Saturday, July 30, 2011

Civility and the Blog Wars

I dislike Blog Wars. They are divisive and kill any kind of productive conversation. I don't knowingly start them and I hate to be in the middle of them. I usually just drop out and stop reading. This week's Blog War left me feeling torn. When two different bloggers have followers that defend them, the danger is that civility goes out the door. Name calling, judgement of people (as opposed to judgement of ideas), and even threats can ensue.

When you write a blog, you put your ideas out for the world to consider, agree or disagree with, or even judge. If you are writing a public blog, not are you only writing to get your ideas out there, you are implicitly inviting others to agree or disagree with all or part of those ideas. If what you want to do is preach to those people who already think like you, a private blog may be a better idea.

That said, there is NEVER any reason to physically threaten anyone, no matter how you feel about their opinions and how they express them. Bloggers can't control what their followers say and do. I know I can't. I will also say right up front that I have commented in defense of bloggers who I felt were being taken out of context more than once in the last few months. I am not disrespectful and I threaten no one. And honestly, the people I know who regularly read my blog would never attack or threaten real life harm to someone over ideas.

When blogging stops being about ideas and starts being taken/written personally, it loses its' benefits and ,for  me anyway, its appeal. Civility is extremely underrated these days.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Two Traumatized Kids

Traumatized child # 1 is making progress. Although we have not had a repeat, yet, of Monday's most excellent day, we are seeing fleeting moments of real joy on her face. The picture above was taken yesterday while she was swimming with GB. Genuine joy has been unheard of for Hope. On the down side, her latest, and constant, role is the Victim. This is not good. It isn't good for GB. It also is part of my baggage. Growing up, I was the oldest and my youngest brother was the Victim his whole life. It is a big trigger for me and I need to be really careful how I deal with it.

Traumatized child # 2 is having a very difficult time. When Hope plays victim, she casts GB in the role of aggressor. GB is defenseless. The shrink again repeated that I am not protecting GB well enough and GB is starting to show signs of PTSD. Recently, Hope bit her own arm, starting crying that GB hurt her, and GB was unable to defend herself. Fortunately, I saw Hope bite herself (and the bite mark was facing the wrong way), but  it took way too long to get GB back and calm her down enough that she could process this. And of course, at that point she was pissed. Still trying to brain storm possible solutions.

The girls are getting better at reciprocal play. It happens more often these days and lasts longer. A work in progress.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Adoptive Parent Bloggers

I am an adoptive parent blogger. Some of my friends are, too, and most of my Soul Sisters. I love and appreciate everyone of them. Some adoptive parent bloggers are not part of my support network. They are not my friends and I agree with little they say, one adoptive parent blogger in particular. I am not naming names or providing links, because the last thing I want is for this woman to get more traffic. Repeatedly going after vulnerable people, by name, to make her point is an act of cowardliness.

I am ever so grateful to all my adoptive parent bloggers, my support network, for just doing the best you can, day by day. Having you there makes me a better mother.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Good Day

The girls had a good day today. I don't know why it happened or when it will happen again. No rages, no manipulation, no tears. Hope got on the bus with no "help", they came off the bus smiling. No tantrums because the weather canceled swimming. They agreed on a movie and watched it nicely. They played in their kitchen and took turns.

After dinner, we acknowledged their good day by celebrating Christmas in July with hot chocolate in Christmas cups, topped with ice cream. They went to bed easily. I don't remember when their last good day was, although I could look it up. I don't need to. Hope smiled at me and said," This was my first good day ever".

Good enough for me :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Good Bye, Sinclair.

There is nobody like Sinclair. He loves God, his family and me. We have been friends for over twenty years. He was born in Jamaica and still has a hint of the accent. When he smiles, there is a bright gold tooth shining. His skin is darker than most, almost ebony. He gives Christians a good name, in a time where there is not enough of that happening.

I remember The Dad being in San Fransisco for a couple of weeks and a pick up order being issued on one of my teenagers. It was almost midnight and the hospital was hours away. Sinclair was the one who volunteered to go with me. I remember the old pastor denouncing my friend and me bursting into tears. Sinclair crossed the church silently and held me in his arms, not saying anything. The service ended quickly. The Dad and I went on a cruise with Sinclair and his wife shortly before we got GB. We had a whole week to talk about nothing and everything. God was always part of our world and part of our conversations. Sinclair was the first one to tell me GB was a gift from God and that I should treasure her. I don't think I realized up to that point that GB was ours permanently. I still thought the kids were going to get their act together. When GB was about three and going through a jewelry stage, a bunch of us had a yard sale. GB bejeweled Sinclair and he smiled the whole time... right through earrings, hats, necklaces, and bracelets. He even smiled through the picture GB had to have of him looking "beautiful". Sinclair is an outstanding chef and made a corned beef and cabbage to die for. He is always honest and mostly kind and always knows what is important.

