ADHD, shrill cries and fearful screams

I had to update my previous post from earlier today! Serenity ended up having a much better day-I got an email from her teacher with some encouraging words that were so great to hear! Another neat thing is that Serenity’s doctor (psychiatrist) called today. We had an appointment scheduled with him tomorrow that the office had to cancel and we needed a prescription refill, so he called HIMSELF to check on Serenity. I told him how timely his call was! 🙂 After talking, he decided that since we are on the lowest dose of her med, he would increase it and see if that made a difference. I was so thankful for his phone call and advice. We’re praying that this change will be at least part of the answer to our situation! 🙂

A funny thing happened this afternoon (okay, maybe only funny to a foster mom)- I was keeping baby M for Caryl while she went to court with baby TJ. Baby M is almost 8 months old and is failure to thrive. He is a tiny little thing with the biggest, most incredibly shrill cry! I mean it will pierce your ears! Conversely, my baby E doesn’t like loud and sudden noises. Put the two together and you get a recipe for chaos! 🙂 Anyway, I loaded the babies up and headed out to pick up Serenity. All of a sudden, M let out a blood-curdling cry and E responded with a terrified scream! I got them both settled, but this happened off and on ALL day long!!!! It was just a little levity in the midst of a stressful day! 🙂

Oh and thanks guys for the encouraging words!!

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 11:19 pm  Comments (2)  

Struggling with ADHD

I’ve realized this week that I have become much more guarded since I published “The Middle Mom”. I guess I feel that people are holding me at a higher standard because of the book. (NOT!) The book is my story- a transparent look at my life as a foster and adoptive parent, so why not continue that transparent discussion as it relates to current things? (I’m asking myself that question, not you guys!)

So, here I am. We have been having a very difficult time with Serenity. In all honesty, ADHD wears you out: it wears your entire family out. Dealing with impulsivity, increased noise level, disobedience, constant motion and focusing issues becomes an integral part of the make-up of your family. Serenity rarely tires out. She usually isn’t able to settle down to go to sleep until almost midnight and that is with me rocking her. That creates a vicious cycle: she takes a nap at school because she is tired, then she can’t go to sleep at night because she isn’t tired, then she is hard to get up in the morning…nap, etc.

I just got an email from her teacher about the fact that they are having a very difficult day. My heart is so HEAVY for my child. Please pray for wisdom for us and for a reprieve for her!

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm  Comments (3)  

You just never know….

Thanks for praying for our staffing yesterday for baby E. It was a stressful and emotional hour and a half. At the beginning, I was terribly frustrated at what wasn’t being said, but as the time went on, the situation improved because the attorney’s began to comment on very obvious things that needed to be pointed out. As I sat there, I felt my passion rising and knew that I was about to have to say something! I just had to be E’s voice and cry out for his safety and security. It is hard to be so vague on this post- and I’m sorry, but we all understand the privacy part of our job. Bottom line is that the final verdict yesterday was that nothing is going to be done until the court date in April-and it will probably proceed to termination. I heard that with my ears, but my heart knows from experience to not believe it until I see it. 🙂 Thanks for your prayers….

On another note, remember I told you about the precious little guy (TJ) that Caryl and I picked up from the hospital last weekend?? Well, Caryl now has another baby boy! She had told my caseworker that she would take this little guy (M) if the worker brought him into care, but took the new baby because they couldn’t find M. Then on Wednesday I got a call saying they had found him! By then, Caryl and her family had fallen in love with TJ (can you imagine??)and she knew she was supposed to take M because of his circumstances. So, now she has a 7-month-old baby, a one-week-old baby, a teenage foster daughter, a daughter away at college, a 15-year old son, a 13-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old daughter! That wears me out just typing it!! You just never know….
Please pray for my precious friend!

Published in: on January 22, 2010 at 10:38 pm  Comments (2)  

