Sunday, April 12, 2015

Entering into life with a RAD child

RAD...what is that...never heard of it before....

RAD is reactive attachment disorder.  It is a very serious, all consuming disorder that affects a small population of children and can stay with them into adulthood. RAD is categorized by markedly disturbed and developmentally inappropriate ways of relating socially in most contexts.

RAD can occur when failure to form and recieve proper attachment/bonding relationships in infancy.  Such failure could result from severe early experiences of neglect, abuse and abrupt separation from caregivers.  RAD is also more common in Eastern Europoean countries.  Karis is a classic candidate for RAD...and has it.

There is a list of common traits/symptoms of people with RAD. Here are the ones we deal with on a daily basis.
Physically self-destructive....self harming
Aggression towards others
Abnormal eating habits
Inappropriate sexual attitude
Learning disability... Knows more than they let on in order to control parents and teachers
Not affectionate on parents terms (hugging in public and nothing in private)
Flat, listless, lethargic
Inappropriate emotional responses
Superficially charming and engaging
Indiscriminate affection with strangers
Lack of peer relationships
Blames others for her own mistakes
Victimizes others
Exploitative, manipulative, controlling
Poor hygiene
Accident prone
High pain tolerance/overreaction to minor injury
Lack of remorse/consequences

Our time in Ukraine with Karis was great along with our first month or two at home.  Things began going down hill in November and by Christmas they were bad.  We thought we hit an all time low.  Unfortunately since then things have continued to worsen.  We are amazed that things can actually get worse and worse, but they are.  In January Karis began seeing a therapist weekly.  We have increased these therapy sessions to 3x/week.  Our therapist here also suggested for Karis and our family to travel to Evergreen, Colorado to the Evergreen Psychotherapy Center for a 2 week intense psychotherapy intervention.  We spoke with the doctors there and they feel she has a severe case of RAD and she will only get worse until she has intense intervention.  We will travel to Evergreen May 2-17.  We are really hoping this intervention will work for Karis.  This is not the most opportune time for our family to be gone.  Preston will miss the last two weeks of the semester along with graduation.  Logan will miss two weeks of school along with his art show and gymnastics exhibition. Nathan and Owen will miss two weeks of school and their last baseball game of the season.  However, it is important for our family to function, heal and become whole.

Long, Overdue Update

It has been almost a month since my last post.  I figure it is time for some updates.

Logan: is doing great.  He is venturing into the world of orthodontics on Tuesday.  It is our consult appointment, so I am not sure what the path will be...but he needs some work done.  He is still enjoying his extra curricular activities very much and is looking forward to swim team this summer.  He is enjoying writing his book series, now on book 18.

Nathan: loves anything electronic.  His absolute favorite thing to do is sit on his bench and play the iPad.  He loves Starfall and will spend an hour plus working on the math equations, reading the books, listening to different composers, etc.  He is also doing really well with his talking computer.  He is constructing sentences and is able to communicate exactly what he wants and needs.  He has two new devices for his right arm.  He is still getting used to them and we are getting some adjustments made to them this week.  He is also starting a few power wheelchair trials this month to see if this is a possibility for the near future.  Nathan also loves jumping on the trampoline and swinging in the backyard. He is definitely an outdoor kid.

Owen: is really starting to come back around.  He is becoming more and more proficient with his eye gaze, along with his talking.  He is going to be looking at a new wheelchair on Monday.  He loves spending time outside too and loves when get out the bubble gun and he gets to pop lots of bubbles.  He is really enjoying playing baseball!  I am so glad he and Nathan are finally old enough to be on th team.

Karis: her transition into the family is still really, really ROUGH.  She is receiving 3 appointments a week of psychotherapy.  She also has 4 appointments a week of in-home speech therapy.  This is a busy week for her.  Tuesday morning we have a pre-op pediatrician appointment and Thursday she is having a dental procedure at Children's South....lots of cavities filled at one time so she is getting anesthesia.

Our family was honored to be asked to be the feature family for the National UCP Fundraising Campaign.  A letter and accompanying brochure about our family's story was sent to donors/prospective donors all over the US.  Logan was so excited because he felt very famous.

Spring break was just a few weeks ago.  We started off with a fun trip to the Space and Rocket Center with our friends, The Schwartings.  Brian and Evan were also able to meet us there for a little bit.  Sunday we enjoyed an Easter Egg Hunt at Samford with Ranae and Cooper and a big family dinner at my parents house.  Monday was a trip to the Zoo with Ranae and Cooper.  On Tuesday we crammed in tons of appointments and Wednesday we packed the car and headed to Texas.  We spent several days visiting our friends, The Cooks and then headed back to Birmingham.  It was a great week!

Monday, March 16, 2015

First Baseball Game

The boys enjoyed their first baseball game.  Nathan and Owen are playing for the Grasshoppers in the Miracle League.  We all had such an amazing time.  Logan is the Grasshoppers unofficial mascot. 
 Boys before the game.
 Owen getting ready.
Nathan enjoying watching.

