Saturday, August 1, 2015

Catching Up (Part 1)

Found our silly 15 year old cat, out on the porch, in the kids doll house.  So funny!
I have had many people ask how the new baby is doing and others in our home.  I looked back thru the blog and I guess it has been a while since I have written a "catch up" post, so here it is!

I feel like we have turned a corner lately.  A few things have happened that have made my life just a tad easier and all of it adds up to me feeling more energetic and better.  We went thru a season of life being happy but very hard and that all seems to be shifting for the better.  We are even starting to get back into a daily routine!   All the Glory to God for his mercy, grace and faithfulness.
My little pistol shrimp, peeking out of his cave, from under a blue coral.
The biggest thing is... Tim and I have went a year and a half without any kind of break from the foster children. We love them all dearly but several of them are hard children by themselves and add them all together and they can be a real handful.  Our county has such strict guidelines about who can watch the foster children for us, that we have not had any time to ourselves or away from the foster children for hardly a moment.  If we have to run to the store, we have to take them all with us.  If we have to run errands, I have to take all of them in every place we go.  They have had to be with Tim or I, at all times.  It gets exhausting.  I dreaded going to town for any reason, as it was just so much time, effort and work.  The toddlers still don't behave well in public and add to that the two infants.  Climbing in and out of the bus.  Setting up all the strollers and getting them all in and out of car seats.  Whew!  Plus my other older children.  In a year and a half we had one foster appreciation night where DFCS babysat the foster children and sent us all out to dinner.  Then one other day where Tim and I had to go to a CPR class and a foster friend cared for the toddlers for us.  Anyone watching the children basically needed to go thru everything a foster parent would, in order to watch the children for us.  From background checks to finger printing, to home inspections and in most cases, even taking the foster parenting classes.  Who would do that for us, just so we have a back up sitter?  The toddlers are a handful and add to that baby "K" and baby "A" and that would be a lot on anyone to watch for us.   Tim and I have been taking turns keeping all the children once a month so the other can get out alone or with a few of our older children, to have time to ourselves and away.  Tim does guys night out with our older boys and I do one for the girls or I go antiquing with my dad once a month.  I love all of our children but one day or evening away, can be very recharging. 
Zeke and baby "K" reading together!
Our county recently reconsidered and changed their position on who can baby sit and what the regulations are.  William is 19 years old, a mature and responsible young man.  He also, has already had a background check, been finger printed, drug tested and the whole nine yards, as an adult in our foster care approved home.   He was recently approved as a sitter in our home!  It has made a world of difference for me.  If I have to run to the store or a doctors appointment, I can leave a child with him.  I always only do it if he is willing and leave the easiest one with him. I would never leave him with all four and the longest I have had him watch a child for me, as if now, has been an hour and a half.  But what a difference!   I can also run into a store, while in town and not have to unload all of the children to take with me for every errand.  If I need to run into the store and get baby formula or something, if William is in the bus, I can just run in by myself and it takes me a fraction of the time as it would to unload everyone and take them all in.  Having this option has made a huge difference in my life.  I don't often use it, but if I need it. It is there for me/us.  I am so grateful for having this in our lives now.

Another thing that has made life easier is that Baby "A" has started sleeping straight thru the whole night.  Thank you God!
From the time I put her down, till we wake up in the morning and the sun comes up!  Ahhhh.  It is amazing what sleep does for a body and mind!  God is so good.  She is also taking five ounces a feeding, latching better, less reflux episodes and going longer in between feedings.  Wow, just amazing how this simplifies life.  Since I am writing about her, I guess I will start here.  Baby "A" is doing wonderful.  She is nearly three months old already.  She is in a size 3-6 months cloths.  She makes eye contact, coos and tries to talk/babble.  She bats at toys I hang over her head and is trying to roll over.  She seems on target so far and I have no concerns about her physical or cognitive abilities at this time.  Praise God!, considering she is a meth baby!  She is a very good baby but has a little bit of a temper. The anxiety she was experiencing all evening, every evening, since the day she was born, has just about subsided.  We love her dearly and feel blessed to have her in our home.  Her biological  mom recently got arrested and is now in jail again.  I pray for her salvation.  She named four possible fathers in this case so we do not know who the dad is at this time.

