Discipline Reminders

So I used to be a great parent.  Really.  When I had two kids, I was.  One kid was probably THE easiest kid on the planet.  The other was pretty challenging naturally.  But we worked together, focused on relationship and them learning self-discipline and all was grand.  Really.  I didn’t think we had anything that anyone else couldn’t have.  It was a choice.  I put in a good bit of effort when they were little and reaped what I sowed.  I wasn’t living in some fantasy land, I simply had set us up for success.  We lived very peacefully.

And I tested this out!  I did some parent-coaching.  I worked in a childcare center.  I had a home daycare.  I took in kids to tutor and even teach full time for a period, often for behavioral reasons. Really, I felt I found THE answer.

So when we started fostering, I thought all I had to do was continue that trend.  Be firm, consistent, and use good strong positive discipline.  Between that being nurturing and meeting needs, I figured that a couple weeks into placements, we’d be successfully peaceful.

Reality is MUCH different.  My kids *are* great.  And in a short time, they DO know we love them, will meet their needs, and know we’ll be firm and consistent.  They know we won’t beat them.  They know we’ll help them figure out how to do better next time.

But where my big kids probably got punished once a year (really!), my littles have punishment included more often. So when I was looking through some old posts looking for something, I found the below and thought that the reminders were good for ME.  Maybe someone else will find them helpful also.  I know that when I’ve coupled empathy and these ideas, I’ve done the best with my kids.  And they’ve responded well.

Punishment – usually not related to situation, usually in order to deter that choice in the future or “pay back” for the current situation. It is often something that cannot work by itself. Includes: lecturing, time out, spanking, taking privileges, taking items, grounding, making them do chores, etc.

Natural Consequence – Something that happens naturally. You stand on the chair, you may fall. Some natural consequences are not appropriate (the natural consequence for jumping off a building is plunging to your death so we don’t allow children to jump off skyscrapers). But many natural consequences are very effective.  Many of us do dishes immediately after supper because it is easier to scrub wet mess rather than dried on food off plates.

Logical Consequence – related and reasonable.  These are things like having a child move to another toy area if he isn’t playing nicely in the original one. A child may well feel punished sometimes. Sometimes parents can turn a logical consequence into a punishment by overdoing it. For example, logically, you would require your child to get up from watching tv in order to finish the chore he was supposed to do an hour ago. Logically, he now misses the end of the show. Taking TV for the rest of the week because of it is punishment.

Built-in Logical Consequence – Thing you build in to teach a value, life lesson, etc. “You may X after you Y” is often a built-in logical consequence. Work before play would be one.

Someone asked: If a kid breaks a rule, what do you do to encourage him not to break it again? Especially if it’s a rule that he has repeatedly broken and doesn’t seem to respect at all?

We all probably get into this thinking especially if it is a behavior we want to disappear NOW or at least SOON. Generally though, we don’t get to control people to that degree. We can try. But…but then:

  • we are sweet and want our home to be more peaceful and not include bullying
  • it is hard to control people all the time, so
  • we get inconsistent, use threats (like, “if you do that again….”), etc

The idea with training kids is not really to get them not to break rules. That should be, in time, a side effect, IMO. Instead, discipline means to teach and guide. It means to give them values, morals, life skills, tools, opportunities to learn and practice self-control, reasoning and problem solving skills, etc. That means, sometimes, we’re going to have mistakes. But the mistakes are opportunities also. See the difference in thinking? One is to get kids to do or not do certain things. The other is to get kids to the point where they can figure out what to do and not do as well as why and how.

In my experience (direct as well as what I see), it is a lot more work at first to discipline children with the long term in mind. However, that work with young children or new children to the family is worth it when your 8, 10, 14, and 19yos are making good choices with little (often asked for) direction.

Key things I do?

First, focus on relationship. I live on the floor with my littles (and I have a lot of littles!). We read, play, build, tickle, pet, rock, hug, kiss, do educational things, etc ALL DAY LONG.

Mommy Magic, Uh-oh, and Choices are covered in this blog post: http://hfamcourse.wo…/05/discipline/

Give kids skills and tools by modeling, formally, whatever you need to do. One book to help systematically is Raising a Thinking Child by Myrna Shure. Remember you’re modeling. Sometimes I hear my littles talk like me also. I can be proud when they ask someone nicely. Sadly, I, too, have heard things in play that make me sad I’ve taught that.

I have found it *much* harder to use *only* positive discipline with my littles. Traumatized children *are* much different.  There is a lot more at play than when raising your bio children. Before, I used to say if someone is using punishment semi-regularly, they probably need to look into beefing up the good strong discipline. I still agree that is the case. I’m just the one working on it these days. My big kids were punished probably about once a year and even those times probably were not necessary or best. I wish I could get down to once a month at this point <sigh>.

So, the above is a reminder for me.

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OB: House Rules

Originally posted on Old Blog on February 10, 2011

Okay, so one of the forms we have to fill out, for each child, is one that outlines the rules as well as positive and negative consequences associated with those rules.  It is my opinion that rules should be general and that everything falls under one of a handful of rules. Actually, they probably all fall under, in some way or another, the first one, but…  And of course, I completely get that littles will need plenty of time and exposure to understand what these big words and concepts mean. We obviously did pretty well teaching the first two so I’m pretty confident with the next set 🙂 So here are the rules and consequences for our home:

Be Respectful

  • of yourself,
  • of your parents,
  • of others, and
  • of property

Take Responsibility

  • for your chores,
  • for your education,
  • for your choices, and
  • for your behavior

Be Safe and Helpful, including

  • follow directions
  • use walking feet inside
  • When in doubt, ask an adult!

Positive Consequences:

  • Appreciation
  • Praise
  • Recognition
  • Encouragement
  • Additional opportunities

Guidance-based Consequences:

  • Problem-solving, Solution-finding
  • Making amends
  • Practice helps us remember
  • Tighter boundaries

OB: Reality Check

The following post was written in the fall of 2011, about six months after we were licensed.  Much of it is still true though I don’t think I’m nearly as irritated or dysregulated or overwhelmed by it these days.  It just is.  

Okay, there are some things you simply do not think of when you go into fostering.

