It’s been 5 days

Five days since Loud has departed and let me tell you how wonderful these last 5 days have been. I’ve left my house with my family more in those 5 days than I have in 7 months. It has been wonderful to not constantly supervise one child, I’ve enjoyed my children as a whole, and I’m able to spend more time with my husband. We were also put back on the call list for potential placement. In any case, let me tell you about Sunday… our budgeting excecise. We all went to the Swap meet, Husband and I, all 7 of my kids, 2 of my kids friends, and my parents. Each child was given $10 for a game.

The game rules were as follows:

This is a QUANTITY over QUALITY exercise, very different from our usual quality over quantity teachings.

You cannot combine money with your partner, if you choose to shop with a partner.

You must barter at least once with a vendor or discuss a price reduction.

Bags of beans, a ream of paper, seeds, or other tiny items are not allowed. However, a box/bag/set of smaller items could be counted individually such as markers, doll shoes, or a socket set.

Food is permitted.

Free items are permitted and encouraged.

Children under the age of 12 had to have an adult to supervise.

He who has the most items wins everyone else’s loot.

This was a fun exercise! The kids were really thoughtful in their purchases. In fact we were surprised at the winning number of items; over 700 items. The older children had a better grasp of the ordeal and took it to the max! Some of the items purchased were baby tomatos, blackberries, decorative toothpicks with unicorns adorning the tops, Barbie dresses, polished rocks, pieces of candy, stickers, super glue, a bag of unknown electrical (?) parts, mouth pieces, and a pineapple.

The kids results were 700, 680, 350, 327, 280 189 and I can’t remember the other numbers, I believe the stopped counting when they heard the numbers above 500.

The downside? Now we have $90 worth of crap floating around the house. The winner was kind enough to give the younger girls a few trinkets they had purchased during the swap meet trip.

Also, we have a new placement arriving tonight. A 13 year old female not from our county, I haven’t met her yet but I’ve decided to call her Blink because she happened in a blink! Loud left us 5 days ago and now our adventure continues. I hope Loud feels loved and safe, while he isn’t here at our home I find myself thinking about him quite a bit.

A light, a shimmer, a spark

It’s been dark for 7 months, my family and I have made the ultimate sacrifice for a child in need. We have become prisoners in our home unable to leave the confines of our home due to Loud’s behaviors. When are able to get out of the house myself or Husband had to stay home to look after Loud. The only time I was away from him was during cheer competitions while he was in respite, it wasn’t REALLY respite it was purely out of necessity; my kids were committed to a sport and I had to meet the expectations so my girls could compete. My heart bleeds for this kid, he wants to behave better but he hasn’t got the skills to do so.

I’ve spent countless hours attempting to get Loud services and a solid mental health treatment. I’ve called, written emails, left voicemails, sought out peers who deal with difficult children and children with special needs, I’ve spent time communicating with his teacher and countless school officials, I’ve been at the police department seeking advice, I’ve attended trainings, I’ve asked everyone I know how they would approach Loud and his behaviors, I’ve read books, I’ve cried, and I’ve prayed. I have done everything in my power to help this little boy. It’s time. You have to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.

It’s difficult to come to terms with yourself, it’s difficult to attempt to see yourself as anything other than a failure. It’s also difficult to feel a sense of relief at the mere thought of of him being moved or disrupting placement. This is new. I’ve been happy to see placements go home, I’ve been happy not only for their reunification but also their lack of presence in my home. But I’ve not felt THIS way before. As I reread this paragraph I see a lot of ‘difficult’ and lots of ‘I’ statements. It hurts. The last 7 months Loud has simply been referred to as my ‘difficult’ placement. It’s painful yet true.

Shockingly, Loud’s case team has decided to make some abrupt changes. I feel relieved. I feel pleased. I feel like this little dark cloud that’s followed me is starting to clear up and I feel hope again. In fact, I feel excited and levels of happy that ceased to exist for several months. I don’t feel an ounce of sadness nor do I feel guilty. I am simply relieved of copious amounts of stress and feel like my family will be allowed to live again… no more walking on eggshells and no more mom guilt for telling the kids we can’t go somewhere or do something. No more excuses that just don’t make sense.

