When we arrived home I told the boys they were not going to keep their candy in their rooms, but that it needed to stay in the kitchen.

By that time Younger Boy had his in their bedroom.  I went in and asked him to please take it to the kitchen and then head for bed.  Instead he decided to throw his entire bag of candy from his top bunk bed across the room.  I had him get down and pick it all up, put it back in the bag, and take it to the kitchen.  He did pick it up and took it to the kitchen where he proceeded to throw the bag full of candy against the wall. 

I sent him to bed.  Tomorrow night he will be picking it all up so that I can take it in to work with me.

I think the reality of Older Boy being gone is starting to set in.  In the past this would have been something Younger Boy would have done, but would have blamed on Older Boy making him mad.  Younger Boy does not like to follow directions or be accountable for his actions.  Both things need to change.

Prayers Younger Boy would choose to control his anger and not blame others for his actions.
We went trick or treating in Mentor R's neighborhood.  He took the boys with their neighbor and his boys while I stayed with J and handed out candy.

It was a nice evening.  The boys had a good time trick or treating and got a ton of candy.

Before we left Mentor R's house they had the official Halloween candy swap in their family room.  It was Younger Boy, Middle Boy, Mentor R's two girls and one of their friends.  There was a lot of negotiating for the "best" candy and a lot of candy left in the middle which was "up for grabs".  One of Mentor R's girls ended up with almost all peanut butter cups.  Younger Boy doesn't really know how to negotiate.  He was offering up five or six pieces of candy for things like a candy eyeball.  Middle Boy "felt sorry for" the friend and gave her all of his Starburst which apparently are her favorite.  Up until that she wasn't really part of the free for all of trading.

Most of the evening Younger Boy was sending text messages to me, Mentor R, and Mom J.  He was ending all of them with "I'm awesome".  Mentor R and I questioned it.  Apparently he had sent a message to Mom J that said "Don't make fun of me, I am awesome."  He sent it over and over.  She actually called concerned about it.

Praises for a great evening of hanging out with friends who feel like family.
Today I have been thinking about the past few weeks.  How filled with emotion they were.

I realized something about myself which may help me understand these kids a little bit more.  I, too, just turn off the emotion when I don't feel like dealing with it.

Since Friday morning I haven't really thought about Older Boy leaving my house.  I certainly haven't taken any time to process the move.  I just moved on.

I wonder if in some ways I deal with emotion the same way these boys do...pretend it doesn't exist.
The boys each had homework tonight and all weekend they were talking about how they wanted to clean and rearrange their room. 

They worked on their room for FOUR hours.  In looking at the before and after I would appear to me that there was actually maybe something like 30 minutes worth of work that got accomplished.  Not really sure how the remainder of the time was spent.

I told the boys their bedtime was nine o'clock and outlines all of the things that needed to be done before bedtime.  They needed to finish their room.  Pick up everything they had gotten out over the course of the weekend, eat dinner, do their homework, and get everything ready for school today.  They didn't quite make it.  They were in bed at 9:15pm.  It was still a VAST improvement over the past few weeks.

We are going to continue to work on it.

Praises for focus and getting things done. 
This afternoon we got our family pictures taken. 
One of the girls from the high school youth group has started her own photograpy business and took our photos.  We had a lot of fun taking the photos and I think they turned out pretty well.

Younger Boy sounds HORRIBLE.  He has this cough that literally sounds like he is trying to expel one of his lungs.  A couple of days ago he was a little bit glassy eyed, but didn't really have any other symptoms. 

Last night this cough started.  Luckily cough suppresants seem to help and he is able to sleep.  He doesn't have a fever and otherwise generally feels good...from what he says and what I can tell.

We stayed home from church this morning so he could get some additional sleep.  I think he is feeling better.

Prayers for healing.
Middle Boy and I went to the football game today.

It was a good day for football, but it wasn't a good game. 

We spent six hours together in the car.  We had a lot of time to talk.  That was nice.  We talked about a lot of things.

One thing I have noticed about Middle Boy is that he is very singular focused.  If there is something on his mind he wants it has to be NOW.  Everything is borderline urgent.  He is also a planner.  That kind of surprises me considering how out of control his life has been up to this point.  He wants to talk about two things...ALL THE TIME.  One is what kind of career he should have and one is what kind of car he should get for his first car.  He is only 14.  He doesn't need a car yet.  We talked about how having a car is a privilege not a right.  I honestly haven't thought through any of that.  Most parents have sixteen years to think it through.  I have a couple of years to figure out what my position on it is going to be.

Middle Boy is also DYING to have a job right now.  When I asked all of the details about it like how he would get there, etc. he hadn't thought about any of it.  I told him he could work at our house.  We are going to work through the details of it this week.

Praises for a great day together...not a good football game, but a great day.
Younger Boy had a lot of Halloween parties today.  Babysitter J stayed with him and they went to party after party.

Younger Boy is dressed like a ninja.  The costume is pretty cool.  There was one flaw with the costume today.  Younger Boy had left his black tennis shoes in the car and I didn't notice.  He ended up having to wear his brown dress shoes to all of the parties with his black costume.  In his words he "looked like a dork".

I doubt he will leave his shoes in the car again any time soon.

Babysitter J said they had a GREAT day.  That makes me happy.

Praises for good days.
Tonight we ran some errands and it was actually peaceful.  No one ran off.  There was no fighting.  There was no yelling at the store and there was no stomping off.

We went home and made a family dinner.  Everyone was in charge of making something.  Younger Boy loved being responsible for one of the foods we were having.  He also set the table without me asking.

We rented a movie and watched it.  I am NOT a fan of action/adventure movies, but I watched with the boys.

It was a nice evening.  We haven't had many of those lately.

Praises for calm evenings at home.
I had no idea today would be as emotional for me as it is.  I thought I would be sad, but I am literally overcome with emotion.  I have been fighting back tears all morning.

Younger Boy has school all day today.  Middle Boy and Older Boy don't.  As a result the goodbye between all of the boys had to happen this morning before we left.

Middle Boy was still in bed since he is staying home with Babysitter M.  He grunted "bye" to Older Boy.

Younger Boy and Older Boy didn't say much.  We got to Younger Boy's daycare to drop him off and their goodbye went like this:

Younger Boy - "Goodbye."
Older Boy - "Goodbye."
Younger Boy - "Have a good life at Mom and Dad J's."

Younger Boy got out of the car and never looked back.  No wave...nothing.

Older Boy started talking about Captain America.

My heart was breaking.  I had been bracing myself for a sad goodbye.  I wanted them to care.  I knew that it might be a goodbye void of emotion, but I wasn't prepared for just how emotionless it really was.  It makes my heart break for all of them all over again.  For their inability to create bonds.  For all of the goodbyes they have had to say and for all the times they have had to walk away and not look back....couldn't look back.

I am grieving for them.  Grieving for the lives they might have had and the things they might have done.  For a life free of all the heartache and pain they have had to face in their young lives....pain like most of us will NEVER experience.

Bear with me the next few days as I work through this.  The roller coaster probably isn't going to stop any time soon.

Prayers for all of the boys and for healing hearts.
Middle Boy has been sleeping in a sleeping bag all over the house.  Sometimes in the hallway.  Sometimes on the floor of their room.  Sometimes in the living room.  Sometimes on the floor in my room.  Sometimes in the basement.

Whenever I asked him about it he told me he preferred sleeping on the floor.  "It is just more comfortable."

Tonight before he went to bed he said "tomorrow night I can get a good night's sleep".  I asked what he meant.  He said that he didn't want to hurt my feelings before, but that he has been afraid to sleep in the same room as Older Boy.  He said he has been moving around, because that way Older Boy couldn't find him in the middle of the night without turning on all of the lights and waking everyone up.

This breaks my heart.  I'm sure there is MUCH MORE behind this from his past.  I wish I would have known.

