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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Go Girl Go

This week was better then any Christmas day, any vacation and any amount of money. I would give up everything to give what I witnessed on Tuesday. Mobile children don't understand how gifted they are. Even our children who are mobile, playing sports, racing miles around their sister who isn't, don't really grasp the concept of not being able to participate. To be fully dependant on someone else. On Tuesday our daughters wheelchair and her adapted trike arrived. Her manual wheelchair designed especially for her we waited since last summer. Many people don't know the work our daughter has ahead of her, learning to push the wheels forward and back. Learning to steer left and right. Our daughter also has cognitive delays so the process will take some time. Although she's smart, eager, willing and wanting to move! It will be physically hard developing muscles in her arms. Everything concerning our daughter is work. Then there is children complaining they have to walk to the bus stop or to go play outside! Our littlest son who's now 14 months old has already passed our 5 year old daughter's milestones. Our daughter doesn't complain, she doesn't even know she's compromised. She's usually very happy and she loves everybody. Just life is a gift to her. I love her very much and my husband has this soft spot within his heart. As equal as we are as a family, some need extra attention especially being fully dependant like our one daughter. (We will provide the world for her) Tuesday was a special day. Not only did she receive her wheelchair, she received a special needs adapted trike. A trike that she can learn to peddle and to develop the much needed muscles in her legs to hopefully walk one day! A trike where I can help push and steer from the back while she develops confidence within herself that she can do it! We can finally go on a family bike ride with our daughter on her own bike! She was so happy on her trike, she didn't want to come off. She actually ate a few bites of dinner still sitting on her trike! For now, we have the mobile equipment inside, where she can start to learn on easy ground. One of our children said, "It's just a wheelchair" It's not just a wheelchair, it's mobility, freedom developing independence and confidence that we all have on our own two feet. Something our daughter watches from a distance - children playing. When our daughter sat in her wheelchair for the first time and put her little hands around those wheels to move across our living room floor it was beautiful witnessing how happy she was because she DID IT! She does bumb scoot everywhere, and rolls in the rolling chair we made her but this is for everywhere, outside, grocery stores - you name it, she's off the ground and off my hip. It felt like a milestone, our little girl is not a baby anymore. Normally I don't share too many identifying pictures but I'm so proud of our little girl on her happy day! (And these are huge smiles) "Set your sights high, the higher the better. Expect the most wonderful things to happen, not in the future but right now. Realize that nothing is too good. Allow absolutely nothing to hamper you or hold you up in any way" - Eileen Caddy. If you have a mobile body, use it to its fullest potential, our daughter is!

Monday, January 28, 2013

What if Money didn't Matter? Narration by Alan Watts

A planned 2013


We had some friends over for dinner on the weekend, it was a nice visit except for some OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) behaviors that slipped in! Sunday was the errand day. Then poof! Here we are it's Monday. January seems to be a planning month. We've already booked our Christmas 2013 and including our Christmas adoption party! December 14th, 2013 book it on your calendars and it will not be cancelled this year! I've been planning Spring break and thinking about our summer camping and traveling trips! I almost feel like I do in May. Anxious, wanting summer to arrive! End this routine called school! Right now we're also working on Science projects for our public schooled students. While thinking about re-enrollments for September including registering another kindergarten student. Kindergarten seems to never end around here! Adding valentines, spring sports, multiple on-going birthday parties, Easter and the racing season! Plus the ongoing lists including the dreaded trenching that has to be done around here! Now I'm questioning myself if I'm a over-planner? Perhaps I'm obsessing over the year 2013. Endless lists. In a way, 2013 feels almost over!

On another note.....I have this dilemma. Our one daughter's future more likely consists of a feeding tube. Right now we're maintaining her weight with mostly syringing. As time moves on, she's really not interested in eating foods. She will try and eat paper, tissue and wet wipes. Of course we don't allow this. I was thinking how great it would be if we could create protein enriched fattening foods that is paper! Any ideas?!


On a better note......we've been waiting since last summer for our daughters wheelchair. It's coming tomorrow! (Tuesday) Our almost six year old that we carry around can learn to independently move herself around finally! We have been so excited that we have been ordering items that will interest her to learn to move towards within our home and outside on our deck. Unfortunately our yard isn't paved for wheelchairs, so the deck is her main area of play right now. So many things to consider for our future planning towards yard landscaping. PAVEMENT! and a wheelchair playground would be so nice! Wheelchair ramps! I can't wait for a wheelchair accessible friendly yard and home! A playground for children in wheelchairs! That's our dream because there is not many playgrounds that are stimulating in our area. So I want it to be our home. If she walks.....which we hope.....then our home will be open to other children with wheelchairs. Like a therapeutic playground! A dream or perhaps a plan. My husband is thinking about building special needs equipment because he was born an engineer. I think our future is more then just our children, it's for every child in need of either a home, or a place to be stimulated. I guess our thoughts, our planning might become something more - like a reality. Time will tell. I do know that my husband and I are more then just words. That's where the OCD is completely working for us! So......planning is good as far as I'm concerned. It gets things done and hopefully our ideas come true.

Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. - Paul Meyer.

Without leaps of imagination , or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. - Gloria Steinam............"Bring dreaming into the planning" - Me.



Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Lunar Effect

Today was sideways. Literally. I was drinking a tea this morning while doing dishes then all of the sudden my tea disappeared! I looked all over for it. I even asked one of my children where they put it!? Then I thought....mmmm....I must of drank it and put the cup in the sink. So I carried on washing and putting away dishes. While putting my cups away I noticed there was tea everywhere in my cupboard. All my cups are placed upside down in the cupboards. That's where my tea was located. Upside down placed nicely stored away....leaking all over everything! The start of my morning. I proceeded to fry three eggs for two of our youngest. One of the eggs didn't make it to the frying pan. More cleaning......speaking of cleaning today.....I had urinated beds and clothing. Diarrhea up another backside. One of few mornings I couldn't even fix my hair properly. Luckily a straggly curled up bun looked decent enough to carry on throughout the day! All day it seemed to go sideways. I've never seen a day like this where I'm to blame! I even had multiple deliveries at our front door, several different phone calls and when I felt I was on track one way, I had to answer the door or the phone the other way! When I thought it was all over.....well.....I was mistaken. During dinner I accidentally flipped over a chicken pot pie in the oven. "AGH" That was it! I didn't care about the chicken pot pie, I cared about the endless cleaning that continued to escalate. Jokingly one of our sons arrived late during dinner....so I asked him to get his dinner out of the oven. That didn't go over well but at least I had a perma-grin from ear to ear. In the midst of the day, between messes from here to tim-buck-two, we did accomplish getting groceries and doing laundry from bed wetting. Then we were rear ended on our way to speech therapy! (Everyone was A-Ok) Lucky our home school students are upstairs and are oblivious to what's happening on our main floor! What's even more interesting, freezing rain was falling from only one fur tree, the other trees were dry. It was like this fur tree was hailing all on its own. It wasn't sap. It could be dying. Or it's getting too much water.......I don't know, regardless it's weird. We would catch the drops from the tree and it was melting in our hands. A few days ago I was with a friend that was feeling a "chaos" in the air. With not just people she knew but with strangers. My husband believes the moon has an effect on people. There is a full moon this Sunday. It's worth documenting how life changes, how our children and animals act when it's close to the full moon. Once the full moon is over - life redeems back to normal - (Apparently) Basically, believers in the lunar theory suggest the behaviour of the moon effects the behavior of humans. The moon effects large bodies of water like the ocean. So why not effect our behaviours? My husband is a huge believer, he even recognizes his own energy. My husband is a Cancer, born in July. This planet said to be ruler of Cancer is the Moon. So my husband is a moon child. Including two more of our children that have been off the wall these past few days. Just makes them more sensitive......the rest of us are scattered, for example placing their tea upside down in their kitchen cupboard! Regardless what makes us tick, what makes our tickers change, there has been no significant correlation to prove anything. Everything is on belief. Perhaps what's interesting is, is to document when this all happens and if it is all triggered by the lunar effect. This week - I say, "Yes" but it hasn't kicked my butt yet......


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Beautiful Adoption Story

http://ilikegiving.com/

Click on the link above. It was sent to me from our adoption worker and it brought tears to my eyes. Reminds me of our own path........

Monday, January 21, 2013

FASD




While sorting out the water logged basement we keep finding memorabilia. I pulled out a hand written page of point form notes that I wrote over seven years ago! It was on FASD. (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder) I re-read what I wrote which re-clarified everything for me AGAIN! Us parents need repetition and reminders all the time and finding this semi crinkled paper was helpful regardless if I already knew it or not. So I thought I'd share with you! It reads -

Definition of FASD:

-lower levels of intelligence
-difference between verbal & non verbal reasoning abilities
-struggle with "real life" tasks & activities such as personal hygiene, following rules, helping out & communicating.
-difficulties learning new information
-problems sustaining attention/concentration
-difficulties problem solving, organization, planning, monitoring one's emotions.
-difficulties recognizing limits and boundaries.
-no cause & effect.

Problem Solving:

-anticipate problems and help make a plan
-establish clear rules, limits and expectations
-reduce the amount of talking & reminding
-positive reinforcement & logical consequences
-support and celebrate strengths
-become knowledgeable
-black and white directions
-patience, simple steps & take a step back

Remember their history!

-significant early neglect
-disrupted attachment relationships
-exposure to domestic violence
-physical/sexual abuse
-family history of mental health issues (depression, lower IQ, bipolar, drug & alcohol)
-children require patience, understanding and additional support.

