Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just An Update

     I got a text this morning from Boo Boo Bear's therapist, saying that she is recommending a day treatment facility.  If this happens, it will be through the summer and into the school year.  He would actually attend school at the treatment facility.

     I'm super nervous about this.  I do believe Boo Boo Bear needs an intervention.  He is currently receiving intensive services, but they aren't working the way then should.  I'm concerned that he'll be around children with worse behavior than his, that he'll be scared, that this environment will become his "norm".  But I'm equally worried that without a serious intervention with therapy, he'll continue to back slide on his progress and I could lose him altogether.

Please just keep us in your prayers.


xoxoxo
Casey

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reluctantly Writting

     It's been about a week since I've posted here.  I'm super stressed and I think a little depressed.  Boo Boo Bear's behavior is escalating daily.  I'm questioning my ability right now.  I'm tired and angry that life is so hard right now.
     Boo Boo Bear has been with me for a number of years.  Two years ago his behavior was so extreme that he was going to be temporarily moved to a residential treatment facility if immediate progressed wasn't achieved.  Thankfully, through medications and intensive therapy, we made major progress in a relatively short period of time, which allowed him to stay with me and my daughters.

     Here we are, two years later, and out of the blue, the old Boo Boo Bear returns.  My day begins with an early morning "eff you bit-- get my breakfast" and ends with a "I'm going to effing kill you, you effing bit--".  There are holes in his wall again, the one year old bedroom door is almost broken through to the outside, and my nerves are shot.

     We have skill builders come to the home three times a week and his therapist is here twice a week.  Additionally, I'm in constant phone communication with his therapist, who is in constant communication with his psychiatrist and we aren't getting anywhere.  He can barely handle half days at school, daycare is OUT of the question, I have zero family to lend a hand and I'm feeling really stuck.  I have Bible study group at my home every Thursday and even that is possibly being moved to a more peaceful location.

     I want to cry, but I have fear in letting my emotions get that low.  I'm struggling just to be nice and patient with him, and that's not good.  Boo Boo Bear needs serious help.  I need light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm taking him Monday to a prayer room/healing room. 

Normally I'm positive in my writing, but I'm hanging on by a string right now.

Accepting all prayer...


xoxoxo
Casey

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What Was I Thinking!

    
     We left for vacation this last Sunday morning. Myself, Maiya and Boo Boo Bear, were invited to go to Seaside, Oregon for a little retreat to a beach side condo with a good friend of mine. I knew there was some risk involved in taking Boo Boo Bear away from the routine and the security of home, but I really needed a change of scenery and a break from the monotony. Besides, what kid wouldn't be thrilled to have sand on demand and a heated pool?

     Half the way to the beach, Boo Boo Bear began to tantrum. Mostly he just wanted to hit Maiya with his plethora of toys and to demand that she allow him to do so. Of course, this Mama ain't playin', and immediately pulled over to allow him the chance to hand over the weapons of mass destruction. He refused and was offered a ride in my friends husbands car. Well, maybe not offered, let's just say it was strongly suggested. Relieved that we would make it the rest of the way with my daughters limbs intact, we once again commenced the hour and a half journey to our beach getaway.

     Once we got there, my visions of sandcastles and starfish were abruptly aborted. We arrived just in time for a spring storm to crash any thoughts of a sandy adventure. And worse yet, the realization of all of us confined to a condo with my darling Boo Boo Bear became a daunting reality.

     To make a VERY long story short, Boo Boo Bear's tantrums matched the bellowing storm in every way. Unpredictable and yet we knew it would be blustery.  Both storms continued throughout the four day event with each moment a lashing, raging, pounding, and exhausting experience.  I couldn't wait to get home and away from the storm, both varieties.

     We did make it home safely, mostly because my darling Boo Boo Bear slept like a baby.  Maiya and I were, and as of today still are exhausted.  We agreed that in the future, condo vacations are best meant for the two of us.  Boo Boo Bear is more of a camping type of guy anyway.  We have lots planned for this summer, camping galore!


xoxoxo
Casey Everly


   

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Another Vacation

     It might seem like I vacation a lot, but rest assured, my life is no more glamorous than anyone elses.  Truth is my good friend has a time share and invited my family to spend a few days in Sea Side, Oregon.  She must be crazy wanting to vacation with my brood, but who am I to suggest she reconsider?  Honestly, this vacation is much needed and couldn't be better timing.

