Saturday, November 8, 2014


Last weekend we had our first two-night pass since Christian has been able to make home visits.  Maybe it's because it was Halloween, and maybe not...but it was hard.  We picked him up after he finished school on Friday, and from that time until he went to bed Saturday night being a parent was a lot of work.  Sometimes parenting is easy and you just get to bask in the loveliness.  Other times not so much.  There were no breakdowns and no fits, but there was an awful lot of resistance.  Thankfully, Sunday was better.
I relayed all that to his therapist and she spoke with him about it in their regular session.  When we had family therapy we discussed it a bit more, and incorporated what he's learned about willingness and radical acceptance into the conversation.  Christian was able to admit to what had happened without falling apart or blaming anyone else, and let me tell you that is a big deal all by itself.

We picked him up yesterday afternoon for another overnight pass and this is one of those where you get to just love and appreciate each moment.  We decided to stop at Dunkin Donuts on the way home yesterday afternoon (I can't seem to get enough donuts at the moment) and for the most part we had the place to ourselves.  After we'd been there about 20 minutes, the only other patron in the store laughed at something she overheard Audrey say.  We spoke to her for a minute or two and she said, "you have two very well-behaved children, and that's not something you see everyday."
My heart swelled with pride.  I know she doesn't know us or our journey, but I sure did appreciate what she said!
Last night after the kids were in bed Chris and I were talking more about these skills that our family is learning together:  willingness, radical acceptance, and coping ahead just to name a few.  We are choosing to look on the bright side and think about how much better we'll all be for making this a part of who we are now.
One step closer.

I'm so thankful for them.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

First Day: October 2014

Happy October!  
It's been almost a year since I've done a First Day post. :)  
Here are just a few bits from our first day of October.

A current addiction

A new addition to my list of favorite children's books!!  If you have a little one,  you should get it.

From one of the pregnancy apps I's obviously not their mission to be uplifting.

Thanks to Nicole for continuing to be an inspiration!


My girl is FIVE!  I can hardly believe it.  This sweet thing is such a light in our family and makes me laugh all the time.  In her element she is playful and silly.  In unfamiliar places she still hides behind me in a way that makes her seem painfully shy to those that don't know her.  She loves to help in the kitchen.  Everything is a song for her.  I pray she carries this lighthearted joy with her always.

Happy 5th Birthday Audrey Kathryn!

October 2013 - September 2014

She's been asking for two weeks if she could have little debbies for her birthday breakfast.  How could I refuse?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

One More Step

Last night was a special one. For the first night in a little over four months, we all slept under the same roof. As we've worked on Christian's treatment from as many angles as are possible, we've been trying to move closer and closer to where we are right now. That is, where we can all safely spend time together. Over the last few weeks our passes have gone really well. We've had some nice visits on campus, several out and about, as well as a couple of home day passes. Last week the team that is responsible for Christian's treatment plan asked if we felt comfortable trying for an overnight pass. Each time we've had a good experience together recently, we've been able to build on that success and did feel ready to take that plunge. 
I was excited...but I was also nervous. There was a strange balancing act happening in my mind simultaneously knowing how wonderful and how terrible the experience could be. Chris and I talked a good bit about our plans for last night and today. 
We also prayed.  A lot. 

They made some ice cream together.  Good thing it turned out...since they've been worrying me to death about it!

Having them both here for breakfast this morning was so good for me. 

It was nice. It was a reminder of good times we've had as a family before and a glimpse of what we can have going forward. There was a lot of normal yesterday that made me feel like a sponge. All I had to do was soak up what was happening here.   
There were also a few moments that made me wonder if we were heading for trouble. 
We're all learning. We're testing the waters and using skills that we've learned in the last few months. We're figuring it out together. 

I read a blog today that I really enjoy and have made mention of before.  The author is Kelle Hampton, and the line that really stuck out in what I read today said ,"Loving, even when it's hard, is the payoff in parenting."  
I get that today.  Loving these children God gave us is sometimes the most effortless thing we do...other times it's hard.  Not hard to say you love them, or know it to the core of your soul... but hard in the work that is required when you love someone so fiercely.  This season we're in is hard.  No doubt about it.  We don't deserve these beautiful little people, so even when it's hard work it is amazing.  