Prayers for a peaceful night of rest for Middle his own his own bed.
Tonight I packed up Older Boy and was completely done at 7pm.  For me it was really bittersweet.  I know this is the right thing.  I really do.

I'm sure we will still be finding things of Older Boy's for months.  It is literally all over my house.  Especially since he decided to unpack himself before he went to bed.

I will be re-packing him tomorrow while he is at daycare before Mom and Dad J come to get him.

Prayers I can get done in a timely manner to not delay them.
Therapist J is transitioning to be the therapist for Younger Boy.  Therapist T got a new full-time job and is no longer able to do therapy because of a non-compete clause with his new employer.

Therapist J met with both Younger Boy and Older Boy tonight.  He had his hands full.

Younger Boy admitted he is purposefully making bad choices right now and is choosing to be disrespectful.  Choosing it.  Therapist J asked him how hard he is working to change.  On a scale of one to ten he said a one.  Therapist J said that as a therapist that makes him sad, because it means that he doesn't really want to change and likes how hard his life is when he is constantly getting consequences and in trouble.  They talked about needing the attention of being in trouble.  I think they are going to work well together.  I really do.

Older Boy was up next.  He didn't sit down the entire time during therapy.  Therapist J asked him about the decisions he made that are resulting in him moving today.  He asked if he understands that if he continues to make those same decisions he probably won't be staying in the new place very long either.  Older Boy didn't follow a single direction given to him the entire time during therapy.  Actually the only direction given to him was to sit down for two minutes.  He NEVER did it.

As soon as therapy was wrapping up Older Boy put on his Halloween costume and wanted me to tie the back.  Therapist J was still there.  I didn't tie the back.  I just kept doing what I was doing.  Older Boy just kept asking and getting more and more irritated.  He asked Therapist J to help him and he just kept making notes....not even acknowledging the request.  I asked Older Boy how it feels when people don't follow your directions or listen to your requests.  He said we were both just "rude jerks".  Therapist J explained that it is no different than what he did for their entire session.

Praises for Therapist J.  I think he is amazing.  I think he will make a difference for Younger Boy.  He has his work cut out for him, but Younger Boy has the ability to implement change.  He chooses not to.
I am frustrated today....very frustrated.

Middle school was a halfday today so Middle Boy is home with Babysitter M.

He texts me multiple times over the course of the afternoon to let me know what he is up to most days.

Today he texted me to tell me that they just finished watching Halloween on pay-per-view.  Really?  Did it occur to anyone that I don't want to have my 14 year old with a history of violence watching an R rated violent movie?  Who is going to pay the money it cost to buy it?  Tomorrow I will have to call to cancel the ability to get pay-per-view movies.  I texted her and said I didn't want Middle Boy watching R rated movies under ANY circumstances.

About an hour later I got a text from Older Boy that she had taken him to a family farm and taught him to drive.  What?  I am so mad I don't even know what to say.

I came home to find that Middle Boy had cut holes in the milk carton and various other things in the kitchen when he was bored.  I asked why he was bored and he said Babysitter M was sleeping and he didn't have anything to do.

I don't have anyone else to pick him up after school.  I don't want Babysitter M staying with him anymore.  I can't worry about what kind of choices she is going to be making every day.  She is a licensed nanny.  I am going to write a letter of complaint.  My first instinct is to fire her and figure it out later.

Prayers for the safety of Middle Boy today.

Prayers I can find another caregiver for after school for Middle Boy.
We finalized the details of the move this morning.  I am going to take the afternoon off of work tomorrow and be home to help load up Older Boy's stuff for Mom and Dad J.  Older Boy will be at daycare and Younger Boy will be at school.  Middle Boy will be home, because there is no middle school due to parent teacher conferences.

We decided we aren't going to make a big production out of the good-byes.  Mom and Dad J are going to pick up Older Boy at daycare tomorrow.  I will drop him off in the morning, so there really won't be a formal good-bye.  It isn't like there won't be any contact.  There will be regular contact.

We need to pack everything up tonight while the boys have therapy.  Older Boy was mostly packed over the weekend, but not anymore, because he got mad last night and unpacked everything.

Prayers for a smooth transition.
Today we had court.  It was interesting to say the least.

Judge reviewed Older Boy's case file and the first thing he said was "Foster Parent how have things been going since we were last here?"

I explained that Older Boy had continued to regress in most areas of his life with the most recent being school.  I explained the two day suspension and how I had regretfully had to give notice on Older Boy.  He asked how the placement preservation services had worked out.  I explained that I never received them prior to putting in notice.  Judge asked Service Coordinator why and she said because it took a long time to get written notice of the court order for them services.  He gave the dates of the order and then told the Department Representative that he was less than pleased that I didn't get the services.  He thanked me for the my dedication to Older Boy and asked if the outcome would have been different had I gotten the services requested.  I said that yes I would have kept Older Boy until the proper group home setting was found had I gotten worthwhile help in my home.

The entire time before court Service Coordinator was trying to be my "best friend".  It was truly sickening to me.  She kept saying "we're okay, right?".  I will be professional.  It doesn't mean I have to approve of or like the services she is providing to me.

Dad J was at court and he talked about the help Older Boy needs and the services they need to have in place prior to his relocation.  The judge said they need to be in place by Friday.  Please.  There is no way that is going to happen.  The placement isn't contingent on the services, but they will be LUCKY to have them a month from now.

Prayers Mom and Dad J get the services they need. 

Praises for Judge who truly keeps the good of the kids first and foremost in his courtroom.
Thank you so much for all of your prayers.

This morning I received such a blessing.  Older Boy will be going back to the home of Mom and Dad J where he lived a couple of years ago.    They are the adoptive parents of his sister and the guardians of his brother.  They are a trained DD home as well as a foster home and are equipped to help him.  This is such a HUGE blessing to me.  I have been so worried about what would happen to him and who would advocate for him.  Mom and Dad J will do that.  We have already been in contact nearly every day and have been a support system for each other for the past eight months.  This is such a comfort and blessing to me.

Ever since I discussed putting in my notice with them Mom and Dad J have been praying about how they could make it work to have him in their home again.  When they got the call yesterday about possibly taking him again they decided to trust God to provide.

The boys do not know about the placement yet as it was just finalized this morning.  I am unsure when we will tell them.

Please continue to pray for us in this transition and pray for Mom and Dad J as they take Older Boy back into their home.
Today is our review hearing. 

Pray for me to have wisdom and discernment.  To have the appropriate words with the appropriate amount of emotion.  Honestly I am fearful of crying and being over the top with frustration.

I have compiled my list of dates and times.  It literally makes me nauseated to look at it.

Thank you to C for volunteering to be there with me.  Foster Care Specialist has a conflict so she won't be there.  Her boss will be there in her place.  Foster Care Specialist said that the message should come from me anyway and that she knows I will be great.

Prayers for court.  Prayers that decisions are made which HELP Older Boy.  This isn't about me.  It is about what Older Boy needs and the best way to get Older Boy help.  God is in control and He is good ALL THE TIME.
We had dinner out after buying our costumes.  We had a lot of trouble figuring out where to go.  Because we were having such a tough time we ended up at the same place we went with our friends from church on Sunday.

Right after we walked in the door I heard a booming, familiar voice following us in.  It was Uncle R from camp.  He and his friend sat with us.  It was such an absolute blessing.  He talked to the boys and kept them entertained.  They were all excited to see him and while he told them a lot of jokes there is always a message from him.  This one was about anger and realizing later in life that things were really good and how sometimes you realize when it is way too late.  He also talked to them about the importance of following directions on the first request.  He talked about the way he parented his own children.

The boys LOVE him.  Older Boy wanted to go home with him and the other two want to go fishing with him.  He has such a heart for all of these kids.

When we got home he called me and wanted to talk about the boys and how they are doing.  I explained the situation with Older Boy and how we just need to pray that he gets the help he needs.

Praises for a nice dinner with a good friend.
We shopped for Halloween costumes tonight.  I wish I could say that it was fun.  It wasn't.

