Last night I had my lifegroup so Younger Boy was home with Babysitter M while Middle Boy was out with Mentor L.

When I was on my way home I got a call from Middle Boy.  He and Mentor L had been out driving around looking for Younger Boy for almost half an hour while Babysitter M waited for him at home.  They had gotten home early and were all playing football.  Younger Boy asked if he could ride his bike.

The rule is that he has to be back IN THE HOUSE by the time the street lights come on.  The other rule is that he isn't to leave the three blocks that constitute our neighborhood.  He is well aware of the rule.

They couldn't find him anywhere.  It turns out that he saw a boy he knows and so he went to his house and went in.  Didn't consider that people would be looking for him or that there would be consequences.

By the time I arrived home he was back home and throwing a temper tantrum about how no one trusts him and how he doesn't even make good decisions and everyone hates him.  Pretty typical behavior deflection.

Prayers Babysitter M wants to come back.
Grandpa is doing GREAT.  We watched him walk down the hospital hallway 120 feet today with "no hands".

He is also able to swallow some foods.  He isn't able to keep the amount of food down that he needs to so he is still doing the feeding tube overnight.  He has lost a lot of weight.

He has therapy all day every day except Sunday.  He seems to be enjoying it.

Middle Boy told him he looks a little bored.  Grandpa admitted he is a little bored.

Over the weekend Great Grandma fell off of a step stool and broke her shoulder.  She is ninety years old.  She doesn't want Grandma to know, but someone (not sure who) called her and told her.  She just happens to be in the hospital room with her sister who is ninety-four and fainted in the shower.

Grandma's cousin is there managing the situation.

Prayers for Grandma's cousin to have strength and wisdom.  Also prayers for healing for everyone.
Sophie learned to go down the stairs this weekend.  Until now we had been able to keep her contained upstairs, because she was scared to go down the steps.

Not anymore....lucky us.
The reports were pretty well written for the level of understanding each boy has.

Younger Boy asked for forgiveness in his report about ten times.  He drew a photo of lying in a red circle with it crossed out.

Middle Boy was very articulate.  He listed every offense and why it was wrong and how it hurts trust.  He explained how he understood that he is going to have to work REALLY hard to gain any trust back at all.  How trust once lost is difficult to recover from.

They each wrote three pages of report.  They asked if the reports were what I was looking for.

I asked what lessons they learned from writing them.  Did their thoughts on trust change?

Prayers for wisdom and learning regarding trust.
Over the last two days someone did inappropriate searches on my laptop.  I have our laptop setup so each of us have a log in and I must have accidentally stayed logged in.

This happened once before.  Same inappropriate search.

Obviously I know I am not doing these inappropriate searches.  I know Babysitter M isn't doing them.  So...that leaves Sophie and the boys.  Sophie is illiterate so now we are down to two.

I asked the boys about it.  Both of them SWORE it was not them.  They didn't do it.  Neither one of them.  Could it be a mistake?  Could it be from the last unexplained time?

I expressed my disappointment in the whole thing and then told them it made me really sad they didn't trust me enough to tell me the truth.  I didn't say anything else and then I left the room.

About ten minutes later both boys came into my room, because the wanted to talk to me.

Middle Boy confessed to doing the searches the first time and Younger Boy confessed to the second time.  They apologized over and over.  They were both crying.  I explained not only was the first offense bad, but lying about it was a second violation of my trust.  I asked if they thought trust was important.

The consequence for this is two part.  The first is that they no longer are able to use the computer AT ALL.  If they have an assignment needing to be done then they will have to get it done at school.  The second part is they need to write a report with the following information:

Why the search was inappropriate.
Why trust is important in a family.
How lying affects trust.

They need to be done with the reports before they can do anything else after visiting Grandpa at the hospital tomorrow.

Prayers a lesson will be learned from this....for all of us.

This morning I was again at training for camp.

This time Middle Boy called to tell me he couldn't go to therapy, because:

  1. He didn't know where his assignment notebook was.
  2. They were going to be late if he had to find it.
Here's the deal.  This is COURT ORDERED therapy.  The program allows you to miss two times either excused or unexcused.  He has had an excused absence when we had a meeting with probation and he forgot the night of therapy had changed.  So he is down to one and then he will be kicked out of the program.

So...I asked him if he was choosing not to go to his weekend summer camp this year.  He quickly came back that he could go.  I explained that, no, if he skipped therapy today this would be miss number two and if he missed for camp that would be three and he would be kicked out of the program and back at the juvenile center.

He hadn't thought of that.

He went to therapy.

Praises he called me and didn't just skip.  Prayers that he will start to have a better grasp of consequences.
Tonight I had training for the camp I volutneer at every summer.  Training was going along great.

I got a call from home.  Obviously it is an EMERGENCY.

Middle Boy was calling to see if Babysitter M could take them to Gamestop to buy a used Wii controller, because they let Sophie chew one of ours up a couple of weeks ago.  It was IMPERATIVE that this happen TONIGHT.  They had looked online to see how much it might cost and talked with Babysitter M about the funding and now they only thing they needed to know was would I pay Babysitter M back.

No...I won't pay her and Younger Boy can pay her back.  I explained to you over and over if you don't want Sophie to chew things up you shouldn't tease her with them and you should put them away in a location where she is unable to get them.  Neither of those happened. the interim I will pay Babysitter M and they will pay her back which she will return to me.  She told them they have one month to get the money paid back.  Pretty long if you ask me.

Maybe we need to redefine EMERGENCY.

My friend, B, got her foster care license last week after 13 weeks of training.  Today she is taking her first placement.  A three-year old little girl.  I don't know many more details.  B, like me, has never been a mama before.  She is following God's promptings in her life and taking in this little one. 

This morning as soon as I got her text the boys and I stopped to pray for them.

Here is our prayer...

Dear God...

Please watch over B this morning as she becomes a mama for the first time.  Give her peace and wisdom during this transition.  Provide her with all of the energy and words she needs as she learns to navigate life with this little girl in a system that isn't easy.

Father, we also pray for the little girl.  She is scared, because she was taken from the things she knows.  She is too little to understand.  Help her to come to know that she can count on B to take care of her needs.  Help her to know that she is safe.

Father, also help this little girl's family.  They are under a lot of stress right now.  Watch over them and take care of them.  Help them to follow your will.

All this we ask in your son's precious name.

This morning Younger Boy was the first one up.  That NEVER happens.  He was up and dressed by the time my alarm went off.

He asked if he could take Sophie for a walk while Middle Boy and I were getting ready.  Out the door they went.  She was EXCITED.

We all leisurely got ready, got in the car, and everyone got where they needed to go...EARLY.

What a blessed day!!

Praises for a beautiful, peaceful, family morning.
Tonight we went to visit Grandpa.  It is SO GOOD to see him not in the ICU area and not in a hospital gown.  He was wearing workout clothes and messing around with the internet on his phone.  Finally something that seems more "normal".

He still has a feeding tube from 6pm to 6am, but today he was cleared to drink liquids.  That means his swallowing is improving.

He has therapy from 8am to 3pm every day.  At 7am all of the people on the therapy floor go to "breakfast club" and eat with the speech and swallowing therapists.  He seems to really like his therapy team....the green team.  He likes that he has goals.

There is still a LONG road ahead of him, but wow it is SO GOOD to see progress.

Praises for good care and finally some peace.
Today Younger Boy came home with a medal around his neck.  It has the "laugh now, cry later" symbol on it.  I asked about it.

He received it because he volunteered to read three poems out loud in front of all of the sixth graders at his school.  In his words "forty eight sets of eyes...all focused on me".

He is super proud of himself.  I am proud of him, too.  He loves that kind of thing.

He tells me he is going to wear the medal for at least a week.

Praises for something he takes pride in!!
Tonight I finally got around to making our chore chart.

There are chores that you do because you live at our home and there are chores that you do because you want to earn an allowance.

The chores that you do because you live in our home have negative cashflow associated with them.  The others have positive.

Each boy is responsible for their own tracking.  I have to sign off on each thing though.  They are also responsible for the associated math.

Both boys are pretty motiviated one.

Prayers that this will work and that it will help to teach the boys responsibility and budgeting.
Middle Boy finally caught on.  He can work at his own pace in his therapy program.  I have been telling him this since he started, but it just tonight clicked.

To finish in the program developed time he needs to average 3 to 4 assignments a week.  He just recently started doing that.

Tonight he decided he could do more than that.  He probably has time.

Praises for a light bulb moment.
On Thursday evenings Younger Boy and I have an hour to hang together while Middle Boy is at therapy.  Yesterday we did drawings while we sat in the backseat of the car.

