Tag Archives: children

Sleepy Adventures


Another thing you may have read on Facebook:

In the past two days I have watched Little Man wake from a deep sleep and

A) pick up his milk, drink it, and set it back down;

B) join in right on cue with the applause at a concert; and

C) walk to the kitchen, open a bag of muffins, grab two and head back to bead where he proceeded to eat them.

All of this was followed by him falling immediately back to sleep. I’m wondering if this could tell me something about why he wakes up so often every night. Any ideas? Does this sound like sleep walking type stuff?

Proudest Mommy Moment Yet


If you are my Facebook friend, you’ve already read this, but . . .

Proudest mommy moment yet: whenever we see someone hurt or upset, or someone tells us they are sick or in pain, I have Little Man stop and pray with me for them. We always hold hands and end with “amen.” Tonight he was being stubborn about brushing his teeth and I told him to please brush his teeth because mommy’s back hurt. He held out one hand to mine and tried to touch my back with the other, before saying “amen.” I didn’t understand him at first and then he kept asking me to take his hand and saying “amen, mommy’s back.” Needless to say we stopped and prayed right then.

Getting teary eyed just typing it. When you think it’s not working, when you think they’re not paying attention, just wait! As one of my favorite musical theatre songs says, “Careful the things you say, children will listen. Children may not obey, but children will see, and learn, and know.”


When the Bough Breaks, the Cradle Will Fall


And . . . no baby.  After hauling tons of baby stuff into my home, installing a car seat, and reorganizing 2 closets and Little Man’s dresser so there would be room for the baby’s stuff.  And it’s not like I’m heart broken I’m not getting a baby–hey my life will definitely be easier with one.  But, the reason I’m not getting him is that he is not being taken away.  On Tuesday the investigator said it was so serious they couldn’t wait till today to remove him and he needed to be taken out right away.  But mom wouldn’t sign the consent form, so they had to wait till court today.  And now mom has “a plan.”  Mom with lots of substance abuse issues has a plan.  So the baby is staying with her.  And I know I’m a bit skeptical, but I am worried about the safety of this little baby.

So, I’m trying to decompress from this.  And now there’s a whole heap of baby stuff to be returned to all my awesome friends who were letting me borrow it.  Ugh.

The Merry Go Round of Crazy


I mentioned in my last post that there was lots I needed to catch everyone up on.  The past 2 1/2 weeks have been so crazy — so much stuff going in Little Man’s world and in mine.  It all started with a visit to a pediatric specialist at the Center for Development, Behavior, and Genetics.  That translates to a specialist that works with kids with a variety of special needs.  He’s crazy hard to get into–appointments often take a year to make.  However a year ago, when Little Man was still with bio mom, there was some concern that he might have Autism, and so an appointment was scheduled.  And now the time had come for that appointment.  We actually came back from vacation a day early to make this–it’s that big of a deal.

Since I’ve had Little Man it’s been clear to everyone involved that he doesn’t have Autism.  However he does have a whole list of other issues and troubling behaviors.  So this was a very helpful appointment.  Some of the things he was diagnosed with were no shock–developmental language disorder, at risk for learning disability, and severe problems with impulse control, explosiveness, and aggression.  Others were a bit of a surprise, but not too intimidating–probable ADHD.

But then there was one other diagnosis.  The one at the top of his chart.  I’m not going to make it public yet, because I’m not sure I’ve bought into this diagnosis.  But let me tell you, it’s bad.  Like, really bad.  In fact, when I did my home study they had to ask me about a long list of challenging behaviors, medical conditions, mental health issues, and special needs.  I said I’d take kids with severe learning disabilities or special needs.  I said I’d take kids who started fires.  This is the ONE THING I said I couldn’t handle.  The place where I drew the line.

God has a great sense of humor, huh?

I received a copy of the doctor’s full report and it was full of lots of things I just had to laugh at.  Like “He can be very sweet, but is also prone to violent and aggressive outbursts.  Many things trigger him very quickly”  And “He actually exhibits quite a lot of attention-seeking and limit testing behavior with his foster mother.  She is quite skilled in her responses to this behavior.”  Well, thanks.

That week I actually had three different appointments for Little Man.  Two days later I took him into the clinic for a follow-up appointment for a health problem he’s been having.  We saw my favorite doctor there-she’s awesome.  Little Man was displaying a few challenging behaviors.  Most of the time he was pretty good.  But then he started throwing a chair.  Nurses came in, afraid that someone was getting hurt and the doctor needed help.  Welcome to my world, folks.  Anyway, Little Man was fine and at the end of the visit the doctor told me “I wish I could bring you in to train the other foster parents–you’re great.”  Did I mention how much I love her?  So much better than the snooty doctor who stepped in the door one time and before even saying hello told me I needed to teach my son that his behavior wasn’t acceptable.  (Oh, is that what I’m supposed to do?  I thought I was supposed to encourage the yelling, hitting, and throwing.)

