Respite. Will it be enough?

We were initially told we needed to use our own natural resources to provide care for the children. Since we are a pre-adoptive home, it is thought that we shouldn’t rely too much on the services our agency offers and more on ourselves since it will eventually be “just us.” It took our social worker just 6 days into the placement to set up respite for only the second full weekend Donald would be with us. Yeah, it’s that bad.

He is on a respite weekend right now, and while this does afford us safety for the weekend, I still have not been able to calm myself from my anger of yesterday morning. My heart still feels like its pounding and I am filled with anxiety knowing he will be back tomorrow to start the abuse over again. I honestly don’t understand how or why people stay in domestic violence situations. That is truly what we are living each day and its something we were not prepared for, and may never be. Even with all our sarcasm, we would never treat each other like he treats us.

Yesterday morning Donald got up early (what else is new?) and started pounding on Tink and Daffy’s bedroom door. He is NOT happy at all that they have locks. He hasnt expressed it verbally but you can tell by the pounding and kicking that he is furious he can’t get in to do what he wants. Tink told him to go back to bed. He continued to rage in the hall when Tink realized one of the cats was out there. She opened the door to get the cat and he attacked her. He punched her 3 times and kicked her to the point of bruising 5 or 6 times. Eventually she was able to get back in her room and he continued screaming and swearing at her. Mickey got back from dropping off Goofy at school and Donald bee lined it to his bunk. Mickey is pretty much the only thing that can keep him somewhat in control. Donald insisted he wasnt going to school. However, after he showered, he calmed down. And moved on. And so should everyone else. Or so he thinks. No, Donald, Tink does NOT forgive you in 6 minutes for kicking her, for punching her,  for being physically and verbally abusive to her. She does not want to answer your question about whether or not you did a good job coloring in your Green Lantern coloring book. She doesn’t even want to see your face and honestly, I dont blame her.Our agency is all about natural consequences. The natural consequences for Donald attacking Tink are her not liking him. Rejection triggers his PTSD. Vicious cycle.

When we began this journey, we could not relate in any way to families who disrupted. People are not returnable. And then we were placed with Donald. And now I can completely understand why so many families have given him back. This is no way to live. They shouldnt have had to fear daily for their pets and their own safety. And neither should we. I am still committed, but each day it becomes more and more challenging to follow through on that commitment. Our focus is safety rather than attachment. I try not to look into the future, but will it always be about safety? We can’t live like this for another 7 years. We just can’t.

Feeling pretty good

So, this morning, Donald met with yet another social worker, this one doing an intake assessment. I am really impressed with him that he takes all these visits in stride. He is willing to blindly trust these adults with the drakest part of his life simply because they suggest he should. I was in awe of him… first because he was able to sit in his chair (albeit wiggly and fidgeting) for 45 minutes but mostly because he was able to answer some really tough questions about his past and about how he deals with it on a day to day basis. For the most part, he was dead on it the way I would describe him. Seeing that he understands his own hatred of life made me feel all the sadder for him. No child should have to have endured what he has and while he has some behaviors that make him tough to live with, it really isnt his fault. I need to remind myself of that more often.

This afternoon, we met with 2 more social workers (the ongoing ones that he is going to really need to get used to). I was terrified to see his reaction to us telling him he is going on a respite weekend. There is a part of me that feels bad for allowing this happen to so soon, but there is another part of me that knows that part of  what got us all through this week was knowing that he is going and knowing there is a break in sight. He took it fairly well at first. He seemed nervous but excited. And then he started copying his sister. They went back and forth to the point I wanted to scream. And then he came over and held his fist to her while she sat on my lap. Ugh. WHY? Why did he have to be treated that way? And why does he need to pass it on? Anyway, after he hit her in the head (not hard, just to make a point, I think), she decided to go in another room and we were able to redirect him. I think the social workers think that we are always able to redirect him so easily. Not true. That was his “best behavior” because they were there and he doesn’t know them that well.

I was supposed to also tell him about being moved off the regular bus and being transported by the “little bus” but I was too stressed to actually follow through so I guess thats a conversation for tomorrow. Its hard for me to imagine him taking that well even though he complains all the time about how noisy the regular bus is.

Tonight, I am focused on feeling grateful for the few smiles we have seen, the great big hugs he gives and the hope that the future will be brighter than the dark days of the past week.

Best of the worst….

