Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Memories

When I think back to the happiest days of my life (thus far) I think of the time my husband and I were foster parents to my oldest nephew, Jadien.

Jadien came to live with us when he was eight months old. A victim of a domestically violent situation Jadien took the worst of the violence. It was November of 2007 when everything unfolded. Jadien was just over four months old and he was "sick" or so my sister and I thought. We took him to the emergency room on Thanksgiving day before going to visit our family. It was a crazed morning, one I'll never forget. Jamie, my sister, had a very difficult time leaving the house that day as her abusive boyfriend was physically trying to keep her from leaving the apartment. He kept yelling at me through the door to bring Jadien back to the apartment as I had taken him down to the car to sit with my husband as Jamie finished packing the diaper bag. I refused which made him even more irate. I was not going to bring a sick child back to the apartment when it was obviously not safe. So, Jadien remained in the heated car with my husband while I began to deflect his anger.

Deflecting an abusive person's anger is something I learned growing up with my father. It always worked quite well in the situations I've found myself in, yet I'm not a medical professional, just someone who has lived though a lot of domestically violent situations so take it worth a grain of salt if you will. My sisters never learned this trait but someone tends to be abusive because they enjoy the power they have over the other individual. I use that need for power to deflect their anger away from other people towards myself. Basically I began very calmly (never yelling) attacking the person's shortfalls. With my sister's ex it was his lack of a high school diploma or GED when I was attending college and planning to go on to grad school. I moved on to asking him about how the job was going, which of course he never had. I would tell him everything that was wonderful in my life and ask him in return about his own shortcomings. Doing this allowed him to become very upset with me and gave my sister the opportunity to overcome her abuser and get out of the house. We ran! We called and met with the police. They began the search as he had tried to chase after us with my sister's car.

When we felt it was safe we drove to the emergency room for Jadien. We were there for what seemed like an eternity-due mostly to the drama of the morning which was causing a sense of urgency. We found out that the abuser had been arrested but within an hour released. He would be able to go back to the apartment soon. I went into survival mode. I rushed the ER staff, which in retrospect I wish I had not done, and got Jamie and Jadien out of the hospital as soon as possible so we could go back to her place for formula and other necessities. Jamie said she was fed up! She said she was leaving! Later that night, she returned.


I was working for Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery as an intern when I received the news, Jadien was in the hospital and Jamie and the abuser were in questioning. I knew this would happen, prayed that it wouldn't, but it did. It was found at a routine checkup, two separate brain bleeds and two separate detached retinas. Jadien had Shaken Baby Syndrome. He was injured at least twice and he had been throwing up and "sick" due to massive head trauma. The doctors said that he would need emergency surgery to correct the damage and that there was a change he could come out of the surgery with brain damage and/or blindness.

My question: If Jamie and the abuser were not able to care for a perfectly healthy little boy, how would they care for one with brain damage and/or blindness?

My husband and I discussed possibly caring for Jadien over the next week and made the decision to become his foster parents. Although there is a policy in foster care in which the state attempts to place a child with family before an outside source it would take us four months and a lot of work to have Jadien placed in our home. By January we had our home visit and had purchased all the necessities for taking care of him at this age. Although we had thought the home visit went well it was advised I drop one of the last two college courses I needed before graduation as the interviewer thought parenthood and taking two courses would be too much for me to handle. I did this. It was also suggested that I seek therapy for the trauma of my own childhood. I did this. Still months of waiting went by. No Jadien. I made calls several times a week, wanting to know what was going on? What did we need to do in order to become his foster parents?

Granted I'm sure that there were some reservations that placing Jadien with us may not be in his best interests. Why? An attempt was made at one point to remove my sisters and I from our biological parents. It failed. My father met the social worker with a shot gun at the door. The worker never came back. I'm the oldest and my two younger sisters were obviously damaged by our upbringing. Jamie, the middle sibling, was in a relationship with an abusive drug addicted man who not only hurt her but nearly killed Jadien yet at this time and for a least a year following she stayed with this man.  My youngest sister found her way into the drug world as well and found herself her own unemployed drunk boyfriend. It only makes sense that if everyone else in my immediate family is that screwed up I should be as well. Perhaps I am, yet it's not visible and what I am defective in I look for help to correct. 

My husband and I, for being so young, had good jobs and were quite mature for our age. Lack of a proper childhood aged me quickly. I learned to take care of myself and my sisters. Now one of my sisters' children was in trouble and those survival instincts to protect everyone around me as much as possible were once again kicked into high gear. Not having Jadien placed with us was causing serious stress. I began losing massive amounts of weight, which I did not have to spare. It seemed hopeless.

Finally in late February of 2008 I received a letter inviting me to a foster care course in Nebraska City, NE. We were willing to do anything to have Jadien placed in our home thus I enrolled. I drove out to Nebraska City on a Saturday morning ready to learn all I could, not knowing this course and the instructors there would change everything for us and little Jadien.