Sinclair retired and started spending part of the year in Florida. He always comes home, though. In May, he was happily looking forward to barbecuing on the 4th of July. It was a tradition. In the end of May, he was losing blood and was admitted to the hospital.

Thursday I heard he was transferred to the oncology unit of another hospital. I decided to skip church this morning and go visit him. The Dad came with me. We got there around quarter to twelve. Sinclair had slipped into a coma last night. He was actively dying. I said my good byes and thanked him for his friendship. I hugged his daughter and his wife. At 1:30 this afternoon, Sinclair passed into his next life. This world is poorer for the loss.

Good bye, my friend. I love you.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I didn't Want to Know

I saw my new neurologist Friday. None of the news was very welcomed. I am still not on any meds for my neurological problems. He said I have  mitochondrial level  disease that can only be treated by symptoms. He order a sleep study for last night because sleep apnea can make the neurological problems worse and he can treat sleep apnea. The Dad and the girls dropped me off a little after eight last night. I was hooked up to monitors using a lot of wires and some sticky stuff. They came in to adjust wires and connectors often and it seemed like it took me forever to fall asleep. I was suppose to wait to hear from the doctor, but the nice technician  let me look at the raw results. I have sleep apnea (no surprise), but I wasn't expecting to see that my oxygen saturation levels dipped below sixty percent on four different occasions.  I was so tired when I got home that I took a four hour nap.  Next step is to go for calibration.  Right now, I have two little girls who want to be right next to me.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The UnTherapeutic Parent

Hope raged yesterday morning. Yesterday afternoon, after three days of rages, she stopped. Instead of raging, she played the RAD game. The I-am-so-cute smile stayed on her face. She hit, she kicked, she screamed... but she was completely in control. I find this games very tiring. After being therapeutic for over three hours, I was toast. I stopped playing. Every time Hope made one of her RAD moves, I took myself physically out of the game. I moved away. When she followed me, sticking to be like sweat on a hundred degree day, I firmly told her I wasn't playing that game any more and peeled her off. The more she tried to engage me, the more aloof I became.  I gave GB attention and modeled appropriate interactions. Once The Dad came home, I completely detached. He had her for the rest of the night. This morning, when Hope came into cuddle, The Dad was already in the shower. She laid down next to me and as I reached to hug her she hit me and smiled her RAD smile. I immediately told her to get out of my bed and reminded her I was not playing that game any more. The Dad did not like my response. I am played out right now.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Can't Have One Without Having Them All

Thank you for all the prayers yesterday. I needed them as much as I have ever needed them. Our kids feel tension in anybody else and feed on it, Hope had a Ragefest all day yesterday. I was ready to put her to bed before  2 PM. I hung in there until the Dad got home around 6:45. Hope just kept going and when the Dad tried to intervene, she hit him multiple times. As a result, The Dad had her in bed before I had cleaned up dinner. GB reacts differently to stress. She broke down twice yesterday, crying in my arms for over a half hour each time. Comforting her and keeping Hope from hurting either of us was energy draining. This morning GB was up at 4:30 AM. I couldn't settle her down to sleep again, so our day began very early. It is only a little past 9 and I am ready for lunch. I will try to settle everybody today and look for a better day tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Please Pray

I am in need of prayer. I decided not to post it on my public blog, but I did post on the other blog.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

And The Rage Goes On...

Today is Therapy Tuesday. We went off to the Little City for our late afternoon appointments. Lately, therapy for Hope is a ragefest. Rage before, rage after, rage during, sometimes rage without stop. Hope rages at other times, but Tuesday is a given. It always starts with a control issue. Hope wants to go first, Hope wants to go last. Hope wants to sit on the left, Hope wants a drink.

Today Hope wanted gum. GB gave it to her. Five minutes later, I glance in the rear view mirror. The gum wasn't in Hope's mouth any more. It was on both hands, her face, a loc, her leg, her shirt, and her shorts. Also on her face was the biggest Ain't-I-Cute RAD smirk smile. GB went in to see the therapist first, while I cleaned Hope up. That was the start of the rage.