Day #8. I can’t believe that’s all its been is 8 days. 8 days of stress. 8 days of feer. 8 days of worry. But today, even so small, the tiniest glimmer of hope on the horizon. Donald didn’t melt down. He didn’t rage. He didn’t throw anything. He didn’t hit anyone. He didn’t swear. Sure, he was testy, he made a few rude comments, he hissed, he growled, but he was able to maintain at that level and not spike. Progress, my friends. I call that progress. And for right now, I will take that teeny tiny baby step in the right direction and I will HALE it as a miracle! Just maybe we WILL get through this.

Tomorrow we have 3 social workers coming. One to visit Donald in the morning for an intake review, one to visit with a bio kid (we chose Pluto because we feel he spends more time of the 3 with Donald so he could use the vent time) and one to visit with the “new” kids in the afternoon. We will likely all meet together to share the respite concept with the kids. I am really nervous about how Donald will react. One of his PTSD triggers is rejection and I am quite concerned he will see this as a rejection. The plan is to explain that this is just a normal part of foster care, but with as many times as they have been moved (and even this quickly or quicker after placement) and the number of families they have been with, I just dont think his mind will trust that at this point. I also really fear for the respite family. If he melts down this weekend, its unlikely they will take him back and we will be back to square one.

But again, I will remind myself that I am taking things one day at a time right now, so I can’t worry how he will react tomorrow or how he will behave this weekend. For right now, I need to look at today. And today wasnt horrible. And the kids are sleeping so, for the moment, all is right in the world.

 

-Minnie xo

[All names have (obviously) been changed to protect the privacy of our family.]

One Day at a Time…

Right now we are living one day at a time…. sometimes one hour at a time or even one minute at a time. I can’t handle the scary abyss that looms beyond that. The reality of what we are living is so intensely stressful and riddled with fear that I truly couldnt survive if I tried to think about next week, next month or next year.

Donald’s behaviors have continued to escalate. We had a REALLY bad weekend.  He is extremely agressive with the animals. Hell, he is extremely agressive with EVERYONE. Its sad to see someone so young (or anyone really) have such a hatred for life and want to spread that as far and wide as he can. We learned this weekend that Donald killed a pet in the last home he was placed in before the group home. Bashed it with a rock. Within a few days of placement. Great, huh? Would have been nice to know this prior to choosing these children since we have 2 cats and 2 dogs and stated in our home study that we were NOT interested in caring for any children that could harm our animals. Serial killer in the making? Ugh.

Things are very much in a state of change right now as our agency tries to accomodate his needs and keep this family in a stable place. They are literally here every day right now. The have secured respite for Donald for this weekend and for Daffy next weekend (2 different homes). I am THRILLED for Daffy that she will have 2 weekends away from her brother. Our social worker is really concerned for her. She is reliving all the trauma and domestic violence of her past every day she lives with her brother. She is “stuck” and can’t move out of the cycle that he continues to keep her in. She is living her life in fear and in fear for her life.

We have installed bedroom door locks on all the kid’s doors other than Donald’s. Instead, he got a handy dandy door alarm so that each time he opens his door, a doorbell sounds in our bedroom to alert us so we can immediately determine his activity. This has provided some measure of safety for us at night without him having the embarrassment of an alarm blazing and waking everyone. Honestly, I think he would torture us all by opening and closing the door all night if he had a true alarm anyway. So, until he figures out our master plan and we need to up the game, this works.

Managing their care is virtually a full time job… calls from the school (physical restraint by the vice principal on day #3), meetings with social workers, state workers, family support specialists, Wendys Wonderful Kids worker, CASA worker, and social workers doing an intake report, counseling, more trainings (Mickey still needs to get licensed!), respite plans and so much more! Its almost overwhelming to think I am still attempting to hold down a job…. a much needed job since Mickey was laid off on January 1, 2012.  Aaaaargh!

We really are doing everything in our power to get this child the help he needs and keep everyone safe. Honestly, I am tired of thinking about all of this and don’t want to spend another minute whining about it, but I feel I need to document this through my blog in hopes that:

1. I will make it through to the other side and one day remark on how brave we all were to survive.

2. I am creating a true chronicle of what intense level foster care is like so that others who read this will be more prepared than I was to take on such an enormous task.

-Minnie xo

[All names have (obviously) been changed to protect the privacy of our family.]

Can you feel my fear?

Discharge day has come & gone in a whirlwind. Let me try to get caught up on the last week…..