The problem really wasn't behaviors as much as it was inability to make decisions.  I had given the boys instructions on type of costume, dollar limits, and time limits otherwise I knew we would be there forever.

The other problem was my complete hatred of shopping when it is crowded.

Praises for the boys meeting all of the requirements.

We have a knight, a super hero, and a ninja.
Today I asked Service Coordinator for the psychiatric report on Older Boy that is going to be presented in court today.

Here is her response:

What are you wanting to know from the psychiatric report?  Perhaps I can answer your questions.  I’m not sure, with confidentiality issues, etc., that I can send you a copy of the report.

This was my response:

I would like to read the report in its entirety.  I already have copies of all of his past psychiatric evaluations that I was given by your office.  How would this be any different?

Here was Foster Care Specialist's response:

I'd assume she wants to know what the psychiatrist is recommedning?  She attends all of the appointments with Older Boy and is privy to all of this health history adn every other psychiatric recommendation.  Is there generally confidentiality held from the primary caregiver?  We do have a release signed for psychiatric records, so it you need that to help cover for HIPAA, I can send that to you.  Would that help?

Obviously I am a little bit less patient these days and Foster Care Specialist is a little bit more politcally correct.  I believe there is something in the report that Service Coordinator does not want me to see. 

Prayers I can maintain patience with her. 

Over the last few days I have received a lot of positive feedback on my abilities as a foster parent.  It makes me uncomfortable.  While I understand cognitively that I didn't fail Older Boy it still feels like it.

I have been told that if Older Boy couldn't maintain and thrive in my home there probably wasn't a standard foster family home he could maintain in.

I have been told that the school and daycare have rarely had a foster parent fight for their child the way I have fought for the rights and care of Older Boy.  School even told me that I care and am more involved than 90% of biological parents.

This is what God called me to do.  He asked me to care for orphans.  I am doing it to the best of the abilities He has entrusted me with.  All glory for what I have done should go to God.  Without Him there is NO WAY that I could have maintained this for as long as I have.
This morning Younger Boy asked me if I would come to school and have lunch with him some time.  I asked if other parents did that and he said yes.  He went on to tell me how he was going to be watching the menu, because he didn't want me to eat just "any old food", but one of his favorites.

I thanked him for inviting me and told him I would be honored to join him.

He asked me how I wanted him to introduce me to his friends.  He gave me the following choices:

1.  Foster Mom
2.  Christian adult friend
3.  Forever Family
4.  Mom

I told him I wanted him to introduce me however he felt most comfortable, but also explained that some of his friends might not understand what some of those things are.  He decided on Mom.  I think it is a good choice.

Praises for relationship and security.
Middle Boy and I talk...a lot...about life.  We talk about what is going on with him and what he wants his life to be and the things he has questions about.

Our talks often turn to character and morals.  He likes to ask "what if this happens" questions.  He has also mentioned A LOT lately that he would like to have a child of his own.  We have talked at length about this.  Almost every night for the last couple of weeks.  We have talked about why it isn't a good idea.  Tonight we finally talked about why he wanted one.  It was something he wasn't willing to talk about before.  He finally said "so I can prove to myself that I am not my parents".  Wow.  I assured him he is NOT his parents and how if he needs to prove that to himself he has his whole life to do it.  We talked about how his life has really stunk in a whole lot of ways.

He wanted to talk about some things he has never wanted to talk about before.  I cried as he talked.  I couldn't quit.  I thanked him for trusting me enough to tell me how he feels about the things in his past.  Things that he had buried and Therapist A told me would likely never come back out.

We prayed for healing.  We thanked God for trust and our relationship.  We thanked God for our willingness to talk to each other and not judge.

Prayers Middle Boy would continue to see the truth and how smart and caring he is.
We haven't had a full family team meeting at home for quite some time.  This afternoon we had one.  The first half was for the case of Older Boy and Younger Boy and the second half was for the case of Middle Boy.

The first part of the meeting was interesting.  Younger Boy did a pretty good job of focusing on the meeting and bringing up things he wanted to talk about.  We talked about school and how he is having trouble with his responsibilities in terms of getting the right supplies to class and that sort of thing.  He is doing a lot better at turning in his homework.  He also talked about how he asked Jesus into his heart.  He is really excited about that.  He wanted to make sure it got in the meeting notes.

The entire time Older Boy was either pretending to sleep, yelling random things, or sitting next to Foster Care Specialist just rocking back and forth.  The rocking is a self-soothing technique he uses a lot.  A couple of times he even mentioned that he was "zoned out".  We asked him about school.  It isn't good.  We asked how things were going at daycare...again not good.

We asked Younger Boy if there was anything he didn't like about his home right now.  He said he doesn't like the bickering, yelling, fighting, and swearing he and Older Boy do.  We asked him if there were times when they actually play together and get along and he said no.  I would say this is accurate.  They can for about ten minutes and then it turns into screaming, punching, and general ugliness.

Mentor R asked about the status of Older Boy's move.  We had all of the boys go outside.  That is when things got kind of ugly in the meeting.  We talked about how the right home for Older Boy is a DD placement.  Foster Care Specialist and I said again and again how disappointed we were that the paperwork wasn't done in a timely manner.  Service Coordinator didn't say much other than she was waiting on paperwork from others.  We explained that we started the paperwork in May and she didn't request any of the records she was referring to until late July.  We talked about how disappointed I was that I didn't get the help that was discussed in court over a month ago.  She didn't say a word.  We talked about how I am doing them a favor this week by keeping him when I didn't have to and that I was told I would have additional help this week yet have gotten none.  Again....she said nothing.  She told me she didn't think I needed to go to court this week.  No...she doesn't want me in court this week, because she knows that I will talk about how disappointed I am and how we could have avoided all of this if Agency would have kept up their end of the deal.

Middle Boy's meeting was altogether different.  We don't need anything on his case.  It was pretty uneventful.  Service Coordinator is just filling in for his service coordinator while she is on maternity leave.  She doesn't really know anything about the case.

We talked about adoption and my intent to adopt Younger Boy and Middle Boy.  I am going to mention it in court Wednesday. 

Prayers for the relationship with Service Coordinator to be repaired.  It is pretty strained right now.

Praises for a great advocate in Foster Care Specialist.
For the last hour Older Boy has been screaming at me.  Screaming about how it is obviously my choice he is leaving and how I have just wanted him out of here the entire time.

He stood about two feet from me pointing his finger in my face screaming.  All I kept saying is that he needed to sit on the couch and calm down.

That brought a new round of screaming and belittling me.  He isn't screaming.  He isn't being disrespectful.  He isn't doing anything wrong.  I am not listening.  I hate him.  I just want him out of here.  I'm not listening.  I hate him.  Over and over....for over an hour.

At one point he picked up the remote control and threw it across the room.

I explained that he lost privileges for this evening.  That started a new litany of screaming how I hate him.

I explained he made the choice to not have privileges with his behavior.  Another round of screaming about how all I am trying to do is purposely make him made and get him out of here.  I'm not listening.  I hate him.

I can't even explain how emotionally exhausting it is to do this every day....every day.

Prayers for peace.  Prayers for getting through one minute at a time.
We are back to square one.  The potential placement said no.

Service Coordinator called and said he was the "only" option they had.  She said she will have to go back to her placement department tomorrow to "see what they could do".

This is not going to look good for Agency in court on Wednesday.  I have a lot I feel like I need to say.

Prayers for placement.  Older Boy needs help...NOW...he needed it months ago.  He has needed it the entire time I have basically been begging Agency to help him and to find help for me.

Prayers we can hold on to some semblance of normal here.  When I told Middle Boy and Younger Boy that Older Boy was not moving today or tomorrow they both started crying.  They are as frustrated as I am.  It isn't easy to live like this...for anyone.
Today we got off to somewhat of a good start.  We went to church and then I taught Sunday school while the boys went to youth group.

