Monday 30 September 2013

Archived Post 2013 - Monday Moments

  • looks like I am still not back into this blogging thing... not sure what that means
  • that being said we have survived almost a whole month of this new life of ours.
  • It is super busy though and getting bronchitis did not help matters in any way, shape or form.
  • I am finally on the mend though.
  • Currently I am trying to bend time so that I can have about 3 extra hours each day,  it is not working unless I sleep less and since I have been sick that is not really an option.
  • There is so much going on in the kids lives and in my life that I don't even know where to start.
  • I really want to make time for this again but I am feeling like I might be done as well...
  • I do make time for facebook though, so if you want to be friends in real life to keep with out antics i will not think you are crazy if you send me an email and ask me who I am in the real world. Honest.

Monday 2 September 2013

Archived Post 2013 - Monday Moments - I'm back.

  • I'm back, did you even notice I was gone....
  • We traveled over 13,000km this summer and went all the way to the west coast and back.
  • We arrived home mid August but things quickly became crazy here.
  • I know you are so surprised, crazy here, never
  • Our travels were fantastic, we saw lots of friends, made new ones and enjoyed tons of time together.
  • There was one day near Chicago where I was ready to leave someone on the side of the road but other than that we all did really well considering how far we traveled.
  • I had the immense privilege of going to NACAC which was fantastic and just what I needed after all that time alone with my kids.
  • If you know me in real life you know that I am crazy because I applied for, interviewed for and then accepted a job in the big city near to us.
  • This means a 1 hour commute each way.
  • But I get to snuggle toddlers all day and I love toddlers so it is totally worth the drive.
  • It also means all my kids are going to school and since today is the day before school starts here there have been lots of big, huge, messy feelings.
  • They are all going to survive though.
  • So am I.... or so I keep telling myself.
  • 5:30am comes really early though.
  • I really wanted to check in here though and say that we are alive and although you are not commenting blogger stalks you for me so I know that you are coming and reading and I wanted to say that we were alive and well.
  • Enjoy September, wherever it may lead you.

Thursday 21 March 2013

Archived Post 2013 - Done, again, still...

I've been feeling close the edge with the boys for a long time and this week that edge has crept ever closer. I am so tired of the constant lying, stealing, sneaking, arguing, picking, poking, accusations, screaming, back talk and general nasty behavior that has become our new normal.

It's been 5 years, this could get easier with them any time now and I would be ok with that. If this keeps up I am not sure how much longer I will be able to manage it. When they were little I had so much hope, I saw so much progress and today I am not feeling very hopeful for them. This regressive stage seems to be going on forever and I am not handling it very well.

If I was not dealing with all the one year trauma anniversary stuff with Kate I might be in a better place but I am dealing with her and I had sort of banked on them doing better. Three being out of control all at once feels like more than this depressed Mama can manage. Actually I should say that I am  managing it but I could be doing a better job and I could be way more therapeutic than I am being.

Is it spring yet... sending them outside all day would help.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Archived Post 2013 - Dear Kate

Dear Kate,

It has been a year, a whole year since we packed you up in the van with your brothers in the back of the van and brought you home. It was a long trip and you were so scared. I know that now, I didn't know you very well then, didn't understand your signals and your cues. I am much better at that now because we have had a whole year together, a whole year to grow and change and learn about one another.

I now know that if I tickle you in just the right spot you will actually laugh, not that little fake laugh you so often use but a real Kate laugh from the depths of your belly. I have learned that when you do not like what you are eating you will slow to a turtles pace in attempt to get out of eating it. I know when your tears are real and when they are just for attention. I have learned that you like to pretend you can't do things and when you are mad at me you hide my stuff. You are fantastic at changing the subject and controlling a situation when you do not like what is happening or being discussed. You love all things girl but keep up with your brothers as if you were 11 instead of 7 and I am sure you could take them if they really challenged you to. You are a voracious reader and love to draw and paint. You will spend hours playing imaginary games with Kevin and you drag Randall kicking and screaming into your imagination as well. You can convince all of your brothers to play with you even though they totally all think that they are told old and cool for such games. You love to sing and our beloved "teenager music" will calm you down quicker than any thing else.

