About Me

I have adopted 4 children from a specific orphanage in Eastern Europe and I want to see more children redeemed from that orphanage and brought into families. I want to make sure that the children who are still left behind in that place are never forgotten.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Letter to Who Knows Who

* Please understand that I don't know who this letter is to in particular, but it sometimes comes to my mind that I wish I could write it all out and hand it to people spur of the moment.*

Dear Whoever,

If you are receiving this letter then I probably care about you and you are a part of my life as well as the lives of my children. You also probably do not have a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder. :)

If this is a good day, then you probably see my children with Reactive Attachment Disorder having some small freedoms. You probably then wonder, why can't they do more if this is a "good day"? See when these three particular children have good days, then they are beginning to trust me to keep them safe, take care of their needs, and are allowing themselves to try and enjoy life with us. See none of these things come natural to them because of their past experiences prior to coming to us for adoption. It takes a lot of effort from them and more work than you can imagine from me over years and years of trusting God to bring them through if I am faithful.

I have to walk a balance beam thinner than you know. I need to let them see the rewards of their efforts, but not let them sabotage themselves or set themselves up for failure. Failure is something that seems "comfortable" for them while suceeding and trusting are very "uncomfortable".

So, if you see them looking happier than on the "not good days", then just be happy for all of us. Thank God on our behalf!

Please don't congratulate them, hug them, smile at them, or show them any attention that you would a normal child. I know this sounds bad, but I love them enough to risk what you will think. See all of those things make them not need my attention and then it sets us back as far as attachment is concerned. They've had moves before and they are always "mommy shopping" not because they'd love you any more, but because true attachment is "risky" and "uncomfortable" for them. I know that they seem just adorable, cute, and charming. Some day they will be able to handle more, but it is going to be quite a long time.

If you see them looking sad, "poor pitiful me", "no one loves me", and secluded from some fun activity during the hard times, then PRAY for them and us. Pray that God gives us the words and actions to bring them through that tough time. Pray that he softens their hearts and makes them long for the attention that ONLY WE should be providing. Realize that if we didn't love them so much, we'd just let them keep the behaviors and not work for the attachment. See without accepting love from those of us that they can touch, then how can they accept the love of a Father that they can't touch. Look up the statistics on RAD and you will see that we have to fight through this with them.

Please don't even look like you feel sorry for them. Please don't say, "oh come on can't they . . . . ", because "no they can't, I love them too much!". Please talk about me or doubt my abilities to help them somewhere else if you must. I do know what I'm doing and I am doing what I need to for them. I love them to much to let what anyone else thinks phase my task at hand. I will admit that sometimes it feels like their hope for people to feel sorry for them is becoming a reality that I can't stop, but I won't let the devil defeat us in bringing them through it.

Thanks for lovingly being a part of our lives!

Amanda, mom of three children with RAD and 9 who don't but still have some issues sometimes because if they've had breaks in attachments before they came to me we always have to work out some kinks.

*Now please remember that if you are reading this and feel like any part was for you, no part had me thinking about anyone in particular. I was purely thinking about my kids and their behaviors. It is no one else's fault that they have RAD except the ones who didn't care for them properly in the first place and none of them are here. Even those people can't be blamed mostly because they probably weren't in any position to consider the effects. Right now I just have to thank God that they are here with me and watch in faith as He uses me to help them get better. *

Progress on the RAD Front!

As anyone who has children with Reactive Attachment Disorder knows, progress is slow and you are almost afraid to hope to see more of it. I have seen some though lately!

Yesterday, Jacob was crying (who knows why since he refuses to talk, but let's stick with the positive!) and wanting Destiny to comfort him. This would be his "normal" since he lived in a residential facility full of other kids prior to joining our family and because RAD kids don't like to seek comfort of affection from their parents. She tried walking away from him, since he was irritating the crud out of her. He still followed her though. I walked over and said "Jacob if you need hugs or comfort you have to get it from me, not her". HE ACTUALLY HUGGED ME AND LET ME HUG HIM BACK FOR SEVERAL SECONDS! It was a willing thing, not the many times I hug him and it feels like a board in my arms because he is so stiff. Those times have gotten fewer though and now he usually just lets his arms fall and pretends he doesn't notice he is on my lap or getting hugged. This was REAL though! A few minutes later when he was back to playing quietly, I said "Jacob are you ok now?" and he NODDED HIS HEAD! This was actual communication and acknowledging of my asking about his FEELINGS!