I don't know what will start next Tuesday's rage. I just know if it is Tuesday, there is rage.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Year Later

A year ago today, we were visiting J's family, sunning on the shores of Lake Michigan contemplating whether GB was up to trying fire works (she wasn't). Hope was a picture at the CHASK website that I couldn't get out of my head. We had not been considering another adoption, not even in passing.At first, the possibility of adopting  sounded both flaky and distant. I wouldn't have given any odds on us actually adopting Hope. Less than two months later, we had finalized her adoption, brought her home and she was ours forever.

I am not the same person that I was a year ago. I have no reason for having adopted Hope, except that there really wasn't any choice. Sounds crazy, I know. I am a work in progress, have been a work in progress for a long time. I have been sure about God and my relationship with Him for longer than I have had memories. He made me what I am through many unique experiences and trials. The person God made me into was unable to say no to adopting Hope.

Therefore, I had no choice but to change this year. That is what this God stuff does to a person. I am not an inspiration, fount of wisdom, or even especially good. In the last year, I found out that my patience was in a sorry state. I can do anything for a length of time. However, 24/7, with no end in sight, wore on me. Patience became an act of will. The more time that passes, the more will I have to have to exert any patience at all. I have always considered myself tolerant. In my family, which was more tolerant than most, I was always the tolerant one. The past year has shown me just how intolerant I can be. I have felt more unGodly feelings then I knew existed. Pure disgust. The urge to hurt somebody. Self righteousness so enormous, it is amazing I can still hold my head up. My sharp memory has been unable to hold on to the fact that Hope is emotionally not much more a two year old.  I owe Hope more than what I have been able to give her. A young friend tried to tell me that a while ago, but I wasn't listening.

I am taking better care of myself so that I can give my children the things they need. In some ways, the standards become higher as I do better. I am not on this journey alone. God has been with me every step of the way and gave me an outstanding support network. Hope is going to need it all.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Follower of Christ

We went to church today. Hope is still stuck, but life won't wait for ever. The sermon started by asking why "they" were holding hands and celebrating as "they" walked down the street because "their" law passed and Christians were nowhere to be found. I missed most of the rest of the sermon because I stayed stuck right there. This quote came to mind:
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

Mohandis Ghandi
As I watched everybody clapping and yelling "halleluiah"  in response to the images of Christians taking to the streets to proclaim God's rejection of same sex relationships, I felt detached. Why would this image be something to celebrate? I looked around at other church members. The ones who were loudest and most in agreement are the same ones who have no tolerance for Hope. The same ones who went after MK last summer. These are the people who are sure they are going to heaven, even if nobody else is. Their love is confined to those most like them. They show no compassion. The amount of righteousness in the room was suffocating.

I came back to the sermon towards the end. The pastor was telling the people that they should proclaim what God is to them any time and any where the Spirit moves them. I was about to ask if that applied in the middle of a sermon, when my friend behind me grabbed my shoulder and told me the pastor wasn't talking to me.

He probably wasn't. Maybe followers of Christ need a new name. "Christian" seems to be already taken.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

So Far, So Long

Yesterday, Hope was dysregulated all day. We tried physical contact, a 2 mile walk, early lunch, one-on-one time and nothing helped. The Dad had to carry her raging out of the home improvement store. She ended up watching us swim because she chose to sun with with only part of her bathing suit where it belonged.

The Dad has a four day weekend and when we talked about what each of us wanted to do, GB knew what she wanted. She wanted to go to the gym with The Dad, because they hadn't been there since Hope joined the family in a long time. It is something they used to do together two or three times a month. It was their "thing". The Dad didn't really want to, for reasons that had nothing to do with GB, but he recognized how important it was to GB. Some of the changes we have had to make to accommodate Hope have not been easy on GB.

The shrink and I (by email) decided to dramatically increase Hope's Risperdal  in an attempt to get the rages back under control. The insurance company, MEDCO, in their infinite wisdom and based on their vast experience with Hope, decided she didn't need it. They refuse to talk to us and only the doctor is allowed to even try to change their mind. Fourth of July weekend... I am not optimistic, and so, for now, I guess we live with the rages.

While The Dad and GB are at the gym, MK is talking Hope and the baby for a walk. I think I will be keeping both girls home today. Between gardening and swimming, they should have enough to keep them busy.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Coming Into Her Own

GB lost it late this afternoon, while transitioning from the pool to dried and dressed. We made it through, but while getting changed ourselves, The Dad and I considered not going out to dinner as planned. I went downstairs and discovered GB had put on her weighted vest and gotten her Ernie out and was cuddling him. She was completely regulated and had little difficulty handling dinner. When I complimented her on pulling herself back from her meltdown, she said, with great dignity, "Ernie and my vest ALWAYS help". I love stability! It makes the FASD and Autism SO much easier to live with.