Stuff and things.

I’m trying something new with Loud, he’s with me every waking moment he is with me at home. Well, except in the mornings and that’s when he decides to do naughty things like dump hair gel all over his bed then blame someone else. I have made it impossible to blame anyone in our home for his naughty behaviors; Boychild is woken up in the morning and once he us changed he’s no longer allowed in the bedroom, Boychild has a man cave in the garage where is spends his time. The girls aren’t allowed in the boys room and vice versa. It’s been 6 days of having a Loud shadow… it is not improving anything in any area. I’m going to keep going strong, I’ve got to do something. With having Loud as my shadow he is in constant conflict, he is in large groups (our family.) He fusses, whines, deliberately disobeys rules, screams at other children and is obviously overwhelmed. That puts me and him in my room a lot, where I can only have 2 other people at a time before he has some variety of issues. His caseworker is the used car sales man of workers, he talks a big game and flops. He was here yesterday and while he was here Loud was on the couch watching TV quietly and contently. The caseworker sat down beside him to talk to me and the other kids started to trickle in, before you know it 8 people are in the living room talking, asking questions, etc. During this time, as humans were trickling in, Loud has now built a fort of pillows around himself. Car salesman caseworker doesn’t seem to notice nor mind but I know it’s because he’s feeling overwhelmed by all the people… Loud is on his best behavior because the caseworker is there and he’s doing such a great job. This poor kid.

Speaking of car salesman caseworker, he promised me that Loud was going to visit a bio relative this weekend as we have a large cheer competition to go to in Palm Springs. Yesterday I sent a text to confirm the pick up/drop off time and he let me know that there has been no contact with the bio relative and I should find someone to watch him. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. I leave on Friday and it’s not easy to get agency respite for a kid with 2 days notice. I can’t send him to any of my babysitters as they’ve all kindly asked me to not bring him back. I cannot take Loud to Palm Springs to a cheer competition, he simply cannot handle that. 10,000 people and 10+ hours a day at a venue playing music as loud as a typical concert… I’m pretty sure he’s spontaneously combust. Here’s the thing; I don’t miss competitions. I didn’t attend one competition EVER and my girls asked that that never happens again, they needed me. I’m freaking out. I’m currently in correspondence with car salesman caseworker and he’s attempting to make things work. I’m leaving in 2 days.

Lemon is officially 6 years old.

Her birthday came and went so quickly! Now, Boychild’s birthday is coming in 9 more days. Then Biscuit and Husband’s birthday on the 24th of February.

Winter Formal happened, the girls looked beautiful.

The kids started playing golf on Thursdays in the Junior Golf Club. They love it!

I’m dropping weight like a boss, Husband and I have a little wager in place for the most weight lost. BUT, why does he look much thinner than me although he’s loss less weight? That’s crap.

Body fat?!

Weight loss, woooo. I had started a competition with Husband the second week of January… whoever loses the most weight or hits their goal weight first in a 3 month period gets rewarded with a treat not to exceed $300. Things were going pretty good, we were both loosing at the same rate until I got sick with some epic stomach bug. Now, anyone who’s ever had a stomach bug understands that it is a wonderful way to jump start a weight loss plan. I’ve lost nearly 10 pounds since the start and 4 of those pounds were a nice gift from the stomach funk.

I don’t eat when I’m stressed. I’ve literally been forcing myself to eat once daily and every time I do eat I feel yucky. I thought it was still stomach funk but after analyzing it, well, it’s stress. AND if you don’t eat it’s a no no, I’ve been able to get a few protein shakes in each day as well to help with lack of food. Honestly, the lack of eating isn’t bothering me as much as my aversion to Diet Dr Pepper. I live off of that stuff and I crave the carbonation, I’ve said to people before that I’d happily give up food before giving up my bubbly delight.

