Tonight we had one of our most difficult nights yet. Younger Boy had a lot of homework (our nemesis) and Older Boy would not leave him alone so he could work on it. I have yet to find something that will occupy Older Boy while Younger Boy is doing homework. I can list MANY things that do not work. I am open to ALL suggestions.

This caused a HUGE fight between the two which ended with Older Boy screaming “I ****** hate you” to Younger Boy. This enraged Younger Boy.

Older Boy has the ability to not even remember he caused Younger Boy’s rage five minutes later, because he totally zones out. After Older Boy fell asleep Younger Boy was really struggling. He came and asked if he could talk to me. We sat and rocked in a rocking chair for two hours while he cried and yelled. There is so much hurt and anger in him. Quite honestly he has a lot of patience with Older Boy, more than most would have, but sometimes enough is enough for him. He told me he wants to stay forever and he thinks Older Boy will make them have to leave. He said that Older Boy is still acting “good” because he doesn’t know me yet.

Pray we can work through this. I am exhausted. I feet like I have been hit by a truck. I know God can heal all things and make all things new and that with his help I am capable of being on this path. It’s just hard….really hard.
Last Tuesday Older Boy had a routine blood test with not so routine results. This week we will be following up with a hematologist/oncologist. He has a lot of issues with his blood and the most common cause for what is going on with him is previous chemotherapy. The difference is that Older Boy has never had chemotherapy. Pray for wisdom for the doctors and for peace for Older Boy. Doctor appointments really magnify Older Boy’s inability to cope and often causes his self-pain infliction of biting. Pray I will be able to talk him through other coping skills while we are there.

We had an amazing weekend with my whole family. My brother-in-law even drove 7 hours from Illinois on Friday night and home on Saturday morning just because he wanted to meet the boys. They had a great time playing with their new “cousins” and both Younger Boy and Second Oldest Nephew have declared they are best friends. Praises the entire family had a good time and spent the time to meet the boys. I am so thankful everyone seemed to accept the boys.

Younger Boy continues to struggle with telling the truth about homework. He has the ability to do all of it. He just chooses not to. Pray I can come up with a way to engage him.

Our babysitters are amazing. I am so thankful for each of them. They are getting behaviors similar to what I get so that means the boys are comfortable with them. Unfortunately at times it isn’t fun for the sitters. Praises none of the sitters put up with the less than desirable behavior and are willing to give consequences.
Please pray for Older Boy’s health. He had some blood tests on Tuesday and the results are not good. It sounds like we are going to start seeing a round of specialists in the next week or so.

We are going to start with a hematologist and go from there.
Older Boy's daycare regularly has outings for their kiddos and typically the entire family is invited to share in the fun. Last night we were invited to a swimming party at Coco Key Resort. Both boys have been looking forward to it since we found out about it.

We had to go home before the party. We didn't do well while we were there. Older Boy got really angry with Younger Boy. Honestly I am not sure why. I imposed a 15 minute cool down period which caused even more anger and by the time we were done Older Boy was up to a one hour cool down. During the whole thing he had stomped up the stairs to his room and slammed the door. After about two minutes in the cool down he came downstairs and we talked.

He has such a hard time with assumptions. His assumption is always that people hate him. Either Younger Boy hates him or I am going to adopt Younger Boy and send him away or he should just be dead. We talked about how if Younger Boy and I don't say these things he cannot just assume them. He started to cry and apologized. We ended up leaving after 20 minutes of cool down. I am not completely unreasonable!!

Swimming was a blast. Both boys loved the slides and the lazy river. They played well together and I was shocked when they were ready to leave before it was actually time to go. They really want to go back.

When we got home we baked a cake for "Grandpa's" birthday. The boys are so excited to meet the entire family. I'm excited for them.
Today they dropped Older Boy off at my house instead of daycare. They are going to go and get him and take him to daycare.

Geesh!! Another call to the supervisor tomorrow.
At 4AM I was awakened by Younger Boy crying with an ear ache. He seemed to have a fever so I gave him some Tylenol and sat with him on the couch until he was able to fall back asleep.

