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?

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.

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.

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;

Adios, Tata!

Tata has left our home, she was moved in with her siblings out of our county. I was happy to see her go as she truly missed her siblings. I received a phone call yesterday informing me that her caseworker had changed AGAIN and that Tata would be picked up at 8am the following morning. Short notice… my favorite. 😯 I sent a bag of dirty laundry with her, I wanted to make sure she had all of her things. She came here with nothing and left with a large box and 2 duffle bags full of items. I’ll sure miss her, she was loud, obnoxious and constantly laughing. I hope one day she is reunited with her family!