Life as a Therapeutic Parent ( The final introduction )

So we are again cruising along.. Life is filled with therapy, and now a raging toddler. I figure things will get better eventually right? So the summer after our adoption , I get a phone call from a family member I haven't spoke to in I don't know how long. First bio moms sister has been arrested yet again, and the state is taking the kids. Their Grandma said she wont keep them so they don't know what to do. I get the info and call the worker on the case for info for them. ( See a pattern here ) So he is pretty rude to me. He is used to dealing with my extended family who is less then professional. So I start using "buzz words" he will relate to. He pauses and says " Wait, who are you " So I explain myself and that we have their cousin. He asks if we have a homestudy. I let him now, yes, but its kinship and child specific. He asks if he can call me back. Less then an hour he calls, and asks if I will take the kids ( They are just turned 2 and 5 ) on a 6 month safety plan. I talk to hubby and we decide, sure, why not. Its just 6 months right?.......

I caught a plane at 6am that Thursday morning, changed planes in Atlanta, then landed in Alabama at 2:45. By 4 pm I was at DHR. The worker took me in to his office, I gave him my homestudy, and other paperwork he asked for. He came back to tell me that legal had got involved and we may need to go to court in the morning. So I left in tears not knowing what was going on. We went and picked up the kids, and checked into a hotel. Then went to an Aunts house, and spent some time there, the kids played outside, and we ate dinner. Then back to the hotel for baths, and bed.

The next morning bright and early my Aunts phone rings telling us to be at court asap. So we get ready and go. We get there right as the worker is walking in. He takes just me and I meet with a team of people. I then find out what is going on after being up worrying all night. The original paper birth Mom signed was just a safety plan. Basically that I will keep them safe until she is released. Well once legal got ahold of her case they decided the kids were not going back. So they stayed up until 4am getting custody papers ready. So I met with the judge in a closed court, and he signed the papers. I now how sole, legal custody of the children. Mom can get them back, but has some hoops to jump through, including rehab. She is livid I have the kids, so I figure that alone will be enough to drive her to pull it together to get the kids back. Nope.... We are hitting 12 years this summer. She has since had 2 other children that she doesn't have now either. Those are not my stories to tell, but I will say we are blessed to have contact with the adopted family of one, and they are just wonderful. We are like a big extended family now.

So we are back home, I notice right away something is not right with the 2 year old. I take him to our developmental ped and he is dx with classic autism. Okay, no problem. I got this.

The 5 year old seems to be doing very well, except for some VERY heartbreaking comments that lead you to think there is something lying under her happy exterior... Oh boy were we right....

So again we are cruising along, life is pretty much managed chaos at this point. months turn into years, and I am thinking " this is NOT autism" . Professionals start to agree. We got through more therapy, and testing, and, and , and then you can count. So many more dx come and go because no one can figure it out. He is now almost 12.. He was absolutely reactive attachment, but I can happily say that is no longer true. He is no longer violent, nor unattached. Quite the opposite actually. The Dr's on his team have all settled on a dx of FASD ( Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder ) Which we are handling though a lot of research, and trial and error, and an excellent special education team at school. He is an awesome kid, who is so sweet and loving.

(Disclaimer* This is shared with permission from my daughter )

5 year old girl is now 17. She was doing AMAZING... We had some normal bumps in the road as those of you that have raised teenager have had. But we managed them. Then bio mom sent her a friend request on FB right before her 15 birthday... She FREAKED. Thats actually an understatement. Not sure whats worse, but whatever that word is, insert it here. She came screaming into my room. I calmed her down, I called the therapist, and I thought all would be well. It was not. This simple gesture sent her spiraling into a dark hole of memories and feelings she had shoved so far down. We always knew she was doing that, but figured with enough love and therapy she would be okay. This spiraled for a few weeks into some really poor choices with peers, and eventually a suicide attempt. We then had he placed in an inpatient facility, and then into months of day treatment. It has been years now, and she is doing much better. She has shared some things with me that have shattered my heart into a thousand pieces for her. She is trying to be open with her feelings, and thats all we can ask of her. I pray that one day she see's the amazing girl that I see in her, and loves herself a fraction of the love that I have for her. She is so smart, funny, and OH MY GOODNESS can this child draw! Her art skills are just amazing.

So theres the long short version of our lives and what brought us to where we are today. I have learned so much on this journey. To not only heal myself, but also to have hopefully helped to hear these amazing spirits that I have been called and blessed to raise...