This morning Middle Sister called to tell us that Dad was going to be moving to another hospital here in town.  The hospital he is in doesn't offer the type of dialysis he needs.  He needs to have continual dialysis and it is only offered at one hospital here in Omaha.

He is going to be transferred some time this morning.

Prayers for a safe transport and wisdom for the doctors.
I got about four hours of sleep. 

Middle Boy and I both got up this morning and I just lost it.  I was crying about the possibility of losing my dad and hot scared I was that it was going.  I started to hyperventilate.  It wasn't good.

Middle Boy was comforting.  He held my hand.  He did his best to help.

Prayers for Dad.  Prayers for healing and wisdom.  Prayers for peace for my sisters and Mom.
Mom and Middle Sister were so tired tonight.  Youngest Sister went to the hotel to take care of her kids.
Middle Sister and Mom went to the hotel to sleep.  Middle Boy and I took the first shift at the hospital overnight.

Younger Boy went to stay with Mom and Dad J.

Middle Boy and I were at the hospital until 4AM.  I went to check on Dad every 30 minutes.  It is such a blur.  He isn't good.  I am terrified of losing him.

Prayers for healing.
Today I was supposed to be at foster parenting classes all day.

Sometimes things just don't happen the way they are supposed to.

This morning my sister called and said that my dad was not doing well and that they were going to do an exploratory surgery to figure out what was going on with him

I got to the hospital and was greeted by my youngest sister.  She wanted me to be prepared for seeing Dad.  He was pretty out of it and pretty jaundiced.

They were just starting to move him up to the intensive care unit.

He got relocated and the surgeon came in to see him.

They took him to the surgical area and we waited for quite some time.

They did the surgery, but didn't anything that needed to be repaired.  They did find infection and he developed sepsis.

I wish I could have gone to class today.

Middle Boy is back to the start with his behavior at the after school program.

This morning I got an incident report letting me know that the doesn't respect authority and won't follow directions.  He is disruptive and is taking up too much of the staff time.

He was yelling and was loud and obnoxious throughout the session.

This is unacceptable.  He has gone back on his word.  He will be receiving consequences.

Prayers for wisdom in how to handle these behaviors.  They are not so entirely different than the ones I am getting at home right now.
I am ruining everything.  I do not want anyone who lives in our house to have fun and I absolutely don't understand, because I am so old.

I also do not want these boys in my home and I am the source of all of our problems.

I don't ever believe anyone, accept apologies, and I regularly interrupt people when talking.

Allegedly I am a least that is what the boys tell me.
Tonight we went to visit my dad in the hospital.  He had surgery on Monday and still has a significant amount of nausea.

Mom has been staying at the hospital with him and they are both tired.

Prayers for healing and rest.
The consequences for getting suspended are not mine.  I did not take a knife to school and I did not get suspended.  In fact, I didn't steal a knife.

I am going to attend the intake meeting that is required prior to being allowed back in school, but so is Younger Boy.  He is MAD.  He doesn't see why he has to be a part of it.

Really?  You think I feel like taking vacation time to go to the school to talk about why you took a knife to school.  You are WRONG.  You are going to answer their questions, because I don't know why you did it.  You wouldn't talk about it with me and Therapist J.  Now you can explain it to the school yourself.

I can't help you if you won't help yourself.
There is no gray in our house...none.

If I say "don't write on yourself", but someone else does it apparently that is okay, because you didn't do it.

If I say don't throw something, tossing it is okay, because I said throw and you tossed.

I am going to go crazy in this black and white world...literally crazy.
So...the outcome of every choice you make in life is a consequence.  Sometimes those consequences are good.  Sometimes those consequences are bad. 

Some people make choice after choice which pile on the consequences until they can find a way in their own mind to rationalize why the situation they are in is the fault of others.

This is the case of Younger Boy tonight.  He had therapy.  The ENTIRE session focused on a single topic.  Why did he take a knife to school?

Therapist J never got an answer.  He got a lot of irrational blame about how everyone always interrupts Younger Boy and Assistant Principal has been wanting to suspend him and you name it...there was blame to go around for everyone.

Therapist J and I came up with every possible reason we could think of for Younger Boy taking a knife to school.  He finally said "What if I did it so I would get suspended?  I'm a failure anyway."

For Younger Boy this is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  He makes choices based on the fact that either everyone is out to get him or already hates him.  He behaves in such a way that failure is almost guaranteed.

Again tonight he told Therapist J that he isn't going to try at anything.  Especially if it is something I want him to do.

We also talked at length about a proper apology.  Therapist J pointed out to Younger Boy that he has NEVER heard him apologize in a way other than with an angry tone of voice.  He told him he wouldn't ever accept that kind of apology.  That really made Younger Boy mad.  At that point he said no one in his entire life had EVER accepted one of his apologies anyway so what difference did it make.

It was a LONG session.  Nothing got accomplished.

Praises for a patient therapist.  I was about to be pushed over the edge.
I just got a call from Younger Boy's school.  He has a two-day suspension starting this afternoon.  He will be able to return to school on Friday morning after I attend an intake meeting.

Why is he suspended?  He took a pocket knife to school.  Where did he get a pocket knife?  No idea.  I don't own one.

Luckily he is able to go to daycare for the next couple of days.  He will need to work on school work during the day there though.  I am going to go and pick it up over the lunch hour tomorrow.

I am at a loss with what to do with him anymore.  His decision making is getting worse...not better.

Pray he can make good decisions.  Prayers for wisdom as to what to say to him.

Middle Boy is a mess right now.

He stayed home from school throwing up due to anxiety.

He literally hasn't eaten the entire day.  He has tried, but every time he has gotten sick.

Tonight when he tried to go to bed he couldn't relax.  He thrashed around and when he finally did sleep he was punching at his blankets and screaming in his sleep. 

It is going to be a rough night...for both of us.
I am really starting to HATE facebook.

Over the weekend Middle Boy's mom contacted him through his sister.

Their conversation has been tough on him.  I have read everything that she has sent.  It is basically asking him if he is happy now and telling him that she still thinks about him and loves him. 

He keeps telling me he doesn't care, because he doesn't want to hurt my feelings.  He does care.  It doesn't hurt my feelings. 

He asked if he could get copies of his baby pictures so I would have them once he is adopted.  When I read that I thought it was an odd request.  He later explained that he actually just wanted to see what he looked like as a baby.

She gave him her phone number.  He told me there is no way he is calling, because she is his past.

He is suffering from a lot of anxiety because of their new communication.  He is having trouble processing the whole thing.

Pray for peace for both of them.
Honestly I don't know what started it.  Maybe he was tired.  I just don't know.

In the evenings I have been making it a point to talk to each boy individually about all of the positives of their day that I saw.

Younger Boy had quite a few.  He followed the directions my sisters gave him and was for the most part respectful while we were at the zoo and later.  He was kind when dealing with his younger cousins and was also helpful.

Middle Boy also had quite a few.  He was helpful with his younger cousins.  He didn't complain when he was not feeling well at the zoo and wanted to go home.  He was patient when he was waiting to go swimming.  I told him I was proud of him.

That turned into a MESS!!  He immediately shut down.  I started going through all of the words I had just said.  What made it happen.  Then I realized it.  He is SO uncomfortable with being loved that he doesn't know what to do.

When he came out of his "shut down" the first thing he said was "I don't deserve to be adopted.  Especially not by you."  He went on to list every single thing he could think of that he does that he thinks is wrong.  "I am disrespectful.  I am stupid.  I don't do what you ask.  I talk back to you.  I don't listen.  I break rules."

You name came out of his mouth.  I stopped him.  I told him that while I understand that those thoughts are in his head they are ugly and they are not true.  He absolutely deserves to be adopted...especially by me.  We talked about how all people make mistakes and how I don't expect him to be perfect.  I'm certainly not. 

He said, "You do all the things a mom is supposed to do and no one has ever done that before.  I don't deserve it."  Whether you think you deserve it or not, Middle Boy, you will always have my unconditional love.

Prayers for healing and understanding of self-worth.  Prayers for seeing himself as God sees him.
Today we went to the zoo with my sisters and their families.  It was a nice day out, but the zoo was incredibly crowded.

The kids had a good time hanging out.  Middle Boy loved pushing Baby C in her stroller.  He could get her to giggle pretty quickly.

