Category Archives: adoption

Life in Adoption . . .

As a parent of children who were adopted out of Foster Care. I would like to recommend another blog. It is called Confessions of an Adoptive Parent, and has been of immense encouragement to me. I wanted to reblog a specific post, but couldn’t find a reblog button. So, I’m sending you to it here.

This post has been very helpful to me more than once, and I hope it will help you to see what parents like us go through. When you see a family like this, don’t judge them, be compassionate instead.

As always, I would just love it if you would join me in all of “My Journeys Through Life.” Just go to the subscription box at the top of the blog and enter your email information. After that, you will always know when there is something new happening. I hope to see you here very soon! -)

Leave a comment

Filed under adoption

Is There A Family With Special Needs Children In Your Church?

How well do you relate to them? How well do your KIDS relate to them? Here’s the thing . . . when these kids are little, they are cute, and their “issues” are much more easily overlooked. A child born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and mental retardation, who is also on the autism spectrum, gets lots of understanding when he or she is a toddler. Believe me, I know. My oldest, “The Batman”, IS that child. He was adopted at age 2, and he isn’t a cute little toddler anymore. It’s so much harder for him now, because he KNOWS he’s different now. He regularly asks me (yet again) if his “friends” know he has these disabilities, hoping (yet again) that maybe they don’t, that somehow, he has successfully hidden it. And yes, he does try, so very hard, to act like the other kids who are teens, not really understanding that it isn’t working. He wants to be accepted so very badly, as do all kids like him, as do, in fact, all kids, whether disabled or not.

So. Do you have a kid, or kids like this in your church? Do you know how to treat them? Do your own children know how? Because if not, you need to learn how to accept them where they are, and for the person that they are, even when that means cutting them some slack if they are annoying. Most of the time, they truly do not understand that they are annoying.

If you have a family like this in your church, here are my suggestions:

  1. Befriend them. And I mean for real, not just in the superficial way that so often happens. Befriend them. Spend time with them. Have dinner with them. Take part in other activities with them. We’ve been fortunate enough to find friends in our church here who do want to spend time with us, people who have been to our home for dinner (on holidays, no less!), or who have had us to their homes for dinner. But, we’ve also, in years past, been part of churches where we felt very excluded.
  2. Learn about the disabilities their children deal with. You may find yourself surprised to discover that an awful lot of the time, what you think is bad behavior, annoying behavior, etc . . ., is directly attributed to the disability, or multiple disabilities working together against the child. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times over the years I’ve been told, either directly or in a round-about way that my child would be more pleasant to be around if I would “just discipline him more”.
  3. Don’t just befriend the child/children, befriend the parents. Do they ever get to go out without their children? We all know how important things like regular date nights are to a marriage, but do you realize that most couples with children like this RARELY get regular date nights? Do you know that there is a higher rate of divorce among couples with these children?
  4. Try harder to understand the behavior in kids like this, ESPECIALLY when they have reached the teen years and beyond.  “Children with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure activities. The disorder makes it hard for them to communicate with others and relate to the outside world. In some cases, aggressive and or self-injurious behaviors may be involved.” My son is pretty high functioning compared to many others with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, mental retardation and autism, which has been attributed to the fact that we took him out of school right after kindergarten and began homeschooling him, but even so, he still does, and always will, have serious problems when it comes to social interaction.

My child has battled these disorders for 20 years now, almost 21 years. He has problems when it comes to communication, he has difficulty with timeline, and definitely with social interaction. He is also, when you really take the trouble to get to know him, to befriend him, and help him to feel that he is safe to “be himself” with you,  one of the kindest, most giving and loving people I have ever known, in my whole life.  But, if he feels unsafe to “be himself”, he becomes anxious. He will pull his eyebrows out, and has, at times, pulled large patches of his hair out of his head. He doesn’t “get” social cues most of the time, and often, when someone is “joking around”, he doesn’t get that, either, and thinks they are serious. Sadly, sometimes they actually AREN’T just joking, because they themselves don’t “get it” when it comes to kids like this.

There are children like mine in many, many churches, and if they are fortunate, they are loved, accepted, and have friends. Is this the case in YOUR church? Are these kids included, loved, and treated as though they truly are your children’s friends? Are you teaching your children to be kind and caring, even if those children are “weird”? Because you do your children a disservice if you aren’t teaching them this. In all of their life, both now, and later when they are grown, your children WILL have interactions with people who are “different”. Will they be kind to them? Or will they be intolerant of the differences? Will they stand up for them? Or will they join the bullies, because they themselves fear being bullied?

I have other kids who do not have as significant disabilities as “The Batman”, and it is my goal, which I hope I’m being successful in, to make sure they are learning to help their brother, and other kids like him. To stick up for them, to befriend them, to care about them. I believe this will make a difference in THEIR lives, even later, when they are grown and on their own, which I believe some of them will be able to be. I want my less disabled children to grow up with empathy, and caring hearts.