It’s time to say goodbye. It’s time for a recharge.

We have spent the last week treating Loud to simple pleasures. Blue has made cupcakes in his favorite colors, I’ve let him choose dinner nightly, spent extra time with him, let him stay up passed bedtime, etc. I hope he remember the good times and I hope he knows we care about him. Wherever he goes, I hope he gets the therapuetic help he needs.

In other news, I’ve recently changed the age range of our foster license. I’m now in the 12-18 age range and females only. I’ve learned a lot about my family’s dynamic and where our niche lies in the many years of providing foster care for our community. We are successful with girls and we are not successful with boys… especially younger boys.

I’m currently attempting to learn Indonesian, if any of my readers have a friend or family member who is a fluent speaker or perhaps you know a resident of Indonesia please introduce us. Terima kasih!

Now, pictures from our recent cheer competition.

The Boychild spent the weekend with his best friend, it was much needed. His best friend has been dealt a crappy hand regarding life. His father died unexpectedly 2 years ago and he has been living with his step mother during his custody case, last week his bio mother took her own life. This kid is 11 years old, it’s heartbreaking. We are all anxiously awaiting closure.

Fin!

Inner turmoil

There’s always something. It seems like everything fell apart all at once. I’ve got 2 of my girls (Blue and Smiley <—- is that what I named my 13 year old placement? I can’t remember) in a Tuesday night intervention group at home that the girls lovingly call Talking Tuesdays. We pretty much have a personalized self help/enrichment meeting in our bedroom, it’s really been eye-opening and helpful when addressing behaviors. It forces the girls to be held accountable for said behaviors. It’s a self exploratory that’s guided by us, the parents!

My difficult placement continues to spiral out of control; there was a school threat and things have escalated quite dramatically. The child is becoming more and more volatile; school, home, and after care have all noted the concern, it is unsettling. Imagine being stuck in a current fight or flight status, how awful this poor boy must feel. My heart aches for him… I’m pushing harder than ever to have him placed in a therapuetic environment, he needs help. This boy is exhausting himself emotionally, I simply cannot imagine his inner turmoil. I, too, am emotionally drained and I’m done repairing things this child has destroyed. From holes in the walls, writing on walls, breaking dresser drawers, ripping a ceiling fan from ceiling, drawing with a permanent marker all over his bedding and bed frame, constant supervision is 100% necessary and my lack of supervision is to blame. This child is not a typical 8 year old boy, oh no. This sweet child has endured years of trauma, trauma overlooked by everyone that he trusted in his life. Again, my heart aches. I simply cannot imagine being in his shoes, why do parents neglect their children? How could anyone purposefully treat a child in a way that could damage them? This is the shitty side of foster care. Defeat.

I’m not a perfect mom. I’ve screwed up quite a bit during my years as a parent, I still screw up. No on really knows what they’re doing when it comes to parenting but if you truly care and are doing your absolute best; hats off to you! Educate yourself, ask for help, read books, YouTube, anything and everything could be used as a parenting tool. My favorite educational tool in regards to raising children is parents I admire, they’re always keen on giving their parenting tools to anyone who’s interested. Seeing as I’m struggling with half my gaggle of children it’s hard for me to hone in on better parenting techniques. It’s extremely difficult to parent anyone in my home when I’ve got a full time job with my difficult placement, I feel as if I’m unavailable to parent other children because I’ve exhausted myself on every level tending to the troublesome child.

I’m less of a mother.

