Thursday, December 22, 2016

Caleb & NAET

A month or so ago I had Caleb and Kash in for ADHD med checks.  We have a new pediatrician now because our previous pediatrician retired (this was a ridiculously sad moment for me).  Our new pediatrician, Dr. Sandgren, is good with the kids and easy to talk to about whatever issues the kids are having.  He told me that he didn't have a lot of experience dealing with ADHD when we first saw him so I was nervous about that.  So far though, he's been a good fit for us.  At this last visit he told me that Caleb had dropped from the 4% for weight down to the 2% for weight and from the 4% for height down to the 3% for height.  This is not good news.  He hasn't lost any weight, he just isn't, at all.  I talked to him about our experience with the Wellness Clinic and the dietitian last winter/spring.  He told me that if he recommended us to the dietitian that he would recommend us to a different one than the one we worked with before (good to know - he was a moron).  He also told me that if we saw progress at the Wellness Clinic to go back.  He said that Caleb might just be small his whole life, but he needs to stay on the growth curve and not fall off it completely like he has almost done.  He told us that if Caleb didn't make some progress we would be back to getting a referral for the PCMC Failure to Thrive Clinic.

So, we ventured back to see JanaLee at the Wellness Clinic a week and a half ago.  She did a test to check his numbers.  When we originally saw her his numbers were in the low 600's.  He had to be in the 900's to complete the NAET rounds.  Hence the reason he was going so regularly for six months - we had to boost his numbers before doing NAET.  The day of his test, his numbers were in the mid 700's.  This tells me that had I waited much longer to go back his numbers would have been right back where we started in Oct. 2015.  After looking at his results and telling her what the pediatrician said she asked me if he had ever been referred to an endocrinologist.  I told her he hadn't.  She told me that his pituitary and endocrine levels were quite low.  I asked if she thought I should start looking for an endocrinologist.  She asked that we give her until spring to see if she can't do some good before we start looking.  I agreed that would be fine.  I asked if she knew any endocrinologists in the valley.  She told me the ones she does know aren't ones that specialize in dealing with kids.  She said that she thinks if it comes to that, that we would be best off seeing one at PCMC.

Caleb's now taking a pituitary supplement (it's not a hormone supplement - she said she doesn't dare give him a hormone supplement because he's so young), a bacteria supplement and two different kinds of drops twice a day.  Suddenly the kid is hungry more and is vocal about it.  That makes this mama a happy mama!  After visiting with JanaLee and thinking about all of the things she said, I've decided that a pituitary and/or endocrine issue could explain a lot of things about Caleb.  He's lost 8 teeth, but the dentist has pulled 6 of those 8 because they don't get loose at all (he actually has to have 2 more pulled come February).  When he was seeing JanaLee and taking the supplements he grew a good 3+ inches and gained 10 pounds.  Since he hasn't been in since May, he hasn't grown even an inch and hasn't gained a single pound.  He's also gone back to hardly eating anything each day.  I'm hoping that JanaLee can make some more progress with him so that we don't have to go down to PCMC.  However, I'm also grateful that at least we will have a starting point if we do have to go to PCMC.

Foster Care Adventure

I haven't really said a lot about our foster care adventure - at least not in a public place - to many people.  I figure I ought to jot it down for memory though.

We were able to welcome our niece, Olivia (5), and nephew, Kash (9) into our home on Caleb's 8th birthday (July 18).  Their mom asked to place them in our home until she and Chad were able to care for them.  We only had them three days and then they went back to Scott and Kris's home, where they had been staying since about October 2015.  I called DCFS the day after the kids left our home and an investigation was opened.  The kids returned to our home the first or second full week of August (after they went to Lake Powell with Scott and Kris).  On August 30, the kids were made wards of the state.  The state then turned temporary custody over to Travis and I.

We decided that it would be in our best interest, and in the best interest of the kids, to become state certified foster parents.  This has been a long process.  We started the process back in September and only just received our state foster care license on December 16.  Becoming state certified foster parents means there are more rules and regulations for Travis and I.  However, it also means there are more resources for Travis and I, as well as more resources for the kids.  Now that we have our probationary license, we need to do 10 hours of online classes/training and I need to do my CPR certification again.  This will lead us to receive our initial license.  Having the initial license means that we will need to do 16 hours of in service training.  Once those 16 hours are completed we will have our license in place for a year.  We will have to renew our license with more in service hours each year. The type of license we have only allows us to be a kinship placement.  This means that we can only take family members as foster kids.  If we were to decide that we wanted to be "regular" foster parents, we would need to complete an additional 32 hours of training that is required to be face to face training (no online classes).  At this time we will be staying a strictly kinship foster license.

