Sunday, August 18, 2013

A bit of clarity

KThe past month has been pretty turbulent around here.
Lots of changes, some welcomed, others; not so much. 

As I sit here in my living room, waiting for my hubby to come inside. ( clients seem to pop in at the oddest of times...) I find myself looking to the future.
I am uncertain what comes next. I feel hopeful. I truly feel blessed. 
Tomorrow my boys come back from camping with my parents for the family reunion. I am lucky to have parents nearby, who cherish time with their grand kids. It seems that a good time was had by all this weekend. The kids mingled with distant and not so distant relatives. They behaved like gentleman and screamed a bit like school girls, when trapped in the ladies room with a wild animal. They hiked and explored and best of all, they escaped my saddened behavior. I am glad I had time to process all of the madness before they came home. 

Tomorrow I pick them up. I can't wait for all of the stories. I am excited to have some time with just my boys. It has been a while. 
I'm excited to see what happens next in our lives.


 I believe Heavenly Fathers hand is on us and we will be guided in the right direction.
 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Apparently that WAS NOT lemonade.....


So there I was in a room with 8 other adults, who are supposed to be looking out for the best interest of the little dude I've been ranting about lately. I was tricked. To make this short and sweet, I poured my heart out, tears and all. I tried to make them see how much we love him. How much a part of our family he is. I offered a lot of alternatives to moving him. They were not moved. They said the decision wasn't concrete. They said they would discuss it and get back to me. After nearly two hours of listening to so called facts, about his case and difficulties, presented completely out of order. The time line was a mess. It was my word against that of the caseworker, whom I still believe was doing what she needed to, for reasons I don't want to speculate. It wouldn't change anything if I were to guess anyway. Suffice it to say that she and I did not recall many, if any of the details to fit the same time line. I do not pretend that the issues she mentioned, and I cannot for his privacy, were untrue. It's just mostly really old information that had been discussed with the proper channels and handled. Most of it was from 2012, and super old news. She presented it as if it had all happened recently. Anyway, a big, fat, mess. I don't see how poking the bear would make his life any easier so I took the high road as much as I could and calmly gave my own account of the facts in the time line I lived and she merely heard about. They thanked me for coming and told me they would be discussing it after I left. I went to talk to a friend at the agency and was bawling, and venting and saw them leave the meeting within minutes of my departure. They decided to go ahead with the move and gave me less than 48 hours notice. Nearly 16 months this child has lived with us. Longer than he has lived anywhere else in his life, and they gave him absolutely no time to transition from one home to the next. He will have little to no closure. His bond was severed with a jagged knife to the heart. This child who suffers from reactive attachment disorder (caused, in a nutshell, by not being able to trust, and rely on people for nurturing, love and support) had yet another family say they loved him, say he would always be welcomed in their home, promised that he would never be asked to leave, and it probably looks to him like he was lied to yet again. He is 5. That is not something he can grasp. His attachment disorder just got a little worse. He has no way of knowing how our hearts break for him. How sad we are. How much we really do love and want him. I'm so angry. I will not likely ever understand. And I'm grown. He's just a baby. I'm not sure what to do next. I have to heal a bit and get my feelings and emotions in check. It's not over.

Time for lemonade...

Hi again, it's me, the absent blogger.


Sooooooooo, here is an update on my last post:

It appears that the state is still trying to move "Earth" to a higher level of care home. I am still not happy about it. I have not given up the fight to keep him in my home.....
I have (with the help of my husband, my rock) come to the realization that the decision really isn't mine to make.  Indeed, I wish it were. So rather than throw in the towel, I am trying to see things from a less emotionally charged position. It is not easy to turn the "momma bear" off once that beast has been provoked. The truth is, he is a foster child, and not mine. I hope that changes one day, but for now, that is a fact. The cool part about him being a foster child is the fact that MANY people are available for consultation. I have called and emailed some of those people and ultimately, it has shall we say "encouraged" members of the local DHS office to see that maybe, just maybe, I have some good points to consider, PRIOR to making this decision to move him. The plan is still to move him. I just have gained a face to face meeting with the people responsible for his well being, to discuss my thoughts as well as for me to hear theirs. Will the outcome be a change in his plan? I sure hope so. If not, I have been told that there are other avenues to travel that may lead to his being left here. I hope this meeting ends in a satisfactory resolution. Time will tell. I will keep you all posted.

