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.

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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!





my brain, it’s about to explode

31 07 2009

This is one of my forced “mommy time-outs.”  The girl child pulled all the carpet up off the floor in her room because I sent  her to her room for throwing a tantrum and ignored her.

My head may just explode.  This is why God made xanax and wine.





boundaries, part 2

28 07 2009

The kids had therapy last night and Shaun brought up the stuff I talked about here.  Apparently, we’re not the first people to complain about that nurse or to feel like she stepped way out of line.  The therapists had another point I hadn’t considered: her job is to take vital signs to make sure the doctor can figure the right dosage of medication.  Period.

Shaun sat down with the therapists for a while to fill them in on what’s been going on with the kids.  It’s a lot and we asked them to make some changes in their strategies with the kids.

A seems to think that therapy is for her entertainment and after she gets home from it, her behavior for about 2 days after is unbelievably bad.  I feel sorry for her therapist because she’s being manipulated big time by a 5 year old.  A has been doing the “I’ll go along with what you say to do so we can get down to the playing part” to perfection.  She doesn’t need to hear about good touch, bad touch again.  She knows it word for word.  She’s just letting the therapist go through it again because it’s easier.  Absolutely ZERO goes into application when she gets home.  She acts like she’s the shit and a bag of chips.  She’s got an ego bigger than Kanye’s.  Listen to Mom?  Why?  She’s way too smart for that listening to mom crap.

LJ is the grand-master of passive aggressive.  Open defiance would be easier for me to deal with but this whiny crap gets on my last nerve.  He’s been throwing tantrums too, and for a kid my size, that’s just ridiculous.  It’s back to where it was last year before he moved in – the chauvinistic little boy who should be spoiled by mom, not disciplined by mom.  At least he’s not regressed with the encopresis any further.

I’ve got to go sign A up for school today and I almost want them to assign her to the most strict, hard-ass teacher they can find.  Someone who is like 100 years old and seen every kind of little bad ass possible – twice.   I have a feeling I’d be shooting myself in the foot on that one though.  We’ll just leave teacher assignments up to fate.

The rest of it though, is a struggle to the last!  Have no doubt, I’ll come out on top.  It’s my job as Mommy!





Lots of work to do, no money to be found

19 07 2009

I know that on Sundays you aren’t supposed to worry about work.  Let it all wait until Monday and just take some time to relax.  Right…

I’d been joking for a few months about going to work at Hooters to get a little extra cash flow.  When the adoption went through, we lost about $1k a month in income because we didn’t want to wait for the special needs waiver to go through on A.  It would have put the adoption off for another 8 months or so and from experience we’ve learned that a lot can go wrong in 8 months.  LJ’s had gotten approved two days before we signed intent to adopt but being A is younger, we didn’t have enough documentation to get the rubber stamp.  It was better to just get the adoption finalized even without getting the special needs care she qualifies for.  We did, however, get federal Medicaid on all the kids until they’re 19 or out of high school.  It covers mental health treatments and that’s what we needed to ensure.

Note to potential adoptive parents:  make sure you get the adoption assistance.  It’s wounding to the pride, but you’re gonna need it and use it.

Back to Hooters.  I found out today that I can’t work there because I don’t meet protocol – tattoos are out of dress code.  Damn, that means I may have to find work where I use my IQ instead of my T&A.

Unless I find somewhere I can flex-work or work part time, work just isn’t a viable option yet.  I say yet, but the truth of it is that I’ll probably never be “cured.”  Shaun has intermittent FMLA leave enacted in his job because the next migraine could literally kill me.  Reading that on paper scared the crap out of me, even though I knew it.  The MVP puts me at a higher risk of stroke, syncope, and fatal arrythmias.  Being the migraines are severe enough to take out my vision and I often can’t keep anything down, dehydration is a major risk.  Not enough blood running through the heart equals regurgitation and syncope.

I want to just scream that it’s not fair.  I’m 28!  I’m one of the smartest, most talented people in the workforce (mathmatically speaking,) I have the will and want to work – but I can’t.  I can’t even lift my head some days.  When I feel like that though, I verbally tell myself to shut up.  One of the kids I went to school with just died from cancer this past week.  He wasn’t one of my friends, but we ran with the same crowd.  Well, as much as a socially-impared art geek can run with a crowd. I’m blessed beyond belief.

I think I’m just feeling older than my age.  Wednesday, I have an appt with the OBGYN to start talking about a hysterectomy.  Friday is Shaun’s and my 10 year anniversary.  September is the 10 year high-school reunion.  I have three kids, ages 9, 5, and 4.  Two of them have PTSD and the laundry list of abuse related and drug-exposure related mental illnesses.  The last one is trying his hand at tantrums, but doesn’t have the stamina to keep up the 4 hour fits his sister is capable of.

The kids keep bringing up in therapy that they’re scared because I’m sick and they don’t want to lose another mom.  I can tell them again and again that it’s just a headache, but they know.  Kids are really good at not accepting bullshit and I’m really terrible at lying.  I don’t believe I’m going to die but I do believe that I’ll probably battle this well into my 90s. I grew up taking care of my mom through the same thing and I’m a productive member of society.

Some days are great and I feel like I did before I got sick… or until the sickness that I was born with caught up with me enough to take me down.  I have energy.  I laugh and smile.  My grammar doesn’t suck.  I have patience and want to conquer the world. I think about another child.

Yesterday was one of those days.  We went out with the kids to thrift stores and antique stores.  We picked up some pipes for Shaun to restore.  I got some $3 keyboards at Goodwill to modify and some clock parts.  We spent the kids’ Toys’r’Us gift card and their McDonalds gift card.  It was beautiful and sunny and great.

This morning was the same way, but a bad night’s sleep and too much caffeine caught up with me around 4 pm.  I got out and cleaned the wheels and chrome on my Durango now that the local road work is done.  I started teaching A how to work the shower since she’s going to start school in 3 weeks.  I took apart one of the keyboards and started cleaning it and sanitizing it.  We had pizza with the big family at Mom’s and the cousins all got to play and we made hand puppets out of paper bags.  I finally gave the digital picture frames back to my dad (one we couldn’t set up without an SD card port… blah) and set up the one for my mom.  I sorted through jewelry with my sister and stole some of her stuff.  The stupid gate at the family’s place was deactivated so we didn’t have to wait to be buzzed in.

Around the time Mom went to church with Grandma, I was a snippy bitch.  I even snapped at my mom.  I snapped at the kids for singing Spongebob’s “idiot friends” song.  I came home and took a bath, finished a stupid book, and tried to steady myself with working on fixing a flatbed scanner.  What I should have done is taken a shot of Zomig.

Now I’m going to attempt to sleep it off after I get Cali cleaned up.  Nola got pissy and and started a fight.  It looks like Cali lost a toenail.  Shaun’s putting the kids in bed and I’ve got the cameras charging so I can download the photos in the morning.

I don’t know who is harder to raise: children or German Shepherds.  They’re all too damn smart for their own good.