"K" is doing fantastic! 
God has done such a miracle in this little girl.  She is pulling to a stand at the couch and can ride on a "ride on" toy.  She is self feeding chopped up table foods and has learned to mange drinking from a thin straw with out choking!  This is a huge deal, as she aspirates on thin liquids and needs her bottles thickened.  It seems if she tucks her chin to drink from a straw instead of tipping her head back, like from a cup or bottle, she can manage small amounts of liquid without choking!  Praise God!  We are moving her out of feeding therapy at this time and putting her into speech, as she is still not talking or babbling much.  She has always been a very quiet child but she understands everything we say.  I can ask her to bring me her shoes and she will do it.  She is very obedient and tenderhearted.  She reminds me of William when he was younger.

"T" is doing very well. 
I finally cut his hair as he was pulling it out so much.  I hope with it being short he will stop this bad habit.  We have been working on potty training faithfully for the last five  months with very little progress but we are going to keep at it, hoping it will click at some point.  He is a very well behaved child but has a few melt downs a week because of sensory issues.(These last for up to an hour)  He definitely acts like he is on the autism spectrum.  He is starting to feed himself a little bit which has been nice!  I was never able to give him silverware because he would hurt himself with the fork or bang his head hard, with the spoon.   I bought him a softish rubber fork and he is doing very well with it.  He will load it himself a few times thru the meal and if I load it, he will put it into his own mouth.  This is huge.  I have had to feed this child every mouthful of food almost the entire year and a half he has been here.  I see him being able to self feed himself by the end of the year for sure.  Which will free up some of my time during meals.  I love this little guy.  He is very close to my heart and a mamas boy thru and thru.

"B" is progressing in many areas and doing the same in others.   
Zeke and "B" in the pool.  We have a salt water system and it ate away the top rails of the pool.  Those are being replaced next week.
His behavior is still very trying all day every day but he is learning to play in a healthy way for longer and longer periods of time.  I can still not allow him to be around the other younger children as he hurts them.  But he is making progress.  He is also beginning to self feed!  I have to tell him to take every bite but that is better then me sitting thru every meal, feeding all the children myself, by hand.  If I tell him, "take a bite", he will.  He still can not sit by anyone at the table or he throws their food on the floor and hits and pinches those around him.  But he is making slow progress in that area as well.  He is still taking a very long time to chew and pockets his food in his cheek.  So he spends a lot of time in the kitchen eating.  But over all, he is doing better all the time and I can see such improvement in him.  He is still very impulsive and has a very short attention span but he is brilliant and loves to learn.  He is way ahead of his peers.  I see such a bright future for this little guy!  

"K", "T" and "B"'s adoptions are in the works and should be completed by mid September.  I can't wait to introduce them to you, not only their real names but their sweet faces as well.

This post has gotten a little long.  I will update on the older children in the next post!

Romans 15:13  Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.




  1. Our SP who turns 60 this December still pockets food in her cheeks! Not to say B won't stop- but some of these things are such strong urges or habits? SP is delayed and has mental illness.

    I can totally relate to your babysitting situation. We must take our Adult Foster ladies with us everywhere due to the extremely strict laws. Even our adult married daughter Grace who left home would need to go through all of the hoops again to watch them for us and she is MA's guardian!! Makes no sense. :o(

    BUT!! As you mentioned- God is so good! Now after 4 years of loading the van with us all every trip, our oldest four can (14,13,12 and 11) finally babysit our 5 boys and Mercy for us!! (never longer than 2 hours, usually an hour) We can also leave Samson (19) alone with them, since he is an Independent adult right now- we'll soon be his Guardians. The 5 boys are always very good for their sitters. :o)

    We still have to take SP & MA, but that is so much easier than everybody! Praise God!!
    (((BIG HUGS))) to ALL! That sweet baby K is just amazing us all!

    1. Wow, I see and know you understand how hard it is to get around being required to take everyone with us! Bless your heart I know it is hard for you sometimes. Just having William available has made such a difference. The states have some strict and unreasonable rules. A foster mom had seven foster children and needed emergency surgery. Her husband wanted to be with her of course. They had no back up care because of our county's strict rules. It left DFCS watching all the children and trying to find places for them. So now they want each family to have one back up caregiver and loosened their rules. Very soon we should have our adoptions done and only baby K in foster care. Once the children are ours we can hire any sitter we feel is well qualified. At that time Tim and I might be able to get out for a date alone finally. It would be the first in over a year and a half! Love and Blessings!

