My brain is so full of thoughts after yesterday’s training – and of course, today is Resurrection Sunday and all that involves – but I really hope I can share some of the highlights from yesterday’s training and bless someone as I was blessed!

To say the training was intimate is an understatement. I think there were 15 in attendance. I was sorry they didn’t do introductions since there were so few, but I gathered a couple were workers, a few were foster parents and the rest were adoptive parents.  Most of us had a working knowledge of FASD but I definitely think – if you like with someone on the Fetal Alcohol spectrum, you would do best to revisit any training you can get as often as you can.

First a few links. The training was hosted by the FASD Norcal group: http://www.fasdnorcal.org/  Back in 2014 I was involved in early discussions and met with some people to convey the great need for local support groups.  Sadly, at this time, the only groups I am aware of are in the Bay Area. But Eric and I are praying about starting something more local for us!

And, our trainer was Jeff Noble.  His website is FASDForever at http://fasdforever.com/ He has a newsletter, ebooks and a youtube channel.  He is a former house parent, foster parent and FASD educator in Canada.  Personally he has been an encouragement to my husband especially on Facebook and through his writings.

A few snippets that stood out to me during the day:

“They have the most unpredictable brains on the planet.”

“(They) look normal, talk normal, act disabled”

“Everyone has a brain. Everyone’s brain is different and normal for them.”

‘I’m bored’ can be translated ‘I don’t know what to do next.’

90% of our kiddos acquire anxiety or depression.

I’m realizing there is really too much to share in one post and I have some things I need to dig into a bit more in my own journey so I’ll be writing more later.  If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.  I was extremely blessed to get to ask Jeff some questions I’ve been struggling with and I can’t wait to share more of what I learned!

 

I came here to write a mother’s day post.  And, I’ll get to that because I’ve been blessed in that area – my mom, my step-mom, my MIL, and friends who have led by example or stood in when we had no family around.

But I thought first to look at what I had said in the past about mother’s day.  And I stumbled up on this blog post which started the tears.  Our boys were only 12, 10 and 6 at the time. Sissy wasn’t even born yet, much less on our radar.  I have kept telling myself that our oldest didn’t really implode until he was 15 (and I remember that day like it was yesterday), but this is evidence that we were really struggling to parent him much earlier than that.

Little did we know we were dealing with attachment issues, not just FAS (Fetal Alcohol syndrome) which we didn’t really understand then either. If we had only known then that sending him to his room – away from us – was only reinforcing his belief system that he could only rely on himself.  If only we had heard of TBRI and Empowered to Connect.  If only we knew about trauma and it’s horrible affects on children from hard places.

If only….

(sigh)

I wish more than anything I could go back and do it all over – differently.  But we didn’t know.  I need to remind myself that was 8 years ago!  Some of these concepts weren’t even available or hard to find.  Therapist after counselor after psychiatrist after pediatrician didn’t have a clue so why do I beat myself up over not knowing.

Because of all the lost years.

Because I missed so much loving interactions because I was not going to allow a 3 yr old….a 5 yr old…a 8 yr old…and so on be the one in control.  If I had only understood these were his coping mechanisms.  If only I had understood the concept of shared power.  Of giving him some control to allow him to feel safe.

So what if I know he’s safe.  So what if I can tell him/show him he’s safe.  Until he felt safe, he wasn’t safe.  I wish I had known.

I’m so glad we are helping to start a post adoption support group and a ministry in our church called Parakaleo.  The support group is for families in Yolo County who have adopted.  If you want to know more or learn when the next one is scheduled, please contact me.  The Parakaleo ministry won’t start in earnest until next Fall probably, but the ministry team is already hard at work.  I created a website to share our vision and resources.

So, while I can’t go back and I can’t undo the years I lost.  I can love on my young adult and try to help him know we love him to the moon and back!  I can use what we lived through and change how we raise our other children.  I can try to be a mentor and blessing to other families in similar situations.  Thankful for that!

 

 

kindle-vs-ipad-top-2

For several years I haven’t been to do much reading. Maybe it was the mental space required to keep going that simply didn’t allow new thoughts to enter my brain and stay there or maybe it was the fact that I was falling asleep as soon as I got into bed.  Either way, if it wasn’t Agatha Christie or some little bit of fluff, it just wasn’t getting much attention.

But now I’m wanting craving reading time!  And, between my Kindle and my iPad, I have quite a queue of good books to read!  Here is a list for me to keep track of what I want to read!

  • Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control – volumes one and two, by Heather Forbes
  • Shepherding a Child’s Heart, (reread) by Tedd Tripp
  • Instructing a Child’s Heart, by Tedd & Margy Tripp
  • Adoptive Parent Intentional Parent, by Stacy Manning
  • Hope for the Weary Mom, (reread by Stacey Thacker & Brooke McGlothin
  • What’s It like to be Married to me?: and Other Dangerous Questions, by Linda Dillow
  • Forgotten God, Francis Chan
  • Erasing Hell, Francis Chan

So, this might take longer than my Summer will allow!

What are you reading? Got any book recommendations I should consider adding to my list?

I just took J3 out to lunch for our semi-annual End-of-school year celebration. He spent most of the time telling me about a book he wants to write this summer with his friends. It will be an expanded version of a D&D game they played.

Then after we returned home, he called his friends and there was talk of back stories and additional characters. I am so impressed!

You might not be impressed, but do you know that this kid reads at maybe a 2nd grade level and writes at maybe a first grade level? He isn’t going to let that stop him from having the life he wants to lead. He was telling me about technology which will take his spoken words and put it into text. And he has great friends who accept him as he is and enjoy being with him!

A few years ago he tried to kill himself, because he was so frustrated with his limitations and now he is telling me how he isn’t going to let his disability keep him from doing what he wants to do! I am am so proud of him!

4 kids
3 IEPs
The last IEP for our last kid.

I expected it.
I requested it.
I am thankful for it.

But I am tired too. Sad about the many, many challenges my kids have had to face already in their lives … And the ones that are still before them.

I think I will need to have a bit of a cry before bed.