As for now, I am sitting on the back deck watching the kids play in the pool. It is nota nearly warm enough for it, if you asked me. The kids seem to think differently and are having a blast! Who am I to strap them from enjoying the last few days of summer, pretending it is warm is not the worst thing they could be up to.

We played a fun game of Monopoly, well we started it anyway. I think Monopoly is a really long game, maybe even "the game that never ends....(bwahahaha)" . It really doesn't matter, we are having a great time playing together, even if I got stuck being the dumb ole banker...... <<humph!>> I will beat them yet!  It is on, like Donkey Kong!

In other news,


The Dad, has been super busy with work. He is working nearly 7 days a week. I am grateful for such a dedicated, hard working husband and father to my children. He has taken the changes we have made in our home and adjusted so many things so we all can be comfortable. So if I don't say it enough. I think he is awesome. I am a very lucky woman to have him. I just hope he knows how special he is :0)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

When the world gives you Lemons, vent on your blog!!!!?!!!!...Or is that just me?

Picture credit

I know I am not the best blogger in the history of the world. I am fickle with my commitment  to blog about things I feel are important, or just need to get off my mind. I want to be better about it, I have drank enough excuse water over the years, I should pretty well be immune at this point. I'm not. I have a lot of reasons to NOT post whats on my mind. I am whittling away at them :0) Pride, Fear, Anxiety of being judged or misunderstood (Or BOTH!). I guess, mostly, fear sums it up. I am a yellow bellied, sap sucker... drowning in fear and excuse water....

NOT COOOOOL.

So much has happened since my last post. Heck its been seven months, that is an awful lot of catching up, I have to do.

To summarize;
Kids moved in and out, ALL SORTS OF MONKEY BUSINESS happened in between :) (I will work on filling in the missing stories over time, if I remember, I hope....)

So that brings us to the present....Sort of.

So, here I am sitting at the table waiting for the least supportive, least reliable, most obnoxious (due to an overwhelmingly insincere, ridiculously upbeat, cotton candy shooting, not forthcoming, less than honest, email and phone call avoiding, non communicating, less than helpful, persona) caseworker in the entirety of our foster parenting life, which is in the neighborhood of 9 years. She has my boy. Nope not Dakota or Brady, there isn't a snowballs chance in Hell, I'd let her (nor would Jason for that matter) get her paws on those two :0) She has our little guy, "Earth"  She took him, with less than 48 hours notice, to Tigard to meet with a potential foster placement. Yep. She is trying to move him. Not just to another foster home, but to a foster home for kids with severe difficulties behaviorally or otherwise. Yes, he is a challenging kid. Yes he has RAD. Yes, he requires a lot of supervision and attention. No, she has not acknowledged that in the 15 months he has lived here. Well, she has verbally acknowledged it, but not in any tangible way. She has not got him a Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths assessment. I have asked numerous time for one. And, that is a BIG one. Maybe even the most important. Not to mention acting like he didn't have any "real" issues. Oh, yeah, she also didn't even tell me the results of his psych eval, even the diagnosis of RAD and PTSD were not shared until June. The evaluation was done in October.......
*******side note: For those who are unfamiliar, Oregon (and likely other states), has this assessment for ALL foster children to determine what level of supervision and mental health care etc a child needs to be at. This assessment gets foster parents more than just extra money for the kids, it also gets a lot of extra services, like therapy, skills training, training for the foster parent, extra help in school and/or other social settings, and a lot of other really helpful tools.*******
I have begged for a new therapist, because his triggers him to some really unpleasant behaviors. Even his therapist agreed to the transfer and because of that he has not had therapy since before Christmas (i think). He did finally get a skills trainer last month! YEAH!!! That has been going well. And he was referred to a group called Mid Valley WRAP, they do all sorts of wonderful things for kids. They are great at getting a lot of those services I mentioned before. Sometimes they are overwhelming, but it's worth it because they help bring about results! They help keep everyone involved and on the same page :0)
She finally starts to move in the right direction for him (oh, and they are moving to termination too! That means he will be free for adoption, and we want him. She knows that! ) and what does she do? She shifts gears and doesn't let any of the new services have a chance to work and decides to place him in a residential/or BRC (I cant remember the letters, or there meaning. My mind went full duhhhhhh mode when she was telling me. It's hard to listen and comprehend when all you feel is your heart breaking, your blood rushing to all areas of your body and you have to remind yourself not to speak, knowing that nothing you say will make sense or be civil :) ) home or some other such, NOT STAYING WITH US sort of placement. Oh and she does all of this without even asking what our thoughts are. Ok, soooooo, I don't seem to be able to be even close to kind right now. She has him, right now, at a "meet and greet" with some other family in the Portland area, letting them decide if they like him and want to take him in for an unidentified period of time from 30 days to a year or so, to help get diagnostics and blah, blah, blah.....<<<<<WHAT>>>> He has attachment issues and she/they want to sever the attachment formed here, act like he is SOOOOOOOO hard to handle (even though she/they did not even give us the ability to use the basic tools ALL foster kids are supposed to have available tooo them) and see if this new family, this home of strangers, these people who, to him, will be the ones who took him from us, or we will be the ones who abandoned him yet again, cuz he hasn't had enough of that is his life. Even though he has lived with us longer than he has lived ANYWHERE IN HIS LIFE!!!!!! And that is all to help him work with his attachment/bonding difficulties...*****HUH?****