Then there is Andrew. His progress has been so slow over the years to get to a point where he is doing better. He still requires constant regulation by me or he finds a way to sabotage himself, but can at least accept that regulation. He has had the same mattress for months now without tearing it to shreds. He has a few blankets and sheets now without trying to use them as a grapevine to hang from the ceiling fans too. The best progress has been that even on his "not so good day" he is initiating "Goodnight Mom" and a goodnight kiss. He even says "I love you"! These are big things around here when they are initiated by the kids with RAD!

Crystal is sleeping back in her own room tonight. We've had to put an alarm on her door so she can't "stuff food" while we are asleep and risk choking. We also have a lock on the closet door so she can't mess in the clothes and get herself into trouble. She is doing so much better about not tearing stuff up that she is able to move back in with Destiny and hopefully not destroy her things or get into major mischief. She also stopped at my chair after dinner tonight and gave me a big hug and kiss. I nearly died of shock, since I couldn't see which kid it was or ever dream it would be her! I nearly cried because so badly I want us to have a close mother/daughter relationship and that gives me hope.

Now I realize that if you've made it this far and you aren't a parent of a child with RAD then you have to think I'm nuts. I do apologize if you are in a state with your mouth hanging open and a fly flies in it. I didn't even realize how funny it sounded until I typed it out I don't think. Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder make you really appreciate the simple things in life I guess. They make you practice extreme self control during the rough times and I've actually gotten to the point where the bad moments don't shock me. The good ones are awesome though and sometimes they catch me by surprise! God has blessed!

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Mom UPS is here!"

I guess this is another one of those things that happens at my house. Zeeky is 5 1/2 and has autism. His speech has really exploded recently which thrills me. I have also had a lot of UPS orders arrive lately. Homeschool supplies from several companies have come in the last week and (of course for those who know me) my Gymboree order. Now Zeeky is just yelling the phrase "Mom UPS is here!" every time that I get started doing anything. He also never misses one time of me going into the bathroom without yelling that! (Does that give you a hint of when they always come!?)

Now for those who think maybe he doesn't know any better, please understand that this is to be funny and for PURE ORNERINESS!

18 Beds

I am putting up some more beds today! We have to have at least as many beds "open" as the siblings groups we are being considered for right now. Our worker comes on Wednesday so that she can "count" our beds. I had other beds already, but I hate to put up beds that no one is using. I really think that we shouldn't have to have the beds up until you know who is going to use them. I mean common sense says that they could count them to be sure right before the contact with the specific child/children started. I mean even that is assuming that the adoptive parents aren't smart enough to put them up, right? roflol

I jump through hoops without complaining for the most part though. I am just thankful for the blessing of being their mother. I feel blessed beyond belief at that. I just wonder how many people have 18 beds in their house???

The funniest "only at my house" thing is that I'm getting ready to put up a toddler bed for Zeeky. I never allowed kids to share beds. I just saw no need. When all the kids had swine flu in October, I put the sick kids into "seclusion" as they fell sick. That meant that Zeeky and Jacob ended up in a room together. They immediately wanted to sleep together. Zeeky has autism and has never slept well. Jacob had it noted in his file that he had slept with Jose when they were little and preferred that. I guess it worked well for them both because Zeeky never has gone back. He sleeps tons better since sleeping with Jacob. I mean he still requires Clonidine to fall asleep, but that even works better and he stays asleep now that he shares a bed with Jacob. I figure that with Jacob's issues (RAD and autism) it must work for him too, because he and Zeeky seem to be great pals.

None the less, I still have to have a bed that is assigned to Zeeky. I am putting up a brand new toddler bed (at least it's smaller than a regular bed) that I know he will never sleep in. RULES ARE SO WIERD! lol

If other children come up later then I may have to add beds still. I'd really hoped to not have to put all these up until after the addition we are building is finished. Now I'll end up having to move beds around again later. The kids probably won't even get here before then either! Adoptions always take way too long!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Little Trickster

Julianne is hillarious. She may have very few words, but she has a lot in her head. She loves to "get one over on you". Tonight she decided to "trick" Brent by taking her vitamin out of her mouth and hiding it in her hand. Then she would pretend to put it in her mouth, but keep it hidden in her hand over and over. Needless to say, I had to intercede and make her take it. She is so darn cute though!

Later she tried to "trick" Brent by pretending to brush her teeth on her own, but not really brushing them. She is quite good at brushing them when she wants, but this wasn't one of those nights. She did let Brent brush them without resistance though.