You are one of a kind my dear Kate.

Since we finalized your adoption you have danced on my last nerve more times than I care to count. You have tested and pushed and shoved to see if we meant it, to see if we meant that this is forever. This week has been better, now that I have said that aloud you are going to self destruct.  I do need to say that since I came back from ETAAM weekend you have been calmer and have been talking about what is going on inside instead of just screaming at me. Yesterday you had a pretty spectacular meltdown but I had been waiting for that. I did not mention to you that March 12 was day 365 but I know that you knew some where deep inside that this was the day you came home for good. So the combination of me being away and day 365 was a bit more than you could handle. I knew that though, I was waiting for it we worked through it.

You continue to heal and grow, you inspire me one minute and then infuriate me the next. Sometimes I wonder about the ways of the universe and how exactly I ended up with you. Actually how we ended up with one another would be more appropriate because you remind me so much of a little girl I once knew and she grew up to be rock star. I made you a glass a little while ago that says -  Rock Star in Training -  you will get there baby girl, it is going to be a long road but I have so much hope for you.

We can do this together.

love your biggest fan.

Thursday 28 February 2013

Archived Post 2013 - They were already broken.

Someone broke my kids. It was not me. Before I knew better,  I probably made things worse for a while  but I was not the one who broke them. I quickly figured out that I was in over my head and started to learn about how to parent these kids in a way that would ensure we would all survive until they were adults. I am still learning though.

That being said my kids are not like kids who were born to me. I have never birthed a child but I do know about family, relationships and child development. My kids are not like biological kids and it frustrates me when people tell me that all kids behave like my kids. Yes all kids do the things that my kids do but attached children who have not experienced trauma do not behave like their whole life depends on lying about whether you took the nail clippers and stashed them in your room. Taking the nail clippers should not create a raging tantrum and days of fallout. But here it does. For kids who have experienced trauma and neglect, this is their normal. Taking those nail clippers, testing that limit with your forever family might mean that you have to leave because you have had to leave so many other places where you wanted to stay so you better deny it, you better protect yourself because if you are vulnerable you might get hurt.

My kids brains are broken. It is not their fault, they did not ask for this.

In-spite of their brokenness I love them fiercely. I love them when they are raging at me and throwing boots at my head. I love them when they scream that I am bitch and that they never wanted to live here anyway. I love them while they sob  ( my heart breaks and I cry right along with them)  about just how very unfair all of this. I love them when they use pee as a weapon of mass destruction and when they try to beat the crap of adults and kids alike. I love when they tell me I am not the mother they wanted or that they did not want to be adopted.  I love them they break my stuff and steal things that are special to me. I love them when I have to supervise  them  like a jail guard at every event because one of them might be totally inappropriate of they feel as if they might away with it this time.  I love them when they try to manipulate other adults into feeling sorry for them when they are not getting their way. I love them when they pretend they can not do something just to make me crazy or run away and scare the crap out of me. I love them when they remember the pain of their trauma and then spend days making everyone around them miserable because that is how they are feeling inside.

I love these kids in a way that only a mother could and there are days when the last thing I want to do is love them. There are days when I am so angry that I wonder why on earth I ever agreed to this, when I wonder what was I thinking when I signed up for this.

Deep down I know why and most days I actually have to stop and remember that I was thinking they deserved a chance. I was thinking they deserved a family, that they did not deserve to grow up in a world of uncertainty and that knowing you are loved to the core of your being, regardless of your choices,  is so very important.

Parenting these broken babies is so freakin hard, their pain, their anger and their grief has overwhelmed me and yet I am still here. I am still committed. I never knew I was strong enough for this but I am. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, it hurts. There are days when I wish this was not my life. Days when I wish I was just like those people who I used to be friends with, the ones who have regular lives where the effects of trauma does not permeate  every moment. We are not friends anymore, they do not know how to cope with my kids or with the way that I have changed in the last 5 years. There are moments when I miss them, moments when I wish they were able to understand but they are only moments. Then my kids start screaming and they pull me back to reality, that is not my life.

