Tuesday, March 19, 2013

For the Love of My Boys.

Perhaps I am over sensitive or maybe just very observant it seems to me that especially lately, I am reminded constantly how while I may be a mother I did not give birth to my boys, that our family was blessed though adoption.  Mainly this friendly reminder has come via Facebook.  Through different posts and those dang e cards.

However, this week it became even more evident when I received a message from the boys birth father.  We have always had a relationship with their birth mother.  This has been met with a wide array of reactions from others, especially given that we were involved with the foster care system and not a traditional domestic adoption.

My concern is not what others thought (with the exception of my husband) but rather that of my boys.      We sat down, evaluated the situation an determined that in this case it was "safe" to remain in contact with the boys birth family.  They all loved them very much and how could more positive love for a child be bad?  Has it always been easy?  No, I can truthfully say it has not but  all of us involved have been determined for it to be a positive thing for the boys and THAT is what is most important.

But now, we have a new piece to this puzzle.  Someone who has not been active in their lives and my feelings and emotions are so mixed.  While I have reached out for contact before it was to no avail and it crushed my heart.  How could someone look at the boys and not fight with every ounce in their body to want to be a part of their lives.  But I tell myself that sometimes people are just at places in their lives where they are unable to deal with certain situations, for whatever reasons, and for that time he had issues prohibiting him from stepping up and being any sort of figure for them.

That's what I tell my brain, my heart on the other hand is still hurt.  To me, the absence and lack of trying is a direct violation against boys and that in turn wounds me.  So now I sit here with the message still in my inbox, awaiting a response.  Every time I go to answer my response goes from anger to acceptance to some sort of uncertain reply.  In my mind all 3 are most certainly appropriate and deserved but are they right?

I need to forgive, it's the hardest thing in the world but I need to do it.  Even if nothing comes of it as far as involvement in their lives.  I have done it once before and it was the hardest thing in this world but I know if I did not do it, these boys would not be here right now, playing under a makeshift fort that was seconds ago my kitchen table.  I know that any involvement would be extremely limited (letters and pictures) for a while until I can trust that my boys are safe in this situation, which may be years, who knows.  But this is such a heavy weight on my heart right now.  Push aside my grief, resentment and hesitation for the love of my boys.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Kindness Week Day 5/ Caleb and mama day!

On Wednesday we did our last kindness mission.  I wanted to do something for some animals since we missed helping the cats back at Second Chance Animal Shelter in TX.  So I found a shelter here in the area called Kitty Haven that rescues kittens and helps to find them permanent, loving homes.  They accept donations though a local animal hospital.  So I got to work in my sewing room making a bunch of cat nip pouch toys; and of course all of my cats came to assist.  We had to keep a couple due to them licking them and making them their own.

Caleb was very excited to bring the kitties their toys:
Then it was off for our Caleb and mama time.  We initially were going to play at the bouncy house place, but unknown to me, it was a day off of school for the local kids and the place was packed.  So we headed to the McDonald's that I had taken Clayton to the prior day thinking we might get lucky and it would be as quiet as the day before.  Great treat for Caleb, not so good for mama's waist line!

Luckily, it was indeed a quiet day and we were the only ones there for a good while.  I was having a pretty good headache day, so I went up in the play land with Caleb and we had some fun exploring and hanging out.

Then a little boy showed up and I became chopped meat!  Caleb is a super social guy and when he sees someone, they instantly become his new best friend.  So he left me in the play land, while he and his new friend took turns rescuing me and then hiding from the monster (also me).  It was a great day and I can't wait to have another day alone with him.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Kindness Week Day 4/ Clayton and Mama Day!

As is customary in our lives lately, things did not go according to plan last week. Thursday morning the boys decided to wake up at 2 in the morning and wouldn't go back to sleep. Considering I myself didn't get to bed until just after midnight myself. This made for a very sluggish mama for the rest of the day. On Friday, "A" wasn't able to come help us that day, so we were on our own, and I am just not that brave to take the boys out on adventures by myself yet.

So, little bit late but better late than never right? I decided why not make it even more special today and make it a Clayton and Mama day along with a day of kindness. So off we went to visit the Foster Care Resource Network in Tacoma (FCRN FB Page). As you can imagine, their cause is one that is dear to my heart. At one time we were those brand new foster parents who had nothing. The night the boys arrived we had one crib and a dresser. We had no toys, clothes or anything else required to raise babies. We were not sure prior to being placed, what age or gender of child we may welcome into our home, so it was almost impossible to prepare. This places assists parents just like us!

