My Family

My Family

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Shannon!

Guess who is turning 39?  Not me, I get to stay 25 for the rest of my life.  A friend and I long ago decided that once we hit this magic age, we were done.  I don't know if she held on to her end of the bargain, but I did. 

I married my best friend almost 8 years ago.  We have been together for about 10 years.  It was an interesting first date.  We met on-line and had a tops thirty minute first date at Chik-Fil-A.  The restaurant was having a family day and we couldn't hear each other.  I was a nanny at the time and my boss was violently ill.  Her kids were a bit "spirited" and she was a single mom so I felt awful about leaving her in a lurch.  Even though it was my day off.  Go figure.  So I rushed home after the date hoping that the house was still standing (it was, barely).  I thought I would never see Shannon again.  Luckily, he called a day later and asked if I wanted a do-over.  I thought, sure might as well scare you away properly.  I said yes. 

So we went to a nice quiet restaurant and had a real conversation.  We had lots in common.  I was at a point where I had travelled and done all sorts of different things.  I was ready to settle down.  So was he.  I only had one really big issue.  The guy who married me needed to be O.K. with adopting kids.  Shannon, bless him, never batted an eye when I raised the issue.  He said, no problem.  That was it for me. 

I would love to say that we got married and it was all bliss with little birds tweeting and helping me with domestic duties.  That we never fight and stare adoringly into each other's eyes all day long.  But this is reality.  We are both very strong willed.  I have my head in the clouds and he has his on the ground.  I have this desperate need to be on time for everything and he is always late.  There are many things that we are so polar opposite on we both sometimes wonder where the person we were dating has disappeared to?

Even though we may never agree on where to put the butter in the fridge ( and many other stupid things) we are both in it for the long haul.  Shannon was my rock while we were going through the adoption process the first time.  This time around I have been the rock.  He loves our son and was willing to adopt him despite the social worker trying to scare us to death about him.  He has fought daycares, churches, and family so our child can get the help and support he needs.  He is not shy about advocating for Marvin and is not slow in sharing it.  

So happy birthday to my best friend, companion, and co-fighter in the daily battles of adoption and child rearing!  I love you Shannon!!! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The best gift ever!!!

Merry Christmas everyone!!! 

I hope you are all doing well.  I just got the best Christmas gift a mommy could ever receive.  No, it didn't come in a Tiffany's bag.  (Although that would have been nice too.)  My son who blessed our hearts and homes several Christmases ago.  Here are some of his first pics: 

Gotta love the baby pudge.  I so miss it!  Our little one came to us with more labels than belongings.  Failure to thrive, Meth addicted, Shaken Baby Syndrome, Mild to Moderate Attachment and Bonding Disorder, Possible ADHD (although how you can tell on an 18 month old is beyond me, they all have ADHD at that age!), Lagging gross motor, fine motor, and language delays, Sight issues that may complicate into blindness, Reduced life span possibly turning into SIDS or early childhood death.  These are just a few of the labels that haunted me for years. 

Now flash forward to this Christmas.  Here is a pic.  Sorry it is not the best, my camera needed a good cleaning: 

So here we are now at four and a half.  My gift came a few days early!  We got to loose some labels!!!  Yeah!!  I must admit I cried.  A lot.  My child has NO attachment issues, no major developmental delays, will probably not go blind, and as was pointed out as Marvin was jumping off the exam table saying "Look at me I am Batman!", I will probably die of fright before Marvin bumps off.  He has also been cleared to go to Kindergarten in the fall.  He is growing and THRIVING.  Now, I had co-workers and family telling me that he was doing great all along, but it is so nice to have him medically verified.  They still want to keep the ADHD on the back burner, but it was agreed all around that it is way to early to diagnose that.  I also argued that he was a strong kinesthetic learner.  They were impressed with my big word of the day (thank you Lisa Murphy for all your way cool info on this, I owe you!) . 

So now I am off to a very busy and exciting two days of family, friends, church, and food.  I hope your Christmas is as wonderful as mine is turning out to be!! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Trigger Blues

So we are quickly moving into the hectic holiday season.  It is a crazy time of year for anyone.  But if you have a children with special needs who are used to the rhythms and routines of everyday living, it can be even more stressful.  Not everything can be glitzed over with tinsel. 

Marvin came to us on December 12th four years ago this year.  It was a day before my birthday and I was so excited I spent the days before almost throwing up.  It also helped take my mind off my birthday, but that is another post on another day.  I was thrilled and very very very very stupid.  I had visions of Santa, candy canes, presents, celebrations with family and friends all in my head.  WRONG!!!!  The one thing that everyone stressed to me was that this is a very traumatic event in a child's life.  Great for us but sucky for him.  Keep low key.  No big hooplah.  Quiet holidays.  One maybe two presents tops.  Say what??? 