 Karis at the game.
 Our kids with the Tolbert kids.  Makala made signs for everyone.
 In the dugout.
 The Grasshopper doing all of his mascot moves.

 Nathan at bat.
 Nathan on 2nd.
 Nathan at home plate.
 Owen at bat.
 Owen headed for first.
 Mason going up to bat.
 Nathan at bat, the second time.
 Nathan finishing his home run.
 Nathan's fans greeting him at the fence.
 Owen hitting the ball off the tee.
 Owen headed for home.
 Mason headed for home.
 Owen talking to Miss Katie after the game.
 Our crowd.  We were so proud of the boys.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Fun Saturday

We spent a funfilled day on Saturday in Tuscaloosa with our friends, the Moons.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Feeling Special

Every day is a good day to be special.  Yesterday was Logan's 1/2 birthday.  Since he has a summer birthday they celebrate his 1/2 birthday at school.  He brought in doughnuts.  I figured why not continue the celebration at home.  We had some friends over after school, ate pizza and some yummy brownies.  He also received a couple of presents. He enjoyed his day very much.  I think we may make 1/2 birthday celebrations a tradition. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Photo update

Karis and Logan in the hurricane tunnel at McWane
Logan and Jonathan in the hurricane tunnel
Sebastian and Logan enjoying ice cream at Edgewood Creamery
Karis enjoying her ice cream
Nathan and Owen enjoyed sharing a large frozen yogurt together
Logan and his friend, Luke motorcycle riding after enjoying a movie at the theater
Welcoming Dad home from Ecuador
Nathan and I jumping on the trampoline
Logan's free doughnuts from his all A report card
Nathan enjoying his first doughnut.  We learned he loves Dunkin Doughnuts but does not like Krispy Kreeme

greatest blessings

I am so blessed to be a part of my amazing family.  I am so glad that God has chosen to write this story for me, because it is not one I would have written myself.  I believe God has drawn me so much closer to Him, to a dependence I never knew possible, because of the circumstances He places in our family.  I have the most amazing husband, the most incredible self-less eight year old son, two amazing 5 year old boys that hold more joy in them...a joy that I wished could live that deeply in me and an eight year old daughter that is teaching me so much about unconditional love and brokenness.  There is so much more to all of their stories and I am just in awe that God would give me a front seat into their lives.  He is doing amazing things in and through them, things I never could do!

I consider it one of my greatest blessings to be able to rely on God so much.  Nothing is richer than to walk in fellowship with Him.  I have been trying to write a post on this for a while, but can never figure out just how to express my thoughts.  This morning during worship, I decided it was best to express them through a worship song.  Worship song resinate in my soul so deeply that every word has power and I cling to every word as I sing it to the Lord.

Healer by Kari Jobe

You hold my very moment - God literally hold me every moment because without Him I could not handle, nor would I want to, most of my daily moments.
You calm my raging seas - He is there when it is pouring rain outside but He stops it for 10 minutes just so I can get all of the kids and the boys equipment out of the car and we can make it into our appointment dry, He is there as Owen begins to speak again showing us that Owen still is all mentally here just not as verbal but he is making progress, He is here as Logan shows so much love and compassion for his brothers wanting to feed them, encourage them to walk and get them out of bed, He is there in the moments when Karis decides to smile at us, He is there...
You walk with me through fire - He is there during Karis's rages of anger, He is there when Owen's muscles hurt so bad he cries, He is there when Logan is so tired of the chaos that has been brought in to our house, He is there when Nathan is so exhausted from hearing that he throws his cochlear implants off, He is there for the insurance red tape and massive medical bills, He is there when we have to remove part of Owen's chair because he cries from the physical hurt it causes him to sit in it, He is there as we all jump on the trampoline and my arms are so exhausted from jumping holding Nathan and Owen but He gives me the strength to just keep going, He is there when I think about Mia's death and all that I am missing out on in this life with her, He is there....
And heal all my disease - He has shown me that He heals our diseases in the ways that are most beautiful and meaningful to Him and not always the way we would plan
I trust in You, I trust in You - I must trust in the Lord to live this life journey He has placed in front of me.

I believe You're my healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe - God is my Healer, Strength, Joy and ALL I NEED

And I believe You're my portion - and it is my greatest portion
I believe You're more than enough for me - God is way more than enough for me, way more than what I deserve
Jesus You're all I need - truly ALL I NEED to a make it through the moment, day, week, month, year, lifetime is JESUS

The song repeats

Nothing is impossible for You - the way You choose to share the story you have written for our lives so far and the story You are writing for our future
Nothing is impossible - the way You decided to use Nathan and Owen with or without physical advancement
Nothing is impossible for You - the way you will use Logan to grow into a servant of Yours
You hold my world in Your hands - my entire world is in Your hands

Nothing is impossible for You - mission opportunities our family has around the world
Nothing is impossible - for Karis to learn how to love and be a real emotionally invested part of our family
Nothing is impossible for You - for our family to continue to stand strong as Your people
You hold my world in Your hands - my entire world is in Your hands

The song repeats

You're my healer - The ultimate Healer: emotionally, spiritually and physically