Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Kids

Poor neglected blog!!! Someday I will explain it all, I am dying to start writing again! For now a post of a summer album, and some of the things we are up to. School starts in just a few weeks!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Sunday

  Although I have had to work most Sundays thru the school year I traded with someone yesterday, and we had a FABULOUS church service.  Later, Nick came over for dinner and we had grilled leg of lamb stuffed with garlic and rosemary, grilled corn on the cob, and a salad with lettuce from the garden.  GREAT DAY!  I am blessed!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Up For Air!

Look how much Elle has grown!  She and her best friend have been the same size FOREVER!  Not anymore...
Yes, it's been a wild and often fabulous ride, the last several months.  I am still here, and I will be writing all about it very soon!  AND I plan to take up my friend Jennifer's friend Claudia challenge on writing about the "A" word:  yes, you know...ATTACHMENT.  I have much to say.  Until then, a few photos from the skating rink the other night.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Christmas Story

Having computer difficulty again, and plan a more personal post within the next few days, because we had an amazing Christmas.  But for the time being I want to pass this story on:

Saved By Christmas

It is an adoption story.  Alot of God in this, as there is in so many of our own stories.

The really good news is that Ava has been out of the hospital for 10 days.  This is the longest stretch she has had since all this started 3 months ago, and for this I am so grateful.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Saturday In The Park

Just pictures today.  That's all!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Longing For Normality

The last few days I have been a little frantic when I have not had my camera on me to catch the "normal" moments in our lives.  Like the other day at the park, where all three little kids were just acting like kids, playing, getting along with each other, and having fun.  I want to remember these times, as they are interspersed into what has become the chaos.  Although I have to say that even the chaos is becoming routine.   The only thing that changes is that every time Ava goes off the deep end, she pushes the envelope a little harder.

I sort of alternate between recording these incidents either on our yahoo group or on this blog.  Why, you might ask, would I do that?  Well, I am learning that documentation is very important, and these incidents are so compressed that it is easy to get confused in having to remember facts.

So, as of today, we are on hospitalization #7 since Sept. 24, 2010.  She lasted 4 days out this time, although technically she could have been readmitted the day after she came out, if the insurance would have allowed it, which they wouldn't.  Because she says she hears voices telling her to hurt herself and other people.  Despite this, we were able to keep her stabilized for several days, which was good, we were able to make some progress in getting her help.  Although my meeting with the school last month was difficult, the worthwhile result is that there is a team of county educators with resources looking for good solutions, and working hard at it.  So there is progress on that front.  She managed to get in a really good session with her therapist who is addressing her attachment issues.  But by Friday, she was crumbling, and I was surprised we made it to Saturday afternoon.  Behavior progressed typically:  wanted to go shopping when the plan was to stay home and get the Christmas tree up.  That set her off, she started agressing pretty severely on Elle and Stevenson which led to  me locking them in the house and me staying outside with her.  Started throwing rocks at me and at the house.  I called 911 (I just got my windows replaced, and I just was not going there again!) She went out in the middle of the street.  I asked her if she knew she could get hurt that way.  She took off, running down the middle of the street.  I started following her when I realized she was going to keep going.  A jeep was coming down the street towards her, she would not get out of the road.  The jeep stopped.  She stopped.  I got back on the phone with dispatch and asked them to hurry.   When I walked past the jeep (a very nice couple) they asked if there was anything they could do, I said thank you, no, I had the sheriff's office on the phone and they were on their way.  Once I got past the car, Ava started running again, west towards the railroad tracks and the Atlanta Highway,  (Yes, that very same Atlanta Highway the b 52's sing about in "Love Shack") a busy place.  As I told the dispatcher, not good.  But every time I would start to run after her she would take off running, so we just walked and walked at a fast clip, she was about 50 feet ahead of me. We walked about a 1/2 mile.  She crossed the railroad tracks and started walking along the Highway.  I was gaining on her, and she kept looking back at me, but she was letting me catch her.  Dispatch told me to stay on the phone.  I was able to grab her just as she tried to jump out in the road.  The sheriff showed up about a minute later.  She resisted him and he put her in handcuffs and down on the ground face first.  She refused to walk to the police car and tried to kick the officer.  She did not have her shoes on, just socks, and her feet were soaking wet and it was cold too.  Finally the ambulance came, and off she went to the emergency room.  She ended up having to be restrained there too, because she demanded food when she got there and wanted the TV on and did not get immediate gratification.  I left the room after she spit on me.  She calmed down after the therapist came and talked to her. She did apologize for spitting on me.  9 hours after entering the emergency room they packed her up to go to the psyche hospital and hour and a half away.  She was very unhappy about this.  The nurse told me this morning she cried herself to sleep.  The nurse just called again.  She is uncooperative and aggressive this morning as well and has already had to spend some time in the 'quiet' room.

