Cycling…..round and around we go!!

Jon and Ozzy after finishing the last mountain bike race from last season! This is the cycling we should be experiencing!!

So here we are in the middle of the Covid-19 chaos and, to be honest, it feels like we have multiple little tornadoes that keep starting up within the swaying of our sinking ship! Yeah that sounds psycho and let me tell you I FEEL PSYCHO!

In a world where we have little to no control of things going on outside our home, I find that I have little control I have over things inside my home as well! Okay that sounds a little dramatic, but if we step back and look at our children and their past trauma that is still affecting them it is 100% true!

I had no control over the horrific trauma that my children have endured and honestly I am just along for the ride as they work through their past trauma. Now for some of you that are reading this and have not stepped out in faith yet to be a foster parent or to adopt a child into your family from the foster system this may sound COMPLETELY crazy…..

However, living with trauma in your home (even if you are not the one who has caused the trauma!!) is one of the most challenging, overwhelming, heartbreaking, rewarding, amazing, and awe inspiring adventures you can have. I honestly feel that while this is a crazy ride it is one that I would never want to miss out on!

Now does that mean that I don’t have times that I long for the empty nest that I would have now if I wasn’t on this adventure, no I am human …. I think! Of course there are times that I long to be alone and spend time with just my husband, go to the bathroom without a fight breaking out, or someone being pushed into full on meltdown over not getting to do what they want! Who wouldn’t!!!! Right????

I guess I need to get back to my point of this post….

While we are not in control of our children’s cycle, which leads to the above stated feelings, I am in control of how I respond and how I let their cycle affect me!!

As I write this post I have an 11 year old standing in the same room screaming that he wants to kill himself and that he hates his life (he is in his anger phase). The meltdown cycle often resembles that of the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Currently we are experiencing the anger response by screaming that he wants to kill himself, however I know that soon his words will change to something along the line of “it was an accident that I threw the rock at my brother so I shouldn’t have to stand in a time in!” or maybe even something like “it’s his fault because he was sitting where I was going to through my rock and so he should have to to do the punishment not me!”

Yet again one more cycle that we are experiencing several times over each day. Now we have what unfortunately is becoming a common cycle of will there be school on campus or will I be responsible for teaching the lesson plans the teachers have put out for us to use. Here at the Aguilar house we have made the OH SO HARD decision to home school our circus of flying monkey’s. I say this half excited that I get to teach because it is one of my joys, however, teaching with trauma and heartache means that I am more than a little overwhelmed.

In my logical mind I am overwhelmed by the prospect of attempting to teach my kids, but in my Momma heart I am ecstatic! I know my children better than just about anyone, which means I know how to reach them, and have more time than a teacher with 29 other students. I also know just how challenging this will be! I know what will definitely trigger a meltdown, or stir up feelings. However, who better to work through these challenges than their protector, provider, and safe place? I know that this will allow them to work through not only common events in life, but also their feelings on family and their personal history that a teacher just is not able to fully grasp. We are choosing to make this a part of our journey! You heard me right, we are choosing to battle through our childs’ past trauma to reach the end goal of being a rock star human that can make it in this crazy world!

So let the wheels, gears, emotions, and tears keep rolling as we partake on yet another new twist in our family’s journey in life!

Indifferent!

We have a 14 year old adopted son with Autism Spectrum Disorder type 2 that is pushing me over the edge!!! We have other kids with the same diagnosis and I have survived their growth through this age however, I do think I will make it this time.

We have worked through hours of therapy, every technique suggested, and more meltdowns than is humanly possible. Currently we are working with the indifference strategy, no matter what he does we are to be indifferent. I am struggling with this in every fiber of my body!!!! We have been doing this for over a month and honestly I just can’t do this anymore! If we saw one twinkle of it making a difference I would stick to my guns but when I continue to get looks like he is going to attack me or that I am abusing him when he doesn’t get the extra the others have earned it is beyond hard!