This is my life, someone broke my babies and I am trying to help them heal.

Friday 22 February 2013

Archived Post 2013 - Supporting One Another

I have been blogging since May 2004, that was a really long time ago, really long. I lived in a different place, I was single, I was teaching, I was travelling, it was a different world. When I started my blog it was to keep in touch with my family while I lived overseas and as my world has evolved so has my blog. I moved here when I felt as though I needed some anonymity in order to respect my kids privacy. It was a necessary move and not one I regret at all although my first blog still exists and I have not blogged there in years.

I was looking for something in the archives here earlier today and I was amazed at all these years of my life, all this joy, excitement, devastation, learning, changing and growing stored in on place. There are so many memories here, so many things that I might want to forget because they were awful but that I learned a lot from and are really worth remembering. While I looked though the archives I was struck by something, there is a lot of love on these pages. Love from people who I love, from people I have never met and from people who have over the years become some of my dearest friends.

Jack and I were talking about this very thing last night about how some of the best supports that I have on this parenting journey are from women who I have met here on my blog and at ETAAM, (many of those people over lap but not all ETAAM Mamas are bloggers). They are women who watch my kids when I need a break, they call me multiple times a day when they know my cheese is sliding off my cracker ( a polite way of saying going insane), they mail me surprises, they love my kids and they have become my family.  I am not kidding when I  say that without some of these women I would not be here today. I would not be the parent that I am, I would not be helping my kids heal, I would not be coping, I know in my heart of hearts that if these women were not a part of my life things would look very different and not in a good way.

It's one of those things, these women, the ones who hold me up, they make me a better Mama and a better person

It's not just about being a Mama though, right now my world revolves around my kids but once they are no longer in my house every day I will still be me. The woman who started on this parenting journey 5 years ago is not the same woman who is typing this today. These women, these Mamas who parent kids just like mine have taught me that I matter, that I am worth it and that I deserve to be loved just as much as any other person. I have always struggled with my self-esteem, with why anyone would want to be my friend, what I had to offer others and have really just felt like I was taking up space in the world. .  These women, who would move heaven and earth to help a friend in need,  have taught me that I am worth it.

I matter.

I am lovable.


I would be lost if it were not for these women and I am eternally grateful that I have them in my life.

Thank you to each and every one of you, you make getting through a challenging day so much easier.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Archived Post 2013 - Dear Kate,

Dear Kate,

This letter marks the end of your 11th month as my daughter. It also marks the last first that we have celebrated together, your 7th birthday. This last year has been a year of new things for you, new traditions, new experiences  a new family and now as we approach a year since you moved in with us, since you became our daughter,  there is little that you have not already experienced with us.

We had a party for you on your birthday, it was a good day, you handled it all so well. You wanted a princess party and that is exactly what you had complete with a pink castle piƱata ( although there was not a Disney character to be seen because I am still anti Disney princess even though you are not).

There was no stress, you were comfortable and happy surrounded by people you love.  Actually that is not completely true, when someone told you that you could get your ears pierced now that you are 7 you burst into tears because as much as you want them pierced you were afraid that it is going to hurt. Aside from that though it was a fabulous day.

You continue to be full of life, to challenge me every day and to remind me to slow down because you are not going to be little forever.

The other day I came down stairs and saw you sitting in the kitchen, all dressed up in a hilarious outfit and making notes in notebook about something that your brothers had been doing, it was the cutest moment. You have a lot of cute moments and you still talk like you are 65 most days. You keep us in stitches when we are not totally frustrated by your choices and as hard as it sometimes is to be your Mom I would not trade you for anything.

