Monday, December 31, 2007

Butterflies with Very Large Families

My rustic backyard is filled with little black and yellow striped butterflies. They make me happy. They hurt no one, and they bring such joy.

I looked them up on the net last night. They are called Zebra Longwing Butterflies. But I was surprised to find out the similarities between these guys that dwell in my yard and large adoptive families.

Zebra Longwings are special in that they are different from other butterflies in that they live in families of about 70 insects. They don't travel very far from their "home."

You never see just one Zebra. They fly in little groups with their brothers and sisters. If you see one, you just look around for his brother. He's always nearby.

The Zebra Longwing is resourceful, too, and are one of the only species that eat both nectar and pollen. If they wore clothes, they'd probably shop at thrift shops, too.

The thing I envy about them, though, is that although 70 or 80 of them will go home at night to the same bush, once never can find that home. They have privacy. And that's something that most large adoptive families do not enjoy.

Still, each morning when I take Jack out to pee, they swarm around me, come right up to my face and dance around. I love that.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Taking the Stress Out Of Christmas

First of all I want to say MERRY CHRISTMAS to anyone who happens to bump into this page today or tomorrow.

This year I think I've found the answer to all the stress around this holiday. Christmas is all about Peace and the birth of Jesus. The day has become something to dread for most families. Certainly NOT peaceful.

Even this year I was not happy to see the calendar sneaking up on December. Especially since we were having a major financial crisis. But that financial crisis proved to be the cure to stress-at least the holiday stress :)

I started to shop in mid November, and bought a couple gifts on ebay. Gifts that were no longer being made. One gift per child. I've had everything I needed to do done way before today, and last night we even wrapped all but two of the presents. In 39 years of marriage we've never done that before.

Today, Christmas Eve, is peaceful. The way it should be. If we can keep Jeremy and Will busy, that is.

Each child living at

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We've had at least four kids a day home with colds this week and part of last. Different kids each day. Today Emily got sent home because she told the teacher she had a sore throat. Nothing wrong with her really, except that two of her brothers and one of her sisters was home.

The pic is our daughters Dani, 16, and Emily, 19 at special olympics.

So I got up and poured my morning glass of iced tea and sat down to read my email. In the background I hear my 14 year old, Jay singing "Let there be peace on earth." He learned it for a Very Special Arts Christmas performance held on the 8th. He was one of two soloists-the rest were all groups of disabled people singing Christmas songs. He also sang "Go Tell it on the Mountain."

He did quite well, but forgot some of the words. He has a great voice and as long as there is background music he stays perfectly on key. The auditorium was NOT wheelchair friendly, however. Surprising how many places still aren't.

Anyway, It was the perfect song for me to hear this morning. All anyone really wants is PEACE, right. But most of us don't allow it into our lies. So I took a moment to clear my mind of stressful stuff and decided I wasn't going to try to achieve anything today. And I didn't!

I think it helped that Jeremy went back to school today. Gotta shadow that kid when he's home... Gotta love them all.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Severe Behavior Problems

Well...DH had the day off today, so thought it might be productive. Thinking maybe if we worked together something might get done here.

But Robin stayed home with a cold. Will refused to go to school and Jeremy's school called and asked for us to pick him up. He was sent home on Friday with a cold, but over the weekend it cleared up. So I think he's pulling their collective leg at school this morning.

The thing about Jeremy's school is that it is 45 minutes away. So that's an hour and a half driving time. There goes the day.

Jeremy attends a county run special class for mentally retarded kids with severe behavior programs. (yeah I know, the term is politically incorrect) Jeremy has Down Syndrome and is 14 years old. He has been attending this marvelous class for a year and a half now. It has made all the difference in the world for him.

Before he got in this specialized class he was a holy terror for any teacher. Kicking, hitting, running away from teachers, getting into cars in the parking lot, smearing poo in the bathrooms.

You might think that this kid must be profoundly MR. He's not. In fact of all my DS kids, and I have a lot of them, Jeremy is THE highest functioning. He's smart. Extremely inquisitive. But he is also super impulsive, and super sneaky.

He's not RAD either. I know Rad..this isn't it. I'm starting to think that he must have some degree of fetal alchohol syndrome or affect. But this class has helped him so much, even at home.

