Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blogging sequence

I need to learn to write my blog each morning before I read every one else's. I love catching up and seeing how everyone is doing but by the time I am done reading I am overwhelmed, over stimulated and over thought filled about the life, times and tribulations of being a foster/adoptive family. So I really need to write first, read second.

That said, Annie's surgery went better than expected, they were able to do it lapascropically (sp?) so she will not have stitches to pull out! Although painful she seems to come out of it fine and was able to transition back to her residence. DH came home exhausted as he had to drive through intermittent torrential downpours for 5 hours, but Annie had apparently been very receptive to his being there and even seemed grateful that he was there to offer comfort and care.

I need to spend the day arguing with the adoption subsidy people over Douglas and Annie's medical cards. They are arguing that since they are not in high school any more they should not get the card. What they are refusing to recognize is that I am homeschooling them still, neither has a diploma or their GED and both are still working hard to achieve one or the other. But apparently homeschooling is not considered "real" school for the purposes of the medical card documentation. So I am off with my donkey and lance to fight the towering windmills, wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gallbladder Surgery

My DH left at 4:30 this AM to drive down to Illinois to see Annie before she has gallbladder surgery. This came up rather unexpectedly and he was able to clear his calendar more easily than I was. So he got the short straw.

Annie seems to be okay with it all, telling me about what the nurse described as her surgical procedure, etc. But we know Annie, she will fight the doctors and the nurses, inflicting self harm if the pain is at all intense. So DH went down to do what little he can to help. See Annie is 19 and considered an adult, we have been trying to get guardianship of her because with the FASD and the Acquired Brain Injury, and all the other alphabet soup after her name, she does not make safe choices for herself. But we have been hampered by the fact that the disability courts look at her IQ which somehow tests out at 89. That seems to mean that she is not disabled enough so we are having to gather all sorts of documentation from all sorts of professionals to make our case. In the meantime she is considered a functional adult. (yikes)

Just to give you an example of our concern. Annie is highly allergic to fish, we have known this since she was allergy tested at age 3. Well at 16 Annie decided that she was not allergic to fish, that the doctors were wrong and she knew better. So she had some fish at her friends' house. She started feeling ill almost immediately and came home where she promptly started to vomit multiple times. She was so agitated though that she was walking all over the house and must have projectile vomited in about 6 different rooms, all the time screaming at me, "my head hurts, I don't feel well" I of course did not know that she had eaten fish, so didn't know what was wrong. Then her face started to swell and her eyes started to swell shut, so I knew it was an allergic reaction and got her Epipen into her and called 911. She then started screaming at me, cursing me out the whole time, "I ate some fish, you stupid b***, I hate you".

She was wildly out of control, and despite our best efforts to calm her and put cooling cloths on her swollen eyes, she was rampaging. She gouged at her eyes, trying to make them stop hurting/itching, leaving huge open wounds on her face and eyelids. She began banging her head on the wall and door frame, hard. We called off the ambulance run as the Epipen had done its job, but I almost considered an ambulance run to the psych hospital.

Eventually the benadryl and the exertion slowed her down and she was able to settle for the night. But the wounds on her face and eyes were horrible, luckily they didn't get infected.

Now can you see my concerns for surgery. In a worst case scenario I envision her trying to rip out her stitches, IV, etc as she comes out of the anesthesia. I certainly hope that she won't but we don't have such a good track record to go on. So I will be thinking about my DH and Annie all day hoping for the best.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Growing up

I was reading Kari's post about folks with FASD being oblivious to the impact of their behaviors on others and I started to reflect on some of the recent behaviors I have noticed in my son Douglass.

Now Douglass used to be the totally oblivious type, totally unaware of even the physical presence of others, as in he would cannonball into the pool w/out looking to see if there were folks he might jump on top of (and I don't mean just once or twice he did this, this was repeated behavior even after being consequenced and reprimanded, he just didn't "think to look"), or he would pass you on the stairs or in the hall w/out waiting for you to clear the way and mash you into the walls. He talked over others, used verbally abusive language, was not tuned into any of the subtleties of personal interaction.

But lately I have noticed a pleasant improvement. He does seem to be aware of other's presence, he holds doors, steps aside to let others pass, and has even noticed and commented on others' who have not been as polite. But most surprising were two events this weekend.

We were all cleaning inside and out, it was a chore weekend as things had gotten out of hand. So we were cleaning, weeding, detrashing the backyard. Hubby and I were outside in the blistering heat doing a lot of physical work and Douglass had announced he needed to go in and rest (I guess his poor buff 18 year old body was tired!) But instead of staying inside resting, after a few minutes he came back outside and basically said that if we weren't going to quit he guessed he should keep working too. Amazing, he actually noticed that we were still working.

Then later, my DH was having an intense heart to heart with Kendra over her lack of work ethic and Douglass walked into the kitchen (where they were talking) and instead of interrupting, trying to get his agenda met, he stopped, picked up on the intensity of the conversation and excused himself to the other room, where he did not turn on loud music, etc. I was very impressed that he not only recognized that they were in a private discussion, but that he also controlled his tongue and did not try to join in, as he had expressed his own displeasure to me about Kendra's shirking. He also did not just ignore them and walk over to the TV and turn on a movie or the Wii, which would have been a typical thing not too long ago.

