Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The "Clean Your Room " Syndrome

One may think that showing all our dirty laundry is a bit TMI. But for me it's not. This is the reality of our life, the path we choose and the choices our children, forever and temporary, have made.

 A couple weeks ago we made the decision to add a 6th child to our home. This particular child's mother did provide me with some clothing items. However, she had her own serious issues to deal with and it took a while for her to get her bearings and provide me with a bag of clothes. In the mean time we bought some clothes and shoes for this child. Almost instantly, this child lost his new shoes. I have been looking for them for several days now. Yesterday I gave up and called all 6 children to the living room and announced that is time to  "Clean our Bedrooms". Less than a minute later this pile of "dirty" laundry landed in front of the washer. Now mind you I don't believe that 90% of it has been unfolded let alone worn since it was last washed. But I do feel confident that all of it has been walked on, rubbed around in their floor and probably used to wipe up what ever drinks they have managed to sneak to their rooms.

Now our new "Shoe Boy" looked at me like a deer in headlights. He even ask  me 3 times if he has to help clean. Did I really mean "him"? Seriously? Well yes,"Shoe Boy" as long as you are living in this house you will help clean up after yourself. I still got "Really? But I didn't make a mess ". Sorry for your bad luck of landing in what I feel may be the most cluttered foster home ever, but yep, everyone here cleans up.

I will say, once he was over the shock he cleaned up without much hassle, just the occasional redirection but what kid don't get distracted when cleaning.

Often times I wonder what we are thinking taking all of these children into our home and being repaid with complaints, messes, poopy diapers and piles of laundry.

First let me say that I would love to be able to quote a verse from the Bible and go on about how we are commanded by God to take care of  orphans.  However, even though it is true that the Bible says all this.... That is not why I personally foster. I do it because I believe in people, I believe that people can change, and that even though we all mess up our lives at times, most people are good.

I also do it because I was once a single mother, struggling to manage life with two girls who were struggling with life after divorce. I didn't have a drug or alcohol addiction, I wasn't codependent and I had a decent job, but life was hard. I barely kept my head above water financially and emotionally I lived on autopilot. I don't know how I would have managed life in general if I had of also been burdened with addiction or a victim mentality. I do know what it is like to be in over my head and feel like there is not one person around that is willing to throw me a life preserver.

And then there are the kids, Misunderstood behaviors, distracted, broken kids who have been broken by poor choices and bad actions of a lot of people other than themselves. The kids that are making my house a mess and my life complicated and at the same time giving me hope that they can at some point return home to their parents, or be adopted, but most importantly break the cycle of poor choice making that landed them in foster care and their parents at rock bottom. Maybe I am delusional to be believe in them all, but I do and therefore I stay on this roller coaster.

So for me, a full day of washing not exactly dirty clothes is not my ideal way to spend my time. But it is what I will do in order to survive another chaotic day in this life that we have chosen..or this life that chose us.. either way laundry is the reality of our life today.

Switching Gears

I have decided to give blogging another go, It's been a while, so I probably need to start by backing up. This particular post will be short and sweet.

 I have made all of my previous blog posts private. This was done because I needed to be less public about some personal stuff due to us fostering. Not that I am ashamed or hiding those past entries but I do need to ensure that my children and foster children are not compromised by my need to rant. And because I want to switch gears from some old issues to the life we currently live. Believe me those old post paint a picture that is very different than our current life. And that is a great thing!

A little over a year ago, after adopting our foster children,  we made the decision to convert from a kinship foster home to a traditional foster home. It has been a long, crazy, roller coaster of a ride.

You should expect chaos, and mayhem in my future blogs, because that is where we are in this life of fostering.  I wish I could share the photo that will be hung on our wall but those are not allowed due to respecting the privacy of not only our foster children but their parents as well.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Someone Help Me to Understand....

So, let's say your spouse/brother/sister/son/daughter came to you and explained that they are addicted to smoking cigarettes, however after a recent doctor's visit it has came their attention that smoking is literally physically killing them. Not only is it killing them, but there has been some significant health problems with their spouse and children due to smoking around them.  This is a topic that most non smokers get very wound up about. But, let's say this person that you love has came to you for help. They have said look if I don't make changes not only will I destroy my health but my spouse and children's lives will be destroyed as well. Except I am not strong enough to stop on my own.