For us, all of this is true. We also tweak our parenting accordingly for each of our children. What works best. Amazing what you can find when you're not looking for it! Remember FASD is brain damage caused by alcohol during pregnancy. The above picture is a sample of what alcohol causes. For us, we don't necessarily notice any facial features in our children. It's behavior. Another reminder trick; we just close our eyes.....and we can hear the damage. I thought I'd write this because if you're not raising children with FASD, you will experience a child with FASD and they will appear to be physically normal and instead of questioning, "Why is this child acting this way?" NOW you might already have the answer because this is definitely a special need many are unaware of. (Having this bit of education helps) So many children are undiagnosed and struggling along side with their teachers, and only if everyone can be educated more to deal with this disorder. To conclude, if anything - preach, alcohol during pregnancy damages a person's life because they will have to live with it forever.



Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ice to fire



On Saturday we decided to hike a local lake. When we arrived we were surprised to find it ice covered. It was beautiful. Our children were trying to skip rocks across the thinly ice covered lake.....their rocks just slid smoothly and silently several feet. So we had a competition on whose object slid the farthest. We normally don't see ice on lakes unless it's Charlie Lake up North! So it was an awesome experience for most of us. We plan on going back because there is tons of different paths along the lake to walk. It was amazingly busy with people walking, running and even biking through the trails. The parking lot was full. The weather was crisp but it reminded us of a spring day. I myself become antsy with the weather, I love the great outdoors and while the weather improves, the more we will venture off! The outdoors is better then a day in school I'd say! I can't wait to surprise our children with day adventures while skipping class. For dinner we decided to have a bon fire at our local beach. Seen above is some of us roasting weenies around a fire. Even the smell of smoke made me happy knowing summer is around the corner! Here we are, January 19th in the midst of winter pretending it's a summer day. From ice to fire - experiencing life brings out the best in us. Before anything, enjoying our surroundings that nature provides is our best medicine!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Taking the bull by its horns


This week was productive......well every week is productive in one way or another. I won't be bias and say it's a large family trait for effectiveness because I know most families are although I personally feel for us, (for myself) that the more children we have, the more efficient I am. Weird? I think other parents from larger families will agree with me. For instance this week, we had eleven optometrist appointments over three days. Amazingly out of our eleven children only three needed glasses. We started speech therapy in a new location, three of our girls will be starting voice and piano lessons and the spring session of therapeutic horse riding is just around the corner. Next week eleven of our children will be seeing the dentist within one appointment. Our Occupational and Practical therapists come to our home but it's definitely a field trip feeling when we're attending other therapies and appointments outside our home. Our one daughter hasn't been well, she's on and off with her health. So we're on a waiting list for the Children's hospital. (Hopefully soon) In the midst of our daily life with several different scenarios throughout each and every day, I and another friend planned Christmas 2013. I know I've written this before, I was adamant about not going ever again during Christmas but it's worth a second try! We're going to our local ski mountain for Christmas! Two families consisting of 25 plus people in a chalet. Skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing - you name it, that's Christmas. Over dinner one evening I explained to our children that we're tired of the hype over materialistic goods, the want when the need isn't there. Our tradition is slowly changing.......no more following society's commercialism. No more broken toys a day later. We are going to spend Christmas together having fun regardless if it's a blizzard or if we become ill over contaminated hot-tubs. We like adventures. I know my friend that's joining us loves living on the edge because I haven't scared her and her family off yet! So it's a done-deal! When I suggest change, I'm an individual 99% working on my words to become actions. What I do know is....nothing happens unless you take the bull by its horns - my meaning is tackling the challenges and coming out on top. Nothing is impossible. Productive for me is completion with anything, it can consist of laundry, baking for the week, attending all appointments, completing eye and dentist exams and yes, looking into the future preparing months in advance. Seen below; I love this picture, a bear diving for what he wants. We should all learn to dive in and reach for our goals! My thoughts today - plan, prepare and believe in tomorrow and remember, every day is a new day. So choose to wake up on the right side of the bed and become productive!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

"It's your turn....share your experiences with God"


I know many of you reading don't post directly on this blog. I have a request. I'm interested in reading individual stories about their relationship with God. What was the deciding factor or change that made you realize God exists? How has believing in God changed your life? You can be anonymous. I will be completely honored to read your personal journey and I'm sure many others will be too. Please take a moment to share, this is your chance! Thank you!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Recruiting idea - "Baby steps"

