I could use some prayer, because I have a dilemma.

Youth group has a lock-in coming up at the end of September.  It is for all kids in the youth group.  The basic premise is that the kids will be at the church from 7:30pm to 7:00am.  They are going ice skating and bowling.  They are having inflatables and movies.  It is going to be amazing.  There is a lot of freedom involved for the kiddos, but there are also a lot of adult volunteers present.  The kids stay up all night.

Here's the dilemma.  I want Middle Boy and Younger Boy to be able to go.  I believe this is not an event for Older Boy.  Unfortunately Older Boy is well aware that the event exists and brought the paperwork home last night.  I have many concerns.  Two of the bigger ones are the lack of one on one supervision for him the entire night and what his behaviors would look like in the days following when he is completely exhausted.

I need prayers for wisdom.  In any event I feel like I am in a no win situation.  I don't think the other boys should miss it, because both of them can handle it and should be trusted to handle it.

Your prayers are welcome.  So are any suggestions for what to do with Older Boy during the event.  If I had to guess I imagine the blow up will occur either way and there is no way to guess which will have the greatest fall out.
Both boys love youth group at church.

They are always super excited to go and have a hard time winding down when it is over.

I love that they love God and the community aspect of being in a youth group and small group.

Prayers that their relationship with God continues to mature and grow and that they keep their eyes focused on Him.
Younger Boy has known since the beginning of school that there is a consequence for not turning in your homework.  He got one "freebie" at the beginning of the year and then each time it happened again he is not allowed to use electronics during the school week for the next seven days.

Today he chose not to do or turn in four assignments.  This results in the no electronics consequence.

He is now in his room screaming about how I hate him and don't want him to live here, because I won't play Wii with him.  I explained that I would play any game he would like to, but it can't be electronic.

More yelling and door slamming.

Pray he will understand that I mean it when he is given consequences.
In the past few days I have talked to a number of foster care system and behavior specialists and the same facility name keeps coming up over and over as the best possible place in the State of Nebraska for Older Boy.

I would ask you all pray expectantly that God would open doors to get Older Boy into the Hands of the Heartland. This is a facility he could continue to be involved with well into adulthood through vocational programs as well.

My hope is that over time the behaviors subside and he is able to live in a semi-independent setting which is also available for him. I am pursuing what it would look like to be his guardian in that capacity.

Pray expectantly!
Denise's the update on Middle received from his Service Coordinator this morning.

I know that Middle Boy is itching for more inforamtion on his move, however, there are several things that need to be complete prior to him moving. First and foremost, we are required to provide a 14-day change of placement notice to DHHS and an 11-day notice to the court.

I do not have the shool piece nor the after school issue figured out at this point. AS soon as I am able to figure out the school issue I will submit the request for change of placement.

The move will not happen this weekend or next weekend. We can, however, continue with pre-plaement visits.

He is going to be disappointed. He REALLY wants to move in this weekend. We REALLY want him to, because the weekend thing is kind of disruptive.

Prayers that this whole thing happens in a timely manner.
Rumor has it this morning that Older Boy and Younger Boy will be getting a new Service Coordinator.

Why? I am told because this one specializes in cases for kids with DD. She used to be their Service Coordinator a couple of years ago. They have known the entire time he has been in their agency that he is DD. Why switch now?

My buy more time in finding him another placement. Why? Money. It is so hard to not be skeptical. The timing just seems really awkward to me. I'm all for it if the purpose is the "best interest of the child", but I am finding the reality is that there isn't much that happens in the best interest of anyone except the agency.

I am trying so hard not to be angry this morning. I feel like I spend my entire day either fighting for the boys and the services they need or fighting with Older Boy who has NO IDEA how much I am fighting for him and spends all his time fighting me.

Prayers this is the RIGHT thing...a helpful thing.
Older Boy needed help tonight making his bed. He didn't choose to ask me for help he chose to stand in his room and scream "I need help and you are just being rude."

I explained over and over that I would help him when he asked me nicely.

At that point he chose to run outside and hide under the deck, because I wasn't listening and this was just proof I wanted him to leave. When I went outside to tell him it was time to shower he ran to the front yard to sit at the end of the driveway until Middle Boy's Therapist came over to interview the boys.

Older Boy decided he would rather sleep on the floor than to ask me nicely to help him with his bed.

Prayers I can stay calm when being screamed at for being rude and not listening. My patience level with this type of behavior is really starting to wane.
Since Older Boy was at Mentor M's house Younger Boy and I went out for dinner and also did a little bit of shopping.

We had really nice dinner conversation. Younger Boy told me all about his day and everything he was learning in school. He "taught" me the steps to doing long division and explained to me the importance of estimating what your answer should be. We also talked a lot about the things he is excited for this school year and during youth group.

More than one time he said "I wish we could do this...just you and me or you, me and Middle Boy." He said more than one time "I wish Older Boy wasn't coming home tonight, because the yelling gives me a headache."

It is so hard to hear that. It makes me wonder if they should have been separated long ago. He is a totally different kid when Older Boy is absent. It is like a weight is lifted from his shoulders.

Pray for the relationship of the boys. It isn't good now and with the move not being imminent for Older Boy we need to be able to all get along.
Older Boy went over to Mentor M's after detention and for dinner. He was able to get all of his homework done in detention and did not have to go tomorrow.

They worked on writing a guitar song and playing the guitar.

He had dinner at their house.

He came in a fairly good mood.

Praises for mentoring time!
I just got a call from Older Boy's social studies teacher. Older Boy had a big project due today. They have worked on it the last three days in class and were not required to work on it at home. He turned in NOTHING this morning, because it was "lost".

As a result Older Boy has academic detention every day until the project is complete. I imagine it won't get done today, because he will be mad about being in detention. I imagine it won't be tomorrow, because he will be mad about missing football to be in detention.

I told the teacher I would call each day to check on progress. This is a project the teacher wants him to wrap up during detention, because it was an in class project and not homework.

Prayers Older Boy will understand why he is in detention and that he will be there until the project is completed.

Praises for a teacher who is on top of things so early in the school year and willing to set a precendent with Older Boy.
This morning I am frustrated.

Older Boy has wet the bed for the twelfth day in a row. That part isn't what is frustrating. It is a PTSD thing. He can't help it.

Here is why I am frustrated. He REFUSES to try to go to the bathroom before bed. He wears a pull-up, but it still leaks all over. If I ask him if he wet the bed he gets mad and says he doesn't have to check and he never knows.

Really? Your clothes are wet when you get up. You don't observe that?

I told him he has to be responsible for telling me each morning. I will take care of washing the sheets and making his bed BUT he has to tell me. He argues and says it isn't his job.

He will be moving to the bottom bunk tonight when we get home. I can't keep making the top bunk EVERY night and having him fall out of bed as well.

Prayers for cooperation with switching beds and letting me know when there is a problem.

Tonight as I was getting ready for bed I heard a loud thump in the boys' room.

Younger Boy came into the living room and said, "I think you are going to need to go fix Older Boy. He just fell out of bed."

Older Boy fell out of the top bunk of a set of bunkbeds which had a rail on it. I'm not sure exactly how he did it. From what I can gather he fell onto his hip. I'm sure it is going to be bruised tomorrow and that he is going to be sore from the entire thing.

Prayers for a restful sleep after the "excitement"!
Today we had a conference call about "the next steps" with Older Boy.

I am having trouble articulating my feelings and thoughts about the meeting. I am so thankful for Foster Care Specialist and how well she knows me and my thoughts. More than one time she stepped in and spoke for me.

Plan A is to have him transferred to a behavioral program. This seems "least likely", because of his ability to understand and follow directions. It is most likely that he will be rejected for this type of program. It is unknown what this timeframe might be.

Plan B is to get him into a developmentally delayed home with a behavior program component. This can't be done until his DD paperwork is filed with the state. I am so mad about this piece I can hardly think. It has been FOUR MONTHS since I started the paperwork and gave it to Service Coordinator, because she wanted to do it since it is HER JOB. FOUR MONTHS!! The timeframe for getting into this program is something like four to six months from now.

Plan C is to have him continue to live here and provide us with more services and a DD component. This could begin as soon as a DD evaluation is done by an agency to determine the services we need. This could be a stop gap until Plans A or B could be implemented.

Plan D is to have Older Boy move now or to have things stay as is.

Pray the right help is found for him. Pray it is done in a timely manner. Pray for all of us.
Younger Boy is still sick today. His temperature was over 100 this morning. It finally broke around noon.