After the class I spoke to the instructors about my family situation. As this foster care class was centered on placing foster children with a family member first and foremost I was an example of the system gone wrong. The instructors both warned me that if Jadien was not placed in our home within the next week he would never come to live with us. I had to work quickly now. A judge would not move Jadien if the process took very much longer for fear that he had already become too attached to the emergency family he was originally placed with. I received the names and numbers of those in charge of the foster care system in the state of Nebraska as well as the name and number of the regional director. It was time to talk to those who could make anything happen.

Within a few days I was receiving answers and offers to take Jadien for short visits. My husband and I had long been approved through the state yet everything was at a stand still and our case had been all but forgotten. The calls that were made to the big wigs finally jump started everything and put Jadien's case on the forefront. Less than a week after the class I saw Jadien for the first time since Thanksgiving Day 2007. A few hours into our visit we received surprising news, we could take him home that day. Oh what a splendid day that became!!

Here are some pictures of Jadien's life with us as his foster parents, some of the most joyous moments of my life to date. Jadien will always hold a special place in our hearts. We will always consider him as one of our children although he is now our nephew once again. Jason and I will one day make wonderful biological parents in loo of what the state initially believed. My childhood did not ruin my ability to become a great parent. With therapy the cycle was broken. The drugs, the abuse, the irresponsible parenting ends with me.
We love you Jadien!!

These two pictures were taken a week after Jadien came to live with us. They were his first ever professional photographs. It was near Easter obviously and he's eight months old in these pictures. At this time he was unable to crawl as he was still healing from his injuries.

These pictures were taken in early summer 2008. Jadien was not quite one year old yet. It was his first trip to the zoo and boy did he love it!!

Jadien's favorite person in the entire world his his Uncle Jason. Every day that Jason came home from work Jadien would get to the door as fast as he could to greet him. As you can tell he had not yet learned to walk yet, that would not happen until after his first birthday. Jadien was thirteen months before he began taking steps. 

Play time. When ever possible I tried to have Jadien at home and not at the daycare. I enjoyed caring for him and was able to give him more attention while at home. We played a lot but also did some age appropriate learning activities. 

Jadien's first birthday was celebrated in our front yard on the fourth of July.  We had a very large party and by the end of it he was so very tired.

I love this picture. Jadien was getting to be such a big boy at this point. His facial features here are more pronounced. 

Where Jason was, Jadien wanted to be. What Jadien used, Jadien wanted. Jadien attempted to play with the computer, cell phone or in the car when Jason was near any of these. Often times we let him, as long as nothing would hurt him and he wouldn't be able to hurt, much. :-)

Play time in fall of 2008. It was during this time Jadien had learned to walk and gain enough balance in order to bend over and pick items up. This was such a happy moment as he had overcome so much. No blindness, no brain damage and now the ability to walk. 

Christmas 2008 was Jadien's first Christmas with his family. At eighteen months he was in love with cars and there was no lack of them under the Christmas tree this year!

These pictures were the bittersweet end to Jadien's life as our foster son and ours as his foster parents. The following day he returned to live with his biological mom.

Although the abuse Jadien suffered and the difficulty we went through to have him placed in our home was not very pleasant, having him for a son even for a little while was worth it. Jadien was a blessing which truly enriched our lives. I adore and will always love Jadien. His life with us made my life full of laughter and joy. Someday I hope he realizes how much we treasured him as a foster son and treasure him now as a nephew.

**Less than a month later, Jadien returned to our home, along with his little brother Hunter, and his pregnant mom, my sister. She and the kids were homeless and would live with us for nearly a year, but that's for another blog.**

Friday, October 29, 2010

Productive Craziness Makes Me Happy

Yesterday, Thursday, was one of my days off for this week. Tuesday was my other day off and I was utterly depressed on that day so hopes were not set very high for yesterday either yet I was pleasantly surprised.

The day began with some Christmas shopping for my grandmother. When that was completed I swung by the apartment maintenance to inform them of some repairs which were needed. Pleasantly the maintenance man came out immediately. We even received an upgrade from the product that was replaced. It was nice! Almost made me consider breaking things in our apartment "accidentally" so they could be replaced with newer and better things...almost. Our apartment is kinda cruddy, so it was a tempting idea. I guess you get what you pay for though and what you pay in Omaha is much higher than what you would in Lincoln for the same quality.

Since I really don't like others coming into my home when I feel it is less then perfect I began to clean after the maintenance stop. Began with the dishes, then started on the living room. When I began in that room I did not expect it would take up most of my day, yet it was totally worth it!!

