breakthrough?

Made it through Thanksgiving,just have Christmas to go and then Holiday Hell will be over for another year. It was a discombobulated holiday this year anyway. I kept two of my grandsons for five days. This was the duo of destruction grandsons. They are a lot of fun and a lot of work. The five year old decided to get sick while he was with us-poor guy. The two-and-a-half year old slpet through all but the last night with us. I even managed to cook a full turkey dinner with all the fixings with the boys. I was very glad to have the distraction of the little boys. This was a hard holiday for me this year. You see it was last Thanksgiving when I last saw Youngest Son. It was the Sunday afterwards when he hugged me for dear life and told me he loved me as I dropped him off. I had hope for him last year. It was tempered with realism,but I still had hope.
This year I had grief.
My sixteen year old had a very hard holiday. He has always been jelouse of this set  of grandbabies. Or to be more acurate,his sister was always more jelouse and he was as well.  It did not help that we had three family events that his brother and sister were not a part of. It also did not help that three of his nephews are the aproximate age he was when his life fell apart.
For most of the past two weeks he has hardly spoken to me. He has refused to do any schoolwork and refused to help me around the house. He refused home cooked food and even refused the soda his dad boufght him and the candy bar I bought for him the dsay I took him (agaist his will) to run erronds with me. He was so mad at me he shook.
I had not a clue as to why either.
It was in therapy that the breakthrough came. It was there he was able to tell me why he was so upset.
It was his sister again. She wants him to chose. She put him in a bad position. He did not cave into her,but instead took his anger out on me. The result of all the nity gritty was we began to comunicate a bit. He was able to problem solve a way for he to do his school and for me to begin to rebuild some trust with his sneaking around to text.
He came up with a solution.
He communicated.
My son. Communicated. With me.
This is huge.
We were able to talk about his sister’s need to recreate their birthfamily with her as the mom-her brothers as her sons(?). My new middle son is already living with her. She wants her littlest brother as well. But,she wants him to be sneaky and furtive and to choose her by rejecting me and his dad.
See his conflict?
I am mad at her for putting him through this. I am also very sad for her. This will not end well. I thought we were well past some of this.She is more concerned with “winning” her brother,than his welfare. She is oblivious to the pain she is causing him.
It also pains me to see her other brother give up everything for her. She has no problem taking.  I love her,but do not like her a whole lot right now.

If this was the only family situation going on it would be enough. It isn’t. The other two cannot be blogged about. Both are worrying. One I cannot do a blasted thingf about. The other I am going to have to address and it may cause a relationship to be damaged. I would appreciate prayer as I wrestle with how to proceed with the latter.  It is keeping me up nights.

I owe y’all a bunch of pictures. I will try and get off my lazy backside and post them soon. I have some darn cute grandbabies.

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liar,liar pants on fire

Of all the crazy making things my FASD kids do it is the constant,often for no real reason,lying. I hate lying. I think that is why God gave me children who lie. I am not kidding. It is kind of like being counciledto never pray for patience because God will put you is situations where you need a ton of it.
I will never,ever begin to understand the need to lie for no reason,or to lie when you know for a fact you are going to be caught out within a ten second window.
Sigh.
FASD kids also preservere. They get stuck. They have a very hard time seeing that cause goes with effect.
My sixteen year old has decided he is not going to do his history for school. Oh he appears to be working. Tells me he is working. He even will tell me just how far he has progressed. Then the inevetible happens and I ask him to leave his work on the kitchen table so I can check his answers over my morning coffee.
His fisrt line of defense is to “forget” to leave his work out. (this entails taking his work up to his room to ‘finish’ instead of leaving it with his other books downstairs). The second line is to give me his work and then be shocked he has missed several questions. His third line of defense is to get a brand new spiral and pretend he is now on chapeter 17 instead of the chapter 8 I kicked back for corrections (and to be completed). His other work will have disapeared.
Don’t you hate it when that happens?
His final line of defence is to begin dissapearing for twenty minute intervals durring the day and play on his tablet or text his siblings on his brothers old Ipod Touch.
Today I confiscated his electronics for texting. He of course insisted you cannot text on the Ipod touch which is the reason his brother had origionally purchased it for himself.
The result of all of this is  not a sudden burst of scholarly energy.
He is still refusing to do his history (while swearing up and down he is doing his  history).
He is also not talking to me or making eye contact. You see,if he does not look at me I must cease to exist.
In case you are wondering, his history is intended for eighth graders and he is more than capable of doing it. I am always available to help if he does not understand a question. He has never,ever been in trouble for asking for help.
No answers for this dilema.
He has decided history is the hill he is going to die over this term. He has decided to ilegally text (whic his better than the cheating he chose to do last year) to show me who is boss.
Stalemate it is.
I have his electronics.

