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Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat

After 26 years in finance, I finally got to celebrate Halloween.

In the world of finance, month end = crazy.

Many years I'd be stuck in the office until 9:00.

This year, I'm still in finance, but I started my own branch from the ground up, with my own people.  We made a commitment that our new world was going to be different than our old world. That's the reason we left the rat race that is a four letter word place.

Tonight we all left the office at 5:30.

My lovely daughter is 13, but that didn't prevent me from taking her out to have fun.  We went to her BFF's, picked her up and had their family follow us to trunk or treat.  Kiddo carried BFF's youngest sis around the whole time, we laughed, the girls got candy and when it was done, BFF's family headed back home without bff and bff came home with us.

We had zombie meatloaf, that looked nothing like the pinterest version, but it was fun and yummy at least. We had fingers on the side dipped in blood and true blood to drink. I even got the girls cool Halloween cups. Katabooty had to eat the middle finger, weird kid.

The girls stayed up and watched scary movies.

My baby dressed as Hello Kitty.

It's been a good night.

Halloween 2012, kiddo was still in residential and we just had met her. She didn't get to celebrate Halloween that year. She did give us a candy eye ball though as her first gift to her new parents.

Halloween 2013, the Saturday before, we had a wedding, but we snuck by for some candy at the baseball field.  Halloween she had therapy lined up, which we didn't cancel in favor of Halloween because of some issues going on (S being disrupted from her adoptive placement at the same time we were getting ready to finalize, creating big feelings) and being less than 2 weeks from finalizing adoption and her needing that extra support to realize we weren't going to give up on her.  And, I worked in the finance version of Hell and didn't get home until 9:30 or later.

Today was great.  What a difference a year makes!

What did your kids do for Halloween? How will you celebrate when they're too old to trick or treat? We snuck kiddo and BFF in thru the use of BFF's 2 baby sisters, but at some point, I think they'll be skipping that part in favor of staying here watching movies. I read something fun tonight where one persons teenagers went door to door saying "Trick or can" and collected food for the needy.

Kiddo is much too shy to have the conversation and hid in the background with the babies saying trick or treat for her tonight, so I don't see that being easy, but it has possibilities.





New Family

Wednesday we let kiddo skipp school and trekked the 3 1/2 hours to go have a playdate with S.

Why would we drive that far on a school day for a sibling visit?

S has a new family lined up and they're in visits.  This was to give us a chance as families to get to know each other a little bit, make it less anxiety provoking for S and let us talk a little about how to keep the girls connection together.

We really liked the new family.

Really good vibes.

Really hopeful.

It surprised me when they walked in and S immediately went and hugged them.  Even kiddo said she's never done that before.  They said S had called them 3 times already.  The day we met with them was only S's second time ever spending time with them.

The plan is for them to have visits and S move in in January.  It's going to be nice having her that close.

They also want to meet up, at least briefly, over Thanksgiving.  The girls have gone so long without holidays together, they said they'd love to plan a holiday together.

I'm leaning towards telling them to just visit each other and work on bonding and we'll catch up later, but part of me thinks it'd be pretty cool to invite them over for a holiday.  We shall see.  Still a little time to think that over.

Kiddo has been much "lighter" since the visit. She said on the way out that day that she liked the new family and thinks that maybe this one has the potential to work out.

This morning she made me cry happy tears. She said S with the new family reminded her of her and us, feeling that instant connection, that kiddo acted totally different towards us than any other family she'd ever been with too because it felt right right away.

Be still, my heart! I'm melting.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

If I could take it away.....

Being a trauma momma is a hard job sometimes.

Being a mom to a depressed teenager is even harder.

There is absolutely nothing I wouldn't do to make things better.

Kiddo has been depressed for awhile and starts feeling better and then has another trigger or something and her mood goes downhill.

School called me yesterday because she felt so depressed she was in the nurses office ready to cry and requested we bring her an anti depressant to see if that'd help.  By the time hubs got there, kiddo was crying big time.  He wasn't able to just leave her, no way could we just leave her at school feeling like that, so he brought her home and let her take a relaxing bath and then rest up.

She says she doesn't know why. Maybe she does. Maybe she doesn't.  Whether she does or not, I know it kills me to see her hurting.  I'd take that pain from her in a second if I could.

She sailed on me when I got home as if she hadn't seen me in a month, hugged me tight and asked for momma/daughter time.

Before bedtime, she laid down in our bed and said she was going to sleep with us. We said okay, but then she said she was going to her own room, but may come back and told us both she loved us and good night.

