Thursday, January 31, 2008

IT IS WHAT IT IS - Get Over It!

I see so many people making themselves sick over problems that 1. aren't their own and 2. can't be changed.

What's done is done and can't be changed.

I used to be one of them. But I've been parenting for more than 38 years. Parenting special needs children, MR kids, autistic kids, profoundly MR kids, severely self abusive kids, kids with horrid behaviors and kids with reactive attachment disorder (RAD.)

A few years ago I decided that I didn't want to live like that. It dawned on me when someone broke something ( and I'm so good at this now that I don't remember what it was!) and I realized that it was irreversibly broken, and that my screaming and getting upset over it wasn't going to change things. It just clicked in my mind that I had a choice of how I was going to react over it.

I chose not to get crazy. It was what it was. And it was easier to just accept it and move on. I wish I had this knowledge 30 years ago. I would have 1. been a better parent and 2. lived a life in relative emotional peace.

Today when a kid goes on a raging rampage, I don't take it personally. It's NOT a failure on our part to teach him otherwise. He owns the behavior, not me. There are natural consequences attached to the act, of course, but not punishment. If a kid destroys the door to his bedroom, then, hey, other kids can get into his room and mess with his stuff. I don't say "AND you lose your right to XXX for three days." That's punishment. I don't get angry like I used to. I live in emotional peace 99% of the time.

If an adult child does something dumb like stealing money from a cash drawer at work and getting arrested, ain't that too bad for him/her. And that's what I'd say today. I'd laugh and say, Hey, you got yourself into a fine pickle now, didn't you? And I'd laugh again.

I think a parent's anger validates a child's anger. I won't do that. A raging child WANTS me to get upset and angry at him/her. Expects it as part of his acting out plan. I don't play their game. I didn't want to play the game to begin with. You can go play that game all by your lonesome. I've got my own happy games to play.

If a child expects anger, give him laughter. Remember he owns the anger. It's HIS anger, not yours. If not laughter, then at least disown the anger. He wants you angry. Don't do it. Stay calm and disconnected from the child's problem.

It is what it is, and it isn't gonna change by my adding my anger to the fire. In fact, I think adding my anger to the mess might just make the child's anger (or despair) flame up even higher.

I live a much more peaceful life now. My kids are less likely to act out when they can't drag me into it. And I just accept wjat happened as history that can't be changed, and gratefully move on.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Medicaid Jungle

Emily, who has down syndrome, turned 19 in September. Our pediatrician's office, who previously had accepted developmentally disabled kids as patients until they were out of school at 22, wrote us a letter telling us to find another MD.

This isn't as easy as it sounds. There are darn few local medicaid adult MDs here. But Humana Family has a couple good ones. We had already switched to Humana for Matt and Jenny and loved the doctor. So we wanted to get Emily on Humana as well.

So my husband calls medicaid and they tell him his name is not on the list as the legal contact. So he calls SSI and tells them to put his name on there where it should have been for years. They do that and he calls Medicaid back again.

They say that they do not have his name on there. Not in his full name or his initials or his initial and first name. SSI had told him to tell medicaid to conference call SSI for the info iof there was any problem. I guess medicaid said that SSI must initiate the conference call.

But before he got further into that he asked what name they DID have down there if it wasn't he or me? They wouldn't tell him. But they WOULD tell the name to Emily, who has no understanding at all of medicaid, SSI or money in general. So he put the call on speaker and Emily introduced herself, and they told Emily the name.

It was my husband's first initial only and the last name. Argh! So anyway she'd better not get sick until the beginning of March, as it won't kick in til them.

Dumb stuff we have to go thru daily when you rely on the government for your income. I want to get away from that so bad...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Butterflies again

It's warm and bright and sunny this morning. I took Jack out back and all the butterflies are floating effortlessly around the wildflowers (most people call them weeds...) Butterflies make me happy. They are a bright spot in my day.

When it's cold out or rainy or just plain overcast, you don't see any butterflies They stay home I guess.

Hanging around several times a day waiting for Jack to find just the right spot to poop on gie me lots of time to think. Often solutions to my problems will pop into my head, or I'll think of something wise (or at least wise for ME.)

This morning the butterflies reminded me of what I've learned from the Law of Attraction. Just like butterflies don't come out in dreary depressing weather, neither do good things happen in your life when your mindset is dark, dreary and depressed.

It's like "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer." It also means that the happy get happier and the sad get sadder. Or the angry get angrier.

If you only did one thing (and this does work for me) and that was to concentrate on the good things that have happened to you, and think about the good things that you want to happen in your life, you'd find marvelous changes happening in your life and the lives of those around you. Unexpected solutions appear. Really.

Happiness is catchy. Satisfaction is catchy. But Anger, Fear and Frustration also are catchy.

If you want your kids to be happy and content, dig for the happy part of your own personality and display it. Give thanks to God for the good things all day long. This may sound Pollyanna, but my life has turned around because I do this daily. Because I'm happy, things happen that make me happier.