By the end of our time there we were all hot and exhausted....and starting to get grouchy.

We said goodbye to Youngest Sister and her family and went back to the hotel to swim.

Praises for beautiful weather.
Both boys were exhausted from their big day.

They really wanted to stay up late.  We had a discussion that just because it is Saturday doesn't mean you have to stay up late if you are tired.

They decided to go to sleep right when we got home.  In fact, both of them were sleeping before 9:15pm.

Praises for sleep!
Middle Sister and her kids arrived in town early this afternoon from Illinois.

The kids had a blast playing in our backyard and getting to know each other.  The boys played football while Niece L played with Sophie.

We were supposed to go to a bowling party, but the kids were having so much fun they didn't want to leave.

Afterward we went out to dinner with my entire family and then all of the kids, minus Baby C, plus Uncle G swam at the hotel pool.  They had a great time hanging out together.

Praises for cousins who like hanging out together.
Middle Boy had group therapy this morning.  He did two presentations.  His group passed him on one and did not pass him on the other.

He will have to present again next week.

He and I still have different ideas what Therapist L means when she says 3 or 4 assignments a week.  He SWEARS she has to actually give them to him.  I showed him that they are actually all in his notebook with the directions and he could actually work ahead on them.

So...on Thursday we will see who is right.  Unless I decide to email Therapist L before that.

Praises for accomplishments during therapy.
Tonight we went out for dinner after I got off of work.  I had to work late so it ended up being a little later than usual.

The interesting thing about the boys though is that they don't seem to care as long as you eat the meals "in order".  By that I mean breakfast comes before lunch which comes before dinner.  If you eat lunch at 5pm then dinner is still missing and can be done any time after that.

The boys wanted to rent a movie so they watched a movie this evening and I worked on stuff around the house.

It was a pretty nice evening.  Praises for that!
Today we found out Younger Boy and I will have two sessions per week at the Attachment and Trauma Center.

M's response was "You have a lot of time to fit in two more therapy sessions per week, right?"  She followed it up with "It will absolutely be worth it."

Tonight I was talking about it with the boys on the way home.  We don't know yet who are counselor is going to be.  I did tell Middle Boy that his guidance counselor at school is actually one of the five therapists at the center.  Immediately he said "I'm not going then."  I explained that he isn't starting there until September or October and he will be in high school then. 

He went on to tell me that he has been working really hard to bond and attach to me and that he doesn't want therapy to ruin all of the hard work he has already done.  I told him I was excited about the opportunity to make it even stronger and better with the help of someone else.  He thinks they will screw it all up.

I absolutely give him credit for the effort he is putting in.  Quite honestly for him it is the trauma piece that he needs more than the attachment piece.  For Younger Boy it is both.

Praises for being "officially accepted" to the center.  Prayers for soft hearts that are open to healing and help.
Earlier today I told Middle Boy that he needed to tell Therapist about being contacted by his victim to be friends on Facebook.  He didn't want to.  From what I could tell it was for two reasons.  The first was that he doesn't really trust his therapist and he thought that it would cause him to have charges filed against him.  I explained that it would do the EXACT opposite.  He also asked if it would get her into trouble.  I still don't understand this...probably never will.

He told Therapist about her contacting him and Therapist gave him some great strategies and thoughts.

When he came out of therapy he told me thank you for convincing him to tell her.  We high fived and I told him I was VERY PROUD of him for having the maturity and courage to tell her.

Praises for Therapist and courage.
On the way to Middle Boy's therapy tonight we had a discussion in the car about restful sleep.  Neither of us every have restful sleep.

We talked about melatonin for sleep which his doctor and my doctor have recommended more than once.  He told me that he doesn't want to take it, because he sleeps too hard and isn't able to be "on guard".  He said when he sleeps he like to be "partially awake", because he promised someone he would never, ever let his guard down.

I asked if he would tell me the story.  When he was six his teenage cousin was at his grandma's with him and they were riding bikes in the alley behind the house.  He went inside for some reason and his cousin was beaten up by a group of boys.  He was the one who found his cousin and his cousin told him to never let his guard down or this could happen to him.  This has stuck with Middle Boy for YEARS.

We talked about what we can do to make him feel safe at least safe enough to have a peaceful sleep.  We brainstormed things like making sure all doors and windows are closed and locked, making sure all blinds are closed, making sure we have our cell phones charged and ready to call if there is an intruder, and getting night lights for all of the rooms in the sleeping area of our house.  We are going to make a checklist we can do nightly until it is a routine.  Honestly...most of these things already occur, but if it makes him more comfortable we can check them off every night.

He thinks if all of that is done he will feel comfortable enough to take melatonin to help him sleep.  He wants me to hand him the melatonin every night so that I will know that we should start the routine at that time.  We'll just make it part of the checklist.  He has taken it TWICE since the doctor recommended it and he did sleep a lot more peacefully those times.

Praises for being able to talk through fears and prayers for peaceful sleep.
Younger Boy had his middle school and sports physical today.  He has grown four inches since he moved in with me. 

Our appointment was in the middle of the afternoon.  Doctor K and I witnessed what they probably get every afternoon at school.  At one point Doctor K actually said "We have to be able to do better than this."  Younger Boy was everywhere.  He just kept saying random words at random times.  He wandered all over the exam room.  Opened every drawer.

We are going to make changes to the ADHD meds.

He also needed to get three vaccinations.

He had an allergic reaction to one of them.  We were still in the room and he was putting on his shoes and complaining about his arm hurting.  I asked to look at it and there was a HUGE red rash all around the spot where the shot was administered.

The nurse came in and looked at it and we ended up staying at the doctors office for an hour to see if anything else happened.  The only other thing that occurred was a huge blister in the spot where the shot went in.

Make me wonder if this happened the first time he got the shots since these were boosters.  I guess I'll never know.  Wasn't really prepared for that though.

At one point Younger Boy asked the nurse if he was going to die. 

Praises for a good medical team.
Honestly I have been waiting for this day.  A day when there was NOTHING to say.

There were no behaviors in question tonight...unless you count Sophie.

There was nothing in the system that made me want to either scream or cry.


Today I am thankful for this nothing.
There are a lot of you out there that I hope DO NOT send me an email with your answer to that question.

You see...there is this kiddo...yes...another kiddo...who I can't get out of my head.

Have I met him?   Nope.

Do I know much about him?  Nope.

Here's the thing...he is slowly inching his way into my heart.

God works in ways that I will never understand before I get to ask Him face to face.  I saw this boy on the heart gallery and wanted to know more.  This boy came up with a permanency worker on Monday.  The same boy came up as a potential placement for the teen camp.   Today at lunch one of my co-workers said "What are your boy's names?".  He then answered himself by giving the name of Middle Boy and not Younger Boy, but the first name of the boy who keeps being mentioned.

I was caught off guard.  I asked why he said that.  He didn't know why he thought that was Younger Boy's name.

Praying...that is what I am going to be doing regarding this boy.  Maybe that is all I am ever supposed to do. my path.
Middle Boy is having more and more trouble falling asleep at night.

Tonight was tough.  His body and mind fight sleep with all that they have.  He truly can't calm down unless every door is closed and lights are on in the room.  Every noise jolts him out of bed with his fists clenched.

Every night I try to help him otherwise I don't get much sleep.  I talk to him about how he is safe and he can trust me to protect him.  We talk about how God loves him and protects him.

Tonight I asked him if he knows why he can't sleep.  He told me that he has to be on alert in case something happens and he is afraid he won't wake up in the morning.  He is also fearful that I won't be there.

He asked me to just talk to him and pray, because my "soothing voice" helps him go to sleep.  I talked to him about everything I could think of that was peaceful and prayed.  I had my hand on his back while I was talking to try to calm him.  BIG MISTAKE.  When he fell asleep and I removed my hand he shot up on alert.

I tried to hug him...another mistake...he felt trapped and started to hyperventilate, because he thought he couldn't breathe.

Once he calmed down and we started the process again I prayed and talked.  I recited verses.  He didn't want me to sing...justifiably so.  He fell back asleep after about 15 minutes, but as I was getting up to leave I made another noise that woke him and put him on alert again.

By this time I was SO FRUSTRATED with MYSELF.  He told me he needed to grab something.  He went to the kitchen and ate five small cups of applesauce.  Must have been a comfort technique.