It's not like her to initiate the "love yous" except during silly times.

I'm glad she's at least looking to us when she feels bad now instead of completely internalizing it. Now, next step, looking to us AND sharing.

Baby steps!!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Social Worker Visit

So we are renewing our license.  Crazy us.

The social worker visited this week, along with a new team member that she was training.

It was good seeing this one again, this one was the good one that genuinely cared about kiddo and us and wanted nothing more than to see us succeed.

It was funny getting to talk to her after this long.

Our foster experience with kiddo was cut off at 5th grade graduation when the adoption papers were signed (although it was 6 long months before our court date).

SW essentially missed her whole 6th grade year, except for court for the adoption, which she cared enough to drive almost 4 hours just to come for.

She talked to us, she talked to kiddo.  She laughed about some of the things we went thru and her first impression of us as a family.

We were cracking up. I'd totally forgotten about some of the stuff.

It brought to light that despite all the crazies we've been dealing with lately with kiddo's emotions, she has really come a LONG way.

So blessed!!

2 years ago today.....

10 days after being interviewed for our cutie pie, we were invited to come look at her file and talk to her therapist.

After meeting her therapist and telling the social worker, we definitely wanted to proceed, they offered to let us meet our daughter.

A small underweight 11 year old walked into the room, hair tossled as if she'd just woken up, clothes way too big for her.

It was love at first sight.

I knew at that moment we were meant to be.

So much has happened in 2 years and it's been an amazing ride, can't wait to see what this year brings!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Big Feelings

I picked up on this, but didn't bring it to kiddo's attention because I didn't want her feeling guilty or backtracking, I wanted her pure honest thoughts.

When asking what was wrong Sunday night, she said she's worried this new family may give up on S like all the others did.  I thought it was interesting that she didn't say "I'm upset that S is not moving in with us"

We went to therapy Monday night and kiddo put her legs on me and just wanted to be all over me during the session and trying to divert.

Eventually though, with pieces here and there, her therapist says after asking about her guilt "I wonder if you also kinda like having momma and daddy to yourself". She admitted that she thought she'd struggle sharing us and the furkids.

The therapist led her to the answers to realize that she need not feel guilty about those feelings, that it didn't contribute to us not adopting S, that that wasn't in her control.  Her feelings are just that, feelings.

So, whether right or wrong, I confessed to her....when we were considering adopting S, I was feeling a little twinge of "I dont want to share my baby" either.  I love our closeness and I was fearful that the family dynamics would change with another child, yet, I was willing and wanted to do whatever was best for both girls and would embrace our new reality should it become sensible to go that route.

Kiddos reaction...."MOMMA!!!" and laughter!!

I think she secretly enjoyed knowing I wanted her to be my baby.

Things have been pretty good since, but wondering what tonight will bring.

Even though we withdrew our request for adopting S awhile back, our fear is that families will continue to struggle with her, so we're renewing our foster care/adopt license so that we can be a resource for S's new family and take her overnight or weekends before their adoption is final and give everybody a break.

This may trigger some big feelings. We will get through them though.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Giving Up

Kiddo is doing a good job of using her coping skills, with 4 showers yesterday, but at 8 pm still no talking.

When I finished laundry, she took her laundry basket and said she'd put her own clothes up.

Momma spidey sense said "uh oh, reason she doesn't want me in her room?"

I went in during her fourth shower and almost all her pictures were turned face down.

Not really sure what that means.

Our family pic collage was still up and her digital frame was still up, but the rest were faced flat down (including BFF and sister)

I decided to wait for her and ask.

First she said she didn't know what was wrong, until I pointed out I noticed the photos down. Then she said she's worried about S.  She said she's worried this new family that was chosen for S will not work out and that they'll give up like everybody else has.

We had a good long talk. She had a headache last night and stayed up for awhile because she couldn't sleep, but I felt like our talk was productive.

Now, to see if that helps how she's doing and if we see our old cheerful kiddo again soon.

So worried for my baby, my heart breaks daily to see her sad.

Lockdown at School

The local news station announced yesterday that kiddo's school was on lockdown due to an "issue" with a young female student.

Then a separate announcement about a child running away.

I went in panic mode.

kiddo's MO used to be running away before she moved in with us.  She's been a little wonky lately so I got alarmed.  Realistically I knew they'd call me if it was my child, but usually I get calls about the lockdown drills and didn't get a call, so I worried something had happened.

Funny how you think you're convinced of healing in a certain area but when you hear of that behavior, you realize you're not.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Proud Momma Moment!