As believers, I think we need to be aware of these things. My kids, just like all those other kids who are “different”, will never be “safe” to just be themselves in most settings, but more than anything, if you are a believer, I want you to know and understand that outside of their own home and family, the one place they should never, ever have to worry about being able to “be themselves” is when they are with their church family. Look around your church. Are there kids like this? Are they REALLY safe to be themselves? With you? With your children? With their Sunday School teachers? With ANYONE? Because they should be, and if you’re not sure you agree, then maybe you need to read more about Jesus, and how He was with children. The church isn’t just a social club. It is a family.

5 Comments

Filed under adoption, Christian faith, Church, family, Kids, Special Needs Children

Fundanoodle . . . Putting the FUN into Writing! A T.O.S. Review

Often, when we receive review opportunities from the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we get things which really add some fun to the day. Fundanoodle, another product that I had never heard of, was just one instance of that sort of thing!

We received two books . . . I Can Write Lower Case!

and I Can Write My Own Stories!

Both of these tablets are suggested for ages 5 – 6, or K – 1st grade. Because of their developmental delays, along with other special needs, these were the tablets I chose when asked which products I would like to review.

“Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” were adopted four years ago at the age of 8, and could not read or write much at all, something we’ve very slowly been working on, along with other things that had to be made priorities. Now, though, they have progressed to the point that they can sit and do this, so we wanted to give this product a try.

With cute characters such as Max the Monkey and Alphie the Adventurer, Fundanoodle has been putting the “fun” back into writing practice around here. 🙂

“Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” our twins, have been working with these two books during the review period. What I have chosen to do is have them work together on the same page, by alternating lines, as you can see below . . .

“Mr. Loquacious”
008

“The Puzzler”
007

The Fundanoodle Handwriting Program was actually developed by two pediatric occupational therapists, Michelle Yoder, OTR/L, CIMI, and Amy Bumgarner, MS, OTR/L. Between the two of them, they have over twenty years of experience, with therapy specialty areas such as:

– sensory processing disorders
– autism and
– therapeutic listening
– the interactive metronome method
– TAMO and
– the SOS feeding approach

BOTH “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” have sensory processing issues, and “The Puzzler” is on the autism spectrum, which definitely caused this product to be of interest to me, when I read that the specialty areas of the developers of these products included both of these disorders, something I didn’t realize until I fully explored the Fundanoodle website.

We really liked the special instructions at the top of each page in the I Can Write Lower Case Tablet, words like “Zip” (make a straight line), “Zoom” ( make a diagonal line), “Buzz” (make a curved line), “hop” (hop on the page), “Bump” (curve the line down), and “Dot” (make a dot). These illustrations words really helped “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” to “see” what they needed to do when they are making different letters.

The letters are taught in a logical progression, having been sequenced according to a child’s development of visual and motor skills, with letters grouped according to the way they are formed. For example, l, I, & t all have similar movements, and so they would be taught in order before moving on to letters such as o, c, & a. There are also extra practice pages in the back of the tablet, along with a page on the website where you may download extra practice pages by entering the numbers from the upc code on the back of the tablet.

In the tablet I Can Write My Own Stories, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” are practicing handwriting and writing concepts, including creative writing, sentence completion, story sequencing and more.

Story sequencing is a big thing for them to work on, so I really like that aspect of this tablet. In the very first story, they were given four pictures that told the story, and had to place a number within a smaller square on each picture to show which order the pictures belonged. After that, they were to write out what Alphie was doing, in order, to tell the story.

On a different page, they had to write a number next to the pre-written sentences to show what order they belonged in, and then draw a picture of what the story was about.

One of the things my boys most enjoyed, of course, was that for each completed page, there is a corresponding “I did it!” sticker to place at the bottom of the page. Since “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” are doing these tablets together, they are taking turns applying the stickers as well. Here is “The Puzzler” attaching the “I did it!” sticker to a page from the I Can Write My Own Stories! tablet . . .

011

These are spiral bound tablets, and in my opinion, one of the really nice things is that they are top bound, making them both left and right-hand friendly. I have an older child who is left-handed, and this would have benefitted him greatly when he was at the stage of learning to form letters.

Another great thing about Fundanoodle is that it takes very little time to do a page, so (at least in the case of MY boys), this product is beneficial when your kids have a very short attention span. Anything that takes “too long” becomes a battle around here.

I Can Write Lower Case! (52 sheets + sticker page) can be purchased here for $5.99, and I Can Write My Own Stories! (50 sheets + sticker pages) can be purchased here, also for $5.99.