Having a little baby is absolutely wonderful. Our whole family is enjoying our new son. He is happy, content and a going concern. (We've baby proofed everything!) He's just learning to walk. We never thought we would have a little baby. Larger families aren't prime candidates to adopt babies. I also believed we had our time raising babies so I always thought about other families that haven't, should have that chance. (Not that we'd be a choice anyways) Our baby is a sibling to some of our children we already adopted. This is the only reason why we're so fortunate. We weren't looking to adopt again but I do have to say, he's brought much joy to our family. Adopting really young children definitely has it's benefits. The risk for attachment issues are much lower. It's been one month and he's already showing attachment. He seems to know who his Mom and Dad is. We have the next fifteen years at least (maybe) before he really wants to spread his wings. He's a beautiful baby boy. People don't believe we're done adopting. I know we say we are. I also know that we're getting older and I'm really hoping birth parents aren't having anymore babies! Apparently not - so hopefully not. It doesn't stop me as an adoptive parent thinking about all the children waiting for a family. I often think about the children with more needs, for example there was and perhaps still is a teenager boy with cerebral palsy in foster care. I've seen how hard it is for a child aging out of the foster care system without a family, I can't imagine not having a family aging out with special needs. I know there is supports in place, connections are made but I can't believe it's the same as having a family. Special individuals change people into more compassionate accepting human beings. Our daughter lights up every room. When we first thought about adoption, honestly, we were afraid of taking on a special needs child. We thought having a child with more needs would limit our family. They're legitimate thoughts although that's all they were. We learned that only fear held us back and there is no limitations except for the mind. Of course we pack more, it takes us longer to get somewhere, we do have several different challenges. The key is, it's only a challenge not a restriction. We told our adoption worker that if we could of done things differently knowing what we know now, we would have adopted from the beginning more moderate to severe special needs children. So if you're thinking about adoption ask yourself what do you want your future to hold?  What can you handle? If you don't know, visit a family that does. I was thinking about the adoption education course - again. I think it's quite limited. I came up with a great idea! Adding a day for the potential adoptive parents to spend time with another adoptive family. A family with several types of special needs. That way it will help with all the unknowns, the fears behind adoption, behind special needs. Perhaps more children with special needs will be adopted. Educating through a book is nothing in comparison to practical education with real children. Thinking back, if we had that chance to spend sometime with other adoptive families, our path of adopting could of looked slightly different. There is several adoption related events that happen throughout the year that will provide this, where potential adoptive parents can attend too although I think a personal visit to an adoptive home for at least 4 hrs would provide some insight. My big thoughts for today. I'm always thinking, I'm always blabbing. Imagine, I used to be a very shy person. Big special families change you, they do and for the positive! AND if it's crossing your mind for us to be the test pilots, sure why not - anything for a special needs child to find their forever home, starting with little baby steps - visiting the real deal. Did I say, "Beware?" (Kidding)


"Our whole existence is our family consisting of everything unique" - Me.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Petition to help children with mental health issues




http://www.usedvictoria.com/classified-ad/We-are-pleading-to-anyone-who-will-listen-Please-read_18880300 

Life goes on


Today was interesting. Monday I actually baked from 8am on. I was able to accomplish cheese sticks, cinnamon buns, sweet n salty chocolate chip cookies while making curried rice with slow oven roasted BBQ pork for dinner. During the day we had a practical therapist visit and some of our home schooled children were learning organization. I have had several laughs for the past couple days. Who would laugh around here with all the extra work in our basement. (Us) Throwing out tons of items, washing others and hanging out the rest to dry. All the novels on our kitchen table, the Twilight series and other novels are completely ruined. Boxes of children books gone. We thought Christmas ended but the Christmas tree needs to stand to dry! We've bought 20 huge plastic totes so far for the remainder of items that still need to be stored. We've learned our lesson - don't use cardboard boxes, it protects nothing. While house bound this past weekend and today, I managed to bake, cook and put away over ten loads of backed up laundry. I usually make organized piles from youngest to oldest but today it was a laundry pile in the middle of our living room floor! Some of our children joined in collecting all their clothes, while some were hiding and throwing the clothes like leaves. I cringed at the thought of our underwear being tossed around like fallen leaves but lately when something needs to be done, it's all about being creative. Time is going by fast and we'd rather enjoy each other - not laundry and after this weekend, who really cares about the laundry anyways! While baking, our "little man" (his new nickname) was enjoying inside our cupboards. This cupboard seen above is reserved just for him! Funny, I sent this picture of our little man as a text to a friend saying it was my husband. I didn't clue in until I read it again. My friend texting back says, "Poor guy" lol I cracked right up.......but that's life around here. Our one daughter finished making her bed, very neatly. I was impressed. Later in the evening she asked, "Who made my bed?" I said, "You did" She continued to say, "No I didn't" So......knowing where this conversation was going I said, "It must of been the bed fairy" She says,"Yes you're right, it was the bed fairy, how could I forget!" It was funny but yes, sad at the same time. Our motto around here is not to feel sorry for each other with our challenges, but to just be and go along with it - laugh because the majority of it is funny. During the past couple of days I was thinking about our children's special needs and behaviors. What isn't funny is the FASD. (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) diagnoses. Many interesting scenarios will continue to happen, the behaviors will exist but what's sad - it could have been avoided. Here we are, we adopted all these beautiful children with multiple special needs, (yes we took it all on) so this isn't a complaint session rather just our reality.....we are the parents everyday that deal with the aftermath of their birth parents choices. So as this is my shaming week. And as much as I try to have compassion and understanding for everyone, I shame the birth parents that have brain damaged their children. Children not only brain damaged but that have been in several foster homes before an adoption placement that developed attachment issues because they were taking away for continuous drug and alcohol use and neglect. What's even sadder, us as adoptive parents adopt these children, we absolutely do everything for them and somehow it's our fault. I even know that some birth families brainwash their children. Constantly story telling about the past, about how they (birth parents) were shafted in some way and it was never their fault for their child's ongoing future of struggles. Even sadder, when the child grows up and wants to reconnect with their birth family, the lies still continue, the cycle still exists......the ministry and the adoptive family are to blame still. Funny, not sure how we're to blame when we adopted children to provide them a family with a hopeful successful future consisting trust. I understand the blame, we cared enough to provide conditions and rules, a "boring" yet stable environment to hopefully help guide our children so they'll have promising futures. Today.....it was sad listening to one of our sons, realizing it's not his fault although correction is a must. So that's when inside myself I shamed the birth parents not caring enough to even stop drinking and doing drugs. If only they could understand what they've done. Only if they could realize that at least us adoptive parents care enough to raise their child/children they lost. I'm here to write on behalf of all adoptive parents, remember it's not you. And a huge hand shake for adopting children that need parents like us. Concluding I will state; it doesn't matter what anyone thinks of us. (I really don't care actually) And we are the ones picking up the pieces that many birth families have left behind. If your children don't see that now, they will eventually, our oldest son did! With my deep thoughts during some frustrating days, we remain happy with laughter, and knowing life goes on as us not being the shameful ones.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Shame on you