He made a bunch of signs for his friend and himself.  He drew a picture for Grandpa.

While we were working he looked at me and said, "I love just drawing with you."  It made me feel very blessed.

Praises for Younger Boy.
Today I got Middle Boy's school progress report in the mail.  His grades are average to above average.

Here's the frustrating part...the teacher comments:

Language Arts - Seldom prepared to learn.  Struggles to meet deadlines.
Journalism - Seldom prepared to learn.  Missing major assignments.
Social Studies - Missing major assignments.  Does not work to ability.
Pre-Algebra - Missing major assignments.
Science - Does not attempt work that needs to be redone.  Does not work to ability.  Behavior disrupts teaching and learning.
PE - Does not work to ability.  Frequently absent from class.  Rarely brings appropriate supplies to class.  Rarely engaged in classroom activities.  Seldom prepared to learn.  Needs to demonstrate respect for others.
Music - Rarely engaged in classroom activities.  Seldom prepared to learn.
Homeroom - Rarely engaged in classroom activities.  Rarely brings appropriate supplies to class.

This makes me CRAZY.  Of course he disagrees with every single one of these comments.  Surely the teachers are making a mistake.  Alll of them?  Including PE?

He can control every bit of this...every single bit.  These are effort and motivation.

Pray for wisdom for me in how to deal with this.
Tonight I asked Middle Boy if I could see the list of rules for his therapy program, because Service Coordinator and Probation Officer still need to sign it.

He didn't want me to look at it.  He decided he would read it to me.  He skipped EVERY RULE that would cause an inconvenience in his life.  EVERY SINGLE ONE.

How do I know this?  I have my own copy of the rules.  They were sent to me by Therapist L.  He knows this, but must have forgotten.

The lying by omission makes me crazy.  I asked him if he read me all of the rules.  He assured me he did.  Even insists on it.

I got my copy out and read the ones he didn't read.  He stuck to his story.  Yes...he read them all.  My copy must be different.  He should be going by his copy.  Why don't I believe him?  Again I asked to see "his rules", but he didn't want me to.

Again...survival...and to some degree lack of respect for authority.

Prayers he will start to understand that he doesn't have to lie to survive.
Tonight I got another letter from Middle Boy.  His new thing is to get angry and go in his room and write to me.  Really ugly words to me.

Tonight the letter was a result of me saying no to something he desparately wanted. 

The letter was about trust.  How if I could just trust this one BIG THING then he would start doing all the little things to show me I can trust him.  It isn't how it works.  There were three separate things today alone where he showed me he isn't ready to be trusted.  I received two lies and a blatant disregard for rules. 

In the letter he told me if I let him do this ONE THING he will change and be respectful.  Until the next thing.  He uses this A LOT.  Respect can't be held hostage.  It just can't.  You should choose to be respectful and then you will be rewarded.  That's how things work.  You don't get your way and then choose to be respectful.  What is the recourse if he doesn't?

We sat and talked...FOR AN HOUR...about trust and respect.  I asked him if he thought he should be trusted.  I asked him if he realized what he was asking was bordering ridiculous in the first place and really had NO connection to trust.  I asked him if he thought it was fair to hold respectfulness hostage so he can get his way.

He is working quite hard at manipulation right now.

I told him my expectation was he begin to be respectful IMMEDIATELY and through that and truthfulness he would earn privileges...not the other way around.

Prayers for a hard lesson to learn when your whole life has been about survival.
Tonight Middle Boy decided it was time for him to offer "feedback" to me on my parenting.

It wasn't really feedback.  It was more of a litany of everything that he hates that I do.  It is nearly everything a parent would do.  What he thinks I should be is a friend. 

He spent a good deal of time telling me that when I tell him to do something or not do something I am making assumptions.  I am assuming he is trying to disrespectful and trying to be rude.  That isn't how he means it when he says that he hates me or when he says that I am really p****** him off.

Allegedly I will never trust him.  This is because I won't let him go and stay at a girl's house all day Monday when they don't have school  I told him there are a ton of reasons that can't happen.  I don't know her.  I don't know her parents.  He is too young for that.  Her parents won't be there.  No one there has had the required background check for foster care.  I explained that even if he was adopted it would be a no go.  That pushed him over the edge.  I obviously want him gone.  I am just purposely trying to pick a fight so that he will get mad and I can call 911. 

As it stands right now I am "not to talk to him until I can learn to respect and trust him". 

Prayers for his typical teenage behavior with a little bit of RAD thrown in for good measure.
Today we had another family team meeting, because Foster Care Specialist has to see the boys twice in one month.  So it was yesterday and today.  Not really the point of the twice a month, but meets the law.

Today it was just Foster Care Specialist, me, and the boys.  It was good to talk amongst ourselves.

We talked to Younger Boy about whether or not he felt prepared for middle school.  We didn't want to know if he was nervous about middle school...everyone is.  We wanted to know if he felt like he had learned what he was supposed to in sixth grade to move on to seventh grade.  He thinks he did.  I don't know.  He has Fs in everything right now except music, art, and PE.  We have to decide our position by first thing Tuesday morning.  I just don't know.  I suppose I should try to get everyone on his team on the same page before the meeting so we aren't fighting amongst ourselves there.

I updated her on Middle Boy no longer needing supervision after school and him needing a tracker in addition to electronic monitoring.

It hasn't been easy developing a relationship with new Foster Care Specialist...old Foster Care Specialist was more than that...she was a friend.

Praises for an amazing agency to work with.
I can't believe I forgot to post this here...I did post it on Facebook.

On Monday night we had a little extra time and needed to get gas.  I decided we would wash our car as well.  It was one of those drive-thru washes with the attendants who wipe down your car after.

There were three or four cars ahead of us in line.  Younger Boy kept rolling his window down.  I told him you have to make sure your windows are UP at a carwash.

Unbeknownst to me the sunroof was vented open and the inside cover for it closed.  I never open the sunroof so it didn't occur to me this might be the case.

We proceeded into the wash.  Water started leaking into the car.  Middle Boy opened the inside cover to see what was going on.  In an attempt to close it we slid the whole thing open and caused a tsunami in the car.

Middle Boy and I got COMPLETELY drenched.  Younger Boy didn't get wet at all.  He was laughing really hard and kept saying "I am going to pee my pants" which just made all of us laugh harder.

Surprisingly there was no water on the floor of the car.  All of the cup holders filled though.  Not really sure how that happened.

Praises for the our own expense.  We will have this memory FOREVER!!
Today we had a family team meeting for both boys.  They are usually separate, but with all of the chaos of Grandpa being in the hospital I didn't have time for a lot of meetings this month.

There were a lot of updates for us...some of which we knew...some we didn't.

The good stuff:

  1. Middle Boy has to stay on electronic monitoring until August...his next court date.  We already knew that so no big deal.
  2. Middle Boy now also gets a tracker.  I orginally thought this was court ordered at probation, but no one else seemed to care about it.  I asked a couple of times, but if no one else was worried than I wasn't going to beg for one.  Someone finally realized we didn't have it.  Our tracker starts next week some time.  Basically it means this person will drop in on Middle Boy when he is supposed to be home or at school to see if he is there.  Middle Boy has to call the tracker with his whereabouts at all times.  No big deal...we did it before.  Makes Middle Boy have to increase his responsibility and communication.  Neither of those is bad.
  3. Middle Boy can be home by himself for lengths of time up to three hours.  THIS IS A BIG DEAL.  We can drop the after school reporting center and he can walk home.  The tracker can check on him.  This is AMAZING NEWS!!  It eliminates ONE HOUR of car time PER DAY.

The frustrating stuff:

  1. Agency won't pay for Middle Boy's summer program.  He can't be left at home alone, because of their rules.  They won't pay for the program.  So...I will be paying for the summer program.  Lucky me!
  2. Agency doesn't pay for daycare transportation to school.  They will pay for transportation to daycare, but not from daycare to school.  If I could take Younger Boy to school I wouldn't have him at daycare.  Think it through people!!
  3. Summer school doesn't provide transporation unless you had transportation during the school year.  No one takes into account that we live next to the elementary school so we didn't qualify for transportation, but summer school is for MIDDLE SCHOOL which we would have qualified for transportation for, but he didn't go there.  I think daycare will pick him up at summer school if I drop him off.  See item #2.
  4. County Attorney can protest Middle Boy's adoption until he is off of probation.  Will she?  Hard to say.  She is still FURIOUS about his case and thinks he should have gone out of state for an in-patient program.  We won't know until we file the adoption petition on June 21st and she has 30 days to protest it.

That's our recap. 

