Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Have you ever been so tired that you cried?

I wanted to get on tonight and blog about all the highs and (many) lows of our days with Hoss and Little Joe. I especially wanted input and advice from those of you who have kids at home about some of the issues we are having. Truthfully, it is hard to know what is abuse/neglect related, what is developmental delay related (which is also, probably, caused by the abuse/neglect) and what is typical toddler boy behavior.

but I am so freakin tired I am crying.

hang in there with me, my friends. Maybe tomorrow will be easier. Or maybe I will drink more coffee. or Pepsi. anything it takes to write a proper blog entry.

I have Hoss' case worker coming tomorrow so we can get a behavioral assessment set up and start getting a plan in place to help him (and us) have a happier, "nuclear meltdown marathon" free life.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

it has to get better, right?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Raging Little Cowboys

I know that everyone has been waiting for an update from us, so I apologize for taking so long to post. We have had the little guys since Sunday afternoon, and it has been one wild rodeo, to be sure! These poor little guys have been through so much neglect and abuse (not to mention five placments since march) that they require all of our time and attention. Of course, Robert gets to go to work during the day, so the bulk of it falls on me. I am exhausted, as you can guess. But slowly the boys are calming down: today was the first day I had where I could get on the computer (it has been stashed above the tv cabinet, as have many things that are breakable) and check email. So far nothing has been broken, but we have had almost endless rages- seems like when one finally stops raging, the other starts!

"Hoss" is the size of a four year old, but just turned 3 in May! He has serious developmental delays, so his overall functioning as at a 20 month old level. He has a real fascination with doors- so we immediately put chain locks on all the egress doors and the door to the basement. This, of course, did not please him at all. Most of Monday and Tuesday was spent having meltdown rages over not being able to open the doors and run for the hills. Today he is doing better - no he tries the door, says "no no stop" and then shuts the door again (the chain only lets him open it a little bit). We are working on his language, and getting him outside to run and play- hopefully that will help his gross motor skills. he rages big time at night (a "I'm terrifed" rage as oppposed to his "I am ticked I can't get what I want" rages), but R has been great at getting him calmed down: reading to him, rubbing his back, and restraining him from hurting himself or R (Hoss is a biter, kicker, pincher kid). The first two nights it took 45 minutes to get him to sleep, the last two nights it has taken 15 and 10 minutes respectively. He wakes up a few times a night, comes to check to see if we are still here, and then goes back to bed.

"Little Joe", 20 months old, is as withdrawn as Hoss is outgoing. He has his rages, to be sure, but they are usually over his frustration at not being able to play with the stove, dishwasher, phone, or remote control (he is napping right now, otherwise I would never be able to type this). he is also a little spider monkey- climbs on everthing. So far he has tipped the rocking chair over by climbing up on it, has gotten on the kitchen table, the back of the couch, and this morning tried to climb out of his crib and hit the floor hard- not a great way to wake up! he can be a cuddle blug at times, but mostly he prefers to entertain himself by going back and forth on a ride on toy, screwing caps on and off of plastic bottles, or pressing buttons on a couple of interactive toys we have. Little Joe is 9 months behind on his development, has some tightness in his legs, has very little language (although Hoss is much further behind in his language than Little Joe is- Hoss' speach is mostly intelligble, and when he does use "real" words he uses one word and two word sentences).

Both boys will have intensive therapy- speach, physical, play, etc. We also have a developmental screening set up for both boys next month- on different days unforunately, how I am supposed to handle both of them for 4 hour long screenings I have no idea! Hoss will start a special ed program in the fall- 5 days a week, 2.5 hours a day. Little Joe will have an early on intervention progam starting in a few weeks.

How all this happened is a bit of a wild story. On Monday I received a phone call from a cousin I have not seen or talked to in about 2 years. She is a social worker and works with a private angency that contracts with the state. She said she has been wracking her brains trying to find a placement for these two special needs boys and my name kept popping up in her head. Finally she said, she tracked my phone number down and called me. My initial reaction was to say, sorry, we are not interested. However, she is my cousin, so I let her have her say. Somehow in the course of the conversation I had this feeling that maybe R and I could do this- these boys needed somebody who could give them a lot of love and attention, and I am home all day by myself. I told her I would talk to R and call her back.

I talked to R via phone, expecting him to flat out refuse, but he said we should talk about it. I emailed CHI and asked if there would be a problem if we became foster parents and received a reply saying that we could foster right up until the point where we have to send our paperwork to vietnam. Given that the referrals are moving so slowly (and I mean so so slowly), we figured we might as well use this time of waiting to do something positive. Besides, it gives us a chance to have a couple of little boys in the house!!

Long story short (I hear Little Joe waking up in there, and I want to get him before he tries to climb out again!), the social worker who does licensing came in off of her vacation to meet with us and go over the tons of paperwork and info on foster parenting etc. Luckily she was able to use our homestudy (thank God it has been good for something) and our medical and police clearances from our Vietnam adoption. We spent the next few days hunting down a toddler bed, clothes, diapers, sippy cups, etc and on Sunday afternoon the boys came!!!

more later, Little Joe is definitely up, the phone is ringing, and Hoss just barrelled down the hallway with the remote control........boy do I need coffee!!!!!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Breaking News

On Sunday afternoon, R and I will become the foster parents to two little boys- "Hoss" age 3 and "Little Joe" age 18 months.

It is a long story; I promise to find some time between trying to get everything we need together before Sunday to tell the whole story (or, at least, as much of the story as I can tell without breaking confidentiality).

The pressing questions of the day is:

1. Goldfish crackers or regular crackers?

2. Cheerios or Kix?

3. What toys are best for fine and gross motor development?

4. What activities (other than reading, which we will surely do) will help verbal development?

5. Is basic sign language a good idea for a child with expressive language difficulties?

Oh, and inquiring minds want to know: How the heck does one take a shower with a 3 year old and an 18 month old in the house?

*** btw, in case it wasn't glaringly obvious, Hoss and Little Joe are not their real names. They are brothers, and the older boy is a pretty big kid (tall, solid) and the 18 month old is smaller built: hence, the names. Which don't make much sense if you didn't watch Bonanza on the Family Channel in the 80s (or the original episodes in the 60-70s). For those of you in the south, I usuallly thing of the boys as "The Bubbas."

**** we haven't met "The Bubbas" yet. We will meet them on Sunday when they move in. Honestly, this has happened super fast and I promise I was not holding back information from you all. I received a phone call on Monday afternoon that started a chain of events that have lead up to the boys coming. More about that in my next post.