                                                       Clayton the very willing helper:

As a special treat, I took Clayton to McDonald's.  Upon pulling into the parking lot, I thought the poor kid was going to have an aneurysm.  He loves McDonald's, but since we got the ADHD diagnosis we made drastic changes to his diet and removing his beloved chicken nuggets was was of the changes made.  He must have really wanted it because instead of running off to play right away, he actually sat down and dug into his food.

Then it was time to play.  The place was pretty vacant today so Clayton requested that I join him.  So I grabbed my camera and followed him into the play land.  Actually, I more of squeezed my way into the play land, those openings are tiny!  He was such a gentleman, he offered his hand to help me up each level and waited until I was right behind him until he continued on to the next section. 

It was great to be able to have some one on one time with him.  To be able to sit and talk with him while he ate and really be able to listen to his answers, rather than being torn between two toddlers competing for my attention.  I watched him as he navigated through the play land and he was so excited to show me where each area went to.  A couple times we just stopped and hung out in whatever tube we found ourselves in.

Then it was time for mama to get out, other kids came to play and I am sure an adult in their play land would not be a welcome find.  So down the slide we went.  Mama first, so he could help give me a push to send me on my way.

That was our day.  Not to diminish what people with only one child go through, but man, this trip was easy and so much fun.  I could do a lot more days like this with only one child in tow!  I know Clayton may be too young to remember this day, but it will be etched in my memory.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Kindness Week- Day 3!

To continue with kindness week we decided to make some cookies (OK, I made the cookies after the boys were snug in their beds) and take them on post to the fire station and police department.  Normally we would head to the Army post given we are an Army family; however, since "A" is a Air Force wife, we headed to the McChord side of JBLM and visited the Airmen.

We started at the fire station.  I knew the boys were going to have fun, but still my guard was high and I must admit I was a little nervous.  We walked in and found a very nice gentleman that received the first Bag of cookies, courtesy of Caleb.  He took us to the Kitchen where there were a couple other Airmen and firefighters but most were taking a midaftenoon snooze.  So we left the cookies in the kitchen and followed him to the bay, where he offered to show us the engines!

The boys had a blast!  Just as we were getting ready to head out, the fire chief came out and offered them a ride in the fire truck.  How cool!  So back in the truck we went and the fireman took us all for a short ride around their perimeter. They sounded the horn and the siren and at the end, gave each boy their very own fireman's helmet.  It was not easy getting them to leave, but we managed to get them both back in the truck after giving our thanks and appreciation to everyone there.

Our next stop was the police station.  It was during lunch so the place was somewhat scarce, but we ended up meeting just enough friends (as Caleb called them) for the amount of cookie bags we had left.  Both Clayton and Caleb enjoyed traveling from office to office, meeting new friends and handing out cookies.

Our trip was not complete without a stop to view the airplanes, Caleb spotted them on the way to the fire department and had not forgot about them upon leaving.  I swear, for only having vision in one eye, that kid has vision like a hawk!  I loved this place; kept the boys entertained, unable to break anything and best of all free!  (Reminder to self, come back here often!)

Stay tuned for day 4!!

Kindness week- Day 2! (opps, we got a late start)

Monday, I was watching Ellen (who I just love!) and she stated that this week is Kindness week!  While I believe that we should all be kind to one another everyday, I thought it would be great to follow along and to each day, perform an act of kindness.  I wanted to involve the boys; both to give them an opportunity to get out of the house and have fun, but also to teach them the importance of doing for others.

So Monday afternoon our sitter "A" and I brainstormed and came up with our list for the week.  For day two (becasue we got a late start by just learning of this at the end of day one) we decided we would make some sticker bags and visit a local coffee shop that also has a children's play area on the other side.

So we headed out and Caleb was more than happy to hand out the bags to the other kids.  So happy in fact that this was the only picture I could get, he was just too fast for me.

Then it was time for playing.  This was a nervous time for me.  You see, just two weeks ago, Clayton was diagnosed with ADHD.  He was evaluated after we have been having some behavior and speech issues for the last couple months.  Caleb also has a very high level of energy for a 3 year old.  Playdates have recently been a thing of dread rather than fun and enjoyment.  However, this day started off well.  Caleb was excited to play all over the equipment.