  • It is not the baby that keeps you up all night.  It is the 4 yr old, the 19month old, the 3yr old, and the 5yr old…rarely the 7month old.  I put these in order of who keeps me up, wakes me up, challenges me most at 4am.  As you can see, the 7month old who has slept through the night since the 3rd week she was here is not why I’m so tired.  It’s the rest of them (primarily the toddler and the 4yr old though).
  • Poop happens.  Really.  Of course, you expect it with the baby and toddler.  You may be less thrilled with it, but you expect it while potty training.  But potty “accidents” (quoted because they are rarely, if ever, not done on purpose) are not exactly rare.
  • Paperwork galore.  If you thought the 153 pages of paperwork you did during training and the homestudy process was a lot, don’t think you’re going to be done with it anytime soon.  Some paperwork you’ll deal with:
    • medication logs
    • weekly/monthly reports on each child (mine run 4 to 8 pages single spaced)
    • documentation of every doctor, dental, vision, psychology appointment
    • fire drills
    • training – it was 40 hours to get licensed and 30 per year to stay licensed. BTW, you do it the first year also so will have about 70 hours within the first 12 months.
    • court papers
    • school binders – each child gets a separate binder with their school related things such as report cards, attendance reports, ARDs, as well as things like their birth certificate, social security card, and immunization records.
    • incident reports (accidents, behavioral situations, etc)
    • emails to teachers, caseworkers, agency workers, licensing worker, doctors, therapists, etc
    • updated records (background checks, etc)
  • Behavior.  Seriously, there is a LOT of behavior from some of these kids.  I think I’ll stop there for today.  Please be ready to deal with what may be a lot of behavior.  Some will be serious. Some will be dangerous (or worse). Some will be annoying.  Some will be constant.  There is a LOT of behavior with some of these kids!
  • Visits galore.  You’ll have:
    • Visits with parents
    • Doctor visits (includes dental, vision, medical, specialist, etc)
    • parent-teacher conferences, probably more than the average parent
    • caseworker visits (and in our case, a visiting caseworker because the official caseworker lives so far away)
    • Therapy visits (speech, occupational, physical therapy as well as play therapy, behavioral therapy, etc)
    • agency visits (licensing, agency worker if you have one, etc)
  • People’s rude comments:
    • Are they all yours?
    • Do you run a daycare?
    • You asked for it.
    • Is it worth it?
    • They have such significant issues (this is usually not said this way.  It is usually said in regards to a specific situation or because you were dumb enough to vent to a family member or friend)
    • derogatory comments about doing it for the money
    • hurtful comments about the children’s parents

This post isn’t to complain.  I am sitting here at 6:30 in the morning having been up since 4 with children.  There has not be a ten minute break in those 2½ hours.  I guess I can be thankful for enough two and five minute ones to write this post.  Yesterday, I got  court papers that surprised me.  I had to send in approximately 20 pages of documentation yesterday and I’ll do at least 5 more pages this morning.  I did 3½ hours of training yesterday and will try to do similarly again this weekend.  No doubt there will be behavior (probably extra since they refuse to sleep). And I really want to get through these books and videos I believe will make a huge difference for the kids long term if I can implement it well.  I gotta keep trying!

I think I glorified what the days and weeks would look like before I started fostering.  I pictured parenting during the day and having from 8pm to 6am free for my time and sleep except for an occasional illness.  I pictured some hard work, but mostly happy fun-filled days.  I never dreamed of so much stress, lack of sleep, mountains of paperwork, or rudeness from others.

Is it worth it?  ABSOLUTELY.  I have five little people whose eyes I will gladly look into when the sun comes up who definitely make it worth it.  And then I’m hoping for a nap 🙂

OB: Do We Love Them?

Okay, the last (actually, originally it was the first) of the series.  My mom has gone home and a ton has happened.  I can’t wait to post pictures of the last couple days.  We also have some interesting stuff going on foster wise.  And I have another review to post this weekend.  Busy busy bees at the H-household 🙂  Again, this was from late March 2012, soon after Sweet Little M arrived here and while we were in the process of adopting our three.

 

The other blogger asked a series of questions in her blog post at http://looneytunes09.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/are-fosteradoptive-kids-loved-differently-than-biokids/.  I’d like to respond.

Do I love my foster daughter and soon to be adopted children like I love my biological children?  ABSOLUTELY.  Love is different between each person, of course.  How could it not be?  But it isn’t less or inferior with any child versus any other child.  I go through spurts of different feelings with each of them. That has been how it has been since I gave birth to the first one through now having accepted the foster placement of the most recent.

Do I have the same love for my foster children the minute I bring them in my family? Do I love them the same as the biological children I’ve had for 17 and 19 years?  Well, that is a bit unreasonable.  It would be unreasonable to say that I felt the same about my son the moment I realized I was carrying him as I did about my daughter whom I knew for almost two years by that time.  11 months later?  Yes, I love my soon-to-be-adopted children as much as I love my biological children.  That changed pretty quickly, but did I feel the same about them as I was filling out placement papers while they were playing in my living room?  Probably not.

But I definitely care about the children immediately.  For example, I got a call towards the end of February for a sibling group of three children.  I felt strongly about them.  I said yes immediately; and I called my agency back to ask what all they tell a caseworker.  I wanted to know if they tried to “sell” us a bit to the caseworker as I really wanted these children.  There was just something…. Anyway, we got the call saying that we were the chosen home.  Well, for two weeks, things kept being pushed back.  I asked about them, got more information, and worried about them.  Some stuff happened and I was truly concerned.  I asked on a message board for positive thoughts for them as I just wanted them to feel safe and secure in this time of things being so up in the air.  I cared before they walked in the door. They never did walk through that door.  I still care.  When would I feel the same love I feel for “the three” and “my bigs”?  I don’t know.  Probably in pretty short order though! My newest hasn’t been here two weeks and I’m smitten!

I know the blogger never thought she was loved.  That worries me especially as she has spoken fondly of a couple foster parents.  What *if* the caring I feel and show from moment one and the love I feel after the first few days doesn’t sound down into their hearts?  What if what I give them is *not* healing in the slightest, but actually another hurt?  Is it really possible that any, possibly all, of these children think we don’t love them in a parent-child way?  What can we do?  What should we do?  Is it possible for us to change it?

The blogger asked if claiming the child as yours makes a difference. I don’t know.  I generally claim children as mine pretty readily.  In fact, it is a big reason I quit doing childcare because it hurt to see parents do less than ideally (imo) with “my” children.  A foster child who walks in my door is *mine.*  But when you have to share them, it does cause you to have the slightest wall built up.  Honestly, my wall is awfully short and way too soft.  Every child has breached it in no time.  I am smitten with our newest though she’s been here such a short time AND is supposed to go with family eventually (months down the line as it is an out of state placement if those people pass the homestudy).