While I was staying home with Younger Boy I got an email from Middle Boy's foster mom that he was sick. I told her to bring him over since I was already home with Younger Boy.

Now I am here with both boys and we are just resting. It is nice having them here. I just wish it wasn't a work/school day.

Prayers for feeling better tomorrow!
This morning I got a call from Mentor R's Wife and Younger Boy had a fever all night long.

I took Middle Boy to church and youth group and then we went and picked up Younger Boy. They spent the afternoon hanging out watching movies.

Middle Boy's therapist came over and we talked for a little while about the transition. Middle Boy would like to move in as soon as possible. They are working on finding him a school, making sure he has transportation and an after school program to go to.

We went and picked up Older Boy and the four of us had dinner. Everyone got along really well.

Younger Boy continued to have a fever the rest of the evening and went to bed early. Older Boy refused to go to bed and ended up finally going to bed at 10pm, because I didn't feel like having an explosion this evening.
Coach Z went with me to pick up Middle Boy this evening. He is going to be staying through the end of the day on Sunday. Tonight it will be just the two of us hanging out getting to know each other and spending time together.

We went to dinner and then went and bought him a shirt for church tomorrow. Afterwards we went and bought a model for him to build.

We had an awesome evening. He asked me if I thought he would be able to move into my house and I told him yes.

It was a great conversation about what things would be like if he moved in and the kinds of things that we do here regularly and what some of the rules are.

It was a nice relaxing evening.

Praises for good conversations and good friends!

Pryares the transition goes smoothly.

This morning when I finished getting ready and went down stairs I noticed that the garage door was open. I went in the garage to find Younger Boy in the car. I asked what he was doing. He told me he was looking for something. When I asked what he said he didn't know. I told him I didn't think that was truthful. He screamed back that it was and I am stupid.

Again I asked what he was looking for and he said he didn't know. I told him it seemed odd from my perspective, because how would he know when he found it? How did he know to look in the car?

He continued to get madder and madder and tell me that I am stupid and he had no idea why he was in the car or what he was looking for.

When I dropped him off at daycare I told him I hoped he would remember when I picked him up, because I wanted to make sure he found what he was looking for.

He got out of the car and slammed the door...good morning to me!

Prayers for a realization that it is difficult to build trust without trustworthiness.

This weekend is respite for me. I have been looking forward to the break for a while now. I should have done it sooner. Maybe Foster Care Specialist knows what she is talking about.

It is 8pm and I am headed to bed!!

Praises for friends who will take the boys for respite!

In the next few weeks there are going to be a lot of transtions going on in our lives.

Next week there is a meeting to discuss what the next steps are with Older Boy. What is the best service for him and what is the best way to transition to that service?

Middle Boy is going to start staying with us on the weekends until he transitions to move in full time. His move in date is dependent on things related to school like where he will be going and how he will get there. We will also be looking at what he is going to be doing after school. He currently plays football and is very excited about it. Will he be able to play football at his new school or should he move in after the season is over.

Of course there is the question of what the transition should look like. We don't want it to be perceived as Older Boy leaving so Middle Boy can move in. That isn't the case at all. Middle Boy was going to move in regardless of what happened with Older Boy. We also don't want Middle Boy to think that he is going to have to move to a group home after living with me for a while.

Younger Boy is staying put. Everything around him is going to be changing. That isn't going to be easy.

One thing remains the same...God is good and He is faithful. We can count on it.
Two hours ago Younger Boy was supposed to be in bed. Every few minutes I hear him up playing in his room. I go in the room to ask why he isn't in bed and there is always a different reason.

I just finished sitting in this room reading so he would stay in bed. I told him this is NOT going to be a regular occurence. He is going to have to figure it out.

Prayers for good sleep. We are both exhausted.
Tonight I had foster parent training at my agency. When I have these training sessions the boys generally go with me and go to child care there.

Last night both boys did great during dinner.

During the time in child care Older Boy was helpful and did great playing with the younger kids. Younger Boy got into a fist fight with another boy.

Alledgedly the other boy flipped him off and Younger Boy said he was going to bash the boy's face in. The other boy flipped him off again and a fist fight started.

I had Younger Boy apologize to the other boy and the child care provider for fighting. He was not happy about it.

When we got in the car we had a long discussion about the appropriate way to react when you feel you have been wronged. We also discussed forgiveness and how God had already forgiven him for fighting with the other boy so it was probably time for him to forgive the other boy. We prayed about it.

It opened up good conversation, but some days I wish we didn't have so many conversation starters!!
Six months ago today I drove to Lincoln in the snow to pick up Older Boy and Younger Boy.

They have changed my life in so many ways. At times it has been much better and more fun than I would have imagined. At times there has been far more challenges and heartache than I thought I would have to endure.

Happy Anniversary Boys! I love you!!
Yesterday Older Boy told me and Daycare that Football Coach had told him he wasn't needed at practice yesterday and that he should just go home. Older Boy told Football Coach that he couldn't stay, because he had to go home early.

He used not being able to go to football practice as a reason to be angry and have bad behaviors at Daycare and home last night. The whole thing was fabricated by him. I just don't get it.

This morning I emailed Football Coach to let him know that Older Boy will be at practice every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, unless I have contacted him to tell him he will not be there. If Older Boy tries to get out of practice for any reason Football Coach is to remind him that he made a commitment to the team and he needs to honor that commitment.

I don't know if he is nervous about practice or if kids made fun of him or what happened, but lying is not how you get out of it.

Prayers for understanding.
....putting on clean clothes after a shower could actually kill you?

....having to take a shower other than right before bed is completely pointless?

....combing your hair takes too long?

....brushing your teeth can make you sick to your stomach?

All this is happening at our house right now...all this and more!!
Older Boy called and said they didn't need him today at football practice so he was riding the bus to daycare.

I just got a call from daycare. Older Boy is agitated and has been kicking the wall and banging his head against a bookshelf since he arrived about 20 minutes ago.

Again they are trying to calm him. They are going to call if they need me to come and get him. I'm not sure what to do if I do have to go and get him.

Please pray he is able to calm himself quickly and work through whatever is bothering him today.
Tonight we had different was nice.

First, Foster Care Specialist came over because she couldn't make the home visit during the time Service Coordinator was going to be there.

The boys did fairly well when Foster Care Specialist was there. She helped Older Boy make a video for his homework on lab safety. Younger Boy acted as the assistant who was completely unsafe and Older Boy acted as teacher. She videoed the entire thing for them while I made dinner. The boys were fairly cooperative with her during the visit.

When she left Older Boy started screaming and becoming irrational, because he needed to do a timeout for arguing. What could have been a 3 minute timeout took 44 minutes. During this time Younger Boy and I ate dinner and did Younger Boy's math homework together.

During the timeout Older Boy yelled profanities, banged his head on the wall, and talked about how he should just kill himself right now. When I didn't respond he changed to how I was just rude and not listening and it was disrepectful to eat without him and how maybe this wasn't the right home for him. Still no reaction from me so he switched to mocking Younger Boy and saying he is a perfect angel and suck up. I was SUPER PROUD of Younger Boy, because he ignored it. He sat in the kitchen and did his homework and tuned it out. Older Boy then switched back to screaming the f-word and telling me that if I didn't start counting right now he was going to leave. Finally he realized I was serious and calmed down to do the timeout.

He had dinner while Service Coordinator was there. The boy's behavior waned A LOT during that time. Younger Boy tripped and kicked Older Boy and stormed out of the room, because he couldn't play Wii. Older Boy wrapped a blanket around himself and lay in the middle of the living room pretending to snore. It was good for Service Coordinator to see it. This is my "normal".

Prayers for good days for the boys and Foster Care Specialist and Service Coordinator. Foster Care Specialist starts school today and I really want her to do well. She is kind of a nervous wreck because she hasn't been in school for over 10 years. I consider her my friend!!
Pray for Older Boy.

Psychiatrist just called and is making the recommendation as I type. This doesn't mean Older Boy will get help soon, but he is going to be in line to get the help he needs.

Pray for all of us tonight. When the head banging starts at daycare the evening at home only escalates. Luckily we have a home visit with the service coordinator tonight so there will be some extra support at home.

Pray Younger Boy can avoid becoming the target of the anger and have a peaceful evening.

Pray Older Boy can get through the evening without a major meltdown resulting in a call to 911.

Pray I have strength and courage to do the right thing and hold my ground with his behavior. He has been trying to exert control in the last few days and intimidate me. So far it hasn't worked, but I'll be honest...I'm wearing down.