Afterwards we went to lunch with some friends.  It was nice to spend time with them and the food was AWESOME.

We had been planning to see a movie for a few days, but it kept being pre-empted by the impending move.  This afternoon I decided to just take the boys.  I hadn't been very excited about the movie, but ended up really liking it.

Praises for a "normal" family day.
Today I got a call that they finally talked to the family who is potentially going to take Older Boy.  What I have come to find out was that this was actually the first contact they had with him.  Not at all the "sure thing" they had led me to believe on Friday afternoon.

He has asked for additional time to make the decision and will let us know by mid-afternoon tomorrow.

If he accepts placement the move could still potentially happen tomorrow or Monday.  If things don't work out it will likely be the end of the week.

Prayers the right placement is found for Older Boy.
Today I had scheduled a day of pampering for myself.  I wanted to get a much needed haircut and a massage.

Babysitter MY was here for the day.  She ended up taking the boys with her to watch the game and then to look for Halloween costumes.  My break ended up being much longer than I had originally planned, but it was nice.

I am actually incredibly sore from the massage, but much more relaxed.

After I got home I spent the day increasing the parental controls on all of our electronic devices to make sure no one was doing anything inappropriate.  It only took about three hours to get it done.  I also spent some time watching the football game and resting.

Praises for relaxation.
Tonight during the middle of the night the boys were up and for a reason I can't explain Older Boy head butted Middle Boy and now Middle Boy has a black eye.

Needless to say I was sleeping when it happened and all I know is that they got up and were fighting.

Prayers for peace in the upcoming days.
What I found out tonight was that there wasn't really a placement for Older Boy.  The supervisor at Agency had misspoken. 

I got a call tonight saying they still needed to call the potential family for him not that he would be moving.  They were waiting for him to call back.

My level of trust and faith in Agency is low.

Prayers for resolution.
Tonight we had our discussion about Older Boy moving out since it could be happening tomorrow.

I expected it to go really poorly.  It didn't at all.

Older Boy seems to understand he will be leaving to get the help he needs.

Younger Boy and Middle Boy are both very understanding and, honestly, ready for him to go.  Younger Boy told him over and over he needs help.  He needs to leave to get it and that he will see him regularly.  Middle Boy did a pretty good job of staying out of the discussion, but at the same time he was pretty encouraging for Younger Boy.

We decided to go out to a family dinner at a mexican restaurant since Older Boy has been really wanting to go there recently.

It turned out fairly nice.
I just got a call from our Agency worker’s boss’s boss and supposedly there is a placement which is a done deal and will be happening this weekend.  They are supposed to call me before the end of the business day today to give me the details.

I kind of feel like my life is being held hostage right now.  I don't like it. 

Keep praying...that's all I can do...keep praying!!

After much prayerful consideration I have agreed to keep Older Boy in my home one additional week.  There is still one possible placement and I said I need to know by the end of the day today so we can move forward with our lives.

My agency got an email from Older Boy’s agency telling us there was nowhere for him to go on Monday.  It is far more complicated and there is far more to it than that, but that is the basic story.  We did ask what difference a week was going to make and what the plan was for finding him something over the course of the next week.  We also said we will not extend beyond the end of the month.  They did include that he would not be going to an emergency shelter, because they hadn't tried to get director's approval for that.  The ugly part of me wanted to scream two is that my problem and why would I help you when for the last FIVE months I have been basically begging you for help and I didn't get any?

Agency asked us to please just help them out in this matter.  I have so many things I want to say about it, but I am going to do what is right for Older Boy.  Older Boy needs to be in a home if they aren't going to put him in the level of care he needs.  If being in my home for one more week gets him a proper placement I am all for it.  I love him…I just can’t have him living with me.  If Older Boy still ends up in a shelter after an additional week I pray I will be at peace with it.

Continue praying for all of us...especially Older Boy.
Tonight Middle Boy, Younger Boy, and I were reading the Bible story about the bridesmaids being prepared with the lamp oil and how some were unprepared for the bridegroom's arrival.  We started talking about what it meant and how we needed to be prepared for the return of Jesus.  Middle Boy asked what it meant and we talked about accepting Christ as your savior.  He told me he accepted Christ when he returned home from camp that Sunday night.  He said he prayed in his room at his foster home.  What I didn’t know was that Younger Boy had never prayed to accept Christ.  He did last night.  He told me he wanted to pray and we called Mentor R and Younger Boy prayed on speaker phone.  I knew it was something Mentor R wouldn’t want to miss after pouring his life into Younger Boy. 

Praises for that prayer.
Tonight we went shopping for Operation School Bell.  It is a program here in town which provides school clothing for foster kids in the area.

The boys got winter coats and shirts.  Middle Boy also got some jeans since we hadn't been school shopping together yet.  He has decided that his "style" is black and white only.  It is going to be easy to find things that match and to do laundry.  He has also recently decided that his "style" includes a BUNCH of hematite chains and pendants, this RIDICULOUSLY large watch, and one of my cheap rings.  I realized that I really don't care what he wears.  If that is his style...that's his style.

C helped us with the shopping so we took her out to dinner at Cheesecake Factory.  The boys were pretty excited and both of them kept saying it was the fanciest restaurant they had ever been to in their whole lives.  It was cool to see them loving it so much!!  They both had great manners and were respectful throughout dinner.

Younger Boy and Middle Boy were both excited to call Grandma and Grandpa to tell them about shopping and then we went home and just relaxed.  That NEVER happens.

Praises for a great evening!!
This morning I had an amazing discussion with Foster Care Specialist.  If I am going to be in "the system" I absolutely do not want to be there with anyone else as my advocate.

She is so sympathetic to the situation.  She knows how I feel without me telling her.

She reminded me of the realities in our situation.  She reminded me that in May we told Service Coodinator Older Boy needed help...more help than we could give.  We started telling her then that this is a priority.  At his escalation rate at that time he wasn't going to be able to maintain in a standard foster home.  We reminded her over and over.  It became urgent in August and we kept pushing.   Now it is an emergency.

She sent the following message to Service Coordinator today:

Any word on Older Boy?  It's hard for Foster Mom to know what to do at this point.  Does she pack his stuff?  Does she talk to him about moving even though we don't know where he's going?  Will he move on Monday if we don't find another placement?  I'm worried that Monday will end in an emergency situation and that is no good for anyone.

Have you check with insurance to let them know he needs placement immediately?  Sometimes that makes them spped up the placement process.

Any word from DD?  I sure wish this could have worked out for him sooner.  Things continue to escalate at home, school, and daycare.  He's really not having success anywhere.

Let me know if you have any information.

We haven't gotten a response yet, but I am thankful Foster Care Specialist cares as much about Older Boy as I do.

Praises for a good advocate, partner, and friend in Foster Care Specialist.
Last night I had a dream about everything going on at was so real.

In my dream Service Coordinator came to me on Monday and said there was no where for Older Boy to go.  He was going to be completely homeless.  In the dream I had to just send him out the door with a bag for his clothes and a little bit of money for food.  I didn't have the choice to keep him and I didn't have the choice to follow-up on how he was doing.

I woke up crying.

Prayers for my mind working overtime....worrying.

Prayers to turn this over to God.
I was talking to Mentor J last night and something he said really struck me.

When I look at the behavior of Older Boy and how much help he needs I still love him and want the absolute best for him.  I know that he needs more help that I can give, but I am willing to fight for him every step of the way until I don't have any more to give.

Mentor J said that he looks at it and thinks about how God must feel similarly about us.  He must look at us and our behaviors.  The difference is that He can do all things.  He loves us unconditionally.  He fights for us.

It gave me a little different perspective...which I desparately needed.

Praises for perspective.
I got a lot of words of encouragement last night...but one email is just sticking with me.  J...I know you said it wasn't is.  I love you for taking the time to write it and for caring about us!!

I just wanted to share something I read in Jeremiah yesterday morning.

