Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Parties, Doctors and More!

We had a little interuption in our life recently and now that we are settled into a new routine, I can finally post my pictures. March was birthday month for us-we had 4-my dad, Isabella, Elijah and Elsie. We basically celebrate birthdays 3 times a year. January is Caity, William and Nathaniel and then in March and then again in May when we have mine, my mother's, my sister's and mother's day. Jonathan is the oddball in September and now we have Adam's in June. Well, I wanted to do something creative instead of buying a cake. I attempted to make Dora and Diego since the kids are obsessed with them.

I guess they turned out OK-Dora looks orange but I made the mistake of using butter icing which is yellow and changed all of my colors...oh well, I will probably attempt that again. As you can tell, the kids enjoyed them no matter what they looked like=)

As for doctors, I hate going to the doctor. Which is strange coming from someone who was so close to being one. It seems like every time I go I come home with a stack of referrels. Elsie, Elijah and Isabella all had checkups this week. Elsie is doing great-she is my healthy child. Poor Elijah...stuck with enough illness for both of them. Now the doctor thinks he has a speech he is going to be evaluated by ST. I hate that after his surgeries, now he has to go to speech and may be referred to someone to evaluate why he gets sick so much. He is still having recurrent sinus infections and diarrhea even after getting his tubes and nobody knows why. Otherwise Elijah is growing well. Isabella was seen by occupational therapy and now has been referred to Physiatry and a feeding clinic to see if THEY can find out why she has not been growing. She weighed the same at her chekup as she weighed at last years visit (she has actually gained about 900 grams) in the last year but that is not picked up by the pediatrician's scale since she is weighed on a different scale each time. Her other doctor counts every gram as a gain=) In addition to seeing more doctors she now has to have surgery to repair her hernia. I guess when you have this many kids it is always something. Fortunately nothing serious so far.

Well, Adam has been with us now for 4 weeks. I really did want to put pictures up, but realized that this was not the place for me to post his picture so I took them down. I would hate to be the parent and have someone find out my child was in foster care because they stumbled upon my site by accident. It has been great to have him here. He is a pretty laid back child but much like an infant trapped in a toddlers body. He is extremely clumsy (with the scrapes and bruises to prove it) and he spends most of his time exploring and getting into things (just when Elijah and Elsie were getting out of that stage). I spend a lot of time putting out "Adam fires" like when he pulled a gallon size bowl of warm soapy water I was using to clean up with off the counter and on to his head. Needless to say I did not have to give him a bath or mop my kitchen floor that day =)

He has learned quite a bit in his short stay...things that most children learn as to sleep through the night, that the stove is hot and will burn (fortunately only a minor burn), the art of coloring (on paper), and other necessary lessons. He is learning the boundaries and trying to fit in. I am sure he will start standing up for himself soon, especially with Elijah and Elsie who find pleasure in taking his toys away.

He is essentially a wounded child...we do not know from what, but we hope to help him heal in the time he is with us. Those of you who have no experience with children who are what I call "wounded" can not imagine what I mean. There is something very basic that children learn in the first few months of is simply called trust. Most of us with children take it for granted and do not really think about it, it just happens. When a child lives with parents who are consistantly responsive to their needs, the trust develops normally. In children who do not have what they need (or at least not consistantly) in the first few months, that trust does not develop properly. From that time on the child is wounded and although it is usually possible to repair, it is difficult. This is not something that only happens to kids in foster care, it can happen for many reasons to many types of families. A child does not have to be abused or neglected or abandoned to have these problems. I do not believe most people set out to do these things to their children, they just happen. Most of the time it is just from not knowing what to do or being to young or having crappy circumstances or feeling overwhelmed or lots of other reasons.

Trust is what all subsequent development stems from. If the trust is broken, normal emotional and social development will not occur. These children are often seen as "good or easy" because they have learned NOT to rely on others for things. They have never developed trust. Obviously some children who never develop trust of caregivers will lash out or have severe problems, but these children are usually identified. It is the "good" children who may suffer long term problems because no one thinks anything is wrong with them. They are just seen as independent and laid back. We deal with many attachment issues in our family, things that the outside world never sees or would never see as unusual and may have life long consequences for these children unless they are repaired.

This is a big part of what foster parents do. We try to rebuild trust with these children. And no matter how old they are, you always have to start from the beginning. It is hard when the child is 4 years old and never learned trust. Now you have a 4 year old baby-because treating them like a baby (meeting their every need) is hard to do when you are looking at a 4 year old. It is a very long, frustrating process with amazing and rewarding results when it is done correctly.

He did have his first visit with mom and dad. They seem like a nice couple and I felt extremely sad for them when he cried as I handed him over to them. What made it even worse was the lack of tears when he was handed back to me. Mom and dad will get to see him for 1 hour every 2 weeks until the end of May when a plan will be made to let the parents know what needs to be done to get their son back. I hope the family can recover and be reunited. I am praying for the best outcome for everyone. This process is so difficult, not only on the child, but also on the parents, especially the parents who are sincere and truly care about their child, as I sense these parents do. Sometimes we all let life and our own needs take our focus off of what is important and have to pay the price. Unfortunately these parents are paying the price with their son. Lord, I pray that you be with the family through this time and resolution comes quickly.


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