I bought the Aria 2 scale. I like that it sends information directly to my Fitbit app. What I don’t understand is the calculation of body fat. Listen, I know I’m over weight. It’s no surprise when I see the number on the scale because when I’m happy and comfortable I tend to over eat. Clearly, I was a damn happy person for a long while. 🤣 Okay, I was previously 30lbs overweight… I dropped 10lbs, yay for me, and my body fat has only dropped by half a percent. Okay, I’m realistic. Obviously, I haven’t lost weight the correct way…that could be it. But, as a person who is currently 20lbs over weight I don’t think I should have an obese range body fat according to my scale. Or, maybe that’s how it works? Maybe I’m misinformed about obesity… in my mind being obese is being dangerously overweight. Where are my fitness gurus?! Teach me, please?

My current BMI is 25.7 (I used some online calculator,) pant size 8, and I’m 5’11” for what it’s worth. However, my Aria scale is reporting that my body fat is over 40%. Having 40% body fat is in the obese range. I distribute weight evenly, I don’t have problem areas, my whole body is the problem, I’ve got a lovely layer of fat over my entire body. I’m built very much like Sponge Bob.

I’m currently 20 pounds overweight and considered obese. 🤔 THAT IS TERRIFYING.

Marie Kondo

I’m blogging more to ‘spark joy.’ I’m going to push to for positives; no more Debbie Downer posts. Blogging is my happy place and I’m going to continue to be more attentive to my blog. I’ll be objective. I can do this. Positivity here we go!

I’ve watched one episode of Marie Kondo’s series on Netflix and I’m not super keen on it. I’m a collector of all things and often times sloppy. And let’s be honest… who has the time for her practices?! If I took everything out of my closet and laid it on my bed it would be there for months! Then I’d probably end up throwing it all away to get rid of the mess that had spread all over my room. I understand the concept of being thankful and honoring your items BUT it’s simply not for me. My children’s notes and art spark joy. My books spark joy. My tiny toy collection that kids have gifted me over the years. My junk drawer brings me joy. My t-shirts I’m saving to make a memory blanket that I’ll-never-get-around-to brings me joy. In short all of my crap brings me joy.

You know what works for me? The quarterly purge. Everyone goes through clothes, personal items, toys, books, etc. Once we go through it all we have a trash pile, a donate pile, and a keep pile. Sometimes, I forget the quarterly part and it happens twice a year instead. Eh, stuff happens. The good news is that our home is pretty tidy despite all the items that don’t spark joy.

Another day, another problem.

The defeat is deafening. It’s getting harder and harder to find happiness. Everyone seems to have these bright ideas when it comes to helping my foster son, it appears as if I’m the failure. That’s all I’m getting. Fix the foster parent is the answer. I’ll be going to a new training to appease the masses.

This weekend is the Winter Formal and my high school daughters are going. They both seems to be excited about it. There was a dance at the middle school but my foster daughter decided to opt out. Nothing exciting is going on at the elementary schools that I’m aware of. School is going well for the majority of the kids with the exception of Bunny and Loud. Bunny decided to not turn in homework all week, I have no clue why and I’m disappointed. Loud forgets or looses his homework, although he did complete his reading yesterday AND today he had a great day at school. Baby steps, baby wins! I’ll take it.

I haven’t really gotten anything else to report as my social life is null. I’ve done nothing for myself for what feels like forever, I recently had the opportunity to sneak away to take Boychild to Supercross for his birthday. I had a great time celebrating with him. I haven’t been able to go on a date with Husband for months, I’ve not seen friends for months (except in passing,) and the only interaction I’ve had that’s meaningful was with my religious group because they come see me while the kids are in school weekly.

Any suggestions to help me get my positive juju back?!

Focus on the child, not the behavior.

Being a foster parent is tough sometimes. I say those very words to myself several times a day ‘Focus on the child, not the behavior.’ Let’s be honest, sometimes it HARD to do that. Sometimes it’s not fair to do that. Dedicating copious hours to one child is not something I can do, I have an entire family that counts on me and when I take away from them it hurts them and me. I’ve neglected my family trying to help Loud, I feel like a failure. I can’t reach him and I’ve let my family down at the same. During the last week or two I’ve stopped trying as hard to reach Loud; I’ve started reconnecting with the rest of the group.

Sadly, it’s a relief.