Friday we took the kids to see their new school. Both were SILENT. They were clearly terrified, with Donald even HIDING behind Mickey. I wasn’t thrilled with the lack of planning on the school’s part. Both kids came into their classrooms during activities and were not made to feel very welcome at all. As we left the school it was Daffy’s turn to use a particular Nintendo game and Donald was not happy about it, refusing to give it up. This went on for a few miles and I finally demanded that he do it. He promptly threw the game at his sister and slammed the system into my hand and began using his classic profane language. When we pulled into the driveway, he refused to get out of the car (one we are borrowing because Mickey’s transmission went a few weeks back). Mickey leaned in to unbuckle him and he promptly started kicking him all the while screaming like a girl. He then began kicking the dogs who came out to greet us as they do every time we get home.  What a freakin’ fiasco! Mickey had to practically drag him into the house where he continued the nonsense of swearing and throwing things at us. Needless to say, that set the tone for the long holiday week.

Saturday and Sunday were filled with varying degrees of agression on Donald’s part including him slamming coffee mugs, throwing things at people (including guests in our home) and punching a window. Good times.

We returned the kids on Monday night for our last evening without them. Needless to say, that reality kicked up some major anxiety for me. Tuesday I actually broke down and took a prescription med that I havent taken in months because I felt like I would have a heart attack. Mickey, Tink, Goofy and I made the final one hour treck to pick up the kids that afternoon. What should have been one of the most amazing days of my life was instead filled with dread, self-doubt and fear. Tinkerbell clearly felt the same way; she even cried as we were leaving because she was so sad for the future of our family.

I fully expected a complete meltdown on that first night, but we actually managed to survive with just the usual incessant arguing between Donald & Daffy. That is until 2am when Donald decided he had enough sleep for the night. What the f&@k?? Seriously. This is stressful enough without HIM being awake all night long. Obviously we sent him back to bed and there I lay, wondering if he was getting a knife to stab me or if he found a cat to strangle.

Fast forward to the next morning… the first day at the new school! Again, I fully expected a meltdown that didnt come. I weaseled my way out of taking them to school because I was so angry, I really didnt even want to LOOK at them. Mickey took them and said they seemed okay. My phone rang during the school day and of course, I expected the worst. Amazingly, an aide was calling to tell me what a “great day” he was having. Ha! Have fun on the honeymoon, sweetheart! I ASSURE you it wont last long!

I survived yesterday afternoon and evening with them and they were actually much better about staying in bed last night. My biggest issue right now is finding a way to let go of my anger at their “behaviors” to start each day new. Its extremely hard to do when the constant level of anxiety about what he will do next is always at a max. He is argumentative, defiant and assualtive on an almost constant basis. And while I know it seems that I am hyper focused on “him”, trust me SHE is no peach… her single goal in life is to send him into a rage all with an innocent look & a smile on her face. Gotta love Reactive Attachment Disorder! This is 1000% more challenging than I ever could have imagined and I can completely understand why so many other families have thrown in the towel, which are words I never believed I would say.

So, at this point, what I need most is someone (anyone? everyone?) to tell me that this is NOT what my life will be like every single minute for the rest of my life, because if it is, I will NOT survive. My biological kids won’t survive. My husband won’t survive. My family won’t survive.

5 Days & Counting!

We are well underway in the transition process. This week we met with the kid’s new counselors! I didn’t learn nearly as much new information as I had hoped. The counselors received the same reports we were given (which are too vague in my opinion). We set some goals including parental attachment, reduce anxiety and process trauma. Seems pretty standard to me. They did recommend the book “When a Stranger Calls You Mom” by Katharine Leslie so I am eager to get that ordered when we have some extra money. The kids will be meeting with their counselors each at the same time to cut down on scheduling conflicts which is completely awesome!

We also met with the school to discuss Donald’s IEP and the general transition. Fourteen of us squeezed into one tiny to room. The first thing that came to mind is what an awesome team we have to support these 2 children! It takes a village, right? It was great to see staff from his current school working with the staff from our school to create a plan that will work for Donald. I am nervous, though, that there wont be enough time to implement the plan is just a few short days and that Donald’s transition will be even tougher because of it.