I am not sad to see the last first for you in this family pass, I look so forward to the many years of celebrations and experiences that we are going to have, you me and all those boys that we love. May your seventh year be filled with joy, love, many blessings and at long last a sense of security, cause baby girl you are stuck with me.

love you

Thursday 17 January 2013

Archived Post 2013 - Dear Kate,

Dear Kate,

Today is your adoption day. It is one of those bittersweet moments where we are all excited but very aware of all the losses that you have had to incur that have brought us to this day. We didn't tell you until this morning and you were so excited. Once the initial excitement wore off you turned into that hyper bouncing kid which usually means that you are trying to hide your real emotions. It took awhile but eventually you started to cry, as I expected you would. Because us adopting you means that you have had to say good-bye to so many others.

So far today is going well though, you are managing all your emotions as best you can and I must say I thought things would be much worse.

The last 6 weeks with you have been rough, there have been lots of moments when I thought that one of us was not going to make it bedtime. Christmas was exciting but hard for you because it was the first one, it was the first time for so many things and we do not do things the same way that others do, all the new things were more than you could handle. We tried to keep things quiet but there is no way to cancel Christmas. I will not lie, I did contemplate it on more than one occasion though. I do need to say in your defence, your brothers were also a huge challenge through the holiday season and all of it has left me done, as you say " Mama is done with our behaviour".

I am, I tired but there is so much about you that makes me willing to get of bed every morning and do it again. I can't really explain it, there is not too much to say that has not already been said,  you are a wonderful child, you light up my life in ways I never knew a child could. I have never come across a child as determined as you are and when I say determined I do not mean stubborn, I mean determined. When you say you are going to do something you do everything you can to make it happen and if it for some reason you can't make it happen it devastates you.

Kate, I can't imagine our lives without you, today as we make this all legal and forever I am sure I to will shed a tear or two because the road that brought here was one that no child should ever walk but I am so thankful to the universe that you are here and that you are ours. I mean that, even in my worst moments when I say things I later regret I will always love you more than you will ever know.


Thursday 10 January 2013

Archived Post 2013 - Keeping it Real

I know it's been quiet around here.

Things have been hard, really hard and when they get hard like that I turn inward, I get depressed and I tend to bury my head in the sand.

About 6 weeks ago something happened with one of the kids, something that made their future, the reality they will live, the challenges they will face seem so much more real than they ever have before. I was angry about what they had done, the child in question did not really understand why I was so angry. 36 hours later after my head and exploded the child did the same thing again. I was so far past mad I could not even talk to the kid. Then 2 weeks ago just after Christmas that same child did a different thing but it was the sort of thing that really made me wonder if anything we ever said was heard or if it was all just gibberish.

The reality is that the child question does not have the ability to understand cause and effect. They should be able to understand that when they bend their finger all the way back it will hurt and then stop doing it but this child can not. They are bending their own finger all the way back, crying because it hurts and not understanding that they are the one who can stop the pain. That may seem like a rather primitive example but some days things just like that are happening.

To top that we are in the heart of  all sorts of big anniversaries for Kate and that is bringing up all sorts of behaviour which in of itself is more than challenging. I am pretty tired of being called a bitch by a 6 year old. In the midst of all this Kate made some allegations against a person from her past which a probably true and now we have to deal with yet another interview with social workers.

Last week was one of the hardest weeks I have had in a long time, I was depressed and hiding in my house in my footie pj's hoping that if I hid long enough spring would come, the light would return and the all the hard anniversaries for my kids would pass and we could just go back to it being summer. It didn't happen. It's still winter and they are still being tough as nails.

I did reach out to some friends to vent though, I did express my frustration and sadness and one of my very dear friends made an offer to give me a break, to take all 3 of crazy homeschooled kids so that I could have break. So that is what we are going to do, take a break, without our kids for the first time we are leaving them for a whole week and heading to the southern sun.

The thought of this break, this time to recharge is going to carry me through the next 10 days or so, it is the carrot I so needed. I will also leave all of the people I love and head to sun in March which is totally different kind of break and much needed one as well.

I am going to be ok, I just need to take of my needs as well as theirs.