Well, lots has been going on here. Mostly me trying to stay sane while constantly feeling like I’m about to go into labor. Is this a baby #3 phenomena? I’m not sure, but she has to stay put for at least another week, because if I go before 37 weeks we won’t be able to have the perfectly perfect home birth that I have in my mind. And we all know that labor and birth are always supposed to be perfectly perfect.
Mostly what’s been going on (in between passing around fevers between children – none of which Bella has caught, hallelujah.) is some major processing regarding all the concerns we’ve had with Tootaw.
We have been in the process of getting her assessed for a couple months now, still with no real assessment. We have the real thing scheduled for December 14th. In the meantime I asked the caseworker if she could try to have a heart to heart with Mom about anything that may have happened prenatally that could be contributing to the issues we’re seeing.
The caseworker on this case has actually done a stellar job of listening to our concerns and treating our opinion as if it has more weight than a good joke (aka: sometimes we don’t feel like just the foster parents! It’s amazing!). Because she’s awesome in this way, she agreed to talk to Mom.
What we found out was not really surprising to us, but did confirm some of our fears regarding the challenges we’re having with Tootaw. Amid other information, we found out that she was born at 24 weeks gestation. Ummmm…holy cow. I don’t even know how she is alive, especially considering they live in a teeny tiny town in the middle of nowhere.
In addition to that, we found out that Mom drank the entire pregnancy, and binged on hard alcohol frequently.
Essentially from the people we’ve talked to thus far, we can pretty much be sure that fetal alcohol syndrome, or one of it’s close counter parts, is our culprit. Of course, thanks to our favorite Dr. Purvis (and other people who are not nearly as helpful as K Purv) we know that just being born at 24 weeks could also be a major contributing factor to many of the issues, especially the concerns we have with sensory processing.
Partly we are heartbroken. For what this could mean for Tootaw’s future, for the struggles she will face, for the uphill battle.
Partly we are so thankful that we are discovering all of this when she is only three.
To be honest, partly I’m a little relieved, as I felt I was starting to go a little crazy. We were seeing all of these concerns, and there were more than a few people who seemed to be trying to make them no big deal – like we were making something of nothing. No, no. This is something.
I don’t share any of this to overshare – namely to give information about our sweet girl that may be on the private side of what I normally like to share.
I share this because I know that there are lots of other foster parents who are confronting some of the same issues, some of the same heartbreak, some of the same frustration – and I’m sure are feeling a little lonely in the process.
I also share this because, well, we’re feeling a little lonely in the process. There’s not anyone saying, “Ok, now this is the next step.” We are having to figure it out on our own.
To get a formal diagnosis or not?
Psychiatrist, psychologist, geneticist?
Where are all of these beloved services we’ve been told about?
What assessments are even worth doing?
How can we start parenting differently that is actually effective, beyond what we already know about therapeutic parenting?
You get the idea. I’ve been e-mailing and facebooking all our friends I can think of that can help. And they have.
So, anyway, I thought I’d blog about our process, even though it seems dauntingly long at this point. And also ask you all for your thoughts, tips, etc.
And also for your prayers. Because we know that only the one who created the brain knows how to truly heal it, and that in all of this, he created our sweet girl with purpose, passion, a plan, and absolutely wonderfully.