The next day I had an appointment to determine if Little Man was still eligible for services as he transitions out of EI and into the school district system (since he just turned 3).  It was an interesting meeting–two people from the school district, his special needs preschool teacher, his EI coordinator, his caseworker, bio mom on the phone, and myself.  The preschool teacher started bragging on how far he’s come in the past few months and that he’s doing so great.  But I had come to the meeting with my report from the specialist he saw on Monday.  And when they passed it around, everyone’s jaws hit the floor.  For real.  His caseworker said “I had no idea it was this bad.”  Maybe she wasn’t getting my desperate e-mails.  Who knows.  His teacher was shocked.  Apparently he spends a lot more time acting out at home than at school.  But his EI coordinator listened to my descriptions of his behavior and said “That is exactly what he was behaving like when I was doing in-home services with him before.”  Well, at least someone else has seen it.  They clearly saw his need for continued services and assigned him to everything the doctor had recommended.  Win.

As I was leaving the meeting, his caseworker walked out with me and we were able to have a good conversation.  She apologized for not knowing Little Man’s needs were so severe and promised to raise him to the next level of care (which means I’ll receive a higher reimbursement and can start a college fund for him as well as buying some of the therapeutic tools and toys he needs).  I laughed, “Yeah,” I said “my definition of a good day had drastically changed–the other night he hit me several times, bit me, pulled my hair, and pinched me, but it really was a good night.”

Then she started talking about mom and I asked her about some of the things she’d said in the meeting.  I wanted to know if mom was really making progress on getting Little Man back–because that’s how the caseworker was speaking to her during the meeting.  In the process of answering that question it came out that mom does not, in fact, have other children.  I was told multiple times by other caseworkers and by Little Man’s lawyer that mom had several other children who had all been freed for adoption and that meant he was on the path for adoption as well.  Now I was finding out that wasn’t true.  Apparently dad has other kids that have been freed for adoption, but mom has no other kids.  Woah.  That is a huge difference.  I felt like the ground had been ripped out from underneath me.  The caseworker shared some other info about his court case that had occurred the day before (I didn’t even know he had one), things going on with mom’s progress, and we made a plan to meet at my home for her visit the following week.

The beginning of the next week she came out for the visit.  She sat on my couch and observed Little Man and was completely shocked.  For real words that came out of her mouth:  “Is he always like this?”  “You should think long and hard about whether you want to adopt him, because I can’t promise he’ll ever get any better.”  Not so encouraging.  I know she’s just doing her job, and she needs to protect him against someone who says yes and then after adopting decides they can’t handle it.  But seriously people, if your biological kid was diagnosed with special needs would you just send them back?

In the midst of all this craziness we also had Little Man’s epic birthday party, I met with a social worker at the specialist’s office to discuss ways to handle his challenging behaviors, my computer completely crashed–losing about 3 months worth of work and being out of commission for nearly 2 weeks, I enrolled Little Man in his new special needs preschool program and took him for a tour, and dealt with an incredibly infuriating screaming episode in the middle of a nice sit-down restaurant.  (Seriously, Little Man, I refuse to accept defeat and stay at home or the park for the rest of my life–you need to learn how to behave in public, sincerely Mommy.)

So, if you’ve been wondering what’s going on in the world of Little Man, the answer is A LOT.  A lot that is super overwhelming.  But there’s been so much that’s super rewarding too.  Like . . .

* My baby, who could only speak about 5 words three months ago, is now talking up a storm.  He can speak in complete sentences and is learning new words and phrases every day!

* And he is not just looking at books anymore.  He is “reading” them.  For reals.  He picks up “Go Dog, Go” and carefully turns each page and says words and sentences that are on that page.  “I like it!  I like that hat!”  How magical is that!!

* He has decided that he now loves being at our home.  (I’m sure all the amazing toys his friends got him for his birthday are helping that!)

* He overheard “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman” in church and it’s new favorite song.  He sings along and does the motions–his favorite part is the “tick tock” part, with “Don’t touch me!” coming in as a close second!

* He also has decided he loves being at church.  No more crying when we start heading that way.  Instead he’ll start asking for church multiple times in a day!

* He has gotten so much better at staying at the table during mealtimes.

* I have significantly less bruises and injuries than I did a month ago.  His violent behaviors are getting much less frequent (and more importantly) much less damaging.