(((((((I ma choosing to lay blame with the Caseworker, I know she is responsible for a lot of the crap we are and have been dealing with, I also know other people have to be involved and she probably has to snow others into believing her version of the facts before this can happen. Although, the ones (DHS STAFF) I have been able to speak with, seem to be sitting on the fence or see things similarly to how I do. Even the fence sitters think its worth letting us have a go with all these new services and keep him in his home, here, with us, aka his family....)))))))))


I will post again when I know more.....
Please feel free to pray for us. We could use it. Specifically, please pray that we are able to help with and accept Heavenly Father's plan for our family and this child...... I truly appreciate it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wintertime! Brrrrrrrr. Ain't nobody got time for that.....

Oregon has pretty mild winters. I know this to be true when compared to other states freezing temperatures and blizzards et cetera. I'm still not liking this cold snap we have been enduring for a couple of weeks now. I mean brrrrrr, it's cold. Don't laugh, I am miserable. My toes and fingers just won't stay warm. It doesn't help that my hubby is working in our not-at-all-insulated shop. He's freezing, he'll deny it, but he is quite cold out there. He has a heater, and it is better than not having one, but it only heats a small area at a time. Anyway, I go out to visit him throughout the day and it is cold... Ok, I'm done whining....for now.


Time for a laugh.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Homeschooling with foster kids....

Once upon a time it was very easy to get permission to homeschool foster kids. Not so much anymore. I have homeschooled a few kids in the past, with great success. Somewhere around 2008 Oregon made some pretty intense changes to foster parenting rules. Now it is really hard, nearly impossible even, to get permission to home educate the displaced youth in foster care.
The trouble is, in my humble opinion, the kids in foster care seem to be the ones who would really benefit from homeschooling. Academically as well as socially. Keep in mind that as of yet, the past 8 or 9 years, my family has worked with kids from birth to 10 years old. I have little to no experience with preteen kiddos in foster care. Keeping that in mind, here are some ideas for homeschooling with foster kids.