Pray for Psychiatrist and everyone involved in deciding his next placement. Pray they have wisdom and discernment about what his needs are and the things that can best help him.

Thanks for all of your prayers.

I have no idea who reads this blog, but please know that I couldn't do this without God and the prayers of each of you!
Daycare just sent an email that Older Boy has been head banging in the corner of the room for 30 minutes. Every time they try to get near him he screams and throws his arms around. They are doing what they can to get it to stop.

We have put in an emergency plea to Psychiatrist to please get him the help he needs.

Pray there is movement toward his getting some help and that in the meantime he can find a sense of peace.
There is officially now NO ONE on Older Boy's care team who will write a letter to have him moved to a higher level of care.

Psychiatrist won't do it, because she only sees him once a month.

Therapist doesn't work for her company anymore so she isn't available to do it. Therapist's Supervisor won't do it, because it never came up during discussion with Therapist as of the last time they met.

I feel stuck. Every day at home is a battle. Older Boy is ANGRY all of the time and I feel like I am walking on eggshells. It seems like no one in the system cares.

Pray God will give me the strength to keep doing this and to continue to be a model of Christ's love for both boys.
This morning I went to a treatment meeting at Older Boy's daycare. He goes to a behavioral center, so there are behavioral goals that were set and he is evaluated on his mastery of the goals each week. Over the last six weeks there has been a steady decline in behavior with a sharp dropoff occurring in the last couple of weeks.

This mirrors what I am seeing at home.

We talked about the strategies they are going to put in place for consequences for Older Boy. He has recently gotten in the "habit" of taking 30 minutes to get to time out and then doesn't comply when he gets there. He is causing a single staff person to need to be engaged for almost an hour for every consequence. This is the same thing he is doing at home. They are no longer going to tolerate it at the center. He will have one minute to get to timeout or he will need to do it in the quiet room. Their quiet rooms are for kiddos who are in danger of harming themselves. They can't see their peers there and they don't engage with staff. They think he will dislike this so much that he will start to comply with the "normal" timeouts again.

There really isn't anything similar I can do at home. We brainstormed, but because he has to do his timeouts in the center of the room now to stop the head banging there aren't many places he can go.

The other thing they have observed is his "witching hour". It's the time when the meds wear off. His starts between 3:30pm and 4pm. We concluded that it must be the ADHD med, because it pretty much continues all evening. I will have to talk to Psychiatrist about it at the next appointment.

No one can be sure if the "witching hour" and the behavior are linked. There are no longer any staff he clicks with more than others or anyone that he will particularly listen to.

They did give me good feedback on how I handled Older Boy's outburst when I picked him up on Friday. One of the workers said that she couldn't think of anything to do differently.

Prayers he will understand that his behavior is inappropriate and at times dangerous to himself. Pray he would begin to make good choices.
Today I found out that Psychiatrist doesn't feel comfortable recommending Older Boy needs a higher level of care, because she only sees him once per month. She thinks the recommendation should come from his therapist.

We currently don't have a therapist. Therapist went back to school and doesn't work for her agency anymore. They don't want to make the referral, because no one there has ever worked with him. Possible New Therapist can't make the reference, because he has never met Older Boy. I wouldn't expect him to. That would be absurd.

It seems as if we are stuck. It seems like we are going to have to wait until Older Boy blows up again or starts seeing New Therapist and is uncooperative for a number of sessions.

I wish when he was having a blow-up I could take him to the head of Foster Care in Nebraska or the head of Agency.

Pray something can be done to help Older Boy before it is detrimental to our safety.
Tonight Older Boy had football practice so I picked up Younger Boy to go get the mouthpiece for his trumpet. This kid is SO EXCITED about playing the trumpet. He LOVED the music store. We looked at violins, guitars, saxaphones, and flutes while we waited.

He got the mouthpiece and as soon as we got in the car he was putting his trumpet together. I had to make a rule that there is no trumpet playing in the car. Do any of your think it is unreasonable?

When we got home I was serenaded with notes C and D....over and over. That is what he learned that day in band. He did a parade through the house with notes C and D. It was kind of fun.

Praises for excitement over new things and a love of music.
This is a note I wrote to Middle Boy’s Foster Mom this morning…

Thanks so much for the opportunity to have Middle Boy in our home this weekend. I really enjoyed having him and the boys loved him. I thought they got along great and I think Middle Boy enjoyed himself, too.

Within minutes I got this email from her…

Weird - I was just sending an update to the team about how respite went! :)

I can't tell you how much I appreciate it! Truly.

I will tell you that on the drive home Middle Boy asked out of the blue if I thought that you would be a possible placement... I asked him what he meant by that (just so that I could see if he was trying to investigate whether this possibility was everyone's intentions all along or if he was truly inquiring - maybe it was a little bit of both, who knows)... Middle Boy then clarified and asked if I thought that you would consider a possible permanent placement with him. Being cautious and not wanting to get any of his hopes up - I responded by telling him that while the weekend visit was just respite, I would still let the team know that he inquired about it. Middle Boy told me that he just felt sort of a connection with you and felt as though you may be somebody that he could bond with easily. I asked Middle Boy what he thought made him feel that way (just to see if there was anything concrete) and he said he wasn't sure - that you were just someone that he felt comfortable with and that you were really easy going. He also felt maybe he was somebody your boys could look up to (which I thought was cute).

I'm sending a similar update to Middle Boy's treatment team (just because they would want to know how it went) - but also wanted to let you know, since you were so supportive and sweet in sending this email... Please note that the point in me telling you this is ONLY to let you know his point of view of the visit from spending time with you and the boys --- this is not being sent to pressure you nor have you feel as though you are under any obligation - for anything... As it stands now - all Middle Boy knows is it was really "just respite". I just thought you would want to know that the feelings seemed mutual between you, the boys and Middle Boy.

You have a great week as well! Please feel free to reach out to me for anything - at any time!

This makes me smile, because I feel a connection with Middle Boy, too. I have ever since I saw his picture on the heart gallery a couple of years ago. I knew, before I was even a foster parent, that one day we would cross paths and somehow impact each other’s lives. I have been praying for him ever since.

Prayers for Middle Boy. I have a meeting with his case team on Thursday to see what the next steps might be if any.

Prayers that God’s will be followed in this meeting.

Tonight was a "normal" evening for us.

The chore chart is really working out for us. There is no question what anyone needs to get done on any given day. There is no question about what you need to do before you can use electronics. That doesn't mean everyone necessarily LIKES doing it, but it is working.

Older Boy needed to do his daily 20 minutes of reading for homework. He "searched" for a book for 15 minutes and couldn't find ANY in our WHOLE house. I was astounded. I am pretty sure we have them ALL OVER. At least the last time I was looking for a book we did. Then he told me he would just read the back of the book for 20 minutes. Ummm....NO. Finally after 30 minutes of messing around he sat down and got started. I nearly laughed out loud when he said "I have been reading for 50 minutes." Well...we might have started this 50 minutes ago, but you still aren't done reading.

Younger Boy read for a little while and went to bed early. Something he NEVER does. He was exhausted from the weekend. Both nights he stayed up later than usual.

Prayers for a good week at school and praises for a good weekend.
This has been an amazing weekend of respite for Middle Boy. He is such a kind and compassionate kid. He is definitely a peacemaker. There has been more than one time where he was able to stop an argument between Older Boy and Younger Boy just by talking to them.

He went to church with us this morning and was super excited to see his counselors from camp. They were excited to see him, too. In fact, Counselor L told me he is considering mentoring Middle Boy. That made me smile. I think Middle Boy is going to need some positives in his life when he moves.

I don't know yet what the direction of the discussion will be on Thursday when we talk about a new placement for Middle Boy. I would love to have him live here.

Prayers God's will be done in the placement of Middle Boy and also that he be at peace with the transition.

Praises for what a good kid he is and for how well all three boys got along all weekend.
I came home this afternoon from getting my haircut to find out that Older Boy had told Babysitter J that when she is here she is his maid. Apparently he wouldn't throw away his trash from lunch, because she is the maid.

Wow...I didn't realize we all had personal assistants here.

I asked him if he thought that was disrespectful and he said "no". He has a LONG way to go.

Prayers for respect.
This morning there have been some lessons learned.

First Older Boy woke Middle Boy and Younger Boy up WAY TOO EARLY. He had slept in his room as a consequence for his behavior yesterday at daycare. The other two slept in the basement. He got them up at 5:45am. He knew enough not to wake me.