But I had noticed that there was a little remnant of the wall still there with the three.  It felt funny, for awhile, to say, “go give that to your brother” when I was saying it to the six year old telling her to give whatever it was to the almost 17 yr old.  Now it is natural.  “This is my son, {Swimmer},” is different now.  Thinking further than 6 weeks or 6 months into the future really does make a difference.  Did I love them before?  ABSOLUTELY.  But now the roots are digging deep and the branches can move up and out also.

Lastly, the blogger asks about how a child feels when she is unloved by her adoptive parents even a few years after the adoption.  I honestly can’t imagine.  I would gather that the adoptive parent must honestly care deeply for the child and show that in every way possible.   Because of my nature of attaching quickly and strongly, I can’t imagine being the parent in this situation. I have to wonder what they consider love because if they are behaving in a loving manner (love is an action, positive behavior comes from a place of love), it is very likely they DO love the child somewhere in them.  I wonder if maybe they don’t have up a wall that is blinding them somewhat in order not to get hurt?

But then we’re back to the blogger not FEELING loved. Can a parent show in everything they say and do how much they love them and a child not “get” it?  And is there anything I can do as a foster, adoptive, bio mother to let my children feel the love I feel for them and show to them in every way I can?

OB: Why These Children, part 1

The below post is from March 2012 (before the adoption of our three).

A post by  LT at http://looneytunes09.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/why-do-people-adopt-hurt-kids/ asked why THESE kids?

(as I’m typing, I can see this is going to be multi-part)

One motive is put forward: money.

It is cheaper to adopt from foster care.  This *is* a reason people go this route, at least at first and to some degree.  I recently inquired on a situation where a birth mother was asking for someone with very specific requirements.  Well, *extremely* few adoptive families meet her requirements; I do.  So I inquired.  I sent my reply to the agency as well as a “dear birthmom letter.”  The agency’s reply wasn’t about whether the birth mom would be interested in us or anything of the sort.  It was simply to let us know that the fees associated with this child would run about $36,000.  Seriously?  So what should this mother do?  She doesn’t feel she can raise the child and yet the handful of adoptive families who meet her requirements can’t afford to pay that sort of money before the child’s birth.

But with my three?  I won’t pay a dime towards their adoption.  The state will pay my attorney, the state’s attorney, the children’s attorney.  The state will pay for all the filing, paperwork, etc.  The state pays the adoption worker, her supervisor, the person who redacts the file, etc.  I don’t have a clue how much the actual costs are (though I’d guess a WHOLE lot less than $36K!), but my tax money and my neighbor’s tax money is paying for it.  And while they do?  I’m getting the foster care stipend that helps me take care of their needs whether their new suits and pretty dresses or their gymnastics and swim lesson or the new furniture and bikes.  They deserve the absolute best and I’m glad I had a year of a little more money to spend on them!  They came from so little.  The zoo, restaurants, fairs, pictures in the fields of wildflowers, homeschool programs, etc are so worth it.  They deserve anything and everything I can get them while the state is working out making them mine forever.

Okay, so the children come with an adoption subsidy also.  This is help after the adoption.  Some may call it a paycheck.  Well, maybe not.  Here, the adoption subsidy is a fraction of what the foster care stipend is. My kids’ needs aren’t changing any as we finalize their adoptions, but the amount of help we’ll get to care for those needs will cut down to less than half.

Subsidy also includes help with medical. THANKFULLY.  Seriously, a lot of these kids have additional medical issues as well as ongoing mental health concerns.  They deserve as much help as possible.  Having secondary medical coverage will help CONSIDERABLY in getting them the services that they need!

It isn’t all-inclusive though! For example, medicaid will pay for speech therapy for a child as long as they are under the 13th percentile (btw, in public school here, it is the 7th percentile).  A child’s speech has to be pretty rough to be so low!  For example, one of my children’s speech is at the 11th percentile.  He is 40% intelligible by strangers and 60% by people who know him.  Our agency worker speaks to him about 3 times per month and “can usually get the gist of what he’s saying” (her words).  Okay, so medicaid will pick up the difference between what our insurance will pay and what it costs to have our speech therapist out here until he gets over 13 percent.  Well, then? We either have to pay the difference (approx. $880 per month) or take him to a speech center where we can pay just a normal 10% co-pay.  Obviously, we’ll have to choose the latter despite the fact that that is very likely not best for him.

Subsidy also includes a number of post-adoption services.  We will get a small amount yearly towards summer camp (this amount changes yearly, but may be $100 or $300).  The children will be able to stay with their same therapist, a therapist who doesn’t take our insurance or the kind of Medicaid the state will give us.  The adoptive therapy/support group that costs $35 per session now will be free. Respite is offered.  Family therapy is offered.  Help finding information and services is offered.  I didn’t know all that was included in the subsidy, but I’m glad it is.

And then there is the Tax Credit.  Boy has this been something discussed a lot the last few years. See, the tax credit is an amount that would offset the amount of tax you were required to pay.  The amount varies yearly, but it is around $12-13K per kid.  Well, in order to get to offset $12,000 of tax liability, a married couple has to have a taxable income (adjusted gross income minus deductions and exemptions) over $79,000.  I don’t even know how to figure how much our income would have to be to take it for three kids in one year.  I don’t need to know as there is no way we’ll ever make that kind of money.  So the tax law allows people to take it over five years.  With seven exemptions plus the standard deduction, we simply will never use one child’s offset, much less three. Our tax liability was under $1000 for 2011. So over five years, we’re talking less than a couple thousand dollars of the $39,000 possible.

It may be worth considering who are the people adopting from foster care?  Are they wealthy people?  Or are they people like us who simply wanted to help children and families (fostering) while possibly building our own families (adopting)?  Are they more likely solidly middle class and working poor or people who are making $200,000 per year? It just seems the tax credit may not really be helping the people who need it the most who are adopting the children who have started out the furthest behind the eight ball.

Anyway, so that is the money side of it.  We aren’t getting rich by adopting from foster care.  We are struggling in lots of ways.  As I was filling out the adoption subsidy paperwork, I could see how poor we really are. That doesn’t make us a bad “placement.”  It means our love runs deeper than our wallets :)   I’m glad we’ll get a little help.  It makes it possible for people like us to provide a normal childhood as well as the care these kids need.

Really, money is really a very small consideration.  Yes, I can afford to adopt from foster care while I can’t pay $36,000 for a child.  Yes, I will get a subsidy.  But though those things may encourage people to look this direction, it doesn’t mean it is the reason for doing it.

