like a tap on the shoulder

30 07 2010

When I first started the change from Effexor to Savella, I bought several books – one of them being The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner.  There was also a David Baldacci book in that stack and he gets top billing EVERY time so it wasn’t until I was well into withdrawal – whoops – discontinuation syndrome that I picked up The Neighbor.

I started reading the first chapter and it scared me so badly I sat it back down.

Then, all this drama of the past few weeks happened.  Me and the meds.  LJ and the recurrence of the PTSD.  Trying my best to help with my sister’s wedding next week.  Chickpea and PTSD.  E being a 5 yo boy with too much energy and not enough people to torture.

Two days ago I had nothing to read in the bath (and I desperately needed a bath) except for the book that scared me.  I thought I could handle it and I put on my brave face.

POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT

Then I started reading and I found in Jason Jones the man I’m worried LJ will grow up to be.  Scared.  Scarred.  Able to love, but not able to connect sexually with the woman he loves.   Driven with need to pull back the privacy and pain he lost as a child.

I also found part of myself in Jason.  The hours online, needing to make things right.  The research.  Reading hand written notes from court cases.

See, this is how I found LJ.  A&E were separated from him around foster home #4 or 5 and he went to a group home (read: orphanage) and they went to an agency foster home.  Years passed.  Files were misplaced.  Siblings who remembered someone else being with them weren’t documented any longer.

A&E came to our home 3 days after we found out that the placement we were hoping for (we were adoptive parents with a foster care license) wasn’t going to work out.  They weren’t available for adoption – yet – but they’d been in care for so long that in case they did become available the agency wanted them to not have to move again.

Shaun and I said yes without meeting them and only seeing a file.  That Friday, they walked in to the agency, and their foster mom gave me the most precious gift she could have: her records from their time in care.  The file we had wasn’t correct in a lot of ways – their ages were wrong, names were missing, and it didn’t mention siblings.

Turns out there are 7 children that the state knows about.  The 3 oldest are with a biological father, then a middle child from another father, then A&E, then a baby who went to another home.  What happened to the missing middle child?  He would be about 7 years old from my estimation.

It took weeks for me to find his name handwritten on an old case file.  About a month to find out where he was.  Several months to convince our agency and DFCS that bringing him back to his siblings was a good idea.  I wrote a letter to the governor.  I testified in court.  I spelled my full name in front of the bio parents at the TPR hearing.

We found experienced therapists and got a new psychiatric evaluation done.  He had been classified as mentally handicapped, PDD-NOS, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and some other bullshit.  (His IQ is in the 120s and since he’s been with us he no longer qualifies as a delayed/disabled child at his school.  The current diagnosis is PTSD due to severe neglect and abuse and ODD with delays in social skills.)

I used every trick I knew to get information and I used it all.

It was because once I started looking I found I couldn’t stop.

I just finished The Neighbor and I like to read acknowledgement pages.

God tapped me on the shoulder.

I stared in shock.

Ms. Gardner had interviewed and thanked two people from the very county we adopted from.  The county where that group home is.  Two names I haven’t seen before.

I haven’t yet been able to bring justice to their doors for what happened to MY son but now I have a few more places to look and a few more emails to send.  If nothing else, maybe I can find some more files that will help with his therapy.

Tonight, I’ve left a comment on Lisa Gardner’s facebook page.

Tomorrow, I’ll start following the leads that dropped into my lap.

This is what I do.

Advertisements




it’s not a disability, it’s a tool!

14 04 2010

I’m about 50 pages into Meditation for Dummies.  It’s cool and interesting and as I’m learning the theory and philosophy along with the mechanics – I have a thought.

Well, I have more than one thought but one stands out.

Giving a person with OCD a book on meditation is probably not wise.  Superficially, you think “hey, less stress and anxiety for a person with an anxiety disorder sounds like a great idea!”

One of the symptoms of OCD is ritualized recital of a prayer or mantra meant to relieve anxiety.  See where there might be a problem?  I guess as long as I’m a happy crazy person, I’ll at least be benign.