As a result Younger Boy is kind of a mess today. It is 10am and he has already ran from the room mad twice and had three outbursts of tears. He is SO TIRED. I talked to him a little while ago and told him I was sorry Older Boy woke him up so early, but he was probably going to need to rest today. We agreed that he would at least lay down and watch a movie if not nap.

Older Boy threw a fit about having to set the table. It's on his chore chart. He is supposed to do it before he does any "entertainment". He ended up in time out.

Middle Boy has just been watching the whole thing. At breakfast Younger Boy said "How did you learn to follow directions so good?" Interesting question. Middle Boy said "How hard is it? Say okay and do what they ask." Younger Boy seemed intrigued. It was lost on Older Boy, but Younger Boy actually asked Middle Boy to help him with it.

I'm enjoying having Middle Boy here. Obviously it changes the family dynamics, but I have noticed that Older Boy seems afraid to blow up since Middle Boy is here. From that standpoint alone it might be a nice break this weekend.

Prayers for continued relationship building and fun.

Praises for the boys generally getting along and enjoying each other's company.
Middle Boy got here this evening. He is spending the weekend with us as a trial run.

I love having him here. This kid is incredible.

When we finished dinner he asked if it would be okay if he did the dishes as a thank you. Really? He's a 14 year-old boy. Older Boy and Younger Boy could learn a lot from him!!

Older Boy is working really hard to be the alpha male in our home. It isn't really working out for him. Middle Boy isn't trying to challenge him for is just happening naturally.

He helped Younger Boy with his lego car and plane and then they played with them for about an hour.

I love that all three are now dowstairs watching a movie and getting ready to go to sleep.

Younger Boy came up to tell me a secret. He said "I hope Middle Boy comes to live with us. He's my new best friend."

Praises for connections and getting along.

Prayers for continued relationship building and peace and harmony in this house this weekend. Prayers that Middle Boy will have a good weekend here.
When I went to pick Older Boy up from daycare today I found him and TWO of the daycare workers in the parking lot. Apparently Older Boy had run there right after he kicked over a bookshelf and threw all of the books at his peer.

He ran outside screaming, because they were trying to give him a consequence.

I had to wait for him while they gave him the consequence for his actions. I didn't feel like it was the right thing to "rescue" him. When he was done he decided to scream at me and tell me I wasn't listening to him and I was just plain stupid. When we got to the car her threatened a number of times to just get out of the car, because everyone hates him anyway.

Tonight he told me he spent all afternoon in the "back office" at school. His story has other kids making fun of him and him getting in trouble for it. When I asked what he did he said he got really mad. I would imagine they witnessed his rage. I am surprised they didn't call me.

Prayers someone can get through to Older Boy soon and for the safety of everyone around him while he works through his anger.
Well...Younger Boy didn't make it a full week without a slash. This one wasn't for not turning in his homework it was for behavior.

The story I was told is that a girl was throwing rocks at him and he asked her to quit and the teacher gave him a slash. To my knowledge since he has lived here Younger Boy has NEVER admitted to doing anything wrong. I told him I would call the school on Monday to find out why he got the slash. He told me the teacher would probably lie.

Prayers for taking accountability for behavior.
We have a trumpet. One of the counselors from camp hasn't used his for years and is THRILLED that it can go to a foster kiddo!

Praises for his kindness and to God for weaving our lives in such a way that we would have this relationship!!
Now it looks like our option is to have Older Boy go to a behavior home for kids…not a residential DD home for behavioral kids. We are going to keep trying and Foster Care Specialist is working through all avenues to make it happen, but we don’t have a lot going for us in this one right now. Our DD paperwork hasn’t been filed with the state yet. (Don’t get me started on this!!)

Service Coordinator is working toward getting the recommendation from Psychiatrist. “The Money” won’t even start doing a bed search until this happens. They also want the psych evaluation…ours aren’t “current enough” and they want to do their own. I hate that this is stuck in bureaucracy. I am a “get it done” kind of person. So is Foster Care Specialist. Service Coordinator…not so much!

One good thing might come out of this…Service Coordinator is likely going to be court ordered to do the DD paperwork in September.
As a friend pointed out to me yesterday…”We have to trust that God is in control. No one can force something against His Sovereign hand. So we wait to see what He will do.”

Thanks for your prayers for Older Boy, Younger Boy and me. For a while I have wondered if I am supposed to be DOING SOMETHING about the system instead of just being a part of it. Pray that I seek God’s will in His plans for me.
This weekend we are doing respite for Middle Boy. He doesn't know that we are a possible placement, but it is a trial weekend.

I am looking forward to the weekend. We don't really have a ton to do, but it seems like our schedule is kind of full.

We are starting our school year Friday night pizza and a movie tonight. Last year we watched a movie, ate pizza and popcorn and the boys slept in the family room on Friday nights. I want to get back into the routine.

From what I know about him Middle Boy is a good fit in our home.

Prayers for a good weekend.
Younger Boy is going to be on Safety Patrol. I have NEVER seen someone so excited to stand outdoors wearing a bright orange vest and walk back and forth across the street. I wasn't sure he was going to be able to, because I wasn't sure what time the daycare van dropped them off and picked them up. I called this morning though and he is good to go.

He is also going to join the band. We did have a discussion about the instrument he is going to play. He thinks he would like to play the trumpet. I am not certain I want to listen to someone practicing the trumpet, but I think we are going to give it a go.

He is super excited. I'm certain he didn't get to do many extracurricular activities at his last home and before that he was too young.

Praises for excitement and opportunities.
There are two distinct things going on with homework this year.

Younger Boy hasn't really had any yet. He does come home every day to show me that he has NOT received a slash. He told Mentor R tonight on the phone that he hopes he doesn't get one all year. I hope he doesn't either. He is REALLY proud of himself right now.

Older Boy has to do 20 minutes of reading each night. He has AMPLE time to do it at daycare. In fact they have a 30 minute time where they are either supposed to read or do puzzles by themselves to "calm down". Yesterday he chose to pace during the entire time so no reading was done. He told me when I picked him up that he decided he wanted to do it at home. As we were walking to the car he asked if he could watch TV when he got home. I told him homework has to be done first. He immediately changed his story to the fact that he read for 20 minutes on the bus. I told him I didn't believe him, because he said something completely different inside daycare. He tried to tell me he was "just teasing" when we were inside and then the rage came out. He was NOT going to read and I CAN'T tell him what to do. He repeated it eleven times and then I said "How many times do I have to listen to that sentence? You have told me eleven times. I will only listen to you say it one more time." That didn't stop it, but it slowed it down.

Luckily we had a guest for dinner and the evening. TQ was there and when I asked him to do his homework after dinner he eventually did the reading. I had to ask him to go get a book for about 20 minutes and it took another 20 minutes for him to get started, but he did it. There was no way he was going to argue with her there. She could tell Service Coordinator. He has not caught on to the fact that he wasted 60 minutes on something that could have taken 21 minutes.

Prayers for smoother homework nights in the future. Praises for TQ being there so we could get the homework done.
Please be warned. This post is not going to be nice.

Today I found out from Service Coordinator that it is possible Older Boy will not be moving to a treatment facility. The recommendation of the psychiatric hospital is NOT ENOUGH to have him receive anger management treatment. This infuriates me. What does he have to do? Why did I waste two hours of my life talking about it if now it isn't a possibility? Why aren't the right people in the room to make decisions?

I want to say...let's be honest here...the agency doesn't want to pay for the treatment he SO DESPARATELY needs. Instead they would like me to do the "best I can" until something can be done.

Now I get it. Now I get why people quit their placements.

Apparently he has to now be on a MONTHS LONG waiting list to have a psych evaluation. He had a comprehensive one last November...he had one Monday night. How many do the taxpayers need to pay for? What good will the evaluation be? I don't know.

We are now waiting for his psychiatrist to make a recommendation for him to have treatment. It has been FOUR DAYS since he was at the hospital and she isn't returning calls.

What am I supposed to do if we have another Monday night? How scared does Younger Boy need to be of him?

Don't get me wrong. I was saddened by the fact that he needed to go away. I wanted to help him, but since then I have realized I can't. I don't have the skills and there are people out there who do. I need to let them. It is in God's plan.

I think of other kiddos who can't get OUT of the facilities. There is one girl in particular. She was in a low level treatment home and since there was nowhere else for her to go when the home closed they moved her to a higher level of treatment. When is the insanity going to stop?

I am done with my ranting...I think.

Pray for the system and the kiddos in it. Somewhere along the line it stopped being about the welfare of the kiddos and started becoming a corporation.
I got the following email this morning from Science Teacher at Older Boy's school.

