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Old 05-26-2012, 12:09 PM   #41
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

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Hopefully by the time she's a teenager, they will have better ways to treat scars. I'd also take her for a second opinion when you get a chance. Many kids are very thin. I was, my son was for a long time (he's now gained a lot of weight) so to me that is just normal. She'll eat when she wants to but just don't let it be a power struggle and you may just want to leave snacks out she can get to.

Be careful with the sexual stuff. That is where you need a really good therapist.

You'll probably have to wait till open enrollment. That way you will be double insured and may have more access to "better" docs and therapists. You normally need a court order within 30 days (no one tells you this and I learned it via a foster parent who figured it out) or open enrollment. But, if you have a family plan with 4, it may not be any more for 6. The issues you have with the doc's are absolutely insurance related. I've had a lot of families tell me that, which is why now some of the foster families put the kids on their insurance (I would). Most have clauses that allow all kids of kids living in your home. Also, you may have access to better speech and other services (though I am having a terrible time getting our insurance to pay for speech even though they keep approving it so we are private paying).

I would really make a push to get the kids into more services and into a rec department camp or see if they are eligible for head start in the fall (they may have different requirements without regard to income in a situation like yours). The younger you get them help, the better their outcome will be. It is hard with 4 kids to do all that running so you can also try like PP suggested to find people who come in home.
Yea, she's within normal weight range as far as I know - just not how I'm use to seeing kids thanks to the obesity epidemic i guess. She's grown a couple inches since we've had her, but she's lost 3.5 lbs in the last 2 months?! Which puts her .5 lb less than what she was when we got her. Dr. says probably cuz more active with the warmer season and her inconsitent eating habits, she takes a multivitamin gummy everynight so... I guess were alright. She's 36 lbs and 43 inches tall. DD-R is 41 lbs and 41 inches tall. Ashlyn wears a 5 slim drawed up as tight as you can get em and Reese a regular five. lol. I tend to put em in dresses 90% of the time though.

Open enrollment for insurance is in November. Family plan covers an unlimited # of dependents for us... Insurance lady said they just need a copy of our permanent custody papers to add them, didn't have to wait, but DH has to do it. The kids have the 'GOOD' medical card for our state, and it actually covers the same providers & more medications that our private plan tho! But... I assume Dr.'s get paid more through our private insurance.

Ashlyn was in headstart from mid-january til 1st week of May. Her & Reese will be going to preschool starting August 7th, 4 days a week all day.

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Omg, yes! I totally forgot about Head Start! Seriously the best program ever in my opinion!

You having such an open mind to everyone's suggestions shows what a WONDERFUL mother you are. Keep it up, and I truly believe everything will come together.
Thanks - I definitely am trying to keep an open mind, because I am in uncharted territory for my own experiences, even if these weren't 'hurt' children... Jon is a 7 year old boy... I have experience up to 4 years and only with girls! LOL. Sometimes I think I interpret typical boy behavior as troublesome, so I have to ask first, before I condemn it! LOL

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Have you tried Mederma on the scars? They make a kids version. I burned my forearm pretty badlym on a pizza pan fresh out of the oven and it did wonders in healing it.
Yes, on the ones on her neck that are super visible, they've improved quite a bit in color, but are still like... raised areas. But lightening em up has been a big deal... less stares from ppl in close contact.

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Old 05-27-2012, 09:34 PM   #42
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

Ok, here is just a little more from my own experience relating to one thing you are dealing with - eating struggles. My dd2 was meth exposed. She is 3 yrs old, going to be 4 in August. We got her from the hospital at 2 days old, so she has no abuse/neglect since birth. There are always going to be issues/areas where we wonder Is this from the drugs? Or would she have been like this anyway? We are never gonna know.

She is skinny like a stick although in the last year has moved up from 5% on the growth chart to 15% and may actually be nearing 25% now for weight. Sometimes I think she has got to have some deficiency that keeps her from absorbing nutrients properly or something. I think her arms and legs are the same size around as my 15 month olds'. Seriously. He is 95% for height and 75% for weight. He is 33" tall and 26.5 lbs. She is 38" tall and 29lbs (and she just added two inches in the last couple months - she was only 36" tall since before he was born until a few months ago). I don't even have to readjust the car seat straps when they switch. Now, also my dh is 6'4" so my kids I birthed have giant genes, and dd2's genes are hobbits. So maybe just genetic, maybe the meth.

