Thursday, July 5, 2012

We are desperately trying to find positive reinforcements that will encourage M to cooperate without the battles and his violence. We went to Walmart yesterday and purchased a new straw cup for him, since he lost the lid and straw to his. He can only drink so fast from a straw, which is why he ditched the straw so he could guzzle fast enough to induce vomitting. We also bought dye-free Gatorade. He loves Gatorade. He's less likely to vomit it than anything else. However, we had to take it away two months ago because he was vomitting it and it was staining the carpets. Now, we can give him Gatorade and if he pukes it won't stain the carpets. We looked for the Spongebob movie but couldn't find it. So, we're liberally rewarding cooperate with Netflix episodes of Spongebob and Barney.

Our first attempt to earn cooperation, he drank a 12 oz bottle of Gatorade and threw it up all over me. Swell, just what I was looking for. So, now I'm giving him small amounts of Gatordate every 30 minutes. If he pukes it, he doesn't get more, if he keeps it down for those 30 minutes he can have more. He gets all of the liquids his body requires from his g-tube feedings. However, his throat and mouth need to be hydrated and we want to let him drink to accomplish that. We just have to control his fluids because he will deliberately use his fluids to vomit.

He's managed to drink a full 12oz bottle today without any vomitting. He has also swallowed his pills without fighting, raging or puking today. It's swallow two pills, get one sip of Gatorade until they are all gone and get a big sip of Gatorade as a reward.

He did rage through his breathing treatments this morning, but he wasn't violent. That's improvement, at least. II said he did better at his morning IVs, though not quite what we're going through. We'll continue to bribe with Barney and stop the movie when he doesn't cooperate and hopefully he'll settle down because Barney is M's crack. If he can have Barney on, he simply must. He's obssessed with Barney. Anything has to be better than what we've been dealing with this week.

Yesterday, we went to see S at the hospital. Since he was abandoned by the last family, it is very important to stay connected to him and help him know that he is not being abandoned this time. We frequently talk about the goal for him to feel better, to be safe and then to return home. They have had to do several medication adjustments with him, which makes it harder to accomplish the first feel better goal. While they were doing that, he wasn't even interested in talking about coming home. He has been tremendously grateful for the phone calls and the visits and the snacks we bring him when we visit. However, he hasn't even talked about homecoming. Sometimes, he's been very tired from meds, occassionally he's been agitated.

Last night, he requested that C come to visit him. He had been fighting with C since his second homecoming and there was a flashpoint fight between that that was part of his blowing out into the hospital. He had not wanted to speak to C for awhile. When he finally apologized to C, he did it through me because he wasn't ready to do it himself. C understands what is going on and has intentionally stepped back and waited for S to be ready to reach out to him. Last night, that is what happened.

The boys embraced and talked while they were visiting. It was such a sweet moment of grace and forgiveness to watch these boys reconnect. The thing is, these boys are so much alike that long-term I can see them being best friends. They have some misunderstandings they need to iron out, but they really want to love each other and be friends. C reminds S of the brother he lost when his first adoptive family threw him out, and that causes some pain and grief to S, which is when they start fighting instead.

S looks really good now. He was smiling and happy and talking a lot about homecoming last night. He had requested we bring him McDonalds for dinner, which was the first time he had made a request on the snacks we brought beyond the request that we continue to bring them. He wouldn't let go of J during the visit. He loves that toddler and misses him so much. He was never allowed to touch the babies in his old house. He wanted to love the babies in that house. However, they were so Patriarchal that they considered babies and toddlers the work of girls and any boy who wanted to love on those babies was considered a danger and a threat. S was considered a danger and threat to all but the oldest boy by virtue that he was black and he was male. I suspect part of why he told everyone that he felt like family here was because we don't isolate him, treat him like a second class citizen and refuse to let him love or be loved by anyone in the house the way they did. Here, he is family.

Today, after having a reasonably better day yesterday, the photographer who did family photos for us two weeks ago sent me the web pictures. We have to meet with her to get a CD of all of the pictures that were taken in the session. She is part of a wonderful charity of photographers which do free photo sessions for families with terminal children. They give you web publishing rights to the pictures, as well as the CD of all the pictures and rights to print your own copies of any pictures up to a 5x7 size. When we find funds to get bigger pictures, we'll have to order them through the photographer. However, she promised she would hold our pictures until tax season so if I can't find funds before then, I can purchase the ones I want at that point. They were amazing to look at.

They are the only professional pictures that will ever be taken of all nine of my children. S joined our family just before M will leave us, and we have this very small window where we have nine children. Before S came, we had no idea we would ever have nine and thought our eight was all there was to our family. Once M leaves us, S will remain with us, but we will never be complete without M again. DH and I talked for years that we intended to do one last professional session before we had to say good-bye to M and we intend to freeze that family picture on our wall and add a second one as our family continues to grow over the years. We intended to do that session this spring but M got too sick and we had to move, and use the funds earmarked for it in the illnesses and move. Thanks to this charity and the compassionate and rapid response of this photographer, we were able to do that afterall. They are beautiful and bittersweet to know we will never have this again. We went three years between having family pictures done. If we wait even a year this time, this small window of our lives will have passed. I am so grateful it won't pass with regrets that I didn't get it done. I couldn't have found the funds right now. I cannot say enough kind things to the charity and the photographer who made it possible inspite of the financial strains of adding S and saying good-bye to M right now.

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