We're looking for a "Can-Do" hard worker to help us manage the football team this year. We asked Older Boy to help out with equipment and daily attendance records. I've attached out calender for you to see if this works out for you and Older Boy. Let me know, we sure look forward to working with him.

It broke my heart when I first received it, because I want him to be able to do this stuff. I talked with Foster Care Specialist and we decided to let him do this so he can experience more "normal kid" stuff than he has been able to in the past.

Of course he has to meet the same grade and behavior requirements as the players. Science Teacher has been an amazing mentor to him.

Praises for "normal" opportunities for Older Boy and for a teacher who is willing to take him under his wing.
This morning I witnessed a touching scene.

Older Boy's bus gets to our house EARLY...6:48am to be exact. Younger Boy usually ignores the whole process while he is getting ready for school.

Once Older Boy is ready for school he likes to put on his backpack and do laps around the house while he is waiting for the bus. I don't know why...he just does.

This morning Younger Boy sat inside on the stairs, fully ready, and watched Older Boy do his laps while waiting for the bus. When the bus got there he ran outside to wave good-bye. He stood outside in the driveway and waved and waved.

When he got in the car to leave he said "Mom...I miss him already." I told him we were both going to miss him, but that hopefully he would be coming back to live with us when he wasn't quite so angry anymore. That hadn't occurred to Younger Boy. He thought they were just going to be separated from here on out. He was VERY HAPPY. I did tell him that I had no idea how long Older Boy would be gone, because it was going to depend on how much Older Boy cooperated. Younger Boy said, "He never cooperates." He decided we would have to pray that he does.

Praises for realization the relationship will still be able to exist and that their brotherly bond is not damaged beyond repair. Praises for open, honest, transparent discussions.

Prayers for cooperation and growth...for all of us.
Younger Boy woke up twice last night and came to get me, because he was having bad dreams.

Both times I went into his room and prayed with him for God to give him good dreams and a peaceful sleep. I also sat and rubbed his back until he was sleeping again.

The second time he told me he wanted to tell me about the dream this morning.

When he told me about the dream he was in a cave with his friends, T and K, and all of them were alone. No one could find their moms and they needed them. They were scared and there were red-eyed monsters chasing them and they couldn't find their way out.

Prayers for peaceful sleep tonight...for all of us.
Older Boy has insomnia tonight. He has been out of his room four times in half an hour increments telling me he can't sleep.

I wish there was something I could do.

Here's the problem...

Older Boy has reactive attachment disorder. He is not comforted by anything soothing or touch. It makes him mad. He doesn't want to be read to. He doesn't want to be sang to. It is frustrating. All the things I can think of to soothe someone to sleep infuriate him.

All I could do for him was keep telling him to try. It seems so futile and not at all nurturing. It makes me feel inadequate as a mom.

He finally fell asleep at about 1am.

Prayers for peaceful sleep and falling asleep.
Tonight Older Boy was super excited to be the one "in charge" of dinner. What that meant was that he was in charge of pre-heating the oven, putting in the Papa Murphy's pizza, setting the timer, and taking the pizza out. This is HUGE for him. No one has ever let him do this before. He wanted to be the one in charge of reading the directions and everything.

For some reason I had purchased two pizzas thinking we might have one on Friday as well.

Older Boy did a great job getting the over pre-heated and when he went to put the pizza in it somehow tipped spilling all of the toppings into the oven and onto the heating element and between the bottom of the oven and the door.

He was MAD. I cringed. I didn't want a blow-up. I didn't think I could deal with it. I immediately started saying "It's not a big deal. We have another pizza. It happens to everyone at some point." I explained we just needed to get it cleaned up before our house filled with smoke and the detectors started going off.

I was surprised. He jumped into action. He didn't shut down. He opened all the windows and brought me the trash can.

When we were done cleaning he baked/smoked the other pizza.

I am proud of him. He didn't freak out. He followed directions and didn't shut down. He can do it.

Praises for calm(ish) behavior and that with God all things are possible.
Younger Boy was in a HORRIBLE mood this afternoon. I told him we had to talk about it. Of course he was NOT interested in that. I explained that I knew why he was stressed out, but that he needed to talk to me about it.

I asked if he was sad Older Boy had to move to get help and he said kind of. I asked if he was mad Older Boy had to move to get help. He said kind of. I asked if he was glad Older Boy had to move to get help. He hid his face and said yes. I asked if that made him feel bad and he started to cry.

I explained that it is okay to feel glad, because Older Boy has been scaring him and because it is what Older Boy needs to do to get better. I explained that we can miss him at the same time as we are happy he is getting the help he needs.

I could tell it instantly lifted a weight off of his shoulders.

Praises for sweet discussion and prayers for breaking hearts.
Yesterday at the family team meeting for the boys it was decided the best place for Older Boy is a developmentally delayed/behavior disorder group home. His behavior at home has been escalating to the point where it is not manageable by a family (not just me). The psychiatric emergency room made the evaluation on Monday night during our visit there.

At this time I don’t know when the actual move will occur, because they have to do a bed search of that type of facility. The paperwork will be started today.

He does not know he is moving, because I believe it will be quite traumatic for him and there is no reason for him to know now.

I have agreed that he could come to my home for his good behavior weekend visits and at the times he has holiday privileges. It is hard to say where he will be and what the facility will look like or how long he will need to be there.

Although I know it is the right thing it still makes me VERY SAD that I couldn’t help him. I pray he will get the help he needs when he moves.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support. Keep praying for Older Boy and Younger Boy. I know God has a plan for all of us and that His hand is in all of this.
Tonight I had so many offers to come and stay with us at the hospital. I was supposed to be at my Bible Study so all of those women were praying for us and offering to come and sit with me during his evaluation.

Baseball Coach J and Friend K and her daughter, B, ended up coming to the hospital just as we were being discharged. The psychiatric angel, Peg, showed us to a waiting room where no one would be so we could sit and talk to Older Boy.

It was a heartfelt discussion.

We asked Older Boy how we could pray for him. There were a couple of times when he started to tear up. This is how I know we are getting through to this kid. He rarely shows an emotion other than anger/rage.

Baseball Coach J talked about forgiveness and how when you are angry you can forgive and keep it inside or lash out. He talked about Jesus and God's forgiveness of each of us.

Older Boy finally decided we can pray that he can see his sister's again and that he can learn to control his temper. At first he said we should pray for "everything" when we asked what was wrong in his life. Friend K got him to laugh when she asked if we should pray about his hair.

She also asked if he understood why they came. He didn't. She explained that she loved us...all of us and that was why she was there. Baseball Coach J said that was why he was there. He loves Older Boy.

I think Older Boy gets it. I asked if it was hard to hear that people love him. He said yes. I get that, too, because it is really hard for me to hear that people love me.

Praises for these friends. It means a lot to all of us!
Older Boy had a meltdown tonight resulting in a call to 911. I wish I knew what caused it. I don't. He was very angry and very damaging and was talking to both me and Younger Boy in ways he has NEVER talked to us before. The Sheriff's Deputy handcuffed him and transported him to the psychiatric emergency room.

Younger Boy had to go with us. He didn't see his brother being handcuffed until we arrived at the hospital. I tried as best I could to prep him on the drive there.

He called Mentor R and he came to get him and take him back to our house so his evening could be as "normal" as possible. I am so grateful for this. I couldn't ask for better support for Younger Boy during this time.

Older Boy was discharged from the hospital at about 10:30pm to go home. He slept well during the night and is in school today.

Younger Boy isn’t doing as well this morning. He is terrified that he is going to have to leave my house, because of Older Boy. I tried to reassure him, but he has heard it before. I tried to explain I really want him to live with me, because I love him. Pray he can find peace today.

Older Boy's discharge papers recommend he move to a higher level of care than what my home can provide for both the safety of himself and others. Pray for healing for Older Boy. It is hard for me to admit that maybe it is what he needs, because I want to help him. I want to protect him while God heals him. The psychiatric doctor told me that for the mental health of myself and Younger Boy (most importantly Younger Boy) they would suggest separation.

Pray God’s will be done in all of this.

Also, thank God for the amazing psychiatric nurse, Peg, last night. She prayed with me as she interviewed me about life at my home. God truly put an angel in that place for me last night.
This morning I found out I have been granted educational surrogacy for both boys.

This means I am the one who makes the educational decisions. I get to be a part of choosing their classes and can attend meetings at the school on their behalf. I'm sure some of you are thinking "you couldn't do that as a foster parent?". The answer is no. The legal guardian is responsible for that and as a foster parent you are not the legal guardian.

