When is Enough, Enough!

No, this is not a Covid 19 extended social distancing rant! This is a “what more do you flying monkeys expect from me….” post!

Yes we have been stuck in this house together for DAYS however, a little gratitude from the flying monkeys at this residence would be Earth shattering in a good way.

We have tried to make the best of the situation, working to meet every little monkey’s needs in the best way possible….even squeezing a 14 foot trampoline into 14 foot back yard (yes it is wall to wall trampoline which makes the HVAC units shimmy when they jump, and this momma prays for everything that can break).

Yes the dog even jumps with them!!

So today the flying monkeys are in meltdown because boys want to play cars in the dirt while girls want to jump. Typical right! But now we have all the older adults in the home being pushed to choose sides (which never ends well)! So after a 45 minute meltdown from one of the girls because everyone hates her, and because she feels so unloved because not everyone took her side. I had the joy of walking her through the fact that the issue isn’t that she was treated horrid. That due to the need to stop jumping for safety or that she had been disrespectful with her choices of how she chose to respond to her father, older brother, and anyone who got in her way, and that everyone loves her just as much now as we did the day before the trampoline came into the door.

After this 30 minute exercise of roleplaying, behavior mirroring, and co-regulation exercises, the little flying monkey decides nothing ever happened……

DEEP BREATH, smell the chocolate cake, hold that smell for 3 seconds, and now blow out the candles. Repeat!

Yeah so as I sit on the couch with the two girls arguing about who will sit next to mom, I am reminded that the hours I have spent working on this afternoons show of femininity are already completely forgotten. I am trying to let the flying monkeys return to their queen as though nothing happened however, I am frustrated and simply tired!

These are the moments that I just don’t want to continue this battle! It will not make a difference today, tomorrow, or next year…….but one day when her daughter is having the “worst day of her life” I can only pray that she will in that moment of anger, frustration, and exhaustion remember the way I handled the issue today. Hopefully she will handle her situation similar, and then call me to let me know how frustrated she is.

So cute when her attitude is in check!!

Oh the Ways We Teach!!

I know that right now, one of the hot topics in our world is teaching our kiddos. However, as foster/adoptive parents to children with trauma. We have been teaching for a while now!

Because our children have a traumatic past I have often voiced that we teach like Dr. Seuss! I have taught children by climbing in the shower with my clothes on to direct their hands to bathe themselves, I have taught 12 year old’s how to whipe after using the restroom (very awkward for all parties involved), and I have taught that the role of “mom” doesn’t mean that I will physically beat you (even though I have thought that I can see why someone would want to beat you).

I have learned that rhythm is a gateway to feelings, learning, and self-regulation. Honestly I have made myself sick rocking a child who is holding a book about feelings trying to read the book as it moves forward and backwards! 🤢 I have sat next to a 12 year old at the dinner table that craps himself to help him feel in control and not responded. 🤢 And I have tried my hardest to not laugh at the bipolar 10 year old, that in his emotional swing, is threatening to beat my head in with a chair at the loudest level his Italian voice could go!!

Sure it is crazy when we stop and look back at the ways we have thought out of the box to help those special kids God has brought into our lives, but I also feel to a point that it is normal.

It is our normal, to walking into a restaurant holding both hands of the child that is known to swipe all the cups off the edge of the table as he walks by. It is our normal, to know where all the exits are so that we can carry our 12 and 13 year old out of the room when it becomes too much. It is normal, to issue prompts to use skills while listening to church sermons or walking through a line at a potluck. Sure, all kids need reminders to not use their hands, but not many require reminders that they do not need to fill their pockets (literally to be eaten a week later) while walking past the food.

We have used map keys to teach long division, we have used blankets to swaddle teenagers and then stay close enough to use co-regulation to slow their breathing down, we have used picture roadmaps in the shower, and the list goes on. Basically we have learned that every child in every situation learns differently and that we need to be ready to think out of the box to meet those needs.

We just chuckle when a therapist says “you know this is going to sound weird, but why don’t we try….”. We have heard that we should only use blue lights, blue clothes, and blue walls as blue is a soothing color, we should only communicate in a whisper with our child, we should call the whole family into a child’s bedroom and take turns screaming, we should only communicate in the third person, and the list goes on.

We live with therapy equipment at the ready, and heaven for bid we go more than 30 minutes from home without headphones and a headweight to aid in regulating while on the drive or at our destination. We have paid for a weeks stay at a condo in Vegas to go to the strip less than than 4 hours total and to spend the rest of our time with the dark curtains pulled watching 5 seasons of NCIS so that the youngest two children feel safe.

I guess the big point I wanted to make is you know the kids in your care better than just about anyone…. don’t doubt yourself on how to reach them. You know what their history has been. You also know, that no matter what you do, their future may be as a mechanic rather than a college graduate. Don’t let this period of time turn into another dent in your relationship because they just won’t do the work the teacher has assigned! Instead teach them to their strengths and if the only lesson they learn over the next month is that you love them and they are safe then heck that is a win! TAKE IT!!!

Blessed …. is that even possible?

I have definitely been in the spot in our journey where I question God frequently, “Am I blessed?” , “If this is blessed I would hate to see cursed!!”, and “why have you chosen me for this blessing, I would have rather been blessed with a curse”.

I know….as a Christian this is not the way to be in a relationship with my Savior. However, if I am honest, and that is what God has called us to be, this is exactly how it has felt!! As I work to control my response to the child that has cleaned the bathroom, however her shirt is shoved behind the toilet with stool hidden in it, or I am going over the same three questions that are to be answered on the less than two pages of information for the last five hours hearing from my child that the answer is not in the reading when the answers are italicized!

How can this be the blessed life we are promised as Christians??? How do I continue to choose this life when it is so overwhelming on a daily basis?

The answer is so simple, that often I over look it’s massive meaning!!! The answer is in the sexually abused child asking dad for a hug because she is anxious for the first time since coming into your home over six months ago. The answer is in the 18 year old that has been so neglected that he has had to dig for food for his blind mother and himself in the dumpster handling the shortage Covid 19 has caused without hoarding food or panicking when the answer is simply we don’t have the food items we routinely have.

We continue, even in chaos, to choose to live this life (because it is SO MUCH more than a job) for these simple little changes in the lives of these children. It doesn’t seem like much, but to change a child’s perspective about the life they live is very important and empowering their future.

Pastor Will preached this week on Colossians 1:12 and in this we are given the inheritance of the SAINTS….. I know when I hear the word Saint I instantly think that I am so far away from being a saint that there is no way I will make it in this life time…. but Paul reminds us that we are all ready a Saint! We need to reach out and take that role!!

You know what is even crazier than thinking I should be a Saint? It is that by CHOOSING to live this life I am following after Jesus which has made me a Saint already! Let that sink in…..we are already Saints.

By being God’s chosen to inherit the inheritance of the Saints we are welcomed into the Kingdom of Light. We know as Christians that we have to go to the source of the light to be in the pureness of heaven.

I often think that these children have been dwelling in the deepest parts of the darkness. The transition into our homes for these kids are like walking out of a movie theater right into the brightness of day light. It hurts our eyes and our heads, it is disorienting, it is often scary, and absolutely overwhelming!

We are the BLESSED CHOSEN SAINTS that receive the privilege of walking with these children as they move out of the Kingdom of Darkness and with our guidance and support they might just become a Saint in the Kingdom of Light! Now that is a true blessing!