Love Changes Things

January 11th, 2013

DSCN7281Yesterday Dear Hubby and I met with The Captain's attachment therapist.  Between the three of us, we have decided to suspend his therapy for now.  I can hardly believe I am writing these words! Sometime around Thanksgiving, I realized The Captain is definitely attached to me.  He makes regular eye contact, he looks at me when he is uncertain, he runs to meet me off the bus, he's a love bug.  Over the holidays, he showed a lot of affection to Daddy, too, which is new for him. While he still has issues to deal with in therapy, we are postponing those until he is better at talking.  He has symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) but we really need him to talk… [more]

Progress

November 28th, 2012

The Captain first day 2012If you follow my blog, you'll recognize that The Captain has the most "school type" issues.  He's often very well behaved at school; it's the learning issues we are working through.  Surprisingly, his PTSD and attachment issues seem to be okay in this environment; I think the big difference between the last two years and this is that he isn't attached to this teacher and so doesn't feel so threatened by the attention she pays to other kids.  Having a class 3 times larger clearly helps; all in all, behavior-wise, it's going well. He has what can best be described as "un-diagnosed learning issues."  We spend a lot of time at doctors and taking tests but most of the… [more]

A Learning Opportunity

April 16th, 2012
Posted By: on Foster Adoption

499019_talking2In the last blog I talked about self-esteem issues that most children have but are prominent among adopted children. These issues range from an inaccurate view of themselves, other people's comments and the lack of stability and maturity that often comes with their situations. This is a major issues in the lives of adopted kids. They have to deal with the loss that they have faced, other people's opinions and feelings of abandonment. Amidst all of this, they need to develop a self-worth and understanding that will carry them through their lives. Many of these kids fail in that regard. The obstacles are too large, their support system doesn't understand and they lose hope. The Joint Council is looking to help you [the… [more]

Raising a Traumatized Child

November 14th, 2011

bookEighteen years ago, when I went to my first adoption seminar, so many things came to mind: meeting "my" child for the first time, holding him or her in my arms, providing a safe home, giving all the love I had to heal any wounds the child might have. What I never considered was how the adoption of a traumatized child would affect me. For years I had imagined my prince carrying me off into an idyllic world where I would bear children perfect and happy. But then, at 37, why was I still single? Ah, because I was too overweight or too weird or too ugly. As it turns out, no. When I took the hand of my little 3-year-old Abel for the first… [more]

Tin Man

November 2nd, 2011

tin man sweet face I love this picture of our 4-year old, fondly referred to as "The Captain."  It's not just that he looks so cute in his costume; it's this particular expression that shows he knows he's cute.  I love this because it is new . . . and thrilling. The Captain and his siblings have been with us for about 20 months and for most of that time, "tin man" was an apt representation of him.  He had two main modes:  fit and not-fit.  The rest of the time, he face was, well, placid.  We could see in his eyes that he was "in there."  We got occasional flashes of smiles, many of those directed at his siblings.  He was soldier-like in… [more]

A Little Rant on Research

September 13th, 2011

Recently I have been digging through adoption research for background on kids adopted through foster care.  There is so little research; it frustrates me.   The best and most comprehensive research on adoption was done through SIBs at University of Minnesota;  even this has limitations. Although it was the largest adoption study ever, the adopted children were all under age 2 at adoption and all were agency adoption.  Many were international adoptions.  I don't know how many were foster kids but I am betting few, if any. Foster adoption is different and I would love to see some good comprehensive studies on the topic.   These need to be studies of kids who are over 2 years old when adopted;  it would be great to have a thousand subjects.  Foster kids come with… [more]

The Connection between School and his Past

September 7th, 2011

Captain first day of school "The Captain,"  age 4, attends public school for two hours a day for a speech therapy/early childhood program.  This is his second year in the program.  The first 6 months of last year, he was a darling, predictably.  We knew he wasn't that perfect.  Eventually, he began to have tantrums and show other behaviors at school. When The Captain came to our home, it was his sixth move.  He was not yet three years old. Clinging, crying and oppositional behavior are all signs of attachment issues.  (Personally, I think they are also signs of being human.  The difference is all about degree) Obviously, the more often a child is moved, the more likely he is to suffer from attachment… [more]

A Life How Big?

April 18th, 2011
Posted By: on Foster Adoption

1343298_boat_water_trailIt seems that I am in contact with adoption in all areas of my life. When I step back and assess my life, the people in it and what I choose to pursue, adoption rises to the front. It starts close to home with my husband. He was adopted out of the foster care system as an infant. His sisters were adopted out of foster care as well. One as an infant, the other was older. They have lived together as a family, yet their stories are different. A child adopted as an infant often has an easier time bonding and adapting to their forever family. A child who is adopted out of foster care at an older age can struggle and feel as though they have lost… [more]

An (Almost) Five Foot Wonder Woman

January 6th, 2011
Posted By: on Foster Adoption

1172374_the_power_of_the_sunOne of the hardest parts of any adoption, but especially foster adoption placements, is the idea that there is a whole part of a child's life that is unknown to the parents. They were removed from their parents for a reason (quite often the reason is known) but how the child handled the upheaval is often the unknown factor, thus dealing with issues from the upheaval has to be done 'blind.' As a parent, we want what is best of our children. In the case of foster to adoption placements, wanting what's best often plays out by using discretion about what is told to the child. The actual circumstances are often too horrifying for a young child to handle. In burdening the child… [more]

Anger Masking Sadness

January 3rd, 2011
Posted By: on Foster Adoption

1158073_paper_emotions_-_hateMy son was born perfect. He had ten little toes, ten fingers. Lots of hair (I've seen pictures so I can verify this) and those present at the birth had every reason to believe he would live a successful, productive, happy life. Next week however, he goes in for his ninth major surgery (counting little ones is more than my math challenged brain can do) As I start to prepare for the difficult week ahead, I can't help but get a little angry, ok a lot angry. My son should not have to do this! This shouldn’t be his life. It was never in the plans until his birth father lost his temper and shook him so violently that it caused permanent and… [more]