* And also super encouraging: an awesome friend contacted someone she knows who is a specialist in that diagnosis I was so afraid of.  And she thinks it’s wrong.  She described another diagnosis which is similar, and in some ways even harder to manage.  But the major difference:  the love, support, and affection I give him now can radically change and even cure what he’s dealing with.  And that is a HUGE light at the end of the tunnel.



Shhh . . . Don’t tell


But Little Man slept through the night last night.  In his bed.  Not curled up on his changing pad outside my door.  The whole night!!!!  Three cheers for a full night’s sleep for him and for me!

Also, in case you don’t follow me on Facebook — my awesomely brilliant friend Angie (the one you saw helping me put together the crib he never used) sat down and brainstormed ways to work through some of his struggles with me.  The screaming bloody murder and throwing himself at me until I’m in so much pain I’m crying when I go to change his diaper.  The hitting and biting, which for him aren’t just an expression of frustration, but a game to play.  Angie knows her stuff.  She’s got a masters degree in working with kids with special needs.  She’s a rock star.  And all her advice worked like a charm.  Diaper changes took a while but happened with zero fighting.  After a few times of hitting he ate up her tools and stopped hitting.  HOLLA!

And that eating thing . . . for the last 24 hours he’s decided he really would rather sit in my lap at meal times than get down and play.  He’s still not really eating anything, but it’s progress.  Not the finish line, but fantastic progress.

Let’s celebrate.  Just not too loud, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed.

I’m drowning in unwritten blog posts


So, I’m so insanely behind in my blog challenge that it’s just unforgivable!  My life has been a bit crazy– summer time is always the busiest time of year for kids’ pastors.  And then there’s Christmastime.  And Easter.  Well, let’s just say it’s been crazy!  Last week I led a Musical Theatre Camp for kids–it was fun, and crazy, and our performance was a comedy of errors.

Just imagine one of our stars stopping in the middle of the performance and screaming “There’s a GIANT spider on the stage!” while her fellow actor scornfully says, “I hardly think this is the time to discuss spiders.”  And then there was the time all of the actors forgot what they were supposed to do and stared at me in confusion as I mouthed “Exit.”  Only they didn’t exit, they just stared at me.  And my mouthing became a whisper, became a stage whisper, became a full voice, became practically a yell as the entire audience laughed and the kids just stood and stared.  Or then there was the actor who missed her cue to bring out a tray of appetizers, so we went on with the scene.  Only, two scenes later she decides now is the time for appetizers.  And I shoo her offstage.  Then she tries again in her next scene.  And her next.  Until finally she yells at me (from onstage) “But they told me to.”  Ahh . . . such awesome memories.

Anyway, if I’m picking up where I left off in the blog challenge I’m supposed to write about the best thing that happened to me this year.  I’m not really sure I could point out one thing that has happened so far.  So instead, I’m going to cheat and go with the best thing I’m hoping to happen to me by the end of 2013.  I’m hoping to get my foster license, and maybe even my first kiddo.  And I’m on the road!  Last night was my first foster class.

It was an interesting experience.  Our room was jam-packed, and we looked like a diversity in foster parenting ad.  Mostly there were young to middle-aged white couples.  But there was also a black couple, a gay couple, a lesbian couple, a single parent black mom, an older newlywed man whose wife is already certified, and me–the single white girl with no kids.  I’ve heard from many others that only about half the class will make it to the end–the rest will drop out along the way.  I’m trying to guess who will bow out before the end comes–does that make me sadistic?

Anyway, one of the things that I didn’t expect was just how many of these couples are looking at fostering as the road to adopt children.  I think every couple in the room was seeing this as a way to “expand their family.”  And of the seven straight couples,  four of them were led to fostering because of infertility.  Some of them still carried a lot of deep pain when talking about not being able to have a child.  And although I can appreciate how much pain that would cause, I also wonder if they are ready for what fostering really means.  I wonder if some of these couples have chosen foster-to-adopt because it’s a lot less expensive than private and international adoptions.  Now, I firmly believe more people should be fostering and that it is a fantastic thing to do.  But I wonder if parents who are still grieving their own inability to have a child are prepared for the challenges of fostering–not least of which is operating in a world where Plan A is always to return the child to their birth family.

What do you think, internet world?  Has anyone been in this situation before?

Blog Challenge: Day 12


Today’s challenge is to write about the moment you’re most proud of.  This is a tough one for me because I can’t honestly think of a “moment” I’m proud of.  I can think of decisions, choices, periods of my life . . . but a single moment?  I don’t feel like I’ve ever really had an epic moment.  Of all the things I’ve done that I’m proud of–none of them happened in a moment.  So, I guess I’m going to cheat on this one.  Instead I’m going to share what I am proud of.