Parent/teacher conferences were Thursday.

We went and I loved hearing about what a joy kiddo is to have in class.  She's always struggled with school some and in 5th grade when she first got here, she didn't behave at school at all. We were constantly getting calls.

One of her teachers said "You two should have more kids, we need more kids like kiddo around".

and "Kiddo is so polite and listens well" (cough, cough, who is this and what happened to my daughter?)

"Kiddo participates so well in class and while she seems to struggle with tests, she knows the answers, she volunteers first in class all the time".

So proud of our baby girl.

B average for this semester.  She's come so far.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Stressful Weekend

We went to the zoo Saturday and as we were walking around and I'm hearing parents fussing at their kids and kids getting whiny and grouchy,  I was wondering why so many people call the zoo a happy place. I was thinking I was glad Kiddo is older and enjoying it.

I thought too soon.  Not long thereafter, she started getting tired and grouchy, causing some dysregulation.

We got home and thought things had calmed down and kiddo asked for her meds a little early for a Saturday and said she was going to bed early.  I went in her room and she was crying. When I asked what was going on, she started screaming and yelling.

Daddy went in and she screamed and yelled some more.

There was no calming her down and by this time I was worked up and crying and hyperventilating.

It was not a pretty sight.

She screamed, yelled, kicked the wall, threw her soda bottle against the floor and was actually scaring me pretty badly how upset she was.

She would scream. Daddy kept repeating over and over again "Kiddo, I love you very much".

We reminded her to use her coping skills and she screamed some more.  She said she was mad that I turned her radio down when I came in and music was a coping skill.  I explained I turned it down so I could hear her and that when we left she could turn it back up, but we were there to see what was wrong.

I suggested she take a shower (another coping skill), listen to some music and come when she's ready to talk, but not to lash out at us for being worried about her.

As of this morning, she still says she has no idea what was going on.

So worried about how upset she's been lately.

I'm guessing it's about her sister, but I really don't know.  I wish I knew. I wish I could help. I feel so helpless.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Matched!!

We got word today that the family in question has reviewed S's file and has decided to move forward towards adoption.

I was excited about the idea of it and scared to death that they would end up calling us after we agreed to be a resource.

So, why am I sad right now?

We always only wanted 1 child. We always felt like an only child was just right. We've almost always felt like part of the reason she's done so well with us is because she has had individual attention.

so, why am I sad right now?

more importantly though, if I'm feeling sad, what is my baby feeling?

We broke the news to her tonight that her baby sis has finally been matched with a home....the good news....she's only going to be an hour away!!! She handled the news very well.  She's a touch sad and I can tell she's feeling some anxiety, but so glad she'll be close.

Super excited about that!!

Since S is apprehensive about being part of a family and only wants to be here, we've agreed to be a part of the transition process.

S will be meeting her future family soon for a quick meet and greet, but the first or second play date, we'll be meeting up and doing a joint family activity for both our families so she can relax and see she'll still have time with her big sis and that we're all committed to keeping that bond strong.

Praying and hoping for a successful forever home this time (even if we are a tad sad).

Here's to hoping for a happy future for both girls, forever and always!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

On a Brighter Note....PET THERAPY!!!

Dr Burns and Dr Sam would say get rid of the negative thoughts (ie. my depressive thought about being so inadequate and not being able to help my baby) by replacing them with positive thoughts (that we're both better off because our pets are good therapy)

Meet Arlo. Arlo is our 4 year old American Eskimo Dog.  He wrote kiddo a letter when she was in residential before she came home, introducing himself and letting her know how excited he was to get a sister and how he hoped she was wanting a fuzzy brother like him.  He's been instrumental in helping kiddo with how well she's done so far....

One of kiddo's "requirements" of a family was it be a family with a dog, she has always adored dogs and he's one of her "coping skills".  They "got married" with him wearing her Yoshi shirt and her wearing my wedding dress, while playing dress up. He will not swim with us, but he'll play in the snow and chase snowballs all day.




Happily, she fell in love with Bonkers pretty quickly too.  Bonkers is our 12 year old cat, we inherited from my mother. Bonkers, however, was not amused to have a sister that dressed her in baby clothes and pushed her around in baby carriages.

 


One of my favorite memories is kiddo's first night with us.  She came in our room late and woke us up and asked me to come "get this crazy cat, she's scaring me, attacking my stuffed animals".  She'd given her a TON of catnip right before bed. Lesson learned. 

Those are the 2 pets she had to greet her when she first came home.


