Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thirty more days

That's the verdict. Thirty more days, and then we'll have a court review all over again. I wish I could say I'm glad, but mostly I'm overwhelmed and disappointed. Please pray for stamina and for peace in our home.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Mercies

"Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." ~ Lamentations 3:22-23

Let me begin by saying that yesterday was miserable. I hate to be so negative here lately, but this is just real life for us these days. I must say that we had some WONDERFUL time in January that may not have gotten ALL of the blog attention that it deserved, so please don't think this has been all bad. It's been mostly amazing, but these days seem to be 90% bad...haha.

Days have been really trying for a couple of weeks now, but they seem to only be escalating recently. Yesterday, we started the day with no toys...every last one had been taken away the day before. First thing in the morning, K-man created a battle over a bowl of cereal that turned into hitting me, hitting my husband, biting my husband, throwing a glass coaster, screaming, etc. We had to put him in his room to calm down, where he almost beat down the door. Good morning!

I was at the end of my rope. My patience was just about gone, so I called and was able to take K-man to our foster agency for the morning. I poured my heart out to my (practically) extended family over there, and then I had a couple of hours to run errands and decompress. Then we came home, and I told him (by recommendation from the agency) that he would be visiting his momma after nap time. He threw his, now typical, nap-time fit, so I walked away and closed the door -vowing to him that I would not come back in the room until nap time was over. Then, I got to listen to shoes being thrown at the bedroom door for 2 hours. At 2:30, before a slated 3pm pick-up for visitation, I got a phone call that said visitation would not occur. My emotions went crazy...angry at k-man's disrespect, sobbing over the fact that they would not be visiting with mom and I would have to break the news, angry at their mom, honestly ready to throw up my hands and quit, secretly hoping that they would go home Thursday although I knew it was not best for the boys. When nap time was over, to add insult to injury, K-man was pretty much laughing in my face for the rest of the afternoon. A dear friend came over to help me survive...haha! And as soon as bed time hit, my mother-in-law came so that my husband and I could get out of the house.

We went to dinner, prayed, and talked, and my heart began to soften. Here was my struggle...up until this point, I found it rather easy to forgive K-man's bad behaviors and move on, because I was consistently hearing a very sincere "I'm sorry," after disciplining him. Even if it happened again, I knew his heart was being molded. These days, I rarely get "I'm sorry." most often, I get disrespectful laughter in my face. My strong-willed self was (is) having a hard time not just continually punishing K-man all day for his actions that morning...or even the night before! I was holding an angry grudge, and i could not let it go! The Lord called to mind the aforementioned scripture, and all of a sudden it had an even deeper meaning. All of a sudden, I was brought to my knees in gratitude for the overwhelming love of my heavenly Father, and I thought to myself, how can I best picture the gospel for K-man right now? forward to this morning...I helped him get ready with the loving, joyful spirit I remembered showing him before this madness, and he disrespected me like crazy...talked about hitting me and laughed like crazy. We made cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and he grumbled and complained about having to wait - trying to pick fights all along. My husband stayed home from work, and we went to a place with inflatables, trampolines, and a rope swing. We gave so much grace today, I don't even have words to express it. We went to McDonald's for lunch (HUGE treat in our house)! For many reasons, we tried our very hardest to make today a good day. Was it perfect? Hardly. Was it helpful? Hard to say, but what I do know is that if K-man goes home after court tomorrow, he will know one thing for certain - in our home he was loved in a radical way. He was loved dearly despite every effort he made to pull away.

I clung to this scripture today, because I needed to know that His mercy for me was brand new today, and I needed to know that my mercies needed to be TRULY renewed toward this boy as a reflection of Christ's love for him.

Please pray for all involved tomorrow. I will be a basket case at the end of the day - regardless of the outcome. I know that the boys do not need to go live with their mom right now, so if they do, I will cry like a baby. I also do not have any desire to endure much longer in this state of existence, so if they stay, I will cry like a baby as I look out over a seemingly impossible task. However, His promises remain the same, and we will remain faithful to the task At hand until He removes it from our hands, and we will try to consider it pure joy as we face trials of many kinds. I will update when I am able. Pray that His hand is on the decision made as well as the process and timing of it all. Thanks to all of you.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Testing, testing, testing

That is the name of the game at our house these days. For the past couple of weeks (ever since K-man and B-boy resumed visits with mom, coincidentally), we have been struggling with stubborn, defiant, and sometimes violent behavior from K-man. It's been challenging, to say the least, and I felt the need to write about it.

We're learning that, although the wonderfully compliant behavior was amazing in the beginning, it was most likely born out of fear and anxiety, and potentially not a healthy thing in the long run. What we have now is a child who is learning that he is loved and who is testing my husband and I to see if we really will be patient with him and continue to love him, despite his poor behavior. Now, he's not able to articulate this, and he probably isn't even aware he's doing it, but our challenge is to continue to be firm and draw hard boundaries while still communicating love and patience. I've not had my own, biological kids, but I imagine that this is a good bit more difficult with foster kids than with biological kids. I do not have a true mother-son bond with K-man, so to be quite honest, there are times when I find it very difficult to love him - sometimes difficult to like him at all. While I know biological moms probably have similar feelings from time to time, you most likely still have a mother-son bond that pulls you to your child (shared experiences, memories of birth and infancy, etc.) We don't have that, and it makes it hard to press on sometimes.

The biggest challenge we're facing is choosing our battles. With our biological kids, we will not tolerate much of the attitude and argumentative disrespect that we must tolerate with K-man at this point. With K-man, we're having to start at square one, "You may not ever hit or bite anyone." We try to tackle the others as we can, but honestly, when he gets angry and storms off, we consider that a huge victory right hitting = success!

We had recently come to a point where we were able to work on other issues such as immediate obedience and attitudes, but we've since taken two steps back now that visits have resumed and the hitting has returned. Recently, along with the increased acting out, we've noticed some really unusual comments and conversations that indicate a lot of real wrestling in K-man's heart. Just this afternoon, when we were putting him down for his nap, he had a mood swing that looked like it was about to escalate. On a whim, my amazing husband asked, "K-man, why don't you want to go to bed?" K-man simply said, "Because I wanna see my momma." "I know, buddy. Let's pray for her." And we did, and he instantly calmed and went to sleep.

So there's the challenge...always trying to decipher how to respond to these mood swings. Please pray for us - that we will point to the gospel, that we ourselves will cling to the Truth of the gospel, that He will give us patience and gentleness and abundant grace, while also showing us how to discipline. We have some new strategies to try today. We would welcome any feedback from you other foster moms out there.

Last matter of prayer is the boys' upcoming court date this Thursday, February 23rd. The boys do not have to attend, but they could still likely go home, in which case we would pack their things and take them to an office to meet their mom and go home. I don't even know how to ask you to pray. Our emotions are so all over the place now, that we don't even know what we want or need. Just pray that the Lord's hand would be on this whole process, that His Holy Spirit would give us peace, and that we will rest in His sovereignty no matter what may come.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy birthday, Miss M!! this one really makes my brain hurt! The 2-month-old baby who I was awake with 3 times every night...swaddling, barely moving, learning to one year old today! I am fervently praying for that girl today and always -that she is as loved as ever, that the Lord is protecting both her and her momma, that she is healthy, and that the Lord's hand will be on her every day of her life - bringing her to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Miss M, I love you, girl! Looking at photos and videos of you today and thanking Him for creating you and blessing us with you for one sweet month of your life!