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abandonment and being loved

My sixteen year old son has had a very rough week. Every abandonment trigger he has was hit. The kicker was when his sister told him she would pick him up Monday morning  and then decided she would only do so if he were allowed to spend the night (but he wasn’t to ask us. There was a plan involved.) By the time my sixteen year old fessed up (after I came unglued over his behavior about something else) it was midnight.
No,I did not let him go. She did not want to see him. She wanted to control a situation. I watched my son cry for over an hour once most of it out. He cried because he knew she did not care to spend real tiime with him. The next day he sped up the regression we had been seeing for over a week.. On Tuesday he told his dad he was a banana.
That sounds silly. What it did was scare us. You see the word banana is one of the three words he presrvered with when he was young. He would say it out of the blue. He would say it repeatedly. Banana was a word of many meanings. Banana,eyeballs and maulky-maulky.
I am thankful he has a good fit with his therapist. He seemed much,much better after his session.
We have been keeping him busy,reminding him to put on clean clothes,bathe,brush teeth,and use shampo. We have also drug him with us to go hiking and my husband had him help him with a project.
He is not ticking today and as far as I know he has gone twelve hours without lying to one of us over something stupid.
Progress.
One miraculous event to come out of this past week was my son was able to tell his therapist he lumped us in his brain with his birthparents and still thought we would leave him if we really knew what he thought and felt. He also was able to verbalize how abandoned he felt when his sister bailed on him. After all it was she who raised him until he was nearly six. He allowed his therapist to tell us these things and was able to say he wanted to trust us.
This is very big stuff.
His therapist actually told us thet our son does identify his emotions just fine. He simply has never trusted us enough to share any of them. I honestely did not know that. All these years I have been naming what ever emotion he seemed to be displaying at the time while he stared blankly at me. Ten years he has been home. Ten years.
At least he is beginning to trust us now.
Whoever said that children are resiliant knew nothing at all about children.
What children are is hurt,scared,scarred forever and ever. All the love and theraputic crappola will not change that. It may give them the tools to work around the hurt and pain. It may or it may not.
I now think that is the best any of us can do.
We can give the children a chance.
Unfortunately,sucess is not going to be a Rhode’s scholar saving humanity.
I now thing sucess will be if my children know we love them inspite of everything.Because of everything.
No matter what else,they have had love.
My youngest daughter can turn her back on our values. But you see,If we had not made her our daughter ten years ago,she would have no one to turn from. How do you rebel against no one?
Where does that leave me with youngest son whom I have not spoken to in nearly a year?
I don’t know.
I do know he knows we did in fact love him. Even if that was too much to handle. He will not go through his life never being loved.
Maybe that is what they should teach in adoption classes.
Your child may despise you.
He may try and kill you.
She may be promiscuoius and drink and drug.
He may not ever hold a job.
He may spend most of his life in prison.
Or,in my mind the absolute worst outcome, your children  may perpetuate the cycle of abuse and neglect and FASD.
That isn’t the point at all.
The point is they will have been loved.
If nothing else goes as planned-and it won’t.
They will have experienced love.
It will not reform their brains or undo their trauma.
It will not be enough.
But it just might have to be.