OB: Why These Kids, Part 2

The below was posted originally in March 2012, prior to the adoption of our children.  It is, of course, still true about them as well as our foster kids (whose future is not yet determined by CPS. The current goal is reunification with parents.  They are also checking into family and some fictive kin).

More possible reasons why we would adopt these kids…a discussion jumping off of LT’s post at http://looneytunes09.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/why-do-people-adopt-hurt-kids .

1) We just didn’t know they would have issues?  Well, I seriously doubt that.  We do have to go through training.  And we watch movies too.  And we usually know a few foster kids.  In our classes, they were called “Baby B.”  Baby A got all the normal love and adoration all babies should get.  They were fed, kept warm, given medical care, kept in a clean environment, were safe, etc.  Baby B, on the other hand, often were given the short end of the stick one time after another.  Maybe they were born on drugs (cigarettes, alcohol, meth, cocaine, etc).  Maybe they were used as sex toys.  Maybe they were stuck in a playpen in their own excrement hours on end.  Maybe they weren’t fed.  Maybe they were hit.  Maybe they learned that crying didnt bring anything.  Maybe the TV was the only thing that talked to them.  Anyway, so it makes sense they have issues and may have issues for a long time to come.

2) Do we have a savior complex?  Honestly, I do think I thought I could help these kids faster and to a greater degree than really reasonable.  A good dose of love, a lot of discipline, some structure and predictability, safety and security.  Surely they’d come along in a few weeks.  At seven months, I was thinking, “what on earth?  It’s been seven months!!! What’s the deal?!?!”  After the TPR hearing, I came to realize seven months was NOTHING compared to what they’ve been through.  But sometimes, I still think, “it’s been almost a year.”  I have to remember that love and discipline and security from me isn’t a miracle cure.

However, throwing kids away simply is not an option.  And I don’t think these kids are ruining my life.  Will I think that occasionally?  Possibly.  But I will remember how great it has been also.  I hope they don’t have it too tough, of course, but I know that their life is theirs to make what they wish.  I’m hoping to give them every opportunity to choose healthy, even happy; but in the end, they will have to work through what they have been through.  I know it won’t always be easy.  But they won’t be thrown away.  We will be here forever for them whether they want it or not.

3) Because we “get” the hurt? Absolutely.  No one comes from perfection.  Some have closer than others.  I had some rough times.  I struggled with abandonment, mistreatment, poor choices, anxiety issues, etc.  It won’t come close to what my kids dealt with; but I have gained some understanding to a degree and feel able to pass on some good skills and tools they may be able to use.  Additionally, I get that people are all different, know the resources in our area, and know how to find more opportunities in time.  I’m dedicated to do so.  I’m not perfect, but I sure will be willing to try anything and everything to help them.  Will it work?  Well, I can’t promise that.

Why am I adopting my children?  I believe they deserve a good family.  I believe they deserve to be “kept.”  I chose to love them.  I feel love for them.  Honestly, I wanted to be a mom.  But I just didn’t need perfect kids.  Seriously, had I adopted newborns or birthed them myself, there was no guarantee of perfection.  Instead, I hope to be as good as possible a parent for the kids I actually have.   I’ll keep trying to do better and better with them and for them.  That is all I can do.  I have hope.  I hope to give them hope too.

OB: Even More “Why These Kids?”

This post was originally written March 2012, originally the third in a series of posts. 

(Still vaguely responding to LT’s post at http://looneytunes09.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/why-do-people-adopt-hurt-kids/).

I want to expound a little more.  These are probably more random thoughts than anything though.

First, I want to be honest that my primary reason for considering adoption originally was “selfish.”  I wanted to be a parent some more.  I wanted children.  I wanted to parent.  I want all the joys that come with parenting.  I was, of course, aware, that parenting isn’t all easy and wonderful and joyful all the time.  I also knew that kids aren’t perfect from the get-go and that they’ll have their own opinions, experience, fears, hurts, etc as they go on.  However, I also knew *I* wasn’t perfect.

When we went into fostering though unsure if we would adopt.  We waffled a lot.  First, it seemed we could help a lot more children if we just fostered.  Many kids would go home anyway and it’d be great that other people could adopt the kids we’ve gotten to enjoy temporarily.  However, though we entertained those thoughts, we really did still desire to grow our own family.  Fostering seemed like a way to do it.  We could, in essence, do both: help children and families who needed the help and build our family when it didn’t work out in birth families.

Well, the first two kids, we knew would go home.

The second set we knew weren’t going to parents, but we figured they would go to family members. But then that didn’t look too likely either. Then came some thinking.  We absolutely fell in love with them.  The thought of letting them go was miserable.  Add that we thought it the worst thing ever for them to have another disruption in their lives.  Is love enough?  Their issues seemed mighty tough.  They had been through a lot.  The had behaviors because of that.  We have had some moments of wondering if we were best for them.  We also went through moments of guessing what would happen if they left.

In time, the love won out.  Fact is, we are willing to keep trying and trying.  We may not be perfect, but we will try.  We’ll learn better and better.  We will make mistakes and that will probably be good for them also.  IF we aren’t perfect, they won’t have to be either.  ANd when people make  mistakes, they try to learn from them.  And if we made their lives absolutely perfect, they’d end up fragile.  So we’ll do the best we can, aim for even better, but appreciate our human-ness also.

And we’ll grow together, right?  I have already had to work through some things I thought I was past.  I get to work on my character traits.  I’ll get to practice the fruitage of the spirit.  I’ll gain all the qualities that go along with love (long-suffering, patience, kindness, etc).

So, realistically, we have some challenges now and in the future.  Will they be fixed?  I can’t say.  And sometimes, I think it is okay if some of them don’t or don’t for awhile.

So, it may be difficult to deal with a 3 or 5 or 7 year old who poops in his pants.  It certainly isn’t pleasant.  But what if it doesn’t stop until 9 or 11 or 15?  Will that ruin our lives?  I just don’t think so.  I don’t *want* any of them to wait so long.  I wish they all would stop yesterday; but I don’t think it is worthy of too much worry.  It is very unlikely they will be working at an assembly plant one day and their coworkers catch them with poopy pants.  It will stop eventually.  Or they’ll find a way to deal with it.  But in the mean time, maybe we would be a lot more successful helping them more significantly if we work to help them feel comfortable, confident, and capable.  We can try to learn more appropriate options.  And then the kids can make their own choices in their own timing as they heal.  If it takes 15 years, it does.