He went back to bed and I talked to him.  This time I had to repeat myself, because I was completely out of things to talk about.  It is tough to do a middle of the night impromtu monologue.  He finally relaxed and is now sleeping.

Prayers for healing and peaceful sleep.  Prayers for the feeling of safety.
Tonight Younger Boy decided to do his homework.

What?  In the middle of spring break week.

First he used our electric pencil sharpener to sharpen EVERY pencil we have in our home.  Then he took a break to play with some transformers.

He did a little bit of reading.

One of his assignments was to read out loud to me.  He read me a story about Neptune.  He really struggled to get through the whole thing.  He was also reading to Middle Boy who was being very respectful.  He even volunteered to listen to him read it again if he wanted to.  He didn't.

Younger Boy actually stopped part way through to tell me he needs to be a better reader. 

Maybe we will switch to him reading the Bible story each night for his practice.

Praises for him taking some initiative toward school work tonight.
Middle Boy has decided to create a blog, because he "wants to be able to remember what his days are like right now".  We talked about what type of writing is appropriate and what isn't.

He is aware of this blog and is an infrequent follower.

He thinks his blog will be a good way for us to communicate with each other.

I agree that writing will be a good outlet for him.  He is a lot like me and it is easier for him to put his thoughts on paper than it is for him to talk things through.

I'm looking forward to reading what he has to say about his life.

Prayers for his creativity and desire to be open with me.
Younger Boy woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

This resulted in a number of less than desirable behaviors culminating with throwing his scooter across the garage and into the garage door.  When this happens you no longer have the privilege of riding your scooter for a week, because you obviously don't care about your scooter.

When I dropped him off at daycare he got out of the car and thanked me for "ruining his life" and making him "be disrespectful".  He slammed the door shut and stormed into the building.

I'm "really looking forward to" picking him up tonight.

Prayers for changed attitude.
Middle Boy went out to dinner and to a movie with Mentor L tonight.  He came home fired up.

Apparently the movie he saw was "beast" and he will need to rent it when it comes out on video.

He also brought home three soft tacos...leftover from the TEN PACK he ordered himself for dinner.

Mentor L is really good with him.  They had originally chosen a different movie and Mentor L explained why it wasn't appropriate.  Middle Boy was able to tell me why it wasn't appropriate and how Mentor L had made a good choice about that.

Praises for an amazing role model in the life of Middle Boy.
Today was Younger Boy's monthly family team meeting.

We handed out Younger Boy's report card.  Service Coordinator S and Foster Care Specialist M had a lot of questions for Younger Boy.  He basically told them that he just doesn't care so he doesn't do the work during school or at home.  They asked him about 100 questions all of which he answered with either "I don't know" or "I don't care".

Service Coordinator S thought maybe we should get him a tutor.  NO...we are not wasting a bunch of time and the state's money on a tutor.  The problem isn't understanding it is motivation.  I am not going to drag him to yet another kind of appointment just to have him tell me he has decided not to try. 

I have decided to have him repeat sixth grade.  Service Coordinator S and Foster Care Specialist M agree with me.  GAL does not.  He is so concerned about him "graduating on time" that he can't see right in front of him.  He can't graduate while reading at a third grade level.  I'm not sending him to middle school next fall.

His IEP meeting is scheduled for May 1st.  It will be interesting to hear the outcome of that.

He is also enrolled in summer school.  GAL thinks he doesn't need it.  GAL has met him EXACTLY three times.  I'm pretty sure he knows EXACTLY what he needs.

Younger Boy hid under a blanket for the majority of the meeting, because he didn't want to be held accountable for anything.

Prayers Younger Boy will start to accept some responsibility in his life.  I realize he is very young, but the not caring is starting to really get old.
We are now down to one caregiver.  I am thankful it is not because of us.

Babysitter J is going to take a break from school and move back to South Dakota for a while.  She is on the quarter schedule and is going to take this quarter and the summer off.  She hopes to be back in the fall.

She could absolutely use prayer.  She is having a rough time right now and we are going to miss her...A LOT.

If anyone in our area has ideas of great caregivers over age 19 we could use some.

Babysitter M has a full time job and works for us for extra spending cash.  I love her as well and I am sure she will keep working for us, but we are going to need more help!

Prayers we can find a good caregiver or two to add into our babysitter rotation.
Tonight I am completely at a loss....completely.

Middle Boy's victim requested to be his friend on Facebook.

Honestly it makes no sense to me.  He is beyond angry about it and has absolutely no intention of responding.

Prayers for wisdom on how I should respond, because I feel like I should.
Today was a work day at our house.  We had a lot of projects that have been needing to be done.

We defrosted the freezer in the garage as a team.  We each had our own responsibilities and it was good to work together to accomplish a goal.  Now we also know exactly what is in our freezer and what we can plan for meals.  If anyone needs any tilapia I think we have about 30 pounds of it!!

We also worked on gathering donations for the local homeless shelter.  We have so many kids clothes it is unreal!!  Both boys are growing A LOT!!  There is no way either of them will wear these winter clothes again next year.

We are also working on rearranging our house so that we can each have more of our own space.  It isn't looking like we are going to move anytime soon so we have to do something!

The boys did great today.  They stayed focused (for the most part) and just helped get things done.

Praises for hard work.
For the first time in over two months we were at church today.

It felt good to be back...if only for an hour.  I think getting over the hump and going back at all will help us get there every week again.

Both boys sat through the service.  No one tried to fall asleep.  No one tried to leave the service.  Both boys sang during worship time.  I think they missed it, too.  I'm not sure they would admit it though.

Praises for our church community.
The boys rented some games tonight.  It is interesting to me how Younger Boy is far more adept at video games than Middle Boy is.  He can figure them out quite quickly and is just a lot better.

The other thing that interests me is that Middle Boy is okay with that.  He asks him for help and complements him on his "skills".

They were really getting into the wrestling game they rented.

It is fun to watch them interact with each other and hang out.

Praises they are developing a "brother" relationship!
I am starting to try to spend time alone with each of the boys.

Today was Middle Boy's day.

We went shopping for a new pair of shoes since his no longer fit.  (Didn't I just buy some?)

Then we went and got ice cream and went to a movie.   The movie was all about how to use your words wisely and how they can really matter.  It was kind of a stupid movie, but the message was good.  We talked a lot about how what you say can mean the world to someone or it can really hurt them.  It was good for both of us to hear.

I'm glad we spent the time together.

Praises for a good afternoon.
Both boys got their eyes checked today.

Younger Boy's prescription needed to be increased.  He also needed new frames.  Of course his insurance only pays for frames once every two years and only frames that cost under $20.  Well...this current frames have had to be super glued twice in the last two weeks so he needed new frames.  Also there are really no frames that cost under $20 that will meet the wear and tear a pre-teen boy is going to place on them.  So I just paid for it.

Middle Boy's needs glasses.  He really isn't far-sighted or near-sighted, but his eye muscles don't work hard enough to focus on near things  This is true especially if he has been looking at things in the distance.  This lack of eye muscle strength can cause headaches which is happening to him virtually every day.  The other option is for him to do vision therapy.  Just the word therapy nearly sent him through the roof.  Ultimately that might be what he needs to do, but the glasses will help in the interim.

So...both boys will have new glasses as of next Saturday.
Today was a good day for us and for the first titme in a long time we had a really good evening.

The boys hung out together and played catch.  They ran around the yard with Sophie.  I am not sure if they wore her out or if it was the other way around.

Praises for a glimpse of normal family life.
Tonight we went to dinner at a fairly nice restaurant. 

The boys still have a long way to go in terms of manners in restaurants and generally how to behave in public.

The have done worse than they did tonight, but they have done better, too.

We need to work on them at home, but when we eat at home we are always in such a huge rush to get ready to leave to go somewhere that it is difficult to do much about it.

Pray for good manners.
This morning I heard the most amazing new song on the radio by Sidewalk Prophets...

Live Like That

Sometimes I think
What will people say of me
When I'm only just a memory
When I'm home where my soul belongs

Was I love
When no one else would show up
Was I Jesus to the least of those
Was my worship more than just a song

I want to live like that
And give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You

If love is who I am
Then this  is where I'll stand
Recklessly abandoned
Never holding back

I want to live like that
I want to live like that

Am I proof
That You are who you say You are
That grace can really change a heart
Do I live like Your love is true

People pass
And even if they don't know my name
is there evidence that I've been changed
When they see me, do they see You

I want to live like that
And Give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You

I want to show the world the love You gave for me.
I'm longing for the world to know the glory of the King.
It has lately become our nightly ritual for the boys to do things that irritate me and then I blow up.  Happens about the same time every single night.