If you haven't noticed there has been some blogger technical difficulties! While checking into it - I was proud to find out that it isn't me! So if my posts are looking a little strange and hard to read, I apologise now. I've come to the conclusion that 2013 has a few glitches that have started already. Our weekend shifted from going swimming and having a bomb fire next to the ocean to sifting through tons of water logged items that we've stored in our half basement. Our Christmas decorations, hundreds of dollars worth of books, toys, clothing, flooring, multiple items that we don't necessarily use but store away until we do were wet. Really - who cares about all these items. The bigger problem is our continuous flooding that's happening in several areas underneath our house. Definitely frustrating. Buckets and buckets of water is being removed, while pumping out water. We have a dehumidifier going. We have items salvageable in our dryer. Books are spread out across our kitchen table in hopes to be saved. We could involve our house insurance but it's to minimal compared to what could happen, so we won't. The most frustrating part is we were not told about an underground river running under our home when we purchased it. We found out years later from a neighbour stating that the builders should have never built here. What does this mean? Definitely more drainage, trenches and sunk pumps. More likely a lifetime of ongoing issues with water. My husband pointed out even on our driveway where it was dry yesterday now huge patches soaked coming through the ground. It doesn't have to rain here to flood from the ground up. We have lots of work ahead unfortunately to maintain our home. "sigh" When we called the builders.......that was another story. Apparently they had a fire that burnt down their office with all their paperwork. They're having their own problems recovering information. And apparently the owner of this building company suddenly passed away last January. A lot of unfortunate events. Our home is almost 5 years old. Brand new when purchased. Naive as the buyer - what could be wrong with it? The beautiful rockery off to the side was a diversion for water - it is actually a massively long drainage ditch. How would I know? I wasn't told anything about water, drainage or RIVERS! My husband was up North at the time. He purchased sight unseen relying on me to find us the perfect home to build onto. So the whole disaster is just that - a disaster causing my husband more work for 2013. Forget his own business.....we need to be sitting on high ground with no water, with no mold contaminating our home. Today was the start of frustrating...what we didn't need. The future holds machines digging trenches and another lesson learned - don't trust easily. The majority of people are out to sell dishonestly. Be careful when you buy a home - that's all I have to say and "Shame on you"