The only frustrating part of the meeting is when we discussed the kid’s names. Both kids, but Daffy especially, want to use our last name. We understand that the LEGAL name in the files needs to be their LEGAL name, but there shouldnt be ANY reason why they can’t use our last name in conversation or on their papers. After all, other kids use “nicknames” (like Becky for Rebecca) so how is this different? Its important to Daffy that she not be singled out as “different” from our family. She doesn’t want people to know she has been in foster care- she wants them to think she has always been our child. The school was adamantly  against this. The sped coordinator all but insinuated that we would eventually give the kids back and that having used our name would make things more difficult. It was extremely insulting, particularly since we had the state case worker in attendance at the meeting supporting he kid’s choice and offering to write a letter of approval. The most the sped coordinator would budge is that the kids could use their legal last initial only since it happens to be the same as ours. Some of the staff commented that 4th and 5th graders dont know each others last names and that the staff dont use them. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????? My older kids have been teased over the years by teachers and students alike because we have a long hard-to-pronounce last name. How could that have happened if “no one” knew or used them? Ugh. I am completely frustrated.

Last night I had a visit with the kids at the group home. It was odd how standoffish Daffy was when I first arrived. She got a book and went to read alone while I did Donald’s homework with him. That is completely unlike her, she is normally bouncing off the walls. Once he & finished, we decided to play “Sorry” and she stayed on the couch playing with a Leap Pad. Once the game was done, I made her give up the game to Donald and told her to choose a game we would play. She resisted at first but finally selected Candy Land. (She beat me twice.) We went our to get a donut for dessert after dinner and then came back and read several stories before bed. It’s hard to believe they will only sleep 2 more nights in that home before the discharge on Tuesday.

In rather exciting news, we learned today that we will receive respite pay for all the weekends we have had the kids during the transition! Obviously none of this is about money, but every little bit helps in this economy for sure!Maybe this will help defray some of the wages I have lost being available for so many visits and meetings over the past 2 months.

Tomorrow they will be visiting their new schools and meeting their teachers! I will be sure to post an update!

9 days till forever! & a weekend update!

It’s hard to believe we are entering the last full week without the kids here. Its nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time! If this weekend is any indication of things to come, I am definitely scared.

My tweet from Saturday morning:

What a disaster of a morning! Donald & Daffy are almost always in conflict. They argue over everything and generally try to get under eachother’s skin at every opportunity, even creating situations if there is nothing to actually fight about. When I think about their past history, I wonder if the judge who determined they should be placed together made the right choice. Anyway, Saturday morning they were arguing about which show to watch on tv. Daffy came upstairs to watch the tv in my room to void the conflict. Smart choice, in retrospect and one I wont dismiss in the future. Feeling like superMom, I decided to go discuss the conflict with Donald and try to offer some solutions for future conflicts of a similar nature. One thing led to another and I ultimately ended up putting him in a hold. I felt sick as soon as it happened but I was also fearing my own safety. Thankfully it didnt last long and we were able to talk through the issues and move on with the day. He was, of course, on edge all day. And honestly, so was I. He was like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode again. I did talk to the group home about the situation and they offered solutions to try next time. Thinking about the certainty of “next time” and the “time after that” and the “time after that” is what scares me most. The experience was incredibly draining and definitely felt “more than I bargained for” even though I had been told  to expect this behavior.

On a side note, and for my own reference later, one of the workers happened to mention in conversation regarding this blow out, about the trauma (physical, emotional and sexual) they have experienced. Ummmmmm, what????? Sexual trauma????? This phone call was the FIRST I heard anything about that! I am a little biut distressed about that. I am hoping to learn more this week when we meet with their counselor. Its not a “game changer” for me, but it certainly would have been helpful to know.

This morning started at 4:11am when Donald asked where we keep the tape. I am sure I was not at my best when I said “What? The tape? You are NOT having tape. Go to bed.” I am finding it extremely exhausting that even though we discuss it at length every night, they he can not seem to understand that he needs to STAY in his room and not disturb others. This is NOT something he does in his current placement, so its not like this is an ongoing issue. He NEEDS 11 hours of sleep per night and it seems no matter what time he goes to bed does not change his wake up time. That would explain why its currently just after 6pm and he is on bed. At least he doesnt get up once we put him in bed at night.

Anyway, we have a morning meeting and then will be talking them to school. I am sure this will be the fastest week of my life! 9 days till forever!

To be expected

Yesterday at the meeting it was predicted that the kids would have some issues when they returned from the visit this weekend due to the now determined and shared official transition date. I wondered if the kids would actually make it the entire weekend before having any kind of melt down? I didnt have to wonder long. Shortly after we got home, it happened.