On the other hand, I have an unusual knack for concentration and control due to the OCD.  I have an increased awareness (hypervigilance) of my body and surroundings and an incredible memory.  So is it an illness or a skillful tool?

Am I mentally unstable or unusually gifted?

Is the OCD going to put a beat down on me because I got the eBook instead of a book with pages?  I mean, where do you put your bookmark or do you have to just remember the page you were on?  Is there a way to mark your place in a PDF file?





concentric circles

25 01 2010

With everything that’s been going on, lately I’ve been feeling like my world is getting smaller.  I know January is a tough month on a lot of people – it’s too cold, no one has their tax return yet, it’s post-holiday stress, etc…

Basically, it sucks balls.

For a while, I’ve felt like these 4 walls in my bedroom were not only my comfort but my prison.  I really only leave the house to drop off or pick up the kids and sometimes on Saturdays I go to the store.  Emerging into the chaos that is outside this room and outside this house is terrifying.

But lately, there’s been chaos in here too.

I’ve never been one to be able to sit in the house all day even if I did have stuff to do in the house.  It’s only been the past year that I’ve even considered myself a homebody.  It used to be that staying in one place too long made me crazy – that even sitting in a restaurant after dinner was finished made me antsy.

Now I go for days with coming out of the bedroom for a few minutes at a time.  This is so unlike me and I don’t like this new “sits down all day” person at all.

I know how it happened – within 6 months, we adopted our children then I had surgery then the pain still wasn’t gone and this winter has been crazy with sickness, weather changes, terrible migraines and body pain, and basically trying to relearn how to be a family under the “new rules.”

What happened is that my tree got too top heavy and fell over in the storm.  Now, I’ve had to prune it quite a bit so that it’s basically sticks and replant it and give it time to form new roots.

I probably won’t bloom this year and that’s ok.  No loving gardener would expect me to.  I’ll grow some leaves but I probably won’t flower or fruit.  I’ve got to get myself stable so that I can stand up.

Here’s my plan to stability:

1.  Stop expecting myself to make fruit right away.  Sure, I’ve born fruit in the past but this has been a hell of a storm.  If I pop right out like TA-DA! and try and be the person I was before everything happened, I’m just going to fall over again.

2.  Keep reminding myself that weakness is not a sin.  Sure, it’s inconvenient and maybe shit won’t get done but that’s ok.  Nothing serious is going to happen because I’ve got to be propped up for a while.

3.  Start with my inner circle – the room I spend most of my time in.  It’s not a prison, it’s my sanctuary.  Besides, it’s little so even if I can’t conquer the world right now, I can conquer my own little room.

4.  Next, the family home.  Once my sanctuary is right, I can start rebuilding the way the home functions.  I’m an organizer – it’s what I do naturally.  Not just material things, but personal things too.  This will be fixing my relationships with my family and relearning how to make it work.  This is going to be the hardest step.

5.  Start reforming the sphere of influence – basically, re-bond with the people who influence the lives of my family.  Friends, teachers, therapists, doctors, the internet, etc…

6.  ?????

7.  PROFIT!

I’m not going to do anything drastic like leave the internet or stop with my hobbies because that would just make the steps harder.  I’ve got to do this gradually – the little bits that add up to a whole lot.  I’ve got to make sure version 2.9 is stable before 3.0 is released with much fanfare.  Right?

Anyways, this will probably take just around a year.  I turned 29 13 days ago so my goal is to have green roots at least extended into the ground by the time I’m 30.

What do you think?





Good Deal

30 10 2009

Back to a serious post… if anything that goes on here can be considered serious.   We go from OMGWTF? to HAHA-AWESOME! in less time than it takes to butter a piece of toast.

The kids are starting to get a lot of our sense of humor (finally) and we haven’t even started indoctrinating them with Monty Python and Mel Brooks movies.  They have seen Down Periscope multiple times, so that helps.  It’s pretty awesome to see them crack cynical, sarcastic filled jokes and it’s even better to see them understanding and using puns.  LJ is a LOT like me – he says “puns work because of a misused homophone.”  Absolutely child.  Absolutely.