I think “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” are both enjoying I Can Write Lower Case! and I Can Write My Own Stories!, which makes them worth the price to me. I’m fairly sure that we will continue using these tablets as a fun addition to our educational time, probably twice a week, unless they ask for it more often.

To read what the other Schoolhouse Review Crew members thought of the various products from Fundanoodle, please click the graphic below!

Photobucket


As always, I would LOVE it if you would join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life! Just go to the “sign me up” button at the top of the page and follow directions. Never miss an update again! 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under adoption, education, Fundanoodle, home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Kids, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, special needs education, TOS Review

Understanding Child Brain Development: Family Hope Center . . . A T.O.S. Review

As the parent of multiple children with special needs, I was interested in reviewing the DVD “Understanding Child Brain Development” from Family Hope Center by Matthew and Carol Newell, for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

This DVD runs about two hours, and is a LOT to go through in one sitting, but you can watch it in sections by using the chapter menu, thereby managing to take breaks without needing to leave your DVD player on pause for any length of time.

This DVD is a recording of a live presentation given by Matthew and Carol Newell. I had some issues with the sound quality ( I needed to turn the sound up quite a bit on the TV in order to hear it clearly ), and was unable to read the visual aids they used, but with the DVD you’ll receive a link for an e-book with all of the slides in it for use while following along.

The Family Hope Center’s purpose (and their belief in the possibility) is to help special needs children and their parents to overcome and “correct” brain dysfunctions and disabilities. Both Matthew and Carol Newell are certified in Craniosacral and Myofascial Release Therapy. They have been trained to work with special needs children, and they also used these theories with their own daughter.

The first part of the program gives a TON of really good information about child brain development, and how different things affect it. Things like getting more time to crawl around, instead of being put mostly into walkers, bouncers, car seats, and cribs. They also talked about how much better it is for the development of the brain for babies to be put to sleep on their stomachs, which surprised me, as I’ve been hearing the phrase “BACK to sleep” for years now, referring to the need to put babies on their backs when putting them to bed. We are told on the DVD that sleeping on their stomachs helps the baby’s digestion, and also aids the baby in learning to creep and crawl, which, as I mentioned above, is important in aiding the brain development.

While I found all of the information on child brain development to be fascinating, and am in complete agreement with the idea of limiting TV, electronic games, etc . . ., and that children should spend much more time playing, eating more nutritious foods and drinking a whole lot more water than they generally do (the water thing is a constant battle with our kids!), I did have issues with some of the things recommended to help and treat children with developmental disabilities.

I felt that this was yet one more time of being criticized if, as parents, we have chosen to allow our children to be put on medications. I do believe that for many children, medications are definitely called for, and that their disabilities cannot simply be treated and cured with alternative methods. There were things that I have heard before, such as not using microwave ovens, not allowing the use of cell phones, etc . . . that I, personally, have never seen any real proof of their scientific value. Admittedly, I have a bias when it comes to cell phones, as our income comes from my husband’s job with a major cell phone company, but truly, I don’t believe the theories that cell phone use causes medical problems to have been even close to proven. Nonetheless, our children don’t have them. Not because we believe these theories, but because we don’t believe children need to HAVE cell phones! 🙂

I will say that my oldest child, who has fetal alcohol syndrome, was the main reason I was interested in reviewing this DVD. He was adopted at age two, and is developmentally delayed. He also has some mental retardation and is on the autism spectrum. I got the impression from the Family Hope Center that developmental disabilities can be “cured” with their treatments, and I simply don’t believe it to be true. I do believe that they give a lot of good information that parents can do on their own to help their child, in fact, a lot of the ideas were things we did way back when “The Batman” was much younger. I agree whole-heartedly that we should be working with our children to help them be all that they can be, and to progress as far as they can, however, at the same time, I know that even as my son has progressed much further than the “experts” told us he would when we adopted him, he is very unlikely to progress past a certain point, which is why we have been given legal guardianship over him that will never expire now that he is over the age of 18.

Even though I do have more trust in medical science than I do in alternative medical advice, I know many people who absolutely swear by alternative healthcare, even some who will ONLY use alternative methods. If you fall into that category, then I think this DVD may be something you will want, if you have a child with special needs. In fact, if you don’t have a child with special needs, and even if, like me, you don’t believe quite so firmly in alternative methods of healthcare, I think you’ll find all of the information on child brain development to be very informative and interesting.

If you would like to view the DVD “Understanding Child Brain Development”, you may order it by calling (610)397-1737, or you can order directly from the Institute for Excellence in Writing, for the cost of $19.00

Other Schoolhouse Review Crew Members also watched and reviewed this DVD. To read what they thought, please click the graphic below

Photobucket

 photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif

Leave a comment

Filed under adoption, Family Hope Center, home education, homeschool products, Kids, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, Understanding Child Brain Development

“L” Is For . . .