I asked Tink to shut off the tv because her & I were going to take the kids on  a walk to the local ball fields with a small playground. Daffy went over to “pretend” (or so she says) to turn the tv back on and Donald, in his defense of what is right, went after her. They began pushing, shoving, hitting and kicking. Mickey & I were in the bathroom (the only slightly private place in the house at this point) discussing the plan when Tink came running in to let us know the kids were fighting. We rushed out to find Donald kicking Daffy. Mickey reacted strongly, raising his voice. I cringed knowing that was just going to elevate the situation, but not wanting to interfere and appear divided or unsure. Mickey asked Donald to sit on the step in our room. Refusal. He stomped off and began kicking things and yelling. He was asking Mickey if he was “scared” [of his behaviors] to which Daffy leaned over to me and said “He asks other people if they are scared when he is scared.”  Great. Mickey scared the kid. Ugh. Anyway, I sat with Daffy to hear her “side” of the story. I tried to point out where her behaviors had been a problem, too. Then I went off to find Donald. I found him and Mickey in the “warm” room downstairs. (Yes, we name the rooms in our house. We always have so its interesting that Donald & Daffy did that my nature when they started to come here.) I asked Donald if he was ready to talk and he said he wasnt. I sat down and he kept looking at me so I commented “You look really angry.” He shared that he was and told me he didnt think we were the right family for him. Test #83634375969. Not gonna phase me, kid. I was told to expect that. He said he wanted to run away. I asked if he knew what I would do if he ran away. He said he didnt and looked curious. I told him I “I will follow you to be sure you are safe. I will follow on foot, by car, by bike, by scooter or by train. I will follow you however I have to to be sure you are safe. Do you know why?” and he did. Its because I love him. And I am trying to take every opportunity to remind him of that. Even when he is being horrible. Even when I am angry. Even when I would rather be snide. I asked him for a hug. At first he resisted but then he did come over to me and I sat him on my lap (awkward with his size at 11 years old, but necessary for bonding). He asked what I would do if he ran away to [City Name] where his mom lives. I told him I would follow him. He said he wants to see his mom and that he misses her. I felt stumped. I wished I had been told what to say in that situation, but I just had to wing it. I told him that the social workers and state made a decision that it was best for him not to see her anymore to keep him safe, but that I was sure he missed her and I understood that. He told me he doesnt want social workers or the state! He doesnt like them! Perfect opportunity for me to change the subject! I said “You know what? Once we adopt you, do you know there won’t be anymore social workers? It will just be us and our family. Forever.” He looked at me wide eyed. I dont think he can remember a time where social workers werent involved in his life. That’s sad considering he is 11 years old. It seemed to give him some peace. From there I was able to redirect and off we went for our walk.

So after our trip to the park, I took Donald and Tink to pick up a friend of Tink’s. Seemed like a good way to separate Donald and Daffy. We came back just in time for dinner. Insert power struggles with Daffy regarding dinner. (She insisted on a bowl of raw carrots even though she had helped Mickey prepare dinner.) As we sat down, Mickey commented that Tink had not been told it was dinnertime. Donald jumped up and said he would go upstairs and let her know. Since EVERYTHING is a competition, Daffy also jumped up and they both run up the stairs. In retrospect, I should have followed. We KNEW what would happen. And, of course, it did. A pushing match ensued. Within 30 seconds, Donald came back downstairs and to his place at the table and said “I know. I shoved her.” He is too used to the processing piece. He believes if he owns up to what happened and takes responsibility, then its over. And while I do support ownership, I am not sure we can continue forever without consequences. I mean, you can’t kill someone and then say “I know. I killed him.” and have it be over, ya know? Anyway, Daffy was still upstairs crying so I decided to go upstairs and talk through things with her. I explained that even though Donald was completely wrong to shove her, she KNEW she was bringing it on when she raced him up the stairs. She didnt really like it (and she shouldnt have to) but she did accept that. Then she started sharing about some of Donald’s friends saying that his “new family” wasn’t going to work out. I knew as soon as she brought it up (on Donalds behalf, of course) that she really needed to talk through some stuff. She started talking about some previous placements and how they didnt work out, and how this time seems different, that things are not following the same patterns of the failed placements. She commented about how we handle things more like the group home she is in now, which seemed really reassuring to her. After a few minutes, she grabbed her Barbie laptop and I knew I had lots her for the time. She had said too much, probably more than she planned to and she needed a break. I told her I would give her ten more minutes and then we were going to watch a movie to relax before bed.

After several attempts at other movies that skipped, we decided on Piglet’s Big Movie. Donald grumbled a little about it being a movie for babies, but both kids ended up watching the entire thing and staying engaged.