Me and LJ – we have an odd sort of relationship.  It’s been hard for me from the beginning with him.  There was a time where we almost refused placement with him – it was that bad.  See, I’m an alpha female.  I have been since the moment I was born and everyone in my family will tell you that.  LJ, when he first came to us, was under the impression that a woman’s job was to cook and take care of the younger babies.  This woman who will never exist was supposed to see a 7 year old boy as having more status in the household than her.  (I know I’ve written before about how the household is like a dog pack.)  Well… as you can tell, this attitude didn’t work.

So, over the 2 years we’ve known him and he’s come to live with  us and become our son, we’ve been working on this.  At times I’m overbearing and at times, he is.  For the most part, he’s figured out that he doesn’t get to tell A&E what to do and I try and give him responsibility over himself.  (I do get to overrule stupid things like wearing shorts to school when it’s 50 degrees outside.)

We meet at loving books.  He loves to read and so do I.  We’d rather read in our bed than talk to anyone.  The problem is that he’s not real sure where the lines between fiction and reality are.  He told some teachers at the school earlier this week that a dragon had bitten him on the neck.  Of course, no one believed him, but the counselor called home to tell me what was going on.  He’s had some pretty big stuff come up in the past few weeks so she knew this may be something we need to discuss.

He and I sat in the car and talked while in the carpool lane to pick up his sister.  We talked and talked and talked.  He didn’t understand that the words he says to people cause reactions – no matter what you say, you’re going to get a reaction.  We talked about how if people knew he just made stuff up all the time that no one would listen to him if something was actually wrong.  We talked about believable stories – dragon bit you?  Obviously not true.  (though, it’s probably better to make up a story that can’t possibly be true than say something equally untrue but believable.)

We talked about appropriate things to share with people (conditional boundaries) and what would happen if those boundaries weren’t respected.  We talked about kids in the foster care system (when we were picking up our AA check at DFCS, he saw some classmates in the waiting room) and the different things that could cause a child to need care.

We spent a lot of time talking about severity and differences – not all kids go through the same thing he did.  For some kids, they had an easier time of it.  For some, they had a time that was much worse than his.  We talked about how everyone, everywhere has something in their past that hurts and how we deal with it determines the kind of person we are.

After all that – we made a deal.

Until November 15th, he is not allowed to either make up fantasy stories or read fiction novels.  He still has to read every night – but he gets true stories.   He’s involved in a biography of Cal Ripken Jr. right now.  I’ll probably go to Goodwill today or tomorrow to pick up more kiddo friendly non-fiction books.  If not that, then we’ll visit the local library.

Things have been moderately better since then.  He’s been meeting my eye and making jokes with me.  He’s been helpful and respectful to the little bits.  Last night, we even put everyone to bed with the sound of laughter even though it was an emotionally difficult day for everyone.  He woke up this morning and told me – amazed – “I didn’t have any nightmares last night, Mommy!”  Awesome.  Pure awesome.

This morning we talked about how to say “its not your business” to people who made them uncomfortable with questions.  We talked about whose business it is – the family’s and the doctors.

After going through foster care and adoption, this is something all of us need to rebuild.  We all need to work on appropriate levels of privacy for ourselves and each other.  We’ve all just gone through so many years of having to report every little thing by phone and in writing.  There were always people in and out of our house – I couldn’t let the laundry go or not load the dishwasher because at ANY moment, someone could pull up and get to judge our worthiness.  This is partly why I’m so open on the internet – it would be hard to rape our privacy and background any more than what it took to become a foster/adopt parent.

Now, we’re having to work on telling people it’s not their business.  Truth is, most people aren’t looking to help – they’re looking for gossip.  Shaun and I are also having to relearn to trust our own judgment.  We’re both grown but we’re too used to having every move picked apart.   That causes stress and anxiety for all of us – we can’t just relax and have normal everyday fights.  Everything is a possible catastrophe.  Everything is caused by this event or that event, and everyone has a different opinion of what caused what.

