I’ll begin with a little background history.
My husband, Rick, and his first wife were foster parents for about 2 years and adopted two children during that time.
Colin was about 5 weeks old when he first came to their home. His birth mother went to one CPS hearing and then disappeared, never to be heard from again. He was malnourished and wound up unable to swallow solid foods until he was around 1.5yrs old because – as a baby – his mother would put peanut butter in his mouth to shut him up. He learned how *not* to swallow as a defense mechanism. During those first five weeks of life, he was rarely – if ever – held or loved the way a little baby deserves. This is the root of many of the issues he still faces today.
Ryan was a little over a year old when CPS brought him to live with Rick and his first wife. He had been removed from his home at birth as his older sisters were already taken away from their mother years before. (He spent his first year in another foster home that was closed down.) His sisters were adopted by another family (we keep in touch with them regularly) but they were an older couple and weren’t capable of taking on a baby – his sisters are 6 and 14 years older than he is. Rick and his wife adopted Ryan a few months later. He was their last foster child.
Ryan was a quiet boy – hardly spoke at all in the beginning. Colin is 7 months older, so he did most of Ryan’s talking for him.
Not long after Ryan was adopted, Rick’s first wife passed away due to complications from diabetes and medications. He was a single father of two very unique boys for over 3 years.
My story is a little more simple. I married at 24 and had Robbie when I was 26. He was born via emergency c-section 5 weeks before his due date (I came down with HELLP Syndrome). In 8 days, he was out of the NICU and on his way to becoming the crazy, smart, silly little boy he is now. I divorced in 2008 when Robbie was 15 months old. His father moved back to Australia and has very little to do with Robbie now.
In June of 2010, Rick and I met for the first time.
While trying to figure out when we could meet for a traditional date, we decided to say screw it and meet for lunch at the mall – with all three children in tow. We had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen and then took the kiddos to the play area so we could talk for a bit. I was hooked from day one.
I knew there would be challenges with Colin. He had been diagnosed as ADHD for quite a while by that point and was taking Metadate every morning. Oddly enough, what I didn’t expect was how Ryan and I would interact. He had very little female influence in his life at that point in time – in fact, he referred to everything and everyone as “him” or “he”. He was also dealing with some anger issues. He would get this dark look in his eye and you just knew he was going to get himself into trouble. Things were a bit chaotic. He would be sweet to me one minute and defiant the next. I wasn’t sure how to handle him at all. All I knew at that time was what little boys could be like from birth to about 3 years old. 5 and 6 year olds were beyond my comprehension!
Robbie also had to learn how to play with older boys – and how to deal with Colin when he acted a little “off”. He did amazingly well with the idea of sharing his mom. He did not, however, take so nicely to having a new adult telling him what to do and trying to discipline him, etc.
Fast forward to today. Rick and I have been married for a little over a year. Colin and Ryan are both in 1st grade and doing fairly well. Colin’s meds have changed a time or two (as has his diagnosis – now diagnosed as being Autistic as well as ADHD) and we found out Ryan was in desperate need of glasses. We’ve put Ryan and Robbie into play therapy with an amazing psychologist that has helped them both with their behavior issues at school and home. We’re hoping to convince our insurance provider that they should cover Colin’s ABA therapy so that we can get that rolling – meds alone are not helping and likely just masking some of the issues he’s having. Robbie is in private kindergarten and doing well. Both Ryan and Robbie play soccer. And we’ve added two crazy dogs to our insane household. Rodeo came first – he’s a lab/pit/?? mix and the sweetest dog that’s ever lived. He is so gentle with and protective of our boys. However, he was lonely whenever we’d go out on the weekends or at night. Sooo…we found him a playmate – Miss Chloe. She’s a greyhound/border collie mix – tall and skinny with the black/white border collie markings. Just gorgeous. Even if she is kind of a dip. She’s a snuggler and has twice the energy Rodeo has, so she keeps him pretty well worn out.
There you have it – the Readers’ Digest version of our background. Moving forward, I plan to discuss the challenges of raising kiddos – special needs and otherwise – as well as post recipes, home improvement adventures and anything else that pops into this garbled mind of mine.