So, here we are on Saturday and I wonder what today will hold. I am fully prepared for some blow outs. I just pray I come up with the right words to reassure them that we love them and our official forever begins in just 10 days…

-Minnie xo

[All names have (obviously) been changed to protect the privacy of our family.]

The countdown continues… [Telling the kids]

The meeting today was productive. We confirmed a meeting with the school, a meeting with new counselors in our area and generally talked about how the kids are doing through the transition from the group home they are currently placed at. According to one, their behaviors are “elevated but not out of the norm or spiked”, which is awesome for these 2 kids.

Towards the end of the meeting, the kids were invited to join us to go over the January calendar which includes 2 triple sleepovers, a Going Away Party, their last day at their current school and their first day of school at their new school. I was so nervous to see their reaction. We decided that we would seat them between Mickey & I and to go over to the schedule around the big conference table. Introductions went around the table and I introduced myself as “Minnie. The Mom” and not to be outdone, Daffy followed by saying “I am Daffy. The kid.” Ha! Love that girl! Anyway, Daffy sat next to me, her brother next to her and Mickey at the end. I started to show them where today was on the calendar and began going through the dates. It was VERY obvious there was a big change  coming as the calendar ended January 17th. As I went through the dates, I got more and more nervous. I knew I was eventually going to have to put words to describing the official transition and with a room full of social workers, I was afraid I would cry! Finally, I got to he end of the schedule and said “and here is where forever will begin”. Silence. Dead silence. In an effort to break the ice, I whispered “cricket, cricket” and got a few chuckles. I can’t even really recall exactly who said what but Daffy was THRILLED to pieces. This is everything she has been hoping for! I asked Donald if he was nervous and he looked bashful and said he was. Daffy interrupted and and said “Is anyone going to ask MEEEEE how I am feeling?” with the slyest of grins! She couldn’t wait to share her excitement. I think it was great for Donald to see her excitement as he is very protective of her.

It’s so hard to believe that the move in day is just 11 days away, 6 of which will be sleepovers here anyway! As I type, the kids are settling in for a 3 night sleepover. They are watching “Fairly Odd Parents” and I am considering doing a bit of work. This transition has been really tough on my work schedule and I am really grateful for two awesome bosses (I do contract work) who have been extremely accommodating. I am hoping things will normalize once the kids are here since we will knock off a minimum of 8 hours per week just in DRIVING time to visit with the kids each week.

I can’t end today’s post without a special thank you to Foster Parent Adventures for her Versatile Blog Award! I was beyond touched to read her post this morning and plan to address it as well as pass on the award to some of MY favorite bloggers very soon! 🙂

-Minnie xo

[All names have (obviously) been changed to protect the privacy of our family.]

The countdown begins [12 days till forever begins]

So, this morning we got a phone call that nearly rocked our whole world. Our case worker let us know that since Mickey is not on the actual foster license we could face an issue with the transition of Donald & Daffy to our home. I am approved for only ONE child, not two, because we have 3 bio kids in the home. Mickey was immediately sent to be fingerprinted and then began the worries of how to schedule him for 5 classes in 12 days (with the closest dates for 3 of the classes being February).

To go backwards a little bit, all caseworkers and the state office KNEW that I was the only one licensed throughout the process. They said there are often exceptions made allowing for sibling groups. The plan was always that Mickey would take classes along the way and be added eventually, but it was never a priority, especially once we started pre placement visits because that was so time intensive.

To make a long story short, through the hard work and many phone calls of some very wonderful agency workers, and despite some new policies that have gone into effect in the last week, they were able to grant an exception! So, thus begins the official count down! 12 days until Donald & Daffy will be officially moved into our home. 13 days until they start at their new school and begin the adjustment into their new lives. Tinkerbell and I discussed on the way home from tonight’s visit that we simply can’t imagine what that must be like. No matter how much they like us and no matter how much we LOVE them, it has to be the most terrifying experience in the world. Taking into consideration the number of past placements and rejections they have had, it is likely even MORE compounded.

With that said, tonight’s visit was probably one of the best we have had! They were both in very light moods and able to be redirected with humor during some frustrating moments of their homework. They were really excited to perform a puppet play for us while we videotaped. They would watch and then delete and do another. This happened probably 6 times. Its so interesting to watch them during these “plays” because you can see them working through so much… things from their past, mixed with things from the present.

Tomorrow we tell the kids. It will be just 11 days before the first day of the rest of their lives. How exciting is that????

-Minnie xo

[All names have (obviously) been changed to protect the privacy of our family.]