Jason and I moved from Lincoln, NE to Omaha about six months ago due to my health issues. We were attempting to escape for the majority of my stress triggers. In order to afford the rent in the "big city" we were downsizing, a lot. We moved from a three bedroom duplex with a full yard and basement in a good neighborhood to a one bedroom apartment with our garage as the only storage in an okay neighborhood. By an okay neighborhood I mean that my gas has already been stolen out of my car since living here. Stating it's okay is giving it a lot more credit than perhaps I should.

On moving day everyone placed everything in the living-room. I typically don't like moving this way but we were in a hurry and our helpers did not care as much as I do about where things are placed. The boxes, bins and bags were piled high. I had a massive moving sale yet apparently I did not get rid of enough things. My grandmother was kind enough to allow us to store seasonal items and our cannot do without baby items at her house for when we need them. We do not have children of our own yet, but we did buy most everything we'll need at least in terms of Baby furniture when Jadien lived with us and to get rid of it only to replace it later would be wasteful spending. Until yesterday there was still far too much in our living-room though I've tried for months to clean and/or organize that room.

I went though every box and bin still remaining. I threw out what I knew that I could, meaning I threw out what was mine and I didn't want and what was Jason's and I knew he wouldn't care about. If it was questionable I threw it into a bin with any of Jason's tools or computer items and it went in our storage pile. I figure I'm not going to get into trouble for tossing something he wants and I'm sure he will not care to go through the bins himself, so they're just going to sit in storage. As long as they are outside our apartment and I don't have to look at them I don't care. :-) 

I sorted the bills and important paperwork. I folded all the laundry Jason had completed the day before. Hopefully I'll have the energy to put that all away tonight after work. You would think all that would be enough, but no. I then began making eight Christmas Cards and painted my toe nails. It was such a wonderfully productive day.

I feel so good about myself that I was able to accomplish so much in only one short day. More than anything I feel relaxed and at peace when I enter the living-room now.  My husbands thoughts when he saw all the cleaning I had accomplished: "We look poor now." Apparently lack of clutter, means you are poor. In that case...I love being poor. LOL Growing up I was extremely impoverished yet I loved the simplicity my room brought me. I didn't have much. What I did have I cherished. I enjoyed the cleanliness that my few items offered me. Less stuff=Less stress.

Now if only I could get Jason to unclutter some of his things which he never uses I'll be even more relaxed. One can dream, can't they?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Feelin' like a Potato

Today I went to Five Guys for lunch. I had never eaten there before but heard that it was pricey yet tasty. Funny thing is that when I arrived all the reviews from various magazines around the restaurant boasted about the economical pricing of the place. Apparently for most areas the prices are very reasonable. Here, in Nebraska it's pricey. I purchased a small fry, bacon cheese burger and a drink for around ten dollars. Granted the amount of fries I received could feed at least two people but I only ordered for myself. I really don't like wasting so I tried to pawn some of my fries on others and no one wanted them. Sad. I wasted food. The burger was really good even for the nearly five dollar price tag and I did get to drink my favorite Golden Peak Sweet Tea. All in all it was a good experience.

Would I go again...maybe. However, I would never order fries unless someone was going to share them with me. It's not something I'll do very often as for this area it's quite pricey. Due to the massive amount of fries I currently feel like a large potato!! There's a little more than three hours before I can head home and oh, do I want to lie down as soon as I get inside the apartment. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yoga makes life a bit brighter!

As you could tell yesterday was not very pleasant for me. In fact the few days prior were not all sunshine and roses either but today is much better. I'm not saying life sucks, far from it. I have a lot going for me but sometimes I forget that and it really doesn't help when you work in customer care. It's also not beneficial when you have an illness that causes you to be overly critical of everyone and everything but mostly yourself so much so that it's paralyzing.

Upon coming home from work yesterday I did some yoga from one of the GAIAM dvds I own. My instructor was Colleen Saidman. My other instructor I really like is the popular Rodney Yee. This was a very peaceful and rejuvenating workout. I highly recommend Yoga to anyone dealing with any kind of major stress or a mental illness, especially Bipolar which feeds on stress. Sometimes I don't feel like doing much of anything but if I force myself to get up and do some Yoga I always am thankful. I never thought that something so little could give me such peace and a sense of calm, but it does!

Currently I'm considering getting rid of most of my craft items and just forgetting about the Etsy thing. This is not because I want to give up but because I want to de-clutter my life. It's important to me that my house be clean and I work out to maintain my health. Easing stress when ever possible is key to a healthy life for me and by extension those around me.

One thing that would irritate me would be all the money I've spent on my craft world. If I were to get rid of it I would want to either put it to good use or sell it so that I didn't feel as though I was being wasteful. Please don't misunderstand me I love crafting...I just don't need to have the feeling that I MUST do this card or make that scrapbook, etc. I'm making all of my own Christmas Cards this year as I have the materials and it will save money, yet I've spent more money on materials than I would have saved and it's causing me stress. I make a card and think that it doesn't look good enough. Granted what I'm doing is "stinkin' thinking" and that's very popular among Bipolars but why put myself in a situation when I know I'm prone to that kind of negativity.

