Thursday, May 5, 2016

Baby R

Through the Foster care grapevine we heard of a 6 week old baby boy sleeping in CPS office. They couldn't find placement. So, I asked around, and still, nobody could take him. So, we said yes. We knew it was temporary, but we didn't know how temporary. For 6 days we had 5 children 3 and under. It was fun, and crazy, and wonderfully impossible. We are not ready for a long term placement, so we aren't technically open. But, I am so thankful he came to stay with us.

Baby R was special. He wasn't with us long, and I'll be honest, I didn't view him as a potential adoption at all. I knew it was temporary, but even if the kinship had fallen through, I don't think we would've been the best fit for him. He had a lot of medical needs and I am already stretched thin with my current crew, I know I couldn't give him the full attention he would require. I'm thankful he was with us because I was able to get him into the Foster Care Clinic and they found some things during testing, they may not have otherwise known. I really enjoyed having a little little babe again for a few days, and loved him as best I could. He was so sweet and cuddly. Several people reached out saying how Baby R touched their lives, even though he was with us for such a short time. Many people have gotten serious about becoming a licensed foster family (when they realized a baby was sleeping in CPS office). Sadly, that's happening a lot these days! A sweet friend grew in depth of love and value for the life growing inside of her, and I was encouraged by my boys. 

If you read my last post, you know we still struggle. Things are not perfect. I should really change this blog to Imperfectly Piatt. Because, that's what I really mean by the title anyway. But, having baby R in our home was amazing. Some days I get bogged down by the behavioral battles (three 3 year olds) and feel like there's zero growth. I get discouraged that we are all stuck in a fruitless battle. Wrong. My boys were loving, kind, gentle, helpful, sweet, sincere, and giving to a little baby in need. Really, all of the boys were so helpful. They were patient when I had to feed two babies at a time, or back to back, I was low on sleep and energy so didn't play with them as much as I normally would. We had to stay home and "miss" a lot of things because getting 5 out seemed like a bad idea! They had zero behavioral issues about sharing their home and their momma with Baby R.  When we told them Baby R was coming to stay and why, Carson responded, "Baby R doesn't have a home, and we have a good home so we should share it!" I am humbled by the amount of love my boys are capable of giving.

Saying goodbye wasn't horrible, we were fully prepared for a short stay. I was curious how the boys would handle it. They waved and watched him drive off and Carson said, "I'm so glad they found that baby a home." Kj said, "yea! and we have a home." then Kade said, "Yea, we do! let's go have a snack and then we can play." 

I do find myself missing him and wondering how he is. I pray for him daily. It's up to CPS and Grandma now. Bye sweet Baby R, thank you for reminding us all how important it is to practice sacrificial love. 

It takes time

This blog has been sloshing around in my head since December, so I guess it's time to get it out! We finalized twin's adoption 12/17/2015. We are 4.5 months into our new season as Piatts. We've seen major improvement in behavior and trust. However, we are still struggling in some areas. I've always vowed to be honest on here, and I try to balance the struggles with respect and love.

I love love love my boys. I do.

Keanu is a completely different child with love and consistency. He responds to praise and words of affirmation. He gives compliments constantly. He is always willing to give hugs and kisses. He says, "I love you" without prompting. He truly is our gentle giant. Something in him changed the day we were able to look into those precious blue eyes and say, "you are a Piatt. You are with us forever and always. This is your home. Forever." I am so proud of him for his willingness to forgive others and his natural empathy towards those around him. I really did not think he would be this sweet. But, oh my, he is the sweetest little boy. I hate to use the word "normal"... but, most of his behavioral outbursts compare to "normal" three year old boy behavior. We still see moments of extreme anxiety or emotional stress, but he is easily comforted by us and very responsive to our love and correction. His healing and coping seems to be moving along quite well. 

I am going to stay fairly vague about Kade. I do not want to speak ill of my child. I do not want to be negative. He has many positive qualities, but we are struggling. Specifically, he and I. But, also still with his teachers at school, teachers and Sunday school, babysitters- others. So, lets start with the best news. He is so fun. His energy and laugh is intoxicating. He is very helpful with babies (Baby B and Baby R *that's another post!). He is smart and likes to draw and "practice" his letters. He is super athletic and makes checking the mail look cool. What we are noticing though, he still has major regressions. He will do well for a while, obedient, overall good attitude, listening, good choices, and then a flip switches and he is verbally disobedient and hateful. He becomes physical towards his brothers and completely pulls away from us. When he's in this state he does not want hugs and kisses, he seems irritated by verbal praise and encouragement. I don't know how else to say it, but it's like he gets in a bad mood and cannot be pulled from it until he is good and ready. There's very little rhyme or reason to the poor choices he makes. He understands consequences, but shows little or no remorse. He fully understands proper behavior and expectations, but refuses to choose the desired behavior. I know people reading this think "well, yea, he's three." This is not the typical three year old opposition/opinionated/bad attitude phase. This is extreme. Honestly, its maddening and frustrating. It's a very manipulative situation, and often a dysfunctional relationship between us. He so desires to be in control that he tries to control emotions and affection as well. I don't want to make it sound like we haven't seen growth. We have. We also still experience major regression and it becomes more difficult to feel the growth. 

So, here's where we are. I see many positive things about where Kade is. I also realized a few weeks ago how angry I was with him. I felt so guilty for the anger, and I never want to be angry towards my kiddos, or angry at all. But, what I realized.. he had a really really hard life before he came to us. He also had a really hard time in foster care. He was torn from his mother and confused, scared, and hurt. He did not fully feel secure and loved in our home until finalization, despite our best efforts. We could not promise him forever before 12/17/15. So for the first 510 days of his life he was neglected and abused, and honestly, who knows what else, and then 517 days in stressful foster care limbo, and I expect him to fully cope with everything in 140 days??? Not going to happen. So, I'm adjusting my expectations, asking for forgiveness, grace, and patience to love him well each day. I'm warring against the thoughts that it will never get better or it will always be this way. Trying not to speak in absolutes and remember, it takes time. I have to allow myself time to heal from the unknown, stress, and heart break of foster care. I realize and confess I'm still angry and hurt from the time we spent in foster care together. The stressful visits and the behavioral regressions, and the outbursts specifically towards me, and most importantly.. I have to remember to give him time to heal. Time to learn to use the tools we've given him to cope and express himself.  And diligently pray for the Lord to change his heart and mine. I desire to be marked by love and I desperately want to love Kade with every ounce of my being... 

"Love is not a feeling but a determined act of will, which always results in determined acts of self giving. Love is the willing, joyful desire to put the welfare of others above your own." 
-John MacArthur