Lives in the balance…

My friend Caryl and I love babies-it’s just one of the many things we have in common. We spent Sunday morning at the hospital picking up a precious 2 day-old-baby boy that would be Caryl and David’s foster son. As we walked into the nursery, we prayed that he wasn’t the one that was screaming! HA! He wasn’t. After 9 months in the womb, with no prenatal care, and Lord knows what else, he was the picture of a perfectly healthy baby: sweet little hands and feet, a head full of soft black hair, beautiful skin and chiseled features. As the two of us sat there fighting over him, I mean rocking him 🙂 and waiting for the “powers that be” to determine if he was really going to come into care, our hearts turned to what a difference this one decision would make in this child’s life. We prayed that he would get the opportunity to be all that God had designed him to be and were relieved when Caryl got to take him home. Obviously, we don’t know what God’s ultimate plan for his life is, but we know that for now, this precious one is safe, loved and well cared for.
And now to my baby, E, …another life in the balance. We have a big staffing about his case on Thursday. In a really strange turn of events, all the ‘players’ that were involved in baby B’s case, are on the roster for E’s as well…same ad litem, same birth parent attorney, same caseworker, same court. It’s weird and uncomfortable. My heart is so heavy for my little son. He is truly a gift from God- his angelic face lights up the room when he smiles, and when he laughs- his whole body laughs. He is a joy to care for, (even if he doesn’t sleep all night!). Everything that is within me cries out for his safety and well being.  I pray that he will get the chance to be all that God has created him to be. I know that the Father is in control-even when I feel like the situation is totally out of my control. I am so grateful that I can hang my hat on the promise of a Father that loves and cares for His children- and who is faithful in every circumstance.

I guess if you think about it, foster care is all about lives in the balance….birth parents, children and even foster parents.

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 11:19 pm  Comments (3)  

Heartbreak in Haiti

I don’t know about you, but this has been a gut-wrenching week with the earthquake in Haiti. What an indescribable tragedy… I wanted to pass on a couple of blogs. The first is the blog of a new friend, Jamie Ivey, that I’ve corresponded with because of my book. She and her husband, Aaron, live in Austin, TX. They just returned from Haiti a couple of months ago with their daughter, Story, and still have a son, Amos, in Haiti that they are waiting on paperwork for. They found out that Amos is ok, just frightened. Aaron is a musician and is giving a benefit concert on Monday night- they have also produced some Help Haiti t-shirts that are available on Aaron’s website All profits go to Haiti! Jamie’s blog is The other blog is from the home where Amos lives right now-it is There are unbelievable pictures on this blog- along with information about what needs they have, etc.
Personally, I’m wondering if there is any way the Haitian government would allow kids to come to the US for foster care while they are regrouping….I’ve emailed Jamie to see if she has any ideas. It is just such a helpless feeling…I just want to DO something. We certainly can continue to pray and give…until we hear of something else we can do.

Published in: on January 16, 2010 at 10:23 pm  Comments (1)  

The Crew :)

Since I’ve talked so much about my kids-thought I ought to try to figure out how to get a picture of them on the blog….(guess I’m letting you in on how computer illiterate I am-but, hey everybody’s gotta start somewhere!)  So here they are:  Connor (14-striped shirt), Caleb (19-blue shirt), Chase (22), Cara (18) and Serenity (6).

Published in: on January 14, 2010 at 9:04 am  Comments (4)  

Pride and Prejudice

Two things happened to me today: one made me smile, the other, well, not so much.
E and I went to the grocery store-it’s supposed to snow tonight in Little Rock-when that happens the grocery stores are swamped with folks making sure they can survive the one day ‘snow-in’. I know my friend, Kari, in MN is smiling really big right now considering the mountains of snow they have had! But anyway, around here, it’s like a right of passage to rush to the grocery store to pick up all of the trappings, the comfort foods that nurture you when you’re snowed in! Back to the story, as I made my way around Kroger, I couldn’t help but notice how many people stopped to talk to E. Now, I must admit he is adorable…big brown eyes, little puffy afro, and chubby little cheeks. It was Senior Citizens’ discount day as well, so several little ladies smiled as they passed him, or even stopped me to tell me how cute he was. At the deli, the two AA ladies that were waiting on me, oohed and ahhed over him- asked, of course, if he was my grandson?! What! And then were visibly moved when I told them he was my foster son. One of them said “are you going to get to keep him?” I told her that wasn’t an option at this point. To which she sighed and said “won’t that be confusing to him?” I have had so many AA women tell me they hoped I would get to parent various AA children we have had. That is a real change from the way things were 16 years ago when we began fostering. Back then, we were greeted with dirty looks (from both Caucasian and AA folks) or got the sense that they thought we had kidnapped the child or something! (Not to say that doesn’t still happen occasionally:) But today the lines have been blurred between black and white and for that I am so grateful.

And then…..I took Serenity to dance. She has only been in the class twice (before Christmas). Today was #3. She loves it. She has danced and sung and performed since she arrived at our home at the age of 14 months. Her instructor is the owner of the studio and is so gracious and patient. The other two instructors are just as precious.

Some of the parents, well, not so much. I was struck today by the looks, or the lack thereof. I felt invisible and worse, I felt that my child was invisible. I never, ever, ever want Serenity to feel inferior to anyone because she is who she is. I want her to know that she is valued, treasured and that her life is a gift. She of course, didn’t notice, and I pray that she never will.

