We have had a lot of general craziness at our house.

Younger Boy ended up spraining his MCL and is still in a knee brace.  He was on crutches for about three weeks.

Middle Boy got off of house arrest on September 16th.  He went immediately on probation.  The terms of his probation are this:
  1. Attend school on a regular basis without absences or tardies.
  2. Work to potential in school.  If C's are not maintained in classes a tutor will be hired by probation to get him caught up.
  3. Write me a letter of apology.
  4. Participate in one church or school activity per week.  Minimum.
  5. Follow all house rules.
  6. Be respectful of me at all times.
  7. Twenty-five hours of community service.
He hadn't even been assigned a probation officer yet when he got a speeding ticket....a probation violation.  He was pretty upset with himself and that made for a really MISERABLE weekend for all of us.

Younger Boy has become obsessed with fire.  He started a fire in our garage and on the lawn at school.  He is getting enrolled in a "Preventing Arson in Youth" class.  The biggest lie of his life with me was a part of this.  I have honestly never been so disappointed in him.

School is not going well for either boy.  Middle Boy is flat out not doing ANYTHING.  Younger Boy is hiding his homework papers.

Younger Boy is sleeping in two classes regularly.  Chorus and Pre-Algebra.  I had to meet with both teachers to figure out a strategy for keeping him from "sleeping".  He is actually dissociating, but no one at his school seems to be able to tell the difference.

Keep praying for us.  We continue to need them.
Earlier this week there was a tragedy in the Iowa foster care system.  A seventeen year old foster boy is charged with killing his five year old foster brother.  It is a tragedy....horribly sad.

The news is filled with articles about the foster family and the older child.  Questions about their ability to supervise, questions about whether those boys should have been placed together.  Questions about the "anger issues" the teen had.

While I don't know the details of this case I have A LOT to say about it, because I understand how the system works and I understand "anger issues".

First of all...the foster parents.  GIVE THEM A BREAK.  This teen was in their home for three years.  THEY ARE GRIEVING.  I suspect they loved this boy and they were doing everything in their power to help him.  Here's why I think don't have behaviorally challenged foster kids in your home "for the money".  No amount of money covers what you are required to manage on a daily basis.  The story said he was in many placements.  That tells me others have tried and it was too much.  They have hung in there for this kiddo for three years.  They deserve to be able to grieve in peace and not be accused.

Why were these boys in the same home?  Because the five year old was also behaviorally challenged.  There are NO WHERE NEAR enough foster homes period.  Behaviorally challenged....a handful.  Unfortunately these homes could be overflowing with kiddos.  The five year old had also had multiple placements.  These people were willing to take him on.  I am sure others were approached, but knew they didn't have the skills to handle it.

"Anger issues"...that phrase literally gives me "anger issues".  I would challenge you to find ANY TEEN in foster care for three years or more and find a file that doesn't say "anger issues".  You would be angry, too, if you had moved from home to home without explanation and had no indication you would either be going home or have any other sort of permanency.  You have no control.  You have had tons of trauma in your life and you are a survivalist.  You should be able to be a you are ANGRY.

I wonder what the boy was getting in terms of therapeutic help.  I know how it goes.  He's a foster kid.  He isn't getting "the best" therapists out there...he is getting what his insurance will pay for.  He might need multiple kinds of therapy, but he can't get it, because there has been too much fraud in the system. 

What other services was he getting?  If he was LUCKY maybe some, but probably not. 

He is in jail.  His foster parents are no longer connected to him that means the only person he will see is his caseworker.  That means he will have someone visit once a month and have NO ONE to call.  The foster parents might be able to petition for visits, but they may not be granted.

So again...this boy is on his own.  Surviving. 

Do I think what he did is right?  Absolutely not, but this kiddo is likely not evil.  He is a victim of someone elses original behavior and he didn't have the skills to manage his situation.  Few of us do even as adults.

My heart goes out to everyone in this case.  The family of the five year old.  The seventeen year old.  The foster parents.

Something, my friends, has to be done to help these kids.  They are all worth saving.
Here's the story...

Younger Boy was riding his bike home from a friends.  He thought he heard the chain coming off of his bike so he looked down to see what was wrong.  He looked up just in time to see himself run straight on into a light pole.

He was thrown from the bike and landed on his head.  Thank God for his bike helmet and the discipline to wear it.

At the same time he scraped all of the skin off of his forearm and elbow, jammed his finger and hurt his leg/knee.