I’m proud that I’ve chosen to pour my life into making a difference, sharing God’s love, and doing what I love– instead of choosing a job based on how much money I would make or what great benefits and perks I would get.  I’m proud of the fact that sometimes I’ve even raised money to live on so that I could work for free doing something I believe in.  I’m proud of helping bring positive changes to kids lives–whether that’s through child sponsorship or becoming a foster parent.

And now I feel a bit awkward, like I’ve just been bragging on myself.  So . . . let’s call that a wrap.



Waiting for my unknown child


Yesterday as I was cleaningI walked into my future foster kiddos room.  Right now it’s about half-Amanda, half-kid.  After I send my amazing friend Shanna on an Ikea-run it will be all-kid.  In the meantime it’s filled with bits and pieces for my kiddos:  stuffed animals, packages of pajamas organized by size, scarves and hats, toothbrushes and soap, Hello Kitty and Spiderman band-aids, coloring books and bubbles.  These are the trappings of childhood.  And in the meantime I’m waiting . . . no, not just waiting, preparing.

I ran my hand along the top of the now-assembled crib and I said a prayer for the kids who will one day be mine, even if for only a few weeks or months.  I pray that God will help my home to be the safe and loving place they need, and that in me they will find someone they can trust.  That even when they rail against me, they can do so being secure in my love.  I imagined all the adventures we will have together–whether going to the park, traveling on vacation, or making it through a family visit.  And I pray that through those adventures somehow I can help them see their own beauty and talent and intelligence and value.

And I realized . . .

I won’t just be creating a loving and safe place for them.  They will be creating a better version of me.  I know that I will learn so much from my unknown children.  I will become a better person because of the lessons I learn as a foster parent.  Lessons like patience and humility and selflessness.   I’m not sure how to prepare for those lessons, but I’m ready to be schooled.

A whirlwind of a week . . . or two. (Part 2)


After spending Memorial Day at an awesome reception, I headed home and met up with my amazing small group.  Have I told you how incredible my small group is?  They are.  I am so lucky to have such a cool group of friends who encourage me and are always there for me.  Monday night we skipped the discussion part of group and just had a party.  (Two parties in one day, woot woot!)  Scott made an awesome dessert and summer sangria and we played Imaginiff–a game I purchased on my vacation which turned out to be hilarious.

Unfortunately after my crazy week and lack of sleep, I headed into the rest of my week with some kind of upper respiratory craziness.  You know that “I’ve been run over by a mack truck” feeling you get when you’re sick?  Yeah, I hate that.  And I’ve been battling it all week.  If you know me in real life, you know I’m an extreme night owl.  Like, going to bed at 1am is early for me.  I’m really lucky that I don’t have one of those jobs where I have to be up at 5 or 6 am.  So it is a dead giveaway that I am sick when on Tuesday night I was in bed by 9pm, and Wednesday I left home early and was headed to bed by 5:45pm.  Woah.  Not so fun.

Which made me wonder what I’ll do when I have a foster kiddo to take care of and I can’t just hit the bed.  I’m sure I’ll manage somehow–mostly because of awesome friends, but also because I have been a nanny before and there were times that I had to show up and watch two kids age two and under when I wasn’t feeling so hot.  So, you manage.  Somehow.  But it was a thought.

At any rate, I am thankful that this is only the second time I’ve been sick since I moved to Syracuse.  Those of you who knew me in other places, will be impressed that it’s only been two times.

The other thing I’ve been up to this week is collecting more items for my foster kiddos.  I am finding Craig’s List and e-Bay to be an awesome help in setting up a kid’s room.  I bought a twin bed frame.  (My plan is to have a room set up with both a crib and a twin bed.  Although I’d prefer to only take one kid at a time, this will enable me to take a bigger variety of ages.  Also, if there was a sibling set I would be able to consider taking them.)

I’ve also gathered a diaper champ (nanny-tested and approved, it is so much better than a diaper genie), a baby monitor, some more pj’s, some free safety latches (thanks Proctor & Gamble), and buckets full of fun stuff from the dollar store.  Here are a few shots of some of my finds:

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So, that’s been my crazy two weeks.  How ’bout you?  What have you been up to this week?

Child’s Play


simple joy of a child
revealed in smiling laughter
on a tiny face
sparkling eyes—
beauty, innocence, naiveté
finger paints,
flying in the wind,
spinning round and round
can fall down — can’t stay down
childlike trust,
faith too strong
stars in a midnight blue sky
shine, sparkle, shimmer
trying not to fade into the conformity
of an adult world