Little things, like a raging kid, don't bother me. A broken window doesn't bother me. Try it. Refuse to let anyone drag you into their pit of anger or hopelessness or negativity.

Monday, January 28, 2008

About Robin

Robin is now 17. She has Down Syndrome and is the sweetest, happiest girl you'll find.

When she was little she was like all other kids with Downs. She played with toys and sang songs and played with others. As the years have progressed, due to her brain damage from being a premie, she has gone downhill. Today, unless someone drags her somewhere she'd just as soon lay on the couch with her Elmo doll and watch tv or not watch tv. She doesn't talk much anymore.

The only toy she like is that darned old Elmo. It is missing both arms and one leg and is about as ragged as a stuffed animal can get. We have to sneak it away when she's at school to wash it, as it gets so yucky. Other than horseback riding, which she adores, there is no substitute for Elmo.

This Christmas I found a perfect new condition copy of that old Elmo on ebay. They haven't made this doll for years, so I jumped on the chance and bought it for her gift. I was excited.

On Christmas morning Robin opened it and she recognized it, but just put it aside and went back to playing with old Elmo.

We tried taking away the old guy, so all she had was new elmo. But that just didn't work. She made sure that new elmo was in it's place on her bedroom shelf, but he didn't come outof the bedroom. So I did some surgery and took old elmo's head off and sewed it onto new elmo's body. Robin looked at it like it was an abomination. A frankenstein monster.

So a couple weeks ago I put old elmo together again and gave it back to her. It took a couple days for her to accept him again, but now all is right with her world.

I was thinking about it this morning. I guess it's kinda like if I woke up on Christmas morning and my adult kids presented me with a younger 25 year old version of my husband..New Daddy. He'd look just like I remembered him, but he wouldn't be the man I'd spent more than 40 years with. I'd put him on a shelf in the bedroom, too, because though I still loved New Daddy, it would be Old Daddy that I craved.

Old Daddy (and I apologize for that, Sweetheart) and Old Elmo just can't be replaced with a younger version.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Why do they do stuff like this?

It never fails to amaze me how kids would rather be sneaky than simply ask for something.

This morning Matt was out with our non res hab guy. When he got home he came to me complaining that someone had taken his blue hand barbell/weights things. So the natural culprit of course would be Jeremy. I hadn't seen him on Matt's side of the house, but Jeremy is a true sneak at heart.

So we confronted Jeremy with the missing weights, and he says "Yeah, I stole them. I took them to school." Which settled the matter with him saying he'd bring them home on Monday.

Then a little later Matt was down in Ross' room and found him with a black bag with the weights and a couple other things from Matt's room in it. If I had been smarter I would have figured that out sooner, as earlier Ross had asked Danielle to carry the heavy black bag for him to his room. (He uses crutches.)

So now Danielle is also in trouble for aiding and abetting. But I believe her when she says she didn't know what was in the bag.

The sad thing is this: If Ross had just asked to borrow the stuff, Matt surely would have lent it to him. I guess the sneakiness makes it more valuable?? I don't know.

On the other hand, nobody blew up, and if this is the worst thing that happens this wekend, then I'm a very happy mom.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Understanding Kids From Foster Care

I found this on an email list I belong to. Please watch.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Morning And Night Sayings

I've been reading Joe Vitale's Attractor Factor
off and on for a about week. Joe appears in the movie "The Secret," but he's known the secret himself since the early 1990s or before.

This book is about how to attract wealth, but it goes a lot further than that.

Once section talks about how important it is to express your gratitude to God/the Universe. There is a statement in the book that I am now using every morning and throughout the day. It is:

"Thank you, God, for the blessings I have received and am receiving."

What a great way to start your day on a positive note. It feels good to say that, doesn't it? And it sets up your attitude for the things to come in the next 24 hours. Reminding yourself that God does bless us every day, and is right now in the process of blessing us again.

There is also a neat section about how to solve problems. And you really works!

It goes like this: When you have a physical ailment that needs to be fixed, you go to a surgeon and he puts you to sleep and operates, taking out the bad stuff. You wake up and your health problem is solved. You might not feel real great yet, but the problem is solved.

The same thing can be done with other problems in your life, emotional, financial, whatever. There are angels always around you at all times whose job it is to help you solve problems. So identify the problem you want fixed right before you go to bed, and ask God and the angels to solve the problem for you, so that when you wake up, you'll have a clearer idea of what needs to be done.

Often during the next day the problem will have solved itself. It's worked for me. Whatever you do, once having asked for a solution, let God and the angels do their work. Don't hinder the results by putting out a negative vibration about the problem. Relax, you have your experts working on it, and they are much more efficient than you could ever be.

Instead go through the day saying "Thank you, God, for the blessings I have received and am receiving!" Stay in a good mood-choose happy.