Praises for the good and that the frustrating stuff...while frustrating could be significantly worse.
Grandpa moved to the therapy floor today.  He has a full day of therapy scheduled each day while he is there. 

Tomorrow night we are going to go see him.  He will probably be completely wiped out from his first day of therapy, but it will be SO GOOD to see him in something other than an ICU room!

Earlier this week they talked to him about how close he was on many occassions to not making it and how it is truly a miracle that he pulled through.

Thank you God for Grandpa!  For allowing him to stay here with us a while longer!!
We spent ALL morning at the psychiatric evaluation for Younger Boy.  It was SIGNIFICANTLY different than the psychiatric evaluation Older Boy went through at this time last year.  This doctor knows her stuff.  She talked to (interviewed) him for about an hour without me present and then had him leave the room and interviewed me.

When we finished talking she described him as a very p****** off con artist with an underlying depression.   Even though the depression is present she said his primary diagnosis is Oppositional Defiant Disorder.  It is partially what it sounds like...that you don't do what others ask you to do, but the other piece consists of becoming enraged when you are caught lying, stealing, manipulating, whatever.  My opinion...she completely hit the nail on the head.

She changed ALL of his medications except for the allergy med and melatonin for sleep.  She added a mood leveler which helps with the ODD, an anti-depressant, and upped the ADHD med.

She asked that his teacher fill out a form in two weeks so she can assess the ADHD med again.

I REALLY liked this lady.  It likely explains the NINE WEEK wait to get in to see her.

Praises for change and hopes for changes in behaviors.
Tomorrow is Younger Boy's second psychiatric evaluation to confirm or argue the findings of the first.

I am learning so much about mental illness.  I get angry about all of the things that go on with these boys, because of choices that weren't theirs.  The consequences are and that stinks.

Younger Boy is looking at possible diagnosis of:

fetal alcohol syndrome (NOS)
reactive attachment disorder
oppositional defiant disorder
conduct disorder
borderline personality disorder
gender identity disorder (NOS)

Those are a lot of tags.  They overlap a lot.  They are going to make life hard.

Can I help him?  What is my role in his life?
While at times I actually like social media.  Right now it is making my life rough.

Middle Boy's bio mom found him even though he uses my last name on the site.  He has contact with two bio sisters and she figured it out...or they told her.

The messages she has sent are making our lives be in turmoil.  He wants to be in contact, but doesn't.   It's complicated.  She relinquished her rights so she isn't really court ordered to stay away.

I could use a little advice.

Here's the conversation to date:

Mom - Oh my gosh.  How r u?  I miss u so much.
MB - Good how r u
Mom - Pretty sick, but much better hearin from u
Mom - Where r u livin now?
Mom - Can you call XXX-XXX-XXXX
Mom - See I dyed my hair blond cause you kept asking me to.  You born in fort stockton texas, not el paso.  I have been tyring to find you for so long I thought you might think I gave up on you.  I love you too much to do that.  Are you adopted now?  Are they good to you?  Any brothers or sisters?
MB - One brother and yes they r treating me good
Mom - That makes me feel good.  I would rather have you with me but God has his own plan I guess.
MB - Do u still have my baby pictures
Mom - some
MB - I have no idea what I looked like wen I was a baby
Mom - U were adorable as a baby.  i hope u know how much i luv u and i hope u still luv me
Mom - r u at school
MB - sry been a little busy
Mom - thats okay i thought you didn't want to talk to me or something
Mom - r u still there
MB - yep
Mom - so u aren't mad at me about something
Mom - happy easter i luv u mom
Mom - r u there
MB - yea
Mom - i miss you
MB - me 2
Mom - wish you could call me XXX-XXX-XXXX
Mom - r u there
Mom - my message thing is messing up
Mom -  Did u see your baby picture I posed a little over a week ago?  u were 3.
MB - yea
Mom -  I have more.  I just have to get them out.  I told u u were a cutie.
Mom - don't u want to talk to me
Mom - love u.  I wish u would say it back to me or tell me if you don't
MB - yea
Mom - what do you mean?  I'm not lyin, I love u with all my heart.  I cry every day cause u aint with me.
MB - ly
Mom - do u really or u just saying that?  u mean more to me than all my other children.  I just hope u know.  I'm sorry for not being there for u.
Mom - Got some bad news.  I really am very sick.  I eat mostly thru a feeding tube in my stomach.
Mom - Is there any way I can see u in the next few years.  I don't know if i'll live much longer than that.

Therapist thinks maybe it is helping him see the relationship.  I don't know.  I spend a lot of time talking about how it okay to not want to talk to her and it is okay if he just wants to delete her and tell her he doesn't want to.  It is also okay if he does, but not right now.

It makes me angry.  Not that she wants to have contact.  She is his mom after all, but all of this is all about her and her needing confirmation that he forgives her and still loves her.  In my opinion he isn't there yet.

Prayers that one day this can be a healthy relationship if that is God's will.
Once again, I love Anne's post for the day.

Today she talked about adoption and foster themed kids movies...from the perspective of an adoptive mama.  I love her post.  I appreciate her synopsis of the themes of these movies.  It struck a chord with me.  Especially the analysis of Chimpanzees.  Maybe we will have to see it....I'm going to have to pray about it though, because my boys both struggle with the abandonment issues.

Anne's Movie Thoughts

Thanks Anne!!  You inspire me to be a better mama!!
After all of the emotion of earlier in the evening we ended the night pretty well.

We talked about this morning's sermon from church...about being in awe of God. 

We prayed about our family.  We prayed for Grandpa.  We prayed for peace in our home.

We got ready for the day tomorrow and said our good nights.

I'm thankful for a better finish.  Today was rough.
Tonight I got two from each boy.  Both are heartbreaking in different ways.

Here they are...

Dear Mom...

I miss you so much that when I read your letter that you wrote me when Middle Boy was gone you wrote...Younger Boy...I'm glad I'm your mom.  I know you hate being an only child.  Hopefully you won't be for much longer.  I love you Younger Boy! - Mom

When I read that I about cried and after I read that I cried so much that I had to take off my glasses and hide so nobody could see me and ask me what was wrong.  I'm sorry about all the stress I've been giving you ever since I moved in with you and I'm so sorry about that and I'm also sorry about everything I've put you through and I hope that you can FORGIVE me and it's alright to cry.  Just remember that I'm always with you even when you're gone and not by me because what I mean is that I'm always with you in your heart even when you're gone and not by me and also in your prayers so just also remember that you should just be proud to have two talented and caring sons that care about you, love you, and are always with you wherever you go.


Love, Younger Boy

P.S.  Just remember that I will always and will never stop loving you.

P.P.S.  Grandpa will be alright and all we need to do is just pray, pray, pray nonstop every night and hel'll be better very, very, very soon.

Love, Younger Boy

You're the Best Mom!!

He wrote it while he was away at respite and just found it in his bag tonight.  I wrote him a note that I love him and am glad he lives here.

Here's the other...

Dear Denise,

I thought I found my final family, but I guess I was wrong.  I loved you so much and you don't realize that I've never loved anybody like this.  It hurts me to know that I wasted it on another heartbreak.

I'm sorry that I'm not what you hoped for.  I can't help that.  I'm a screw up and that's all I'll ever be.  I failed so many times and I guess I failed again.  I have Younger Boy scared of me and crying in the bathroom.  That makes me the best big brother, right?  You don't want to deal with me anymore.  Thanks a lot for wasting my time.

You can tell everyone that our relationship failed because of me.  That's what I believe.  I ruined you and Younger Boy's lives.  I'm sorry.  You guys can improve your relationship.  I'll just stay out of your way.  Sometimes I feel like if I run away I'll make everybody happy.

I think I'm about to try it.  I'm sorry I made your life more stressful than it needs to be and the last thing you need is me in your way.  I know I scare you and Younger Boy because of my personality.  That's not fair.  After you read this, honestly tell me if this is true, because I know it is.


Your Life Ruiner

This made me cry.  He has so much hurt and rejection inside of him.  I didn't say anything about him leaving.  He is so accustomed to that being the natural chain of events that he can't think of anything else.

I wrote him a letter back and read it to him.  He has never scared me.  I don't think he is a screw up.  We are his forever family.  He isn't getting out of it that easily. 

These boys have made my life so much more beautiful.  So much more joyous. 

Are there bad things?  Of course, but without a doubt the good outweighs the bad...maybe tenfold.

More than anything I wish the hurts would go away...would heal.  God his time.  I'm so lucky he has chosen me to be a part of it.
Sometimes Middle Boy and I struggle.  We are so much alike.  We let little things become big things and then we explode.

