On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Wait Is Over

19 days.  Well, 17.  The teachers didn't turn in the discipline referrals for her infractions on Wednesday until today which means she serves ISS on day 19 of the school year.

Her grandmother wins the prize.  She gave Sissy 21 days.  Here's to grandmothers holding out hope! I really didn't think Sissy would make it this far.

The school finally submitted the CCETS referral on Tuesday but... wait for it... they will probably deny it because, well, because it's a referral from a parent and not from the school. Now, the school agrees - they are not equipped to support Sissy at their facility and she needs alternative placement.  But the county?  Ah, there's another story.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

We got this

In July, when I called the school to ask where Sissy's CCETS [1] referral was, the assistant principal has asked how her summer had been.  I answered cryptically because I am keen to read between the lines of questions that educators ask.  "If you're asking if Sissy's matured any and changed her behaviors so she will be more successful than last year, the answer is, no."

Nine school days ticked off the 181 day calendar and they still haven't finished her referral.  Nine school days and ten emails later, it is clear to everyone that she is truly not capable of this level of education.  Nine days of school later and she hasn't had a suspension... yet.  So if your bet was she would be in trouble before this, you're a loser and Sissy is the winner.


Actually, a long time friend of mine who is also parenting adopted children with challenges, works in the CCETS program for K-3.  She has suggested that should the school need to discipline Sissy for her shenanigans, that I deny they meter out said discipline on the grounds that I was honest and fair with the county, requesting the referral.  At this point, it is the SCHOOL that is dropping the ball, not me.

Which is what I tell Sissy.

She is quite frustrated and vocal about her frustration.  Her anxiety is sky high and she has already made herself physically ill because of it.  She knows she is smart but she simply can not handle the stress of the mainstream classroom.  Every time the phone rings she wants to know if it's the school and I tell her, "my dear, I've done MY job as your mom.  The rest is up to the school.  No single person makes this decision - it is a team effort."

Then I repeat and repeat and repeat.  It would help if I had a parrot to repeat these statements for me because my tongue gets tired saying it over and over.

And as such, with her anxiety, Sissy's at-home behaviors are of the charts.  *sigh*

This morning, AB, WG and I chilled while she slept late.  It was really nice.  Then she got up and within twenty minutes was awarded the privilege or being sent back to her room for her behavior.  lol

In the meantime, we got AB's EEG results back - they were normal.  HOORAY!  I'm hoping his cardiology appointment next Monday goes equally spectacular.  If not, then his pdoc and I go back to the drawing board with his meds.  One day at a time.  The med adjustments we made this summer have really brought him back to a positive baseline for his mood but potentially at the cost of stressing his heart.  Healthy heart vs. healthy mood?  Seems like there are never easy answers.

Still, all of this is petty compared to the Kilimanjaro's we've scaled that last four years.  We can handle it.  No biggie - we got this.

Be good. Don't hurt anyone.

[1] CCETS is the name of our county's emotional behavioral disability program

Sunday, August 11, 2013

What is church anyway?

It's a Sunday morning, the cicadas are wildly chirping, the sun is blazing, the dishwasher is swishing, the air conditioner is humming, the chihuahua is madly running in circles and I'm sitting at the computer typing a blog post instead of being in church.

It bothers me that I was raised to be a church goer and to celebrate God and all he provides on Sunday, to fellowship with like-minded believers and then to be 38 and completely incapable of putting a foot inside the doors of a house of worship.  It bothers me because I feel like it's what I'm supposed to do.  It bothers me because I'm not setting the same example that was laid out for me for my own children.  It bothers me that my once unmitigated passion for Christ has dried up like a man made pond in the rural south.  It bothers me, but not nearly as much as religion does.

Now that my family has reached a quiet, resting place in the chaos of life and mental illness, now that we smile and laugh and hug more than cry, shout and punch pillows, I've found myself in an unexpected place regarding my faith.  I'm not denouncing Christ or casting aside worship, I'm not switching faiths or bashing all persons as religious zealots.  I'm simply being.  I'm being in the moment on a Sunday morning when the cicadas are wildly chirping, the sun is blazing and a cool breeze is blowing, my shoulders are relaxing because my body is rested, my mind is quiet and peaceful and my children are happy.

Good God Almighty, my children are happy.