One step at a time.
We're getting there.  

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Uncharted Territory

Parenting is something you can only prepare for to a point.  You can know that there will be a lack of sleep in the beginning and that potty training might just break you.  You know that the first day of school is coming, that one day your children will learn how to drive, and that likely you'll go through some times where your kid is hanging out with the wrong crowd.  There's a lot of other stuff though that there's no way to get your mind and heart ready for.
Since March of this year, Chris and I have been in uncharted territory.
Christian has always been a pretty difficult kid...maybe because we don't know his background, maybe because he's a wild boy, maybe because that's just the way he's's not really something you can know with certainty.  He's always been one to throw fits, but as he's gotten older they've escalated instead of gotten better and the fit we saw that changed our perspective happened one Saturday afternoon in March.  The trigger was nothing more than some other kids not doing what he wanted them to do. When he came to complain to me I suggested that he play with some other kids and that was enough to send him into the kind of behavior that no one wants to imagine their child will ever display.  What transpired in the following three hours was unimaginable...screaming, hitting, kicking, biting, spitting, hissing, and the list goes on.  He was advancing on us with intent to do harm and would not be talked down from his rage.
In the midst of something like this, damage control was pretty much all we could do.  Once it was over though, we knew we were in a new place and something else had to be done.  We called the pediatrician and they were able to see us that Monday.  Once we'd explained the situation to the doctor, he referred us to a behavioral counselor.  We saw her the following morning and from there were referred to a behavioral health facility.  This is not the kind of place I ever imagined I might step foot in.  Chris and I had explained very clearly to Christian that we didn't know how best to help him, so we needed some other people to help us through this process.  Unless you have been sitting in our chairs or walking in our shoes, let me go ahead and tell you that this was the hardest day we had ever experienced together and you can't possibly imagine what it was like.  It is a very humbling thing to ask for help in a great many situations, but this took the cake.  I cried more tears that day than I knew could pour out of me.
We walked away from there that day without our son.  Although we prayed and believed that this was the best next step in figuring out how to move forward, it was still terribly difficult.  That first time he was admitted he stayed for seven days.  Over the next six weeks, Christian had to be admitted to that same behavioral health facility three more times.  We became well acquainted with phrases like "a danger to himself and others" as well as "rage and impulse control."  All the while we continued to be baffled at what was coming from his six year old little body.  There were days during those weeks when everything seemed ok.  We were trying therapy and medication to see if we could get to a better place; a more manageable situation.  We started to gauge everything by how our boy might take it or what might send him into another fit.  The most difficult part of that was never knowing what might set him off.
After dealing with a lot of back and forth for six weeks, we decided to try a different direction.  We knew that calling 911 to come transport our child to the hospital every couple of weeks was not a great plan.  Chris and I went and toured a more long term care facility and felt really comforted by what we learned about the facility itself as well as the impressions made on us by the staff.  In May, we admitted Christian there and he has been there since.  While we don't have a release date, we do have a lot more knowledge than we did three months ago.  Not only does Christian attend all different types of therapy each week, we also have family therapy so that we're all learning how to cope with our new situation.
Our current normal doesn't look like it did a year ago.  It's a lot more appointments and communication with doctors, nurses, and therapists.  It's visits with our child instead of living with him.  It's still confusing.  It's still heart-breaking.  We still don't know what our normal will look like in another year.

A game of Trouble during an on campus visit

What we do know is that God chose our children to be ours.  He made them for us and us for them.  He knew this would be part of our journey.  In those weak moments when I've wondered what I did wrong, I have to remember this.  Thankfully we are surrounded by people who love us and want what's best for us.  Thankfully the naysayers have kept their comments to themselves and instead what we've heard is a whole lot of folks telling us they stand with us and that what we're doing for our family takes courage.

Today we had a home visit that went really well.  It's been in the works for five weekends in a row and finally all the requirements were met.  I was a little nervous, but everything was great.  I looked in my rearview mirror today and got choked up seeing all my people together.  It felt so blissfully normal.  We needed this.  It's a small victory, but a much needed one.

To those of you who are our net, our people who are ready to catch us, to keep Audrey while we go to yet another appointment, to love us like we need it, to continue to pray for us:  thank you.  Those words seem inadequate, but know that we wouldn't be able to do this on our own.