If the foster child is of a similar age or educational level as one of your own children....Save some of the daily lessons which would benefit both children and have them do the work together either in the evening or perhaps on the weekend. I have found it to be beneficial to my kids to (if younger) receive instruction from a peer who understands a concept, as well as (if older) be the peer to explain a concept. There have been many occasions in which my kids have further cemented a concept in their mind by simply explaining it to another child. Not to mention, the ego boost a child receives when they are able to "teach" a concept. A lot of my foster kids have had really low self esteem and that damaged self image proves detrimental in school and blocks their ability to learn. Sometimes a simple task of helping a younger sibling with their school work, can go a long way towards building up their self worth.
If the foster children are younger or not educationally similar...
Have the older sibling be responsible for a ten to fifteen minute daily assignment together with a younger sibling. It is nice for the little ones to have something fun like a story or drawing or craft time together with another child each day.
As much as possible I try to work with my foster kids on whatever areas of weakness they have. Sometimes that is education based sometimes not. I try to make up for what they miss out on as far as one on one and small group activities. i know public school teachers are tasked with educating a wide range of kids daily, their skills are so vastly different from each other. I have yet to meet a teach, who was unwilling to share what needs a child has that could be improved to help make school more pleasant for both the child and their classmates. Sometimes that is a deficiency in healthy boundaries, sometimes it is learning to be patient, sometimes an educational goal. I highly recommend working with your foster child's teacher and school. More often than not, they will be grateful.


Foster parenting is an important job. Today's youth need loving homes when their homes are no longer safe. I'd like to personally thank those who choose to be the shelter in the storm.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Reminder: Why We Homeschool

I have been reading around the bloggy world quite a bit lately and I keep running into the same theme over and again; Why we homeschool. It is funny to me because most of them hint around as to why their family has chosen to homeschool. Most say God called them or lead them to it. Of course most of the blogs I read have a religious spin to them anyway, so it makes sense to say that God called them to homeschool. I kinda think we are all lead to homeschool by the influence of God, whether we know it (or Him) at the time. That is just my thinking. I tend to believe our actions are guided by either God or some variation of the Adversary. I'll leave that alone for now as not to offend anyone.

Anyway, all of these posts have made me think about why we chose to homeschool. In the beginning, 9 years ago, when our oldest was 4, I couldn't imagine putting him in a classroom with people of the same age for kindergarten. Not because public school is evil, or anything, simply because academically he was way too advanced to be with kids who did not already read, write, and do arithmetic well. When I looked into having him skip kindergarten and begin in first grade, the requirements were what we thought to be ridiculous. He needed to be tested academically, we thought that was understandable. He needed further independent testing by a psychiatrist to determine his mental and social maturity. That included dropping my child off with a stranger for eight hours of rigorous testing, including a psychological evaluation.That seemed to be too much for any child his age. Not to mention the cost would be our families responsibility. It really felt like the school district was less than accepting of the idea to skip kindergarten, which in our state is not even required by law.
After talking it over with my husband, we decided that I had been homeschooling him since birth, and he was doing really well. Why not continue through "kindergarten" and revisit the public school idea when he was old enough for first grade. We figured we could encourage his love of learning and wait until he was older and kids typically get broken down into groups based on ability at some point in or after first grade. Make sense?
We of course prayed about it, talked about it and rediscussed it over the next few years and in fact continue to discuss it. At some point in morphed from " We'll homeschool a year at a time" to "we'll homeschool for as long as we can make it work". I believe God has called us to homeschool. I believe we ran into issues with our original plan as a way to get us here. God is smart. He knows what each of us needs for motivation and encouragement. He rewards us for our efforts.
I think it is hard to homeschool some days. Some days, not so much. :0) I love our life, as different from other people's lives as it is, our life as a homeschooling, foster parenting, work from home, 24/7 together family has blessed us beyond measure. (Even if my dear hubby cringes when the word "blessed" is tossed around:0)) We have grown as a family and it is great.
Do I have days where I question our decision to homeschool? You betcha. Those days are usually more frequent when it is nearing a testing day. We are required to have our kids given standardized tests after 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 10th grades. I have issues with getting nervous toward the spring of those years. Nervous that I haven't taught the boys what will be on the test, not that my kids haven't learned what I've taught. I could change my methods to teach what is on the test, but I don 't actually want the state dictating what I teach. My kids usually do really well on their tests. So I should probably learn to let that fear go, but I probably never will master that one. :0)
So there it is... Why we homeschool. Any questions? Please feel free to ask.