Great Dinner

Today I had a great time at dinner. I got to go out to eat with my Aunt and my Grandmother. We've never done that with just the three of us. It was a nice time to just enjoy each other's company. We ate at Texas Roadhouse which I haven't done in forever as well. Time with family is so great and an evening alone with other ladies is something that is rare for me.

Adoption: Good News and Where My Heart Is

Many of you know that waiting for a "match" is very stressful, but also very exciting. Our worker received 3 very good calls from social workers today. It is very exciting to realize that we are very likely VERY CLOSE to a match. Our worker isn't sending out any more homestudies for us until we here final words on these specific kids. I keep thinking that with 3 children/sib groups having workers "very interested" that surely we will hear something soon.

I ask that you all pray for God's will to be done. I am so excited to see what He has in store for us. I know from experience that there will be some stressful times waiting for official matches, getting them home, and helping them through past trauma/loss. I also know that I serve a BIG GOD who has it all under control and great things in store. Every hard moment has 100 good moments that will follow.

If you have never adopted a child then you probably don't know how it goes. Right now is like the beginning of pregnancy. Maybe you remember that time period where your heart was racing with anticipation at a positive pregnancy test?? Remember how much you loved that tiny person without even knowing who they really were or if they were a girl or boy? You would have immediately done anything for them! You loved them with a love that no one else could have possibly understood. That is the stage we are at in this next adoption. I know of specific children, but don't know which ones are mine yet. I pray for each one in my heart 100 times a day. I begin to "nest" and don't even know who or how many I am preparing for yet. I start to plan for Christmas (I know it is early but I have a lot of kids lol) or think of trips to the zoo or vacations and long to know who else will join us. I have a deep emptiness for that child that is filled with love that doesn't yet know who it is claiming.

Crazy stuff for most I know. It is the love of an adoptive mother who is in those beginning stages. I think of God's love and longing for me, even before I had accepted Him as Savior and chosen to be His "adopted" child. If my love is this strong, then imagine His!

Prayers Needed

Brent's mother had a stroke this morning. This is her 2nd stroke. She had the first one just a month or two ago. She had recovered from the first one well and was walking just a little slower and with a brace.

She got up this morning and was ok, but had a serious stroke just a short time later. She was taken to the hospital where they did surgery in the ER area to help her. She is being kept out of it for now because of her condition. She is on a ventilator and it is unknown what the future holds for her. They will know more tomorrow after they do another CT scan.

Brent is doing well with it all. The relationship has been so strained for a long time, which only makes it more difficult. Why they just can't accept ALL of our kids I just can't comprehend. I had so hoped that they would be active and involved in the lives of our kids, but it seems unlikely that will be the case. I am proud of Brent though for just going and being there when the family emergencies arise. Yet at the same time, he holds firm that the children and I are his main family. I've told him that he could just go visit them and do so without involvement with the rest of us. He refuses to be a part of anything that doesn't embrace us all. I am very proud that he loves us so much and very thankful. I wouldn't blame him if he did, but I do believe that he is right. He says that the Bible says for him to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. He refuses to let them reject the rest of us and be active with him. I do love that man and his commitment to us all! At the same time, I really respect that when times are tough he will go and just "be there" to make sure they realize that he still loves them even though he doesn't participate in their dysfunction.

All families have a little dysfunction. Both sides of our families have their share. What is important is that you never let the dysfunction make you be dysfunctional, but still love the people just as God would. We won't let anyone's dysfunction affect our children, but strive to still pray and love.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"I lo ooo" and other progress

Julianne had a good birthday. Tonight as I was tucking her into her crib I slowly said "I love you" just like I do many times a day and every night. She always giggles and sometimes moves her tongue like she might make the "l" sound that we work on every day. Tonight she said it though! She said "I lo ooo" with the biggest smile on her face. She knew I'd be thrilled and she was very proud. To say that I was happy would be a very large understatement.

I went to get Jacob ready for bed and he was dry. That means that he didn't pee his pants all day today! That is huge progress. He's been trained for bowel movements for quite some time (except for a few times that he's done it just to be mean), but has refused to not pee in his diaper. He even gave me five! He as made eye contact several times today and willingly let me hold him two nights in a row.