She has always had issues around food. Now, the history is that she screamed inconsolably for more than six months after birth. Absolutely nothing helped - stroller, swing, carrying, rocking, driving. She hated them all. I think the meth made her born with her nervous system switched on and we didn't know how to help her. She was bottle fed on a standard formula schedule, and we cut her night feedings out pretty early as our dd1 started sleeping through the night at only a few months old so we didn't know any different. Plus we needed sleep to remain sane. So I am sure now that at least some of the time she was crying she was hungry and needed to eat. But, since she cried non-stop we just had no clue. So, perhaps that contributed to her later eating issues. Perhaps not. We do the best we can as parents and we don't always figure everything out right away.

Anyway, we have always struggled getting her to eat. For the last while I have been trying hard to observe and purposefully think about how/when/why so I can understand better and parent her better in dealing with these things. I have realized quite a bit that I didn't before which helps me be less frustrated and have better strategies.

When she was a toddler and we would go to a restaurant she would just sit and stare around. About the time everyone else was done eating she would be ready to start and sometimes we had to go by then. I think for her eating takes a lot of effort and energy while for the rest of us it's just a simple task we do without thinking. In a new environment with lots of stimuli to process she just wasn't truly capable of focusing on the task of eating.

Now, at 3 1/2 she takes forever to eat many times and when we have a time constraint I would resort to putting each bit on her utensil for her and sometimes even feeding them to her. It's the easy way out. But, at her age she needs to be doing that on her own. Since she eats it right up when I do the feeding, it's not the food she objects to. It's the process of getting it onto her spoon/fork and getting it to her mouth. She just struggles with that so we are working hard and specifically on teaching her those skills until she is comfortable doing it. I think part of it is she doesn't want to touch the food (like use one finger to help get the food onto the spoon). She is funny about messy and texture, etc. Sometimes the problem is that we have given her a fork and she needs a spoon to feel confident doing it herself. Once we realized that we are much more attuned to the type of food and try to remember to give her both a spoon and a fork so she can pick which would work best for her.

Our general eating rules for our house are that Mommy or Daddy serves the kids a very small portion of what we are eating. They have to eat that and then may have more of whatever they would like. This was never a problem for dd1. For dd2 this can be huge. So we do various things depending on the circumstances. If we have no time constraint she just has to stay at the table until she has finished her food. If we do then we put it in the fridge and at the next snack/meal or when she asks for food she gets the same plate back. Even if everyone else has moved onto eating something else for the next mealtime she has to finish that before she can have anything else. If it will be yucky when reserved or for whatever reason, I will instead when everyone else is done and has left the table set a timer for 5-10minutes depending on how much she has left to eat. If she has not finished it before the timer goes off than she loses out on something (i.e. if it's dinner than she might not get her book read to her at bedtime, if it's a different meal than she might lose out on a fun activity her siblings are doing.) You can't force a child to eat, but these things provide an extra motivation. So, if she really, truly just can not eat any more or finds the meal abhorent than she has an out. It's her choice whether she would rather not eat that food or miss out on something. It is very rare that she doesn't choose to just eat it after all. I also think that sometimes it just helps her to have everyone else gone from the table so she can focus on eating better. Now, your kids come from a much worse abusive situation and I don't know if our methods would be appropriate if food has been withheld, used as manipulation, etc.

As a note, we also tried the just leave it up to her; kids will eat when they are hungry strategy. We have heard that so often and are willing to try pretty much anything. So we let her eat what she wanted and she took a grand total of 2 bites in the entire day. She is already a stick; we don't want a ghost. Perhaps on kids without issues that might be true; I don't know. It was not going to work for her.

I have also been looking into sensory processing disorder. This is great:
http://www.sensory-processing-disord...checklist.html It has given me several insights about dd2. One of them is regarding hunger/full being sensory inputs that I really don't think she can process.