This is the battle I have been through with my heart over this strategy. How can I show him love if I am indifferent….well when I do show him love he is indifferent about it. Hum, but how will he know how special he is…..well if he isn’t being treated special he melts down so does it help to treat him special? Not really.

I understand that I am not a therapist or specialist but how is acting like him going to improve the situation? Well let me tell you something…it took a good month, but on Sunday when dad elected to play Xbox with the boys this particular 14 year old was not eligible. Bingo finally we see that he does care about something!

Now as I sit here on Tuesday and it took him 3 1/2 hours to answer two math problems and 10 history questions (yes you heard me right 12 problems in 3 1/2 hours!) and that small nerve we hit on Sunday is no longer sensitive! Now what? Well we are continuing this indifferent journey and once again my heart struggles! Being indifferent is not what God has made me to be!

As I talked with my mentor today I had my eyes opened once again! I needed a reminder that I do not see my children the way God sees them. This was an aha moment for sure! God knows my struggles and He knows their struggles. God knows my heart and He knows my children’s hearts. I need to turn to Him for guidance and the ability to see my children as He does! I truly want to see them as gifts when I am on that 4th hour of working on 13 problems! I want to see joy in the indifferent response from my 14 year old when he receives a gift!

I guess I just wait for the change! It is coming just SSOOO slowly!

Welp This is The New Normal!

So here we are at Monday once again and we are all into our new routine of getting through breakfast and clearing off the table for the five computers to be set up. It already feels like the normal school day grind.

To think just two short weeks ago this feeling felt so unobtainable….this got me thinking. What else has become our norm that at one point in our life felt like an unobtainable dream?

This took a little bit of thought and a whole lot of coffee,  but I have found those things that have become my new normal.

The biggest one that I so often overlook is… I never wanted to be a mom let alone a mom to 8 amazing children. I always looked forward to quiet days and doing everything for just me. Now I live every second of my life for these children which only two I gave birth to.

I think this is so easily over looked and … well under appreciated. Yes I often hear we are saints and while it is nice to hear (not really because I don’t do a great job most times), I don’t think that people really know what it is like to raise children who have lived through trauma. They don’t understand the overwhelmingness that day to day life can cause these children and in turn cause my anxiety and panic to sky rocket!

Little things like going to the library….. ABSOLUTE TORCHER!! This was one of my favorite places growing up! The world was all right there for me to discover! (Insert my longing sigh here!) Now it is a panic attack inducing environment. The options, the layout, the people, the excitement, the list goes on and on! This is a trauma history child’s biggest dreams and struggles all wrapped into one! “You mean I can only check out 15 items!” Or my favorite “No mom, this 15 page graphic novel will be the only book I need for the next two weeks!” While for me it was my peaceful place for these kids it is simply overwhelming!

Back to being a mom of eight. I have always loved to solve problems however, I never thought I would be faced with how to accomplish 11 people’s laundry for the week in the time frame of less expensive energy use, how to make an amazing dinner for 11 with next to no cost, how to provide for the special needs of each child, etc. These have become my daily puzzles, vastly different from managing 6 patients on my own, or managing the entire Family and Birthing Center for the day. Isn’t it funny how God uses us in weird ways?

Really think about it, what do you consider your gift? How does God use that gift? My gift has been used in ways no one could expect! I now work to solve how to reach kids that are mine, but aren’t responding to “normal” techniques! This is from the woman that was never having kids!

In short God knew I was ment to be the mom to these rascals and all my skills and training in my none mom life have lead me to be the mom I am today. I have been equipped to handle meltdowns, selfharming behaviors, selfregulation in sexual forms, and death threats from a 12 year old. I would have never expected the phrases, “bubbles” to be a constant utterance to keep children from assaulting each other or “Did you die?” when someone needs attention and fakes an injury to be a part of my normal vocabulary. It is though! It is our normal and at times used more often than even “I love you” as we work through the cycles of these kids. Their emotional cycles have become our norms. We have learned to accept, adjust to, and heck even love these kids during their tough phases and rejoice with them in their happy phases. THIS IS OUR NORMAL!!