Certain behaviors are a bit more worrisome, usually because they are scary or the consequences so dire.  But again, would it ruin our lives?  Not most of them and we’ll do our best to prevent the ones that could really wreak havok.  It means we have stricter supervision.  I have heard people say and read people online that say they could never live “like that” with some of the measures we have in place.  I think they are wrong.  They *could* if they felt it necessary to help the ones they love.  It means we have to learn more ways to help our kids heal, to discipline, to show love for them for who they are regardless.

But I think people, when they think of foster kids, get hung up on these things.  Sure, they take up some time and effort, many times A LOT of time and effort.  I spend a good deal of time documenting these things as well as reading books, talking to other parents, working on therapies, etc.  I am determined to not hurt the children more by my responses.  I am determined to help them to the best of my ability (and keep reaching for the next ability level).

What people don’t think about are the opportunities.  So many times, I’ve looked back on old posts and though, “Oh goodness, she doesn’t do that anymore!”  Or I think back and remember that a year ago, he couldn’t do that.  I watch them grow, mature, heal.  Sometimes it is very slow progress.  Other times it is more significant.  It can be something more superficial or something more important. But I wish we could look at those things more.  Maybe it is the first real hug or being an inch taller.  Maybe it is accepting redirection or stopping thumb sucking.  Or maybe it is cooking a meal or getting an B in math.  Maybe it is the smile in the photo of her in the wildflowers or the first time he makes a goal.  Maybe it is not needing to cut himself or him being able to say, “I love you.”  Maybe it is the first school dance or the first Bible verse memorized.  Maybe it is the sweet thing she did for a sibling or the first time he doesn’t take the opportunity to hurt his brother.  Of course, this list can go on forever.  There are so many firsts I experienced with these children.  There are so many hurts we’ve cried over.  There are so many laughs we’ve had and will have.  It is truly a beautiful thing.

Again, beautiful, but maybe not always easy.  I think it is worth it.  Maybe it will get very tough down the line.  But I still think we’ll be able to look at the good stuff. If it proves to be challenging a couple years down the road, I’ll look at this post again.  I’ll look at these posts again.  I’ll look back at the weekly and monthly reports I make for them.  I’ll make a list of blessings.  I’ll make a list of progress.  I’ll make a list of positive attributes.  I’ll ask them for help if I have to.  But I will focus on the positive as much as possible through the years.

As I am writing this, a commercial came on.  It was showing some children being adopted out of foster care.  “Every child needs a family.”  Even the one neglected, starved, left in a carseat, deformed because of abuse, beaten severely, burned, sexually abused, drugged, sold out to strangers, scared beyond all belief, hurting himself, untrusting, and the list could go on unfortunately.

Children HAVE been hurt.  They are still hurting.  But they DO deserve families.  And families could choose to step up and care for them.  It may not always be easy.  But it is a choice.  And it is a choice that can bring great things to our (the children’s and parents’) lives.

OB: “Babying” Older Children

This is something I’m needing to focus on right now due to one of my children having significant trouble and having some newbie foster kiddos.  So it seemed like a good time to repost it 🙂

How we “baby” big kids (ages 3-8):

*I’m CONSTANTLY on the floor, making it easy for kids to come to me whether for a quick tickle or head rub or game of footsies or whatever.

*I rock them…a lot! When rocking, I pet them, run my fingers through their hair, tickle lightly, tell them what I would have done had I known them (or was their mommy) when they were a baby.

*We use dum-dum lollypops for a bottle for a few reasons.  The biggest was that I worried what the agency and caseworkers would think about using a real bottle.  But this has the benefit of being sweet also which is an attachment key.

*Softness, sweetness, warmth, closeness, etc are all good.

*BTW, my kids LOVE green smoothies. Goodness, a “milk shake” for breakfast? Mommy is the best! My three hadn’t even ever had watermelon. Again, healthy and anytime? AWESOME!

*My kids, especially one of them, have taken it further, such as: First words, first steps, first hop, baby sentences, etc. He does it even with mistakes. Like his first steps are wobbly and he falls down. I praise, encourage, help, fix (pretend) boo-boos, etc.

*We play lots of baby games (peekaboo, this little piggy, etc). A lot of finger 
plays and such are fun too. And reading is a very typical thing for parents to do with children. Our play therapist gave us other ideas like “close
your eyes” and then I lightly touch them with a cotton ball or we blow a cotton
ball back and forth (and you can even do that with more than one child). Just
sit close.

*Lotion and a “family scent” are good ideas also. I have multiple chemical sensitivities so I have to be careful, but….My kids started really responding to cinnamon. Well THAT is easy. I can put a small pot of boiling water with cinnamon in it on the stove. I can put cinnamon in muffins, waffles, pancakes, etc.

For me, having babies in the house has been SOOOOOOOO helpful! I’ve had my three since April 2011. I have had a baby/toddler in the house all but 4 months since I’ve gotten them. It helps me see all the fun, silly, touching, bonding, etc things I can do. We NATURALLY do those things with babies. It is a lot harder to remember with kindergarteners. Having those  reminders, I can turn around and do similarly with the big kids. Sometimes, it feels like I have septuplets rather than one baby and some bigger kids.

BTW, one other thing we do is MUCH greater than typical supervision. This was necessary due to behavior at one point; but even when it could be loosened, we didn’t go all the way to average. Having them close gives opportunity to for coaching, helping, guiding, etc. It also gives a lot of opportunity to touch,rub heads, tickle behind ears, quick kisses to the tops of heads, silly words, etc. 🙂

OB (Aug 2012): It’s so easy

This seemed like a good blog entry to repost today.  Two of my kids have jumped off the deep end.  At the same time, I’m so amazed by them all the time!  It is the weirdest thing to reconcile in my head sometimes.

It’s so easy….

to be negative sometimes.  I worry about my children, their trauma, their attachment SO MUCH.  But I want to be sure not to miss all the positive!  They have grown so incredibly much!  So often, it is things we just forget or were slow in progressing that we remember.

I remember, for example, having a talk with one’s teacher at one point last year.  It hit us both that the child hadn’t been thumb sucking in a while.

And I remember the first week the one let me sleep through the night (not that *I* slept through the night.  I kept hearing “nee-nee” (the sound of the alarm) in my head.  The kids teased me endlessly about that.

And when the one stopped puking?!?!  THAT was big!

What about how one had only vowels when he got here, almost NO consonants AT ALL! For that matter, we didn’t understand ANY of them at all at first.