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time

Time heals most things;kind of,sort of. We are getting used to only having one very,very quiet sixteen year old at home. When my daughter moved out,there had been quite a bit of undercurrent going on. When she left the tension left with her. My son on the other hand for the most part was a quiet joy. There was some drama towards the end,but it was mostly his sister’s drama. There is no guilty relief having him out of the house. Just more quiet. I miss him,of course,but it was time.
The biggest adjustment has been for my sixteen year old. He has been sinking back into profound depression. We have been forcing him to stay with us (mentally). I hate seeing him that despondent. I think what set him over the edge was when we were late picking him up on Tuesday. We are never late. Ever. Yet on Tuesday we were not only late,but he was the last to be picked up. Every single abandonment issue he has ever had came rushing to the surface. Even at sixteen,he was not entirely sure we would be there. It did not matter that we alway are there. We were late. In the depth of his soul he new we had abandoned him.
Just like his birth family.
Just like his sister.
Just like his brother.
Abandoned.
Alone.
Brain knowledge vs emotional knowledge.
Sixteen vs six.

On Wednesday my youngest granddaughter turned one. She has been dubbed the tiny terror. Because of her heart defect,she is very tiny for her age. Stature is the only area she is tiny in,however. She has more personality and gumption squeezed into her little frame than ten babies. It is so funny to see her 9she is still wearing size three to six month clothes ) walking and talking and drinking out of her sippy cup.

Happy birthday Baby Girl.

There have been so many momentous  changes in our family this past year. Yet time does move on. Families adjust and move forward. New normals (I hate that expression ) are adjusted to.
It just takes time.

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transitions

I have never pretended to do the whole teen to young adult transition well. It has always been my least favorite phase of parenting.  I now have two non-neuro-typical  young adults “launched.” This has been much,much harder than all the other children. With neuro-typical kids,even those who have withstood horrific trauma,you have the inner assurance  they can learn from their mistakes. They will figure things out.  Some of my kids had to renivent the wheel. for a bit. Some looked at  thise who went before them and made all new mistakes.   I think my middle son can learn from mistakes.  It is my youngest daughter I am very unsure of. There is a huge disconnect  in her brain between what she wants to be reality and what is reality. It will be interesting to see how the two of them balance things out between them.
In some ways it is freeing to watch from a distance. I am not the problem anymore.  In some ways it is horrifying . No parent wants to hear some of the things we have heard these past few months. Part of me wants to scoop up grown adults and protect them as if they were still children.  That cannot be done. I have done my part as best I could. I will be a backstop. I will be a consultant . I will love unconditionally.  I will tell the truth even when the truth is painful.
For better or for worse my active parenting days are over. They are adults. It is up to them now.
Adult children are the litmus test of our parenting. It should not be that way, but it is. Even children who we have only parented for the last half  of their childhood,who have been hurt,neglected,seen horrors,and /or been pickled in utero-none of which we are responsible for- are  considered reflections of us.
I know in my brain this is not true.
I know in my brain the whole free will plus damaged brains effects their choices independent of how we raised them.
But,you see,I want the last decade of sacrifice to equate their success. I want it to matter. Not in a  see-how-wonderful-I am kind of way,but in a I-actually-found-the-magic -fairy-dust-kind of way. I want to be a part of the solution. I do not want to be just one more problem.
Boy,that sounds arrogant  when I write it out,doesn’t it.
I don’t feel arrogant. Quite the opposite ,in fact.
Give me a tantruming toddler anyday over a fledgling adult. I can do toddlers,preschoolers,gradeschoolers and even early adolecents. It is the pre and post launch stage I flounder with – no matter which child is doing the launching.
It is ironic that I have the most propblem with them becoming independent of me when my whole parening philosophy is to work myself out of a job.
Transitions are always hard.

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and then there was one

My middle son moved out today. He has decided to suport his sister ( financially ) and they now have an apartment together . Or perhaps I should say he has an apartment and she is also living there.  Her living situation had become untenable. Much drama. She refused to move home. He felt  she would be homeless without his support. It is not how I wanted it. I would rather he live with his buddies or live alone. I hope this works for them both.
I have my doubts. His sister is simply not making good decisions. Maybe he will be a stabilizing influence  on her.

After nearly thirty years with two or more kids in the house we are down to one. It is going to be very weird. I am going to have to learn to cook for three instead of five with huge appetite. Our water bill went down thirty dollars per month when my daughter moved out. I wonder how much it will go down now?

