and Reactive Attachment Disorder -- RAD, and was not the former foster child we love and adopted, everything would be completely different.

Not one person would Judge us, as her parents if we found the Best Treatment Facility and paid top dollar for her to be kept in the Safe care of a children's full service Cancer Center. No one would judge us if the Best Treatment center was someplace we didn't Sleep every night. It would be fine with everyone to hear us say, "Our little girl was staying at the Children's Cancer Center, in order to get the treatment she needs."

If our little girl had cancer instead, we would have no trouble going for visits and seeing her bald head. No one would judge that we had to come and see her--maybe even from a long distance. The Ronald McDonald house would surely open up a space for our family and provide a nice place to rest with the other families and pay only $20.00 a night. Our Friends would send cards and letters--offer to take care of the other children, make meals for the family, and ask me if I needed anything? The Doctors would talk to us about medications, treatment plans, the future--the odds... And speak to us with compassion, knowing we were Grieving Parents.

Our little girl would be seen with Love and people would feel some natural Pity for the fact such a young person faced such a horrible diagnosis. Our Church would Pray for our child. The local News might run a story, about how we mortgaged everything to pay for her care--and lost jobs because she needed us so much. People would send money, set up a back account, hold a fund raiser. The Make-A-Wish foundation might contact us to let us know if things become terminal--she can have that dream vacation to Disney.

If she lost a leg to Cancer services would jump in line. The Shriner's would give her a New Leg--a High-Tech wonderful leg that would make it possible to join the Special Olympics. And, she would get her invitation, make the news again, and have a story about surviving Cancer as a child.

My little girl is not Lucky enough to have a problem people see as being anything real like cancer. She doesn't have the disposition, appearance or understanding shown to a Downs Syndrome person or a child with a visible disability. My little girl isn't missing a limb, or all of her hair. My child doesn't have Something everyone feels sorry about.

No one can see from the outside what is hurt on her insides. No one can see the damaged caused to her brain before she was born. No one can see the damage caused to her heart when her earliest needs went unmet. No one can see the pain in her heart when she was taken from the only life she knew--and expected to live life as if she had not been someone else. No one can see the broken logic of a little girl who was attached to a life with people who abused her. The only way Love was known, the only connections she had to build on.

No one wants to even give those issues a thought and no one can see it when they look at her beautiful eyes.

"She is Lucky to have you."
"What a wonderful thing you have done." and
"If I were you I would send her back."

...words I doubt would ever be said, if our little girl was in the Cancer Center.

Who would even THINK to say words like this to the parent of a child with cancer? It would be completely inappropriate to say such things! The only words a parent would hear if their child had cancer--would be nice, supportive and filled with compassion... No one on earth would say these words--to the parent of a child with cancer, adopted or not.

It isn't the first time in my life I have been the parent of a child with Special Needs. It is the first time I have loved someone with a very Real Need and faced the stigma of not having a need that can be seen, which is caused by something no one really wants to think about--or believe can't be overcome.

...to be continued.

Stop BAD Therapy! Never forget Candice!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Year 2009 starts with some kind of Progress

If I am going to consider the year 2008 one with little progress and a lot of spinning in circles--It's clear to say, the New Year 2009 has started with some kind of progress... Some forward and apparently some backward! Of course, I have come to understand some progress is measured by how many steps forward--then backward are gained. The way I see it as long as there is at least a gain forward It can be considered a success!

In our world however, January can hardly be counted as a normal month. With every household family member celebrating a birthday between January 5 and February 5 our holidays don't actually end until oh, Valentines day! It's just a little difficult to see what our normal routine is going to be after weeks off school, Santa, and four birthday dinners, parties and cakes! Things around this house won't get back to the normal routine until all of the celebrating is over!

Then when I educate myself and learn about the effects of "life changing" events and factor the life changing history for Makala into the mix... Well, it's just a wonder we even make it through December to March!

It actually very easy to recognize these months as the roller-coaster they really are. When you consider the fact we Met our daughter Makala on January 3rd 2003! We had Dad's birthday during the Transition came home on January 10th and celebrated Marty's birthday a few days later... Left back to where the children had been the end of the first week home and had the Goodbye meeting with mom. The children had been together with their mother for only a few weeks and were placed into Foster Care when Marty was just a couple of weeks old in 2002.

We came back home, and I celebrated my 40th then a little more then a week later Makala turned 5! We finalized in December, Transitioned and had all the major family additions in January. February was apparently not a very safe or happy time for Makala with one of her most Traumatic memories being her 4th birthday shortly after Marty was born. We celebrated her 5th Birthday about a week after her goodbye visit.

All of her life changes seem to be lumped-up into the the three months we are Right in the Middle of! It would be nice for our family if we could just take a month long vacation from January 2 to February something.

For dad and mom this month is something we feel like celebrating and remembering. It's been an interesting and emotional 6 years for us. Our lives changed in ways we never imagined that day we first laid our eyes on the most beautiful little girl we had ever seen.

We will never forget the flood of emotions we had sitting at the booth in the Cafe January 3, 2003 when we saw our little girl walk to the table with her Foster Mother. If I had--had any doubt in my soul that I would feel the same about her as I did my older children, or her baby brother It vanished the moment my eyes saw hers.

When Andrew and I returned to our hotel that morning--it was clear we had both had that Parent moment just as amazing as it had been when I first saw my oldest son at his birth. We were awestruck and in love! Unconditionally and no matter what.