Talk about a painful realization. I’ve got less time to police Boychild’s homework, grades, and video game time. I’ve got less time to help with Honors English papers, ask about peer relationships, and recent accomplishments with Blue, Smiley, and Biscuit. I’ve been completely unavailable to my older, grown daughters who are living away from home. I’ve got less time bonding with my other placement who I’ve not written about in so long that I cannot remember her alias on my blog. I’ve got less time to read with Lemon and less time to wrestle with Bunny. I noticed last night as I had all of the kids leave the kitchen while preparing dinner, that used to be a time when we came together to cut vegetables and learn about nutrition. I had to ask them to leave as my difficult placement is my shadow and simply cannot operate within groups. My family is suffering without a mother. I am responsible for this. These reasons are precisely why I’m pushing for a therapuetic home for this young boy, I simply cannot give him what he needs and I’m no longer willing to sacrifice my family dynamic.

It’s not up to me where this child goes, the case team will find something on their time and that’s just fine. I simply need a light at the end of my tunnel, a simple ray of hope to keep me going. I’ve been in the dark for such a long time. Just because I’ve asked for a move doesn’t mean it’s going to be granted; however there is the option of my volunteering a disruption via my licensing agency. I’m not quite there… where I throw my hands into the air and quit, I’m pleased that the case team finally heard my words and is considering moving the child. That’s just enough for me right now and I’m choosing to make the best of it.

It’s a great day!

Today I’m in my size 7 jeans, albeit I’ve got a tiny muffin top if I don’t stand up straight. I’m in them and I can function and breathe. Today I hit my goal weight that’s why I decided to try them on, can I get a “hell yeah?” To some people a 7 is not small at all… for me that’s what size I was from age 15-26ish. My weight fluctuated from 26-36ish and now I’m in pretty good shape. I’m not a small girl, I’m nearly 6 ft tall with hands like catchers mitts and feet like boats. Cue Duce Bigalow.

I feel good. I’ve continued intermittent fasting, quit drinking, and stopped having ice cream for dinner on the long days when I’ve been running nonstop to get everything done. Ah, don’t get me wrong, I still have my donuts and diet soda it’s just been a clean up your act ordeal. I need to be healthy to continue to be an active mom! Plus I’m going to look banging hot in my bikini this summer. Added bonus: my daughter and I wear the same size clothing.

We have been having Tuesday night meetings with out troublesome teens in the home; a couple of the girls are working on personal growth and development. We have them working on interpersonal skills, conflict resolution, accountibility statements, and reevaluating personal relationships. It is being received well and I hope the girls can apply these lessons into everyday life.

Boychild is doing well, he had stepped up in regards to responsibility! He is doing well with being a positive role model to his younger sisters and is taking accountability when he does stupid stuff. I’m incredibly proud of him. In addition; he is doing fairly well with maintaining positive relationships with his older sisters as well. Boychild has always been our difficult child but our preseverance is apparent.

The younger girls are doing well. No major milestones or achievements. Although, I do wish they’d be nicer to one another.

Biscuit had a birthday, she’s now 15! I have successfully kept a child alive for 15 years, go me! This kid is very much like me, she and I often do or say the same things at the same time. I’m proud of her and now we start driving, eeek!

From this fat lil brown haired baby

To the brunette woman she is today.

In regards to home life things are looking up, I’m looking forward to some positive changes in regards to my current placements. Today is a good day.

A child’s manual.

That’s what I’m currently working on. My difficult placement is going to respite care this weekend, at a place that once said ‘never again’ in regards to looking after him. However, car salesman caseworker figured something out because we are going to a cheer competition this weekend and had planned this months ago. We previously arranged respite services out of the area with a family member but the family member cancelled due to illness.

I’m writing the only tips and tricks I know. There isn’t much to say except Godspeed.

In other news, this weekend is both Biscuit’s and Husband’s birthdays! We have a few things planned this weekend for birthday festivities but the real fun will be on St. Paddy’s Day! 🍀 The Pot of Gold festival. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attend or not, I hope I can work something out. I’d better pack… Ugh. Viva Las Vegas!

I went on a date.