  2. HI I stumbled onto your blog and have been reading back - your family is fantastic! I used to live in GA (Marietta/Kennesaw) but moved to Florida last year as I have a spinal cord injury and seizures and need to live with my parents again for a while. I love North GA though! Also, it's been on my heart since I first interacted with special needs kids at school that I want to foster/adopt them, if God allows. I've never really wanted to have kids, and one ovary is already gone and the second is about to be removed, so it's kind of a good thing ;) Now that I use a wheelchair I'm not sure if that helps or hurts my case...I'm very capable, and can certainly relate to a child with different challenges...I need to get married so I have help first though. Anyway, fostering/adopting and special needs are all near and dear to my heart.

    One random thing - you mentioned one of the girls aspirates easily - I do too, mainly on thin liquids and "scatter" foods...I have a Chiari Malformation and a C6/7 disc herniation so that's ST said to always keep my chin down and tucked when I swallow because that closes the windpipe sand opens the esophagus. Tipping your head back does the opposite, which is exactly what you noticed with her drinking out of a straw vs a cup! Maybe consider getting "nosey" cups I think they're called? They have a cutout for the nose so you can keep your head in the same position instead of tipping backward to drink. That may help her!

    Will be praying for your family and kids health - Glad Antonio is improving! Take care!

    1. Hello Lindsay,
      Thank you for taking the time to write and encourage us! I used to live in Marietta for many years. I went to Lassiter High School and I lived in Kennasaw for several years as well. So I know that area. We moved out of that area as it was getting so over crowded. The traffic! So terrible. We love the North Georgia Mountains very much. So wonderful that God has given you a heart for His children with special needs. There are not many people out there that are willing to foster or adopt them. Which is so sad as they are just children. Wonderful children with issues. I am sorry for all you have went thru but God uses all things for good and I can see the compassion in your writing that your heart would be tender and understanding of what they have and are going thru. That is a gift. Thank you for your suggestion of the nosey cup. I will look into getting one. Thank you for the prayers we always need them. Blessings!

  3. I graduated from Lassiter in 2002, and Kennesaw 2007. Worked at Emory University Hosoital until my injury. I hated to move because I lived there since Jan 1999 so all my friends were there, but I just really (a) couldn't afford to live alone on disability and (b) needed my parents' help while I was medically at a pretty low point. There are a lot of great doctors here and the warm weather is much kinder to my joints...have to be careful about over heating though!

    I bookmarked your blog and look forward to reading more about your growing family! The little ones look much cuter without the white dots over their faces ;) Can't wait to see the baby, if that is in the works! I just love your capacity to care for these children. I absolutely do not doubt my ability to love them as my own, after having gotten so attached to my daycare babies, but I don't know that I could juggle as many medical complexities on a daily basis (without having my own meltdown)! I feel like given my 5 years working in pharmacy, plus my time as a patient and being my own advocate, that I have the know-how to navigate the system and fight for what they need, but maybe I'll just start with one or two ;)

    I met a lady in Walmart (random I know) and she fostered to adopt over 20 kids as a single woman. She said she quit her job as a Costco exec to do it. Showed me family pictures - from 30s to babies - she pointed out that even the ones she got much older, everyone just needs and wants to feel like they have a place they belong, somewhere to call home. So kids she connected with who were almost too old to adopt, she would grab them up so they wouldn't be "lost" after the system was done with them, but she was able to live and mentor them into adulthood, and they had a family and a place to go on Christmas. Someone who would notice if they were missing. I love adoption stories. Kids that would otherwise be alone in a cruel world finding people who love them. It's not always easy, I'm sure, but it must be worth it!

    1. I went to Lassiter when it was just built. My sister was in the first graduating class. Seems like a lifetime ago. It was a nice area. Very affluent. Everything was very convenient. It was just getting so over crowded to raise a family the way we wanted to. We wanted country farm living and trying to eat healthier too, by growing our own food. We do love it out here on the farm.

      I think you will do awesome as a parent to a child with special needs. God is so good and when you have a heart and willingness God will not waste that. He will have you help his children that need it.

      What a wonderful chance meeting at Wal-mart with the lady you met. Her testimony is amazing. God seems to give each person a specialty. Some of my friends have a heart for teens and a gift to handle their issues in stride and meet their needs. Some of my friends do best with children with emotional issues and some with infants and toddlers. God seems to bring us the ones that need what we have learned in the special needs/medically fragile areas. God is so good and has blessed us mightily.

      May God lead you down the path He has for you in this area and have His hand on your life!