The city of Jerusalem is under siege.  People are dying of starvation.  The city is going to fall any day.  The Babylonians will take over, destroy everything, take everything, kill many, and lead the rest to captivity in Babylon.  Things are looking really bad.

Right in the midst of this, Jeremiah's cousin comes to him and asks him to buy his field.  Buy his field?  This is a ridiculous idea and would be a stupid thing to do.  Jerusalem and all it's people are going down any day.  Everything is going to belong to the King of Babylon - including every field.  What in the world?  Why buy a field right NOW?  What a waste!

But God tells Jeremiah to buy the field.  It appears to be a very foolish thing to do.  But God tells Jeremiah that He wants him to do it because He wants it to be a sign to the people that "someday people will again own property in this land and will buy and sell houses and vineyards and fields...fields will again be bought and sold in this land about which you now say, 'It has been ravaged by the Babylonians, a desolate land..."

While I was reading and thinking about this passage, it struck me that here is an example of a time when God calls someone to do something that in all appearances turns out looking like a failure - like a stupid thing to do.  Sure enough the Babylonians conquered and Jerusalem fell.  Jeremiah bought that field, but no success story seen. 

It brought to mind your situation with Older Boy.  I know that you most certainly sensed God's call and guidance to have the boys in your home.  Yep, He told you to buy the field.   And now, you might be prone to look at the current situation as failure.  But God is doing bigger things, has a bigger picture in mind.  Loving Older Boy as you have, surrounding him with support and people cheering for him - all that he has experienced in your home - none of it is a waste.  It wasn't foolish.  It wasn't a failure.  It was God in you extending grace and love.  He's used you to paint of a picture of His care and compassion.  Now..."the city" is falling, things are looking not so good - but we can trust Him with the rest of the story.

Reading it again...I start to cry...thank you J...a thousand times...thank you.
Mentor M and his wife J took Older Boy through Friday.

It is such a blessing to me, Younger Boy, and Middle Boy.  I didn't realize how much Older Boy's behaviors were affecting everyone at home.  Both boys went to bed easily last night and slept through the night.  This hasn't happened in weeks.  Older Boy has been either keeping everyone up or waking people up in the middle of the night fairly regularly.

Both boys are well rested.

I got a report from Mentor M this morning and Older Boy had a peaceful evening there.

Mentor R brought the other two boys home from youth group since I just used the time to myself.  It was nice to just collect my thoughts for a couple of hours.

Praises for support gratitude is immeasureable.
As I write this I am in tears.  I have reached my breaking point.

At 8:30am this morning I got a call from the school nurse that Older Boy told her he had thrown up and that a janitor had to clean it up.  According to the nurse this did not happen, but he was insistent about talking to me.  I told him he would need to stay at school for another hour and if it happened again I would come and get him.  Since we go through this every week I knew the likelihood of this was very low.

At 1:30pm I got a call from Older Boy's principal telling me he had spent over half of the day in the office.  Once for threatening a teacher.  Once for leaving a class unexcused.  Once for yelling profanity during class at another student and once for general disruptiveness.  She said he told her I "refused" to let him take his meds this morning.  I watched him take them.  She said she knew it was an excuse so he couldn't be held accountable for his behaviors.

At 2:00pm I got a call from Older Boy telling me that the teacher who had given him academic detention told him he didn't have to go.  Since the email from her yesterday said "indefinitely" I knew there was no way this was possible.  I told him he would have to stay there for detention unless I heard from his teacher directly.  He told me she had to leave early so this wasn't possible.  I explained that he MUST stay at school for the detention.

At 2:50pm I got a call from the principal telling me that they were unable to locate him for his detention.

Immediately when I hung up I got a call from his daycare that he had ridden the bus there.

I called the school back and told them he was at daycare.

At 3:15pm I got a call from daycare that he had punched a peer.

He is out of control today.  I can't take him to youth group like this and I do NOT have the energy to take him on right now.

Pray he is able to pull it together tonight and that we don't end up at the psychiatric emergency room.
For some reason this morning it hit me like a ton of bricks that I am grieving Older Boy leaving.  I feel horribly guilty about the whole thing.  How do you tell someone who won't understand that you made the decision that it was time for them to go?  That you just couldn't do it anymore.  As the realization that the delay in the details of the move becomes more and more obvious that there is no place for him to go the worse I feel.

If he ends up in the emergency shelter I'm not sure I can handle it.

I am going to have to walk Middle Boy and Younger Boy through the grieving process...both at different speeds and with different degrees of grief I am sure.  God can heal all things...I know he can.

I want to be relieved that when I go home at night I won't be preparing for battle and spend the entire evening being belittled and berated.  I'm not.

I want to have peace about the move.  I don't.

I want to know in my heart that this is without a doubt the right thing.  I have doubt.

I want to be able to sleep again at night.  I can't.

God please help me navigate the next few weeks.  I need you now.

I read something on facebook this morning that made me stop to think.

"Sometimes God calms the storm...something He lets the storm rage and calms His child."

Prayers for calm.
Middle Boy is at that stage of foster care where the kiddos test to see if you are going to send them away or not.

His behaviors have escalated slightly, but nothing really beyond what a "normal" teenage boy is like...if there is such a thing.

The way his testing is manifesting itself is this....every night for the last three nights he has gotten a quarter out and said "heads I stay, tails I leave".  He flips the quarter.  A number of times it has been tails and he has done two out of three or three out of five. 

I'm not sure what he is looking for from me.  He knows I want him to stay.  We have talked about it many times, at length.  I know that in his world words are just that...words.  It is the follow-up action that means something to him.

The first night he did it I told him it made me sad to think he really thought it was going to be that much up to chance.  I told him God brought him to my house for a reason and that we are family. 

Now when he does it quite honestly it just makes me sad.  Sad that he doesn't trust me enough to believe that he is staying.  I know I haven't earned that trust with him and it might not ever happen.  I am willing to keep trying.

Pray Middle Boy would learn to trust.  Pray he would know that he is safe and that I love him....really love him.
Younger Boy threatened Older Boy tonight with bodily harm.  It was not was not playing was not a joke.

I heard the whole thing happen.  When I tried to hold him accountable for the behavior Younger Boy became furious.  I explained that threats are serious business and there are consequences for that type of behavior.

This is not the first time Younger Boy has threatened someone.  He threatened a child at daycare and another child at school.  These are the "reported" incidents.  I'm sure there are more.  He is pretty vindictive when he thinks no one is paying attention.

Prayers this behavior can get under control.
The purpose of family therapy is to work through issues which we are unable to address without the help of a therapist.  Usually before family therapy Middle Boy, Younger Boy, and I actually sit down and talk through things and behaviors which are going on at home that are less than ideal.  Older Boy is never a part of this discussion.  Not because he isn't part of the family, but because in that type of setting it is not productive.  If anyone says anything about his behaviors he explodes.  He really doesn't have the capacity to make behavioral changes in that manner anyway.

Both boys said tonight that I have been very stressed out lately and seem to get mad easy.  They are right.  The unfortunate part is that I can't tell them why.  I can't give them any details on Older Boy's move.  I can't even tell them he is moving or when, because I don't know.  It is putting a huge amount of stress on me.

Otherwise the boys said things seemed to be going well.

I had some things I wanted to address:  breaking things on purpose and not using things for their intended purpose, not picking up after yourself, and bedtime.

While I was talking about this Younger Boy was wrapping his arm in masking tape.  I gave that as an example of being purposefully wasteful and not using something for its intended purpose.  There were plenty of examples from after school of not picking up after yourself.

Bedtime has to change.  It has to.

After our discussion last night I was disappointed when none of those things changed.  I guess we will talk about them again tomorrow.
Today as I was driving to go pick up lunch I was listening to the radio and literally felt as though they were speaking right to me.

There was a woman talking about her life and her trials and she said she is constantly reminded of the following verse:

"For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." - Isaiah 41:13

I needed this today. 

Thank you God for meeting us right where we are.
I am so sick of things in my house being intentionally damaged.