Younger Boy usually just leaves, slams his door, and plays around in his room.  Middle Boy just gets angrier and angrier and nothing I say can help the situation.

Tonight it happened again.  I don't know what started it...something silly I'm sure.

Middle Boy was mad and getting madder.  I decided instead of being irritated to give him a hug.

As soon as I did it he zoned out.  I asked him what was going on with him.  He told me that he isn't good enough to live with me.  He is causing me to be unhappy and he is ruining another family and this is his last chance in life.

Wow...those are big feelings.  I just kept hugging him and telling him that he is absolutely good enough and he isn't going anywhere.

He is starting to heal.  It is going to be a rocky road.  That he will admit any of this to me is HUGE.

Prayers for continued healing.

Praises for the beginning of building trust.
Tonight Younger Boy was riding his scooter around the block with one of his new friends in the neighborhood.

He hit a crack in the sidewalk and pretty much banged up both knees.  Totally scraped up and bleeding.

He came home and wanted to know what he should do.  He didn't want my help or my comforting, just wanted to know what he should do to make it feel better.

He finally got it cleaning up, but it looks like it is going to hurt for a while.

He's pretty excited about the new friend though.

Praises for neighborhood friends.

Prayers for healing scraped knees.
Tonight Middle Boy had therapy.

On the way there I again asked him if he had his homework for therapy done.  He told me that he hasn't had homework for a couple of weeks.

When we got to the therapist's office he didn't take his assignment notebook in.  I stopped him and told him he forgot it, but he said he didn't need it.

I had decided to just sit in the car for the hour and read so I was in the parking lot.  The therapist came out and asked if I knew where his notebook was and I handed it to her.  She gave it back and said she was going to squash his behavior.

About five minutes later he came out and said the therapist wanted me to join them.  I went in and she called him out on the lies.  She told me that he has 3 or 4 assignments per week and that he should be done with 15 of them by now.  He has done two.

She asked me if I had any questions.  I asked him point blank why he lied directly to me on the way to therapy. 

He immediately started talking about how he didn't know what he was supposed to do and I didn't specifically say therapy homework so he didn't know what I was asking and a whole bunch of other stuff.

The therapist stopped him, because one of his first lessons was on being evasive versus being honest.  She asked him to point out all of the evasive techniques he used to explain himself with me.  He couldn't think of any.  She came up with four...lying by omission, smoke screening, using technicalities, and blaming others.

Wow...eye opening for me.  She gave me the sheet identifying what they are talking about and asked me to start pointing it out when I notice them.

She explained that the three of us are a team and we all need to know the game plan.  She then went on to say that if one of us is a ball hog we won't win.  I think he got the analogy.

Praises for a GREAT therapist.

Prayers for understanding on the part of Middle Boy.
Everytime something goes well there is someone or something in the system which makes things difficult.  More difficult than they need to be.

After we were given approval for the attachment center I emailed Service Coordinator S to tell her.  She sent me back the following reply:

"We can only do this if you are 100% committed to adopting Younger Boy.  I'm not sure they will start since you have stated you want to put the adoption on hold, but I can ask.  This is one of their requirements.  He has to be in a permanent placement."

She obviously COMPLETELY ignored the fact that I told her we had been accepted for services at the center.

When M got a copy of that email she came UNGLUED.  This would again be Service Coordinator S trying to pressure me into an adoption before we are ready.  It makes her numbers look good if I adopt now.  Same with GAL.

Of course now the supervisor of Service Coordinator S is involved, because my agency is up in arms.  I thought we would go at least a month without having to get her supervisor involved in something.  I was wrong!

Prayers Service Coordinator S will stop being a stumbling block and start being an asset to the team.
Today I got a call from the Attachment and Trauma Center.  They have an opening for Younger Boy!!

If everything gets approved through the various agencies he could start there in mid to late April. 

He will be part of a research project they are doing through the University.  He will have a cognitive therapist which I will attend with him and then an EMDR therapist which he will do on his own.   It will be two hours of therapy per week...back to back for him if we can figure out our schedule.

As soon as Middle Boy finishes his other program they will accept him as well.  He won't be part of the research, but they will treat him!!

We will have to figure out how this fits in with M's practicum work.  She is totally onboard with the center.  It was her suggestion.

Praises for things coming together.  Of course, there are still a lot of approvals necessary, but the ATC thinks they should go through since I am the pre-adoptive parent.

Prayers more doors continue to be opened.

My frame of mind has totally changed in the last couple of days.
One of my friends sent me some information tonight about a book called "The Connected Child" and some videos done by the author of the book.

Most books about attachment challenges deal with the why, but not the what you should do for healing and everyday life.  This book deals with what you should and shouldn't do NOW.  How you should and shouldn't respond.  Not why you get the behaviors you do, but rather how to deal with the behaviors you are getting and how to help mitigate them.

It also talks a lot about how it is HARD...really HARD.

This woman gets it.

The book isn't a quick or easy read.  It is 350 pages long.  I am 75 pages in and I find myself highlighting nearly everything.

It is going to take work.  It is going to take practice.  Nothing is intuitive.  In fact it goes against nearly everything conventional about parenting.

I'm going to do it.  I am going to put in the work.

These boys can heal and I can be a part of it...God put me in their lives for it.  I have to do my part.

Praises for this book and the friend who sent the information to me.  Again...God knew what I needed and when I needed it.

I talked to Middle Boy tonight about trauma and attachment therapy.  He wants to do it.

He has been opening up a lot more recently about his past abuse...alll forms.  It is hard to hear.

Tonight in passing he mentioned that he got hit in the back of the head with a golf club, because he said he was bored.  He also mentioned he doesn't like sliding glass doors, because he was pushed through one once.

I am so thankful he is willing to be a part of this therapy with me and Younger Boy.

He did mentioned that he would rather not start it until his current therapy is over, because that is a lot of therapy.  I agree.  He is working through a lot right now during his court ordered therapy, so to add on top a trauma and attachment therapy would be overwhelming.

Prayers that the therapy will be productive for us.  Praises both boys and I can participate.
I miss Foster Care Specialist M.  A lot. 

Talking to her today made me realize that I used her as an outlet when things were frustrating and hard.  I don't have that with my new foster care specialist.  It isn't that I don't like her.  I do.  I just don't have the energy to develop a relationship with another new worker.

M and I talked for quite a while.  I told her how I have been feeling and the behaviors I have been troubled with.  I told her how I don't feel like these boys care and how I think I am not making a difference.  I confessed that I was close to putting in my notice on both boys earlier this week and walking away from it all.

Her words of advice to me, unsolicited as she pointed out, were this...

"Stop considering having the boys move out is an option.  You can and do give them everything they need and if you can't figure it out or provide it you fight for them to get it.  There isn't anyone except for God who knows more of what they need.  Stop using your energy to wonder if them living with you is right.  It is right.  Use your energy to make it better for all of you.  If these were your biological kids you wouldn't be wondering if you should give up.  You would stay in there and fight.  So fight."

She's right...she usually is.  She knows what I need to hear yet she is a huge cheerleader of mine.  I have never for a moment thought that she wasn't on my side.  She is one of the few people in the system I have felt this about.

Praises for M.  Praises we might be able to have her back in our lives on a regular basis.  Praises for her friendship.
Today I got a call from my former foster care specialist. 

She is working on a higher level degree and is doing her studies in the field of attachment therapy.  She asked me if our family would be willing to be a part of her practicum and she would do attachment and bonding therapy with the three of us for free!  She is going to be using the same principles as the attachment and trauma center here in town.

She can't begin her therapies until May 1st because of the place she is in her studies.  She did say that they can get it in to the trauma center before that if we absolutely can't wait.

There are so many great things about having her do it.  We all three have an established relationship with her and trust her.  She is AMAZING with both boys and they like her.  We won't have to do a bunch of work on the history of our relationship, because she was there.  She already knows what it is.

This is such an ABSOLUTE blessing.  It brought me a lot of peace.