Also, as I mentioned before she is very verbal/language oriented. So we have spent a lot of time talking about how we need to eat at eating time. And why, so we won't be hungry as soon as we get out of the house. Pointing out when other family members are getting done with their food and eating time is going to be over. It might be obvious to most kids the how/why of eating at mealtimes, but this has helped her.

One last thing; I know this is like reading a book. For the last couple years we have noticed that she gets in either a positive or negative cycle sort of, but couldn't figure out how/why/how to help her into the positive cycle. She would have weeks/months where she was eating and sleeping and pooping, and behaving well, etc. and then it would just sort of implode and she wasn't doing any of those things (she has had BM issues since she was a baby.). So the first realization was that it was all connected. If we were frustrated with eating, we could help her by helping her get back to sleeping well and pooping well. At different times it is different areas that sort of get her jump started back into the positive cycle.

So, it has taken us over three years to come this far in understanding her and how she works! Hopefully somewhere in all that will be something that sheds even a tiny bit of light on something for you in Ashlyn.
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:09 AM   #43
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I do not agree with spanking, using food nor embarrassing the child as punishment. Warnings and setting clear expectations and consequences are very important. Loss of privilege for that long seems excessive too. Losing something for the day seems more reasonable unless the infraction was severe.
Some of these forms of discipline sound humiliating and I would think it would be compounded by the background of these children.

Painting an abused boys nails and sending him to basketball? I wouldnt do it to my bio kid. Seems unnecessarily cruel.
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:32 PM   #44
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

How are you and the kiddos doing? I've been thinking about / praying for your family...
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Old 07-10-2012, 05:57 PM   #45
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

I haven't been around this site in a long time, but just read the thread. I hope things are continuing to improve for you and your family.

I know that it is so hard to think of kids as "your own" when you get them at an older age. My two DSS were 5 and 6 when their dad and I got married. I've always thought of them as mine, but when they were "bad" early on, it was hard to not lable that as being related to their mom who has had numerous problems in her life (bipolar, unstable, flighty, etc.) I had a hard time separating them from her. I had a hard time not blaming their behavior on her and not feeling almost "superior" to her when my kid didn't do those things. It was hard! I admit it. I handled it poorly. I didn't know any better, emotionally, and I didn't handle it as I should have. (Not that I said these things to the kids, or even my husband. Just in my head.)

As we've been married longer, it's gotten easier. However, my oldest DSS is a touch Aspergers and I swear has some sort of sensory issue. He is hard for me to relate to at times. I let him push my buttons, etc. He's clingy and needs constant approval. I think he has some attachment issues too. It's hard. He's mine, but I know that some of those things are not my fault. We do see a therapist and she suggested to me that since he is emotionally immature, that maybe I should take a photo of him from when he was young and place it in a prominent place to remind myself that just because he's 13 physically, that he is still a "little kid" emotionally and has to be handled a lot more like my nearly 3 year old than I would normally be accustomed to doing. That by remembering that he needs to be given more absolute instructions, not the more thoretical directions you give older kids and expect them to interpret.

Do see about getting yourself some respite care and a therapist. If there is any way you can do these two things, you will feel like a new momma. A mother's helper would be so beneficial to your own mental health.

Also, I would never leave them with the grandmother again unless you or your husband is there. She has been part and parcel to the abuse and I would not allow her any unsuperivised access to the kids.

Boys are a whole 'nother breed! Some of their behavior is just odd. I have three, believe me! I came from a family of three girls and all I ask my DH on a regular basis is "why????" If they can do it, they will! Even simple games of hide and seek can end up with a kids tied to a tree, because there was some rope nearby and it sounded like a good idea!