Gone are the days I would dash off to church hoping to hear some message that would give me the key to fix my family, to make us whole, to adjust myself view, to praise and worship myself hoarse in the hopes that my sacrifices to God for 90 minutes would make it all right again.  Gone are the days I made the mad dash to feed children and fight the rush hour traffic to get to a homegroup meeting or a Wednesday night service because the measure I eeked out on Sunday morning wasn't enough to get me to hump day, let alone the rest of the week.  Gone are the moments I reluctantly walked out of church, feeling lower and lonelier than I did before I walked through the open doors.  Gone are the days the offering plate passed by me and the guilt of not being able to sacrifice one quarter no longer haunts me.  Gone are the days I gave the full 10% tithe when the groceries hadn't been bought or the power bill hadn't been paid because I was hoping that this time, there would be a 100 fold return as the preacher promised (only to learn later that the cupboard was still bare, the power bill was late and I was out the cash I could have used for those amenities but my pastor pulled into the parking lot with one more new vehicle.)

This life changes you.  If I could convince my like-minded believers that worship, praise and thanksgiving doesn't occur in a fancy chapel but around the dining room table when your mentally ill daughter tells you that she thinks your hair looks nice today, I would feel less guilty for not being in a pew at 10 am in my Sunday best.

If I could convince Christians that doing God's work is getting up in the morning before your teenagers so you can greet them with a smile and a hug while you prepare their breakfast I wouldn't mind that I don't have a quarter to put in the offering plate.

If I could challenge people to consider drinking coffee on the back porch while being warmed in the sun and sung to by the insects as praise and worship, i might actually sing again myself.

If people would learn from me the lessons that I've learned on this journey called parenting special-needs children instead of trying to get me back in the doors of THEIR church that just might, maybe could, perhaps they would try to meet my family's unique needs on a Sunday for two hours, I would thank God the Creator and maker of all things that I suffered so that others might learn.

I've found a new church.  It is a church of peace, hope, love, kindness, patience, forgiveness, selflessness and self-control.  It is the church of God as it was intended to be.  It is serving and being thankful and worshiping all day, every day with all people every where regardless of their situation.  It is open-mindedness and giving your $10 visa rewards gas card to the neighbor that had a stroke.  It is unconditional love for your broken child.  It is patience unending for your impaired son.  It is kindness for the ex spouse when seeing his face makes you want to wretch.  It is genuine happiness despite all ills.  It is hope that the next ten minutes of life will be joyful and perseverance when it isn't.

If this church exists and happens to have regular meetings on Sunday mornings so I can hug people, laugh and cry with them, I'll be there, wearing whatever I put on to get there and maybe with a few dollars in my pocket to share with another needy soul.  Until then, I'll be right here.  Come join me.

Monday, August 5, 2013


Tomorrow is the first day of school for the kids and teacher orientation for me.  AB has been pacing for days.  Sissy is acting like a one year old.  WG is so excited she can't stand it.

All I can think about is that on Wednesday I'll be prepping for class in a quiet house.

As far as summer's go, this has actually been a good one.  Sissy didn't have her typical summer depression and AB's med changes have made a huge improvement in his mood and willingness to communicate.  We've had fun, it's been crazy, we've shouted at each other and laughed with each other and splashed each other in the pool.  We've had a trip to the ER for a bandaid (seriously, it looked like AB's leg had been splayed open and they gave him a BANDAID), we've met a new psychiatrist, we've made new friends, we've cried and slept.  We've slept alot.  Get-our-lazy-butts-out-of-bed-at-noon kind of sleeping.

Just now, AB and WG came in here and started a spontaneous light saber fight.  AB hasn't played with his light saber in over year so that is totally cool!!!!  Now, if only he would break out the legos or go swing without his music, I think the world might stop spinning for a pico second.

On Saturday I got some much needed help when a home group from a local baptist church that is affiliated with my school came over in droves and knocked out some major yard work and household fix-it chores. For the first time in 19 months, I didn't have to mow my yard!  

Every rose has it's thorn though.  Sissy is back to the general public school.  The middle school misplaced her referral for the Emotional/Behavioral disability classroom and unless I want her marked truant while they sort it out, I have to send her to the middle school.  PLACE YOUR BETS!  I'm giving her two weeks before she's getting a suspension.  Winner gets a cool mini quilt to hang. 

I'm serious about that. 


I mean, if I have to send my mentally ill daughter to the regular school where the staff is going to complain about her mental illness until the county agrees that she doesn't need to be in that setting, we might as well make a game of it, right?  Because when she has three days of OSS and I'm the one dealing with her in the house or in my classroom for those three days, knowing that I have friends behind me will make it easier.

AB just walked past me to head outside with his subwoofer speakers and a mini digital recorder. 

*face palm*