Tonight I came home to find that a Wii remote had been thrown and was broken, an SD card had been taken apart, and a TV screen had gotten scratched.

My patience with these things is starting to wane.  I'm tired of saying "only use things for what they were intended for".  I'm tired of giving punishments for taking things apart and then throwing pieces of them away, because you don't want to get in trouble.  It makes them so I can't fix them.

Prayers this behavior stops soon.  I'm not sure what I will do if it doesn't.
Tonight I went to a movie with a couple of friends.  The movie was indescribable.  Not good, not bad.  I left not even knowing the characters names.

The time with friends was priceless.  Just a nice break.  Nice to just hang out and talk and laugh.  I need to find more time to do that.  More time for myself.

Praises for good friends.
While I was at work today I realized someone had taken Older Boy's phone out of my purse during the night.

I asked Older Boy about it when I picked him up at daycare.  He told me he had seen Younger Boy get up during the night and put it in his backpack.  The story made sense and is plausible, because Younger Boy often takes things and hides them or steals them.  When I picked up Younger Boy I asked him about it and he was adamant that he did not take it out of my purse.  We got home and I asked Middle Boy about the phone.  He was puzzled about the whole thing.

We did a "search" throughout the house, because no one had taken it and it was in my purse the evening before.  I told the boys someone in the house had to have done something with it since no one else had been there and we would have to look until we found it.  After about 15 minutes of looking I called the boys into the living room and said that I knew someone had taken it, but since we hadn't found it I would have to call the police.  I gave them one last chance and said I was going to go rest in my room for 15 minutes and said when I came out I hoped the phone would be on the kitchen table.

After about two minutes in my room Older Boy knocked on the door and said he needed to talk to me.  He had taken the phone, but it had been confiscated at school by the security guard.  He didn't have it and I need to go pick it up.

I explained that a lot of things went wrong in his decision making.  First, he had lost phone privileges.  Second, he had stolen something from my purse.  Third, he had lied about his brother taking it.  I had him go apologize to his brother.  He was irate when I made him say more than "I'm sorry". 

As a result of his behaviors he had to stay in his room all evening.  He cried and cried about me not being fair or listening to him and how he needed a second chance. 

Prayers for understanding consequences and making good decisions.
Today Younger Boy immediately got out his backpack sat down and did his homework.  It took 15 minutes.  It was math and I checked it over for him.

When he was done we talked about how much nicer it was than to have to go through the hours long process of lying about it and then arguing and receiving consequences.  He seemed to see how much smoother his evening went.

Praises for one day of peace in relation to homework.
Middle Boy needs more sleep.  He is kind of a mess.  He needs his bedtime to be 8:30pm or he is pretty much non-functional.

He is really trying to go to bed at 8:30pm...really trying.  Older Boy and Younger Boy are making it impossible.  The biggest problem is Younger Boy.  He literally could stay up all hours of the night.  He messes around and makes a bunch of noise and picks fights with Older Boy.

It isn't ideal that all three share a room, but that is the way it is right now.  I am trying to think of a way Middle Boy can get more sleep.  I'm limited on the options in my house.

Pray we can come up with a plan so everyone can get the sleep they need.  What we are doing now is NOT working.
This morning at church I was VERY touched by our support system.  The boys are SURROUNDED by people who love them and are there for them.  People seek them out to sit with them during the service and talk to them before and after services.

They have friends who are their age and they have a whole lot of adults who care. 

It really makes my heart smile when I see it.

Praises for our church family and support system.
Middle Boy met Youngest Sister and her family today.

Niece A and Niece I had a great time playing soccer in the backyard with Middle Boy and Younger Boy.  Niece A is actually pretty good and she wanted to be on a team with Middle Boy.  They did a great job of playing with her and playing at her level.  Niece I got a little bit frustrated, because she thought she was too little to play.

Younger Boy had a great time playing with the girls on the computer.  He showed them a website where they can make a fairy princess and pick out her magic powers and her wands and clothes.  They sat and did that for a very long time.

It was good to see Youngest Sister and her family.  It has been too long!

Praises for family.
I got a text from Babysitter N asking me to call her as soon as I had a minute.

She told me that Older Boy had texted her multiple times asking inappropriate questions and for inappropriate pictures.  I looked online and realized he must have texted her by accident, because after those texts there were a series of texts back and forth between Older Boy and a number I didn't recognize.

I called the house where Older Boy was staying for respite and had them take his phone.  They called back a little while later and said that yes there were very inappropriate texts on the phone that were initiated by Older Boy.  They tried to talk to him about it, but even though the text had a date and time on them he insisted he didn't send them.  They talked to him about the inappropriateness and left it at that.

When I picked him up I asked him to hand over his phone.  He immediately told me he didn't do anything.

I read all of the texts and to say it is disappointing would be a VAST understatement.  There were about 50 texts back and forth escalating in sexual nature.  The other person put an end to it and then it became a series of violent outbursts.

Older Boy has permanently lost his ability to use cell phones.  He is writing a letter of apology to Babysitter N.  He and I have already talked about how inappropriate what he did was as well as illegal.  I also asked him to discuss it with both of his mentors.

This was the first time he acted in a way that was accountable for his actions.  He didn't protest or scream.  He was very quiet and sat and wrote the apology note.

Prayers for understanding that your actions have consequences.
Older Boy went to respite for the weekend so that I could have a peaceful weekend with my parents.  It was a nice break.

The house has an entirely different atmosphere when Older Boy is not present.

We were able to play some games as a family and Younger Boy was able to sit and build with legos for about two hours.  That would have never happened with Older Boy there.  He only lets him do things like that for about 15 minutes before he is antagonizing him and breaking the things Younger Boy is building.

Praises for peace.
For the first time since he lived with me Younger Boy actually talked about something important at therapy.  His behaviors have really not been good at all.  I met with Therapist T before the start of the session and then Younger Boy wanted me to sit in the other room and listen in case he forgot anything.

They talked about Older Boy moving and how the behaviors Younger Boy was having weren't going to help Older Boy with his situation.  They made a plan for keeping in touch with Older Boy.  They made a plan for what to do when you start to get sad about Older Boy leaving before it turns to anger and bad behavior.  They talked about how it isn't the plan for him to leave, but that he is still worried about it.  They talked about how you need to talk things through and not act out.  They talked about how you have to have the motivation to want to make these changes.

Therapist T asked Younger Boy how his movitation level has been to want to make changes and he honestly answered it was a one.  Therapist T then explained that he was choosing to be on a path that probably isn't going to end up in a very good place.  He seemed to get it.

Younger Boy cried through almost all of therapy.

Praises for Therapist T finally getting Younger Boy to open up to him.  Prayers that it will continue and we can work on the healing.
Grandma and Grandpa are here for the weekend.  Older Boy's daycare is having an outing to the pumpkin patch so I bought tickets for all of us.

Middle Boy and Younger Boy slept all the way to the pumpkin patch.  They have both had a long week.  Older Boy was looking up verses in his Bible.

We got to the pumpkin patch, got parked and went in.  The maps there are quite difficult to follow and we needed to be at a specific place for dinner.  Immediately the three different personalities of the boys came out.  Middle Boy takes charge.  Older Boy just wants things to be his way and doesn't want to listen to what anyone else has to say and Younger Boy is easily distracted. 

We made it to the location of the bonfire for Older Boy's daycare after going the EXACT OPPOSITE direction.  It was typical bonfire dogs, chips, and smores.  The hotdogs were partially frozen so even though they got charred on the outside they were still pretty cold.  Kind of disgusting.

Afterward we walked around for a while and ran into some people who I went to foster parent classes with.  The boys hung out with their toddlers and took them on the train and the four-person tricycles. 

We went to the haunted houses and the corn maze.  We read the rules of the corn maze.  Younger Boy read the rules and immediately broke one of them.  He was FURIOUS when he couldn't do the rest of the corn maze, but had to stay back with Grandpa who wasn't planning to do it anyway.  Older Boy, Grandma, and I did the "school group maze" and Middle Boy did the full maze.