My family is happy to receive the attention and I’m happy to be in the middle of it all again. Imagine feeling like an outsider in your own family, the family you worked so hard to create and nurture, only to be a total outcast. Sometimes you’ve got to focus on yourself and be grateful for all that you have… sometimes you’ve got to admit defeat. I can’t fix every child. Naturally, I’ll advocate for every child that is in my care until I’m blue in the face. I can’t win every battle.

Here’s the shitty reality; love cannot fix trauma. Despite all of my training, education, experience… I cannot be every child’s hero.

Foster care is draining in more ways than one. Not every person can do it and even those of us who are veterans fail miserably from time to time.

In other news, the household has been doing well. The kids had lots of fun over their 3 day weekend as they all farmed out to be with friends. I’ve been a prisoner due to my difficult placement and haven’t been able to take any of the kids to do our normal outings and such. I rely heavily on splitting our travel, outings, and tasks with Husband, someone has to stay home with Loud. The kids are doing well in school and activities. I’m thinking about putting a few of the kids in a youth golf program. That could be fun!

February has lots of traveling happening, it’s both stressful and exciting. I also have 3 birthdays in the family in February! Speaking of Birthdays Lemon will be 6 next week! I think Husband is going on a guys trip in February too, hello Glamis!

I’ve been sick the last several days, I think I’ve caught a stomach bug. Boo to that.

Difficult placements

When I have a difficult placements I disappear. Mostly because I’m forced to dedicate a majority of time dealing with behaviors and such. Then, when I’m not dealing with the trauma… I’m trying to enjoy my down time. I’ve been stagnant for months, approximately 5 months. My life has been on hold and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard.

I signed up for this. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but I’ve never been this challenged providing foster care. Have you ever heard the expression ‘…throwing a wrench in a dryer?’ Yeah. Everything is fucked. I wish I were exaggerating. We experience the same behavior no matter what method we try. We attempt to prevent it and we cannot win. When I say we have tried everything I truly mean it. The lying. The stealing. The lack of accountability. The inability to maintain composure in groups. That’s the kicker, we are a group. My family is a group.

The agony is… well, keeping my difficult placement segregated due to outbursts and danger to himself is devastating. I don’t want him alone but he cannot function within a group. He struggles at school due to the group size and he struggles at the after school club due to group sizes. Luckily we have a plan in action that pulls him away from groups and puts him in a more secure space, where he can handle himself appropriately. However, I feel like constant segregation isn’t a way to live life. It breaks heart. He is enrolled in multiple therapies and groups to help with the trauma and to help intergrate him into groups. My placement has about half curriculum due to his behaviors. He simply refuses to do homework or read. And although daily I ask him for his behavior report he always says he lot it or he forgot it.

My heart aches for this boy. He is sweet and kind, he is bright and smart! When he is one on one he is an absolute joy to be around. Even adding in 1 child/person he does pretty well but when you add in any more than that this poor, sweet, boy cannot regulate. He will forget the rules of gravity and every safety precaution he has ever understood. Or, he will simply scream and meltdown. There is no rhyme or reason to his behaviors; we have tracked and tried all sorts of things. If you have any ideas or methods, PLEASE reach out to me. I’m open to learning or trying anything to help this boy. I’ve spoken to various therapists, behavior coaches, etc. I feel like I’ve exhausted my resources. Maybe YOU can help me.

This kids caseworker has gone out of his way to make me feel like garbage about the situation. He’s said shitty things about the family traveling without him and alienating him. This kid cannot be in a car with 4 other kids for a ride to school in the morning, we literally have a silence rule in the car to avoid meltdowns, his caseworker thinks taking him out if town and to a cheer competition is us alienating him. I’m sorry that I don’t want him exposed to things I KNOW will trigger him. It’s my job to protect him, I simply will not subject him to that. If he could handle the situation I’d happily take him along; I treat my placements the same way I treat my bio kids. I’d never put any of my kids in any type of situation where they’d be uncomfortable.

In any case, I’m drowning. It’s taking it’s toll on me. It’s taking a toll on my family.

I’ve been off the radar

I’m back. Some medical issues, a difficult child, and life prevented me from blogging.