So in comes Marvin and with joy everything falls into place and they were all wrong.  Nope, not quite.  They took Marvin from daycare, he fell asleep in the car and woke up in a strange place with his social worker telling him that this was mommy and daddy now.  Just the look on my new son's face, that moment when he realized that his life was falling apart and there was no foster family anymore just about killed me.  He shrank from us.  He clung to Ms. T.  He sobbed like he was dying.  And in reality a part of him was dying.  The part of his life that he would never have back again.  But we muddled through it.  It was a quiet Christmas.  It was also the most magical one I have ever had. 

Flash forward to the next December.  Around holiday time Marvin was inconsolable.  He liked doing the "traditional stuff" but sometime I felt like he was doing it just to please us.  We still kept it low key, but he had a lot of trigger episodes.  Last December was better and I was bright enough to catch on to the patterns.  I kept Marvin away from things I knew would cause problems the best I could.  He was more expressive and was able to tell me he hated Christmas.  Until he got presents and changed his mind on that one.  He may have issues, but he is still a typical kid in most ways! 

So here we are once again.  I am hanging on with all I've got this year!  Marvin is able to handle more stimulation, but I still try to keep things as quiet and smooth here at Casa de la Fields as possible.  As an active four he has decided that he likes Christmas, especially the train that Paw Paw gave him for under the tree.  We have had a very big increase in trigger related events, but now that I am aware, I know I can ride it out.  Little things like going to the doctor to have our ears checked has produced mind blowing moments that probably leave the people in the parking lot to think I am beating my child within an inch of his life.  Marvin usually takes stuff in stride, but sometimes he just can't.  That stresses him, which in turn, stresses me. 

Today was another great example.  We went to a school play instead of school.  Marvin fretted about not being in school, worried about the classroom animals, and the materials.  Most of the time he loves having a day off.  Not today.  Then the play was going smashing until we got to a part about a giant glowing scary frog.  Lovely.  Just what I needed.  So here is my kid who has had nightmares about being ripped away from his family for the past two weeks being presented with another great opportunity to freak out.  Which he did on the car ride home.  For a whole hour.  The fun never stops. 

I know that most of it is due to lack of sleep.  I also think he has another ear infection.  With our weather changing from 70 to 40 in a blink I am feeling a bit run down too.  I know things will get better, but I just wish that I could have a normal holiday experience.  Is it really too much to ask?  But I can't have normal, so I am learning to take what I have and enjoy the good moments.  There are good moments.  I hope there will be many more of them and less bad ones for the Christmases of the future.  Marvin has made many strides and I am confident that he will continue to make many more.  Christmas is a season of hope and rebirth.  I have hope that with Marvin's rebirth into our family that he will continue to make strides in his healing process and have peace of mind in the security of a loving family.  Only time will tell.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Home Study Visit Round Three


Last Thursday we had our last "official" home study visit.  It went really well.  Our teen social worker found her way out to the boonies with no problem.  I had the house all decked out for Christmas so it looks all festive and lighty-ish.   I had Penelope all cleaned up and she was super cute and fluffy. 

The visit pretty much went the same as all the other visits.  She asked the same questions.  We are pretty sick of them.  I told Shannon she didn't appreciate my sense of humor, but if you were asked, "What kind of child are you willing to parent?" 500,000 times, see if you wouldn't be a little feisty too. (I told her a live one, dead ones aren't my style.  Yes I did say that.  No I am not sorry I said that.)   In spite of that, Marvin was super charming and drug Laura all over the house.  He proudly showed her his prowess in operating the washing machine.  He showed her his tractors, trains, snacks, and sock drawer.  Yes, the sock drawer.  Sigh. 

So the house was approved.  Our punishment is more paperwork.  If that gets in and we get the ball rolling we should be approved in January.  Yay!!!!   I am excited that we are moving forward.  I am hoping for intensive searches and if all goes well a placement over the summer.  I plan on being rather aggressive this time around.  We waited three years for Marvin.  I am not sure I want to wait three more years. 

We were told that we would make a really great family for children with special needs.  Laura told us that families would take behavior problems over learning delays.  That is a shame.  I would rather work on ABCs and 123s.  Special needs is not a bad thing.  Marvin has them and there is no same in it.  He didn't asked to be nearly killed by bio mom and to have his brain chemically altered through deprivation of needs.  He's not normal, whatever that is.  I am coming to terms with triggers, learning needs, emotional needs, and other things that make my son different.  I grieve over it on a regular basis, but Marvin doesn't complain about it.  He just tries harder.  So I am trying harder too.  Trying to redefine what normal is for us and adjusting to it.  So far we are doing the best we can and that is what life is all about.