So I think he is growing up, maturing, realizing that he is not the only person in the world. He does truly seem to see others as people now and not just as objects to manipulate to get his needs or wants satisfied. He is much more pleasant to be around and parenting him has become easier as he now seems to comprehend some of the logic behind our house rules.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

DBG's big brother

We had the delight of seeing DBG's older brother Spiderman at our church this morning. he was in respite while his family was on vacation and his respite providers are members of our church. They had called to check and make sure that it would be okay for Spiderman to come to church and since it was not a DBG weekend we were able to say okay. (DBG and Spiderman are not supposed to see each other, although occasionally we all run into each other, but with Spidey's foster Mom out of town this would not have been a good time to rock the boat, so I was appreciative of them checking).
Spidey recognized all of us, Doug doug, Sissy (that is what he has always called Kendra) and Daddy Doug. He sat right next to me through the whole church service and worked on his coloring books and then played me in awesome tic tac toe for a long time. Spidey gave great hugs and was very appropriate. It was obvious he recognized some people from when he used to attend church with us, but it has been so long that he wasn't comfortable talking to any one.
When church was over he gave us all big hugs again and went quite calmly off with his respite mom. That parting was my one concern, given that he was on edge about missing his foster mom already. But it was great to see him and to know that he still cares about us. Apparently he was telling his respite mom all about going places with me, as they live only about a half mile from us so he was going to the same grocery and the same swimming pool and the same church as he had when he lived with us.
I can't remember how much I have written about Spidey, not much I think since I just named him today in this post. Spidey has the unique distinction of being the only foster child in 20+ years of fostering that we have ever asked to have removed from our home. He came to us at 3 years old straight out of a month in the psych hospital. He had been bounced from family member to family member, been through foster care two different times, each time placed in multiple homes and he came to me for his 12th official placement, (I was DBG's 4th Mom at 9 months of age.)
Spidey is very RAD, has ADHD out the wazoo, anxiety problems, aggression issues, ODD, and OCD. Anyway he is a handful.
We could not keep Spidey because he was an extreme danger to DBG. Spidey was a drug baby, the product of multi generational domestic violence, not only his parents but also his maternal grandparents with whom he was placed for 9 months. He attacked not only DBG but also our large loving black Lab. Every evening in the bath I would find new bite marks and new pinches and new scratches on DBG, even though I was watching and protecting her with all my might. Several times he attacked her in her own crib. As she was learning to walk, he would pounce on her from behind and hold her face down in the couch or the rug trying to "make her stop breathing" was what he would say. If his aggression had been an overt expression of his anger I could have dealt with it, but he was sneaky and would also attack out of the blue even when you thought he was happy. The last straw was when DBG, at about 15 months, would run screaming from him when he walked in the house and hide herself somewhere and shake and shake uncontrollably. Basically DBG was being abused in my home by her own brother.
So Spidey went to residential treatment for almost 9 months and then I got to be his 14th placement again, because they threatened to move DBG out of our house so they could be placed together once he was released from treatment. Well that lasted from the end of November through to early March when he became so self-harming that he had to be put in crisis stabilization for 10 days and at the end of that time it was decided to split the sibs for DBG's safety and Spidey went to live with his current foster mom.
Then the state did an about face on termination and decided to place DBG back with her birth parents just as her Mom was having baby #3 and Dad was in jail again on drug charges. But they encouraged, no forced, Mom and Dad to terminate on Spidey, so that they could get DBG back. So Spidey has been with his present foster home for about 16 months now. And he is doing really well for Spidey. (I don't disagree with the TPR as there is no way that these young folks could have handled Spidey and kept his two younger sibs safe, it is just ironic)
The state is now pressuring this foster home to adopt him and although they want to, they are wavering because the state is refusing to provide certain evaluations and services, as well as some other issues. (And we all know how easy it is to get those things post adoption.) So Spidey is still in limbo, with no web to call home.
But it was sure nice to spend some time with him today and to hear from his respite mom that he has fond memories of the time he was living with us.


July, July, July....

I am not sure where it has gone. Combine a busy work schedule of recruiting activities, one trip to the dance nationals, adjusting to having one of my more difficult teens back in the house full time and throw in financial issues and well, poof there goes the time.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Rainy 4th

We are having a rainy 4th today. Wish we could send you some rain Cindy. It looks like our annual softball game will be a washout. Bart's all ready to play with his hat and all, but I don't think the weather radar on the computer screen is showing good news. Well we will still go to our friends who have been having this annual event for two generations now. It is so wonderful to be part of their extended family and to be embraced with our many children and all.
Each year they put on a skit and the skits are hilarious, 1 year they even did a synchronized swimming skit. My DH is an integral part of these opening ceremonies, one year he was a cowardly lion, this year he is portraying Miss Hannigan from the movie "Annie". And then the patriarch (who is an ACLU lawyer) gives an impressive speech on patriotism or our country or something important like that. Then we play softball and then we have a big potluck fried chicken picnic.
So off for our traditional 4th of July and hoping that the weather clears for the fireworks later.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Financial Crap

My DH and I have been struggling with some significant financial hardships relating to his business and the downturn in the economy. The future is pretty bleak right now, although it will eventually turn around. With the help of some professionals we have a new plan that provides some relief and promise but it has all been pretty emotionally exhausting. I find I am just plodding through life right now, trying to get through each day without more bad news.

So there is my excuse for not blogging more.