Loud continues to be extremely difficult. I wish I could elaborate more… It’s hard and I don’t like it. This kid needs serious help, help I’m afraid I cannot provide. It hurts, when he is good he is a wonderful child but when he’s bad it just snowballs out of control and it’s difficult to come back. It’s 4 steps forward then 4,000 steps back. I try to enjoy those 4 forward steps and build him up hoping he will continue to make strides forward. It doesn’t work. Nothing works. I’m not joking, we have tried everything. I’m open to suggestions, please help. This is my S.O.S.

Lovely is hitting that learning curve hard! She’s impulsive and she thinks being flighty and dumb is cute. However, she is quick and has really worked hard to overcome the obstacles in her life. I’m very proud of her. She has learned a lot in the last few months, how to maintain standard hygiene care solo (washing her hair was a toughie,) following rules and meeting expectations, and time management. She is kind, helpful, and really loveable. With that being said, I truly love her. Lovely may end up a permanent member of this family if her bio parents don’t start working the case. As always, I want my kids to be reunified. Family is critical, if her bio family can’t be be there for her we will.

Smile is adjusting well, she is kind and likes lots of attention. I’ve befriended her bio mom and we talk regularly. Smile will, undoubtedly, be reunified. I love when bio parents put in the work and truly care. Smile has a unique situation, she wasn’t removed from her home for any type of neglect or the typical things that have kids removed from their homes. But, she will be home and I’m hoping by the summertime the case will be closed. I believe in Smiles family.

Boychild is doing well. The beginning stages of puberty has really done him some favors behaviorally and emotionally. He is a really cool kid and a total mamas boy. Boychild enjoys being the only boy in the house and having Loud around has solidified that; Boychild simply doesn’t like anyone touching his things. He is pretty meticulous about his personal items and he is easily frustrated when Loud messes with his deodorant or hair supplies. Boychild says he may be interested in an older brother some day but as of now he wants only sisters. I respect that and when Loud returns to his bio family I’ll no longer be accepting boys as placement.

Bunny is growing into a wonderful little girl, she is smart and opinionated. She is, hands down, the most popular kid in our home. Bunny has plans every weekend and is loved by the community. She’s a stellar student but has a messy room! She’s a stuffer, aaaah! She stuffs stuff along the sides of her bed, dresser, etc. We are diligently working on that.

Lemon is a typical 5 year old, sassy and terrible when it comes to listening. First grade has been going well for her, she is at the top of her class and a star reader. She told me on Saturday night that it was the best day of her life; she was on stage cheering and was with her best friend.

Biscuit is less moody. I like that! She is a busy kid and she’s always helpful. She does well in school, she has the best sense of humor, and she’s trustworthy. Biscuit knows her worth and is a l too confident. Now, if she could stop eating in her room and do a better job at making her bed in the mornings…

Blue is too hard on herself. She simply doesn’t recognize how amazing she is and cannot take a compliment gracefully. Blue is smart, funny, compassion, and weird. She has great grades, she has a job, she is independent, she cheers, etc. But if you tell her she’s doing great it’s always filled with negative backlash. She needs to stop eating in her room as well, Lemon rats both her and Biscuit out.

Pretty is moving into her apartment this month with her boyfriend, she’s working hard and enjoying her downtime. I love that she’s happy and I miss her! She came home for Thanksgiving and that was a treat.

Flower is living that university life, Go Wildcats! She works, goes to school, and sleeps. She will be coming home for Christmas and I’m excited! I haven’t had the opportunity to visit her apartment yet, I’m a bad mom. I’m working on sending Blue and Biscuit to her place during winter break and sending Boychild to his best friend’s house along the way.

Husband is doing well, I am doing fair. He and I together are unstoppable! I love him and he is a trouper for standing by my side during all my health issues, my absentmindedness, and my terrible laundry skills. Husband is the real MVP.

We had our first cheer competition and it was great. The Sonics had two first place wins and the other teams were in the top three. The South Bay Divas kicked some serious ass this weekend at the competition, they had a clean sweep! Another notable preformance was Arizona Element Elite’s Vibranium. Their uniforms were beautiful, their hair was sleek, and their routine was AMAZING. Do yourself a favor and watch them if you have the opportunity.

