September 6, 2012



We knew that a few would rear their heads sooner or later.  It’s taken from the book, “When You Add a Fourth Child to Your Family Through Foster Care.”

That’s a book.  You haven’t read it?  Arg.  Me either.  You should write it.  It would be helpful.





Tootaw is really doing well transition-wise.  No huge behaviors, no vomit (praise the good Lord.), not really even any hysterics.  This leaves a lot to be thankful for.

The challenges thus far have surfaced in other ways, though. 

I’m getting a hold of our Infant Toddler Services program today to have some assessments done.  There are more than a handful of things that I have noticed since she’s been with us that make me think that we might have some issues to hurdle.

Developmental?  Sensory Processing?  Drug exposure related? 

I’m not sure.  But I sure as heck am not comfortable pretending like it’s nothing.


I couldn’t list all the things I’ve noticed.  It would probably look more like a pamphlet than a blog post.  Examples?


Tootaw turns three tomorrow.  She doesn’t know her colors, her shapes, ANIMALS, animal noises, how to dress herself, and her speech is almost impossible to decipher most of the time.  This wouldn’t concern me as much if she were moving here straight from home – then I would just chock it up to being behind, lack of exposure – but she’s been in a foster home for over a year and hasn’t caught up.




Recall seems to be very challenging.  Today we did a big art project centered around the color yellow – yellow paint, yellow puff balls, yellow popsicle sticks, yellow balloons, etc. – everything was yellow.  We talked about different things that are yellow (although she couldn’t come up with any) and, in general, obsessed over the color yellow.

Two minutes later (literally) we were in the living room and I held up a yellow hair bow and said, “Tootaw, what color is this!?!?!” 

Blank stare.  No recollection.  She really. didn’t. know.




We read through a book of animals approximately 500 times a day (probably not really.) because animals and their noises are what Naomi (at 16 months) is learning right now. 

I can point to a horse and ask Tootaw what it is, and she doesn’t know.  So we talk about it being a horse, how she rode one at Horn Creek, and what sound it makes.

Two pages later, I can turn back in the book and ask her what the horse is or what sound it makes – blank stare.  She doesn’t know. 




Hard to say what the culprit is.  Drug exposure is a possibility.  She’s also experienced a lot of trauma in the last year and half, which has had unknown effects on her brain.  Also, clearly no one in her last foster home was paying enough attention to notice that she is seriously behind developmentally.  Lots of factors.




I’m hoping to get some assessments for services started sooner than later.  It will help me know how to help her, and it will help me to have more patience with it all.  Cause you know, life wasn’t already insane.


Thoughts from anyone who has experienced this?


  1. Wow! Will be praying for sure. I'll get right on writing that book. :) Maybe you can write one called "What to do when your biological three year old doesn't ever take naps and throws tantrums and wakes up your 8 month old after she has been sleeping for only 30 minutes and won't go back to sleep for the entire rest of the day but is clingy and cranky." I would love to read it! I think it would help me out a lot! :)

  2. Our twin boys were 3 1/2 when they came to us. They knew two words, "no" and a four letter word starting with "f." They mostly grunted and pointed. They didn't know any colors, animals, shapes, etc. They didn't even know their own names. The foster agency didn't know which twin was which so we made our best guess and had it wrong the first couple weeks. We had them evaluated by the school district and they set up an individualized education plan (IEP). They come to the child's home or school to work on speech, education, and whatever areas they have delays in. We also enrolled them in Head Start. They've come a LONG way in the past year! And I attribute a lot if that to these services.

    1. I was thinking she is 3 when I left my comment. If so she's old enough for those services.

    2. ITS referred me to the school system yesterday - the cutoff for when assessments are done at the school is 3 years old. I called yesterday - we'll see what happens!
      Hope all is going well with the new baby!

  3. our Lizzy van't remember colors either. she is almost 4 years old. i am not as good about teaching these thing constantly, but I try to in our every day life. she does know shapes and animals though. i would get whatever services you can BUT it really may be just a lack of the grow ups taking care of her trying to teach her ANYTHING. keep trying and see if any of it sticks. i wouldn't worry about it too much yet. is there ANYTHING she is good at remembering?

    1. Yeah, absolutely all of me hopes that the assessments come back and say that she's just behind due to environment. I hope. We just know that it wouldn't be surprising if there was prenatal drug use - so better safe than sorry.
      She really has trouble with recall on everything. Even if she knows the answer, if she is asked to recall the answer on the spot, she can't do it. She also can't put together anything that requires sequence. If I ask her to do something that has more than one step, she's lost.
      I just figure better safe than sorry because I've heard that early intervention is the most important in catching up!

  4. Good for you for seeking out evaluations and services. Knowing what you're working with can make a world of difference, both in getting the right therapies and in you having the patience to deal with the challenges. My youngest came to us at not quite four after being in care for a year. He'd never been evaluated by the Infant Toddler Program or the school system and had no diagnosis. Well...after a thorough eval we now know that he has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and a chromosomal duplication. It boggles my mind that no one noticed his challenges enough to get him checked out before. He's an amazing blessing though, and I thank God that we didn't know before. We would have said 'no' to the placement and I can't imagine life without him.

  5. you are one rockstar Mama, you listen to that gut, it is usually right. Don't forget about yourself int he midst of all of this, take care you as best you can.

  6. No advice here, but I just wanted to say you're doing an incredible job with those 4 girls! I hope Tootaw had a happy, happy birthday and that you're able to get her the helps she needs as she continues to grow, mature, grieve, and adjust.


Thanks for commenting!!


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