I mean, I just want my child to feel free enough to scream “I hate you – you’re the meanest mom EVER.”  Right now, we’re still all worried about what we’re saying and trying to use proper communication skills.  In foster care, if they said “I hate her – she’s so mean” to a case worker it wouldn’t be about whether I confiscated the Nintendo DS – it would be “are you feeding them properly?  Whats your discipline policy?  We need to have a face to face meeting about this placement.  I need to talk to my supervisor.”   Basically, if you get mad and immature, your whole life could be turned upside down  (and immature is probably 30% of my personality.)

I want to be able to say “I don’t even want to see you right now” without it meaning “she may not love me enough to keep me.”  No, I just need some time not seeing YOU.  I’ll get to where I want to see YOU again but first I need 5 minutes to look at something else.  Every word that I say has to be examined from how they’ll receive it and how it will sound if they repeat it or how it will sound when I tell the therapist about it (because I can’t lie worth a shit and they can tell when something is going on.)  Then the kids see that I’m uncertain and they start thinking that maybe I don’t know what I’m doing and maybe they don’t have to listen to me.   Or something.

For now, it’s just repeating “I’m your mom.  I was your mom yesterday and I’ll be your mom tomorrow.  I’ll be your mom next year and the year after that.  I’ll be your mom when you get old and have babies.  I’ll be your mom no matter what.”   If we say it enough, maybe we’ll all start to believe its not fiction or fantasy.





your hard work is about to pay off

11 10 2009

I’m consolidating all the little “do this” lists that are on my workstation, and I just found a fortune from a fortune cookie:

your hard work is about to pay off

God, I hope so.  I’m so damn tired.  I’ve been trying to stay upbeat and focus on the blessings instead of the distance we still have to go, but it’s so fucking HARD.

We’ve had some major breakthroughs these past couple of weeks with regards to LJ’s therapy.  He’s finally starting to talk about what happened to him at the group home he was in.  He’s been doing therapy two or three times a week since there was a BIG ISSUE and he finally started to talk about it while we were dealing with the BIG ISSUE.

It’s really too much to know… I couldn’t imagine living with that secret inside me, thinking that terrible things would happen if I told.  Now that I know part of the “secret” its hard to see it in a non-emotional way.  I’ve counseled and mentored sexually abused children for what seems like forever and this is by no means the worst I’ve heard.  It’s a fairly common story.

It is really just hitting me hard.  This is MY kid.  MINE.  I could decimate every person or circumstance that enabled this to happen.  I could sit down and cry for a week.  Neither Shaun nor I are able to sleep without nightmares and we’re always listening through the baby monitor because he’s been having nightmares.

Thank God for our therapy group, though.  This center has been the absolute best place.  They deal with foster and adopted kids, and they know the system.  They also haven’t lost their ideals.  This isn’t the first time they’ve had to report to the state about something that’s come up in therapy and mostly it goes without ever being checked out, but this time they flipped shit.  The proprietors involved with running the home didn’t seem to care one way or another what was going on.  They actually said that LJ was “a damaged, retarded kid” and was probably lying. (This is from the home that had him classified as autistic and mentally retarded.  He’s not autistic and his IQ is in the 120s.)

When this asshole said that to the lady who runs our local center, she… well… the Bible says “vengeance be mine, saith the Lord” but God sometimes subcontracts.  I would not willingly set foot in her path while she’s pissed off – and I’m one of those people who would stare down a hurricane.  So, now the COO of the national treatment center is making a report to the group that runs the DHR – which is over DFCS.

(Yes, this is the same home that called DFCS on me because of a facebook status where one of my friends joked that I was a dominatrix.  Didn’t you know that I’m a harlot because I have short hair, wear makeup, and have tattoos?  Well, I am, and that means any sort of deviance from the straight and narrow means I’m a BLASPHEMER!!!! AND OMG, I HAVE KNEE HIGH BLACK BOOTS!!!  I’m obviously a tool for the Devil himself and my facebook updates should never go unnoticed.)