All of that said, it’s really not important what other people think- they have no idea what foster and/or adoptive children have been through and what gifts they are. What IS important is that I am obedient to the Father. That I don’t allow any circumstance to put a chip on my shoulder or color my attitude towards those who don’t understand. That I embrace each opportunity to share the truth that these kids are worth fighting for-that they aren’t second best to anyone. (Can you feel the mama bear rising to the surface?:))
So bring on the pride…and let the prejudice end.

Published in: on January 6, 2010 at 11:23 pm  Comments (1)  

Present Day Pressures

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my kids. Okay, that’s NOT unusual for me! What is unusual is that right now we have kids at all points in the ‘growing up’ process.
Chase, our oldest, just graduated from college in December, is job hunting while working for Jeff during the day and working at night as a personal trainer (all 3% body fat of him!). Caleb is in a time of transition in his sophomore year of college-sort of a desert time as he seeks God’s will for his life and ministry. Cara just finished her first semester of college and is getting ready to go back early for Rush. She has a new sense of independence, but is still such a help and as she puts it is “the mother when your not around, Mom”. Connor is in the height of adolescence. Literally, he’s 14 and seems to grow every day. He is learning so much about himself and about the Lord. He hates injustice (especially the way the girls his age treat each other! HA) And then, of course, we have a Kindergartner. Serenity is just beginning the official learning process! We have had a very difficult few weeks dealing with her ADHD, her medication and just the overall situation. Add an active 13-month- old to the mix, and WOW, what can I say!
All that said, I was thinking today about the 1100 children that come in and out of foster care in our county in any given year. How does it feel for them to try to work through difficult circumstances or decisions without support? How hard it must be to be left on your own as you meet the various milestones in your life. How discouraging and hopeless it must feel to be moved from home to home when your behavior doesn’t measure up, only to start again with a new set of parents and and a new set of rules. How devastating to have the lack of unconditional love and commitment follow you wherever you go.
I’ve struggled with these things, because fostering hurt children is not an easy task. I think the physical aspect of fostering babies and toddlers is much easier than the emotional and spiritual warfare involved in fostering older children and teens. This is not a problem easily solved. There is no magic pill. One thing that does seem to make sense to me is for a huge volume of foster and adoptive parents to answer God’s call to care for the fatherless. Quality AND quantity.  That would mean when DHS has to place or move a child, they would have REAL choices.
Pray with me that this will be the year that MANY people both in our county, all over our state, and all over the country answer the CALL; that God will use each of us with our individual talents, gifts and dreams to make a difference in the lives of children….one precious child at a time.

Published in: on January 5, 2010 at 2:06 am  Comments (2)  

Full House

What would we do if we didn’t have kids? Sure, we’d have more money, more time, more privacy, more food in the pantry, lower utility bills, etc. But, we would MISS SO MUCH! Tonight is a prime example. Chase had 3 friends in his room, Connor had 4, Cara had an entire kitchen and family room full of kids she graduated with and Caleb was back and forth between all three groups. The noise level was palpable (and there wasn’t even any music playing!) Even after the crowds woke baby E up and Serenity still hasn’t gone to sleep (it’s midnight) I feel so blessed-there is nothing like having all your little ‘chicken’s’ under one roof. Nothing like it…..

Published in: on January 3, 2010 at 1:05 am  Comments (1)  

Happy New Year

2010? Are you kidding me? It seems like the years are ticking off SO fast. I don’t know if that means I’m getting older, or if time really is just moving faster!
2010. Wow. Jeff and I went out tonight with Caryl and David. We had a great dinner with great conversation and then planned to go see “The Blind Side” but it was sold out 🙂 As we drove, Jeff and I were discussing things we would like to change in 2010. We dubbed it the year “Thin in ’10” We’ll see! I definitely have a real incentive because Chase and Holly are getting married on May 22! And you know ‘mother of the groom’ is a pretty important part to play! HA! 2010 is also the year Jeff and I turn 50! That looks impossible in print. He of course is MUCH older than me with a May birthday to my October one.

Even in the chaos of a household with six kids and many more teens that are in and out at all hours, we have SO much to be thankful for. I find myself getting discouraged about the clutter, or the dust bunnies that have to wait because of an active 6 year old and a busy toddler, and then I remember how good God is and how undeserving I am. I just wish I would remember that every minute of every day!

So for all of us, may we embrace this year with love, joy, grace and the anticipation of great things. May we reach for dreams and desires that have alluded us in the past and may we make a difference in the lives of people around us just because we listen and care.

Published in: on January 2, 2010 at 1:47 am  Comments (3)