Tonight I exploded.  I get frustrated, because I feel like I tell him the same things over and over and over.  The reason I exploded tonight was because I asked him to stop doing something that I have asked him not to do about one hundred times....he looked at me...did it again and laughed.  He wanted a reaction...he got it.

I had to go to my room to get away from him, because once the floodgates open with him you can't stop it. 

I hate him.  I don't want him to live here.  I'm a liar just like everyone else.  Maybe I should call 911 and just get him out of here tonight.  Make something up if I have to.   That's how much I hate him.

He said he is his own family now.  Him and Sophie.  That's it.  No one else should even bother talking to him.

Prayers we can figure out a healthier way.
This afternoon I was cleaning up the kitchen and could hear the boys talking.  Actually it was more like Middle Boy giving advice to Younger Boy.

The main theme of the discussion was that Younger Boy needed to decide if he wanted to live at my home and if he wanted to live at my home he should act like it.  More than once he said "do you want to live here, because you aren't acting like it".

He told him of his experience when he was "his age".  He asked him if he wanted to go to a group home, because that was probably his next stop.

He talked about respect.

I didn't interfere.  I just listened.  It was an interesting new perspective.

Praises for brotherly advice and behaviors.  Prayers for healthy discussions between the two of them.
Middle Boy has been wanting to record some of his music.  He writes songs.

Z from church just released four original songs.  We downloaded them.

This morning Z told us he has a recording studio at his house and he would love to help Middle Boy out any time.  Middle Boy just needs to call him.

Middle Boy is beyond excited.  I told Z he might have just invited Middle Boy to move in.  I'm not sure he believed me!

Praises God put someone in our lives who can help Middle Boy with his dreams.
Today after church Younger Boy talked to Mentor R.

The rest of the day I dealt with UGLY behavior.  I thought this was a thing of the past.  When he first moved in everytime he talked to Mentor R he was UGLY....really UGLY.

We must not be past it.  I wish I knew what caused it.  I don't think it is a coincidence, because there have been other kiddos in the camp mentoring program who had to quit mentoring because their behaviors afterward were undesirable.

I would love to figure out why this is.

I won't deal with UGLY. 

This morning was AWFUL.

Younger Boy is angry, rude, and disrespectful. 

He stomped around the house and slammed doors.  He screamed at Middle Boy for feeding Sophie. 

He locked his jaw, folded his arms and stared out the car window on the way to church.

He was rude when people talked to him at church and was angry during church.  On more than one occassion he was muttering under his breath about how everyone hates him and he should just die.

Prayers mornings like this morning become fewer and farther between.
Tonight Younger Boy talked to Mentor R twice on the phone.

I don't think they have talked in about six weeks.  Honestly I don't know for sure.  I haven't prevented or encouraged Younger Boy to talk to Mentor R for a while.  I've just let it be what it is.

When Mentor R and I had a falling out I left it that I was available to talk whenever he was ready.  I personally haven't heard from him...not sure I ever will.

Where Younger Boy will take it from here...I don't know.  It is his relationship to cultivate.

Prayers for Younger Boy and Mentor R to figure out their relationship.
Tonight we had dinner as a family for the first time in TEN DAYS.  Honestly this is the part of being a single foster mom I hate the most.

I wish we sat down at the table for dinner every single night as a family.  In reality we are doing really well if we are able to do it three times a week. 

Part of me wants the judges to court order we have to have three nights a week where nothing is court ordered.  Part of me thinks it is sad.

I think about one of the purposes of foster care and that is to learn to live in a family environment.  I don't know about anyone else, but most families aren't at therapy four nights a week and trying to fit in a behavioralist as well.

So tonight...I am thankful for our simple family the same the same time.
Tonight we went to the hospital at dinner time to see Grandpa.  That way Grandma could go and get her dinner while we stayed and hung out with Grandpa.

Grandpa is still struggling with eating.  It is really the only thing holding him back from getting stronger.  It is also immensely frustrating for him.

Here's the thing I have learned through all of parents love each other...really love each other.  Watching them I am in awe of their relationship.

This whole experience has been a learning journey on family dynamics...both for the boys and for me.

I am so very thankful that Grandpa is stronger.  So thankful.

Praises to God for family and for healing.

Prayers Grandpa would learn to swallow food again and continue to gain strength.
Today the boys did what brothers all over the world do.  They built a fort out of pillows and blankets and turned Sophie into a guard dog.

They played in the fort for a LONG time.  They were laughing and chatting.  They were enjoying each other's company.

Sophie failed as a guard dog.  I think maybe their expectations were a little high.  She did do a great job as a partial demolition crew though. 

I love that these two boys love each other...really love each other.  I love that they behave like brothers who have lived together forever.  I love these moments when we don't have to be anywhere or do anything and they can just be.  We don't have them often...they are truly treasures for us.

Praises for family...whatever it looks like.
The boys obviously missed each other this week.

Tonight they played in their room for the entire evening.  They were making a CD of original music for Niece A's birthday.  They were also writing lyrics for a Christian CD they want to make.  They asked me if we could have a "family band".  Middle Boy is going to play the guitar and sing, Younger Boy is going to play the drums, and I am going to play the keyboard.

The interesting thing about this band is I am the MOST equipped for my role, because I took piano lessons about 25 years ago and can still play the right hand melody.  Both of them need to learn their instruments from scratch.

I'm not too sure about the success of the family band, but I am thrilled they are getting along and having a good time together.  It makes my heart smile.

Praises for them becoming BROTHERS.
Tonight we went to Ms. R's to pick-up Younger Boy.  All day he has been telling her he isn't ready to come home, but he probably should because I "really must miss him".

I am so thankful for her.  I am so thankful she was brought into my life.  She is AMAZING!!

It is interesting having Younger Boy home again.  He has been gone for 10 days.  The dynamic at home is totally different when he is here.  He is angry and he carries that vibe with him pretty much non-stop.  The second he got in the car tonight he was already dishing out his attitude and defiance.

I don't know if I am ready for this right now.

Prayers for my attitude toward Younger Boy to improve.  Prayers for my tolerance level with him to increase.

Tonight Middle Boy and I met Younger Sister and her family at the hospital.  This was the first time her kiddos were going to get to see Grandpa since the day before he went in for his original surgery on March 26.

Middle Boy went outside to help them get their kiddos upstairs to Grandpa's floor and then waited in the waiting room with them while they went in one by one with Younger Sister to see Grandpa. 

I got to be in the room while the came in.  It was so obvious that Niece A was completely relieved to see him.  Niece I and Nephew W were both a little bit apprehensive, but Niece I stood and held Grandpa's hand really sweetly for about five minutes.

Afterward Middle Boy and I stayed in the lobby so Younger Sister and her husband could visit Grandpa.  We got to play with Niece C. 

Niece A LOVES Middle Boy.  She wants to hold his hand and sit by him and order what he orders at restaurants.  It is really pretty cute how much she adores him.

I am proud of him, because he is REALLY good with them.  REALLY good. 

Praises for getting to spend time with family.
Just got a call from Probation Officer.  Middle Boy has to stay on electronic monitoring until the next court date which is scheduled for August.

To say that it stinks is a complete understatement.  Luckily Probation Officer is a reasonable lady and pretty easy to work with.

Prayers Middle Boy doesn't freak out when I tell him tonight.
I am going to toot my own horn for a minute.  Partially because the feedback seems so incredibly absurd to me.

This morning I gave a presentation at a national student conference on Building Commissioning.  I am not a fan of presentations.  Not because I don't like to do them, but I don't like to prepare for them.  It was everything I could do to make a power point for my presentation.  When the marketing department got it they actually said, "seriously".  Thanks to them I didn't look like a complete schmuck.

I presented to students and professors.  I got three offers to be a guest lecturer in engineering classes.  One of them even said I was a born presenter.  One of the students asked if he could intern for me, because I seem cool. cool either.  I am an engineer for crying out loud.  Cool and engineer is an oxymoron.

The local university has been trying to get me to be on the faculty for years as a practicing professional professor.  Maybe I should think about it.  I don't have enough going on right now, do I?  Maybe now would be a good time to change careers!!
Denise we have a vacuum.  We even use it.  Pretty regularly.

Tonight Middle Boy decided to vacuum his room...something to be commended for.

What went wrong?  I'm not sure.

Now we have a vacuum that actually disperses whatever goes through it and makes the worst noise I have ever heard.

I checked the bag...not full.  I checked the hoses...seem clear.

It is a really cool dust dispersion device we have now though.

Hopefully I can fix it tomorrow.  I wasn't planning to buy a vacuum anytime soon.
One camp down...two to go.

C is going to do respite for both boys at her house during RFKC.  We chatted tonight for about an hour about what that might look like.  I'm sure she is apprehensive.  I would be.