So, back to LJ.  He seems happy during the day – almost carefree.  He’s a very somber kid so this is really a shock.  He has gone back to soiling his drawers and hiding them, throwing tantrums, and forgetting personal space b0undaries.  It’s expected… it’s not acceptable behavior, but it’s expected.

We’ve been talking a lot about what to do when you have scary memories that seem real.  (PTSD flashbacks, for us grown folks.)  We talk about how to get to a safe place physically where you can’t hurt yourself or other people, and then find someone who you can tell about it.  I told him the important thing is to talk.  It doesn’t matter who – and we’re not going to spread it around like “oooh, guess what LJ remembers!”  He just needs to get it out before he does something stupid.

We also have been talking a lot about other people having scary memories that seem real.  A (chickpea) has flashbacks during October and last year scared the living hell out of LJ, so this year we’re talking about how its normal for people who remember scary things to have this happen and also what to do if a flashback does happen.

I’ve had to tamp down most of the talk about Halloween.  LJ is so excited about it, but because he was separated from chickpea for so long he doesn’t realize what Halloween means to her.  Her little brain learned the routine: dress up for Halloween, get candy, eat dinner with family, then get sent to live with a new mommy.  She LOVES pumpkins and getting dressed up and the pretty colored leaves, but she gets so amped up thinking that she’s about to have to leave again.  She’ll get in trouble and scream “I’m bad so I have to go to a new house!”  I told her that I’m much worse than she is and I’m not in a new house yet.  If she doubts it, she can ask Grandmommy and Grandpa exactly how bad I was.  So, we’ve been talking a lot about how adoption means she’s my kid forever and how hard we worked to get her and that no one was taking her without a fight.  A very messy, nasty fight.

It seems like we’ve talked about good touch/bad touch 500 million times and its still an issue.  We’ve talked about “games” that predators play to make a kid think its ok to touch each other, we’ve talked about safety plans, we’ve talked about the rules that we have to have while they’re having scary memories… we’ve talked about secrets and about personal space and being respectful.

We’ve talked our little throats hoarse and still, we have to keep going “omg, wtf” then keep on saying it.  One of these times it will sink in and hopefully be remembered.

And E… poor little guy.  He’s taking a lot of crap from LJ and chickpea during this and he’s getting so mad.  He’s 4, but the size of most 7 year olds.  He doesn’t know how to process all this drama right now, so he’s acting out and destroying things.  He’s yelling and kicking and throwing tantrums.  He’s stealing food and lying.  Gah… It’s hard to even work with a 60 lb preschooler, much less try and peel him off the ceiling.

Next on my list is to write a post on my post-op appt with my OBGYN.  I won’t put it here because it’s absolutely not male friendly.





IEPs, EKGs, pre-ops and pre-school

12 08 2009

I finally figured out how to use RSS feeds and it’s great stuff!  My brain is so off right now. Thank God for Google making everything easier.

The pre-op appt with my primary care doctor went fine yesterday.  My pulse was high (105) which is normal for me.  My BP was so low the machine couldn’t read it, which is normal for me.  I weighed in at 129 lbs which is NOT NORMAL for me.  That’s about 10 lbs heavier than normal.  My EKG was fine and just showed the high pulse – which was normal for me.  So, the only thing that was worrisome is my weight and that’s probably from the endo and the fibroma that the ultrasound tech inflamed.  Dr. H said she’d send all her recommendations to the surgeon and said that I may need to spend some extra time on IV antibiotics just so we don’t have to worry about endocarditis.   My mom had endocarditis last year and that was SCARY.

This morning I walked out of the bedroom – in freaking huge amounts of pain – in search of coffee before the kids got up.  All the kids were up though – and both boys immediately said “Alyssa is stealing food and it’s all under the couch.”  She had eaten 3 peanut and granola bars, a box of raisins, and hidden several other granola bars and snacks under the couch.  She not only had the evidence all over her and caked in her teeth, but told me that she did not do it – that it was Ethan who did it all.  LJ said “that’s a lie.  She was trying to force Ethan to eat some raisins.”  I checked E out and he had minty fresh toothpaste breath and so did LJ.  Grrrrr….