We've had people ask if we would adopt the kids if it came to that.  Our answer is yes.  We wouldn't have taken them in the first place if we weren't willing to adopt them at some point if that became necessary.  Right now though, their parents have until August 30, 2017 to get all their ducks in a row.  Our ultimate goal is reunification.  We don't know if or when that will happen.  It really isn't up to us, it's up to the kids' parents.  There are a lot of requirements their parents have to meet in order to be considered for reunification.  They aren't impossible requirements, but they are difficult requirements for people in their situation to meet.  We will see what the next year brings.  As of right now both parents are back in jail until February and March.  We'll be starting close to square one again when they get back out of jail.

Given everything the kids have/are going through, they are doing quite well.  They are enjoying Canyon Elementary and have made many friends.  Kash did football this year and a few kids on his team also go to his school.  That made for an easier transition this fall for him.  Kash started scouts in August and has absolutely loved it.  Olivia started dance with Brooke in September and she is loving that as well (Sam is the teacher assistant in their dance class each week.)  We have both kids seeing the school counselor in addition to a counselor up at USU Marriage and Family Counseling.  She's been absolutely amazing with the kids.  They don't typically take cases like this but she has been fantastic to work with.  I would highly recommend her to anyone.  I think it helps that she specializes in working with kids too.  The kids love going to primary each week and Kash is looking forward to being baptized in the spring.  We've had many people comment to us on the differences they've seen in the kids from before they came to us and now.  People keep saying how they admire us, etc.  I have a hard time taking that in stride.  I feel like we are the lucky ones to have them in our home.  I also feel like anyone would have done what we are doing.  It isn't an easy road, but it's family and this is what you do for family.  I would hope our family would do the same for us if it was us in this position.

Although this foster care adventure has been just that, an adventure, I would do it all again (and I'm pretty sure Travis would too).  We love the kids and are glad they are safe and happy.  We are hoping for the best in this situation - whatever the best may be.  Thanks to all of you who have given us support through this difficult time!

Halloween 2016

The kids had their Halloween piano recital out at the Red Balloon again this year.  Nash rocked his ballerina costume.  One of the kids asked him if he planned to wear that to school and he told her yes.  She said, "You know people are going to laugh at you, right?"  In true Nash form he looks right at her and says, "So?"  The kid rocked it.  The only down side to this year's recital is that Nash hurt one of his wrists a week or so prior and had it in a brace to help reduce swelling.  His song was painfully slow, but he played it and he had it memorized!

A few days before Halloween one of the family's in our ward had a Halloween party (the big old church I use to dance in is where they live).  Travis was a brave soul and took all the kids without me (I was at work at the store).  All the kids and Travis were dressed up in their costumes.  Turns out they won best family costumes!  Their costumes didn't even coordinate!  Brother Bates said he loved that everyone in the family was dressed up and they were all participating and having a good time.  Love that Travis is home and able to do these things now!

 The pumpkin carving was quite the experience with six kids carving all at once!  The hard part is getting them to understand that basic shapes are the easiest to cut out and take the least amount of time!  They all have grand ideas and then peter out part way through.  They turned out good though I think!

 I made significantly fewer costumes this year than I did last year!  We bought Kash's costume but made his Jack in the Box box (which he quickly abandoned  on Halloween).  Nash used one of Sam's old dance costumes.  We bought Sam's Harleigh Quinn costume pieces.  I made Caleb's Grim Reaper costume.  I made Olivia's Harleigh Quinn costume and I made Brooke's Wicked Witch of the West costume.  I was glad the three I made were simple costumes to make!  In true mom fashion Caleb's was finished the night before Halloween!  At least it was finished!

For the first time in 17 years we didn't go to Scott & Kris's house for Halloween.  This year we took the kids to the Trunk or Treat at the church and then let them Trick or Treat around our neighborhood and ward.  We also went down to Grandma Terri's house.  Scott and Kris came out and saw the kids at Grandma Terri's house.  It was a different kind of Halloween experience, but it was a good one!