We got up at our normal time so we could take Older Boy to daycare. Younger Boy is exhausted, but doesn't want to rest. I scheduled a doctor appointment for him at noon (the soonest we could get in). Probably also the soonest we can get approvals anyway.

Younger Boy is convinced he is well enough to go to daycare this afternoon and to Awana tonight. It makes me wonder if he was really sick or not. I told him when you are sick during the day you don't go anywhere or do anything except stay home and rest. This seemed foreign to him. He thought he should go to the McDonalds Play Place. I ended up telling him if he is sick it isn't fair to spread his germs to other kiddos who are well.

I'm hoping Younger Boy will take a nap this afternoon, because I could really use it!
Today was one of those days.  Since it is spring break Older Boy and Younger Boy were in daycare all day. 

Older Boy needed to go to Children's Hospital for a blood test.  Nothing is easy in the foster care system though.  Our state worker had not given consent to treat for the blood test so we spent about 45 minutes trying to get registered so we could have the blood drawn. 

This afternoon Older Boy went with his mentor to the humane society.  He was so excited about seeing the dogs and cats there.

This evening we went to a friends house for dinner.  It was an amazing meal and both boys were so very polite.  They had fun playing with a nine-year old girl visiting her dad from Tennessee.  They were all three giggling all evening.

Bedtime is always such a challenge with Younger Boy.  Tonight I told him what time he needed to be upstairs in bed and asked him to look at the clock.  I asked him how many minutes away it was.  When he didn't come up at the specified time I asked him what time it was.  He finally came up FURIOUS with me because I didn't tell  him what time he was supposed to come upstairs and I was talking about consequences.  He slammed the door, threw toys across the living room and told me that he doesn't want to live here any more.

I sat in the boys room until he calmed down and was willing to go to the living room to talk it over.  The continuous making up of stories because you don't want to do things is wearing thin.  It took 40 minutes for him to talk to me.  I just sat in the room during that time reading my Bible and waiting for him to decide to talk to me.  I could see the internal struggle in him.  I told him I was going to just sit there and read until I saw him go to the living room.

It was a good talk.  I think we have come to an understanding.  I'm exhausted!!
I thought I would tell you about something that has become one of my most prized possessions.

Younger Boy “mailed” a letter to me. Actually, he asked me if he could go get the mail and had included this in it.


Thanks for your St. Patrick's Day care. I really loved it. Thanks for the best St. Patrick's Day ever.

I really, really love you best mom ever. You, Younger Boy's Mentor, God and everyone that goes to church is the people I truly love the most. Thanks for making all this stuff possible.

Love your son,

Younger Boy

P.S. Thanks for taking Older Boy and me into your home.
All in all it was a good weekend. As with any family we had some ups and downs.

Mentor R took Younger Boy to breakfast on Saturday. They talked about what it means to be trustworthy and accept consequences. As a result Younger Boy has been very concerned about lying. He has prayed at every meal regarding lying and also wrote a note to God about lying. He apologized to me for lying about his homework and he was crying pretty hard when he was apologizing. Prayers that he would continue to understand and praises that his heart is starting to soften.

I had first aid/CPR for six hours on Saturday so the boys were with Babysitter N. She witnessed a blow-up over pop tarts complete with swearing at each other. She took the boys to get haircuts while they were with her. I knew she would need to have something to do or it would be a LONG six hours. Older Boy told her we had talked about him getting a Mohawk. That wasn’t entirely untrue…however…the conversation went more like “Can I get a Mohawk?” and “No.” He was truthful…we did talk about it.

Older Boy is struggling with biting his arm when he is frustrated or angry with himself. Afterward he has a lot of remorse and cries telling me he needs help. Praises that he has the right team in place for therapy and behavior. Prayers that he can get the help he needs and develop other coping strategies for frustrations.

Sunday morning something happened at home which caused a lot of abuse stories to come out before we left for church. Praises the boys feel comfortable enough with me to share them.

Mentor M talked with Older Boy on Sunday morning trying to help him work through his sadness. I am so thankful for them being there, because I was at a point where I couldn’t really help anymore.