None of us got much sleep last night due to the storms and power outages so everyone was cranky this morning.  E just got sent back to bed for throwing the mother of all tantrums, of all things, so I’m thinking I’m going to take a nap too.  It was so adorable last night.  I walked in with the flashlight to check on the babies and Alyssa had shot straight up out of bed.  She says in her little pumpkin voice “Mommy, I’m scared of lightning.”  She came out to the couch and laid down in between me and Shaun and went right to sleep.  She had her head on Daddy’s lap and her feet snuggled up to Mommy and apparently that’s all it takes to make lightning irrelevant.  I held the flashlight in between my knees and kept crocheting.  I finished another washcloth and have been working on some dish towels to match.  When the power came back on, we were able to get A back to bed and I was able to go to bed too.

So, this morning I had to go meet with the school because they were offering food as rewards in her classroom and had basically told me I couldn’t regulate what she ate there.  I was going to let it go yesterday, but she’s not acting with her brain right now.  This is pure instinct.  I spoke with the school vice principal and it went so well.  Not only can I regulate her diet, I can VERY specifically regulate it.  We have an IEP (individual education plan) set up for Monday so that the school psychologist, the counselor, the principal and vice principal and her teachers all agree – in writing – to meet certain goals.  I also let the vp know that I didn’t think the teachers and lunch room manager had taken me seriously when I talked to them last week.  She HAS to be watched at all times.  We are under a 24/7 safety plan with her because she self-harms.  If she can’t stuff her face, she pulls out hair and cuts herself.  She lies like she breathes and people fall all over themselves to give her things.

They see an adorable little 5 year old.  They don’t see how scared she is that she’s going to be rejected, hurt, beaten, sexually abused, and starved.  They don’t see that she’s had to build up these defenses just to survive and that we’re working every single day to build trust and reassurance that she’s safe.  So, the vice principal understood and I told her that I have all the documentation they need to keep the school covered to follow what I’m asking for.  That we need to make sure that she knows that school isn’t a different “life” than home – that school and home co-exist and the rules don’t change.  They need to make sure that every word and action she sees (she is hyper-vigilant about observing people) reinforces the therapy plan that’s in place.  Right now, they’re thinking we’re way too strict.  Most people do.    They don’t realize the safety the kids get from knowing the steadfast rules and routines.  I have letters from therapists and psychologists, letters from doctors from Emory, years of reports and information, safety plans… we’re trained to be strict because that’s what the kids need.

We weren’t able to get E into a public pre-K (that I approved of) this year so he’s on a waiting list at the same school Alyssa is going to.  Until then, I’m the pre-k teacher!  It’s a good thing I bought the curriculum last year when A was having so many troubles in pre-K that we had to take her out.  He’s so angry that he’s not going to school this year so it may be hit and miss with getting him to sit down for a structured “class time. ”  I have yet to be successful at it but I’ll keep trying.  He already knows all the stuff anyways, he just plays dumb to see if people are paying attention.

Oh well, in 8 days, it will be Mom’s problem to play pre-K teacher and taxi driver.  She raised me and my siblings successfully so she’ll fit right in to the role.  She told me last time she watched the kids “they don’t listen very well.”  That’s crazily funny because they listen 100x better than normal kids – even better than my nephew who lives in her house.  It’s just they aren’t military brats like we were.  From the moment of birth, we knew you not only accepted the routine and chain of command, but thought it was the most natural thing on earth.