Pictures

New placement

Yay! I love getting new placements. Smile is 13 and she is adorable, tall and you guessed it… smiley. I got her enrolled in school before she arrived at our home, I’ll likely keep her home for a couple of days before throwing her to the wolves at school, give her a little break. This kid had earned a break, no doubt!

That’s all I’ve got for now, toodles;

Happy November!

Each year, November is recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month. While all adoption-related issues are important, the particular focus of this month is the adoption of children currently in foster care.

I’m sort of pissy about this, we have tried tremendously hard to adopt via foster care for several months and yet we remain unmatched. Focus on foster care, my ass. I’ve hit up every avenue, I’ve turned up empty handed. I understand it’s selfish of me to be fussing about this but I’m not asking for a baby nor toddler. We would like an older child or a sibling set, I’m talking about kids who are close to aging out of the system and need a parent to guide them through college, adulthood, have a place to come home for holiday’s, etc. Ideally between the ages of 11 to 17, but we are pretty open to other ages too… If they’re the right fit. Yeah, I’m bitter.

On the other hand, I’m incredibly lucky to have my adopted children. I’m blessed to have met my children through foster care. My life with out Blue, Pretty, and Flower would undoubtedly would be considerably different. They each add something wonderful to our family and I’m lucky to have found them. Maybe that’s my destiny; adopting my placements. It’s not how I imagined it, but it may be how it’s supposed to be to in my book of life. Look at me, being a jerk and questioning God.

Ugh, let it go Mohave County Mama. It’s not my plan and it is really freaking hard to surrender. Give me free will, give me choices, let me work my ass off and all for naught. Fine. Let go and let God, right?!

With all of this being said, if you know someone who wishes to find their forever family send me a message on here of Facebook. You could help facilitate an adoption!

We have a DCS caseworker!

The system is flawed in so many ways, most recently I’ve been caseworker free. I’ve had zero contact with DCS and have had no idea if there were court dates, CFT’s, monthly visits, case plan updates, sibling and family visits, nothing. Radio silence. I had called supervisors and left messages and not one has called me back. Jerks. I voiced my opinions to the legal team, visitation team, CASA and to my licensing worker at AZCA.

After a month of winging it I received a call today from the neighboring city letting me know the case was moved there, great okay. I was beyond excited to get some answers regarding the case; unfortunately I was told that they’d probably have to start fresh. It’s heartbreaking as this case has gone on for many years already and now, due to negligence on the states behalf, things may get held up. This is a huge disservice to these children and their families; they need permanency. Loud and Lovely have been in multiple foster homes during their long stint in foster care, not to mention the various family members who agreed to house them yet failed… just to have them moved again.

Foster care is messy. It never goes as planned. Kids get lost in the mix, forgotten. I don’t like feeling that what we are doing in our community is a complete failure. I understand that pointing the finger is easy, correcting the problems is time consuming and practically impossible. There is no easy fix and when it comes down to the wire I’ve learned that an act of Congress is the only hope we have in correcting the problems. How does one person do that? Start here and get educated. Yeah, that’s a bunch of reading and nobody has time for that. Read the quote for the TL;DR version or changes to come.

Under the new law, the federal government will offer unprecedented support for keeping families together. In the past, the federal government would only reimburse states for child welfare services that were delivered after children were removed from their homes. Starting in October 2019, states can also be reimbursed for services that keep children safely at home with their families.

That means that they’ll not remove children from their families and pay for their services for a year (substance abuse programs, parenting classes, mental health, etc.) Pushing for early intervention and treatment instead of child removal. In theory that’s GREAT! The federal government is really upping their game but the biggest concern is that Congress will be taking money away from group homes to fund this project. They’ll still fund the treatment group homes but not the standard ‘overflow of foster kids with no where to go’ group homes. Maybe they’ve got high hopes that the standard group home will no longer be needed as more kids will stay with their families; what about the kids currently in those homes?

We have seen a serious shortage of foster homes, foster homes have decreased while the number of foster children has increased. I don’t really see the light at the end of the tunnel, I’m not seeing changes that will help children right now. Either way, children stay at home and parents receive services or the children are removed and parents receive services, there will always be tragedies and the finger will be pointed. There is no winning.