Monday, March 23, 2015

Sleep Strategies Webinar

Tomorrow at 1pm Eastern (12pm Central), Adoptive Families will host Sound Sleep Strategies for Adoptive Families. Dr. Sarah Springer will answer questions and give advice on strategies to use with adopted children.

And we all know if your kid is not sleeping then neither are you! I am so pumped about this and can't wait to add some more tools to my parenting toolbox!

Click here to register or to find out more information:

Not familiar with Adoptive Families. It's an online community full of articles, support groups, and webinars to listen. Click here for their website.

Friday, March 20, 2015

FAS/FASD Webinar

Earlier this week, I attended a great webinar about treating FASD with nutritional interventions. It was comforting to hear that researchers are trying to finding ways of reducing or reversing FASD.

If you know someone who has FASD/FAS, this is a great webinar to listen to about the current research.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pretty Proud of My Grocery Trip Today!

Every adoptive parent needs respite from caring for traumatized children and today I got a little bit of that. I can't describe the amazing feeling that it is to get to "sneak" away for an hour. Wes was entertaining Smalls with a movie (Star Wars, they are nerds, not me).

One of my hobbies is couponing. I recently learned how to coupon and match up sales. It's so much fun to figure out how I can get items for free or under $1. On my "respite" time, I went couponing at 2 stores Target and CVS. Although I technically didn't get anything under $1, I got some pretty amazing deals on things that we use everyday.

Here's what I bought:

6 bottles of kid's mouthwash
 Retail Value: $21.94
After Sales and Coupons: $10.94
That's $1.82 per bottle! Amazing!

3 Jumbo Packages Pampers
1 CVS brand Cottonballs
1 CVS brand wipes
Retail Value: $41.25
After Sales and Coupons: $10.76
Don't tell my pregnant friends that I'm getting diapers this cheap! I don't want them to think that I'm skimping on their baby shower presents.

By couponing and shopping sales, I've saved $41.49! What should I do with all of this extra money?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Highs and Lows of Adoption

I recently posted about a terrible day that we had with Smalls. That was a big low point for us. It was a hard day and it took awhile for me to recover (a couple of days afterward). I had no brains to think or talk.

Well, I am so happy to report that we are now at a high point. Smalls has done so well in school these past 2 weeks. She has been a nine year old all the way! We watched movies together, went to parks, museums, and did other fun stuff. She did have some melt downs but it was normal 9 year old girl stuff, which I can handle.

I am enjoying every minute of this high. I usually take these times to write a lot of blog posts but I am pacing myself. I know that there will be a low point in our near future because that's how it is with adopted children. You see them regress to earlier ages and you want to rip your hair out, but then they mature and grow and you enjoy them for a little bit before they regress. Did I mention that I absolutely hate roller coaster rides? I hate them. And adopting a traumatized child is like that big scary roller coaster ride that you can never get off of and you just pray that the calm in the roller coaster will last more than 5 seconds.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

You Know You've Adopted/Fostered An Older Child When....

-You have a collection of different toys for ages 1 to 10 years old in your house, even though you have no baby or intentions of bringing a baby home anytime soon.

-You let your child eat cat food because they never got to "experience" that before.

-You help them hoard ridiculous stuff like tags from clothing. Why? Why not hoard food or something other than trash?

-You had to potty train a child well beyond the years of potty training.

-Your Internationally adopted child who doesn't speak English all of a sudden burst out saying "F-word you", while lifting up their middle finger in the middle of a store. Where did that come from?

-You've asked yourself "how much benedryl can I give my child to make them go to sleep without harming them?"

-Your child keeps asking the same question over and over and over again.

-You know you're going to have a really bad day when your child starts mixing English with their other language, even though they can't remember or haven't spoken that language in a very long time.

-Your child has a passive aggressive way of saying that they don't like you:

-Your child asks to go back to their home country to get a baby sister (because that's where babies come from).

-You find "human waste" in non-traditional places.

-You spend a fortune on a babysitter because you really want them to come back after 1 time!

- Your hair was brown before but now it's white. How did that happen, so fast?

-You just want to sit in bed all day watching Hulu.

-You feel lonely.