* For those who don't know Jacob is 7 years old. He was diagnosed with autism before he came to us, but I'm not even sure if he has that. He has Reactive Attachment Disorder. I have kids with both and he is definitely RAD. He use to throw some major tantrums, but when he realized that I ignore tantrums he decided to be a "selective mute". I mean for a RAD kid, if you can't control the world with words then surely you can without them right?? He was non potty trained and in an autism facility when he came. We've made a lot of progress but we started at below zero. He had no skills and a lot of bad behaviors. God is good though and we are excited to see what He is going to do with Jacob! *

There were other great things today and some rough moments as well. Those were two of the most exciting and I am already looking forward to tomorrow. I think I'll get some sleep first though!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Just Put Julianne to Bed and SHE'S 4 YEARS OLD!

Julianne joined us and took over our family when she was 2 1/2 years old. She just turned 4 years old! She got her self into staying up way too late when she had surgery last Tuesday and in PICU all night. She now is turning 4 today and was up to see the day come in. We sung Happy Birthday to her at midnight. lol

What is there to say in words to even describe my tiny princess??? My goodness and WOW are what come to mind. She is 4 now on July 20th of 2010. She weighs 26 pounds and we are just starting to buy some 3Ts even though we just put her to bed in a 24 month night gown. She is tiny but mighty! Julianne has Down Syndrome. That means that whereas most of us have 46 chromosomes in each of our cells, Julianne has 47! If you think about it, that just means that she has a little better idea of who she is than most of us. She isn't going to let anyone change one bit of her either! Of course, why would anyone? SHE IS SO PERFECT! She has more determination in her teeny tiny crooked pinky finger than most of the world combined. She is so stubborn that she should be biological! We've determined that 46 chromosomes is what we "need" to be ok, but 47 chromosomes makes you perfect!

Perfect she is too! She has 13 people in this household wrapped tightly around that tiny little pinky finger. She loves to be cute, which is good because WOW she is cute. She loves shoes, clothes, tutus, dresses, and hair bands. She loves music, chocolate, and dancing. She never gives up no matter what and overcomes things faster than anyone I've ever seen.

Just this year she has done and overcome so much. She eats everything by mouth now, which is huge since when she came home she didn't drink anything and had all of her nutrients given to her by gtube. She just had the gtube site repaired and her stomach repaired this past Tuesday. She came out of it a little sore, but is mainly mad that she can only have small amounts of foods and drinks at a time for 3 weeks. She had "swine flu" and was the first one of the 10 people in our family to kick "swine butt"! Her heart condition should have made it harder for her, but not my little girl. She can do anything that she sets her mind to and then go above what you would ever imagine.

Tonight she learned to go up the steps of the Step 2 Climber in the sensory room. She has been climbing up the slide itself for quite some time. Tonight I showed her how to use the ladder. After one time of showing her on just 1 step, she did it over and over. She then had to go a step above though and climb down the ladder. (You may want to pray for me because I bet I spend the next 2 months making sure she doesn't fall!) She went into the ball pit underneath it tonight too. I thought she'd play in there, but NO she was getting all the "other" balls out. No footballs, foam balls, or other miscellaneous balls will be in that ball pit on her watch! She then decided to show us that she can "sort" by colors and remove all of the purple balls while giggling.

All that is left to say is HAPPY BIRTHDAY JULIANNE! I am truly blessed and thank God daily for letting me be the mommy of this little princess!

My Jericho

Tonight we watched Veggie Tales. I will admit that a few of the kids complained. I was really the one who wanted to watch Veggie Tales. I told them that it was the only option for tv, so they watched it with me. They ended up enjoying it of course and Julianne saw a few of the episodes for the very first time. We watched "Rack, Shack, and Benny" first. It went so well with Julianne that we watched "Josh and the Big Wall" next.

Its funny, I'm 30 years old and God always speaks to me through Veggie Tales. The song on "Josh and the Big Wall" says "God has given this plan to us, no need to fuss, He knows what He's doing". WOW! That is really all I can say that sounds adequate.

The whole thing is about how God's plan didn't make any sense, but it was THE WAY. I mean really who would figure that marching around a wall, blowing trumpets, and just following God by trusting Him to do what made no sense was THE WAY to make the walls of Jericho come falling down!?? It is really though in every day life for us as Christians. We are just supposed to FOLLOW HIS PLAN. We don't have to figure it out. We don't have to do the mathmatical equations, figure out the psychology behind it, or feel confident of "our abilities" to do it. That in itself doesn't make sense, right? We just have to feel confident in "His ability" to direct us the right way, lead us the right way, and use us as willing servants. It sounds so simple, but in reality it is all He asks and usually what we don't want to do. We as humans want to do it our way and be able to "handle" it. When we do it His Way though the walls just come falling down! Then we receive all the rewards that He promises us and see the glory that comes with following Him.

