Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloweeen - 2015

Please keep in mind, a lot of little people will be visiting your home tonight.
The child who is grabbing more than piece of candy may have poor fine motor skills.

The child who takes forever to pick out one piece of candy may have planning issues.

The child who does not say trick or treat or thank you may be non-verbal.

The child who looks disappointed when they see your bowl might have any allergy or is diabetic.

The child who is not wearing a costume at all might have sensory issue (SPD) or autism.
Be Nice.
Be Patient.
It is Everyone's Halloween...Have Fun and Enjoy!

Until Next Time...Make it A Great Day!

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fall Back Season Top it off with the Full Moon

As each day passing the night falls earlier and earlier and the morning seems to be darker than lighter, we are being reminded that our clocks are falling back this Sunday morning, November 1, 2015 at 2:00am. The true sign that Fall and Winter will be fast approaching. However, for most, it is a normal day and we move on. Then there is another vast group that sees another side of the fall back process; children with special needs that do not deal well with routine changes and/or transitions of change. In a nut shell, Be Prepared!

Time change is a major situation in someone who looks to the time, daylight or night for guidance. The change may also take a toll on one's body, sleep schedule and/or exercise times. Understanding change is inevitable for everyone; the best way to deal with this never-ending issue is to be prepared with our children. Our best friend in this time of chaos, is to make the transition better for our child or children. Again, Be Prepared!

With the colors of the leaves changing, we are reminded the cooler weather is coming, along with the winds and rain during this time of year. A Seasonal CHANGE! Is it possible to refer seasons to an Internal CHANGE? Anyone who has had surgery, may comment to this, myself included, feels different when the weather changes. I also see differences with my children when the weather changes. Is it because the pressure in the air, the humidity, moisture, I do not know. I always say our bodies are like the German Coo Coo Clock striking at 12:00, if there is something that is off, it does not strike proper. Having my analogy, it could be just me, but as the weather is too hot, too cold, too wet, too humid, some people feel the difference and the effects. It does not matter where you live. What state or part of the world, the weather is changing. Again, Be Prepared!

Then the belief that a Full Moon's contributes in one's behaviors and how we feel. I am a believer. Some might think I am full of it! It is okay to think that and if you agree with me, Great! Interesting enough, earlier this week, I came across a post in a group that I am a part of and it read something like this "is there something in the air... my kids have been on fire the last couple of days". With many comments posted, the majority read... "full moon". Whether it is a fact or just the psychological make of what someone wants to believe; it is ones perception and that is someone's reality! Again, Be Prepared!

On that note - Be Prepared by doing some of the following:
  • Breathe
  • Smile as often as you can (they are contagious)
  • Communicate
    • Explain the time change difference and the expectations before, during and after the transition
      • Non-verbal children create extra flip picture cards for explanations
  • Post a schedule reflecting new routines. For example, dinnertime, sleep schedule, playtime, etc.
    • Schedules can be moved in small increments help with the time adjustment until a full hour has been achieved, if needed
  • Keep busy; exercise and play. Both always works wonders - whether this help when it comes sleep time or it can help by keeping all occupied
  • Try to maintain your specifics routine but if something goes array breathe, smile and go minute by minute - nothing good comes when all is in chaos
Remember life is busy, has craziness in itself, things change constantly. At times, when we think, we have the schedule to a tee, a monkey wrench gets thrown in. It does not matter, if you have one special needs child or five or not even a special needs child, LIFE IS LIFE! We are all trying to do what is best for our children on all levels.

We cannot get back yesterday, we only have right now and we do not know what tomorrow or the next minute may bring. All we can do is take in this moment, cherish it, love, laugh, play in it and be blessed in our own world and those who also share in it. GOD BLESS

"My children taught me the true meaning of unconditional love.” - Yvonne Pierre 

Until Next Time...Make it a Great Day!

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

I am a Foster/Adoptive Parent but Truly Just Me

For the past three days I have been in the company of a select group of individuals that are in a class above. Individuals made of Foster Parents, Adoptive Parents, Kinship/Guardians, Guest Speakers, Therapists and my own surrounding county's Social Workers and County Representatives. This year's Annual Conference was a true grace for me. One, it was a mini getaway but in all reality I really appreciated the training given. More so, each year I completely enjoy meeting, listening and learning from other parents that are on the same journey that my husband and I chose several years ago. The journey to give back - to be a Foster Parent!

The journey has been and continues to be a navigation of learning. Everyday my belief is you should learn something new. I instill this in my children, in all my children - homegrown, adoptive and foster. Learning something new; though it may be something really small or it may be something really big but in the end it is something. Do not take it for granted. Knowledge is power in my day-to-day life. It should be in everyone's. As I had time to speak with fellow peers, I was excited to learn more on how to navigate the system in different ways as well in sharing on personal experiences thus being able to help or provide information that I had been given. In a nut shell we were doing basic 101 networking.

I know that foster parenting is not considered a "job" but our group conference was so like a business network meeting. We had the opportunity to see others from across the state, others from within our own county and others from the surrounding counties. When not in training meetings, we were able to meet many peers, therapists or county representatives. Honestly, for me it was nice to put faces to the people that emails have been sent to or many telephone calls have been spoken over our journey. On the other side, you understand the years reflected in many children's lives. How they were touched and changed. Also, it was a chance to step away from our normal daily routine to learn of upcoming events, system changes, take in our own experiences or just chit-chat. Some decompression of our own 24/7 routine that is sometimes so needed but may not be able to have the chance due to many factors of the system and/or the child in your care.

