Monday, May 2, 2011

Change is in the air!

   David left yesterday for a business trip and won't be back until late Thursday night.  Although I will miss him terribly, the thought of him going isn't nearly as overwhelming these days.

In the past, we could pretty much count on the fact that there would be some sort of "event" when he was away.
For the safety of everyone, we had decided to never have Miss A home when David was out of town. You can read more about it HERE  The difficulty was finding somewhere for her to go, since he travels fairly frequently.

What a difference it made knowing that she was somewhere safe and we could look forward to a somewhat 'normal' week.
I slept like a baby.  In the past, I have laid awake most of the night on alert for what might happen.  My hands would be shaky every moment of every day that he was away.  But when he'd call to check on us, I would try my hardest to pretend that I was relaxed and happy.  I couldn't bear to let him know how I suffered!  His job is challenging enough without having the added stress of wondering if your family was safe.

At 2:00 I cheerfully dropped him off at the ferry and drove home without a care.  In fact, I had a lovely phone conversation with Miss A on the way home!

She sounds great!  Missing us of course, but not distraught.  Miss S talked to her too and noticed how much more 'grown up' she sounded.  I agree.  She seems to be processing things in a much more mature way.  I'm very proud of her and miss her so much, despite the past.  We talked about how this whole thing is going to be very good for all of us-I really believe that!

I even took time to sew a new purse!

Before he left...
We broke the news to the kids that we would be implementing the new points/rewards system for behavior that the MTFC program (that Miss A is in) requires.  The program director would like us to have the same system they use in her foster family in place when she comes home for visitation.  Although the kids hate the thought, David and I are pretty excited about it.  

David answering questions about the "new program"

Points/ reward systems are not usually very effective for kids with attachment issues, which most kids who are adopted have to some degree.  It becomes one more thing that they use to control and manipulate you, therefore, I don't usually advocate using them.  But as this is required for the program, and as it has been designed for VERY challenging children, I am looking forward to giving it a try.

Here is a very basic outline of what is required at the first of three "levels".  I will introduce you to the other two levels as soon as the program director gives us that information.

Points                     things required to earn points                                                                                             

5                            up on time

15                          ready for the day-brush teeth, 
                              clean clothes, eat breakfast

15                          morning clean up-make bed, 
                              clothes away, room neat,
                               personal items put away

10                          pass inspection- 
                              backpack, pockets, room check

15                          homework done, 
                              read and study time

10                          chore

15                         ** school card
                             (teacher signature and performance)

15                          attitude/maturity-
                                respectful problem solving,
                                accepting 'no', follow directions -A.M.

15                          attitude/maturity--P.M.

10                          shower/bedtime

5                            medication-taken nicely

0-5 bonus               caught doing something good

** School card signed by each teacher stating if they had all homework done, behavior was good, tardy or not, etc.  We will only do this for classes they have below a C

***  They must earn at least 100 points each day in order to "spend" points for privileges the next day

Privilege                  Description          Point cost   

Basics                   Radio/tv in room,       40
                             9pm bedtime   
Later bedtime        Later bedtime
                              on non-school days    15

phone calls             to approved
                              list of friends         15 for 20 min

other                      computer time, 
                                stereo,                     20 for 30 min
                              etc with approval   
tv                           after chores 
                              and homework             20

points bank            save extra points
                             for special privileges  
                              cost negotiated
 additional ideas
(what motivates you?)

Shots from a Sunny Sunday :)