It will be interesting and fun to watch.  I’ll have to charge up the video camera and see how she handles it.  She still thinks I’m nuts for adopting three kids – but then again, if you mention her 3 kids, she gets this terrified look on her face and says “I never planned that.”   It’s great fun because she’s so incredibly good at being a mom – she just has no patience for being challenged as alpha female and she’s probably the most stubborn woman on the planet.  I was informed (yes, informed) yesterday that I was going to bring the kids to church after Amber’s birthday party because they were having a puppet show.  I asked if it was going to be one of those creepy “sin and you go to HELL” puppet shows and she said she didn’t know, she just wanted her grandbabies there.  She wants to show them off but she’s too stubborn to admit that she’s super-proud of them.  It’s so damn cute!





An idea and advice for special needs moms

28 07 2009

If you read my blog often, you probably know that my daughter who is 5 has chronic PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder.)  The chronic part means that she’ll probably always have anxieties related to certain situations.

One of the most disconcerting parts of PTSD is the anniversary effect.  For foster parents – this means out of the blue, life goes flipping crazy!  It took us about a week to realize that all of Alyssa’s major changes in life had happened right around Halloween.   She had been sketchy and nervous for about a week before a caseworker visit so we mentioned to the cw that she had separation anxiety and that she needed to tread softly.  Historically, caseworker visits had not gone well with the children.  The kids would get so scared, they’d freeze like a deer in headlights and wet their pants where they stood.  It took days of hugging and rocking and reassuring before things went back to normal. Alyssa has a defense mechanism of telling people what they want to hear when she gets scared.  She wants them to go away – and telling them what they’re asking gets them to go.

So, the caseworker came and it went like normal for those visits.  My sister was in the hospital, so I was heading out the door and Shaun was going to put the kids in bed.  Alyssa did not sleep that night or the next three.  She regressed all the way back to infant stage and blocked out the entire world.  She would not leave my side, even to go to the bathroom and when I turned my back, she grabbed my razor and tried to cut herself.  She would only play with some baby toys I kept for my nephew when he visited.  This was not normal anxiety – this was scary.  (Later we realized this had happened with her last foster parent as well before she moved in with us – on exactly the same date.  She had pulled large patches of hair out and had sores all over her head when she came to us.)

We called everywhere we could think of but on a weekend with a 4 year old child, there aren’t too many resources available.  There’s a crazy long waiting list for any children’s hospital equipped to deal with mental health issues.  We were told just to provide 24/7 supervision and to do what we could.

I did what I do – I got online and signed into a foster parent support group I was a member of.  One of the ladies who I love totally to death suggested a blanket that was satiny on one side and fleece on the other.  She said it was what calmed her children when nothing else would.

Children are incredibly tactile.  They will sit there and rub something in between their fingers for hours.  They love sand, water, hair, everything they can get their little fingers and cheeks on.

I gave Shaun a kiss, and headed out to the mall.  I got this blanket, a white noise machine that played jungle animals across the ceiling along with a lullaby, some pacifiers, and some aromatherapy stuff.

pTRU1-3049225dt

It’s easy to find stuff to sooth babies.  It’s not so easy to find a blanket that is fleece on one side and satiny on the other.  I got it home, sprayed it with the aromatherapy stuff (chamomile and vanilla,) wrapped her up in it and sat in the rocking chair.

Thank God, the internet, and foster parent support group – she got two hours of sleep.  That blanket went with us EVERYWHERE for weeks.  She rubbed it, she sucked on it, she wrapped baby dolls in it, she wore it like a cape.  It still holds special honor in her bed by laying next to a fleece covered body pillow.

So, etsy family, I need you guys to make that more available!  Moms who need something to help with your child – try one of those blankets.  My friend said her children with PDD-NOS, autism, separation anxiety, drug addictions, and developmental delays all loved it.  It’s helped Alyssa so much that I’m going to be in the market for one for each boy come Christmas time.

The only thing that could make it better was if it were lightly weighted.  Weighted blankets help people with autism spectrum and anxiety disorders sleep better.  (Really, read the article linked.)  It’s like an all night hug.  I sleep better with tons of blankets – I have OCD which is an anxiety disorder – and it’s easier for me to sleep if I feel secure.  Speaking of that… etsy folks – anyone want to make a grown up blankie?  😀