I can't believe I haven't written a single word in over 3 years.  The letter in my last post almost seems like a lifetime ago.  What I know now is this....writing this blog was therapeutic for me.  It was a way to talk about the "stuff".  I've missed it and how it helped me work through things. 

I'm going to give it a go again.  So here's an update of what is going on with each of us:

Denise - I am still the head of this crazy household.  I continue to work full-time as a Commissioning Agent, but there is actually a commissioning department now.  I still volunteer as a mentor for the UNO Architectural Engineering Department for the senior team design class.  I am no longer a youth group leader at our church.  Watching those six girls graduate was hard and it seemed too hard to cultivate more relationships.  For MANY reasons that I don't have the energy to get into I gave up my foster care license.  I may pursue it again one day or not.  I spent a year as a member of Leadership Omaha Class 38.  I met the most amazing people who are going to change Omaha.  The trauma-informed school seems like a faraway dream.  I am now a board member of a Nebraska Foster Care Review Board and a Foster Care Probation Review Board.  I applied to be a member of the legislature-appointed Foster Care Advisory Board.  I was a finalist, but ultimately not selected.  In the past few months I started a group for moms of kids who were adopted from foster care at an older age or are fostering teenagers.  These ladies are definitely my people.  My 30th high school reunion is this summer and I am helping to do the planning.

Charlie - In the end Charlie dropped out of high school.  In the past year he has started back in an online program through Penn Foster.  He is doing his electives in auto mechanic classes.  It isn't his favorite thing, but he is committed to finishing up.  He works full-time at Alohma, a vaping store.  It is a large enough chain of stores that he has full benefits including a 401k.  He's been working there about a year and a half.  In January, Charlie moved into an apartment with his girlfriend, Bailey, and their miniature Australian shepherd, Rocky.  They are doing well and I am so proud of Charlie.  Within the last two years he has matured in ways I honestly wasn't sure he ever would.  He continues to make music in his spare time.  Most of his work is pretty dark, but quite good.  He has a page for his music, but I don't know off the top of my head what it is.  He is an INCREDIBLE writer of much talent and it isn't just a mom thing.

Will - The past couple of years have been an increasing struggle with Will.  He is a senior at Omaha Northwest.  He is not going to graduate this spring.  He is more than capable academically, but trauma gets in his way.  He is no longer in ROTC, because he was missing too many credits to continue.  He is in a legal mess that I will describe in another post.  His decisions could be filed under "stupid decisions not to make".  He is having some mental health issues and his psychosis is getting much stronger.  His therapy team thinks there is still hope for him to live a productive life if he is willing to acknowledge his thinking errors.  To this point he is not interested in doing the work and there is a fear that he is developing multiple parts of self.  There are likely going to be some tough decisions to be made soon.  He is a kind boy who got such an unfair shake in life.

Tyler - Tyler continued to live with us for a total of four and a half years.  He was such a blessing to us in so many ways.  He moved into an apartment with his girlfriend, Jamye, in August.  I miss him much.  I miss having someone to laugh about the absurdities of life in our home with.  We still see him at least once a month at our family dinners.

Spencer - He still continues to be in out-of-home care for reasons I can't even explain.  His mom continues to be a dear friend.  We recently met with the Director of Health and Human Services and the head of child services for the State of Nebraska to get intervention in his case.  Spencer is doing so great all things considered.
Cameron - Cameron and all of the other boys had some sort of falling out a couple of years ago and I haven't seen him since.  He checks in with me every now and then and seems to be stable and doing well.

Aaron - Aaron moved out for a couple of years, but he moved back in last spring when he was homeless.  He is working on getting his life back on track, but there have been some bumps along the way.

Sophie - Sophie is a six-year old toy dachshund.  She continues to be a diva and spoiled rotten.  She is slowing down both due to age and a torn ACL from a jump off of the couch that went wrong.

Silas - Si is a four-year old Westie mix.  He is quirky and funny.  He loves us and Sophie.  He is the first to greet me every day when I come home and loves to cuddle.  Si broke his leg a few months ago jumping off of the couch.  He's back at full speed now....and naughty as ever.

Sam - Sam is a beautiful shepherd mix.  He is calm and loving.  He lives for attention.  Sam had a cancer scare earlier this year, but he now has a clean bill of health.  We have no idea how old this sweet boy is.

Josh - Charlie's friend who used to be here all the time.  He lives in an apartment with his girlfriend, Cassie, and their son, Hunter.

Cody W - Charlie's friend who ran into some financial issues and moved in our home last fall.  He works for UPS and is working hard to get his feet under him.

Bailey and Jayme - The daughters I'll never have.  I love to spend time with them and have girls outings.  They make me laugh and I love them both dearly.




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