Monday will mark three weeks with our new family. It has not been easy. There are times I just want to give up. But then we will have some awesome moments and the kids will laugh and their eyes will sparkle, and everything is right again.
Our assessment on Wednesday was different than I was told. The county case worker was there and the behavioral services manager talked to her and I for over an hour and we decided the best course of action. We talked about each of the kids with their strengths and weaknesses. We were limited by the services that they have at that location so only our oldest will be having therapy there. She will go for a couple hours a couple days a week. She doesn’t have her evaluation for another week so her therapy will not start until school has started. They will pick her up from school a couple days a week and I will go to the office a couple hours later to get her. They were considering an in-home behavioral specialist for our son but they said that an in-home family based therapy is more intensive and will address not only my son’s behavior but also the sibling rivalry and trouble playing with one another. They do not offer in-home family based therapy at that location so we had to get a separate referral from our case worker.
I grilled our case worker while we were there, since I had not seen her since she dropped the kids off. She said that I can sign their school packets because she asked the court for an order granting my husband and I educational rights for the three kids.
I was bummed when the behavioral services director was asking their case worker and I for information regarding the children’s case and the case worker didn’t know. She used the excuse that she’s only had their case since May but that wasn’t working for me. The manager directly asked about previous domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, etc and the case worker just didn’t know. She’s had the case long enough to at least read through it! The case worker said that dad is on disability, so I asked what he’s on disability for. She said “I have a lot that are on disability but I think his is because of hep C, if I remember correctly.” Ugh. I asked her when we will get to know more about their case and their past so that we will know their triggers and what to work on… she said that she will get us their child profiles, which have not yet been updated but at least will give us a picture of their past.
We’ve been slowly getting information about their past while talking calmly about it. We know their first placement in 2009 was with their babysitter. This was not a good placement as she seems to have been abusive towards them. They went back to live with their parents in 2011 and weren’t there a year even. They came back in care June of 2012 and have been with the same placements since then. The three have been split for two years. Our six year old is used to being the baby of the house, with teens running around. Our nine year old is used to being right in the middle, in a house full of kids (at least seven from her count). Our son is used to being in a home with a lot of other boys to run and chase and play with. So it has been a big adjustment for all of them.
I have seen progress on their need for fighting over my attention. I have seen progress on their listening, especially regarding picking up after themselves. I have also seen progress on their eating. When they first came here they ate three square meals a day plus three snacks… one at 10, one at 3 and one before bed. I have quietly been removing the snack before bed. It was just too much food! Once I could make sure they were eating enough dinner, I stopped that snack.
We are working now on back talking. They don’t even recognize when they do it. So ignoring the behavior for them does not work. I give them a “minus 1” every time I hear it. That means minus one minute off their bedtime. This gives them a chance to correct the behavior without me having to go into a lecture every time I hear the behavior.
We are also working on them asking for us to buy them things every half minute. I realize these kids do not have much and I wish that I could buy everything for them. But even when I have just spent hundreds of dollars on food and clothing they still ask for more. Or remind me of something I said earlier about buying them this or that. We are working on gratefulness. They have already gotten a lot of wonderful things from our family and we are working hard on being thankful!