She and I also talked about what has been going on and how frustrated I have been with everything.  She knows me well enough to actually vocalize to me all of the things I have been feeling, but couldn't even put into words.

She also reminded me that RAD and trauma make people project.  When Middle Boy says "I hate you and I want to leave, "  what he is really saying to me is "I think you hate me and will want me to leave."  When he says "this is your fault" he is really thinking it is his fault and is worried that I won't love him.

Knowing that doesn't make it less hurtful when he says it, but it does help put it back in perspective for me.

Praises for trauma therapy...however it comes about.  God has again provided exactly what we need...right when we need it.

Tonight was actually a good night...a really good night.

Both boys took Sophie around the block a couple of times right when we got home.

We had a meeting with Middle Boy's new adoption recruiter.  Not even sure what her role is in our lives, but she is part of "the team" that is part of living with Middle Boy.

We went to the gym.  I hired a personal trainer for the boys.  Before you think I have lost my mind, let me explain.  It costs $10/week.  He meets with them for 30 - 45 minutes.  He teaches them how to work out safely and the biggest bonus of all...COMPLETELY WEARS THEM OUT.

We went home from the gym and Younger Boy rode his bike while Middle Boy and I grilled dinner and played mancala.

Sophie played outside with the boys and they were racing her.  She won every time.  It was actually funny, because she would turn around and sit and wait for them.  She is fast and they are now calling her a ninja.

It was so good to just be at home and spend time together.  We rarely get to do that without having someplace someone has to be.

It was nice...for everyone.

Praises for a day of blessings and family.
Younger Boy…
I don’t know what to say anymore.  When you first moved in I truly thought this was going to be forever.  Truly forever.
Over time I have come to realize that I do not possess the skill sets you need in a parent.  You have far greater needs that what I am capable of helping you navigate in life.
I love you buddy.  I just don’t know if we can keep living together.
More than anything I want you to be able to heal.  To be able to move past the life of a victim and into a life where you are a productive member of society.  I want you to be happy.  I want you to care about life.
The life you have now isn’t one that is promoting any of that.  Maybe the problem is me.  Maybe the problem is my home.  Maybe the problem is that your needs are greater than a family home can provide.  I just don’t know anymore.
I keep praying for you and for direction in our lives.  For me to know without a doubt that what is happening is God’s plan for you.  Now I am just waiting.  Waiting for that clarity.
Please know that whatever happens and wherever life takes us I will love you…no matter what.
I love you, Younger Boy.
Middle Boy…
The words don’t come so easy anymore.  I don’t know what to say.  I don’t know what to do.  I am so frustrated with life in our home.  I don’t know how to change it, because the only thing I can really change is my own attitude toward the things that are going on.
I’m tired.  Tired of being disrespected.  Tired of being lied to.  Just tired.
When I became a parent I didn’t expect it to be easy, but I did expect to be respected…at least part of the time.  I don’t feel that anymore.
I honestly feel like you have given up.  Completely given up.  Maybe you are challenging me to prove I want you.  I don’t know what else I can do to prove it.  You make me feel like what I have to offer, the person who I am, isn’t good enough for you.
I know every single thing in your history would make you believe you can’t trust me and so this is HARD.  I don’t know if you are even capable of trusting me. 
What I do know is that I love you.  It breaks my heart we can’t get along and you have given up on us as a family.
The decision is yours…I am done fighting you.  I love you and I don’t want you to go, but I also love you enough to know I want you to be happy…happier than you are now. 
Where will this leave us?  I don’t know.  God will take care of us both…whatever the outcome of this season in our lives.
I love you, Middle Boy.
Today it is on my heart to make a choice and be at peace with the choice.

Here is what I see as the options:

1.  To love unconditionally as Christ loves us and continue to have these boys in my home regardless of behavior or how I am treated.


2.  Put in my notice and move on with life.

I have been praying for direction, wisdom, strength, and perserverance.  I am tired, so very tired, and am drawing from strength that I don't even possess.

Please pray for us.

What I am doing is nowhere near the sacrifice Christ made for us.  He loved us enough to die for us.  He loves us regardless of our sin.

I am human and have MANY earthly flaws.  Doubt, frustration, and anger are ruling my life right now. 

More than anything I want these boys to be in a home where it is happy.  Ours is not a happy home.  No where near it.

Pray for us.  If you have words of wisdom, share them with me.  I really, really don't know what to do.
The system is so frustrating sometimes.

Foster children require child care until age 15.  The child care provider has to be at least 19 and have a series of background checks.  Another part of the system is that they only pay for child care to age 13.  The rules don't match, but that doesn't seem to matter to anyone.

This is all fine and good until you are a single parent looking for somewhere for your child to go for the summer.

As best I can tell there is ONE option....the YMCA...but that might not be an option, because they are overbooked and may not take Middle Boy because he is on probation.  SO...what am I supposed to do.

This can't be the first time in the entire history of the state that this has occurred.

Am I supposed to hire a nanny?  Am I supposed to pay for that out of my stipend?  How am I supposed to find one?  Ideally I would like our nanny to be a manny...male nanny.

If I am going to the effort to have this for Middle Boy should Younger Boy just stay home, too.

What am I supposed to do?  Service Coordinator A says "I just really don't know."  How is that helpful to me?

I have actually considered posting it on my facebook page in hopes that someone knows someone who might be interested in doing this.

Pray that the right doors are opened for quality care for Middle Boy this summer. 
This morning I had an almost two hour talk with one of the pastors at our church.  Actually it was more like me talking and him listening and asking questions here and there.

As I was talking I realized a lot of things about what is going on in my life right now.  I realized that I don't have the emotional energy to do much more than put one foot in front of the other and think from one minute to the next.  I don't have the energy to plan or make peace or anything other than survive.

We talked about the friction between me and Mentor R.  He offered to sit down with us if I was at a place mentally to do that.  I told him that one day I do want to talk with Mentor R, but right now my focus has to be on the boys and their needs.

He asked me who's voice was the loudest pouring into me.  I actually started to cry, because I don't have one.  I mentally ticked through a list of people who I talk to every now and then and share things with occassionally, but no one single voice is there.  I don't know who it is.  I don't know who it should be.  I hear God's voice, but there is no earthly voice that helps me sustain.

I pray about our situation all of the time.  I wonder if I need a therapist or just someone to sit and listen on a regular basis.  Almost immediately my next thought is "when would I do that?"

He asked how the church can help.  I told him I am sure there are ways, but at this point in time I can't take a step back for long enough to figure out what that might even be.

I told him of the situation with Younger Boy and permanency or no permanency. 

We talked about hope.

We talked about wisdom to do the right thing and more importantly peace at the decision.

I am so thankful for our discussion.
Today we had the behavioral meeting for Middle Boy at his center.

His behaviors there are more irritating to the staff than they are destructive or unsafe.  What Middle Boy doesn't understand is that this still has an impact on the overall outcome of his probation and as he views it "his entire life".

I did most of the talking during the session asking Middle Boy questions about what was going on and what people needed to change.  We talked about how it is his choices that are causing the strain and stress in the relationships.

He admitted he doesn't have a reason to not follow directions.  He just doesn't feel like it.  At this point though the fact that he doesn't feel like it isn't acceptable.

We talked about how all of the adults in the room have things in their day that they "don't feel like" doing, yet they still do them.  Your choice is your attitude...not whether or not you do them.  You are also in control of your attitude.  You can choose to be miserable or you can suck it up and do it.

I got a lot of feedback after the meeting.  The center sent an email saying that they have never had a parent be as patient yet as direct and straightforward as I was with Middle Boy.  They said that I left no question about the expections I have or what I consider to be acceptable.  They were allegedly impressed with my asking for a commitment to improvement as well.

I have no idea if my words made a difference this afternoon.  Here's the thing though...Middle Boy cannot say that I don't care.

Prayers for a center that provides good care and is willing to work with him if he is willing to put in the effort.
I am setting a goal of removing all of my feelings from the equation in my dealings with the boys this week.

I am going to work to show no frustration or irriation with them regardless of the behavior or the situation.

There will still be consequences for behaviors, but I will keep my emotion consistent and constant.

I have been reading articles that this might help with RAD kids.  I don't know.  At this point I am willing to try nearly anything.
I talked with Therapist J about the stabbing text over the weekend...this is his reply...