One last piece of advice on Ashlyn's food issues. Some kids that I have read about in my adoption research, that have had a lack of food in their past need a constant remider that it's available. Many of them hoard food, but Ashlyn's behavior may be similar. Maybe create a basket of snacks that she can have anytime she wants...crackers, fruit, fruit chews, etc. Anything that you are comfortable with her having and then remind her that she can eat them anytime, so that she will eventually feel comfortable having food on a regular basis and will eventually learn to ask for it. Not sure if it applies, but I figure, it can't hurt since she's already underweight.

to you mama!!! It will get better! It just takes a long time and it can be a hard journey.
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:31 PM   #46
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

I hope I don't get flamed for what I am about to say and honestly I am not in your shoes so you can tell me I'm an idiot and go to he-double hockey stix if you want, but I think that if it were me I would try to sit down with a counselor of my own just to determine if I was going to be able to keep Ashlyn. I don't think anything you are dealing with is unexpected considering what the children have been through, but it doesn't seem to me like you have much of a support system in place and if I didn't at least have DH backing me up with both of them every single day I would have to consider what was best for everyone in the long run. You as far as your sanity and the guilt you will feel if you put her back in the system now vs. having to give up on it later, or worse blowing up at her because you took on too much and snap. (Not saying that YOU would but I sure might) Your bio-children as far as the negative effects her presence is having on them. Jon as far as him seeing her as a reminder of that life could hinder his progress, and of course Ashlyn as knowing that you are having difficulty bonding with her because kids always seem to know right?
I feel like I am playing devils advocate and its certainly not my foster child I would be sending back so I can only imagine how heart wrenching and guilt inducing the idea is but you have clearly thought about it. Perhaps some intensive counseling for you personally can help you come to the right decision.
I know it sounds as if I am suggesting giving up on her and I'm not really I am not, I am just suggesting that if you cannot decide if you are capable of taking care of her in addition to your other children (and of course yourself) then perhaps she would have a better opportunity elsewhere?
Ok I feel guilty just posting this, but I feel like you should know that its ok to consider these things. I certainly wouldn't judge you for considering them. If you decide that you can keep her and love her as your own then you truly will have to love her as your own so you need to know if you are able to do that or not. I certainly have love for children who are not my own, but to say that you will love them as one of your own is different. I hope I am making sense! Whatever you decide I sincerely wish you the best. It sounds like you are doing an excellent job and perhaps just need encouragement with all of these things you are dealing with.
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:41 PM   #47
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Look up strategies to deal with children with FASD Ashlyn may very well have this. Google Diane Malbin. She's really good, runs a center for educating others on FASD.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:27 AM   #48
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

Celia,
I have no advice on taking in other children, I can only offer you words of encouragement about what an incredible thing you are doing. That said, all the posts I've read had assumed that all of Jon's behavior is due to his upbringing. Most of it probably is, but some might simply be the boy in him. I think you have two daughters, yes? I have three boys, and virtually all of my friends have girls. In comparison, my children are like neanderthals compared to my friend's gentle girls. Some days I feel absolutely exhausted from being a human jungle gym and referee. Correction.....most days.
We recently put my oldest (also the roughest) into wrestling. Not only is he getting some of his physical craziness out, he is learning to be part of a team, and follow instructions from his coaches. I can hear how proud he is when he says "I'm wearing my team jacket". He feels connected to and a part of a positive group. Maybe some kind of sport would help Jon with energy, focus, and team work.
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:29 PM   #49
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Re: Looking 4 Advice on Raising Young Kids from Abusive & Severely Neglectful Backgro

I don't have much advice but think you are awesome for just considering caring for them if even short term. Many moms would never even do this yet at least you are trying. My heart breaks for these children and how terrible they were obviously treated since birth.

In a tiny way I can sympathize with your reaction with your daughter and A. When I am around another child my daughter's age who does things that seriously annoy me, I am so grateful to have my daughter. She is observant, good memory, pretty, kind, sweet, quiet, etc etc etc. When I am around a little boy for example that is active, does not speak near as well nor near as smart....I get annoyed with him because I am comparing him to my daughter. Yes, she does annoying things at times but those are things I can and choose to deal with. Other kids have annyoing qualities that almost seem to bombard my personality and I just don't want to be around them even though they are not being bad. They are just different.

That would definitely be a scary situation for us and I know I would resent my husband being able to leave everyday for work with me dealing with all this alone. I also would resent how the foster kids would influence my own kids.

I'm sorry you are stressed and hope you find some answers. These kids are so fortunate to have you in their lives. I hope they can continue to improve and trust you and mesh into the family.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:37 AM   #50
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This is an old post and OP hasn't posted on the forum since this thread.
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