My sixteen year old says he is OK. I am glad we have therapy in place for him and he is back involved with CAP and Karate. I wish he had some buddies. He did go to a Halloween  party and said he even danced. (!!!!!) I think he is doing much better than he was even a month ago. He has always had his brother and sister. They have been his surrogate parents when he was very small and his main companions ever since.They had their own language  at one point.  It may be the best thing to have happen for him. He will have to learn how to be himself  and stand alone for the first time in his life.

The house is going to seem so empty. There was never any conflict (besides the obligatory pathological lying and other basic living with FASD stuff.) He has always been my easiest child to raise. He was the first of the three to bond with us.
I am going to miss him even if he did rarely speak.
Do you remember  all that talk about how I was more than ready for the empty nest?
I think I lied.

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must ignore the drama

So much unnecessary drama that needs to be ignored. I am not going to understand,not really my youngest daughter’s need for drama. somehow being involved in the wreckage  of other people’s  life makes her feel better about her own. Especially since she seems to keep the various pots stirring . I cannot do anymore than try and ignore as best I can the trainwreck she is making of her life-and other people’s . That last part is the part that hurts the most. Her need to, or  absolute lack of comprehension as to why what she is doing is wrong.  It makes me wonder if we somehow  missed major attach mentioned attachment issues as she grew up. The only comfort if we missed something that could have been corrected is that she could still come around and perhaps obtain a bit of empathy for those she hurts. Otherwise, it is just another ugly facet of FASD and simply is.
Our society seems to be filled from the top down with those who have only selfishness and no empathy. She has plenty of media inhanced roll models to justify hurting those who just a week agao were her “best” friends. She is running out of friends.
I have had other young adult children do things I wishthey had managed to avoid. I have never had another child save Youngest Son who callously used and abused those who they said they cared about.
The flip side of all of this is those who she is surrounding herself with are using her and she does not see it.
I do think,and have thought this for a few years now (hoping I was wrong of course) that it isn’t that she is immoral ,but that she is amoral.

I still read blogs by those who are parenting children. They have a determination I remember having. They still have hope that they can,however unlikely can work hard enough  to find that magic fairy dust and rebuild a broken brain as well as a broken spirit. They will beat the odds.They Will have a beter outcome.

I also read the ones where despite everything,the young adults are following  the same trajectory  my daughter is on. Some are doing much worse.
After twenty plus years of parenting traumatised children I think the difference in the outcomes of my children,the ones who are coping with what life gives them and are raising their children with love and care,paying their bills and for the most part taking responsibility for their own actions and reactions  is not determined by the severity of the abuse survived.  The damage done in utero is forever. Alcohol  is devastating . The Meth and alcohol  combination is deadly (for those around the effected individual.)

We just do our best to pick up the pieces.

So why ,if I know all of this,does it still fill me with grief to see my daughter living as she is?
Why can I not just simply separate myself from the emotion and pat myself on the back for having done my dead level best?

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middle-aged madness

Many when filled with middle-aged angst find a sports car and a young thing to replace the mini-van and the old thing who knows too many of our faults. Some people keep the old thing and take up traveling,gourmet cooking and buy all white furniture. We by chickens,learn to garden and take up bee keeping. We also consider backfilling and bringing more children into our home,but that is an entirely different  post.
When I write about our forays into becoming  more sustainable,I feel it somehow sounds more impressive than it actually is.  It does not feel (or look) like the books and blogs seem to portray what we are trying to do. We are doing what we do best-stumbling  through.
To prove my point I have some pictures of our projects. You can also see why we are seriously  thinking of planting some climbing roses on the side fence to give our neighbors  something more pleasant  to look at.
We are hoping that a year from now (God willing) we will be significantly farther along. For now we are simply thankfull we have Costco.