I am so blessed to have her as a friend and helper in my foster care journey.  The boys love hanging out with her and Middle Boy, who hates cats, even likes her cat.

Now to find respite for girls camp and the day before boys camp.

Praises for respite providers...all of them.   Prayers the right respite providers fall into place for girls and boys camp!
Last night we missed a make-up group session of therapy.  Why?  Because Middle Boy didn't tell me there was a make-up session of therapy.  It was partially a test in responsbility.  Four of the eleven boys passed the test.

Since it is a make-up session Middle Boy won't have therapy this Saturday.  It is our first day in MONTHS where we don't have anything scheduled!  Not one thing!!

Prayers for an increased level of responsibility.
Grandpa had a blood transfusion today.  They are expecting it to pep him up a little bit.

He did sit in the chair three times for a total of about three hours.  He ate a little bit of food.  He continues to have a feeding tube and they are increasing the volume of food he receives.

His coughing seems to be getting better and that makes him more willing to talk.

He had physical therapy today and Grandma said he did great.

It has been a blessing to see my parents every day, but the circumstances certainly stink.
Tonight I got a report on Middle Boy when I got to the center to pick him up.

As soon as I heard it I immediately thought it was the third strike.  He said he met with the director and it wasn't the third strike, but instead he was commended for helping a fellow classmate out.  How can the stories be so different?

Tomorrow I will have to call the director to find out what went on.

It was a good opportunity for Middle Boy and I to talk about impressions and perception.  He told me that whenever there is trouble everyone always just assumes it is him, but that he is trying to change.  I explained that when you have given someone an impression or perception of you it is REALLY HARD work to change that.  I also explained that with each new place you have the chance to set that perception.  He can go to high school next year and it is a clean slate.  A new afterschool program...clean slate.  Kind of like Christianity...clean slate.

His opinion of himself is so low that he assumes everyone is against him and he will get the bad deal.  We are working to change that.  Has his life been fair?  No.  Does he need to hold on to the role of the victim?  No.

Prayers he will take our conversation to heart.
Probation Officer just called.  We are now at our 90 days which is pretty typical for the electronic monitoring portion of probation.

She is going to call the attorneys today to see if they will get that piece of probation cancelled.  She thinks he has been compliant with probation and since he is never anywhere unsupervised she thinks it wouldn't be a problem.

Unfortunately County Attorney has a say in this, so it might not be a go on the first try, BUT she is going to make the attempt.  She said she can retry again every 30 days or so following if there are no incidences.

Prayers for County Attorney to agree to the removal of the electronic montior.
Middle Boy stayed up all night.

He was in bed when I went to bed. 

I was awakened at 1AM with lights on in the whole house and Sophie whining to get out of my room.

Middle Boy had decided it was time to clean his room, because he couldn't sleep.  It was a nightmare kind of night.  At one point when he was dozing off I heard him SCREAM at the top of his lungs.  Unfortnately there isn't much you can do when someone is literally SCARED to fall asleep even when they are safe.

This morning I strongly explained that being tired is not an excuse for bad choices and behaviors.  There are no more chances at school or the day program.  He is going to have to keep it together until at least 9PM tonight, because he has therapy and has to make a presentation to Therapist L.

Prayers he can keep it together.  Prayers the nightmares are gone tonight and we can both get a good night's rest.
Today I emailed Middle Boy's former therapist, Therapist A.  I feel like we could use her right now. 

While Middle Boy is going to regular therapy it is really specialized and focused and we could use a bit more of the general for a little while right now.  We could use some mediation on a few topics and Middle Boy trusts here...or at least he used to.

I am willing to pay her myself.  I offered that up.

She responded telling me that just yesterday she asked someone how we were doing and was going to contact us.  We have been on her heart and she wanted to make sure we had transitioned back home smoothly.  She also volunteered her time to work with us.  I'm going to pray about this.

Again...I can see God here.  It isn't coincidence that we have been on her heart at the time when we could really use her help.

Praises for Therapist A.  In many ways I miss her.

Prayers Middle Boy will be open to working with her.  If he isn't there isn't a reason to try.

Middle Boy is at a crossroads.  At this point he could go either way.  His words tell me one thing about which way he will go while his actions tell me something totally different.  They haven't matched in a while now.

Tonight we had a discussion about how things work together.  We talked about how if you get kicked out the reporting center the question isn't just where will you go afterschool, but also the following:

  1. How does this affect my chances to do a program this summer?  Is there anywhere that will accept me when I have been kicked out of a structured program?  Will the state pay for a less strict program and hope for the best or will they see it as an opportunity to move you to a group home?  If there are no programs that will accept you we don't have many choices.
  2. How does this affect my chances of getting off of the electronic monitor?  Good behavior affects this.  In reality you can be on the electronic monitor until you are 19, because it is open ended.  Is that what we are going for?
  3. Is this a violation of probataion?  If it is are you going back to the juvenile center?
  4. How will the judge view the disrespect for authority?
  5. What will therapist say about it when your focus has been on respect?

He seemed SHOCKED that this one thing could affect all of those things.  I explained that there were many more, but that these were just the ones I could think of off the top of my head.

I explained that from now on there is no "joking around" with staff ANYWHERE.  He just has to suck it up and be respectful.  There are no more choices. 
Grandpa is on a feeding tube now.  While it isn't necessarily an emotional victory it is a physical victory.  With the addition of the feeding tube he should have more energy to be able to work on therapy.  When you don't have any caloric input it is tough to have any energy.

The bigger victory though is that his kidneys are working.  No more dialysis.  He had gone into acute kidney failure and it had been questionable as to whether or not they would come back.  They did.  What a blessing!!

There is continued forward progress with his health.  His cardiologist signed off yesterday meaning he won't be seeing him anymore.  One doctor down...six to go.

Praises for the continued healing.

Prayers for the mental exhaustion this is causing.  Prayers for peace and understanding.
I just can't decide what I want this blog to look like.  I am finding that it is kind of changing with my moods. 

Yet again there are some things on this template that I don't love.

I just thought I would explain myself...
Often times over my lunch hour I will do some random reading on the topic of foster parenting and reactive attachment disorder. 

I wish I had never heard of RAD.  I wish there wasn't such a thing.  I wish I could think like the parent of a RAD kid and not engage.  I wish others would understand while the things my boys are doing are often times wrong in the eyes of society they are doing what they know and what they are capable of.

We're working on it.  They aren't going to be respectful of authority overnight.  They aren't going to quit being defiant just because I pray they will and talk to them about it.  It might take them years to understand the consequences of the things they do.  They might never get it.  Only God knows.

Today I am yet again struggling with how to handle two situations...both regarding Middle Boy.  He has been disrepectful of his PE teacher and has gotten his second strike at his afterschool program.  He is on the verge of being kicked out of both PE and the afterschool program.  What it really boils down to is respect for authority.  This isn't a shock to me.  Everything you hear and see about foster kiddos talks about it.  It disrupts their need to be in control...OF EVERYTHING. 

Here's my is so hard to explain to someone who has been hurt by people in authority they should under all circumstances respect those in authority unless it is harmful or illegal.  It is also hard to explain the ramifications of behavior to someone who can't see the big picture and sees life as revolving around him.  He also doesn't understand others have consequences for his behaviors as well.  The empathy piece is completely foreign.

I'm praying about how to handle this.  It has to be addressed...almost daily.  Obviously I am not saying the right words.

Prayers for wisdom and understanding.

Tonight I got a call from Middle Boy telling me he just wants to come home.  He wanted me to leave Younger Boy at respite so he could spend time with "just me", because he had a lot of things he wanted to talk about and it is hard to do with Younger Boy around.

I talked it over with Ms. R and we decided I would bring Middle Boy home and leave Younger Boy there until Friday evening.  She was concerned the "antics" of her foster son caused him to want to leave.  I explained since he has been home from the juvenile center he is pretty clingy to me and I was actually surprised he stayed as long as he did.

I went and picked him up.  Immediately on the drive home he started in on all of the things he wanted to talk about.  He started out by saying "I have been thinking and I have really been a jerk".  He showed me some thoughts he had written down and a schedule he wanted to maintain each day.  He wants to be more responsible and more respectful.  He said he realized how his behaviors were affecting everything in the house. 

We are going to continue our talk tomorrow evening while we work on cleaning up the boys room (his idea). 

He told me he realized he needs me as a parent.  He wants to be a part of a family and not responsible for everything anymore.  He wants my input on things like which classes to take in high school, how to budget money, and many other things on his list.

I want so badly not to be skeptical about all of this.  I am hopeful this is really a turning point with us.