I'm back

I temporarily put my blog on private for a couple weeks. Large adoptive families must always keep in mind that not everyone thinks that they are good people.

We've had folks tell us that so and so said that we must be perverts, as who else would want that many kids? We've had state officials during an investigation tell others that surely we must have an offshore account where we keep all the money we get from adopting children. Yeah, right...

Occasionally I hear something that scares me a little and I overreact and do things like close my blog. I'll try not to do that again.

Everyone here is fine. Ross is back in school. We are getting our SSI checks and all's well.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Are They All Yours?

In this little video I think this family covered the big things that folks say to parents of large families. Because they are a family with only "homegrown" children, they haven't included some of the things that people say to a multiracial large adoptive family, though.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Wheelchairs and Such

We've had our share of wheelchairs over the years. But wheelchairs that are no longer being used take up too much space in a home with this many kids and no basement and no garage. So we've always donated the unused ones to groups that give them away to needy folks.

We have two foldable ones here, though, but neither one of them has tires on them. Ross, who spent the month of December in the hospital and recuperating from his e coli infection and kidney failure, still isn't back to his old self. He lost so much of his strength through that illness. He is back up and walking with his crutches, but he can't walk for long distances. Thus our need for another functioning wheelchair.

He really wanted to go back to school today after visiting the wound care office at the hospital. (He got a sore on his foot that blistered up during the infection and it hasn't been healing, so he went today to have the thing debrided -YUCK)

The high school is mammoth sized. There is a ton of distance walking every day just to get from for instance the classroom to the cafeteria. No way Ross could make that trip, especially with his foot still healing. So luckily my husband was able to get a prescription from the doctor for a medicaid wheelchair rental and picked it up after the appointment.

The image above is for the TankChair. Ross and Jay would love that.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Card Game with the developmentally delayed

This morning I was listening to a conversation between Daddy and the kids. The kids were playing cards at a table. The question at hand was, which card is bigger, the four or the eight?

So Dad asks, "which would you rather have? Four cookies or eight cookies?"

Answer: "mmmm, I like cookies..."

I'm sure there is a parable in there somewhere, but I'm afraid to find it!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

PHEW!! SSI Problems are over

Well, it's over. DH just got back from his second visit to Social Security (This doesn't count the one I made...).

If you've ever had a problem with SSI you know how aggravating that is. you take a number and then you wait with a hundred other folks until your number is called. Then you go to see someone at one counter, who invariably can't answer your question. This person tells you who you must see and puts in a ticket for that person. You go back and sit down and wait for another hour or two until you get that person.

Now once you see the next woman, if your request will take a lot of work (say, because you have nine kids on SSI with the same problem) then you will have to put in a request for a worker to get extra time to work on it. So you go home and wait to "hear from them." Which you never do.

Then after another week goes by with no phone call or letter you call the Social Secuirty number to get an update. This number is a national hotline type thing. You get put on hold forever. DH thinks that the hotline is a big scam, that it's nothing more than a black hole. If, after waiting a couple hours on the phone you do get someone, he/she could be from anywhere in the country. Certainly not someone local who just might be able to access your records.

If you know the name of someone local whom you've talked with before about your case, you can call that person, but either their voicemail box is full or they never call you back, necessitating another 8 AM visit to wait in line at the local office.

BUT...aggravating though it may be, we were informed today in person that they figured it out last Friday and that the checks are in the mail. Of course, it's not totally figured out yet. We aren't getting the full amount, but, hey, some money is better than no money.

We've not had any income since November 1st, except for a little retirement money and what my husband makes bagging groceries part time.

BUT WE MADE IT. We always do...

The whole thing would be so much easier if they handled problems online, now wouldn't they? Have you ever had to go through this kind of crud with Amazon, for instance?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Large Adoptive Families-Why We Do It

We've been parenting for more than 38 years now. Since our first was born in 1969. Over those years we have been the parents of 21 children, and about ten others who were with us temporarily, including four children who now make their home in heaven.

This video is what drives all of us large adoptive families. The knowledge that there still is one child out there who needs a family to call his/her own. For us, it's agony knowing that there are such hurting children. It's not just "Oh what a shame, where's my ipod?"

We stopped adopting in 1993. It was the right thing to do, although it made me heartsick. My husband is 61 now, and I'm about three months from that myself. I'm glad all our children are growing up-not that we will ever be done parenting, as the majority of our children are developmentally delayed, most functioning in the trainable MR range.

It is a joy each new year to sit and think about how each child has grown in the past twelve months. Behavior-wise, there are only two stinkers. But even they have improved this year.

Have I improved? I know I have. I'm more positive in my outlook. Little things don't bother me as much, and actually, neither do big things. I'm secure in my knowledge that we've created a wonderful life together, my husband and I and all our children.

Happy New Year, everyone. May you be the home for that waiting child. And may you be blessed with peace-financial, moral, social and spiritual PEACE.