So for the sake of reality here are some pictures of our ongoing little foray into our version of middle-aged madness:

First is our topbar beehive. Followed by our basic aquaponics growbed and fish tank. For the moment we have goldfish,but will be getting some talapia fingerlings next week. The seedlings were planted five days before this picture was taken. The media they are growing in is called hydoton.The cherry tomatoes came with theysystem and are still  a bit shocky.
The mound of dirt is where we bury the bodies,I mean the basis for our huegokulture bed. We are going to have to purchase some topsoil to finish it off.and lastly, our girls looking for bugs in the backyard.
( I am posting on my tablet which means using an app for wihich I have not yet mastered cutting and pasting pictures very well. I apologize  for the inconvenience)

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top bar beehive

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it’s the little things

It is the little things that make me have hope that all is not lost. It used to be bigger things, but not anymore. My almost twenty-one year old soon to be homeless (by her choice,not ours) texted me because her eye was infected. I told her what to do over the counter to heal her eye and told her to tell me if if=t became worse. She did as I said and texted me back that it felt much better.
Do you understand what this means?
It means that she does know I am there for her. It means she does have some trust I will be there for her no matter what she last said to me.
It means that on an inner level she knows I am her mom.
That is  significant.

It may not keep her from choosing to live in her car,or couch surf this next week. It will  not keep her from the party,club and drug scene.
It will not heal her brain.

But,she knows I am her mom.
She knows she has a home to come back to.
She knows she is loved unconditionally.  
She knows.

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Support for those of us who are parenting neurologically challenged children/teens/”adults”

I know there are states where there appears to be quite a bit of support. MN comes to mind. My state (TX) has abismal support. The best I have ever come up with quite honestly is online. Yahoo has support groups and there are a few FASD sites that at least give you enough information to keep you from thinking you are the one with the challenges and your kiddo is the one suffering because you are too  fill in the blank (over,under protective,neurotic,have too many,too little expectations,are too hard or too soft  on them,or simply are lying through your teeth.)
I think in the end that the best support I have ever gotten was from a friend (the one who has remained since we began our adoption journey) and another mom who was in the midst of her own Hell (misery loves company). What was so helpful,you ask?  Simply being listened to and not judged. That was it.
The reality of raising kids with FADS,RAD,ODD,CD,PTSD,etc is that it is a very lonely road. Even those who are rising kids with the exact same diagnosis will  have completely different results with whatever intervention. The other truth (the hardest truth) is that even if they make progress for a while,even if they seem for this day,or week,or month to be making improvement, it does not mean it will be long term. Or,maybe it will be.
Every single time one of my children have shown any progress for more than a five minute interval,I allow myself to once again hope. I do not know of any parent who feels diferently inside despite what they may publicly say.
It is comforting to have permission to fail. It is comforting to have permission to have my child regress yet again and have not one person tell me something else that will magically fix whatever. It is helpful to be reminded I can not fix brain damage and I can not erase their past abuse and neglect. It is not helpful to be called a saint. I’m not;never have been. It is not helpful one bit to be told that my child is just like every other teen. They are not. You have not lived with adolecent angst and rebellion until you have done it with a child who is biologically a hormone driven teen/young adult with the emotional and cognative ability of (on a very,very good day) a twelve year old.
Heidi,if you want to support your friend simply listen to her. Do not tell her everything will work out-it very well may not. Tell her she is making a difference even on the days,months,years she feels like she has failed her child. Treat her child according to his emotional,cognative age with respect. Hopefully there is support in your area. If not,there is at least quite a bit of information online that will help everyone involved understand she is dealing with a neurological issue. Her son’s brain is permanently damaged. That means forever and ever. Always.
It is beyond daunting.
It means resetting expectations (sometimes on a daily basis).
It means loss.
It means grief.
It may mean out of home placment.
It may mean learning all about the juvenile justice (there’s an oxymoron) system or the prison system.
It may mean living with alarms and locked door and constant fear.
It may simply mean watching one’s child go through life with no friend,no interests,no hope.
Even with all that 2wI do not know a single parent who has given up all hope. It is what we hang on to in the dark. It is irrational.
Oh, and never,ever,ever insinuate,allude to,or come out and say that it is a lack of faith. Never say God will heal if only the child is prayed for enough. Never.
Pray for wisdom,yes. God will give wisdom. Pray for stamina. God will give stamina. Pray for faith to increase in the desert. Pray for comfort. Even pray for hope.
But to imply  that God will give us our heart’s desire because we pray is not biblical.
God is not the Good Humor Man.
He is God.
I think that is the end,that is the best support we can have. He knows. He understands. He loves our children more than we do and he feels their suffering more than even they do.
And do not be shocked if your friend is mad at God. You would be too. God understands that as well.

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