...and, even with Everything about all of the things in the past years, We are still both awestruck and in love, unconditionally... Just much differently then our pre-parent imaginations had dreamed.

At the end of the day, week, month or year--when we reflect on the progress and consider the whole picture we know one thing is 100% true, we are the ones who love her no matter what!

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Sixth Anniversary of the day our New Memories started

Once I publish this post I will need to go and edit the text under my Blogoversary Countdown... Now it will click to year seven. This is also the 6th anniversary of something my husband and I quietly honor... It is one of those days that parents share and remind each other about. It was just about exactly six-years ago right at the moment I am writing this post when I first laid my eyes on the soon-to-be one year old little boy that would be my son...

We had some snow that year during the holidays because I will never forget watching my husband figure out where to get the supplies and how to construct the Swing Set we were told had to be there before we would meet the little girl who had requested only three things of her growing-up family... In her four-year-old mind the only things that mattered were: A Big Sister, A Cat and a Swing set!

I can't even remember Christmas that year... I recall that we attended the OSU Alumni Christmas Party (which ends up being our last real date!) the night before we were to go before the Oregon Adoption Committee and be considered for the adoptive placement for two young siblings a 4 year old little girl and her 11 month old biological brother... By the end of the evening I think everyone in attendance was aware of our anxiety... I talk way too much when I can't write.

It was mid-December and going to committee is an interesting term considering the fact that we didn't Physically Go... Instead, we stayed by the phone like a 16 year old waiting for a call from a hopeful date! I think we finally broke down the month before and got on the cell-phone ball and chain. Either way, we were ready for the call... mostly expecting that on the First trip to committee we would likely Not be selected since the average is 2 and 1/2 times...

Sometime on the day that 7 uninvolved people met--with the caseworker of the children, their CASA ,and the Adoption caseworkers for the three Home Study approved
and interested adoptive parents we were chosen as the people who would be come the Best Advocates for the needs of Makala and Marty... and our Adoption Caseworker called to let us know...

The REST is a Blur to that moment exactly 6-years ago right this moment when I first saw Marty. That Christmas had to have happened, I remember Andrew building the swing... I remember rushing to the Store to find all of the THINGS we didn't have... And the little argument we had when Andrew so foolishly dared to suggest a High-Chair could wait until we got home... NOT!

One of my favorite ways to lovingly remind my husband that as Parents there are some things that cannot wait for the next budget cycle is to remind him, "Left up to your my dear husband we would be getting that High Chair just about Now!" I recall saying this just a few months ago... Thankfully, my husband has come to terms with the fact that waiting to get what you need for a child--means by the time you get it they might not need it anymore...

It was about at this moment 6 years ago when I looked at the beautiful little boy who was shockingly more beautiful then the one and only picture I had seen... was amazing! Feeling so blessed that He would not suffer too long without a growing up family... That he would need a special kind of transition... that he was so young he would have a very different experience then his older sister we would meet in the morning...

It was also at about this same time when I realized we had "Changed" our original plan without actually noticing it... We had planned on Sisters about the ages of 6 to 10 years old... We were surprised to even have the chance for children so young and in some ways didn't really expect to be considered the Best Advocates... Not with the fact that Andrew was turning 41 in a few days and I would be 40 exactly two-weeks later!

.... and OH MY GOD! (for real and in a very Prayerful WAY)... This little boy is very little and still poops in his pants! I had not changed a diaper in something like 15 years! And, after I changed Tori's Last diaper I made a RULE: I don't babysit anyone Younger then Tori...Later, I don't babysit for anyone in a Diaper... And HERE I WAS Looking at a little person who needed me to change his diaper and teach him how to use the toilet... not to mention walk, talk, and pretty much everything else!

... it was about this time when I realized that... it was going to be starting from almost the start... after I had just about finished with two... When I had done it all twice before and they were off to college nearly... And, I was about to turn 40 for goodness sakes! What the Heck was I thinking when I missed the fact that WE had changed our minds... For all of the right reasons?

And, then he smiled at me. What a smile! What a twinkle in his little eye he had... What an amazing Honor it was to be the mother he would know growing up... What a cutie pie he was...

And, then he fussed with the most sweet sounding cry I had ever heard... It was hard to know he would be my little boy and not be there his first Christmas... It was hard to know my Children were not with me on that Christmas morning... It was even more difficult to see his Foster Mother so in love with him and so not wanting to see him leave her arms. It was hard for me not to want to scoop him up and run out the door... Transitions are very draining and it's an emotional ordeal for Everyone...

When the visit at the restaurant 300 miles away from our home was over Andrew and I went to our hotel room... One of the last nights we would spend without being concerned about who was watching the little ones... One of the last nights we would have as just two people who loved each other. This night 6 years ago was one of the last we had as just the two of us... In the morning we would meet the little girl who would be five years old in just a few weeks...

We were so star-struck with her little brother we had no idea of what to expect... It was very difficult to stop thinking and talking about what was going on... Still, the gravity of the way our lives were about to change had not fully set in. We were still so excited about what was happening in the moment that it was still not a reality... It had only been a few weeks since we even learned we would be placed with children, and how old the children would be... We had the big sister, the cat and the swing set... And I made sure we had the high chair!

...Tomorrow will be the first day of the sixth year since we were introduced to all the members of the family we would become. Tomorrow will be the first day of the sixth year of our New Memories.

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