      Boo Boo Bear's behaviors have really escalated over the last two weeks.  I don't know what is going on with him.  He's angry and tantruming constantly.  When I send him to his bedroom he gets so mad he kicks and hits and is constantly trying to break his bedroom window.  Thankfully I installed 1/2" thick plexiglass over the glass window (with DHS approval).  I can't figure out what is triggering this behavior.

     I'm also in the process of selling my two cars and purchasing one that hopefully meets all our needs.  This is a very stressful process for me.  I've owned my prized Durango for several years now, paid cash for it.  It was my dream car, bright red with creamy beige leather and all the trimmings.  It's a bitter sweet situation.  The company I used to work for paid my insurance and all the gas.  Now that I'm no longer employed there, they aren't paying my expenses, duh.  But, now I can't afford the gas.  So,in addition to owning the Durango,  I bought a car, a Saturn to be exact.  It gets great gas mileage, but doesn't have the seating capacity of the Durango.  So each vehicle meets one of our needs, but neither can meets them independently.  Super duper long story short, I can't afford both of them long term, and I have to sell them.

     All this is happening at the same time that Boo Boo Bear's behaviors are escalating.  Change is difficult for me, especially change that has such a huge financial impact on my family.  I am after all a single Mom and foster mom, money is tight and there's little room for mistakes.  So, vacation time will hopefully give me some space to consider therapeutic options for Boo Boo Bear, and my vehicle decisions.  Wish me well and if you feel like sending some prayers our way, we'd appreciate it.


xoxoxo
Casey Everly





Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wrap Around Serivces, DD Services, DHS And Lil' Ole Me

    Boo Boo Bear receives many services through a variety of agencies.  The funny thing about this fact is that when I initially became a foster parent, I was overwhelmed by the amount of people and level of DHS involvement in my personal space.  Now, nearly eight years later, not only is DHS still here, I welcome them.  In addition to DHS, I have several other agencies providing supports for Boo Boo Bear on a daily basis, one of them being his MHO, who has the ability to continue or end Boo Boo Bear's wrap around services.

     We have team meetings at the MHO's office to discuss Boo Boo Bear's progress in all areas of his life.  We are constantly brainstorming ideas that may provoke change within him in a more natural way.  We talk about issues that have come up over the previous weeks and how they should be addressed in order to minimize the overall impact on our family.  And more recently, the MHO facilitator is challenging us with discussing what Boo Boo Bear's MHO ICTS discharge criteria should look like.

     It makes me squeamish to think about his level of services dropping.  Prior to receiving services, Boo Boo Bear was a candidate for an inpatient treatment facility,(not what I wanted for him).  His behaviors were extremely severe and he was a danger to himself and others.  Thankfully, that did not happen.  He qualified for ICTS which included wrap around services.  Medications and intensive therapy was a crucial part of his reform.  It's been a slow process, but one that is working.

     After much deliberation, the following is the criteria I decided needed to be checked off the list prior to Boo Boo Bear's discharge from the ICTS.

·        Attend full days at school
·        Completing age appropriate work in school
·        Appropriate interaction at school. No violent behaviors toward staff, peers, property
·        Safe during bus transportation
·        Safe toward both mom’s and siblings
·        Safe toward family property.  No more holes in doors, walls, ceiling, property of others
·        Safe toward self. No, “I’m going to kill myself” statements
·        Appropriate language when angry.  No more “F Bombs”, calling me an a---hole, etc.
·        Restrain from physical attacks on mom.
·        Able to respond appropriately to a “no” answer
·        Able to safely go into community, stores.
·        Able to travel in car safely.
·        Able to safely attend daycare setting, allowing Mom to go back to work.
·        Able to participate in age appropriate activities: sports, neighborhood play, family interaction
·        Able to self soothe in uncomfortable situations. IE unable to do activity he wants at that moment.