We had a great lunch with Younger Boy’s Mentor’s Family. In fact nearly all of the boy’s thanks for the day surrounded being outside at the Mentor R's Family…with the exception of the Crunch Bar Older Boy got for bringing his personal Bible to Youth Group.
Wednesday…Wednesdays are always SO HARD for us. I am conflicted, because we rush around and get home late and are very tired on Thursday, but the boys LOVE Wednesday nights at Church and they have so many positive influences and relationships there. We could use prayers for what the right thing is to do on Wednesday nights.

Younger Boy continues to have trouble with bringing his homework home and lying about it being done. Wednesday night he brought math home, but not his other two subjects. He blatantly lied to both Younger Boy’s Mentor and me about having the homework done. His teacher and I have developed quite an email relationship. He told her a series of stories about what happened/didn’t happen with the homework. She is working with us to make sure EVERYTHING gets home. I am taking it from there.

Thursday…The boys decided to get up at 4am to “surprise me”. I am not sure what the surprise was supposed to be. A bigger surprise would be if they slept in this weekend, because I am literally EXHAUSTED!!

Older Boy’s daycare is having an art and bake sale today. We could pre-purchase items on Thursday afternoon. Praises that his daycare is such a loving and creative place. God had wonderful plans for Older Boy when he made the space available for him at this daycare.

Older Boy is working on proper boundaries. The teachers at his daycare have mentioned that his hugs are getting to be improper. If he approaches you about a hug he needs to ask you if you want a hug and also it needs to be a side hug. It is okay for you to say no as well. He is also working on his reaction when you say no. Younger Boy and I are giving him plenty of practice, because although we both like hugs some days it is just too much. Pray Older Boy would start to understand appropriate boundaries and learn to deal with the frustration of people refusing the offer.

Younger Boy brought home all of his homework. We had a discussion about how his not doing his homework makes me sad. I told him it made me feel like I was not a good parent…which is the truth. He did ALL of his homework and was able to ignore Older Boy during his homework session. Pray we can figure out a good strategy for what to do with Older Boy while Younger Boy is working on his homework.

I am figuring out that a significant amount of the fighting occurs when the boys are telling each other what to do. This especially occurs when I have asked one of them to do something and the other immediately chimes in with the exact same instructions. It nearly always erupts into swearing and door slamming and often times someone crying. We are working on both boys staying silent when a discussion is between me and the other boy. As I write this it sounds so very stupid, but this literally makes a HUGE difference in our home.

The boys new caseworker came over Thursday evening. He will only be the caseworker until May when we will get another new worker.
Younger Boy got up this morning and after Older Boy left for school he told me that I am the “best mom in the world” for making him do his homework. I said that wouldn’t be true unless he did it every day for the rest of the school year.
Younger Boy has a lot of questions he needs to answer tonight. I am going to talk to him about the assignment itself, because I know it was a tough assignment for him. However....that doesn't give you the option to lie about it. We are going to talk about homework, lying, and trust. Typically he just shuts down when I try to talk to him about this stuff and he gets furious. I don't think that is an option anymore. I talked to my foster care specialist about it today and her opinion is that I have been too nice about it this far.

New Caseworker is coming over tonight as well. I wonder how they are going to feel about having yet another caseworker. I can't imagine they will be excited about it.

I'll email you and let you know how it goes. I'm kind of at a loss with what to do, because he honestly could care less about consequences. I could take away his allowance, but I am afraid he would just steal Older Boy's and that creates a whole different set of problems. I think he is going to have to lose some privileges.

Well...that's it for me for today...gotta go to Older Boy's art show and bake sale.
The boys got up at 4AM today to “surprise me”. What will really surprise me is if they don’t fight and cry all evening!!
Saturday….all of the days blur together. Saturday the boys did such a good job in the morning. I had a LifeGroup leader meeting at church and no sitter so they entertained themselves in the Youth Room. Actually I should say they were entertained by the Zambia team practicing things for their trip. They were excited about the “play” they saw while they were there and two people commented on what nice, well behaved boys I have. It makes my heart smile.

Older Boy and I went to the TRAC bowling party. I was worried about him there, because he hasn’t been to camp for a couple of years and he has a tendency to not socialize anyway. Praises the other boys on his lane made him feel included and by the end of the party he was fist bumping and giving high fives with the other five boys. He also really connected with Camp Uncle from camp again. In fact he brought a tear to Camp Uncle’s eye when he said “I have really missed you and I’m glad you will be at camp again this year.”