Love . . . first, the biggest and best love, the love that God had for me, that He would send His only begotten Son, to sacrifice Himself to cover my sin. It just amazes me, that God would do that. For me. It’s so hard for me to understand how there can still be any people who would reject that love, that gift . . .

Love . . . that I feel for my husband of nearly 23 years. It hasn’t always been perfect, but I love my husband, and I’m so glad he’s still here, that he survived his surgeries, and is still here with me and our children.

Love . . . that I feel for each one of my children . . . I did not conceive or give birth to any of the four of them, but I could not love them any more if I had done so.

My life would be empty without these loves in it . . . I’m so very glad they ARE in it!

Leave a comment

Filed under adoption, Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2013, Christian faith, family, Kids

Latest happenings…

I am LOVING New Mexico weather! I have friends from back in Michigan telling me how they got dumped on with snow today, like 8 – 10 inches worth, in the case of one family we are close to . . . While *I* was out running errand with no coat, rather, I was wearing an open sweatshirt hoodie, lol!

Other happenings . . . It is becoming so apparent that being a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew is a tremendous blessing. So far, each and every product I’ve been given to review has been perfect for at least one of our kids, and some work well with more than one of them. Be watching for a BUNCH of upcoming reviews, starting about two weeks from now.

My husband is now recovering from his second back surgery over a six week period, and is hoping to be back to work in the next few weeks. At least this time around, the incision appears to be closed up, and he got his stitches out yesterday, so he feels like it may have worked better this time. I hope so . . .

We have been enjoying getting to know the taste of foods that we’ve never had before, I have now had pizza with green chili peppers on it! And I liked it! 🙂

We’ve finally managed to connect up with the family who adopted the biological siblings of our two youngest children, so we will be trying to maintain contact via email, phone, snail mail, and hopefully Skype if they can get that going on their end. Our boys are excited at the prospect! 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under adoption, education, family, health, home education, homeschool products, Kids

A Fresh Start in the New Year…

As we begin the new year, I want to get a fresh start to the home education in our family. Flexibility is very important to us, for a variety of reasons. We like to be able to pick up and head out to the park if it’s a nice day, so it’s nice to not feel wedded to a specific, rigid structure in our home-schooling.

We use a relaxed/Unschooling/Charlotte Mason method of home education, or what I’ve occasionally heard called the “wing-it” method. 🙂

Now that I’m a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, being flexible is also helpful when it comes to being able to add new things into our educational program when they become available to us. For example, we’ll soon be adding in a beginning Spanish program, which makes us very happy, because we’ve recently moved from MI to NM, and feel that learning the Spanish language would be a good thing in our new life.

As part of our fresh start, we will be getting into the History of Classical Music from Beautiful Feet Books. We bought this shortly before finding out we would be moving, so until now, had done nothing more than check to see that all the components were in the box before taping it back up for the movers. 🙂 This program, along with the Early American History package that we also have from Beautiful Feet, are put together from a Christian viewpoint, which I prefer. We’ve been slowly working our way through the history package over a few years. I also have the guide for Teaching Character through Literature from Beautiful Feet, and several of the books.

We’ll be adding in a math CD program for one of my kids who is very behind in math, to see how it works for him.

My kids love, love, love doing lapbooks, and there are tons of them online, free to download and print out.

For Bible, we are going to use the guide for reading the Bible in a year that our church is giving us.

Several years ago, I received via a grant program online, a huge set of prints of American art. I intend to use them for Art Appreciation with a Charlotte Mason style slant.

other thing I’m looking forward to is getting involved with our church’s home-school group. The home school moms in our church will be having a meeting this coming Tuesday evening to brainstorm activity ideas for the rest of the school year. This is important to me because I want my kids more involved with kids from church.

I also want to look for opportunities for my kids to become involved in service to the Lord, which I think is even more important than academics. More than anything at all, I want them to love the Lord and want to serve Him in whatever way he calls them to serve, not to mention the fact that the more involved one is in service to the Lord, the less opportunities one has to fall for sinful temptations.

Now that I have my NM driver’s license, I can get a library card. Once I do that, we can take advantage of some of the free enrichment classes they offer, not to mention the fact that really, one can home-school with a Bible and a library card.

We want to add walking into our program, beginning with walking the length of our block while my husband is recovering from spinal surgery, building from that, to walking around the block, to eventually long walks throughout our neighborhood.

I will be rebuilding our supply of board games, concentrating on educational games, and instituting a family game night once a week. We have Yahtzee, which we will begin with, as it will help with math and strategy.

We’ve been here in NM for five months now, and finally feel like we’re home, and ready for this fresh start. I’m excited to see what this new year brings to us!

1 Comment

Filed under adoption, Christian faith, education, exercise, family, home education, homeschooling, Kids, unschooling