Anyway, this class is a short term program. This is his second and last year. He is doing so well there that they want to release him back to the regular school system. I completely know what will happen. He'll fall apart. I'm sure of it. At least I have a few more months of relative content here.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Looking out the window this morning I could swear I still lived in Pennsylvania and that it was about to snow. Gusty winds, grey sky. Looked like it was about 50 degrees.

But then I see a couple of these in the backyard.

The White Ibis

You don't see many of those in Pennsylvania, do you? And it's about 78 degrees outside. Not going to snow. We don't get many dreary days here. Not many at all. It's just a little front coming in over the big lake.

Lots of things in life look nasty, but it's often a big deception. Money problems, kid problems, marital problems, employment problems... You can let them destroy you, or you can choose to rise above it all.

No matter how bad things may seem, you can and should make a sincere effort to seek out the thoughts and feelings that make you happy. That give you peace and hope. A smile, a laugh, a funny movie.

Reach for the happy thoughts and memories. Nothing is more important to you or your family than your staying in a good mood. Like attracts like in life. Sad people attract other sad people and tend to make happy people sad, too.

Angry people, tend to slop their anger onto you. Then you get angry back. Don't let them polute your mind like that. Block that anger. Accept only happy thoughts and feelings.

Sounds kind of Pollyanna, but if you get in the habit amazing things happen. I have one kid who just LIVES to make me angry. It wasn't until we decided that refusing to engage him in his angerfest we were able to get some control back.

We're having severe money problems that before would have sent me into depression. But I know there is a silver lining coming. The money problems won't last.

So when you think it looks like a storm is coming, whether financial, or legal or family related, looks can be deceiving. Look for the White Ibis. He's around there somewhere.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Videos About Kids with Down Syndrome

Have you seen all the home movies families have made about their kids with Down Syndrome?

Here's a collection of these heartfelt videos.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Adoption Anguish

This article in a UK newspaper reminds me why I decided only to adopt infants with Down Syndrome back in 1983. It's a decision that I've never regretted. Sure a couple kids with spina bifida snuck in there and a super premie with lots of medical problems, too. But my experiences with children with reactive attachment disorder had made that decision quite easy.

We could have easily fallen victim to the turmoil that has affected this family. But that one decision, years ago, has made all the difference.

That's not to say that we haven't had our behavior problems. We certainly have! But not the kind of problems we experienced with our RAD kids.

I have the greatest respect for families I know who specialize in adopting kids with reactive attachment disorder, and have managed to keep their marriages intact. But we were on a slippery slope with our RAD kids.

We gave up our right for the 7 year old after he tried to smother our profoundly MR and autistic daughter and another time tried to cut off her fingers with a pair of scissors. The other child grew up and I'm very proud of her. Despite her turbulent childhood and wild teen years, she has been married to the same man for many years and is a wonderful mother to two beautiful boys. But, Wow! What a ride she gave us.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Asperger's And Autism

Well, Ross is finally home! A friend lent us a wheelchair for him, as he is still too weak to walk with his forearm crutches. But he couldn't be happier. He did like the bacon, egg, sausage and pancake breakfasts, though! He won't get those here, not when the school bus comes at 6:30.

Several of my friends have kids with Asperger's Syndrome. Personally I have lots of experience with Autistic kids. Both are real tough parenting situations, and hard to get good information on.

I found two great books that are a must read. There is a comprehensive book about Asperger's and by the same author is a book about Autism. If you order one book you get the other one for free. Great deal considering they are 100% money back guaranteed.

Here are some of the topics the Asperger's Book covers:

# How to treat Asperger’s the “natural way” – you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to do when you follow these tips!

# How having a child with Asperger’s can impact a whole family – plus, what you can do to ensure that your family sticks together and continues to support each other!

# How to cope with your feelings after having a child diagnosed with Asperger’s – follow these tips to remain positive and ensure you’ll always “be there” for your child!

# What it’s like to grow up with Asperger’s – and 7 things you can do to make your child’s adolescence easier and more enjoyable!

# One of the best things you can do for your child with Asperger's – do this and put your child on the fast track to overcoming their Asperger’s symptoms!

# The two most common alternative treatment methods for Asperger's – and just how effective they are for most children!

# How to use the diet to help control AS naturally -- proponents of dietary management of AS agree that many symptoms will decrease in severity and some may even disappear with a change in diet … learn more here!

# How to help your child overcome the challenges of living with Asperger’s – so that they can grow up and live fully functional lives with a good job … and a family!