     It's a long list, makes me tired just typing it.  It's also the list of possibilities.  A list that once a check mark resides next to each action item, means Boo Boo Bear is a success story, that he beat the odds stacked against him.  I'm excited to watch the changes that continue to grow within him.  He's learning to be happy, which in turn makes the household happy.  Time will tell to what extent the ICTS  will remain a part of our daily life.  All I can hope for is that they stay long enough for Boo Boo Bear to glean all he needs.


xoxoxo
Casey everly

Monday, May 14, 2012

Boo Boo Bear's Current Struugle

     Boo Boo Bear is currently at Heron Creek, a K-12 therapeutic school in Oregon City.  He's been there since pre-school, and is now in second grade.  Heron Creek's primary focus is therapy first, secondary is curriculum. 

     Boo Boo Bear has really struggled at school this year.  He's done everything from pounding his fists on desks to stab his counselor in the face with a pencil.  I've had to pick him up from school a few times because he wasn't able to ride home safely on the bus and he's been suspended for a few days. 

     In December of 2011, Boo Boo Bear's suspension led to a review of his IEP, which left us all in agreement that full days are to demanding of a schedule for him.  We determined half days would be in his best interest, allowing him to build some successful interactions in his school day, and minimizing his possible failures.  He is currently still attending only half days at school.

     Boo Boo Bear's behavioral issues don't appear to be decreasing however, and are becoming more a part of his "norm".  He is easily agitated and becomes confrontational both physically and verbally nearly every day.  Once home, he is very tired and shows less frustration tolerance than what I would expect from a child only attending school half days.

     Because of this increased behavioral issues at school, I am looking into a day treatment program.  I'm nervous because of the possible negative impact this could have on him.  I worry to have Boo Boo Bear influenced by the kids who are worse off than him.  I'm equally worried that if I chose to do nothing, then either nothing will change or things could continue to worsen. It's clear to me that he needs additional therapy in a school environment. 

     I would appreciate ANY advice, any stories good, bad or otherwise.  I know I'm not alone here.


xoxoxo
Casey Everly

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Wishing Us All A Happy Mothers Day

     I don't know what the weather is like where you all are, but it's beautiful here in Portland, Oregon.  That's saying a lot, since this is one of the rainiest states.  It's supposed to be 83 today and 93 tomorrow! Wooooo hoooo!  Just in time for Mothers Day.

     For any Mom and Foster Mom out there that feels less than appreciated, misunderstood, underestimated, overworked, sleep deprived, over budget, underpaid or simply just pooped, this one goes out to you:  YOU are appreciated, understood, worth every ounce of effort, a hard worker, and YOU have a blessing being prayed over you right now!

     We are changing futures people!  How amazing is that!  Because of us, the course of the future is changed, and the children and families we've worked with with, in turn, change the lives of others.  It's a continual blessing.

xoxoxo
Casey Everly

   

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hacked And Citalopram

    Hi friends, I'm so sorry about that.  It seems I was hacked.  Some villainous fiend installed a virus that had remote access onto my laptop and allowed them to manipulate my computer from anywhere in the world.  They then prompted it to start its evil work the next day.  My computer guru friend Brian, found it and disabled it for me. YAY!!! 

     Scary stuff.  I'm the only user on this laptop.  My kids couldn't have gotten through my plethora of passwords to have done this, and my computer is guarded almost as well as the Declaration of Independence

     Speaking of the Declaration of Independence, has anyone noticed that our government is slowly and purposefully destroying our constitutional rights?  Ugghhh, not a good side note for this blog.

     Anyhow, back to family...  Boo Boo Bear is getting an alteration to his medication regimen.  He's gaining weight and becoming easily angered and physically aggressive since he's been taking  Citalopram.  It's only been 1-1/2 months since he started this med, but he's gained almost 9lb and there are several new holes in his bedroom door and walls.  Now that I've read all the side affects, I can clearly see he's the epitome of a poor candidate for the med. 