I know Younger Boy has a fair amount of jealousy built up toward Middle Boy.  He reported last week feeling like the "3rd Wheel" at home.  He just sees you and Middle Boy getting along better than he does and it feels like he is ostracized and your two are always doing things together.  I attempted to point out that while it may seem as though you guys "get along better", some of this may simply come from the fact that Middle Boy does not cause some of the drama and troubles he does, essentially trying again to put the responsibility back on Younger Boy.  I am not sure I got very far.  Younger Boy has identified his role in life as the victim for so long that I think it is nearly impossible for him to see things any other way.  I think this is why he has so much trouble relating to others unless he is being treated like a saint.  If anyone else around him gets positive attention when he is not, then that person is the enemy and the person giving the attention must not care about Younger Boy at all or they would be spending all their time with him.  It is so easy to get attention by being naughty.  It is a very sad and destructive existence, but Younger Boy does not see it that way.  Hopefully we can get him to open his eyes a little more in the near future.  Is there anything at home that just you and Younger Boy do together?  Something he would deem as "special" and did not include Middle Boy?

Here's the irony...just yesterday Middle Boy talked to me about the EXACT same he is the 3rd Wheel at home and how I clearly like Younger Boy better.

Honestly I feel like I am treating them equally.

Prayers for wisdom in how to handle the situation!
From now on I will be sitting in the boys room until Younger Boy is asleep.  I can't have him wandering around the house anymore during the night.

Tonight it took him 90 minutes to go to sleep once he was in bed.  He kept checking to see if I was still in the room.

I realized that it will be a good time for me to do my quiet time so maybe it is a blessing in disguise.

Prayers this will work.
This weekend at various times the boys and I worked on camper applications for the three camps for foster kids I volunteer at during the summer.

We folded, addressed, stamped, and sealed about 200 envelopes for potential campers.

I am going to drop them in the mail tomorrow.

Middle Boy did a great job of helping.  Younger Boy...not so much. 

I'm thankful for the opportunity to have these AMAZING camps for foster kids.

I'm also thankful for the boys help as we were working on them.
Younger Boy's glasses are broken today.

He decided to punch something outside and it bounced back and hit him in the face breaking his glasses.

Luckily it has been a year since his eye exam so he should be eligible for new ones, because these are beyond repair.

Prayers Younger Boy would start to understand the consequences of his actions.
Tonight at 1am I got a call from the police asking if there was a stabbing at our home.  Since I was awakened by the phone call I was a little confused.  I told them I needed to check. 

I got up to find Middle Boy sleeping and Younger Boy wandering around the house.

I told the police everything was fine and no one was injured.  I asked why they had thought that and they said they got a call from a concerned party and were following up.

Almost immediately after hanging up we got a call on our home phone from one of Middle Boy's friends wanting to know which hospital Middle Boy was at.  I am still confused by what is going on so I asked her why she thinks Middle Boy is in the hospital.  She said she had called the police.

Well...apparently Younger Boy came into my room while I was sleeping and got Middle Boy's phone from the area where it charges.  He proceeded to text three of Middle Boy's friends to tell them that he had been in an alley behind our house and had been stabbed.  Allegedly he was on the way to the hospital in really bad condition.

All of the phone calls woke Middle Boy so he asked what was going on.  Of course he was furious with Younger Boy.  Not quite as furious as I was. 

Apparently being in trouble yesterday for sending texts wasn't quite enough for him.  He needed to do something much worse.

He needs help.  I can't stay awake all night supervising him.

Pray we can get Younger Boy the help he needs.

We joined a gym last week and this weekend we had our free visits with the personal trainer. 

The boys did really well with Trainer N.  He worked them out pretty hard.  In fact I know they are going to be tired tonight.  They are also going to be sore tomorrow.

He gave them a lot of instructions on what they were supposed to do each time they go to the gym.  It is hard to say whether they will do it or not.

We all got a good workout and it was nice to spend time out of our house for a while.

Praises for a nice time at the gym and for good workouts!!
This afternoon we went to Costco to do our grocery shopping.  We will be going there for "lunch" every Saturday.  I truly think they had about thirty samples of things.  Lots of things we probably wouldn't have otherwise tried.

Middle Boy and I loved the spinach artichoke ravioli.  We all loved the steak strips.  The boys loved the "homemade" ice cream.  We probably ended up with some things we didn't really "need", but it was kind of good to try new things as well.

We'll probably shop there regularly on Saturdays.  It was really crowded, but it was good.
Tonight Babysitter J was here so I could go to a musical with friends.

She had a rough night with Younger Boy.  He didn't follow any directions and was an all-around antagonist to both her and Middle Boy.

At one point during the evening he ran out of the house and out into the street, because he didn't want to shower when she asked.  She ended up having to chase him down the street.

Luckily Middle Boy had a fairly good night with her.  He was a little bit disrespectful when he was telling me the story of what happened, but immediately apologized to her.  At least he is recognizing when he is being disrespectful now.  That's a big step from where he used to be.

Prayers that Babysitter J sticks with us.  I need her!!

Over the course of the day today Middle Boy and I both figured out that Younger Boy took our phones during the night and sent texts to people in our address books.  The texts were lies.  If you got one of them, I apologize.

The ones sent on my phone were prank type things.  The ones on Middle Boy's phone were mean and rude.

There is no punishment that matters to him.  None at all.  He could care less.

Middle Boy is convinced he should dye his hair either green or purple.  He isn't going to. 

Honestly I probably wouldn't care if we didn't have a million people we have to answer to right now, but we do.  As a result the answer is no.

He thinks I am unfair.

We have been doing better at bedtime this week....for the most part.

Tonight we got home from Middle Boy's therapy session and I told the boys to shower and then they could watch a 30 minute TV show before going to bed.  They had been begging to watch it all week.

Well...that offer was good only if you got in the shower when I asked either the first or second time.  If you get in the shower 40 minutes later you don't get to watch a 30 minute TV show, because you have wasted the time you could have spent watching.

Middle Boy took a shower on the first ask.  Younger Boy didn't.  He was guilty of the 40 minute delay.  Middle Boy got to watch the show and finished at the same time Younger Boy was getting out of the shower.  Younger Boy didn't get to watch, because it was bedtime.

He decided instead of going to bed he would scream and cry and call me names.  He would keep opening his bedroom door and slamming it shut over and over...just in case I was missing it.  He would let me know that he will not be receiving consequences for this behavior, because after all it is my fault. 

Prayers for peace tomorrow night at bedtime.
Today I was reading the following blog:

Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet

There was something that struck a chord with sticking with me.

When behavior makes you want to retreat, take that as your cue to engage.  Restoration love isn't threatened by sin, it's activated.  When you take a step towards pouring out what you don't have, He pours in.  Give them the love your flesh can't conjure.  Give them the love that requires His overshadowing.  He will suprise you.  I promise. 

This is powerful.  I often times find myself wanting to lock myself in my room or get in the car and drive.  Anything to get away from these two.  I need to engage instead.

These incidents are not accidents and the heart-pain they reveal in you is bigger than your circumstances.  As He heals the orphan heart, He is healing yours, too.  Both are on His radar.

Last night after all of the yelling in a quiet before sleep moment I told Middle Boy that he is in my life to heal me.

Slow down.  pour out to Him; He can handle your chest-heaving cries.  And recieve.  He has gold for you in this season.  And that gold is a greater depth of communion with Him.

And, finally, tell the story.  His story.  His final word is never doubt, despair or destruction.  the testimony of Jesus is being written on your watch.  Speak it out as such.  When you get the look of pity from a friend who doesn't quite understand your pain, tell her you are blessed, because you are.

These are not your worst days, these days are fodder for a work that will leave you forever changed.

Perspective is everything.

I am blessed.  Blessed to be the mom of Middle Boy and Younger Boy.  Blessed beyond belief.
On Monday I posted that behavioral incident reports are unacceptable.  That must not matter, because Middle Boy got one again yesterday which was sent to me today.

There is a three strike rule at this center.  I am lucky enough to get to go to a behavioral meeting with him on Monday afternoon.

This time he was disruptive and not following directions.  He called the supervisors "idiot" and "stupid".  He kept making loud erratic noises and was pounding his fists on a desk.  I don't know what is going to make him get it.

I'm disappointed.

