Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ripples in Elizabeth's Pond of Life

To say us going back into foster care has been an adjustment, would be a huge understatement.  It has been so much harder than I though it could be, yet so much more rewarding too.   I can see and feel God helping me thru it all and I am relying on His total strength to help me get thru each day. We had originally told DFCS one child at a time and we ended up with us getting two very young brothers as our second placement.  Talk about change.  It has been a HUGE change and adjustment in our lives.  Not bad, just new and different.  A new normal with nap times, snugly bedtimes, bottles and toys strewn all over the house.  I am getting some great muscles in my legs from hiking myself over all the baby gates.  :)  Like doing high hurtles all day when I want to go anywhere.

The new toddlers had their first hearing and will be here at least till the second hearing in 72 days.  They are now sleeping thru the night, on most nights and finally eating solid foods better.  They are learning to play with toys and not throw them or hurt others with them.  They are learning to talk and are sweet little boys deep inside.  They have just never been nurtured or worked with in so many areas that most people with consider normal or that would just be a natural way to raise a child.  We are having them evaluated for speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy.  We have had one evaluation done already and the 1 1/2 year old does need to have speech therapy, as when he came he only had three words.  But just thru normal life he has picked up many more now already.  They are both learning in leaps and bounds, Glory to God.  So over all the babies are doing much better.  They are getting into a routine and seem to be more at home.  They are beginning to really trust us, look toward us and rely on us. 

Tim and I are doing well with it all by the grace of God.  I have had some very hard days with their behaviors and our sleep gets disrupted and that really effects Tim, as he gets up so early in the mornings.  God has really helped me have strength when I needed it and I am grateful for His daily help.  But even with all the ups and downs in their care, it is all worth while knowing we are doing this for the Lord and to see these little ones smiling, learning and progressing, thank you God.

Our children here at home are also being wonderful and helpful.  They love on these two new little blessings.  These little brothers love all the kids and enjoy being read to, being taken out on our playground, being walked around the farm to look at all the animals, being played with and just sitting on the sofa by us when we watch an occasional movie.  It really has been a wonderful experience to see what they were like when they came here and see God working in them and how they are now.   But we have had one HUGE thing in doing this, that I never counted on and didn't see coming.  None of us did...and that was Elizabeth.  As many of you know she struggles with her behavior. (RAD)  I am not talking about normal childhood behaviors.  I am referring to her self-control and behavior that she struggles with daily.  She has done so well over the last few years.  Making slow and steady progress forward with less tantrums, less self harming and less out bursts.  She has matured a lot and has bad days and moments, but not like it used to be.  It used to be a daily, all day long struggle, for her not to spiral out of control many times in a day.

Elizabeth has been wonderful and loving with these two new foster children.  She sits and reads to them and plays with them all the time.  She is gentle loving and kind to them.  Showering them with love and sweetness. 
Elizabeth hurried to take the 2 1/2 year old out one morning to slide when he wanted to.  She was so eager to please him and take him out that she never changed from P.J's to clothing.

But some how these children coming have shaken her.  Like throwing a small stone into a pond sends out huge, out reaching, ripples, these children coming here have given us the most trying weeks with Elizabeth we have had in a very long time.  Put on top of that our own adjustments to lack of sleep, helping these toddlers with their behaviors and issues, normal toddler care for two we are not used to yet and our normal demands of life... and I can tell you that I have fallen into bed many nights praying with all my might for help from the Lord.  I just did not have one more ounce of strength or energy for anything else but sleep.

I don't know if these two little boys have stirred up memories of us doing foster care(of children coming and going), unearthed some deep seated insecurity she can not seem to talk about or remember or memories of her struggles in life when she was as young as they are... but she has really struggled with just doing her normal school work with out many outbursts.  She is struggling with obedience and the few chores that she has.  She has broken three Invisalign retainers on purpose and with out remorse in anger.  Sigh.  Elizabeth's dog is also not feeling well so I know that is stressing Elizabeth as well.  What ever is rocking her world is rocking ours as well.  Working with Elizabeth in all of these areas can be very emotionally draining without a break.

Praise be to God, the last 48 hours has been much better.  She seems to be finding her footing and getting a hold of herself better.  We have done a lot of giving grace, loving, punishing, taking things away, hugging, reinforcing, talking, praying, crying and just throwing our arms up in frustration over the last few weeks just because we have not had to deal with this type of intensity from her in a long time.  I am grateful for the last two days of peace.  It has made the rest of my life fall into place once again and things are much easier to handle. God is so merciful. 

I share this because I always wish to stay open and honest in what we do.  Sharing the good and the bad.  The struggles and the victories.  Sharing where we are and some of what we go thru, so people, if they are going thru similar struggles, might not feel so alone, so people might be encouraged when they see what the Lord does for us daily and so people may pray for us.  Also, if someone is contemplating adopting a child with a similar diagnosis, they can see how it really is.  Many of these issues our children deal/live with are ongoing and rear their ugly heads at the most inopportune times.  Like shunt surgeries, hospital stays or behaviors that we thought we had left behind.  God is so good always.  He helps us thru it all.

Deuteronomy 31:6  Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.




  1. awe... poor baby... change is hard! She for sure will grow stronger from this cause she'll have the lessons she's learning now to bounce off of in the future. If I was near you, i'd bring a vessel and a bowl and I'd wash your feet and I'd soak up every ounce of wisdom you had to give me..... you are quite the mommy Susan!

    1. God bless you for your kind heart and picture you so beautifully painted. It blessed my heart and is received of you. Thank you so much. Blessings.

  2. I appreciate your honesty as I think too often people don't realize how deep the trauma goes and love alone is not going to fix the hurts. Maybe it is good that Elizabeth is having some ripples while she is at this stage in her life - a time to continue learning coping skills while right with her family versus nothing maybe being rocked until she is more independent and having less right in her face parent and siblings to love as she grows through this part of healing from trauma. Here's to lots of energy when you need it as I know how amazing, but exhausting this life is!

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement dannette. You are so right. I used to think consistency and love would heal all hurts and scars, and that is just not enough. It truly takes an act of God. I stay in prayer over all of these children but especially her. I do see God working mightily in her and her life. The last few weeks has made me appreciate so much that we are not in this place all the time anymore. That she truly has come so far by the grace of God. I will not take it for granted again. Thank you again. God be with you!