Saturday, January 19, 2013

Braeden Update #2

Braeden began school at his new placement on October 2.  (If you have not read part 1, you may want to read it HERE.)

When students begin their status is "neutral."  Below neutral they can move down to a status that is of concern/having issues.  Above neutral are each of the "positive" status levels.  Each of these (from what I've gathered thus far) requires at least three weeks of positive behavior, plus completing a packet with items to talk about and write about that pertain to that status, before they are allowed to "move up."  Braeden moved DOWN the very first day.  I was kind of glad they saw from day one what exactly had been happening, forgoing the honeymoon period, but it also made for a ROUGH first week at home as well.

Since Braeden was somewhat talked into "wanting" to go to his new school, those of us who "sent" him there, especially me, were now made to be the bad guys in his eyes because this was not all that it had seemed.  Truly I think it was more of he paid attention to those more positive aspects even though it ALL had been explained, and you don't start with all the privileges from day one.

His teacher and I went round and round the first week or so about a couple things as well, but in a way it felt nice to be able to advocate and not worry at the same time about my job, since he wasn't in our district any longer.  After a while she came to see (I think) that I wasn't questioning HER, that I was maybe more invested than some of the parents they typically get?, and that it wasn't MY parenting that has "caused" this behavior.  I THINK we are all on the same page now... trying to help Braeden figure this out and help with his behavior and the roller coaster of emotion that dwells inside him.

Braeden, once past the first week or so of ROUGH, moved quickly past his three weeks and into the first positive status level.  Shortly before moving up from that one, he had a rough day (they had gone bowling - unstructured environment - and when he was done he wanted to go to the arcade - but the kids weren't allowed (understandably!) - and he kept pushing and eventually "lost it".  He was moved down.  BUT... he didn't let that get him down.  He kept working at it and is hopefully moving up again soon.  

Since the first rough week or so we've had a couple of rough episodes, but it's been one episode within many good days.  And that helps.  

I see so much positive coming out of his placement.  First and foremost just that he isn't in MY school any longer has helped both of us.  Second, I know homework is a good thing, but for him, for right now, it was a battle.  Here he has no homework.  He still reads at home, we learn and discuss things.  We do "math".  But it's not "homework" so it works.  Hopefully once we're more past some of this we can incorporate homework again, but for now it's been good not to have it.  And third and most importantly, he incorporates what he's learned in his everyday.  I hear him reminding himself of some of the norms. (Listening and obeying the FIRST time, etc)  LOVE it!  

So all in all we do still have some rough times, but overall I think this has been a positive change.  I'm hoping that if and when he DOES transition back, that he will be able to incorporate all he has learned into becoming the student I know he can be.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Details Details Details

I know many are wanting details and while our Macy's story will be her story to share, there are details I feel can be shared.

Macy is 2 1/2 and will turn 3 on April 5.  I'm already dreading the idea of her celebrating a birthday in another country without us.  BUT, this is only the beginning of our wait and I need to remember she's right where she's always been way before we even knew she existed... in God's hands.  In His protection.  And that is where she will be until we can bridge the miles between.

The kids are extremely excited and proud to be siblings again!  Liam is especially in wonder over becoming a BIG brother!  Prior to Christmas (because I knew we were close to receiving a match) I had ordered these amazing shirts from a seller on Etsy.  I gave them to the kids on Thursday night when I took them to dinner and told them about our referral.  They wore them to school Friday to share the big news!

They also took chocolate cigars to all of their teachers!  (Of course first I had to ATTEMPT to explain the significance of a chocolate cigar... maybe I should've gone with candy bars?!) :)  We are keeping the box to hold any cards and mementos for Macy.

I also printed out the two pictures we have so the kids could bring them to school!

I have lots more roaming around my noggin regarding orphans and adoption and on and on... hopefully soon they will form some semblance of sense in my own head so I can attempt to share them!

All in all, we are THRILLED with the prospect God has given us to be a family to our Macy.  It's extremely humbling.  And we covet your prayers as we wait out the rest of this process!
Friday, January 11, 2013

It's a Girl!

Some VERY exciting news 'round here yesterday!  
I officially received our referral!  
We have been matched with THE cutest thing ever!  


The meaning of Macy:  In English Macy means enduring.  In French Macy is a female form of Matthew, which means God's gift.  So, in summary, to us, Macy means God's enduring gift.