Clayton suprised both "A" and I.  While he normally is not very sociable, he was very friendly with the other kids, shared the toys (for the most part) and no melt downs!

Then "it" happened.  the moment I dreaded, that I always dread when we are out.  Caleb touched something he shouldn't have and it broke, made a mess and upset a couple people.  I helped clean it up, disciplined him and offered to replace it.  We explained to him why we had to leave and then we did.  I didn't take the incident too well yesterday, emotionally this was just another blow to my fragile mom esteem.  While I feel they need to be held accountable for their actions, there is also reasons why they process things the way they do (besides being three year olds!).

So while enjoying a glass (or two-ish) of wine that night after they went to bed, I started getting busy in the kitchen by making a heap of cookies for our day 3 act of kindness.  All I have to say, is if you hear a certain fire dept. on post burned down or anything, we are moving out of state!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Well that escalated quickly!

Yesterday Sam took Caleb to the Opthamologist. We had received a referral to one because we had noticed Caleb's left eye sometimes wanders off a little (as seen in this picture)
Sam called me before he even left the visit. "It's not good" he said, "It's not good". I had been laying down since I was sick and it took me a minute to wake up and understand him. He told me that they said he had calcium behind his eye and also some bleeding. His retina was also detached. "He might be blind" is all I was left with before Sam said he had to go, that the Dr was coming back in the room. About and hour or so later Sam and Caleb came come. Of course, Caleb was as happy as could be. He ran up to me screaming "Mommy!!!" and ran to play with his brother. Sam passed me some paperwork, the heading on it read "COAT'S DISEASE".

 As I read though the information, the paper got blurry and suddenly moist. I couldn't believe what I was reading. How did we go from thinking our child had something as small as a lazy eye to having blindness and evening possibly losing his eye? I started researching Coat's disease using http://www.coatsdisease.org/index.html . We spent all night going though the website, getting information and also looking through our pictures. I have a DSLR and I really dislike using my flash to take pictures so I try to shoot in natural light, so I have very few that have a flash in the picture. However, we were able to find 2 pictures that supported evidence of Coat's disease. One around 18 months or so and another at about 2 1/2 years.
As you can see in both of these pictures, Caleb's left eye has a reflective, whitish to yellowish quality to it (the first picture with the red eye on the right eye is normal). Sammy and I felt as if we had punched in the gut when we saw this. How could we not have noticed this when we took the pictures? How did it not stand out? Please, if you have little ones, take a second look at your pictures. Look at the pictures your friends post of their children. If you notice anything like you see here, let your Dr know. The sooner this is caught, the more likely they are to restore sight and prevent blindness. We have a cat scan on Wed to get a full diagnosis and know exactly where we stand with Caleb but they are pretty certain he is at stage 3 and not too sure surgery is an option, so it may be too late for him. Please keep him in your prayers. Feel free to share his story to get the word out there about Coat's disease.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Turkey Day!

Well we made it through the day, and what a day it was! The boys turned 3 at the end of September and who ever said it was the terriable two's lied, it's the three's that are truly terriable. My mother tells me that someday soon they will return back to normal and I pray that she is right because I don't think the local Class VI (our military liquor store) has enough wine in stock to keep me sane! We are now up in Washington State and my headaches and chronic pain has not improved any and I am now seeing a new doctor. Now that I am no longer in the Army, I am also a stay at home mom. This is all very new to me and some times it can be very over whelming, especially when you are in pain. I can't really stop my mind from thinking if there was a reason for our infertility, if it were a sign that perhaps we were not supposed to be parents, a forewarning if you will. Many days it's all I can do just to keep the boys fed and somewhat entertained throughout the day until my husband comes home at night. Defiently not the one on one interaction of ABC and 123 lessons that I wish we could do thoughout the day much less trips to the park. Some days yes, but those days are far and few. I do have hope. Currently I am seeing my new headache Dr every two weeks and we are trying lots of new things and hopefully at least one of those thigns will pay off. Next month marks 3 years of this illness for me. 3 years that I have had pain for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without any relief. So if you are the praying type, or even if you are not, please just send some positive thoughts this way. This mama could surely use them. Thanks!