-You try to put on the "I've got this face" because if you say one thing about being tired or about how awful your child's behavior is your friends will say "I've told you so", "try having a newborn baby", "you should've have known that they were going to be this way. didn't you get paperwork?", or "you knew what you were getting into".

-You try not to talk about your struggles because parents of biological children will pipe in with their advice "all children go through phases like that", or "it's just like Suzie, she misbehaves sometimes, too".

-You have good days and you think to yourself "I can do this. I want to adopt again". Then the next day, you cringe at the word of adoption.

-Other parents question your parenting styles. Little Joe insisted on not wearing a coat and I've told him several times it will be very cold. Little Joe does not have a coat because he didn't want to bring one and pitched a major fit because of it and that's not a battle I'm willing to fight.  Let him freeze or not be able to go outside, whatever the natural consequence will be.

-You expected some sort of adoption shower (which never happened) because after all you gave presents to friends who were expecting. Why is adopting an older child any different?

-You don't go to church during baby dedication day because you hold a grudge against your church because the church "doesn't do adoption dedication".

-You know more about psychiatric illnesses than most doctors (except for psychiatrists, of course).

-Your best friend is your cat because he will still stick around after a hard day.

-You stopped making fun of that adoptive mom in Tennessee who sent her son on a plane back to Russia with a note taped to him because you now believe she went temporarily insane because of the trauma related issues her son was going through and she had no help herself. You actually feel sorry for her and want to write her a note saying "I understand, everything".

-You've contemplating on letting your child wear the dog's shock collar just in case they try and runaway again.

-You, the parent, started throwing tantrums (on the floor, kicking and screaming) along with your child because you are tired of their tantrum throwing.

Do you have any to add to the list?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ever Had a Bad Day...

Well, that was my family on Friday.

We got finished with school super early and Smalls just needed to finish up her punishment (writing 20 times "I will not throw my toys when I am mad."). And that's when we started sinking and sinking fast we did! Smalls went out of the ordinary nuts. She pitched a good ole fashion tantrum and she wouldn't stop. That's right. It didn't stop for 9 whole hours! I even looked up in the Guinness World Book of Records to see if we could set the world's longest tantrum. She absolutely refused to finish her punishment. I gave her some sleepy meds at 7pm and put her to bed early. I was exhausted and I still feel exhausted from Friday. I even thought about going to the ER to get a psychiatric evaluation for Smalls.

On Saturday, I woke her little tail up at 6am to finish her punishment and the first words out of her mouth "Do I have to finish my punishment?". Oh, you're kidding right? Sure you don't have to worry about your punishment. Don't worry about it. YEA RIGHT! My response was "Do cats have tails? Can dogs bark?" And then she finished her writing in about 20 minutes of that time. She finished! Wow, she could have had so much fun on Friday, almost having a full day off from school.

How on earth did we have a tantrum of this magnitude? And why wouldn't it end? Didn't she want to have fun? Well, Smalls like most adoptive children have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). We had a great last week together. We bonded and she did so well in school, she was able to finish early on Friday to allow enough room for the park, watching a movie, etc.... But she chose to create chaos for herself instead of reaping the rewards of her good behavior. She felt vulnerable because we had such a good time last week and she was starting to come out of her shell a little more. She then remembered she needed to protect herself from adults and feel like she is in control. She feels the most control when she makes us "mad" at her. She always wants us to be mad at her. She needs a reason to keep her self locked up.

I still feel exhausted from Friday. Parenting an adopted child is emotionally exhausting. My brain can't rest and feels like mush if I try to think about something difficult. This is why adoptive parents, before you even bring home your child, have a couple of good friends meet with you weekly after you adopt. If I could go back in time I would ask 5 members of our church to partner with us and rotate with coming by once a week to talk to me or watch Smalls for a couple of hours.

Parenting an adoptive child is challenging and we, adoptive parents, need help, which is why I love this video I'm about to share. This is how I feel right now. The church teaches we should adopt and I agree, but we leave it at that and that's not okay. Adoptive parents need partners in the church to walk alongside of them to help them and give them encouragement during the dark times. OK, so that's enough talking.

Here's the video:

Do you have an adoptive family in your church? How can you help them out? How can you provide respite care for the adoptive parents? What is your role in foster/adoption care?