In this request for help your loved one explains that they have sought the help of a counselor who is helping your loved one make changes slowly and teaching your loved one to deal with the stress that causes them to want to light up. During this counseling it comes to light that the biggest reason your loved one struggles to lay down the cigarettes is because their entire life, they have felt that their family was simply to fragile to hear the things that stress them out. Not that your loved one's beliefs were accurate, it was clearly a misconception on their part. But for some reason this loved one thought you and everyone around them was simply unable to hear anything upsetting. Therefor, at a young age this loved one started smoking and using this as an outlet for their stress.

How would you react? Would you assure your loved one they can in fact be open and honest about the things that upset them, which would help to remove their need to smoke? What if their open honest feelings where hurtful to you? Would you rather hear this person say "hey what you just did stressed me out" or would you rather they say nothing and have a cigarette instead?

What if your loved one said, look I know this is your favorite food in the whole world, but every time I eat this food it triggers very strong cravings for a cigarette. Would you eat that food in front of your loved one? Or would you support them in their struggle to stop smoking and only eat that food when they were not there to see it?

I don't think that it is possible to pick and choose, and be supportive when it suits you. You are either supportive or you say "sorry I can't help you with this" and move on.

Most people, especially those  non-smokers that truly do love your  loved one will avoid triggering the stress that causes your loved one to light up. Would you give up having your favorite food in front of your loved one for a life time if that meant that they never smoked again?

So what if your loved one was addicted to social media? Cyber Sex and manipulating those around them? What if what your loved one needed from you was for you to hear them when you have hurt or upset them? What if your loved one said " every time I open up the internet, I am triggered by what I see and am strongly tempted to return to my addiction? What if your loved one realized they were replacing their addiction with social media, even non sexual social media? Would you support them in their need to refrain from social media, even if that meant not using social media to socialize with them?

I don't understand why people are so willing to give their self to help a loved one who is trying to stop smoking, stop using drugs, fight cancer or beat an devastating disease, but yet when a therapist says to a loved one, that if they really want to beat their addiction then they must start telling people how you feel about things, stop holding in how you feel about stuff , stay off of social media and be really honest about their feelings;  Why then is it impossible to be supportive.

Even more so, if you see that this keeping your feelings locked away and unspoken has destroyed the life of this person that you claim to love. Destroyed their life and the lives of everyone around them, why on earth would you ask them to not tell you how they feel. Is getting your feelings a little hurt more important than facing the reality that the unspoken pain of this person is killing them?  I just don't get it and I never will......

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I'm Just Tired

Lack of sleep has fuled our relationship from the start. At first time zones were to blame, later it was a baby that to this day requires very little sleep. In reality though throughout the entire sleepless 9 years a huge part of the missing sleep was down to sneaking onto chat sites during the night and guilt that kept him awake.

I have felt the affect is had on him, in the way he talks, looks and acts. I have ask many times what the issue is. More often than not his response has been " I am just tired". I have rarely believed him, always said it felt like more than lack of sleep and rarely argued my gut against his claims of being tired. It wasn't worth the argument that would come if I pressed for some better answer.

Lately that mask has once again surounded him and even after all that we have been dealing with and the knowledge that I know the details and the truth, the only response I have gotten is thst he is tired. 

I don't believe it for a minute, but how do I force him to be responsible for his own actions and still coddle the truth out of him. It is an impossible situation so long as he chooses to keep what ever it is a secret. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

How the Heck?!?

Inside these three super cute, personalized bags you can find the source of a huge chunk of my stress! 

Why is it that Elementary aged children ( Pre-K through 1st grade ) have so much homework and papers? 5 and 6 year olds should not spend all afternoon doing home work! Not to mention that this is not work that any of them can do on their own. 

Someone has to sit with them and do each and every step and problem with them. 

They all have Multiple book to read each day, they all have individual activities to do with each book. ( we have a cloth book bag with activities and a ziplock bag with a book and questions for two of the kids, one library book that seems to change daiky, and a ziplock bag with a book for the third child ) None of which they can do on their own. They each need and deserve individual time. Then two of them have site words ( flash cards at the moment ). The work actually comes with instructions for the parents. 