Thursday, January 10, 2013

This is 40

It happened. I turned 40. I completely new decade starting.........you know how people ask, "Do you feel any older?" I actually do. I'm not allowing my 97% grey hair coverage to defeat me. Weight loss is more work then before. I feel more life experienced and educated. I value life even more so which includes everyone around me. I'm completely not into material things but I will admit, I was spoiled. On Tuesday I went movie hopping. We saw "This is 40" and "The Guilt Trip" Both excellent comedies! I never movie hopped before. It was an awesome idea. "This is 40" was really funny. I came home and told my husband if he ever wants me to check him for hemorrhoids, we are finished! (Of course I was joking!) I thought the movie made 40 seem old. I personally think the 40's & 50's will be good years! When I turn 60, our last child will be 21 and that's going to be exciting! My husband bought me a ring with all our children's birth stones, 9 out of 12 months we have birthdays! He also bought me a Native carved Eagle bracelet! The Eagle represents peace, honor and friendship. My husband thinks I carry those traits, so the Eagle bracelet was most fitting for my personality. I'm not materialistic but my gifts were very thoughtful. Which means more to me then the item itself. During my day, two friends brought me out for brunch, I received flowers, cards, a charm saying, "Super Mom" - there is a story behind the whole "Super Mom" charm. During some time together with my one friend we met these musicians, and every time we walked into the room where they were located, the one singer would yell, "Super Moms in the house!" It became somewhat embarrassing so eventually we both started avoiding him. That's the long story shortened about the charm. Another memorable thoughtful gift. Then funny......during the Christmas holidays we were invited for dinner, and this one friend made these awesome butter tarts. I tried one, then another, then five later I was tempted to eat another! They were delicious! So today I received a box of homemade butter tarts! I laughed saying, "I'm still working on my waist line! Which is inching out!" During brunch I received a card asking me to make a wish before opening. I did and I really wanted to tell but it was left a secret. ? After brunch I had a few hours before picking up some of our public schooled children. I wondered what to do. As I contemplated about going to the mall, or going grocery shopping.....I decided on neither. I went to a tattoo and piercing shop. I've always been a people pleaser. I've always cared about what people think. While contemplating in my vehicle today, I decided I needed to work on something for myself. (A little bit less caring on what others think) Not too worry so much because at the end of the day, the people who still remain by your side are your true family and friends. So I went out on a limb. Something I can not hide. I pierced my nose! AND it hurt but only for a moment. So who knows......I might keep it in for years, I might decide I don't like it but my point today was; I was doing something for myself regardless what anyone else thought. Yeah me - courageous at 40! I came home and one of my sons said, "Oh Mom......your nose! Mom you pierced your nose!" I laughed, "Yes I'm cool that way" I explained. My husband didn't know what I was doing. All he knew was I was on a brunch date. He looked at me.....then asked, "So, what else did you pierce? Did you pierce your tongue!?" I smiled with a closed mouth innocently shaking my head. "You didn't!?" he questioned. Laughing......."NO I didn't" as I stuck out my tongue. I have a hard enough time with grammar let alone piercing my tongue! Funny times. Little highlights keeps me smiling. At home our five home schooled children made this beautiful bouquet of their own hands with 40 of their fingers connected together. Each finger had something written on it. For example, "I love you Mom" and "Thank you for camping" and "Thank you for making dinners" and "Thank you for a home" It was really sweet, mostly all the 40 fingers had something written on it. One of my older sons bought me some hair products especially designed for curly hair. One of my cards read, "Happy Birthday from every stinkin one of us" with just a picture of many butts. Inside it read, "course, some of us stink more than others!" signed by everybody. That's us......stinky and entertaining! Today turning 40 was memorable for me because everything came with sentimental meanings and some with stories to tell. That's what I call a pretty special birthday! My thirties are now over. I'm 40 and ready to embrace life with all these wonderful special family and friends that I have in it. Thank you everyone for all my multiple wishes, cards and phone calls. I'm truly blessed knowing I have so many people that care. Thank you. Watch out forties! Here I come!




Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"Diagnosing is education for a brighter tomorrow"

Our Occupational Therapist mentioned to me that she believes we have some children undiagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and that we should have some of our children assessed. This didn't come as a surprise with one of our children although for the others, we were semi-surprised. The reason being is most of our children have been assessed and diagnosed with something already. So I just figured that the special needs we knew of was just that and all the symptoms and behaviors existed within that already specified diagnoses. (If that makes sense) Sometimes I just go with what we know.....we flow into what is and I forget to look outside the box as special needs can be mis-diagnosed and/or go unnoticed. My doctor once asked, "Why do you want to know? Knowing doesn't change the fact" In a way he's right, it doesn't change any ones diagnoses knowing although knowing is being educated which will help us with social training, adjust cognitive behavioral therapies, perhaps there is medication that will help for certain diagnoses, we can contact the right parent training and supports. Occupational, physical and speech therapists will know what and how to deal with our children knowing a diagnoses. So it is important to have a label (unfortunately a label) to educate and understand so we can properly function on a daily basis better. It's important to establish early interventions. During our talk with our Occupational Therapist about the possibility of ASD, she also mentioned that she's been watching some of the other siblings. So now I'm on "watch mode" for possible signs and symptoms of AS. (Asperger Syndrome) otherwise known as a high functioning ASD. Usually AS isn't recognized until the age five or six because the language development is normal until then. Lately I've been studying on ASD, AS and some of the signs are there in the siblings. Did you know males are four times more likely then girls to have ASD? For our one daughter she has PDD, (pervasive developmental disorder) simply meaning a group of conditions completely separate from her CP (Cerebral Palsy) Including a sleeping disorder combined with many others. The signs for ASD to look out for are lack of rhythm, odd inflection, monotone pitch, lack of ability to modulate the volume of their voice and narrow interests. Some children can gather enormous amounts of factual info about favorite subjects, talk incessantly about it with no point or conclusion. Children with ASD are often awkward and poorly coordinated. Of course, having ASD/AS, they have PDD which can co-exist with ADHD, tic disorders, tourette syndrome, depression, anxiety, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and  multiple others. Our life is never dull. Every day can possess a new enlightenment. Shocking or not......we know most of our children have several types of special needs, diagnosed and undiagnosed. Today I'm happy. Not because of these new enlightenment's but because now we have the ball rolling, assessments to be done, tests to be completed giving us answers so we can provide the best outcomes. ASD definitely has social impairments, communication and it has restricted repetitive, stereotyped patterns. Understanding our children's special needs helps us parent. We can understand the rocking, twirling, biting and occasional head banging. The lack of empathy can be disheartening but understanding why it exists, it relieves the stress developed around it. I know some parents don't like diagnoses (labeling) their children but for us, I think it's important for us to understand our children. To be educated. So we're onto a new journey of understanding more disorders. I don't wish any disorder onto anyone.....but it's our reality, our life from day to day, we accept what is and for me (thank you) God that I have the strength to embrace our life. To love regardless and most importantly I've developed a fascination with all special needs. I love educating myself. (I think we have 75% of disorders that exist!) I had a friend once say, "I don't know how you do it......I would cry knowing what you know of your children's pasts, their special needs and trials" I often state, "Don't ever feel sorry" The past is the past, a disorder is a disorder - special needs is very special and we're happy moving forward the best we can.