Husband and I went to the Opera. It was truly a spectacle! I wasn’t ultra keen on going but it was an invite only event and I’ve been dying to get out of the house as my life of travel and outings have been null due to a difficult placement. The Opera was beautiful, funny, exciting, and impressive. If you’ve never gone I highly recommend giving it a shot, hey, it may not be your thing but imagine if it is!

After the Opera we met up with friends and enjoyed a few hours of adult company. I miss adult company and traveling. During the last 6 months we have not traveled leisurely anywhere (only for cheer competitions.) That is unheard of for our family! We missed our trip to Knott’s Berry Farm and Huntington Beach last October and two other getaways since then. I’ve not been able to visit either of my older daughters in Colorado nor at the University of Arizona. I’ve not been able to visit my girl friend in Phoenix who has a new house that I’m dying to see. It’s getting to me. I’ve lost my identity, I’ve sacrificed it to the greater good and I’ve never been unhappier. I’ve been internally struggling with this for weeks; I’ve been a Debbie Downer in a majority of my posts regarding my difficult placement. It’s a sad fact, after going out and doing some things it was blatantly clear that I’m miserable.

It’s obvious that something needs to change, it’s been 6 months and I’m not getting anywhere. My resources are garbage and I’m unable to do this on my own. I feel like no one is taking me seriously. We recently had a CFT regarding my difficult placement and I made it VERY clear that I’m hanging on by a thread. Disrupting is a very real concern at this point. The team was shocked. I mean, I’ve been telling them for 6 months that this isn’t the correct placement for this child as he cannot function within a group. My family is a group. I’ve voiced my concerns countlessly. In any case; they’re sending in a team of people into our home to help with him. Wonderful. <—– that’s dripping with sarcasm.

Hopefully we’ll have a solution soon, reunification or moving… I’m spent. Some of my readers are thinking to themselves that I signed up for this and you’re absolutely correct. However, my family and my mental health comes first. I simply cannot neglect my family because of a foster placement. I will not. I’ve given it my best shot and sometimes you’ve got to know when it’s time to say ‘enough.’

It’s funny how a date put all of this in motion, isn’t it?

The problem isn’t the problem… your reaction is.

I’ve learned a lot during my 37 years on earth, but the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is about human reactions. I’ve learned that people want reactions in every aspect of life, whether it’s praise for a job well done or something critical that hurts a person. We have all done things for be particular reactions; hello human nature.

React or respond.

Reactions are quick, they’re developed in an instant. When you do or say something without thinking… you’re on auto pilot and your unconscious brain does the footwork. For some people it’s a defense mechanism; rest assured that most people regret reactions later. Responding is a slower process; instead of that quick clap back you tend to be more logical and you consider the other persons feelings in addition to putting yourself in their position.

I often struggle with my unconscious side during day to day interactions, I react. I run my mouth, I’m boisterous, uncouth, and generally unremorseful of the sometimes hurtful things I say. However, when it comes to parenting or conflict I’ve got the responding part in the bag. I don’t yell. Wait. I do yell but I don’t yell at people. I holler down the hall at the kids to stop fighting or playing ball in the house like any other parent. I’ve learned when you yell at someone they stop listening.

React = loss of power.

Respond = empowerment.

You can change. Train your brain! Get the education on your own time, you don’t need a training or class. You have Google… what a time to be alive! If you’d rather not read articles, watch YouTube videos, or pick up a book you can start by trying self help. Simple things to ask yourself to start the process are what would be a better response? Could I have been more compassionate? Why did I react that way?

Another cheer weekend in the books

We ended up in Palm Springs! Loud was provided respite out of area with a family member. Unfortunately, since that visit his behaviors have gotten significantly worse.

The cheer weekend was a long one but a good one. Day one of these big competitions are anyways exciting but day two I was completely exhausted. Then the drive home late at night, eeek. We are having a tough season, the competition is fierce!

In other news, my boys 12th birthday is Friday! Holy moly. I’m excited to spend the day with him on his special day. His big plans include buying a pillow at Big Lot’s, visiting GameStop, and getting a frozen treat.