Babysitter N hung out with Younger Boy for the afternoon. I think she nearly froze to death.

Both boys helped Coach Z move bricks from her front yard to the backyard. Older Boy loved doing the work and followed Mr. Z's instructions amazingly well. In fact he was even able to explain Mr. Z's instructions back to Younger Boy when he got there and volunteered to help Mr. Z's with any of the work he needs help with. Coach Z gave them each “wages” for their work and the amount of help they were. The boys also loved playing with Coach Z’s cats and have volunteered to take care of them any time we need to. It is a LONG walk from our house!!

Sunday….Older Boy’s five dollars from Coach Z was missing. I believe Younger Boy took it, because Older Boy was in the shower and I know I didn’t take it. Younger Boy denies knowing anything about it and in frustration Older Boy kicks the dresser and starts banging his head on the wall screaming “I should just be dead.” This lasted about 30 minutes. Pray for his safety. When he does it you can’t talk to him at all. It’s like he can’t even hear you. When he calmed down a bit we talked about it and he screamed “I am NEVER going to be a good person.” Pray God breaks down those walls and the hold over him. Older Boy cried all the way to church. The boys had a great time at Tribe and Sunday School. Younger Boy and I spent part of the afternoon at a TRAC planning meeting and Older Boy went with Mentor M. When he got home he was sad because Younger Boy wouldn’t go to the park with him and stomped around the house talking about how Younger Boy hated him. After he settled down he told me what a great time he had at the Mentor M's house and how he has the coolest American flag guitar pick. We did Younger Boy’s homework (I thought) and went to bed.

Monday…Older Boy went to the school nurse claiming illness. She called to tell me he was there, but not sick. She encouraged him to go back to class. School System bussing dropped him off at the wrong place after school. He knew it was wrong, but they told him it was right. As a result daycare called and School System had to locate him again. So far bussing has been successful once and unsuccessful twice. Younger Boy lied about homework again. He now brings home math, but has decided that is all he will bring home. Pray we can come up with a way to motivate him. I know he has the ability. The boys had a babysitter, Babysitter J, on Monday night and they did well except that Younger Boy told her to F off when she told him it was time to go to bed. Pray for strength for the babysitters who will get the behaviors I am getting as the boys become more comfortable with them.
I got a call from School System yesterday saying when Younger Boy was previously in School System he had an epi pen due to a severe allergy to chocolate. All of my paperwork says nothing about it. Since his caseworker is new (as of yesterday) I are now the one who knows him best with the exception of the Former Foster Parents.
The boys have a new caseworker. All he said was he was taking over Older Boy and Younger Boy’s case.

There are a lot of things that come up in everyday life that are just hard with Older Boy. One of the things that seems to be a big trigger is if Younger Boy won’t do what Older Boy wants to do. Things like…Older Boy wants Younger Boy to go to the park. Younger Boy doesn’t want to therefore Younger Boy hates Older Boy. Older Boy is getting black shoes, Younger Boy wants white, therefore Younger Boy hates Older Boy. Older Boy wants to do Wii bowling, Younger Boy wants to play tennis therefore Younger Boy hates Older Boy. You get the picture. How can I help him? It is so irrational. EVERYONE is ALWAYS against him. I know it is part of his fetal alcohol syndrome…at least I think it is.
Older Boy was ill on Thursday and Friday and I kept him home from school. Today he went to the nurse’s office again claiming to be sick. She called but doesn’t think he is ill. She is keeping him in her office for a little while and is going to encourage him to continue through the day.

Does he have a history of faking illness that I should be aware of?
Thursday when Older Boy was ill he spent part of the afternoon sobbing that he missed Bio Sister. During this time he was biting his arm and left some pretty deep teeth marks on it. It doesn’t look like it bruised. Is this a new behavior or is this something he has done in the past?