Afterward we got carmel apples and went home.

It was all in all a nice night.  Some behavior issues, but nothing like usual.

Praises for a nice night with family on a fun a outing.
This afternoon I got two messages while I was in a meeting.

The first message went like this "This is Older Boy.  I am trying out for the basketball team."  That was it.  No other details.  Am I supposed to call daycare and say he isn't coming?  Is there a late bus?

I call the school to find out when the tryouts are.  Today.

The second message was this "I need to get a physical over the weekend."  Nothing else.  Chances are this will not be happening.  We have plans tonight and he is going to respite on Saturday and Sunday.  It will not happen this weekend.

This is the kind of stuff that makes me crazy.  So impulsive with complete lack of thoughts about others.

I have no idea if he will make the team.  Part of me feels bad, because he might not even be attending this school in a week.  We have no idea where he is going or when.  We still can't tell him, because at this point there is no reason to.

Pray for patience for me.  Pray he has a good tryout.
I continue to loathe bedtime.  Not because I am no tired and wanting to go to sleep.  Believe me...that isn't it at all.

Younger Boy was supposed to be in the shower at 8:30pm, but he was mad so instead he turned the shower head into the center of the room and ran the water for about 10 minutes...flooding the bathroom.  He then insisted that since it was Older Boy's turn to shower he should be the one to clean it up.  Older Boy and Middle Boy showered in my room while Younger Boy cleaned up the water/argued for the next 40 minutes.

Tonight all three boys swore they would be in bed no later than 9pm.  They were in bed at the following times:  Older Boy - 9:40pm, Middle Boy - 10:05pm, Younger Boy - 11:40pm.

I went to bed at 10pm.  I stayed awake until Younger Boy made it to bed.  He lost a number of privileges, but what I have come to realize is that he has NO REMORSE...ever.  He can cry crocodile tears like no one else I have ever met, yet do the EXACT same thing 15 minutes later.  I have yet to find a punishment that works for Younger Boy.  I would be open to any and all suggestions.  Honestly I believe he craves the negative attention.  CRAVES IT!!

Prayers for bedtime.  Prayers for getting through to Younger Boy.  Prayers for sleep!!
There is a new behavior in my house being exhibited by all three boys.  The behavior is throwing things.  I really do not like this behavior.  I am not sure when it started.

There is a new rule in my house.  If you throw something of yours you will pick it up and throw it in the trash, because you don't respect your own property.  If you throw something of someone elses they get to pick something of yours and throw it away for you.

I have already thrown away two things of Younger Boy's, two things of Middle Boy's and one of Older Boy's.  All were met with protests.  My response is that you shouldn't have thrown it and you all told me that you understood the new rule.  There shouldn't be confusion or protests.

Prayers for follow through with the new rule and for compliance.
Older Boy and Younger Boy in the same room is like having gas and fire.  Neither one can enter a room where the other is and not make a snide comment or throw something or kick them or something of that nature.

Tonight Older Boy had therapy with Therapist J.  We were still eating dinner when he got there.  Middle Boy was grilling hot dogs with the help of Younger Boy.  Older Boy wanted more hot dogs.  He had already had four.  Younger Boy had one and there were three left.  Therapist J watched as Younger Boy took the two that were least black and left the third for Older Boy.  He also watched Older Boy scream that Younger Boy did it on purpose.  It resulted in Older Boy calling Younger Boy a profane name and flipping him off.  It was a built in therapy session for Therapist J.  They talked about the appropriateness of his response.  Older Boy ended up eating all of the hot dogs, because Younger Boy was tired of the yelling.  It didn't come without Younger Boy screaming about Older Boy always getting his way and Older Boy screaming about how everyone always sides with Younger Boy.

After the session Therapist J and I talked for a while about the relationship between the two.  He commented that he had never seen them act like they liked each other or heard either say anything about being brothers and caring.  He has certainly seen the ugly side of their relationship.  His observation is both of them will have trouble dealing with their issues when the other is constantly there igniting a spark of behavior.

We didn't set up therapy for next week, because we aren't sure Older Boy will still be there.  Ironically I will kind of miss Therapist J.

Prayers that one day Older Boy and Younger Boy will be able to have a healthy relationship and be able to recognize their current life situation has nothing to do with the behaviors or actions of the other.  Prayers they will one day realize that all of the anger they are holding inside is not healthy or productive.
Today we picked up the cookies Younger Boy sold for his school fundraiser.  He was pretty excited about making the calls to deliver the cookies.  He was also quite disappointed we weren't going to deliver a tub of cookie dough to Illinois to my sister and her family. 

It was purchased with the intent we would keep it.  That is what I usually do with them.  That is hard to explain to someone who is eleven.

We will be delivering cookies (and baking our own) this weekend.

Praises for excitement over little things.
I have been reflecting a lot on what I could have done differently with Older Boy and his behaviors.
I should have been more detailed in my monthly report writing.  I should have written every detail down about what was going on at home.  If nothing else it would have been better documentation for his behavior patterns.
I should have asked for help sooner.  I should have used respite once a month at a minimum.  I shouldn’t have worried about it seeming like I couldn’t handle it and I should have just asked.  I should have taken breaks away from both boys.
I should have pushed harder for more services.  I should have said REALLY EARLY that our first therapist wasn’t going to cut it.  I should have insisted we get the CTA we were promised and actually made a huge deal out of it when they didn’t show up and when they were more trouble than they were worth.
I should have written the court when Service Coordinator wasn’t following through with her responsibilities.  I should have let Guardian Ad Litem know that we weren’t getting court ordered services in a timely manner.
Would it have made a difference?  I don’t know.  Would I have not had to put in my two week’s notice before a group home was found?  Maybe.  Will I do it different next time?  I hope so.  The system is so very broken.   It isn’t unlike the brokenness of the world.  The unfortunate thing is that the kids are the pawns in this system and from my vantage point not much of what is done is done for their welfare.
More and more often God is putting on my heart that I can make a difference.  That the reason I am going through all of this is to be an advocate for change. 
Pray doors can be opened.  Pray for no regrets.
Older Boy's girlfriend broke up with him yesterday.  He has really been stewing about it.  He has reached out to his youth group leader and both of his mentors to talk about it.  Last night after he talked to both mentors he talked to me about it as well.

He is remorseful for writing her a note telling her how angry he is.  He is also very sad.  I am saddened, because it truly seems as though his heart is broken.

I am also a little bit baffled by the whole thing.  First of all...Older Boy has been diagnosed as not able to show remorse or attach.  I am witnessing him do both tonight.  He is sad.  He wishes he wouldn't have written her an ugly note.  Both of those things shouldn't be happening.

Everyone who talked to him shared basically the same things from what I can tell of his view of the topic.  He still has a large amount of guilt associated with the note he wrote.  He plans to apologize in person to her tomorrow.  He said he already wrote her a note and he thinks he needs to use words for this.

Praises for glimpses of attachment and remorse. 

Prayers for his broken heart.
Younger Boy hates me.  It's official.

Today when he got home I asked about the book report.  He had assured me it would be done when I picked him up from daycare.  I was "shocked" to find out it wasn't.  He told me he had "worked on it at school and forgot to bring it home".  I apologized for the fact that he went to all of that work, but that he would have to start over and finish it up tonight at home.

I am awful!!  How could I be so completely unreasonable?

He decided he MUST do his math homework first.  Since he was doing any sort of homework I decided that was fine. 

He started writing his book report.  I asked how long it needed to be.  He said short.  I asked to see the assignment about book reports.  The assignment sheet had 10 different types of book reports on it, but none were a standard book report.  They will be doing 10 reports over the course of the year and they have to do each type once.  What he was doing wasn't even on the sheet.  When I tried to explain this to him he ripped up the assignment sheet and stormed into his room.