Oh, and I have to post the audio one day of one little.  We were at a restaurant and a creature was made out of a napkin. Kiddo was so upset about leaving the monster that we enlisted the waitress’ help to give the monster a new home.  The napkin monster was put in a cave with others like himself :)  The child’s sweet little voice!  I never want to lose that audio!

I really wish I had taped more of all of them.  Some of the grammar and accent and articulation mistakes were so cute.  I wish some of them hadn’t irritated me so much.  They were gone so quickly.

And the fits the one child used to throw were ADORABLE and heart-breaking.  Kiddo just was a scared, sad and angry. Why wasn’t I more understanding?  Or maybe the fits were needed. And they gave me insight into what my dear child was thinking.  I wasn’t the “real” mom.   They’d never say that now.  Then the fits went to pure anger, screaming, freaking out.  But it was what was needed then too.  I can’t picture this child doing it now.  But did I notice when they ended?

The one that got me was the fit recently (note:  in Aug 2012) thrown by another one though.  20 minutes of all out SCREAMING.  I (well, and two other kids) just were THERE.  No one tried to stop it.  That child had NEVER done anything of the sort.  Maybe it was finally *safe* to?  Maybe it was a test?  I don’t know.  I do know that it was handled well.

There are neat things from all sorts of areas where they have learned so much.  Learning academics and eating like humans at the table. Two have been without training wheels for months and the third is ready (third has learned). They need reminders but keep up their rooms and ask for chores.  Two can shower almost independently.

The sweet kids shine through.

You know…we may still have PLENTY to work on.  But in 15 months (now 24), they really grew by leaps and bounds.  They probably were capable of more if I hadn’t messed up so much.  But it is a learning process for ALL of us.  We can all grow together :)

Yes, though they drive me batty sometimes and we go through these spurts of craziness, my children are absolutely awesome, progressing so incredibly much.  They amaze me daily.  I am so blessed even on a tough day.

OB: What’s a boy to do?

Given: Child better not leave bedroom after being put in there or he’ll be beaten severely.

Given: Child will be beaten severely if he wets on himself, in his bed, etc.

Given: Child has to potty more regularly than most children (ie, he is not going to make it through the night).

So what on earth was he SUPPOSED to do?   Did his first parents ever think of THAT?

I actually remember a situation like this from when I was a child.  My dad was very strict.  Usually, I was able to stay within the standards expected.  But one night when I was four, we went to my grandmother’s home.  My dad had told us not to eat anything over there.  My grandmother, of course, offered us food immediately.  I told her Daddy said no.  She said she’d worry about Daddy, eat.  So now do I disobey Dad or Grandma?  I was stuck.  My brother and I got spankings that night.  30some years later, I still can’t imagine what I was supposed to do.

My son was in a predicament one day. I had started a diet and made a chart of how many servings of X and Y.  I made each kid one also.  Why not?  I remember a checklist as a school assignment in elementary school so it seemed to make sense to teach nutrition (there is controversy about whether this was “good nutrition”).  Well, one of my categories, I had put something like grains: bread, cereal, etc.  There were three boxes next to it.  My son ate cereal for breakfast (this was before we stopped doing that).  Later, I had told the kids to get something for lunch and I had gone upstairs for something.  I came down and J was eating cereal!  What on earth?  Since when do we eat cereal twice in one day?  I fussed at him briefly, sighed, and fixed myself something for lunch.  Later, J comes to me telling me that he doesn’t understand why he “got in trouble” when the chart says cereal and has three boxes.  Poor kid.  He was just confused!  Thankfully, in our home, “we don’t eat cereal twice in a single day” and a frustrated sigh is considered discipline enough (though maybe not my best parenting, go figure).  Thankfully (even more, imo!) my son could come to me later so we could work it out! BTW, yes, I beat myself up over the confusion and fussing at him.

See, my son knew I was reasonable.  He could come to me and we could fix the problem.  And the discipline wasn’t harsh anyway though I apologized of course!  And the issue with my father was not an ongoing thing.  I remember it well since I felt I was wronged, but I didn’t live my life in such turmoil.  But *this child*?  There are several things the children expressed being similar.  They just couldn’t make “good choices” because no choice *was* good enough.  Now, we’re still working with them (8½ months after they last saw their parents…update: 25½ months…) to see that things are different here.  They will not be disciplined harshly; and regardless, we can always work to clarify things because I want it easy for them to not have to be anxious about the boundaries.

Another OB (with some commentary): TPR Trial

The following parts were originally written in November 2011, just after my children’s first parents’ TPR trial.  Obviously, things were considerably emotional.  The day of the trial, I wrote:

I am thrilled that the children finally are safe from their biological parents and have a chance for permanency.  I am thrilled that we’ll be able to pursue adoption.

However, today was NOT happy day.  Three beautiful, wonderful, special children lost what could have and should have been their most precious relationship as youngsters.  Two adults lost the relationship with three awesome, lovely, incredible kids.  Today’s decision will allow for some beautiful things to happen; but it also was the culmination of six years of neglect and abuse ending in yet another hurt for these very young children.  We would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t consider the gravity of the situation even though we are excited about the joy that will come from it.

So a couple things happened during the TPR trial that made me  feel good.

The first is that as I was walking off the stand, the children’s caseworker turned to her supervisor and said, “she is amazing.”  Okay, so I got the big head for a moment.  Of course, then I went straight to beating myself up over two things not mentioned, one of which could have opened the door to certain other discussions.  Obviously, it wasn’t a fatal error.

Second – Note to Defense Attorney:  Don’t mess with Mama.

I may not yet be the children’s legal mother, but I most certainly *am* their Mama.  Maybe the defense attorney missed that as he was preparing for this case?  I don’t see how.  Everything I say and do oozes love for these children.

So basically, my testimony was just to say the children are thriving, growing, and developing well since being put in my home.  I put hard numbers to prove the point.  I had clothing sizes, weights, heights, speech (and OT) evals broken down, a list of changed behaviors, a list of new abilities, a list of changed beliefs/feelings/thoughts, a list of new experiences, etc.

The defense attorney gets to me and says dismissively, “okay, [T-lo] has gained under a pound per month and [Swimmer] has gained just over a pound per month?”

Mama Bear was ready :)

“Sir, average growth for a 2-9year old child is 4-5 pounds per year.  [T-lo] has gained that much from April 13 to Oct 11th. [Swimmer] *doubled* that in the same six months. That is catch-up growth.”

Mess with me!