This morning Younger Boy asked me if he could go to a birthday party tomorrow afternoon since they are out of school.  It is Cameron's birthday party.

I asked the time...he doesn't know.

I asked the location...he doesn't know.

I asked Cameron's last name...he doesn't know.

I asked their phone number...he doesn't know.

I asked if there is an, they aren't invitation kind of people.

I explained that we didn't know enough about the party to go.  I suspect that he has known about this party for a while and the invitation is lost.  I wish I could help him, but they are out of school the next two days.

Maybe this will be a lesson learned to give me information when he receives it.

Prayers he isn't too upset about it.
In the calm after the storm Middle Boy and I were able to have some quiet time.  Time when I could show him that I am in fact here...forever.

I gave him a hug while he cried.  I talked to him quietly and prayed for him. 

Something happened that I didn't expect and it caused me to see how very deep his hurt is.

Middle Boy completely shut down.  He couldn't hear a word I was saying.  He didn't respond as I was talking, but he kept on squeezing my hand...tighter and tighter.

I kept talking gently to him, but couldn't get his attention.

When he "came back" he said that he hadn't done that in a long time.  I asked him what had happened.  He said that in therapy they told him he does it when the emotion is too much.

This is healing.  The boy who moved into my home was stone faced and didn't show any emotion even when I thought he should have them.  This boy...on this night...showed emotion.  He cried and he yelled.  He was happy.  He was all over the place.

This should be celebrated.  As hard as it was for me to go through...this should be celebrated.

Praises for healing.
I have spent the last three hours being verbally attacked by Middle Boy.

He wants to be able to go to a different high school than the one we originally enrolled him in.  He was bargaining and telling me that he wasn't going to try in school unless he could go to the school of his choice.  I am ruining his life.

He talked all about how he knows that I never once cared about him or how he feels.  He told me I am the worst parent he has ever had.  He told me that living here is like being in a prison.  He talked all about how I don't care about anything or anyone other than myself.  How I don't trust him or love him.  How I have wanted him to leave the entire time he has lived here. 

He screamed about how he hates me and everything I stand for.  He hates church.  He hates Christianity.  He hates that I buy him things.  He hates that I try to be nice when I don't mean it.  You name it...he hates it.

I am deceitful and hateful.  I am a liar and I don't care about anything he wants.

He said he had to attack me verbally, because there is no other way to get through to me. 

He is hurting so much right now and I don't know how to help him.  I wish I knew what I could say or do, but I don't.

Prayers for wisdom and healing.
This afternoon I had parent teacher conferences for Younger Boy.  He is no where near living up to his potential in school.  He is failing two classes...math and reading.  He also has unsatisfactory work habits in five classes.  I asked all three teachers to give me an example of his work habits and they all said "he just doesn't care". 

They also said "I don't know which Younger Boy is going to show up for class each day."  Apparently he is all over the place behaviorally at school.  I'm sure it makes them crazy.

Prayers he will start to understand the importance of caring.
Today I got a call from Mom J about Older Boy.  He has been having behavioral issues that are escalating similar to those he exhibited around the time he left my home.

He has also added a new behavior of refusing to eat and then telling the staff at his school that Mom and Dad J are starving him and that he wants to file a complaint.  The school alerted Mom and Dad J to this so now they are taking a picture of him at every meal sitting with his arms folded refusing to eat with his plate of food in front of him.  After each meal they send the photo to both the school and Service Coordinator.  This does NOT make him happy.

He told Mom J today he can act however he wants to act, because if they put in their notice he is just going to move back in with me. isn't.  The reason he doesn't live here is his level of required care is more than a single person can handle.  That hasn't changed.

He has been told on multiple occassions his next stop is a developmental group home.

Prayers for Mom and Dad J and their work with Older Boy.
I am tired of waiting for Service Coordinator to help us with the psychiatric evaluation for Younger Boy.  Today I decided to at least get the appointment scheduled so there is something concrete we have.

I made TWENTY TWO calls today only to find that the soonest we can get in is five weeks from the time Service Coordinator gives consent to treat.  AARGH.

I can't even begin to express my frustration here.  So...back to waiting for Service Coordinator.  Lucky me!!
Younger Boy is stealing from Middle Boy.  We are starting to accumulate a large list of items which have gone "missing" and then are found in the possession of Younger Boy.

Tonight we found Middle Boy's voice recorder which he brought with him when he moved in and his iPod in Younger Boy's backpack.  Middle Boy has been looking for both for about a week.  Younger Boy claimed that Middle Boy told him he could take them to daycare and that is why they were in his backpack.  This conversation DID NOT occur.

I asked Younger Boy if this was a lie.  He immediately started yelling and embellishing the story.  This is the indication that he is in fact lying.  His stories get very complicated and long when he is not being truthful.

I explained to Younger Boy that stealing is stealing.  He has a history of being in a group home for theft...when he was EIGHT.  His therapist suggested that we empty all of his belongings and confiscate anything that is not his.  He also recommended putting a sticker on everything that is the possession of Younger Boy and if he is caught with something that does not have a sticker he would receive a consequence for stealing.  I have been resisting this drastic measure, but it looks like we are going to have to tag everything this weekend.

Prayers for understanding theft is illegal and for understanding why it is happening.
Middle Boy was working on his school project and needed to melt some gel for his poster.  The package said to melt it in 10-second increments while submerged in water.

After two 10-second increments Middle Boy had lost his patience.  This was a good teaching moment.  I explained that the packaging did not say how long it would take for the gel to liquify so you just had to keep doing it in the increments suggested on the package.  After four increments he was ready to throw the whole thing away.  After seven he was wanting to cut the packaging.  On the eleventh 10-second increment it was finally a usable liquid, but by that point Middle Boy was unable to function, because his patience was GONE.

So...tomorrow night we know that you have to heat it 10 or 11 times for 10 seconds each time and then you can use it.

It was a good lesson in patience and dealing with frustration.

Praises for teaching moments.  Prayers for wisdom on how to handle the situation tomorrow night.
We had to run a couple of errands tonight to pick up something for Middle Boy's school project.  I wanted to take care of it tonight since he was actually asking for something before the last possible second.

Going in I explained to Younger Boy that he wasn't getting anything since he didn't need anything and what we were buying was for a school project.  I could tell when I said it that this was an unacceptable answer for Younger Boy.

Middle Boy found everything he needed and we were walking to the check-out when Younger Boy asked me to make an exception and buy him something.  I told him no and he immediately started crying in the store.  Yelling and crying about how I NEVER make an exception for ANYTHING and how he is doesn't even get the things he NEEDS.

Middle Boy was mortified.  This is the first time he has seen this behavior in public from Younger Boy.  He went to the car and waited.

Thirty minutes later Younger Boy was finally ready to leave the store...still screaming and crying, but at least leaving.

I was proud of Middle Boy for not completely losing it, because I was ready to.

Prayers for wisdom in handling Younger Boy's behaviors.
Today we had the family team meeting for Middle Boy.  To say that he had an attitude problem would be a VAST understatement.

With every topic of discussion when asked his opinion or how it was going all he would say was "My life sucks."

We are trying to find a place for him to go this summer.  He has to be supervised.  At this time it looks like our options are the reporting center and the YMCA teen program.  He went to the YMCA last summer and "hated it".  There is a question whether or not they will take him, because he is on probation.  When asked for his input he stated that his friend said he could go to his house for the summer.  We told him all of the steps that would have to happen for that to occur.  His friend's mom would have to be background checked and commit to never leaving them unsupervised the entire time he was there.  We told him that if this was his choice he would have to do the legwork on it.  When we wrote out the steps for him he seemed less interested.  He kept saying he would just go there anyway.  He proceeded to say that his mom never leaves, because she is an alcoholic.  What?  You think that is acceptable care for you?

I suspect he will end up at the reporting center for the summer.  Which of course in his mind is equal to being in the juvenile center.

Prayers for a better attitude regarding summer care.
Today I got an email from the afterschool reporting center Middle Boy goes to.  Attached to it were two behavioral incident reports from the past week.

The first happened when he said something to one of the teachers and she didn't hear him.  She asked him to repeat himself and he wouldn't.  She then stated what she thought he said.  His reply, "That isn't what I said, dumbass."  Of course this resulted in him going to the director of the center to talk about how you talk to authority figures.