By the time we arrived at the office his knee was double in size.

So...we are home with the following diagnoses...scraped forearm and elbow heavily bandaged and not to get wet, possible concussion, jammed middle and ring finger, and likely broken leg.  They wrapped it and referred us to an orthopedic office for tomorrow.

If it turns out to be a break it is NOT in a good location.  It crosses the growth plate in the lower part of his right leg.  Thus the need for orthopedics.

I'll be honest...when they were describing the symptoms of a concussion it didn't sound much different than Younger Boy's "regular" behavior....saying things that make no sense and not following was hard not to say that he must live in a continual state of concussion.

Prayers for our evening, overnight and the doctor visit tomorrow.

Praises for the kind stranger who stopped to help him.  He consoled him, carried him to the truck, put his bike in the back and drove him home.  There are still kind people out there.
While I was at the pharmacy waiting for the inhaler I got a call from Middle Boy.  He had two things....information and a question.  That's what he told me.

First of all he said, "The sprinkler contractor was here to fix them where the fence posts hit them.  He fixed two places and said there is no charge."

The question was this, "Do you want me to go ahead and pop Younger Boy's knee back into place?"

Wait...why do we need to do that?  Well, he fell off his bike and a stranger brought him home and it looks like his knee needs popped into place.  Should they just take care of it?

No...survival brains....don't just "take care of it".   I'll be right home to take him to the doctor.

I have been working on getting a replacement inhaler LITERALLY ALL DAY.

I have talked to the pharmacy.  I have talked to the doctor office.  I have talked to the pharmacy again.

What ended up happening is this.  The pharmacy needed a refill to give us another inhaler.  They were just going to handle it for us.  Unfortunately we had gone to an quick care clinic and they don't do refills.

So...I called them and told them the situation.  They called the prescription back into the pharmacy.

I got the pharmacy to pick it up and it wasn't ready.  They had cancelled it out of their system, because the same thing had just been filled two days earlier and they thought it was a duplicate.

So...I'm waiting at the pharmacy for an inhaler.  I call Middle Boy to explain that this inhaler MUST be kept in the med drawer OR ELSE.

I have a new project at work for a rehabilitation facility here in town.

On the way to our meeting I was telling my co-worker that a friend of mine was a resident there after a "freak" medical accident.

As we walked in the front door the third person I saw was my friend, JK.  He was just getting out of occupational therapy.  I stopped his transport and talked to him.  He has trouble with eye sight right now.  I introduced myself and he was excited to chat.  He had been making trail mix in therapy and was telling me they "didn't let him" put M&Ms in his.  His OT laughed and said, "so you didn't get ANY M&Ms?"  He finally confessed maybe he had eaten them all while making the trail mix.

He invited me to come and visit any time and gave me his room information.

So good to see this kid.  He is often on my heart and mind.

I'm going to take him up on his offer to visit soon.
Middle Boy is sick again this morning.

His cough is getting worse.

I am going to spend the day working on getting a new inhaler, because it seemed to help him.  I can't imagine it will be easy since insurance just paid for one two days ago.

Prayers for understanding of our need for the refill after just two days.

This evening stinks.

Middle Boy is not feeling well again.  He left his inhaler on the floor and "shockingly" one of the dogs got it.

He thinks he should be 100% by now and this is complete BS.  Obviously I don't care, because all I have done is take him to the doctor and gave him suggestions on what he should eat and also suggested he go to bed.

When he went up to his room for the night clearly I didn't care if he thought he was dying.

The truth of the matter is this.  He is scared, because he is coughing really hard.  Scared doesn't look like scared in him.  It comes out as angry.  It comes out as blame.

I don't care.  I'm a horrible mom.  I should have done something sooner.

I asked what he needs from me.  NOTHING, because I have "proven" I don't care.

Let's just call it a night.  I don't feel like doing this right now.

Tonight Middle Boy wanted his second outing of the week to be to go to youth group.

So he and Younger Boy met me after work for dinner.  It was a fairly nice time.  They got a little bit lost on the way there.  Middle Boy has ZERO sense of direction so he is lucky Younger Boy was with him.

Youth Group was all about "yielding and surrendering to God".  The main topic was Proverbs 3:5-6 and some of I Kings.  The discussion was about why we do things we know are wrong and will not have a good outcome.

My girls group had a really interesting discussion.

Middle Boy doesn't want to talk about it which means that he is really reflecting on something said.