So this came about because the caseworker had called and asked me if I could *prove* the children were thriving in my home.  I said I could; but to be honest, I was a little worried about if I really could.  Everyone who has known these kids during those seven months (and in the case of some CPS workers, family members, and the like, it was five years) could see that the children had taken off.  But could I *prove* it in court acceptable ways?  And to be honest, I was also worried of offending anyone while doing it.  Honestly, a LOT of people had dropped the ball in terms of caring for these children.  The court gave them back to their first parents.  So did family after a “case closure” which was supposed to protect them from ever living with their parents again.  Foster parents and caseworkers hadn’t made sure that certain care was given to them. More importantly, these first parents had severely neglected and abused their children. How do I say what all we had done without offending all those who messed up?

But I’m so glad I did the work to show the children really were progressing so beautifully:

 I sat down with their folders (They each have three: one for school, one for history, and one with current case/health related items) and got the FACTS.  I then typed them up.  What I had was gold, hard proof my children were flourishing.  I think this was much more important than being able to put a lawyer in his place.  It allowed ME to see awesome progress.

One lesson that hubby and I learned is something we have to be reminded of many many times since that day in November 2011.  Here is how I wrote it the day after TPR:

Another big thing came from yesterday in Hubby’s and My hearts.  Sometimes 7 months seems like a short time and sometimes it feels like plenty long enough for certain changes in the children.  Yesterday, hubby and I learned why seven months is NOTHING and why it may take us a few years for certain things to happen for our Littles.  Those few years will probably be hard work for us in terms of attachment, teaching, and loving.  We are up for it :)

Yes, 7 months was nothing.  15 months wasn’t anything either.  Next week, we’ll be at 24 months.  Some days are still *really* hard.  Some issues come in waves.  Others slap us in the face because things were going so well just before the issue comes up again.  The “power of three” (I’ll write about that another time) drives me batty. Many days I’m scared for them.  Most days there is some hope though.  They’ve come so far.  They may or may not ever fully heal from what their first parents and the system did to them.  But we will be there every step of the way, here to love them, help them, and hope for them.  With God, all things are possible….in this system or the next 🙂

OB: Potty Training – The Method

REPOST:   The long awaited potty training method post :)

This is the method I used for my son when he was 25months old.  It is what I’ve used for numerous daycare kids (in-home), foster children, and I tweaked to make work in childcare centers.  The average child can do this at 16-30 months old.  If you try at the younger levels for a day or two and see they just aren’t getting it, try again in two or three months.  Almost every child will potty train by 2½ years old.  The longer you wait, the harder it is because 1) they have gotten used to sitting in their mess and 2) they start really ramping up the orneriness  :)

  • Daycare children have the benefit of positive peer pressure.
  • Most children have the benefit of wanting to please mom and dad.
  • Foster children have the challenge of this being a key thing they can control as well as often not having the secure attachment to their caregiver to try to please them over everything else.

Please keep these points in mind :)   Above all else, do NOT do the following if you are likely to be stressed out about the process.  It really is not beneficial for the parent (or parent figure) to yell, spank, punish, or even show disappointment.  And it can cause the process to take much longer.  Worse, it can cause not so fun issues like encopresis, long term holding it, etc.

Okay, so here we go:

GOAL:  To teach child 1) to recognize when he needs to go to the potty, 2) what happens after he has the need, and 3) how to handle things like clothing, wiping, etc.

Get Ready:  You’ll want to be ready for a party.

  • Snack foods (I call this the Cheetos method because Cheetos work well; but various snacks that will cause thirst such as crackers, snack mixes, etc would work).
  • Juice and water, whichever your child will drink more of.  The more you get the child to drink, the more successful you’ll be.
  • VERY watery foods like watermelon if you would like SOME healthiness in the method.
  • A child’s potty if that is what you want to use.  A stool for the big potty if you are using that.  If you are a daycare teacher, you have THE best set up already as you probably have child-sized, but real(!), potties.
  • Wipes, toilet paper, etc for cleaning kiddo
  • Cleaning supplies for messes.
  • Something for soiled undies and cloth cleaning supplies

Method:

  • Set up shop in bathroom or kitchen (a room easy to clean up messes in.  In summer, outside parties may work if you use a potty chair.
  • Keep upbeat
  • Tell child that we’re going to learn to use the potty
  • Eat and drink and be merry :)   This is THE key
  • Possibly teach a baby doll
  • Every 10-20 minutes, depending on the kid (15 is pretty normal), have child try to use the potty.
  • Child should be taught to pull his pants down himself.
  • If you are using a child-sized real potty or a stool in front of the real potty, it is easier to teach boys standing up.  Have them hold the seat up for this phase of learning.  That has them hitting the water with the pee :)   For a potty, boys and girls should be leaning slightly forward.  Boys should be encourage to hold himself down (We use anatomically correct wording here, but I’m not brave enough to say it on the internet as I don’t need wackos coming to be blog).
  • I teach boys a quick shake.  Girls learn to wipe.
  • If you are using a reward, give it after they potty (a resistant child may need some extra motivation for sitting on the potty even)

Other points:

  • If kiddo has an accident, help him clean it up; but let him do it.  He may need help manipulating wet clothing, but only help. Don’t do it for him.
  • Daytime training often comes before night time training.  If your child was night time dry before you tried, expect a few days of night time wetting but within a couple weeks, he’ll probably stay dry at night again.
  • Urine training sometimes comes before BM training.  Some kids can take an extra 3-6months for BMs; but in my experience, most don’t.

Why does this work?  Mostly because if a child is going to the potty every 15-ish minutes:

  • he is getting the sensation of needing to urinate many times close together.  He doesn’t have a lot of time to forget inbetween which will allow him to LEARN the sensation and REMEMBER it from one time to the next.
  • he is learning that when he gets that sensation, pee pee comes out of him.
  • he is getting A LOT of practice manipulating his shorts and shirts (girls also learn to manipulate dresses).

After 4 hours, your child will have had a LOT of opportunity to learn the above.  You should be able to tell by the end of the four hour party if you will need to do it again tomorrow or if he has gotten the idea.  I wouldn’t worry at all about nap time and bedtime for right now.  In the afternoon, you can offer the potty every 30-60 minutes (most children do beautifully with 45 minutes between tries).  Just go based on your child’s needs.

Success rate?  All but two children I’ve taught with this method has learned with few/no accidents within a week or two.  I have started working in a daycare (twos room) at the beginning of summer twice.  Both times, I’ve had all but 1 or 2 kids potty trained in the first week.  The hold outs were potty trained the next week. At home, it may be easier to get success sooner because you can do a full potty party for 1-3 days as necessary where daycare teachers have to tweak the party.  My son potty trained, at home, at 25months old, despite delays, with one potty party day, no daytime accidents from day four and on.