"There is always a brighter tomorrow if you choose it" - Me.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Incredible acapella group!!




This would be cool if our family (all ages) practiced singing together developing our own acapella group! An interesting thought. I laugh just picturing it! It gives me family time ideas!

My quote today, "The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter" - Mark Twain.

"Enjoy life - don't waste it!" Me.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Considering adoption?



As you know I'm a huge advocate for adoption. Although there is the other side that excited new potential adoptive parents can be unaware of. I've been on the side of excitement, I've also been on the side where I believed with enough love, patience, understanding and compassion that a hurt child will change. Sometimes children do progress within their stable environment. There is many success stories. I thought I'd write about the other side - the side that no one believes that it would happen to them with their perfectly adopted child. Adoption is exciting. Adoption means permanency, and having a family but it also means there has been losses, grief, and if a child moves from foster home to foster home, they develop attachment disorders. Many children that are adoptable have special needs either diagnosed or suspected. If they don't have either, I think you still have to continue with caution because with age, special needs can surface. There is no perfect child. If you're thinking about adoption, and you're at that stage where there is a proposal, I would take seriously what's written inside. The proposal package underlines the child/children's history, medical, behaviours and any diagnoses. If there is suspected FASD (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) Read and educate yourself. Once you adopt, you're not just adopting a child with "FASD" You're adopting "FASD" that will change your life and how you'll parent. You might think you will parent a certain way, that perhaps your love alone will be enough - it's not and your parenting will shift accordingly to deal with all the behaviors for years. If you're someone reading my posts and I'm making it sound easy.......it's not easy. It's a constant dedication 24/7 consisting of routines, organization, structure, consistent rules, patience, and even when I write having understanding - that is an understatement because sometimes I just "sigh" because I am not comprehending what just happened! Prospective adoptive parents really need to know what they're getting themselves into. A lifetime of arguments, frustration and embarrassment to say the least. My husband and I are forever cleaning and working just so our home remains in one piece. We usually laugh it off later but during the cleanup of over flowing toilets and finding used tampons secretly hidden after being shoved up a bleeding nose can be disgusting, not to mention vomit, urine and feces on a daily basis. Just recently we just "sighed" with no answers after finding our children's clothes thrown six feet into the bush, hanging from the trees for weeks. At first we thought a homeless person was living on our property but to find out later, it's our children's clothing just thrown away like garbage. Was there any answers onto whom and why? Nope. So many times we're just cleaning up the aftermath "sighing" while moving onto the next day. Going beyond bizarre....there is the constant lying and stealing. In our home we try to prevent. So we have a locked pantry, some of us have locked bedroom doors, we've installed a security system with alarms and cameras. Our once very cute innocent little child is stealing out of my purse, gorging food while hiding the evidence behind dressers and underneath their beds. (Like we won't find it) Raising children with needs is full time and can be very exhausting. I understand the lying, the stealing, the hoarding is a survival skill from their past and also directly stemmed from FASD but even us understanding it, we don't like it. This is why I also understand why the general public with families that don't have this in their life, don't want it either......which isolates us. When we first started adopting, I never thought we would loose friendships, have family members distance themselves and making new friendships are far and few between unless they're other adoptive families that understand us. For example, our one daughter doesn't transition well. So she screams, she can throw herself and flail like a wild boar......most peoples eyes become BIG wondering what on earth is wrong with her!? Our friends that know us; that perhaps have the same issues know it's a normal occurrence, and to ignore the situation without judgments. We just attended a friends dinner where we had a flying fork come across their kitchen table.......my only thought was, "Thank you for missing the other opponent!" Our one daughter with severe needs can become uncontrollable, she won't be consoled and the only answer is down time. (Laying on a bed somewhere) While our children age, new behaviors and special needs arise. From about fourteen on......we've noticed their attachment shifts. If you're adopting children with attachment disorders, don't be fooled. They have attachment disorders. If you're not specifically seeing signs now at a younger age, you will during teenage hood. It makes the teen years more challenging then just the teen challenges. While they're seeking their independence, they're also literally moving on. As they superficially attached for survival during their childhood, they no longer need to do so during the adolescent years. So if you end up loosing your child - meaning they don't want or need you as their family. It's pretty 99% correct. My motto now is, "We can only do the best we can" We all get so excited to have a baby, to adopt a child that becomes ours, I know now that they're not ours at all. We raise them as best as we can.....but ultimately regardless on what we do, or how we raise....it's only a piece of their life puzzle. Eventually they make their own choices, they define their life and they move on either wanting to remain in our lives or not is up to them. Don't forget that there will be police involvement, the ministry and different professionals in and out of your life. For us, we've dealt with it all. Besides behaviors throughout the childhood years, adoption also means possible openness agreements with birth family and foster parents. The first few years might look excellent although who knows what the future holds, how the openness can shift. As the adoptive parent your parenting isn't just for your children, it's for everyone......birth members are judging, speculating and making assumptions. (Your child will turn to their birth family regardless if the birth family lost them for alcohol, drugs and very abusive situations) There is a belief that the birth parents are angels. Us adoptive parents are horrible for adopting and trying to provide a better life. During your decision to adopt......these are "some" significant factors to consider for your future. I'm definitely not trying to paint an ugly picture, nor change any ones mind on adopting (of course) we're completely for adoption but I truly think prospective adoptive parents need to know what forever can look like. I've stated several times that the adoption education course should provide more "negative" scenarios (for a lack of better words) so the adoptive parents can go home and really decide whether this is the life for them because it's not a perfect one. If the adoptive parents have other children at home........they need to know "every ones" life changes. Everyone is affected by behavioral children. Children without any issues, (usually your birth children) also don't understand your new child/children's actions. How could they? They weren't traumatized by neglect, moved around, having different needs and adopted. I can't imagine myself. I do know as an adoptive mother, the future must move on........to somehow and hopefully heal from the past, and to continue to live for the future. For theirs. During the journey, to remember it's not about us (as the adoptive parents) We came into our children's lives to provide a stable family, to hopefully teach some fundamental skills before they start making choices of their own - we did not start their life, we did not loose them and have them placed into care....we chose as strangers (in our cases) to be their mother and father. To provide a home, where their new story begins. So I've highlighted some challenges that some might face. I do believe parents need to know that it's not just an exciting path, it's a dedication with many unknowns, lots of "sighs" trying to understand and it's a life changing decision for everyone. With all this being written, and you're feeling strong enough with allowing your skin to thicken with time - I do advocate to adopt. Children don't need a perfect family but they need a good stable permanent family. For us.....we move onward with children that need and want a family. A mission not impossible but a dedication nonetheless with a hopeful light in the end.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