We will be keeping her current given name as a middle name (it is beautiful!) and will possibly add another short middle name as well but that is still being mulled over.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Braeden Update #1

Where do I begin.  A neglected post, I know.  I guess I had both so much to say and such a shortage of words to say it that they all became lodged in my throat unable to make their way to the page.  I also wanted to be sure to not speak too soon and to allow him to pass through any honeymoon phase as well as possibly "ginxing" the progress that was being made.

All that to say...

When I last spoke of Braeden's school issues at the start of the year, we had met as a team and decided to pursue an outside placement.  We ended up going to two of the three placements.  The first was a BD program at a district approximately 10 miles from us.  It seemed like a fine program, but was not for him.  The door was non-locking, the "time out" type room was a small room in between their classroom and a regular ed room, with non-locking door to access that room, their was one teacher and one assistant, and they had had previously another student who was a "runner" and it didn't work out.  That student ended up at what was our second visiting location.

The second school we visited was/is a privately run school focusing on students on the autism spectrum on one "side" and students with varying disabilities (ED, BD, SED, etc) on the other.  It was Ah. May. Zing.  (If I was looking for a job... I would want to work here!)  Doors locked and needed a swipe key to get through.  There is a sensory room, a calming room, a kitchen kids help in, a hang out room for kids on higher status, a quiet study room.  Staff who are trainers in therapeutic restraint to be used when necessary.  Classrooms have a teacher, an assistant, and a counselor.  In the room!  Student numbers are less than 10!  The school holds to five norms which students are required to learn, know, recite, and when one is broken, they must state the norm they broke.  When a bad choice is made the students are in a confrontation, they must show control, discuss why they are there, what happened, what norm was broken, and then calmly re-enter where they left off.  I was very impressed with all that I saw.  The principal is a man from my church (I had had no idea) and I liked all that I heard in talking with him as well.

We were originally set up to visit the third placement as well, but received a call from them that this was not a good day.  However, after seeing this second school we were all in agreement that it was the right place for Braeden.  October 1st I had my fingerprint appointment for our adoption.  That afternoon I was back in town and picked up Braeden early from school.  The two of us went to visit this school.  He "wanted" to go there.  (I think it was more of "the grass is always greener", and I DID talk a lot to him about the sensory aspects and the privileges of higher status).  He started there on October 2.
Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Catching Up

Tonight we are all sad to be on our way back to the cold and routine of life in Illinois. 

We had SUCH a wonderful time in Florida spending time with Grandma and hanging out in the WARMTH! 

We were able to visit for an evening at Give Kids the World Village (one of our VERY favorite places in the world!)

Olivia and I went to Universal for a day (so we could RIDE the rides the boys are so scared of!) and to hang out in the Wizarding World of HP!

Had a great time hanging out at the rental house, and swimming every day!

Took a quick shopping trip to Downtown Disney where Braeden got to make a car at Ride*makerz.

We oohed and aahed over all the treats!

Had a great time at ICE! Merry Madagascar!

And now we travel back home.  No school still until Monday and Olivia and I have a girls day planned with friends of ours on Saturday.  We've had a wonderful holiday and I pray you have too!

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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

Macy - 5

Macy - 5

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What you should know about HIV

-HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles). - HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives. - People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do. Additional information on transmission of HIV can be found on the Center for Disease Control website:

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Orphan Crisis

• 147 million orphans in the world
• 50 million orphans in Africa 
• Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS
• 16,000,000 have been orphaned by AIDS
• Every week, AIDS claims as many lives as American fatalities in the Vietnam War
• 854 million people do not have enough to eat
• Malnutrition is associated with the deaths of 5 million children under the age of five
• Every 2 seconds an orphan dies from malnutrition

Hence the title of my blog

Little Did I Know

Little did I know that the road would be so rocky
Little did I know that the trip would take so long
Little did I know that my heart could hurt so much
Little did I know that God is never wrong

Little did I know that love could be so powerful
Little did I know that a dream so far could go
Little did I know that God would place the right ones
Little did I know that my heart, so large, could grow

Little did I know that a dream has it’s own timing
Little did I know that this day would finally come
Little did I know that four souls would be sent to guide me
Little did I know that they would choose to call me mom

But God knew all along and He had a plan to follow
God knew all along that my dream would soon come true
God knew all along that we five should be together
God knew all along that I’d share it all with you