Prayers for continued reflection and spiritual growth in all of us.
Middle Boy is back at school today.  He doesn't feel great, but wants to go so he can stay caught up.

Younger Boy is riding his bike to school today.  He wants to ride it every time he doesn't have therapy.  I think it is probably good.  He can ride on bike trails with the exception of the two ends of the trip and it gives him a chance to get his body moving in the morning.

Praises for a "normal" day.
Therapist C and Therapist D are at a loss.

Last week's homework for Younger Boy's therapy was to write down EVERY occasion when he completed a task from start to finish without distractions and did the task as asked.  We are talking about things like "take this bag of trash to the garage" and "set the table".

They were shocked he got ZERO.  We tried to do the homework.  We talked about it EVERY DAY.  They have NEVER had a child get ZERO.

He claimed that he cared.  They told him they didn't agree, because if he cared he would have stepped it up when he realized he had zero on Friday or Saturday. 

They always search for the "thought that is getting in the way".  They named five or six.  He said none of them were true.  The finally told him it looks like either "I'm not going to do what anyone says," or "I am going to do this my way, because you can't tell me what to do."  He says those are wrong.  The weird part is that he starts every task almost immediately.  It falls apart part way through.

Two examples from last week:

I asked him to take some trash out to the garage.  He got up and grabbed the trash.  After 10 minutes I still hadn't seen him.  I went out to the garage.  The trash was on the roof of the car.  He had his football mouthpiece in and was climbing up to the roof.  Why?  He didn't know.

I asked him to set the table.  He got plates and table knives on the table and INSISTED he was done.  Spoons?  Insisted they were there when clearly they weren't.  Forks?  Same story as spoons.

This makes me CRAZY. 

After today's therapy session they told me they are going to make some calls, because something else must be going on.  He is digressing instead of progressing.

We all recognize the progress we have made over the past year and we are certainly going to continue, but there is something we are missing and it has to do with dissociation.  They think he is dissociated almost 100% of the time.  Sometimes it is obvious and others not as much, but still not fully present.

They are going to contact a neuro feedback professional and a nutritional therapist to see what they think.  They are far more able to clinically describe how we live than I am.

Prayers for a solution.  In his current state he would struggle to hold down a job and be a productive adult in society which is the end in mind goal.

Prayers for wisdom and discernment in how to deal with his current status on a daily basis.
This morning Middle Boy woke up with a sore throat and HORRIBLE cough.  He stayed home from school today.

This afternoon we went to the doctor and he has bronchitis.  He was given an antibiotic and an inhaler.  We were told to take ibuprofen and over the counter cough syrup.

He thinks he will feel well enough for school tomorrow.

Prayers for feeling better.
Our Labor Day weekend was really pretty good.

Friday night Younger Boy and I went to dinner and ran errands while Middle Boy went to his high school's home football game.  He is driving now and so it was really his first time with a "curfew".  We talked NUMEROUS times about how curfews work.  His was 9PM since this was an outing for his house arrest.

Honestly I was expecting him to walk in the door after 9PM.  That is how he usually does things.  I was SHOCKED when he walked in the door nearly 10 minutes EARLY.  Could this be progress?

Saturday morning both boys had eye doctor appointments.  Younger Boy needs a stronger prescription and Middle Boy needs reading glasses.  Picking out glasses took a LONG TIME.  Going in I would have said Middle Boy would be the slowest.  He pretty much knew the look he wanted and chose between three pair.  Younger Boy....EGAD.  He really wanted to get a pair that were exactly like his last FOUR pair.  Middle Boy and I were trying to convince him to get something a little different.  He narrowed it down to EIGHT pair.  Then FOUR.  Finally a decision was made.  They look nice and he is happy with them.

Saturday night Younger Boy spent the night with a friend.  Middle Boy and I stayed home and watched college football

Sunday morning we went to church.  It was a good sermon for all of us to hear.

Grandma and Grandpa spent the afternoon with us.  The helped us with three or four projects around the house and we played Uno.  It was nice to see them.  It has been way too long.

Monday morning Younger Boy went golfing with G.  It took over an hour to get him up for the day.  I was losing my patience it was so ridiculous.  ONE HOUR from the time he got out of bed to be DRESSED.  That's it.  Nothing else.

Monday evening we mowed the lawn and cleaned up the yard.  Nice day for it and a beautiful weekend.

Praises for a beautiful weekend with a lot of good family time.  Praises for being able to see my parents.