We're starting a reality television show!



I don't know about you but now that it's the new year we were anxious for Christmas to disappear. We have been organizing, cleaning and preparing for what the next twelve months are going to look like! 2013 seems to be an organized and planned year already. I was so tired during my last written post, I know I didn't remember everything, I even mis-spelled words and places without proof reading! I doubt this post will be any different...lol...I've been contemplating on not writing at all. I could always watch some reality television instead of writing about our lives. We wouldn't be on a reality television show ourselves so this is as close as anyone will get unless they're directly involved with us. Gotcha! Today I brought one of our sons for a hair-cut. He gets his hair-cut where I get mine. This place specializes in cutting curly hair. During the appointment I was reading about reality television. One of the articles was on "Honey Boo Boo" A seven year old pageant girl's life. I don't know much about this program although I've heard many negative opinions. On how the little girl is pushed to be a star on television from her Mother. The little girls actions are apparent with outbursts, tantrums, hitting, screaming just clearly behavioral. She's under the microscope all the time with cameras inside her home, outside her home and if there is any peace.......there is the paparazzi and fans lurking around every corner. All the pictures I saw while reading was sad. Clearly a very unhappy seven year old. I don't anticipate this reality series to last long unless the Mother pushes for more and the public enjoys watching a raging over stimulated little girl at her finest. I thought it was unfortunate because during this spotlight of fame, it's painting an unrealistic picture of who this little girl really is. Or maybe because of her constant push to be famous, this is who she's becoming. Spoiled and running her show at seven. I've heard the pageant life can be extreme within some families. What I don't understand is, pageant life doesn't last long. Children grow up. Just like "Honey boo boo" She will grow up, could regret and most likely be embarrassed about her debut on public television. This could affect her for the rest of her life. I've read so many stories about children who were once stars growing up becoming drug and alcohol addicted because their past either continues to haunt them or the realization sets in that they're no longer stars. Some of these parents must be delusional pushing their children to be famous while not seeing or not understanding that they're potentially destroying their futures. I guess it's 50/50 where if you don't take the chance, you will never know where your fame could lead you. There is some children that you can clearly see they're meant to be television icons and they're happy. Honey boo boo............is questionable according to what I've read. For us, we're already a spectacle in some ways, we don't need a television show! The only television program about us is watching ourselves on our own television at home. As the above picture we hook up the camera while our children will dance, make faces and watch each other being silly. I might write and unload some reality from time to time but the prime time isn't going to be featuring us ever! We would have worse "boo boo's" then "Honey Boo Boo" herself as most of our children either will fight for fame from each other or breakdown behaviourally from too much stimulation! I think the breakdowns we already have - we will keep safely behind closed doors! For "Honey Boo Boo" I hope what I read is wrong and the little child star is happy and thriving in her reality spotlight!