Prayers for Middle Boy.  He is an amazing kid...he just doesn't realize it yet.
Younger Boy called tonight needing two things...three pairs of socks and his meds.  If I wanted to I could also bring his video games, some beef sticks and granola bars, too.

I laughed at the request which was so completely Younger Boy.

I took the things over, because meds aren't something he can go without.

When I got there he was actually excited to see me.  He hugged me for a long time which is atypical of him.

I chatted with Ms. R and her daughter J for a while.  J is majoring in what I have my degree in and I am going to mentor her next semester.  Ms. R was so excited about that.  Ironically I hadn't selected my student to mentor yet so it worked out in God's way and his timing.

Praises for seeing God at work...every day.
Tonight I went to see Grandpa.  When I got there Youngest Sister was there and Grandma was out taking a walk.  Grandpa was sleeping.

Over the last couple of days he has grown increasingly more and more tired.  His days and nights seem to be mixed up similar to that of a newborn.

After he woke from his sleep he still had a hard time "waking up".  He was groggy and was doing everything possible trying to "wake" himself.

He is only able to eat one bite of food at a time.  The goal is for him to eat at least 100 grams of protein per day and he is at less than 10 grams.  As a result he will likely get a feeding tube tomorrow.  That is VERY disheartening for him.  Younger Sister, Grandma, and I talked and it is absolutely what he needs to do to get some strength back.

They have been talking about the "next steps".  It is some sort of facility for therapy and rehabilitation, but at this point when and where is unknown.  It is possible for him to stay at the hospital he is in and continue, but we all agree that maybe moving to a new location will lift his spirits. 

It is hard to see him so frustrated and tired.  He didn't walk today, because he is just too tired.  I don't remember if he sat in a chair or not.  The days are all kind of running together for me.

Prayers for energy and healing for Grandpa.

Prayers for strength and wisdom for Grandma.

Prayers for wisdom for the doctors as they make recommendations about the next steps.

Praises there are next steps which is such a blessing compared to this time last week.

Because I don't have enough going on right now Middle Boy decided he would skip class yesterday.

This morning I got a call from Assistant Principal telling me that Middle Boy showed up 15 minutes late to PE and complained about his ankle.  PE Teacher sent him to the nurse's office.  She and I had talked last week when he tried this exact same thing.  The only time he complains about his ankle is when he has PE.  He can run and jump on trampolines at home.  I don't think it hurts.

Nurse sent him back to class armed with the information I had given her last week.  I know this is shocking, but he never made it back there.  What was he doing?  I don't know.

This morning when he was in Assistant Principal's office he worked really hard to convince Assistant Principal that he should call Ms. R since he is staying with her right now.  That's absurd.  She doesn't have educational rights for him.

My guess is he knows I am obligated to tell his entire team.  This isn't going to look good in terms of probation or summer care.  I am guessing NOW he realizes the consequences of the actions are not going to be good.  That's what impulsivity will do to you.

This DOESN'T get him to be able to come home a day earlier. 

Prayers he would start to "get it".
This afternoon Grandpa will be having two more procedures.  They are removing the temporary dialysis port and putting in a "perma-port".  His kidneys are not coming back as quickly as they had originally hoped.  At this point in time it isn't clear whether or not they will come back or whether he will be on dialysis.  The temporary port has to come out, because it has been in for a couple of weeks and they don't want it to become infected.

They are also going to do a procedure to check the status of the healing in his gastro-intestinal system and to determine if there are additional issues.  Not sure what issues they are actually looking for.

He is also having trouble with swallowing food.  He can eat about three bites and then is done.  It is SO HARD to watch, because those three bites completely exhaust him.  They did a swallowing x-ray recently and everything was "normal", but it is still a struggle for him.  They are hoping he can start to get all nutrients through food, but at this point a feeding tube might not be out of the question.

I'm going to go to the hospital to be with Grandma this afternoon during the procedures.  I think Younger Sister is trying to get here as well.

Grandpa has a long road in front of him.  He is slowly getting better.  He seemed tired to me yesterday, but he had walked 20 steps and sat in the chair for a couple of hours. 

It is SO HARD seeing him like this.  It is SO HARD watching Grandma go through this.  It is SO COOL seeing how much they love each other.

Pray for Grandpa.

Pray for wisdom for the doctors.

Pray for peace for Grandma.
On Tuesday mornings I so look forward to reading my friend Anne's blog.   On Tuesday she writes about a topic that is near and dear to me...attachment.

Today I love her it.  It is about parenting a kiddo with RAD.  I could have written it...except for the part about how to parent through it.  My natural instinct is the type of parenting where I throw gas on the fire.  I am learning...slowly learning.

Here is Anne's post....Attachment.

Thanks Anne for enlightening me every single week.  For being a constant reminder that these kids need something "different".

God....thank you for bringing Anne into "my life".  I hope to one day meet her in person.  Through you all things are possible.
Ms. R is becoming a mentor for me...and a friend. 

She called last night to remind me I should not under any circumstances be feeling guilty about the boys being at respite.  She assured me they were having a good time and they didn't "need" to come home.

She also reminded me she is good to go to keep them through the weekend if I would like.  Just say the word.

Ms. R told me their weekend wasn't too smooth as one of her "boys" ran away and the police were involved to locate him and now he will be on a monitoring bracelet through the agency so they can more easily locate him.  Then in a matter of fact way she said "this is why I have teenage foster boys, still so much easier than the girls".  I couldn't help but laugh.  She told me of former foster boys and some of their antics.  She told me about why she changed from foster girls to foster boys.  She has wisdom I could gain from.

She told me about a group of her foster friends who have teenage foster boys...all of them.  She invited me to their "support group". 

God...thank you for bringing Ms. R into my life.  She makes me laugh.  She encourages me.  She is praying for me.  Just when I was doubting YOU again brought me EXACTLY what I needed...EXACTLY when I needed it. 

Today I got NINE calls from Middle Boy.  NINE calls about how I obviously didn't want him and was obviously not telling him something and how if he just came home he would be completely respectful and not angry.

All but one of the calls ended with him hanging up on me, because he "hated" me.

Does he hate me?  No.  Does he feel like he isn't in control of his world right now?  Yes.  Does that bring out nearly every ounce of ugliness there is in him?  Absolutely.

Why didn't he hang up on me on the ninth call?  Because I told him I needed to go and didn't give him the chance.  I didn't feel like engaging him anymore.  Honestly it is the best thing with him anyway.

Prayers for respite family that he is respectful to her.

Prayers that one day he will understand.
If I am truly honest with myself I feel guilty about the boys being at respite.

Originally I was going to pick them up tonight. In fact I was still kind of planning on it when I got a text from Middle Boy saying "see you tomorrow".

I tried to call to see if things were going okay and he was too busy to talk to me. I guess they are doing fine.

This is such a HUGE blessing to spite of all of the guilt I am feeling. I am glad they are having fun. It makes me feel less guilty about them being away, but more guilty about how NOT FUN it has been at our house lately.

Praises for good respite care. Prayers for letting go of the guilt.
This morning I went to visit Grandpa. It was good to see him up and in a chair. He also took about 10 steps today. It completely exhausted him, but he was able to do it.

I had lunch with Middle Sister and her kids. Niece L decided that she wanted to be an ICU nurse after spending the day with Grandpa yesterday. Apparently there was a nurse there named Wendy who impacted a little girl in a way she will probably never know.

Grandpa is doing swallowing and voice exercises that make him sound like he is in choir practice. The kids got a big laugh out of participating with him in the voice exercises. The nurses got a kick out of it, too. When the nurses changed shifts the nurse leaving said "your dad is such a sweet man".

Praises for continued improvements in Grandpa.

Praises for family being able to travel to visit him.

Praises for respite care and a good nights sleep!
I slept all day...literally all day.

I was awake for about two hours today. I'm not sure if I am that physically exahusted or if it just complete mental exhaustion. It really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. I needed the sleep.

I was planning to go visit Grandpa since Middle Sister and her kids are here. I didn't.

Praises for restful sleep and Middle Sister being here to support Grandma and Grandpa.
Tonight was a quiet evening.

I got home from teaching and ate a quiet dinner.

Probation officer stopped over to pick up the monitoring box for Middle Boy. We actually talked for almost an hour. She had a lot if questions for me about being a single foster parent. It is something she has been considering. I was pretty candid about the journey, but no matter how hard it gets I still wouldn't change it.

Tonight I spent time with Grandpa and Grandma in peace. It was nice. He is improving daily, but he still had a long road ahead of him.

I'm home now and headed to bed for a much needed full night of sleep.

Praises for emergency respite.
What a roller coaster the last three weeks have been with Grandpa (my dad).

