Friday, June 22, 2012

Camping, and s'mores and mood swings- oh my!

The past two weeks have been some of the best and also some of our toughest weeks yet.  Last week we took A on his first camping trip. First of all- it is so sad that an almost 11 year old has never been on a hike, built a campfire, eaten a s'more, or slept in a tent.  We figured he would love it or hate it and thankfully- he loved it!  During our 7 mile hike (yes he hiked 7 miles!) he kept saying, "I feel like a king!  This is amazing!"  When we asked when he wanted to camp again he said, "Can we come back tomorrow night?" One thing that we didn't realize is that we left his ADHD medicine at home. Whoops!  With all the exercise and no technology and the fresh air- he was such a happy kid.  When we returned home we had to start his ADHD meds back- per county regulations.  He was back to our somewhat depressed and moody kid.  We started noticing that on his meds- he could go from happy kid to being in tears in a split second.  We would be in bed saying prayers all smiles and all of a sudden he would start yelling and crying about _____ (insert random topic).  It was so hard to see his little brain be so out of control and seeing him so distraught and unable to understand what he was even upset about.  We started researching his meds and side effects of them are: mood swings, depression, loss of appetite (all of the things he was showing us)  Thankfully we had a staffing this week and have 2 amazing and supportive social workers who set up a medication appointment for us with his psychologist for the next day.  We had all of our documentation, our notes, our record keeping and to our pleasant surprise- the doctor was on board!  A has been med free for 3 days and we are seeing a much happier, more in control kiddo.  He is still very hard on himself and pretty emotional, but we can now "talk him down" and are hopefully building some self-worth into his little brain that has been told "I don't care about you, you're not important/good enough/etc."  We are hoping that continuing to eliminate processed foods, getting lots of exercise, and continuing our therapy he will be able to go off or drastically reduce his meds.  With research showing that kids in foster care are medicated between 4-12 times more than kids with biological families, I feel like we have to speak up for our kids and what we are seeing.  Also just a tip for other foster parents out there- document, document, document- our MD was great, but she was really convinced by our "behavior and food journals".  When we were seeing odd behavior- we wrote it down, when he didn't want to eat- we wrote it down.  This really helped her to make a definite decision.  Thanks for everyone out there praying for us or thinking about us!      

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

First do no harm

So- when doctors take the Hippocratic Oath I guess it just applies to physical harm.

I'm amazed that we've gone this long, but today we had our first (awful/awkward?) encounter today as a foster family.  I expected it from well meaning strangers, or friends who just don't understand, but from a doctor who works exclusively with foster children....  So we go in for our required physical today and the doctor asks "So you are the new mom? Are you adopting Avery?"
Me- "umm, we are a therapeutic foster home"
Doc- "Wasn't he getting adopted by another family? Do you have his brother and sister?"
Me- "We just have Avery."
Doc- "So how long do you have him."
Me-  "We don't really know"
Doc- "Did he do something wrong, any behavior that got him kicked out of the house?"
Me- staring dumbfounded/giving him the did you really just ask me that in front of my kid look!
Doc- "Did they just not want him?"
Me- As I'm trying not to punch the doctor in the face or at least grab his ear to drag him out of the room like an old Southern grandmother "I'm not privy to all that information"

To top it all off he just continues the exam like he didn't just break the heart of my child all over again.
On a good note- he is retiring in 2 weeks!