Reflecting on the meetings or engagements I had these past few days, I feel thankful for all our children (homegrown, adoptive and foster). There is a sense of reaffirmation that we are all in this together. We are all doing the same "job"; however, there is the quick realization on how much our "jobs" are different. Whether it is from county to county or home to home. Things are definitely different.

Using my own home as a rough comparison. Take into account having five special needs children. All with varying degrees of needs. Break it down further, my three youngest children (almost like triplets) who are so close in age is a great example. It is amazing to see how much they are the same but so very different. With each milestone or development stage, one soaring right through most with flying colors but having issues on others while another is behind and the last is hitting some while missing others. Their common dominator - love, stability, early intervention and therapy.

Just as I noted above, we gathered at the conference as group that in essence do the same "job" but in reality we all are so very different. It is not because each child is different with their own needs or circumstances; the differences comes because of the road blocks we face along the way. Our common dominator - love for the children, stability to work within the system, advocacy and our own therapy and help amongst one another. The struggle is real but we always seem to manage, we are Foster, Adoptive, Kinship/Guardianship PARENTS!!!!

Yes, we are all different, all different walks of life, ages, backgrounds and life experiences but being a Foster Parent, an Adoptive Parent, Kinship/Guardian is not for the faint of heart. As with parenting it takes love and patience but it also takes a guidance within yourself to know that the infant, toddler, child or teenager that may be placed into your care has needs or situations that you may not understand. Nonetheless, given the opportunity, to be a temporary place called home for an infant, a toddler, a child or a teenager even for a short period of time, a place providing love, safety, shelter, food and stability is a gift all in itself. The ability to make a difference in that relative short period of time. To have the chance to be a part of the reunification process with parents or family or an adoption process for someone who is growing their family in better terms is PRICELESS!

So when it is all said and done, at the end of the day through the thick of everything, I have had great revelations as I am a parent, a foster parent, an adoptive parent but truly I am me who just wants to make a difference with giving back in a person's life and I am surely honored to be in the company of many others who have the same outlook.

It is awesome to be a part of this huge family not only in my county, my state but more importantly across the world and to that I Thank you ALL the Foster Parents, Adoptive Parents, Kinship/Guardianships, Social Workers, Judges, Attorneys, All Representatives and Everyone else riding this carousal by working to make a difference whether big or small! GOD BLESS

While we try to teach our children all about life, Our children teach us what life is all about.  ~Angela Schwindt

Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day! - National Foster Parent Association - California State Foster Parent Association, Inc.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Timing of Life with Seasons to Change

Here it is already October, only seventy one more days until Christmas. It is hard not to think about it though Halloween is only seventeen days away but with every major retail store having both types of decorations for purchase; what are you to think? I am not sure if it is me or a vast majority of society but each year seems to go by quicker and quicker. Leading to my own countdown; this is the time of year where my reflecting truly hits home. November 19, thirty-five days away. A day held for celebration; a family anniversary, a friends birthday but for me a mere reminder that life can change in a moment.

This year will be eleven years that my life changed in a mere instant. Though it was not just my life, it was my family's life too. When it first happened I said GOD was knocking for me to make changes in my life as weird as that sounds. Yes, changed happened. My circumstances greatly changed my outlook of life, how I viewed things, who was in my life but when it is all said and done, I have been truly blessed disability and all. With life being like the seasons, I am currently trying to figure out what is more to my life. What season am I in? With that comes, remembrance of what I am not able do since the accident but then it is overshadowed by all the things I have accomplished living through a life alternating event. Nothing can beat it. Yes, the roller coaster of ups and downs, the good and bad. Interesting enough it seems that feeling I first felt of GOD knocking is back. Wake up there is more, be patient there is something coming. Well patience is not my strong suit. Is it anyone's? If it is yours I commend you!

Just in the last week, I was reminded by a message, the toll my accident had on my three older children. They were young when it first happened. Nobody wants their children to grow up faster than they have too but my children had no choice. Troopers beyond belief. Though it has made and shaped them into who they are today; living with a tragic situation day in and day out, adds pressure to anyone. These are the times I wish I could change everything but then where would we be today. The grass is not always greener, just another set of weeds which need to be mowed. Then I received life alternating medical news of a friend that put me at a crossroad of testing my faith. A place I have been before. As much as I feel heartache and sadness, I feel emptiness as I have no real words. The only words that keep coming to mind is "I am sorry" and who really wants to hear that...I did not when my accident happened. As I keep praying for guidance, there is just a sense of loss for all.

I know there is an answer and more to come. More by the way I know my mother is with me every day as she flies in the hummingbird that comes to the window every time we sit down for dinner. More knowing that GOD has the path already mapped out. More when I truly listen to my little's speak in their own made up language to one another. More when I get a "Mommy, I Love You" from my older children. For me, all I can say is embrace whatever is thrown your way, embrace your faith and make the best of it. Your best, not someone else's best, YOUR BEST! GOD BLESS!

"God has equipped you to handle difficult things. In fact, He has already planted the seeds of discipline and self-control inside you. You just have to water those seeds with His Word to make them grow!" Joyce Meyer

Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day!