Sunday morning Older Boy was frustrated with himself because he had misplaced his allowance and it escalated to him banging his head on the wall and kicking the dresser in his room. During this time he kept mentioning that he would just be better off dead. As soon as he calms down he always sobs for about 15 minutes and then things seem to be back to normal. Is this new behavior or something he has done in the past?
This morning Younger Boy asked me to take his backpack downstairs and it was MUCH heavier than the backpack I looked through last night right when we got home. I asked him what was in it, because he had locked it with that padlock he had on his jeans the other day. He said nothing was in it. I asked him if there was something he wanted to tell me and he said no. All the while getting madder and madder at me. I said “I think maybe your math book is in there.” He said it wasn’t. I asked if he wanted to prove it to me and he said he would do it after school.

I asked what he thought the consequences should be for not doing homework or lying to me. He said he didn’t know so I told him no electronics (TV, computer, Wii) for one day which of course made him mad. Again I gave him the opportunity to tell me the truth and said if he had been lying I wouldn’t give him the consequences this one time. Didn’t matter.

I told him I was going to pick up a set of his books when we went to conferences and we would just do all of his homework every night at home even if he had done it in school, because I wanted to make sure it was done and he was doing his best in school.

I am not popular right now, but seriously…does he think I am a moron?
It was quite a weekend….Saturday morning was NOT GOOD. I am starting to learn the things that make Older Boy furious, but I didn’t catch it on Saturday morning. He punched the wall of my house and the window of the car before he finally calmed down. He wanted to call 911 and have himself removed from my house. I told him it was his choice and then he just started sobbing. This made Younger Boy stomp around the house as well, because he didn’t want Older Boy to go. I think they are starting to learn they aren’t going anywhere.

We went to Walmart to get eyes checked and new glasses. Both boys picked theirs out and should have them within 7 – 10 days. It is a good thing, because Older Boy accidentally stepped on Younger Boy’s glasses Saturday night when he was in the shower. Both lenses are out and one of the temples is sticking out sideways. Unfortunately they are irreparable. It did lead to one of the funniest things of the weekend. Younger Boy came out of his room last night with the lenses scotch taped to his face….all the way around. It had to have hurt to remove them because the tape was stuck to his eyebrows.

Younger Boy had a meltdown at Walgreens which resulted in him throwing down the chapstick I wouldn’t buy and running from the store crying and locking himself in the car.

Saturday afternoon we went to the park for a while and we also walked around the neighborhood. The boys enjoy walking around the block and it gets them out of the house for a while.

Sunday Older Boy had a tough time at church, because Younger Boy was going with Mentor R after church. It made him swear under his breath during the entire service and talk about how he hated me and church. Again…not how he really feels. He ended up helping the second graders in second service and was fine after that.

We are working on cooling down when you find yourself getting angry. Older Boy does not like to lose anything….including if he is playing Wii against the computer. I don’t really want to take all of that away from him, but I need to figure out a way to help him self-manage before he is furious.

Counseling starts this week or next. I was originally told it would be during daycare, but it now looks like it will have to occur at my house. I am not sure how I feel about that. It seems like there are too many distractions. It would seem to me that going to an office would be more “business like” for them.

Younger Boy got his homework done after Younger Boy’s Mentor made him pinky swear he would do it. We’ll see how it goes tonight.
Here is a list of miscellaneous things going on:

1. Younger Boy hit his head on the freezer door last night and has a bruise on his right temple.
2. Both boys ordered new glasses on Saturday. They should be here in seven to ten days.
3. Younger Boy’s glasses accidentally got stepped on Saturday after the appointment. I took them in, but they are broken beyond repair.
4. I left a message for Therapist, but still haven’t heard anything back. I will call her again today.
5. Both boys have doctor appointments this week. Older Boy on Wednesday and Younger Boy on Thursday.
6. We are now on the transportation route for School District so Older Boy will be riding the bus to school and daycare.
7. We are signed up for a day at Local Water Park through Older Boy’s daycare during Spring Break. Both boys are REALLY excited.
8. Younger Boy has parent-teacher conferences on Thursday. They are being led by the students. There were no appointment times just time blocks you could sign up for. We are signed up from 6 – 8 pm on Thursday.
9. Older Boy received a GREAT progress report from daycare last week.
10. Older Boy’s daycare has summer focus camps and I am planning to sign him up for music and cooking….his top two choices.