This will mean I can request the specialized testing I think Younger Boy needs and Older Boy will not be enrolled in things like Drama. He excels at drama at home, but the class will not be helpful to him in life.

Praises I was granted this surrogacy. Prayers I will use it to make decisions that honor God and the needs of the boys. Prayers I will have wisdom in the decision making.
Tonight we packed backpacks and got clothes ready for the first day of school.

Both boys were so excited about their new notebooks and "pump pencils". They each got new backpacks picked out by them. Older Boy's is black and gray with about a million pockets. Younger Boy's is single strap and camouflage. Single strap was the most important thing about his new backpack. I think if the only one we could have found would have had pink and purple butterflies he still would have wanted it.

We talked about the behavioral and homework rules for the year. Last year Younger Boy really struggled with homework. He expended A LOT of effort lying about whether or not he had homework and making up reasons why he didn't know about homework. At his school you get a slash when you don't turn in homework. He averaged four slashes a week last school year. This year I told him that is UNACCEPTABLE. He is allowed one slash PER MONTH this year. School is his first job...before anything else. I'm sure he will push me on it.

Prayers for a good school year and for all the students and teachers as they return to school this year.
The trip home from Grandma and Grandpa's today was uneventful.

Everyone had an AWESOME time over the weekend and the boys were happy to just play by themselves for the four and a half hour ride.

We listened to music (and Older Boy singing)the whole way home. It never ceases to amaze me that while he is unable to comprehend a whole lot of things he seems to know EVERY WORD to songs on the Christian radio stations we listen to. I like to think it is God's way of getting through to him when nothing else is working.

Praises for a GREAT weekend with family and a peaceful ride home.
More family get together this afternoon.

The boys played with all of the other kiddos. They played in all different combinations. They laughed and ran and played hard.

All of my cousins went home and it was just my immediate family there. The boys had a blast playing board games with them. I love that they all get along so well.

Praises for a good family time. It doesn't happen nearly enough.
We went to the memorial service this morning. The boys were very respectful and quiet.

Afterward they walked around the cemetary with their cousins looking for all of our relatives. They found 21 headstones with my last name on it and we talked about how they were related to me.

They helped Niece L put flowers on the graves of all of my immediate family members. They helped take pictures of the headstones for my cousins.

Praises for all of my family members who live in Heaven with their creator and for the celebration of their lives.
At Grandma and Grandpa's we met up with everyone in my extended family with the exception of two cousins and three spouses. There were thirty-six people there for of them under the age of four...five of those boys.

I was a bit apprehensive that it would be overwhelming for Older Boy. He did GREAT. He played with the other kids and had a great time.

Younger Boy just kept telling me that "this family is awesome".

Praises for a great family get together and safe travels for everyone.
Today I picked the boys up early from daycare so we could head to Grandma and Grandpa's for a memorial service for Grandpa's brother and sister-in-law.

The first part of the trip went great. Both boys were playing their Nintendo DS and no one was fighting.

Older Boy decided he had enough of playing DS when we were 90 minutes into the four and a half hour trip.

He and I were talking about how things have been going and how his behavior has been at daycare over the last few days. Any time I asked him a question he would stare out the window and not answer. It is his way of avoiding talking about anything that might seem like he was misbehaving.

He continued to ignore everything I said and when I asked a question of him he blew up. He threw his body back against the car seat and started banging his head. I had to pull over at the next exit.

It is so frustrating and frightening all at the same time.

I told him I was angry and that I would talk to him when I cooled down. He spent the entire time following me around saying I was just being rude for needing to cool down. I told him I would talk to him when we were back in the car. It wasn't good enough. I didn't want to blow up at him. I needed space. He REFUSED to give it to me and just kept getting closer and closer to me and telling me he KNEW I wanted him to leave my house.

When things de-escalated we got back in the car and drove the rest of the way to Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Pray for a peaceful ride home on Sunday.
We are still waiting for an update on Middle Boy. I have talked with his therapist twice to find out her thoughts on whether or not he is a good fit in my home.

Foster Care Specialist contacted his Service Coordinator to find out a status since he was supposed to be moved by Monday. The current family decided to keep him until a “suitable” placement is found.

Foster Care Specialist did tell her that if she is intending to move him into my home he needs to start school Monday at the same school Older Boy is currently enrolled in. She then told me we would just have to wait and find out the “reasons” why that didn’t happen and he will have to be “the new kid” in the first couple of weeks of school.

Prayers for an easy transition for Middle Boy…wherever he goes.
Middle Brother is back in the hospital and is having surgery on Monday at 1:30pm. The new shunt is infected and will need to be removed and relocated.

Pray for healing for Middle Brother and peace for his foster family.
Tonight was the open house at both boys’ school.

First we went to Younger Boy’s open house. We met his teacher and saw where his desk was going to be located. He found out his best friend is in his class and will be sitting two seats behind him. He was excited about that. Older Boy spent his time “parenting”. No matter what I did he insisted on answering every question the teacher asked Younger Boy. Younger Boy did a good job of keeping his cool, but I could tell it was frustrating him.

Next we went to Older Boy’s school. We got his class schedule. He was disappointed to find out that he wasn’t enrolled in Acoustic Guitar. He is enrolled in Drama. Since I don’t have educational rights I wonder who helped him with this. Was it the State? Who thought it was a good idea for him to take drama?

We walked around the school to make sure he could find all of his classrooms. We also went to his locker. He DOES NOT have the manual dexterity to open a combination lock. I had him try, because he is going to need to do it on Monday. He tried once. It didn’t open. He kicked the locker…denting it. He was furious with me when I made him keep trying until he got it open. There were TONS of other kids there having the same thing with their caregivers, but Older Boy was the only one getting violent.

Prayers for a good school year.
Today both boys had dentist appointments. Only Younger boy went to the dentist. Older Boy decided to stand in the parking lot and scream about how he wasn’t going to go to the dentist. I took Younger Boy into his appointment and Older Boy got back in the car.

When we got home Older Boy was mad, because he didn’t get to go to the dentist. He doesn’t connect his behavior and the consequences. I explained that I wasn’t going to take off work again to take him to the dentist for six months and that he missed his chance.

Pray for understanding of cause and effect.
Tonight I volunteered to help with something at church. The boys went with me and they helped and then entertained themselves for FOUR hours.

They were AMAZINGLY well behaved and patient. I was very proud and was sure to tell them they did really well.

Praises for good behavior and cooperation!
Please don't confuse Middle Boy with Middle Brother.

Some of you have known for a couple of weeks about the possibility of there being Middle Boy. His Service Coordinator called me today. She has known he needed placement for nearly two weeks. How do I know this? He needs to be relocated by next Tuesday. Did it not occur to her that school starts Monday?

I am waiting to hear from his therapist about a couple of things before I make a decision about him coming to live with us. They mostly have to do with the behavior of Older Boy and whether or not it would cause behaviors in Middle Boy.

Pray I am following God's will on whether or not Middle Boy comes to our home to live with us. Pray for clarity.
Older Boy had a BAD day at daycare today. He was behaving inappropriately with another peer and then lied about it to the staff. This is the second time he has exhibited these inappropriate behaviors and lied. Recently he hasn’t been making good choices at daycare. He is now going to be doing individual activities at the center until he learns to be truthful and follow directions.
This morning was AWFUL!!

Younger Boy was having a pretty good morning until Older Boy got up.

Older Boy has a new habit of choosing not to flush the toilet. He was the last one in the bathroom and when I went back up to turn off all the lights I noticed he hadn't flushed. I went downstairs to get him and he said "I never use the bathroom at home, so it couldn't have been me." Really? Never use the bathroom at home? I heard you in there this morning. With A LOT of discussion he went upstairs to flush the toilet exclaiming that this was "the last time" he was going to do it.

In the middle of the discussion with Older Boy Younger Boy chose to argue and say he knows it wasn't him.

We have been working on not inserting yourself into conversations which don't involve you. I told Younger Boy this was between me and Older Boy. Under his breath he called me a "B****". I heard it and called him on it. He claimed that he was just thinking about something that happened yesterday. I explained I didn't believe him and that he would lose a privilege because of it. He SCREAMED at the top of his lungs and threw his glasses off and told me he hates me and I am stupid.

Before I dropped each boy off I explained that calling me names and yelling at me and telling me I am stupid are emotional abuse and it isn't fair to me and I don't have to put up with it.