# Why when it comes to diagnosing Asperger’s sooner is much better – the longer you wait to have your child diagnosed the harder it will be for him and for you … find out why here!

# The six elements of the common AS medical treatment program – and whether or not this program is your child’s best bet for overcoming his or her Asperger’s symptoms!

# Common medications prescribed for children with AS – plus, the side effects of each!

Get One Book- either the Autism book or the Asperger's book and get the other one FREE. 100% Money Back Guarantee.

The Essential Guide To Aspergers."

No pic

"The Essential Guide to Autism"

her book "Recognizing & Treating ADHD"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

WhooHoo-and- ARRGH

Funny how you can have so many different feelings in one day. I think that must be SOP for a large adoptive family with special needs kids, though. You get used to it.

The doctors told us yesterday that Ross will probably be ready to come home on Wednesday. That's the WooHoo! He's very weak, and can't walk with his forearm crutches yet. Can only take a few steps with a walker, but, hey, he'll be at home. Probably won't go back to school before the start of vacation, though.

His whole class surprised him yesterday. He was so excited. We put him in a wheelchair and told him we were going for a walk. When we got to the waiting room on that floor, the entire class was there. What a nice visit! People have been coming to see him every day. Lots of folks. It's so nice to see that kind of caring.

Now for the ARRGH! As I think I mentioned, SSI decided to cut our payments in half for December. Not cool when you depend on that so much. Then our dryer died and had to be replaced and the very next day the washer died, too. They can't go defunct in the summer? Noooo. They wait until Christmas.

So yesterday I'm getting ready to make dinner, water. The water pump gave up the ghost, and took with it its friend the pressure tank. Talk about an expensive repair! But it got done.

I don't let these things get me down. We've always made it through monetary disasters. Always, something happens to turn things around. In the larger scheme of things it's nothing. We could have lost our sweet boy. And we didn't. That makes all the difference.

So WooHoo!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Math Trick

Ross is getting better finally. His kidney function is improving, but he'll probably be in the hospital until next week end.

He's so bored. If you hear of a child you know who is in the hospital, PLEASE go visit them. It means so much that someone cares enough to go see him in the hospital.

I'm awfully busy and can't blog much until Ross is home, but here's a neat math trick someone sent me. I wish I understood how it works, but it does.


This is pretty neat.

It takes less than a minute .
Work this out as you read ..
Be sure you don't read the bottom until you've worked it out!
This is not one of those waste of time things, it's fun.

1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to go out
to eat.
(more than once but less than 10)

2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)

3. Add 5

4. Multiply it by 50

5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1757 ....
If you haven't, add 1756.

6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.

You should have a three digit number

The first digit of this was your original number
(I.e., how! Many times you want to go out to restaurants in a week.)

The next two numbers are

YOUR AGE! (Oh YES, it is!!!!!)


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thursday Ross Update

Ross has a systemic e-coli infection. Multi organ. Massively. His liver, kidneys and bone marrow are affected. His blood count is like 48 and they may need to transfuse him. He has developed what may be bone infection on both of his feet. Just had an MRI for that today. Kidneys are still not putting out enough urine.

Other than that, he is talking and watching TV. Prayers please...

Ross Again

It's 4 AM and I can't sleep. I heard the word "renal failure" for the first time Wednesday. They have called in a nephrologist (kidney specialist.) Should know more later today.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Ross is in ICU

This AM I went in to see Ross, and although he looks better, he isn't keeping anything down, not really producing much urine, and he has an e coli infection. The antibiotics aren't slowing it down and his white cells are increasing, not decreasing. They have to get the infection under control before it affects his shunt, which drains into his abdomen. So they have moved him to intensive care.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Another Ambulance Ride

When you adopt kids with special needs, you have to accept that there WILL be medical emergencies, but it never gets any easier. This morning Dad tried to get Ross up for school, but he was seizing and had a high fever.

He was totally unresponsive, so I called 911 and the ambulance got him to the hospital. Now, he has spina bifida and a vp shunt, but he's never in his life had anything other than petit mal seizures. This was scary. He's 15 and such a great kid.

Of course this freaked out all his siblings, because in 2003 our 13 yr old son died at home and we did CPR until the ambulance came and took him to the hsopital where he was declared dead. So, of course, all my kids having developmental delays, they equate hospital with death.

Ross is still out of it tonight, but you can get one or two words out of him, but still not much sense. The neurosurgeon is coming in in the morning. Say a prayer for my sweet boy.