     The weather is beautiful here in Portland, Oregon.  Maiya is home schooling away, Lilly dog is basking in the heat, I'm catching up with my friends here and Boo Boo Bear is tantruming in his room.  Ahhhhh, what a life.


xoxoxo
Casey everly

    

    
 

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Computer Is Down, Sorry

I'm borrowing a computer tonight.  Sorry I can't read anyone's posts.  Should be back up by Wednesday.

xoxoxo
Casey

Friday, May 4, 2012

Featured Friday: Mom No Matter What

     Mom No Matter What is a blog written by a Christian, married, stay-at-home mother to three adopted children. Her professional background is in advocacy. She has a particular interest in mental-health advocacy for children served by the public behavioral-health system and the child-welfare system.

     I've only met this amazing foster and adoptive Mom through her blog, and first met her through this post: You've Heard of Duct Tape Wallets, But Duct Tape Socks??   Her story brought me to such an emotional place.  Her post is real and honest and a heart felt release of words and emotions.  I instantly prayed for this family and I know the family is praying over these kiddos to.  God is answering these prayers and I can't wait to start reading about Dumas being released from these issues.  Prayer is powerful folks, and God promises that whatever we ask Him in Jesus' name He will give us.  A war is being fought in the heavenlys for this child and the Lord will prevail.

     As I read through this account of Dumas and some of his compulsive issues, my emotions raced as I imagined myself in the writers shoes.  And then in Dumas's shoes.  It brought me to a tearful place and I had nothing but compassion for this precious child, Dumas, and his remarkable adoptive parents.

     I can relate to this story of Dumas all to well. My foster son has many issues that have caused him to self harm, harm others, harm pets and in many instances, cause property damage. Some of his issues are not as prevalent as they used to be, thanks be to GOD, therapy and medications. Dumas's story hit home for me in many ways.

     The average person, with or without child, can't begin to image what raising a special needs child is like.  Add on the extra problems of being a foster child and the intensity of the needs increase ten fold.  I'm sure most of us can think back to a time when we couldn't have imagined being involved in some of the situations we are now living with daily.  How could we have imagined that we would some day be smack dab in the middle of dealing with these sweet little babes and the severe conditions their bio parents created for them. 

     From what I've read, this foster and adoptive Mom and her husband, have provided these kiddos with a solid, nurturing, loving home.  They have dedicated their lives and skills to be advocates for those precious little, broken hearted children, and made it their mission to build these children up the way only a mommy and or daddy can.  This couple is raising these children to be successful people.  They are working daily to change their lives by creating a solid foundation in them for which a future can be built.  They are teaching them right from wrong, a faith in the Lord, self control, love and respect, and we know the list goes on and on. 

     Please take a few moments to check out her blog  Mom No Matter What , and send her a comment.  She has many great stories, some funny and some tearful, but all wonderful.

     After asking permission to write the above, I received an email from Mom No Matter What.  She wanted to make sure I included the following: I am very touched.  Please don't change a thing, except to note that we are not anything close to perfect--just doing our best and counting on God to make up for all of our flaws and deficiencies. 

xoxoxo
Casey Everly

  


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pack Packs And Moshclofs

     Pack pack's are used to provide safe commute for your kiddos most important cargo; books, crayons, papers, lunch pails and if you're not an avid pack pack checker, you'll likely find last weeks sandwich crust.  It's the word most likely used by your preschooler to second grader when they are referring to that cartooned bag with shoulder straps and zippers galore.  Pack pack is an easy word to figure out.  Sounds a lot like the true pronunciation, back pack, and is only one letter off from its actual spelling.  But, do you know what a moshclof is?

     Speech impediments, lisps, slurs, beautifully blundered words our lil' nuggets come up with are so cute.  I love the made up words or mis pronounced words they say, so innocently and intently.  Usually the words slowly morph into the real, grown up version of the word as they age, or if they are corrected (something I don't rush).  But some kids still hang on to their version of a word in to grade school, and some of us never grow out of it.  Have you hear of brotox, fantabulous, or maybe craptacular?  Yup, made up words by grown ups.  Although they definitely don't carry the cuteness appeal. 

       Maiya, my now 13yr old,  had several words that just melted my heart when she spoke them.  She started speaking relatively early and came up with some doozies.  Some of the words she used were a variation of what she thought she was hearing.  Pack pack was one of them, then there was bafroom, nana (banana), peas (please) and so on.  Most words that contained an "s" sound were funny because she wouldn't use her tongue and teeth to produce the sound, rather she'd blow air through her nose to mimic the sssss sound.  I bet you're trying to do it right now, aren't you?  Some of them were just plain silly words that she'd put together to convey a thought.  And, some were new names for things all together.