I'm really good at crafts. I know that. I can paint, scrapbook, make cards, crochet, basically do anything I really want when it comes to being artsy yet what I must remember is everything in moderation. So maybe I shouldn't completely get rid of all my paper art supplies, just limit what I do. Finish my current projects and then take it easy. Yes. That sounds like a good plan.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What a FLIPPIN' day!!!

Where to I even begin?!?

I've been depressed lately. I don't want to get out of bed. I could care less about my scrap-booking or card-making for Etsy. I feel that what I make is not good enough for anyone to buy. I look at the mess of a house and I don't have the energy to begin to clean. I know it's not unlivable so I don't get up. I stay on the couch or in the bed. I don't have the will to care.

If I could have I would have called in sick today.

If I had called in today then... crazy woman would have screamed at me about her computer being broken and although it had nothing to do with what we had worked on demanded we fix this issue for free!    
     ...I would have not had issues trying to QA a stupid laptop HP sent us
     ...would not have had to deal with stupid people giving me problems to solve assuming I made a mistake when there was no problem and thus no mistake
     ...would not have heard that my boss was fired.

And it goes on and on!! This all within the first two hours! It sucks that this is the beginning of a six day work week. Crap couldn't have hit the fan on day five or, had to be day one!


It's too much, just too much! I had to vent, either that or risk doing some really stupid things. Oh what a FLIPPIN' day!! Someone sedate me! PLEASE!

Perhaps nothing would seem so bad and irritate me so if I was medicated but I'm not. I'm trying and failing here. At least I'm at work. I know of many BiPolars on or off meds have a difficult time getting there. You can include me in that group once in a while, but not today. I'm here, at work, putting up with the bull and not getting least not yet.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Well yesterday did improve. I went to Target and bought some running clothes on clearance and a SHAPE magazine. When I arrived home my husband was already cleaning the house which made me so happy. He suggested that I throw our laundry in the multiple washers at the apartment clubhouse so they all get cleaned in a short amount of time and run at the gym.

So I ate the wonderful dinner he had prepared which was oh, so delicious and off I went. After tossing all the laundry in for a quick wash headed off to the gym. There are two treadmills in our apartment gym and as luck would have it they were both taken. Usually I would be bummed but with my new clothes I was determined to run! I bolted for the door and into the cool crisp dark air of an October evening. It was oh so pleasant. I forgot how much I miss running outside when it's dark out.

As a teenager I would run at least twice but mostly three times a day. I would go out for my first run before day break around 4am, second run would be after school around 3pm and the last run would occur between 7-8pm. Although the first run was so early it would always be my favorite because it was so dark and there wasn't anyone outside to glare. I also had an issue with not paying attention and running out in front of cars, less people meant less chance of this happening.

Last night was like one of my 4am runs, simply beautiful. I'm new to the area in which I live so it was nice to go and explore. When I returned home I was at peace. It was different from the norm. It was nice.

This morning I went again.
Hopefully I'll go tomorrow, and the day after that.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


It's been one of those days. Nothing is wrong but at the same thing everything is falling apart.

I am at my breaking point in relation to stressors.  This seems a bit insane to most people because I don't have a very stressful job. Currently my mind is racing and I'm "reading" a lot of minds. Doing these unhealthy things cause me to get anxious and freak out. One of my long time solutions to becoming overly stressed is to go on a shopping spree. REALLY trying VERY HARD not to do this. I know deep down that this would not be a positive way of coping. Thus I begin to think of other things I could do which would have the same effect.

I could eat some candy...
     doing this makes me think about my nine year old cousin who informed me that I've gotten "fatter" since the last time he saw me three years ago at my wedding. I know I've gained a little weight...going up one size in everything from dresses to tops but fat is not what I would use to describe this, yet I feel terrible thinking of it.

I could watch a movie...
      this may just be a waste of time though because while watching the movie I'll end up falling asleep and not doing any of the laundry that's been piling up all week and needs to get done before I leave this weekend.

I should...
     go running...just need to get over the fact that no one is willing to go with me.

I should...
    clean...making a cleaner house will ease my anxious mind. Set the kitchen timer to 15 minutes and get done what I can.

I should...
     get my perscription refilled even if there's not enough money. Shopping unnecessarily will not do my finances any good either but I'm considering that option. At least with medication I know that I will not be so stressed over such silly maters.

Question is what will I do when I get home after typing all of this up? Honestly I don't know. I really hope I will go running, then come home and get a little cleaning done. Finally relax with a nice bubble bath. That sounds shopping for me.
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