As of yesterday afternoon he is off of the ventilator again. He is still receiving the nutrients he needs through IV. They didn't do a feeding tube, because of the ventilator and now they are just going to wait until he can eat "normal" food again. Yesterday he passed the swallowing test of foods, but not liquids. The are going to redo the test again some time today. They are also going to do a swallowing x-ray at some point to determine if his lungs are closing off properly when he eats.

He is starting occupational and physical therapy. Today's therapy consisted of dangling his feet over the edge of the bed and sitting. He also stood for about one minute. Grandma said he is exhausted as a result.

Each day he is getting a bit stronger. Just last night his nurse asked him if he was going to do what she asked. He replied "are you going to do what I ask?" That's the Grandpa I know.

Middle Sister and her kids are going to be here this weekend to visit him. Younger Sister was here yesterday, but has to work all weekend.

Praises for progress. Prayers for continued healing.
So...our respite provider changed between last night and tonight.

 It was originally going to be someone from our agency, but that ended up not working out.

God had a plan though.

Ms. R is doing respite for us this weekend. I love her already. She is a single mom with a biological 21 year-old daughter and 12 year-old son. She also has a 14 year-old and a 13 year-old foster son. She is VERY STRUCTURED. Something I could learn from.

She told me she had absolutely no question in her mind whether or not she could take the boys. Her father went in to have an ingrown toenail removed and ended up on life support with pneumonia. She said she was just passing it on, because someone took her foster kiddos no questions asked while she was at the hospital with her dad.

She was encouraging to me. She told me she took 10 days to get herself together and get some rest. She told me not to feel guilty for one minute. She offered to keep the boys for 12 days, because she can.

I am glad God brought Ms. R into my life, even if it wasn't under the best of circumstances. I think she is someone I could learn from and having her in my circle will be great.

Praises for respite who knows what I am going through and is encouraging.

Praises for my agency just handling this...every bit of it.

Prayers for the boys to have a restful time at respite. I haven't been a good mom lately and they need a break, too. They just don't know it.
The guilt trip was big and it was laid on thick.

The boys couldn't help me get their stuff together to go to respite, because respite is stressful. It isn't fun and I obviously just want them to go away.

Allegedly I don't care about their feelings about "losing their weekend". I also allegedly don't care if they don't want to stay there and the people are going to suck and I don't even know them.

Honestly by the time they were done with the guilt trip I felt like cancelling respite.

On the way out the door Younger Boy said "It feels like we are moving out" and Middle Boy said "We are".

Prayers I can get over feeling guilty about them being gone and get some much needed rest.
Younger Boy had therapy tonight.

Sometimes, if it nice outside, they go for a walk during therapy. Right when Therapist J got here tonight Younger Boy asked if they could go for a walk. They told me they were leaving and out the door they went.

About 15 minutes later Younger Boy RAN into the house screaming and furious. He said "Therpist J grabbed my shoulder so I spit on him and ran home." He then ran in his room, slammed the door and started screaming profanities.

About 5 minutes later Therapist J showed up and asked if Younger Boy had ran in the house. I told him the story and he said, "correct events, wrong sequence".

It seems that Younger Boy ran off when he didn't want to answer one of Therapist J's questions. When Therapist J caught up to him he told him he was going to put his hand on his shoulder for the rest of the walk. At that point Younger Boy decided it was best to spit on him multiple times and then run home. Therapist J went into Younger Boy's room to finish their session. Younger Boy continued the profanity, but this time directed toward Therapist J.

They worked out their issues and by the time Therapist J was ready to leave Younger Boy was laying on the floor holding his leg and screaming "don't go". What a night with therapy.

Prayers for an incident report to be written.

Prayers for Younger Boy to get the help he needs.

In a weird way, praises that Therapist J actually got to witness this type of behavior that I see nearly every day.
Both boys are going to respite Thursday through Sunday.

Former Foster Care Specialist, Foster Care Specialist and their supervisor found it for me.

One of the workers at the agency is actually going to do it. She is prepared to take them for up to a month if needed. This is a HUGE BLESSING to me.

When I started telling her everything that it entails for the next few days she looked at me like "you have to be kidding me". Nope...welcome to life with Younger Boy and Middle Boy.

I hope this goes well. She has volunteered to be a "regular" respite for us. When I told the boys it didn't go well. Both of them for different reasons.

Middle Boy is SUPER worried about me and about Grandpa. He wants to take care of me. He truly does, but he has never had an example of what that looks like. He also struggles with his own emotion and nearly everything comes out as rage. He has lived with me long enough for me to know that the rage represents his concern for me, but when I am in a heightened state of stress I can't just let it go.

Younger Boy thinks this is the first step out the door permanently. That isn't my intent. It doesn't matter what I say. He just gets mad. He slams doors. He screams at me. He throws things. He does devious and manipulative things. He calls me names.

Middle Boy screams at him and becomes enraged. It's ugly right now.

I explained to them both that I just need a little time to be sad right now by myself. It isn't because I can't be sad around them and it isn't because I don't want them around. I want them to know that it is okay to be mad and sad and anything else you might be feeling.

The difference is that this has been a rollercoaster...for the last three weeks. I just need some sleep and some time to see Grandpa without having a probation curfew or someone who is too loud for the hospital or is ready to go home.

I didn't tell them all of that, just the first part about the feelings.

I really hope they have a good time. They deserve it. Our house hasn't been fun or anywhere near it for the last three weeks. They need a break, too.

Prayers for the respite family. Prayers for the boys at respite.
Former Foster Care Specialist and I talked this afternoon.

She convinced me that now is not the time to make any decisions about anything since there have been so many changes and stressors in my life in the last few weeks.

Agency is going to try to find respite for the next week or so just to give me a break.

A friend emailed me today and asked me to list for her the things I think I need. Here's what I said in no particular order... I need someone to take the boys and manage them without my help. I need a break. I need my dad to get better. I need to get some things done and out of here at work. I need sleep that isn't interrupted continually throughout the night. I need to cry. I have since thought about it and I need to go to church and I need some peace in just one area of my life.

Former Foster Care Specialist made me promise to not make a decision about the boys for six weeks. If needed they will get me respite for that long. My boys aren't the kind of boys respite people jump at the chance to take though. It could be a few days before they find anyone. I'm mentally prepared for that....right this minute. I don't even know if probation officer would okay it for Middle Boy anyway.

I'm tired. I'm thankful for friends I have talked to in the last couple of days. I love you all. Thanks for praying and listening.
Early this morning Grandpa went back on the ventilator and is again heavily sedated.

It was amazing having the last two days with him able to talk and joke like the Grandpa that I love and miss incredibly.

His pneumonia is keeping him from being able to breathe properly on his own. He hasn't sat up for almost two weeks. They are going to try sitting him up and maybe adding a feeding tube today.

He has been given food through IV only up to this point.

He hasn't slept more than 30 minutes at a time for three days.

He needs to sleep and eat to get better.

He needs prayers.
I've reached my limit of things I can care about.

I need help.

I asked my agency for respite help. It got a recommendation for eight hours a week of in home help. That isn't what I asked for. That isn't going to help me. I am not home and awake eight hours a week right now.

Judge D ordered help for me to relieve some of the stress. No one has done anything other than to try to add additional services which won't fit in our day. I'll do it my own way.

No one from my agency will call me back or respond to email. They won't need to soon. I decided this morning that BOTH kids will be going.

I'm done...with everything.
I am going to talk to Foster Care Specialist about putting in my notice for Younger Boy this week. His behaviors are more than I can manage. Coupled with the overbearing of his workers I am not going to do it anymore. I love him, but I just can't help him anymore.
I am so irritated right now I could scream.

Last week in court GAL recommended we add IFP services for Younger Boy. Basically this is a service where someone comes in your home to help you with behaviors for eight hours a week.

Who told him we needed this? We aren't even home eight hours a week right now, because of all of the other court ordered things.

When are we going to have a chance to just be a family and not be somewhere court ordered.

I am looking at our schedule and we still need to add in two sessions for Younger Boy at the trauma center as well.

I want to have some sort of a semblance of normal family life...of course none of these people work on the weekend so we have to cram it into the week somehow.

Here's our schedule...keeping in mind that we leaving the house at 7am and get home at 6pm.

Monday - my lifegroup...I'm not giving this up. It is the only thing I do for myself all week.
Tuesday - Younger Boy therapy
Wednesday - Younger Boy alternate therapy night
Thursday - Middle Boy therapy
Friday - nothing
Saturday - Middle Boy group therapy
Sunday - church and errands

We have to add eight hours of IFP and two hours at trauma center....when?