The second was when he wasn't following the dress code at the center, because he was wearing the hood on his hoodie.  They asked him more than once to remove it.  He finally did, but then proceeded to lay on the floor instead of participating in activities.  This is a typical PRESCHOOL behavior.

His claim is that he wasn't feeling well.  I asked if he told them that.  Of course he didn't. 

Behavioral incident reports are unacceptable.

Prayers for better behaviors at the center.  If he gets kicked out for behavior there is NO WHERE he can go.
For the last four years I have frequently perused the heart gallery.

Nebraska Heart Gallery

It is where I first "met" Middle Boy.

I don't know what brought me to it today.  It makes me sad at times to look, because I know a lot of the faces and stories from my years of volunteering at camp.  Today was no different.  So many familiar many kiddos in need of forever.

There is a boy on the site I have not met.  I feel drawn to pray for I will...every day...until he isn't on the site anymore.

Would you join me in looking at the site and praying for one or all of the kiddos there?  Maybe you can't be a forever home, but you can pray.  God knows who the forever home is.
Tonight Middle Boy wanted to talk.  He always likes to talk to me and occassionally it is about things that are kind of deep.  I always give him my time.

Tonight he wanted to talk about the "concrete wall around his heart".  He talked about how he has been hurt so many times that he just doesn't want to let his heart be broken again.  He talked about how people haven't been able to penetrate his hardened heart.  We talked about your heart being soft toward God and toward others.  I see Middle Boy's compassionate heart toward others who there is no relationship with.

Middle Boy then said "I have to tell you something."  I asked what and he said, "You have made a crack in that wall and I am going to let you in."

He didn't want to talk anymore after that.  He just wanted to pray and then go to his room and go to sleep.

When I left his room there were tears rolling down my face.

Praises for a "crack in the wall".
Tonight I found myself in one of the more absurd discussions I have been in for a while.

Middle Boy made a bet with his friend that he couldn't eat 10 jalepenos at lunch.  Why?  Because they are 14.  The terms of the bet were completely ridiculous.  The loser had to go to school tomorrow with what appeared to be an injury that drew attention to you.

Well, Middle Boy lost the bet and was adamant he would "pay up".

His first idea was to have Younger Boy punch him in the face so it would be bruised.  Vetoed by me.

The next idea was to either draw or cut gashes on his face and cover them with a HUGE bandage.  Again...vetoed by me.

The next idea was to simply place a large bandage covering the entire side of his face...not my first choice, but not nearly as ridiculous as the first two.

The next idea was to use an ace bandage to wrap the wrist of his writing hand.  Vetoed by me.

This was followed by wanting to wrap the wrist of his non-writing hand.  Again...not my choice, but not completely adsurd...if you are actually going to do something.

We then had a long discussion about how whatever he did was going to be disruptive to his learning environment.  We also talked about how the staff at school could call child protective services and report his injuries and I would be investigated.

He ended up deciding to do nothing.  A good choice in my opinion.  The skeptic in me says that there is probably going to be something stowed in his backpack that can easily be applied after I drop him off in the morning, but I am choosing to trust him.
At the suggestion of one of the tutors I purchased workbooks for both Younger Boy and Middle Boy to work on.

Each night we are working on either homework or the workbooks for 45 minutes per night.

Middle Boy is working on pre-algebra.  He has the ability to do math.  His confidence level is low and his learning was really disjointed due to the continuous changing of schools.  There are a number of concepts he learned multiple times and a number of concepts he has never seen before.  Just depends on the school district.  He marginally understands the importance of getting pre-algebra under control before moving on next year in high school.  I can help him with math, but he gets irritated with me.  I don't do the problems the same way they do and I can do them in my head.

Younger Boy is a different story.  His tutor and teacher suggested he is really probably somewhere around a third grade level in reading and math.  They suggested to start with those.  I both third grade reading comprehension and third grade math.  Truth be told, he actually can't do either.  He's mad, because they aren't sixth grade workbooks and frustrated that he can't do the third grade workbooks.  I with they didn't say THIRD GRADE on them on the front, but they do.  They are the ones his school recommended.

Prayers that the added academic exposure helps.
Denise is where we are with the red tape surrounding Younger Boy's medications.

On January 4th it was decided that he should get a psychiatric evaluation and med check.  At that time I called the office where Middle Boy goes to the psychiatrist and was told that they were not seeing new patients until the end of March.

Service Coordinator S told me that she could get Younger Boy into a psychiatrist much sooner, but didn't.

At the last hearing Judge D court ordered a psychiatric evaluation by the next court date, April 3rd. 

Now we have no psychiatric evaluation.  No way to get new medications, because we can't make an appointment with a new doctor while a former doctor has a "hold" on the medications.  Can't get them from the former doctor, because the state had them released from him.

I called today to Middle Boy's psychiatric office to try to get an appointment with ANY of their child psychiatrists.  The first appointment we can get is in mid-May, but we can't schedule it until we have the new patient information filled out AND the state has given authorization to treat.

This is a nightmare.  We started this JANUARY 4TH!!  No one can seem to help me figure out what I should do "in the meantime".  The best I have gotten so far is "you might just have to ride it out".  Seriously?  Do they know what they are asking?  He is a DISASTER after one day without meds.

Prayers for doors to be opened and someone can help me get through this red tape.
We are in day five of the transition with the foster care system.

So far, so good.

I found out this morning we will continue to have the same worker for Younger Boy's case.  I still haven't heard anything about Middle Boy.

The only thing we do not have so far is the medication authorization for Younger Boy.  As far as I can tell everything else was authorized for March. 

Praises for a mostly smooth transition.  Prayers we can get the medication authorization soon otherwise they are really going to have a tough time with Younger Boy at school in the next couple of weeks.

Middle Boy and I are having the typical teenager/parent struggles.  He really wants more freedom and I don't think he is ready.  I am ruining his life.

Today he went to a friend's house.  It is the only time he has ever asked to do this and I approved of it.  When he got home I got a "lecture" on how I never let him hang out with friends and I always say no.  I asked him for examples and he had none.

Of course all of this is complicated by the fact that he is on probation and has an associated curfew.  If I mention that he can't do something because of probation rules I get accused of "throwing all of that in his face" and not being able to let it go.

Tonight I had to remind him it wasn't my actions that got us in this situation and that I have rules to abide by since he is on probation.  I also told him I will NOT break those rules for him.  That infuriated him.  It doesn't matter.  I'm still not going to break them for him.

I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree on this topic.  He will follow the rules of probation until he is no longer on probation.  That's how it works.

Prayers he will understand or at least be bearable to live with in the meantime.
FINALLY...Middle Boy has realized he is not getting enough sleep at night.  He is going to bed ON HIS OWN at 8:30pm now.  He told me tonight that he is sorry for the jerk he has been regarding bedtime.

I still need to work on Younger Boy, but praises for Middle Boy and more sleep!!
Younger Boy had his sibling visit today.  He again went to the home of Mom and Dad J.

The report I received from them was that his day went OK.  He had a tough time following their directions.

Mom J did call me to tell me a story he shared with her.  He told her that he had to go to the psychiatric hospital.  Of course she already knew this, but she wanted to see where the story was going.  She asked what happened that made him need to go there.  He said that he lost his temper and couldn't control it.  He went on to tell her that when we got to the hosptial he threw himself on the floor and cried.  She asked about that.  He told her he KNEW that it would get him out of there and he wouldn't have to see the doctors.

She was shocked, but not.  Since we are on the same case she has already reported it to our entire team to show that he knows exactly what he is doing and is a manipulator.  He listened to her make the calls and cried huge alligator tears saying he was lying when he said that.

She explained to him this is the type of behavior he has needed to work on since he lived with them three years ago.

Prayers for wisdom.  I suspect this might be the thing that pushes his GAL over the edge.

Today we got a gym membership.  We need to do something for exercise.  I decided to get a month to month membership, because I'm sure this will be a novelty to the boys and they will be interested in it for a week or so and then we will be on to something else.

Middle Boy and I worked out for about an hour.  What I found is that he doesn't like to do ANYTHING by himself.  He also doesn't want to do what I am doing SO that results in either him lurking around what I am doing and complaining OR me just doing the exercise equipment he wants to do.  I compromised, but I explained that he is going to need to start doing things on his own.

I am praying this works out.  I need the exercise to remove some of the stress from my life!