I’m mentally exhausted but still hanging on. I’m finding little glimmers of hope in regards to my difficult foster placement. My two other foster placements are doing good, they’re working on the things that need addressing and pushing forward. I’ve witnessed positive changes and it’s really rewarding. It’s the typical push and pull of placements but it’s 100 percent manageable.

Viva Palm Springs?

I think we’re going! Car Salesman Caseworker apparently arranged for transportation to meet me in a different city on my way out of town tomorrow. I’m truly skeptical. However, I’ve got to have faith… Right?! It’s a good thing I’m the wing it type of person and not the insane planning type.

I still haven’t told husband about this fiasco, yeah bad wife, in my defense he is so fed up he would have called and demanded that someone pick up this child right this minute. If you think I’m teetering on the edge with this difficult child… imagine my husband being, at the least, 110% more done than me. Did that make sense?! You see, Husband is the planning type and he needs a full itinerary days in advance to departure. Plus, he is getting REALLY frustrated with not being able to do the things he’s used to doing. Y’all better have a solid relationship before considering foster care because times get trying! Making sacrifices is necessary; but to sacrifice nearly half a year and see no change is enough to drive anyone batty and ruin relationships. For real.

Husband is going on a solo boys trip to decompress. He needs it, work is stressful and the coming home is stressful… he has no downtime. And weekends are supposed to be fun at home with the family, instead we are divided. Husband is required to take on much more during the weekend as we are no longer able to do things as a family unit. It’s either him or me taking everyone to do stuff, someone must remain home with Loud.

I’m going on a date with Husband, it has been over 5 months since we’ve been able to date. That’s 25 missed dates, we previously date weekly. In any case, we are going on an overnight date next month, were going to the Opera! (Granted we can find respite for Loud. I can easily get all the other kids looked after but absolutely no one in my circle will watch him.) In any case, I’m psyched to go have a fancy dinner and go to the Opera. I get to buy a new dress. 💕

We also got another cat, this is the last one. Seriously, we have lost 2 to coyotes and it’s awful feeling knowing that you’re responsible for them and they met an unfortunate demise. Copurnicus was a trouper, she was a straight thug. She was run over by side by sides twice, survived the tree incident, and she loved being outdoors. Icarus was a young cat, he wasn’t allowed outdoors unsupervised. He mostly staying in the backyard with us and he liked swimming in the pool. That dumbass ran out the garage during a rainstorm; I sent the kids out to look for him but he wasn’t found. I called the humane society after the rain let up (the next day) and they had picked up his remains earlier that morning. Poor babies. Stella, our new furbaby isn’t allowed outdoors at all. We weren’t going to get another cat but I really missed Icarus and the kids were quite sad. We adopted this cat and she was an outdoor cat previously so she tries to get out all the damn time. I may buy a kitty harness.

Itermittent fasting

Guys, GUYS. Pay attention. The last 3 weeks I’ve bought into this intermittent fasting thing, it’s working. At first I thought it was absolutely ridiculous, I mean come on not eating for 14-18 hours at a time?! That’s insane, I like to eat ALL the time. But, if you want jink about it the average person gets 6-8 hours a sleep per night. Then skip breakfast and then eat whatever during your non fast window. I like having dinner with my family every night, my fast starts at 7pm and ends at 11am. From 11am until 7pm I can eat when ever and whatever. I still get treats (I love white frosted donuts from the bakery,) and I’ve noticed I’m eating less. I’ve dropped a substantial amount of water weight and I feel pretty good. The best thing about intermittent fasting is that you can switch it up, if you have a breakfast date with a girlfriend you can move your time block to accommodate. Plus, I can still eat cake! Win/win in my book.

It looks like I’m winning this weight loss challenge, I’ve still got a little bit to go… I’m confidant! I’m still on the struggle bus with my body fat percentage, I was told to have my feet a little bit wet when I weigh in and it could give me a better body fat percentage. I’ve got some dry, crusty, feet y’all. I’ve got desert feet, calloused from the elements! 😂