I've about had it today. Unfortunately IFP is court ordered so no chance to not do it. Thanks a lot GAL!!
This morning Grandpa's ventilator was removed.

Today he has what will hopefully be his last round of dialysis. His kidney function is still really low, but improving.

One of the first sentences he said to Grandma when the vent was removed was "Wow...this is sure a fiasco!" When I heard it I knew Grandpa was going to be okay.

Praises for sense of humor and healing!!
I really wanted to make it to church this morning.

I am just so completely exhausted that I couldn't seem to get it together to go.

We spent the majority of the day at the hospital today with Grandpa, Grandma, and Younger Sister and her family. We had lunch together in the family waiting room and then hung out with the kids for a while. We visited Grandpa.

This evening we came back and Grandpa wanted to write a note for Grandma. He wanted a drink. That was what the note said.

It was so good to know that he is having coherent thought.

Praises for healing.

Praises for Jesus giving his life to die for our sins.
The days at the hospital are long.

Middle Boy and I have been here A LOT.

Tonight we got to go out to dinner with Younger Sister and her family. Middle Boy is so good with her kids and they love him.

We all went back to the hospital this evening so the adult could see Grandpa and Grandma again. When I was in with Grandpa he pulled on my hand and made a cutting motion. I asked if he wanted me to cut his arm restraints and he nodded yes. Of course I couldn't, because they are there to keep him from ripping out his ventilator tube. Grandma got tears in her eyes when I told her the story.

Middle Boy helped Younger Sister's husband take the little kids swimming at their hotel. They had so much fun.

I am enjoying all of the extra time with family I just wish it were under COMPLETELY different circumstances.
All I can say is Mom and Dad J to the rescue.

They are keeping Younger Boy for the entire weekend again. They are even picking him up and dropping him off at home on Sunday night. They have been such an amazing support for us.

Younger Boy enjoys going there and it is a good break for everyone. He and Middle Boy have been fighting a lot and I don't have the energy to mediate it right now. The bulk of it is a result of bullying being done by Middle Boy. Of course he doesn't think that he is being a bully. He thinks he is being "funny" and "just playing around".

Hopefully this will make the weekend more peaceful.
Today as I take a minute to reflect on the day I think about how our savior died just for my sins.


That puts things in perspective.
For days I had been watching the total number of posts I had done.  Waiting patiently to get to 1000.  Not sure if I was going to do a celebration or what I was going to do.

Today I realized that I passed right by it.  Didn't even notice.

I think there are better things, more important things to be concerned with.  One thousand, while it is a lot, is just a number. is to more writing.  Which I have realized helps me release my emotions.

Whatever post number this is!!
Younger Boy left his backpack at the home of Mom and Dad J over the weekend.

He told me this morning it is "all my fault" that he doesn't have it, because I let him take it with him.  When I told him he didn't ask about taking it he just took it the blame then switched to Mom and Dad J.  They didn't remind him he took it.

I explained to him that the consequences of not having it are partially his.  He needs to start to take responsibility for his homework and his things.

I was rewarded with a slam of the car door and a clenched jaw.
What I am noticing is that Middle Boy has less rage now.  He is really bossy with Younger Boy.  He tries to play it off as "playing" or "joking", but it really doesn't feel that way.

Last night was better.  Less arguing.  The boys helped with laundry and I cleaned the carpet in the living room

Both boys got their homework done and we were able to spend a little bit of time as a family.

It was restful and peaceful.  Kind of what we needed.
Younger Boy had a court hearing on Tuesday morning.  I missed it, because I was at the hospital with Dad.

One encouraging thing for me...Judge D ordered that I be provided whatever services I need during the time Dad is in the hospital.  They are ordered to provide transportation in a timely manner as well as any respite I might need.  What a HUGE blessing!!

He also ordered that Younger Boy and Older Boy go to trauma family therapy together to repair their relationship.  I don't know when it is supposed to start.  Foster Care Specialist wasn't even sure which sibling it was supposed to be with.

Other than that they are waiting for the outcome of his psychiatric evaluation.
Grandpa's status is finally now day to day versus the hour to hour that it has been for the last five days.

They did pretty aggressive dialysis yesterday to try to remove more fluid and that they heavily sedated him in order for his body to tolerate it better.

This morning he is still pretty heavily sedated and didn't respond at all to Grandma's voice when she was talking to him.

They were going to start the process of trying to remove the ventilator today, but are going to wait until he is more responsive.

No dialysis today.  Today will be a day of complete rest and healing.  Hopefully that will also be a chance for Grandma to get rest as well. 

She is now kind of a permanent fixture in Grandpa's room.  They have set up an area in a back alcove of his room with a recliner.  She sits there and reads and watches Grandpa.  She is having trouble keeping track of the days.

More prayers for them.  They have a long road ahead of them.  Praises for the healing and support they have received this far.
Middle Boy is FILLED with rage right now.

Every night I am berated and belittled with swearing and screaming.  I am not doing anything right.  I am not doing anything I say I am going to.  This is why he hates living here.  He's done playing my games.  He's done apologizing when he does something to hurt Younger Boy. 

He is so on edge that I literally can't do anything without him exploding.

On top of that he is so disrespectful and won't follow directions that I truly am at a loss.

I know he is hurting, because he has a very real connection with Grandpa. 

I am trying my best to know have a breakdown because of his behaviors and the way he is treating me.  It is taking everything I have to not just tell him we are done.

Pray for more understanding and better behaviors.
Dad isn't out of the woods yet.

On Monday morning he developed pneumonia.  It wasn't unexpected.  It is pretty common in people who have surgery and then aren't able to move at all.

This morning there was also a problem with the tube that was removing bile from his stomach and part of his lung filled with bile.  It was actually dripping out of his mouth.  Unfortunately Mom was there when that happened.  There was quite a bit of work involved in removing that so he is back on sedatives to help him relax.

Today they are hoping to remove the ventilator at some point.  They believe all of the toxins are now out of his blood and are just doing dialysis to remove excess fluid from his body.  They had hoped to remove four liters today, but were happy with the 2.5 liters they did remove.

It is just slow going from here forward.  He is still in intensive care.  Mom is hanging in there.

Pray for both of them.
Younger Boy is still with Mom and Dad J.  They are dropping him off at school today.

Middle Boy has been with me the majority of the weekend.  He was going to go with Mentor L for the weekend, but Middle Boy is so freaked out about Grandpa that he wanted to be with me.

It has been a mixed blessing for me.  In ways it was comforting to have him around.

He is NOT dealing with this well right now.  I am trying really hard to help him, but honestly I don't have the emotional capacity to do it right now.

His worry comes out in anger directed at me.  He lashes out about everything.

Saturday night when we got home he was a mess.  He was so worried about Grandpa.  He was screaming at me.  We ended up going outside and just throwing rocks as hard as we could at the side of the front porch.  It was a better way to get rid of some of that emotion.

Sunday during the day Middle Boy was great.  We came home though and he completely melted down.  He is convinced that if something happens to Grandpa it will be a result of him being a horrible son to me.  He is a failure at keeping Grandpa alive.

I told Middle Boy I am proud of him.  He has spent two days sitting at the hospital where he was in the psychiatric ward for multiple weeks.  His view out of the waiting room was exactly the same as out of his room.  I told him I was proud of him for being there for family and being a part of it.  I am proud of him for making Grandma laugh by telling her about the Globetrotters.

He went into an angry rage.  He wanted to go to the hospital....NOW.  I couldn't.  I'm exhausted.  I needed to sleep.  He paced around the house like a caged animal.  He was screaming and crying.

I am incapable of helping him right now.  On a good day I would be hard pressed to help him.  This wasn't a good day.  Every time he talks to me I just start crying.  I want to help him.  I want to help Grandpa.

Prayers for wisdom for me.  Prayers for healing for Middle Boy...the emotional kind.  Prayers for healing for Grandpa...the physical kind.
All of the days are running together.  I was going to make separate entries, but I don't know what happened when.

Dad is on continuous dialysis and full life support.  He entered the hospital for a routine surgery less than 10 days ago.  Today he is fighting for his life.

There are so many things that haven't gone well.

Yesterday afternoon he started responding to our voices and opening his eyes.  When Mom put her face next to his he rubbed his cheek against hers.

Middle Sister stayed at the hospital last night.  We are trying our best to do shifts and get rest, because this is going to be a long journey.  I haven't heard from her yet this morning.  She texted that they are waiting for doctors to come in.

They identified the septic bacteria and are treating it with the right antibiotics now.  They are draining 10 liters of excess fluid from his body very slowly.  He is in acute kidney failure.

Prayers for healing and wisdom.