After the first of the year she goes into a residential program for (hopefully) 30 days.  I don't think that is enough for her, so this is what I am working on, getting her funded for a program that will be more concentrated and long term than that.    Despite conditions at the orphanage, I honestly believe that Ava's biggest problem is her separation from her first family and extended family, whom are now exalted in her mind.  She can't let go and move on with her life.  She is literally sick with grief.  The psyche eval should answer the question as to whether or not she is disordered in addition to that.  She is a very sick little girl, which she is in complete denial about.  She is in so much pain, she will do just about anything to get out of it.  She wanted drugs at the emergency room, but fortunately, that did not happen this time.  Her thought process is that the pain is so great (all the time) that she is up for killing herself to kill the pain, even though she does not really understand what that means.  She is also out of school now, because she is freaking out the other kids. She is home bound. (When she is not hospitalized)  I am off work until after the first of the year.  So yes.  I am longing for normality.  For me, for Ava, for Lucas, for Elle, for Stevenson.  I don't see it on the near horizon.  But I am unwilling to give up on my girl.


Before all this occurred yesterday, we had a pretty normal time at the Christmas Parade.  I just bought a new camera, which I am so jacked up about!  (Good-bye Kodak Easy-Share and good riddance!)

what a face!

Santa Claus

Harry Dawg

friends from church

waiting for candy!
So yes, this is the normal, juxtaposed against the abby-normal.  And right now, this is my life.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Ava is home again.  As of last night.  I have not had time to update here much, but about 48 hours after her last release she was rehospitalized.  That was last Thursday.  She came home from that stay angry and defiant, and by day two we were in deep water.  It ended after she crashed my front window with a rock, the flying glass missing Stevenson and Elle's heads by about 12".  I called the sheriff and the ambulance and this time she went to the emergency room willingly.  She did not stay there willingly, she tried to walk out, which ended badly involving hospital security, about 6 personnel members, bed restraints and a sedative.  Not to mention another hospitalization.  Perhaps I have just grown cynical, but to me it seemed like she was an actress on a stage.  She knew what would happen when she did all those things.  The hospital has urged me not to re-admit her, but to use the Juvenile Justice System instead next time.  No one says 'should it come to that' anymore.  I think we all know it will come to that again, it's just a matter of time.  Do I think Ava will benefit from the JJS?  No.  But maybe yes.  She is sick and possibly even dangerous and needs  long term residential treatment. That is her best hope.  Going thru JJS may be the only way to get that for her.  My upgraded insurance, when it kicks in (January) will only cover 30 days once a year.  30 days is not going to be enough time to turn her around.  First of all, because she is not really interested in changing her behavior.  And she likes being the center of the drama, which she certainly is. She is pretty much non-functional.  She cannot function properly at school or at home.  Well, she can for awhile.  Till she blows up again.  For her, it's all about control.  This is how she controls everybody, and it's pretty effective.

Elle said something to me the other day that was revealing for so many reasons.  She told me it was my fault Ava was in the hospital. After I recovered from my shock I asked her why she thought that.  She said I wanted to put her in there.  I assured her that was not true, and asked her again wny she thought that.  She said that I say things that I know will make Ava mad. In other words, I don't let her do what she wants to. I let her know why, I draw a line, a boundary.

I tried to explain to Elle what I do and why I do it, but not sure that got thru to her.

Let me clarify:  I generally work hard not to escalate situations.  I've gotten alot better about not yelling, about talking calmly, and sometimes when Ava says really outrageous things I ignore her because I know what she wants is a reaction. Often that escalates her to more outrageous behavior and ends up having to be met with limits.  Like restraint, or police, or ambulance or hospital.  Elle's comment made me wonder how much Ava was placated in Haiti.  Not so much at the orphanage, but at home.  She is very grandiose.  She expects compliance.  She is outraged when she does not receive it.

Right now she is walking around in kind of a bubble.  She is happy to be at home, but she is not willing to change her behavior or thinking.  She is tolerating my rules for now.  I talked to her about the JJS.  I told her that she might have to go there instead of the hospital next time, and she does not care.  She is very naive about what that is all about, and does not hear the facts.  She is in a bubble and she thinks she is bulletproof.

I am desperately worried for her and her future.  It's also difficult to attend to the other's neediness when she is taking up all the space, and unfair for them too.   I am being held up by a power greater than myself, I can assure you, and that is what keeps me moving forward in a mostly rational manner.  So if you are a prayer, please continue.  Please continue for all of us.  Thanks.

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