Our pet lover wanted more though.  While we were on our first family vacation, we found out about a bengal (1/2 Asian snow leopard) that was looking for a forever home.  The day after we got home from the beach and I went back to work, Daddy and Kiddo made the trip to Maryland to get this crazy bengal.  She was 3 at the time (4 now) and we named her Rocza.  Rocza and kiddo are kindred spirits.  Very much tomboys, climbing over everything, very chatty.  Rocza doesn't "get" love.  Kiddo said they are alot alike, they don't "not" love, but they don't really know how to show it that well and feign independence.  Crazy cat even climbs on the jungle gym with her.




and last, but not least, despite that the bengal was adopted on the spur of the moment, that didn't get us out of the promised dog.  

We promised kiddo a puppy when the adoption was final.  It took several months after finalization to find the perfect puppy, but meet Lucifer, our Siberian Husky.....Kiddo's pride and joy. Luce looks up to kiddo like she hung the moon and these two are never far from each other.  This one is the crazy pup and he just turned 9 months old this month. Lucifer goes swimming with us, he naps in the hammock with us, claims a couch when watching movies and even gets in the shower with Kiddor.  

He even jumps on the trampoline with her. 






So, this is life in our household.  Our pets are great for all of us and help us get thru the bad spots.  They'll help us this time too.

(she's even adopted a terrapin from the yard before as well)

Depression Sucks!

Oh wait!! This is the second time I've titled my post that way recently.

Well, it does.

I've been battling mine worse lately and decided to take today off to regroup and try to get my bearings back so I can help kiddo with hers.

I was right about something going on.....

turns out for about a week, she's been going in the bathroom and spitting out her meds after taking them. That's why she's not sleeping.

She said it was because she's been having nightmares.

This morning she was off the wall with crazies before school and on the way to school started crying so much and said she's been feeling really depressed the last 2 months and was afraid to tell me because she was afraid we'd be mad at her.

Calling psych to get her an appointment to review meds and see if she needs a different med or a different dose of the med she's on.

I pulled over immediately, hugged her and told her I will NEVER be mad at her for telling me how she's feeling and being honest.  I get angry when she's not telling me the truth, but something like this, she should NOT be dealing with alone.

I asked if she knew what her trigger was.  So far, she claims it's "just" missing her sister, as if that isn't enough.

I suggested a playdate, but I haven't heard back on that.

I'm trying to straighten up the house because when the house isn't chaos, my brain doesn't feel so chaotic.  I think I'll start with her room instead of leaving it though, because maybe having a freshly cleaned room will help her as well.

Now, to battle the depression enough to get the energy to do something around here today. I really just want to sleep the day away.

So worried about my baby girl.  I hate that she's feeling like this and my heart is breaking.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Feeling Helpless

Char called daddy today from school to pick her up early.  She felt bad.

He picked her up, but miraculously, she was better really quick after leaving school.  Hubs took her out for a snack hoping that the drive and going to eat would get her to open up. That's when she normally opens up.

Something is bugging her, but she still hasn't come out with it.  I asked when she was going to tell me what was on her mind and she said she didn't know.  I asked her if she knew she wouldn't be judged and she said yes. I asked her if she knew that if it was something I could help with, that I would. She said yes. I asked her if she knew that even if it wasn't something I could help with, sharing would give her somebody to help her carry the burden.  She said yes, and left the room.

She was so done with my prying.

Later she asks me to fix her something to drink. I told her I'd trade her for a "hint".

She said "School is getting harder".

Not buying it, but going to pry some more later.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Eating Issues....

sometimes I wonder if and when the eating issues will ever be resolved.

We try so hard and I know her HEAD knows that we'll always feed her and that she'll never do without, but her poor little body's memory still betrays her.

Friday night in the middle of the night, our daughter came into our room and hugged me and said she had a nightmare about Arlo starving to death and Lucifer eating him.  We responded with "Oh baby, I hope you know that nobody living here will ever starve, there is always food available".

Her response "Yes, I know, okay".

The next morning there was ZERO ice cream in the house, she'd binge ate it all after the rest of us went back to sleep.

That day, I found a can of spaghetti o's in her playroom.

Today, the crescent rolls are missing again.

It makes me so sad that she has had so much neglect that she still worries, after this much time, that things will go back to her not having enough to eat and feeling that she has to hoard food.

I cry for every moment like this that we experience, because I relive feeling pain for her that she's felt so much of her life.

If only there were a magic wand to get her through all this.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bullying

I know it's going on and I know my daughter isn't telling us everything.