On top of this each child seems to bring home half of a tree in papers, notes, i announcements, schedules, book sales ect every day. We are what 6 weeks in so far. I have glued a fair amount of stuff in their life books already and filled a trash bag and a half with a lot of notes abd such.

How the heck I am supposed to remember who has what special on what day ( who can wear sandals versus tennus shoes ) who has snack on what day and who has a special event going on is beyond me. Partly because some if them empty their back packs before they get buckled in the car, and partly because I have mo idea what papers belong to who???

Today was a perfect example of why I should be eating anxiety meds by the handfull! I a stabding at the stove trying to through together some sandwiches for dinner, S ( whos is nearly 16 and God's personal gift to my sanity ) is holding a manilla envelope from one of the kid's backpacks, she is reading the instructions outloud to me

Meanwhile, T, who I am quickly realizing needs to change the time we are giving hin his anxiety meds because about 4:30-5:00 pm he seems to take a sharp emotional nose dive, anyway T is standing practically on top of my feet saying " grandma, grandma, grandma…while you were at the store I accidentally picked my sore that you said not to pick, what is fior dinner, I did my homework, I Accidently picked my sore, I didn't mean too but it was an accident" all the while nervously twitching his fingers and trying to hold on to his game controler and kind of anxiously wiggling.

At the same time L is practically hanging off of  my leg saying " grandma what is for dinner, can we have pickles and a popsicle, can we have a snack, is it bed time yet, T got a band aide can I have a band aide, why does T have a band aide"

At the same time Margaret is just to the side of me inspecting every item that I just brought in for dinner. Maybe because she can't hear so instead of asking she just looks. But the non-stop lack od boundries is doing my head in. 

I can see K standing at the door, game controler in hand watching the chaos. No doubt she came to find out what is for dinner and why did T stop playing his game ( they play together from two seperate consoles ) she looks over whelmed and sad really.

Like me I think my Bug ( K ) misses piece and quiet. After moving here we often spent long days with very little noise, Bug and I would paint, some times S woukd  paint too. They are both tech junkies, S into music and movies and Bug into her mine craft or educational games on the computer and my husband at work off doing his own thing. I miss those days some times.

T talks extremely loud, Margaret is hearing impared so she talks loud and has the TV and music up loud all at once, L talks all the time and there are multiple tv's and video games and everyone talking all at once. I find it all to be too much to often. It is so loud all the time, I simply would like a quiet day!  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Tummy Hurt sooooo bad!!!

Well, where to start????

Things, unpacking, converting the garage, building a storage shed so that we can empty the garage in order to convert it…everything pretty much at a screeching hault. 

Last week, on Tuesday, I dropped the kids off at school. Monday had been hell! At my husband's multiple requests I called my PCP and ask for an appointment to have a spot looked at on my leg and to see if I could discuss my inability to sleep.

The spot on my leg made the nurse squeeze me in that day. I tried telling them it was a tiny spot and I only wanted it looked at because it seemed to triple in size in the last couple weeks, but it is still very tiny. 

Mind you I use the VA for medical care. They all seemed rather disapointed that I didn't have a tumor the size of Texas on my leg. But all were again lively when I brought up my lack of sleep. I had to explain the sorted mess of my life to the nurse, who then went to seek help from the nurse in charge, who needed me to again explain why I needed meds to sleep. 

The nurse in charge decides that instead of asking my PCP to give me meds she needed to escort me to mental health and loudly wisper to one person and then another and on and on. I felt like a fool in the waiting area with all the other mental patients looking at me thinking " ohhh her husband cheated on her and she has had a mental breakdown" I so badly wanted to yell out " his therapist swears I am not crazy!!! I just need sleep that is all!!!" 

Instead I get called back ahead of all the people that were there before me, like I might flip out at any minute. 

So I have to tell the therapist the sorted details. She openly gasp when she ask if my husband was out of the home and I said " no! He has a disease, of course I didn't leave him!" 

By the end of that conversation I was shaking, really really shaking and completely done with this whole mess. But I let her escort me to the waiting area, watched through the cracked open door as she stopped the doctor and discussed my situation then ushered me back through the door and into the doctor's office. I again repeat the unnerving details of my life over the last six months. By then I was crying and really done. 