My Joshua is different than what others probably see as "My Jericho". Most people would think that "Jericho" for me would be just having 12 kids, or adopting children from foster care, or having children with special needs. Maybe in the beginning "Jericho" was following Him through all the steps of adoption. I guess those are walls that we have definitely seen Him make fall and definitely areas we had to trust Him for each time. We are in the process of trying to adopt again, so we send out endless homestudies just waiting for the walls to fall and Him to show us the next "Promised Land" which to us is sweeter than anything that the children of Israel could have imagined. I mean really imagine seeing the FACE OF YOUR CHILD and knowing they are yours for the first time!

The hard "Jericho" for me is my children with Reactive Attachment Disorder though. I mean none of it makes any sense if you think about it, but so much sense in other ways too. I understand why they don't trust adults, when the adults who should have taken care of them early in life failed them so many times. I understand how they could think that parents are of no real use to them. What is hard for me is exactly how God expects me to fix it. ???????????? I guess that every once in a while I just need the reminder that He doesn't expect me to make their walls fall down. I just have to keep marching around them and blowing the trumpets. I don't know how many times. That really doesn't matter. What matters is that I keep on marching around them! What matters is that I am willing to let others think whatever they want when I say "please don't hug them (talk to them, give them anything, make them think that you feel sorry for them, or even look at them sometimes *the list changes by the day and child and many other factors*) because when you do it makes them have an even harder time realizing that they need their mommy". GOD WILL MAKE THOSE WALLS FALL DOWN! I just have to trust Him to use my little bit of faith and my ability to make myself look like a fool when needed, to show my faith in Him and love for them.

Oh how I'd like to have a formula, mathematical equation, or pill that would fix it all. THE FACT IS THOUGH THAT GOD IS MUCH MORE ABLE AND MUCH MORE WILLING TO BRING DOWN THOSE WALLS. I just have to be the willing soldier. I think being asked to just love them and continue to march is a pretty great thing to be asked to do. I really do love all three of my RAD kids. I know that the inside of them that will some day fully be shown is far greater than "Jericho", but for now I will just march. I've seen the rewards with my other children with "attachment difficulties" and it was never as hard as these three, but we see small rewards already. GOD IS GOOD!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Funeral Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the graveside service for Brent's grandmother. She has had Parkinson's Disease that has made her life very difficult since before I met Brent. She then broke her neck as the result of a fall several months back. For her I honestly feel relieved. I imagine her new life in heaven. She is with her husband now! Most of all she is with Jesus and has no more pain or disability. I know that Brent feels very much the same because it just would feel selfish to even wish that she hadn't passed away with her earthly state taken into account against her present heavenly stae.

On the other side of the "funeral" emotions is the fact that we will have to go there. Brent's side of the family has been mostly nonexistence with us for over a year. Brent has seen them in relation to checking in on his grandmother after her fall or when his mother was in the hospital. The rest of us on the other hand have not seen them at all.

We are not taking the children with us, except for Julianne. Julianne had her gtube stoma repaired and can't have normal amounts of food or liquids for another 2 1/2 weeks. She will go with us so that we don't worry about something going wrong and us gone. The other children will be here at home with my mother. They will watch tv, play, and live in peace.

I will be by Brent's side. I mean, I want to do that. On the other hand, I have no clue what tomorrow may hold. I think that they very much HATE me. They didn't want us to adopt to begin with. They wanted me to have more "birth" children, besides Dayton. Then we seemed to be ok, until they wanted to buy for Dayton and even Julianne once, but not for the other children. We asked then that they just didn't buy for anyone at all. Somehow that was a horrible request and just us making "rules" for them. We said that all the children had to be treated the same. That was last July and it has been peaceful, but they have been absent.

Tomorrow we will be face to face. I plan to just take care of Julianne, honor his grandmother, and stand by Brent's side while he says his farewells to her frail body. If you read this then you should pray that will be the "all" of it. I don't want to have words spoken that are not "honoring" of why we are there. I just want to do it and get to safety.

While I am at it though, why the heck do people think that they should ever treat a child "different" because of the way that they joined our family? Why do people treat children in any way except for just "love"? Why does anyone think that they have a vote in how we build our family or how big we allow God to build it?

Ok, I am going to bed soon. I will just pray. Peaceful and Christ-like is my goal. I know I can depend on God to help me do that and I pray that others will allow Him to get them through that way as well.