Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Side-note-I have a new love in my life XX00

Thats right! I have a new love and wanted to take a detour to tell you about it.

PUREX 3-in-1 laundry sheets!!!!

Wow, they are the BEST!

Especially for those of you who struggle to get the kids to do the laundry right. I have begged and pleaded with my children to pay attention to how much detergent, whitener, fabric softener, etc, etc... to put in the washer. But they don't care. We are lucky if we get detergent in with the clothes at all! They just don't care, can't measure, don't read what's in the bottle they are dumping into the washer or any number of other interesting reasons.
But with these nifty little gizmos, you just drop a sheet into the washer and thats all you need. It goes into the dryer from the washer with the clothes-done!! Clean, soft, good smelling clothes. No sticky, drippy, messy bottles. No running into the laundry room to make sure the kids are measuring properly-just one sheet!
Love, love, LOVING it!!!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Storm Starts Brewing

June 2nd-
Rainy and cold outside, roaring fire in the woodstove and a hot cup of coffee. Its as if the weather is determined to not let us move on from the dark days of winter. Not wanting us to forget what we have gone through.
As the school year rolls to an end, I find it hard to believe that it was 9 short months ago that our world was turned upside down. It feels like a lifetime has passed since those dark days of September. September 27th, to be exact. The date will forever be branded in my memory. A fairly normal Sunday; church service followed by baked potatoes and lounging around. The only distinction on this day was the fact that we had our niece with us.
"H" had been with us for about 6 weeks. David and I had picked her up on our way home from a blissful pre-anniversary weekend away. Her family desperately needed time apart from her as they figured out a plan for her long-term care. In respect for her privacy I will only say that her behavior at home had caused them to know without a doubt that she could no longer live at home. David and I agreed to take her home with us for a while as they sorted out their options.
In retrospect, it was the wrong decision. But it seemed at the time like we were the only alternative. Their only other available option would have been to involve the authorities. *I have to stop here and just say that it is HEARTBREAKING when families are forced to involve the authorities for lack of other resources!*
The first few weeks went fairly well. H wasn't too offensive towards us, intense and 'in your face', but not violent or disrespectful. She seemed to bond well with our "A". They had similar backgrounds and seemed to find a commonality there. We were watchful, but tried not to hover over them as they spent hours on end talking in A's bedroom. It was sweet that A had finally found a friend. In the 6 years that she had been with us, we had not seen her become close to anyone but her sisters.
A had struggled over the years to trust us, never really forming a strong bond. Some would even say that she showed signs of Attachment Disorder, but we had seen growth and held out hope for a better relationship with her. There had been desperate times, for sure. Tearful times where we wondered if things would ever turn around. We were frustrated that she required a different form of parenting. That she didn't have to be respectful to us, while the other children did. There was no discipline that worked with her. How could I force a child nearly my own size to go in her room if she didn't want to-or do ANYTHING for that matter? As her actions were mostly directed at me, David tried to support me as much as he could. For him, she was an angel. Always willingly offering hugs or a helping hand. It was infuriating for me!! How could he help but wonder if some of my hysterics were not just a lack of patience or understanding on my part? It certainly looked to him like she was a fairly pleasant child. I warned him that she was just manipulating him and trying to gain control over us by dividing us against each other. He understood, and we were careful to never disagree in front of her. Still, she was good at it and we were challenged to dig deep in our relationship, trusting enough to back the other up. We had been through issues before with some of our other children, but never to this degree.
She had made progress, though. We had seen hints of trust, signs that she was letting go of her need to control, allowing herself acknowledge that she had value. Whispers that she was letting our love find a home in her heart. But did I love her? Sometimes. I wanted to. She had some very amazing qualities. A tender and compassionate heart buried beneath a load of pain. I loved that. I loved the flicker of sweetness that bubbled to the surface now and again. It was just so hard to hang onto when every time we had a tender moment it was quickly doused by the ugly, defiant child on the outside.
I tried not to ask myself the fearful questions that crippled me but they were relentless, "Where will we be in 5 or 10 years?", " Has anything really changed?", " What is she teaching the younger boys by her behavior?", "Will this be the child that will never be able to leave home?" These questions are a prison cell for the mothers heart. Confining my heart and binding my ability to love, eating away at the claim I had laid on my child!
Complicating factors even more was the fact that A could not learn. She was charming and engaging in social settings but could not retain information. At 15 years old, she still could not read past a second grade level, tell time, or really grasp the what numbers represented. Her memory had been stifled by Post Traumatic Stress, which made processing the events very challenging!
All of this played a part in her lack of meaningful friendships. So when we took her cousin for respite care, we were happy that she had finally begun to form a friendship.
Little did we know how damaging that friendship would become.
Hope you stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Welcome Back!

Its funny to look at the pictures and posts after such a long absence. How incredible the changes that have taken place since then. I suppose the silence can be blamed on the fact that we were so absorbed with living life that we didn't have time to write about it.
Since then we have had children move on to their own adventures, and some move back again, and are preparing now to move on again (such is life :) ). Several are in college and the rest either in public high school or middle school, or preparing to be.
Life has really changed for us. It never seems to take the path that we expected. Turns in the road never go the direction we think they will, but thankfully it has ended well so far.
The past two years have been incredibly challenging. Filled with doctor visits galore, tests, hospitalizations, more tests, mental health issues, etc. When I look back at it all, I can't believe that its our story, it looks overwhelmingly unfamiliar. We float through these times as if in a dream. If we stop and really absorb whats happening, it would consume us.
We are so thankful for the prayers and support of loved ones. For Gods mighty had to save and for Jesus' powerful name.
The bend in the road brought a new land that looks different from the one we were in. We are learning what life is like here. Learning what are role is here.
I would like to share some of what we have gone through with you, in hopes that some of you would find comfort in the familiarity of our journey. Its sensitive in nature and I pray that you will understand and honor that. I would never, ever want to compromise my childrens trust or reputation.
Until next time-Blessings!