Then the doctor has the nerve to ask me questions but cut me off and not allow me to fully answer. For example, " your sister has moved in with you, is she able to help clean up and take care of the kids ?"  I try to say " some of the kids are in DHS custody and she is not allowed to watch them or care for them because her disabilities prevent her from taking the training, yes she cleans but her way of doing thinks makes me crazy" the doctor just wanted yes or no…after the 3rd time she cut me off, I came unglued! I ask her why on earth she would be so rude to someone who is cleary  on the verge of completely loosing it? Why ask a damn question if I am not allowed to answer?

So she attempted to tell me 4 times that she squeezed me in and does not have much time and needs one or two word answers. I made it a point to cut her off every time. I finally said " look I can be just as rude as you and considering my current stress level I am sure I can do this a lot longer than you can, so lets get on with your one word answers, if your that strapped for time move on to your questions" and so she did.

I left with a bottle of pills that I was supposed to take one any time I feel stressed out, another if needed and one at bed time. 

I looked the meds up on my phone and stuck them in the cup holder and headed home. It seems that when I stopped for a drink on the way home and threw out my lunch trash I also threw out the pills. Maybe I stuck them back in the bag and not the cup holder?

So Tuesday after dropping off the kids, I stopped and purchased over the counter sleep meds. I slept all day Tuesday and felt really yucky when I did wake up.

Seems I was in day one of the stomach flu. 7 days later I barely have managed to crawl back to life and leave the bed. Everyone else managed to keep the important things going, like school, food and daily meds for the kids.

A couple days ago I managed to do a few things, then a little more yesterday and a whole lot today. It has been a complete wasted week but at least I slept! 

This is what I managed to do yesterday...

Friday, September 12, 2014

Twice Impressed

I have the oldest looking hands, my mother's wrinkly old lady hands. People used to notice it when I was in elementary school. I am sure they look even worse because I often forget to use lotion. But my old looking hands are not the subject of my blog today. Several weeks ago my husband made it clear thay he is uncomfortable with me not wearing a wedding ring, but understands why I refuse to wear the ring that we got married with. So in this conversation I suggested an intermittent ring until I am ready to wear a wedding ring, which will never be the ring we were married with.
He said " like a promise ring? I would be good with that" 

So our first rings came in two parts, he bought the bands in the UK, and took me to purchase the engagement ring, he said he wanted me to help pick it out so that I would like it. But that turned into pure craziness. Having spent a lot of time in the military, having grown up doing a lot of manual labor, simply being me, I wanted something small, something that didn't get caught on things, something simple. He wanted a huge flashy " look what he put on my finger " kind of ring. 

Also knowing that we were looking at six months or more before he would be allowed to work, I wanted cheap, yes cheap and simple. 

In the end it didn't really matter considering that the rings were never honored in our marriage.

So in looking for the intermittant ring, I found a lot of inexpensive rings that I liked. We will some day design a set of wedding rings for us, and I am still one to save money when we can.

He bought me this ring  

For the record I love this ring, but it is way to big and bulky. To me it is better suited for a night out or a special occasion. But at a size 5 it firs loose enough that it constantly turns and it gets caught on every thing. 

When he orderd the ring he said " if you don't like it I will buy you a different one, until we find you that you do like"

I do love the ring but not for every day wear. So recently he ordered me another ring. 

Smaller, less bulky and good for daily wearing. And of course inexpensive. 

I have been sick for several days. Only leaving the bed to throw up or soak my achey body in a hot bath.

The ring arrived to me being so shaky from the fever that I barely managed yo open it. I had forgotten about it and thought it was my daughter's birthday present arriving.

So I sent him a pic
And get a response that I can put it on right now! So I did, and I really do love it! 

The other really sweet thing he did this week, besides soup and crakers and dealing with kids…today on his lunch break he came to check on me. I am getting worn out from being this sick for this long. All I wanted was to snuggle up and sleep. So instead of lunch he spent his lunch break laying in our bed, arms wrapped around a very sick me, just holding me while I slept in his arms. 

That is the kind of stuff that means the most to me!