Prayers they understand the way they are treating me is unacceptable.
Tonight I had mandatory foster parent training. When we have these the boys go with me to the agency and they provide child care and dinner.

Both boys did fairly well with their manners during dinner. Older Boy is a typical teenage boy and very self focused. He had 10 pieces of pizza according to the caregivers.

Training was completely not applicable to me. Sort of frustrating that it was mandatory. It was about how to develop relationships and work with birth parents to aid in the process of reunification. I suppose it was good information and it helped to satisfy my training requirements.

I also "met" someone who had gone to my childhood church. I didn't recognize her, but she recognized me. I am thankful she introduced herself. It is always nice to have others in "the system" to talk to.

Praises for good behavior and "new" friends.
Middle Brother is out of the hospital and doing well. Things were not good for a week or so, but it seems he has had a complete turnaround.

He ended up having an infection where his feeding tube is located and then his body rejected his shunt.

We are hoping to go for a visit before the end of the month.

Praises for good health for Middle Brother.

Thank you all for your prayers for healing.
When I left for Bible Study I told the boys and Babysitter M that if she has to ask them to do anything more than once there will be a consequence. They have been struggling being respectful to babysitters.

At bedtime Older Boy chose to take his shirt off and kept hitting Younger Boy in the face with it. Younger Boy asked him nicely to stop and he wouldn’t. Babysitter M said he probably hit him 20 times. Younger Boy kicked him to get him to stop. Older Boy told Younger Boy he was going to pound his face in for kicking him. Younger Boy went to the basement/garage to hide.

Babysitter M put Older Boy to bed. She then sent me the following text “If Younger Boy is hiding will he eventually come out or should I be searching for him?”

This was followed with a text saying “Got him….out in front of the garage door reading his magazine.”
When I got home I told Younger Boy he made two mistakes in the whole thing. One was kicking Older Boy. He should have tried to walk away. He might have, but I don’t know. The second was not letting an adult know where he was going. I explained that Babysitter M and I love him and we want him to be safe, but that it scares us when we don’t know where he is. He started crying when I told him this.

I then talked to Older Boy and asked him if he made good choices. He said, “Yes. Younger Boy kicked me though.” I asked him what he did to Younger Boy. Apparently nothing, even though Babysitter M witnessed the whole thing. I told him I needed to hear his side of the story. He told me I wouldn’t believe him and that I always take Younger Boy’s side anyway. If you won’t even give your viewpoint it is hard to believe you.

Prayers Older Boy would understand he needs to be accountable for his actions.
I made chore charts. I should have made them months ago, but well…I didn’t.

There are chores you are responsible for each day and a morning and evening routine that needs to be done without prompting. I’m not asking much of anyone. I think each day’s work will take 10 minutes if someone just did them….maybe 15.

The part most objected to you can’t use any electronics until the items on your chore chart are done.

When I left for Bible Study tonight Younger Boy was done and Older Boy was getting ready to do his first task.

My hope is this will cut down on me continually having to listen to myself give directions.

You either do the chores or you don’t. It results in you either using electronics or not. It’s kind of simple. Your allowance is also based on the chores you complete.

Unfortunately for Younger Boy homework is on the chore chart.

Prayers this helps us with routine and structure.
Younger Boy is mad. Rightfully so. Older Boy has a new behavior where if I ask them both to do something he won’t do it until Younger Boy is already done. Things like…brushing your teeth, making your bed, going to bed, you name it.

Older Boy doesn’t just wait. He stands over Younger Boy in an intimidating way with his arms folded waiting for him to get done.
We talked. It isn’t acceptable anymore. He claims it is a habit. I explained that he just started doing it last week and the habit couldn’t have been formed so quickly. It is a choice and he is not allowed to make it anymore.

Praises we were able to identify the new controlling behavior.

Prayers that one day the controlling behavior won’t be so automatic with Older Boy.

While we were at church waiting for our luncheon to start Older Boy got mad, because he couldn’t have his way and play carpet ball…RIGHT NOW. He decided to help with coffee, but got mad part way through and stormed out of the room.

He chose to hide for about an hour. Younger Boy and I were unable to locate him.

When he finally came to “find me” I asked where he went and what he was doing. No explanation. I explained that I ALWAYS need to know where he is and what he is doing. I can’t know he is safe if I don’t and that is my JOB.

I’ll admit…I was worried. I was pretty sure he wouldn’t leave the property, but Church is a big place and there are LOTS of places to hide since most everything is open on Sunday morning.

Prayers Older Boy learns to use words and not violence or running away when he is frustrated.

Praises he didn’t leave the property.
Sunday morning church felt like we had made a few HUGE strides BACKWARD.

Younger Boy wanted to sit during worship which is the same thing he did when he first moved in.

Older Boy REALLY struggled. First he decided to sit with his head on his knees through the entire service. This was alternated with frantically tying and untying his shoes and violently scratching and adjusting his “private area”.

We have been working on the “private area” thing. Making it a “private location” thing. More than one time during the service I leaned over to him and said “If you need to do that you need to excuse yourself to the restroom.” This is not a popular option. It results in glaring and turning your back on me.

I get that he is a teenage boy. I get that his social skills are lacking behind, but how am I going to get him to stop doing this….ALL THE TIME….no matter where he is or who is with?

Prayers he will understand the social aspect of these actions and I have the wisdom to help. I want him to understand that he can’t do that at school.

Older Boy woke up on the obnoxious side of the bed this morning. He was singing at the top of his lungs in the hallway at 5:45am. I left my room and asked him to quit so that Younger Boy and I could get some rest.

Although he was up that early he didn’t get himself ready to go for the day. In fact, he was the last one ready for church. It was “not his fault”, because no one told him we were going to church on a Sunday.

He took his DS into the car for the ride to church…along with his breakfast. I asked him to turn off the DS and focus on eating breakfast since we were almost to church. He chose to throw the DS across the car. I asked if he threw it to which he responded “No…I tossed it.” I explained that it is the same thing and it was not respectful of my property…the car or the DS and that he wouldn’t be able to use the DS for a week. Of course “he didn’t mean to” toss it.

Prayers the mini outbursts of violent behavior start to go away. They have been increasing over the past month or so and are exhausting.
We were invited to dinner tonight at J and K M’s house. It was partially a birthday party for J and partially a thank you for everyone who helped out at their house while they were on their cruise.

I explained to both boys that we would be using restaurant manners during dinner and that it wasn’t optional. I also explained that I was good with getting up and leaving in the middle of the meal if they weren’t. I asked them to explain to me what restaurant manners look like to them. They gave all the right answers.

Older Boy really struggled with the manners. He danced at the table. He chewed with his mouth open. He pretended to poke his fork in his eye…over and over again. I asked him to leave the table and sit in another chair until he was capable of joining us. He “didn’t mean to” do any of the things that were poor manners. He argued.
Prayers we can learn respectable manners. We are working on them at home, too, but we aren’t getting very far.
Today we went school shopping…each boy individually.

Younger Boy went first while Older Boy stayed home with Babysitter J. We went to a sporting goods store to buy tennis shoes and ONE shirt and to another store to buy everything else we needed. I gave the boys a budget for the shoes.
Younger Boy found his shoes IMMEDIATELY. He had been “dreaming” about having the same shoes as Middle Cousin J. He found them. They had them. We did have to have a discussion about the shoes needing to fit, because the first ones were too big. He just wanted to get them, because they were the shoes. I convinced him to try them on in a smaller size. They fit BETTER and he could still get “his” shoes.

We went down the street to finish his shopping. We had a lot of fun and laughed a lot about what he should get. In the end he was pretty excited about his new clothes and his new shoes.

As we were walking back to the car he said “Mom, can we just spend more time together today? Just me and you? I had a lot of fun.” It broke my heart. I wanted to. I REALLY did. Younger Boy gets so little of my undivided attention because Older Boy demands so much of it. I promised him we would go on a date…soon. He made me promise to stop calling it a date, because it was creepy.

The shopping experience with Older Boy was entirely different. We went to the same sporting goods store with the same budget. While they sell about 1.5 million different kinds of shoes there were NONE there that Older Boy wanted. I pulled one of the sales people aside and asked him to measure Older Boy’s foot and then explained our situation. I told him our budget. He knew Older Boy’s size and I asked him to pull four black pair that met the requirements while we went to the other store. He was happy to help.

We went to the other store where Older Boy insisted on getting all the same pair of jeans and athletic pants. MULTIPLES. Whatever. He doesn’t have any pants that fit from last year. At least he found some. He picked out a couple of shirts and back we went to the sporting goods store.