I took the other two boys to youth group and we came back home to work on the assignment.  By that time he had calmed down.  Admittedly I called Mentor R to talk to him, because I was exhausted from the disrespectfulness.

The report is finished.  It is EXACTLY 10 days late.  The actual report took 30 minutes.  The arguing, crying, scheming, and everything else associated took about 4 hours.

Prayers for understanding the importance of education and following directions.
There are two things I dread these days....going home from work and bedtime.

As the time gets closer at the end of the work day I can feel myself tensing up.  Home is not a pleasant place right now.  I feel stuck in fight or flight.  This has only happened to me once before and that was at Girls TRAC over the summer.  I find myself bracing to be screamed at and argued with non-stop until bedtime.

Bedtime...I hate it.  Everyone has a scheduled bedtime.  Right now the only person who is respectful of bedtime is Older Boy.  I think it is mostly because he is super exhausted from all of the rage he utilizes over the course of the evening.

Middle Boy and Younger Boy are just defiant.  Honestly I have stopped caring.  By the time Older Boy goes to bed I am done.  It is hard to go from managing all of the anger and not just want to sleep.  I'm emotionally drained.

I want to say it is going to be different soon.  I'm not sure it is.

Pray for rest for me.  I'm tired.
According to Younger Boy living in my house is total crap.  He reiterated that again for me this morning. 
He is tired, because he went to bed late.  He is irritated, because he is being held accountable for his school work and his actions.  He is not pleasant to be around.
Therapist A was here tonight.  She said more than one time we need to remind her why she is there.  She said that every week she expects to come in and find Middle Boy and I at odds or at least having trouble communicating about something.  Last night I told her that we do get annoyed with each other sometimes, but what I notice more is how fiercely protective he is of me when the other two boys are being disrespectful. 
I also described how he seems to get really anxious when I am upset with either Younger Boy or Older Boy.  We talked about why.  We talked about whether or not he didn’t know me well enough to know whether I was going to explode and go on a rampage.  He said he knew I wouldn’t do that.  He said what bothers him is that he doesn’t like to see me frustrated by them.
I explained that it isn’t any different than when he frustrates me with the exception that generally Younger Boy and Older Boy don’t care that they have frustrated me.  Middle Boy does…or at least he pretends to.
We talked about school lunch, because Middle Boy hadn’t been eating.  When it came down to it the reason was he didn’t know the process and didn’t want to stand out.  He knows the process now and is eating lunch every day.
We also talked about his new friends at school and church.
At the end of the session we determined we would have our weekly session next Tuesday and after that we would go to every other week for a couple of months and then once a month since therapy is still court ordered until February.
Praises for good communication and Therapist A.   She could have just kept coming to our house every week, but she trusts we will reach out if we need her.
Younger Boy got two homework slashes the DAY AFTER we had a huge talk with him.  Mentor R and I talked to him about the importance of taking care of your responsibilities and the very next day he doesn’t turn in his homework.  I don’t even know what to say.
Tonight he needed to read an entire book out loud to me.  That wasn’t the assignment.  He was supposed to be reading a chapter a day to me since last week, but he didn’t and now the pressure is on.  I explained he needed to get started, because I had therapy with Middle Boy.  He ended up reading to me for an hour and twenty minutes.
He also had math homework and the book report from last week to get done.  The book report MUST be done by Thursday morning.  No questions.  He wanted to do it Wednesday night.  I explained we had youth group on Wednesday and there was absolutely no reason he couldn’t do it tonight.  That did not make him happy.  He ripped up the instructions for the book report and said that living in my home is crap.
Back to math.  He wanted to work on it in his room.  He worked on it in the kitchen otherwise it just takes WAY TOO LONG.  He was not happy about that.
Back to the book report.  It is going to take a long time, because he hasn’t even read the book yet.  He did sit quietly and read the book.  At least as quietly as you can when Older Boy is home.  I’m not convinced the book he read meets the criteria.  He ripped it up so I can’t really tell. 
I went to the basement to help Middle Boy research science fair projects and Younger Boy was supposed to be working on the book report.  He did NOT start it.  I had him go to bed…way past his bedtime.
Prayers for understanding the importance of education.  Prayers for willingness to fulfill responsibilities.  Prayers for finishing tasks and taking them seriously.
Today I got a call from Older Boy's daycare.  He never arrived at the center on the bus from school.

Immediately I panicked since his behavior has really been escalating.

I called the school and they didn't have record of him staying late.  They proceeded to page him four times and got no response. 

They asked me if this is a common thing he does.  Shockingly it is the first time.  At about that time he came sauntering into the office at school.  It seems that he decided when the busses were leaving that he would audition for the school play today after school.  I overheard the lecture he was given by the school office.

He was swearing he told me.  No way.  I would have remembered he was auditioning for a play, because I would have had to work out the details of his rides.  The office asked him when he signed up for auditions.  He said he didn't and just went there today.

The impulsivity makes me CRAZY and today worried.

Pray he would understand he can't just do things on a whim unless he lets an adult know.  I'm sure somehow tonight this will all be my fault.
Mentor R had a LONG discussion with Younger Boy today.  His behavior has been out of control.  He isn't doing homework.  He isn't following directions.  He is being destructive at home.  He is being disrespectful at every possible opportunity.  He is being stubborn about a whole lot of things.  He is stealing and he is lying.

Mentor R took him to dinner to talk about the behaviors I had told him about.  Younger Boy took the opportunity to either lie or present partial truths.  Part way through the conversation Mentor R called me to see if they could come home and all three of us talk.  When he was talking to me Younger Boy just started crying.  He knew he was in deep.

We talked for a couple of hours.  Younger Boy did a good job of confessing all of the behavior issues he has been having until we got to homework.

I had gotten an email from his teacher telling me that he had a book report due a week ago and he told her it was finished at home.  I was 99% sure that wasn't the case, but I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.  I shared the information with Mentor R.  We asked him to go get the report.  He brought us a blank piece of notebook paper.  We were both speechless.  Finally Younger Boy said "it is the paper I am going to write the book report on".  What?  It was kind of hard not to laugh at the absurdity of it.

We talked about lying.  We talked about disrespect.  We talked about how he seems to seek negative attention....A LOT.  We talked about how positive attention would be way more fun for EVERYONE involved.

We explained that he doesn't have to be perfect, but he needs to make an effort.  He needs to be trustworthy.  It is about his character.

Praises for Mentor R taking the time and loving him enough to talk real with him.

Prayers it will eventually sink in.  Hopefully sooner than later.
The official court paperwork didn't saying anything about the boys being able to be separated.  When I put in my two week notice for Older Boy I knew it might be at the risk of losing Younger Boy as well.  We worded my notice to say that if the agency could separate the boys that I intended to keep Younger Boy in my home.

Foster Care Specialist told me we would just have to wait.  She could see Service Coordinator going either way, because we have irritated her lately.  She could take Younger Boy just because or she could let him stay, because it is difficult to place a sibling strip of two teen boys. 

Service Coordinator was in meetings all day.  I literally was feeling sick all day about the possibility of him leaving.  It isn't that I am not sick about the possibility of Older Boy leaving...I am, but this is different.  I prayed most of the day and sent out a TON of prayer requests.

Toward the end of the day we found out Younger Boy is in fact staying and that things can proceed as "normal" with him.

Praises for placing the good of the child first and for the amazing amount of prayer support we received throughout the day.
This morning I put in my two week notice for Older Boy.  I just can’t do it anymore.  I had originally hoped to be able to hold on until the court date on October 26th, but that would have meant he would be here for another month.  I care about his kid, but I am not getting the help I need from his agency.  I am not getting the court ordered help from the September 14th hearing.
At this point in time I am unsure whether or not this will affect Younger Boy.  In the past they are court ordered together.  It will be up to Service Coordinator.
Prayers for Older Boy and Younger Boy.  Older Boy needs help…so much help.  Younger Boy is not going to understand.