There were two long term hold outs.  Both were foster children with physical issues.  I’d still do the potty party for 2 or 3 days every couple months.  Just know that they do have control on this issue and these kids often take the control when they can.  Physical issues MAY hinder their ability to notice the sensation of needing to go OR to get to the potty in time.

I hope this helps a little :)

OB: Scared for a moment

Here is a blast from the past post, a post I wrote in the Summer of 2011, what seems like a lifetime ago.  Child was a newly turned 3yo at the time, nickname was Munchkin in real life and on my blog.  To me, if you will look back up to the start of the post after finishing, you’ll remember that this scenario all started with the child going from one naughty thing to another, things he knew not to do, but seemed unable to stop doing.  He just kept getting “in trouble.”  Why?  He had a lot going on in his head and heart at that moment!

“Munchkin, bottom” (meaning don’t stand on the couch)

“Munchkin, give your brother back that toy.”

“Munchkin, is that what you’re supposed to be doing?”

“Munchkin, stop already!”

“Okay, Munchkin, you come sit up on the couch next to mama.”

Munchkin pouts as I’m eating a late breakfast while the kids play so he thinks he’s just gonna sit there bored to death.  Of course, that is an option, but…

“J, will you please get those new puzzles for me?  I think they are on the bottom of the bookcase in the office.”

Puzzles retrieved.

“Look Munchkin.  Whatcha think?”

Munchkin pulls out a few baby animals and looks at them.  “Baby sad. Baby misses his mommy.”

“Tell baby it’s okay to miss mommy.”  He doesn’t.  I pick up a baby and have it whine, “me miss mommy.” Then I respond with, “oh, baby, I’m so sorry you are sad.  It is okay to miss your mommy.”

Munchkin continues to play with the animals and they continue to be sad.  I pick up the giraffe saying it’s the foster mommy and having it kiss the babies, telling them she loves them and it’s going to be okay. Munchkin gets VERY upset though!

“You STU-PIT!”

“The foster mommy is stupid?”

He hollers at the giraffe again saying over and over how it is stupid.

I tell him it’s okay to be mad and sad.  I have the giraffe kiss the baby lion.

“You don’t kiss baby!  You bad! You stu-pit!  You shut up.”

Over and over he tells the giraffe to shut up.  Finally, he puts his hand on her mouth.  I make a sound like I’m trying to talk through his hand.  He says, “you shut up, you stupit” and then grabs her neck and strangles her.

I say, “oh, you are very angry with the giraffe.  What did she do wrong?” Remember, I’m thinking the giraffe is the foster mom so in his world is ME.

He takes the giraffe from my hands and throws it on the floor.  He says she is stupid and dead.

I ask him who HE is. Is he the daddy?  the baby?

He replies, “I PAM!” in a big voice.

All of a sudden, I relaxed quite a bit.  At least he’s not thinking of killing ME.  I said, “oh, you are Pam?  Who is the giraffe?”

He says, “Mommy stupid and dead!”

He picks up the baby animals and loves on them.

We then pick up the animals and put them away.  We go to the store and go about the rest of our day.  He has trouble at meal times, but all other behavior is mostly fine outside of a few preschool incidents (like standing up in the grocery cart).  I guess he needed to play that out.

I hope he doesn’t think I will kill his mommy though.  I am sorry for what she has done to her kids.  I hope they never go back there again.  I hope they can heal from what she and daddy have done to them.  I just can’t easily make what has happened go away.

OB: How a foster child may feel

Paty blogged about the exercise her PRIDE class did about loss here.

We did a similar exercise and most of us threw a fit when they told us to remove our faith.  Though SOME people lose faith when life is in crisis, especially to the degree of this crisis, others gain faith.  Some of us are determined to be like Job who lost just about everything a man could lose other than his life itself!

Anyway, we also did a different exercise for the loss and it too was powerful.

There is a page in the PRIDE materials where we were to write what we, as individuals, planned to do the next day.  We also put who we would be doing those things with.  I had a pretty full day that next Wednesday and actually had many family and friends involved.  Then you write what you’d be doing a year from now and with whom.  I figured my day would be pretty similar but I’d probably have one to three foster/adopt children with me also.  Then we added what we would be doing five years from now and with whom.  I was sure by then we probably would have adopted, but the day would probably be the same as Wednesdays are pretty set.

Then the instructors told us to tear the page.  Oh my goodness!  We all threw a FIT!  There was writing on the other side of the page.  We like our work and books to be neat.  We just kept carrying on.  The instructors were taken aback, I think, by the sheer forcefulness of our arguments, but they stood firm. It *had* to be done!

FINE then.  I tore mine across the middle of the page so it would still hook into the binder.  However, because I didn’t take it out of the binder to do it, it was quite jagged of a tear.  My hubby folded his neatly and tore it down the middle lengthwise. Another person tore his, crumpled it and threw it at the instructor!

Isn’t that how a foster child does?  They’ve been RIPPED from their home (or one placement or another).  They no longer will be doing what they planned tonight or tomorrow and it won’t likely be with whom they planned to do it.  Some will resign and just follow what they’re told like my husband did.  They will try not to let it hurt them too deeply.  Others will try to make it work for them like I did but it’ll still hurt like jagged edges.  Some will carry on something awful, even throwing things!

We really played into this, without meaning to, very well!

They passed around the tape.  We all taped together our papers.  Some looked better than others.  All were readable and could be put back in the binder.  But they all faired a little differently.  My hubby’s “scar” is barely noticeable.  Mine is much more so.  The flattened out crumpled pages with scars too obviously faired less well.

And in the end, that is how it is for foster children.  Regardless of the outcome of them becoming foster children, they will all fair a bit differently. They will all have been affected by the experience.

RP from OB

I used to have another blog.  I felt that blog no longer represented us as a family.  Additionally, I didn’t want faces attached to certain things that happened; yet I wanted to share my children more fully.  So, I’ve started this new blog.  But there are still some things from the old blog I think relevant to our lives, who we are, how we do things, what we’ve been through, etc.  So I am going to copy some of the posts over here when I feel like doing so.  I will put them all in one category (though some will be in more than one category).  I’m thinking when I name them, I’ll use OB (for old blog) in the title. I may do slight edits for some of them.  These edits will be to put a name where there was a nickname, to remove names altogether, to edit out certain examples, whatever.