      For example; she got a kitten and was told she could name it all on her own.  "Go ahead Maiya", I told her,  "name her whatever you want, she's all yours."  Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into.  Treebook.  Treebook was the name my precious little bumpkin wanted to name our new fluffy puddytat (Yes, another word I refuse to give up).  I guess I did say what ever she wanted.  After much deliberation, and several heated family meetings, we settled on Catty.

     So, back to moshclof.  This was Maiya's word for washcloth.  She truly believed this was the correct word for the 10 x 10 piece of fabric or face cloth one would use to wash the face and body.  Just a little soap and a  moshclof and your squeaky clean.  Maiya continued using this word until she was 12.  Then, and against my wishes, her older sister corrected her.  So was the end of the days where moshclof was a staple in our home.  I'm sure Maiya will still blunder words as she's increasing her vocabulary.  And I look forward to each one of  them as a reminder of her innocence and inexperience in this world.  I love my little bug, short for lady bug, my pet name for Maiya.


xoxoxo
Casey Everly

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wordless Wednesday Numero Uno

I love my family.  I have so many random pictures of my kids it was hard to pick which ones to post.  I think pictures can share emotions equivalent to words.


Boo Boo Bear
Grandma Suzie
Lilly dog
Boo Boo Bear
Kayla, my almost 20yr old











Kayla & Maiya SISTERS
Maiya's Big Beautiful Eyeball

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Boo Boo Bear, Sharpie Marker & My Car...

     Boo Boo Bear was in 1st grade when he began to learn how to write his name in both lower case and capital letters.  What a terrific bench mark for little kids.  They work so hard and have so much pride in the accomplishment once achieved and they practice, practice, practice to their hearts content.    Boo Boo Bear was no different than any other kid.  He'd write his name on every piece of paper he could, sometimes twice.

     I can recall wanting to write my name in the worst way.  I would watch grown ups write everything from their name, to checks, to anything that included a pen or pencil and words.  And oh my gosh, when they did the fancy cursive writing!  I could have watched FOREVER!  I practiced my cursive on anything I could.  Nearly every book I owned had my version of cursive, it looked something like the picture to the left.  It was written in pencil, it was written in pen, but mostly it was written in crayola.

     Now I wish I could say that all of Boo Boo Bear's writing attempts were like that of most children, thankfully most of them were.  We provide all sorts of writing instruments for our children; colored pencils, number 2 pencils, chalks, crayons, and under supervision, we may even bestow upon our little nuggets the coveted ball point pens.  But NEVER, and I mean NEVER EVER do we allow or offer our precious little learners the insidious permanent marker, better known by its street name, Sharpie.  So how that lil' nugget of mine got the Sharpie into his precious mitts is still a mystery to this day.  Somehow he ever so quietly, and most likely in super hero stealth mode, was able to practice the capitol "K" (first letter of his real name)  on not just one, but both the backs of the driver and passenger seats in my car.  Yup, big GIANT K's.

     I've not touched those K's for more than a year now.  It's easy to forget they're there when I'm never in the back seat of my own car.  And even easier to forget when I've repeatedly told myself, "Casey, forget it.  What's done is done, let it go."  But now that the emotionally charged part of me actually has let it go, I figured it was finally worth a try to eradicate that villainous Sharpie marker.

     Google is great for trouble shooting a problem.  I read so many stories promising do it this way, do it that way....  I can't believe the chemicals suggested.  I mean, how could there be so many bottles, pastes, goo's and sprays?  Each one claiming it's sure to do the trick. I hadn't heard of most of them, let alone did I know where to find them.

     The more I read, the more I realised most of these remedies simply would not work.  After months of reading I found a solution that was so incredibly simple AND it made sense.  So, for anyone that has had a Sharpie attack, here's your answer: to remove Sharpie from fabric.  I wish I wouldn't have waited so long.


xoxoxo
Casey Everly