Back at the sporting goods store the worker had pulled four pair. Older Boy was able to focus and make a decision. He loves his shoes. There were too many choices earlier. I need to write a letter commending the employee. He didn’t have to do that for us.

Praises school shopping is DONE! Praises for amazing customer service to make shopping with Older Boy change course midway through!

Prayers I can spend more alone time with Younger Boy. He is craving it right now.
Older Boy got his head shaved…BALD. He likes it. It is growing on me. He had originally asked for this haircut the last time we were there for haircuts. Due to his lack of impulse control I made him wait until the next time he got a haircut.

We talked about how if he didn’t like it he was the one who chose the cut. He couldn’t be angry at me or at the person who cut his hair. We also talked about how some people might make fun of it and that he couldn’t get mad then either, because this is something he wanted.

One thing I didn’t anticipate was how it would affect his self-soothing. His first “go to” in self-soothing was to start scratching his head. It doesn’t work the same now. I have watched him try to go to it a few times and then change to the tying and untying of shoes in frustration.

He says he loves the cut and that he is going to keep it like this FOREVER.

Praises for liking the haircut!
Denise of this afternoon baseball is officially OVER for the summer.

Both boys loved it. Older Boy had never played before and he is actually pretty good. His team finished the year at 13-1 (we think). Older Boy’s coaches were AMAZING. I explained at the first practice some of the behaviors they might see and some of the ways to work with him and they went WAY above and beyond. Older Boy made some good friends and learned to be a part of a team.

Younger Boy's team didn't fare quite as well. We know they won three. The first and last and one somewhere in the middle. Younger Boy’s coaches were GREAT. It was a group of godly men who had no connection to the team other than they knew me from church. They taught the boys about being respectful and how you don’t do things out of frustration in sports. Every time someone struck out and was “pouting” or “mad” in the dugout one of those men was there…coaching. They had Older Boy be the “student manager”. It turned into him practicing and filling in, because there were always people on vacation. They taught him a lot, too.

Both boys want to play again next year. I think it was really good for both of them and as much as I didn’t like being at baseball EVERY Thursday and Saturday. I would love for them to play again. It was a lot of GREAT life lessons.

Praises for a safe, fun baseball season and amazing coaches!
Today I had an AMAZING lunch with two people I NEVER would have met had I not been on this journey with the boys. One of the women, R, owns the tutoring company Older Boy uses. The other was Foster Mom J. She has a foster kiddo who is very similar to Older Boy.

The lunch was set up by R. She thought Foster Mom J and I would have a lot to talk about and tips to share with each other. She said she could see us both trying really hard to help our kiddos and not always having the right support or the right words.

I am thankful for God putting these women in my life. They are just what I needed today. We laughed...we shared stories...we shared tricks. I loved her. We agreed to meet again. Soon.

I don't know why I was so surprised God would put these women in my life. He always provides what I need when I need it.

Praises and prayers for Foster Mom J. What an amazing woman! Also for R, who cares enough to make a difference.
So...we are looking for a new therapist. Actually...I am waiting for them to tell me who the new therapist is going to be.

I can make recommendations, but my say is not the final say.

As I understand it we will not be going to the Trauma and Attachment Center. They are only accepting new clients who are pre-adoptive or adoptive. At this time I can't say whether the boys fit in that category so it isn't an option.

I got a recommendation from Foster Mom J who has a kiddo almost identical in behaviors to Older Boy. She said their therapist has been amazing. They have made significant progress and they really like her. According to Service Coordinator "she might be an option".

Service Coordinator is looking for someone. I asked her who she is considering. She gave me the name of the agency. I asked if they deal with kiddos who have trauma AND are DD/FAS. She doesn't know. Why on earth would we not find that out before we pursue it. Am I the only one who is thinking these things through? It is like trying to make an appointment to have open heart surgery with an OB/GYN. Let's find the right person...or at least someone who has the chance to be the right person.

We are going to send both Older Boy and Younger Boy to the new person. This means I will also be doing therapy with the new person since I am doing family therapy twice a week...once with each boy. As I write that I realize that I am in as much therapy as they are. Wow!

Pray this transition is smooth. Pray it is abundantly clear who God wants to have as the therapist for us. Pray for healing.
Every day we all make a series of choices which affect our lives. Some choices are good and have a positive outcome. Some aren't. We all need to learn we are responsible for our choices and the outcomes which are a result of our choices.

If you are told at daycare and at home that if you do not follow directions at daycare as they relate to playing your DS you can no longer bring it to daycare you have two choices. You can follow the directions or not follow the directions. If you follow the directions you can continue to take your DS. If you don't, you can't. Older Boy made a choice on Wednesday to not follow the directions with his DS. He is no longer able to take his DS to daycare. That means not Thursday, not Friday, not ever. This morning he didn't understand this. Apparently it was not his choice to follow directions.

We had to go to Psychiatrist. We were already mad about the choices we made as they related to the DS. As a result Older Boy chose to sit in the car when we arrived at Psychiatrist's office and scream "hell no...I'm not going in". I chose to give him a consequence, because I have choices, too. My choice was to take away baseball tomorrow. It stinks it is the last game of the year, but I didn't choose to sit in the car after five or more chances.

Older Boy told Psychiatrist he is making good choices and following directions. Is this really his perception? Did he forget between the time he got out of the car and into the office?

We changed meds again. I don't know what I think about it. We need to do something different with the aggression level. We need to make better choices with impulse control.

Pray the new medications are the right medications. The trial and error periods are really tough. Pray Older Boy starts to understand his choices are his own and so are the consequences that go with them.
Older Boy has decided he doesn't want Younger Boy shutting the door when he goes in the restroom. Of course this infuriates Younger Boy.

I asked Older Boy his reasoning. He said "If he passes out in there we won't know." Really? I am the only one who thinks that is ridiculous?

When I said Younger Boy can close the door when in the restroom Older Boy started screaming "you are ALWAYS taking his side" and "this is retarded". This resulted in a timeout which took 25 minutes, because he chose to keep screaming at me and explaining how I am not fair and how I think Younger Boy is an angel.

Believe me...I am well aware that Younger Boy is NOT an angel. Younger Boy just wasn't choosing to yell at me.

Older Boy claims he "didn't mean to" yell at me. That isn't a valid reason anymore. You did. Doesn't matter if you meant to or not. You did it.

Prayers Older Boy can start to think before he reacts and starts to learn that he is controlling to Younger Boy.
Since Therapist is leaving we have a great opportunity in front of us for both boys. We are trying to get the changed to a therapist at the trauma and attachment center. This center is typically reserved for kiddos who have severe PTSD and childhood trauma as well as strong behaviors.

We are going to pursue it for both boys since it is most effective to have them seeing the same therapist and also to facilitate family therapy.

The "success" rate of this is much higher than standard therapy.

Pray that if it is God's will they will take the boys on as clients.
We are losing Therapist and Tutor.

Therapist is going back to school so we will be starting all over with therapy AGAIN.

Tutor accepted a full-time teaching position and won't be working for the tutoring agency anymore.

This is frustrating to say the least, but there isn't much I can do. Maybe we can find a therapist who will be with them for more than a couple of months. Maybe this is why it seems like nothing ever gets accomplished in therapy.

Prayers that the right person will be placed in both of these positions. God already knows who that person is.
The good news is both boys did really well when they were staying with Coach Z and Mr. Z. They didn't fight. They got up when asked and they followed directions.

The bad news is they have been behaving HORRIBLY at daycare.

Older Boy is trying to be the alpha male in the classroom and is bullying everyone else. He has had numerous timeouts each day and refuses to follow directions. He is no longer allowed to take his Nintendo DS because he refuses to listen to them if he is playing it. This infuriates him.

Younger Boy threatened a five year old boy on the playground and told him "Pay me $10 and I won't hurt your arm." He also was in a fight yesterday during a field trip and is no longer allowed on any daycare field trips. The fight wasn't the issue that made it so he couldn't go on the trips anymore. It was the fact that he refused to take a timeout and the daycare provider had to chase him two blocks before he would listen to her.

Obviously this behavior is unacceptable. Obviously there will be consequences.

Prayers for wisdom and that something will get through to these boys.

Praises for the Z's for being great caregivers and great friends.
Coach Z and her husband will have the boys at their house for the next three days. I am going on a business trip.

Pray the boys will behave and follow directions for Coach Z and Mr. Z.

Pray they will all have an amazing time. Calm everyone's anxious hearts.