"B" just turned 3 years old in November. He is in feeding therapy as he can not chew food well and does not self feed. Nothing is wrong with him physically. His mom just had him on a bottle for the first 2 and a half years of his life. The only solid foods he was fed, were snack cakes and bags of chips. We found out he has six cavities that need filling, in his front teeth, from bottle rot. When he came to live with us, meals took forever. Not only to get him to chew and eat but to eat healthy food. Now, he eats anything we eat but the average meal, for him, takes about an hour and a half, with me feeding him almost every bite. He eats very slowly. He only feeds himself about five or six bites of a whole meal. I have a teething/chewing toy I clip to his shirt during the day for him to mouth and chew on to help develop those chewing muscles. He still sits in a high chair as he smears food all in his hair and over his body at every meal and he can not stay seated unless strapped in.
When he came, he was not potty trained. He potty trained very quickly but used his excrement and urine to....hmmm... lets just say....make a statement when he was mad. He is no longer pulling out his little boy part and urinating on everything when he gets sat in time out or scolded. Praise God! But will still do the other sometimes. He is a very smart child and learns very quickly. When he came here, he knew 20 words and two were very bad. He now knows his letters and letter sounds, numbers, shapes, colors, body parts, animals and so much more. He talks all day long non-stop and is constantly asking very good questions. He is VERY active and has trouble sitting still. He loves for me to read books to him and cry's when I have to stop. He loves doing anything educational. He is a lot of fun to teach. We are still having issues with him being violent toward his brother and the other children in the home. It has gotten better but it is not gone. He used to scream and kick my van or bus window the whole time we went anywhere when he came and would try to get out of his car seat. (We were told by DFCS the boys were tied in car seats their whole life before we got them) So I can understand the trauma of being restrained in a car seat for them but this still made it no easier to ignore while driving everywhere. Now, he no longer does that. He happily climbs up in his car seat and even tries to buckle it himself. He understands we are putting him in, going somewhere, will then come home and he can get out. When he came, he used all toys as weapons or tried to break them. Now, after months of my children "playing" with him and modeling appropriate play, he will play for a short while before trying to break something. He rarely uses toys as weapons anymore. Thank God. These are just some of the areas and things that have went on that we have had to try to manage. He gets Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Feeding Therapy. He needs them all because he was not let down to play, like in a functional home or from not being fed properly. We love him dearly and he is doing so much better all the time. He has two or three good days following a hard day. That is much better than it used to be...a constant battle every day, all day long, to behave and control himself. All the Glory to God.
"T" just turned 2 years old. He is so much younger than "B", that he has overcome much quicker (comparatively) and easier the issues he came with, than his brother. Because of the neglect, "T" was very immature and acted much like a baby when he came, so he has less anger and less inappropriate behaviors to over come. Both boys screamed off and on day and night when they first came. They did this for at least eight weeks straight. It was a high pitched scream, from them detoxing the meth that was smoked regularly around them. They would not be comforted. They only thing that helped some, was giving them a bottle. At about eight weeks it slowly started to subside. "T" also is a climber. He would not be contained and needed constant supervision. We zip-tied toddler gates all around the top of the crib making it taller. So tall, that I broke my ribs putting him to bed one night when Tim was out of town. (Tim is much taller than I am) Finally, I sewed "T"'s pajama legs together, with a narrow towel, so he could not hike his leg over the side. Praise God that worked. (got the idea off the internet) Neither boy could fall asleep on their own or slept thru the night for a long time. If I tried to put them down, with out me helping them fall asleep, they each exhibited bad self injurious behavior. "B" banged his head and broke off pieces of his hair while screaming, and "T" poked his eyes and bit hard on his nail beds. His nail beds were actually inverted (cup shaped) when he came and I didn't know why, till I saw what he did when he was upset. I started out rocking and singing them to sleep, with the only bottle I allowed them for the day and putting them down. After a month of that, I was exhausted. As it took over an hour for each boy. So then Tim and I put them in bed with us (with "baby praise" music playing) till they fell asleep and then moved them to their beds. After another month or so of doing that, we started just putting them in their own bed with the same "baby praise" music playing. They would wake and scream every three hours or so. They did this for many months. Now we can put them into bed and they are happy to go. I can walk in and out of their room and if they are awake they do not cry for me. They also both sleep straight thru the night! Glory to God neither one of them do any self injurious behaviors anymore! (They both used to hit themselves and kick their feet hard when I put them in time out and they don't do this anymore either) I was very concerned about these behaviors and the fact they are gone is a true miracle to me. Praise God!
"T" had a lot of tummy issues and didn't seem to be developing, so we took him in for testing for food allergies. We found out he is casin and gluten intolerant. Once we took those things out of his diet, he was less clumsy, came out of a fog in development and has learned so much very quickly. When he came he also had been bottle fed milk day and night and ate snack cakes and chips but because of his young age, he excepted good food much quicker and eats anything we eat very well. But he also does not self feed. He eats about 10 bites himself throughout his meal and I have to feed him the rest. Needless to say, meal times are still not a fun time of day for me, as I have to feed both boys almost their whole meal. They will only eat for Tim and myself, so the other children in our home can not help me with this. So meals take a while. On the upside "T" graduated out of his highchair a long time ago. He is a very neat eater and sits very well at the big kid table. All in all, I would say that "T" is now a normal acting 2 year old little boy. He is such a joy to be around and when in trouble it is normal typical two year old trouble, like climbing or sneaking somewhere to get into something he knows he should not touch. Glory to God.
This post is getting long so I will do a separate update post on our foster daughter baby "K" at a later date.
I give glory to God for answering our prayers of "What to do with our future years to serve Him". We prayed this prayer for many years and God has led us back into foster care. I praise Him for bringing the children into our home He wished to be here and for giving us the strength and help needed to get through every day. That when I have felt like quitting He has made it clear we are where He wants us to be. When I have felt like I could not move forward, that He has given us peace in some form for even a hour before heading back into it all again. The nights are so much better and the days are getting better all the time. The children are bonding and becoming a part of us...the Nichols. They are starting to talk like us and act like us. We love them all dearly.
Lord, please shine your light down on the path you wish for us all to take in our lives. Give us the Fruit of Your Spirit, to do all things in Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. Living our lives for You because you gave your Son for us.
Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.