Last night she was telling us about her ex boyfriend making racial slurs towards her new boyfriend.

Last week she was telling me that the kids in her gym class make fun of her about her weight.

That's ALL she's mentioned.

But, twice in the past 2 weeks she's wanted to stay home, sick.  The second time we didn't fall for it, but the first time we let her stay home.

She made these while at home that day:




This last one was to me and daddy, the others I found in the bathroom.



Loss and Grief


I left my previous job in April, after nearly 26 years.

It’s been so exciting to start a career with a new company, whose beliefs line up with mine and really believe it’s all about the people.

This was really a big deal.  I used to be the poster child for loyalty for my old company. I used to joke that I’d get a tattoo with the company logo on it……so glad I didn’t now.

When I left, I took 2 great employees with me.  One of them struggled a little with leaving and felt sad, while still excited.

It wasn’t until this past weekend that I had any feelings of sadness.

As I mentioned before, we recently renovated our dining room and living room, just finishing the floors last week.  As I brought things back into the house and placing them in their appropriate spots, all the awards I had won from my previous job were in a box and I was placing them with care.
Symbolically, I was going to get them all to fit in the bottom few shelves and leave the top shelf for awards from my new company.

As I thought about that, the tears finally came. It’s been over 5 months since I’ve left and I finally started crying and grieving for this significant change in my life.

I don’t regret the move a bit. I’m much happier where I’m at. 

I was grieving for what could have been though. Things used to be so much better with the last company than they are for employees now. It makes me sad how the human element is missing altogether now, and of course, their results are nowhere near as good as they were when they took care of their employees.

I can imagine this is similar to what our kids that are adopted from foster care feel.

It’s okay to be happy with your new family, being loved, being spoiled and still grieve and feel sad, despite the abuse in the past.  The first families should have taken care of these babies. There should be no need for foster care. I grieve for the childhood my child never had.  I know she grieves even more.

Of course, most of the kids adopted from foster care have behavior issues, they’re grieving.  It’s still a loss even if it’s a life you want to continue to experience.  These kids loved their biological parents and the bio’s in many cases loved these kids too, they just didn’t know how to love the correct way.

So as I grieve over the life with the company that had bosses that mistreated me, I understand so much better how my child can still grieve for those that didn’t protect her as a child.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Update on Baby Sis.....

Sometimes I wonder if kiddo just "feels" things.

I asked kiddo what was on her mind Saturday when she was acting so out of sorts.  She said she's worried about her baby sis and worried that they will not let us adopt S because C doesn't want to move out of her bedroom.

I'm thinking that was an indirect way of saying she'd prefer to stay an only child and just have frequent playdates where they get along so well all the time instead of fighting while living together.

Ironically, the same day, I got an email that they may have found a potential home for S. Nothing is definite yet, so we're not talking about it yet because we don't want to stress our baby out wondering and worrying about S and whether she'll be rejected once again.

Once it's more in stone, we'll work out a playdate hopefully and get some of these big feelings resolved.

This will be an ongoing battle and no matter whether S is here or somewhere else, C is going to have big feelings around it, alot of guilt and alot of worry.

I wish I could take some of the load off her poor little shoulders.

It's nothing either have done, but what was done to them that causes this challenging situation.



Thinking, Feeling, Doing.....

This weekend we got finished with our floors and have some new furniture too.

Over the weekend, we had several times of spending time watching movies together as a family, which we haven't done in ages.

Tonight, we had dinner at the table (which is embarrassingly unfortunate that we only do about once a week).  After dinner, we played the therapy game.

Kiddo loves the game, but also always gets a little dysregulated with it.  Working on trying to convince her answering the questions and thinking about them is okay, that it's okay to have feelings.  She's a little diversion artist.

It was nice to talk over dinner and listen to her talk about her new boyfriend of the week and what's going on at school and her actually talk about something important to her to us.

She went on her first field trip yesterday since she's lived with us and that was weird for me, but she did fine with it.  I was regretting not finding out in advance and planning for background checks and being chaperone, but I think she enjoyed the ride with friends and the out of the ordinary.

However, this morning she did NOT want to go to school. She still claims she felt bad/sick, but it just doesn't ring true.  Something is going on and she's not talking yet.  She's starting to talk a little though so maybe soon instead of through behaviors.

Maybe we'll play her therapy game again tomorrow.

It really is nice.  While she normally can't get thru the whole thing completely regulated, we do get to have a few good conversations from it and when it's our turn, we get to teach and model appropriate reactions.

Looking forward to more family time coming soon.