Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God. Psalm 84:3

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gator Car Spirit

Nicholas has a duck wishing him well on the first day!
Kelli is all sunshine and flowers for school!
Sal has a monkey cheering him on to 3rd grade.
Emma is hoping this year is sunshine and flowers.
Vinny is golfing his way through 5th grade.
Welcome back to school my Gators :-)

New Year Gators!

First Day of School! Nick is a 1st grader, Kelli and Sal are 3rd graders, Emma is a 4th grader and Vinny is a 5th grader!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Disney Day

Having lunch with turtles...
Is just another fun day at Disney!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Our RADical Two Years

I had heard of the term RAD before, but until we adopted Emma, "reactive attachment disorder", held no personal significance to me.

When we adopted in 2009 we knew Emma had a complicated childhood and while we knew, and anticipated that there would be significant problems, we had no idea as to the extent of her disability.

Emma was diagnosed with "Alphabet Soup" before coming to live with us and continues to face many challenges both at home and school. ADHD was her primary diagnose but the other letters of the alphabet just didn't seem to fit. Reactive Attachment Disorder, or RAD, was barely on my screen of consciousness prior to this summer, but I have come to understand it quite well. Coupled with ADHD there is no magic pill that will cure Emma's behaviors. RAD is a real disorder that can look like many other things (ODD, FASD, ADD/ADHD, Sensory, Autism, Bi-Polar, Depression, Trauma). Making it go away is another matter entirely, there is a chance it never will. A group of ladies have helped me understand and parent Emma. I am looking forward to attachment gains with her in the future.

Symptoms of RAD in Children
Superficially charming and engaging, particularly around strangers or those who they feel they can manipulate
Indiscriminate affection, often to strangers; but not affectionate on parent’s terms
Problems making eye contact, except when angry or lying
A severe need to control everything and everyone; worsens as the child gets older
Hyperactive, yet lazy in performing tasks
Argumentative, often over silly or insignificant things
Frequent tantrums or rage, often over trivial issues
Demanding or clingy, often at inappropriate times
Trouble understanding cause and effect
Poor impulse control
Lacks morals, values, and spiritual faith
Little or no empathy; often have not developed a conscience
Cruelty to animals
Lying for no apparent reason
False allegations of abuse
Destructive to property or self
Constant chatter; nonsense questions
Abnormal speech patterns; uninterested in learning communication skills
Developmental / Learning delays
Fascination with fire, blood and gore, weapons, evil; will usually make the bad choice
Problems with food; either hoarding it or refusing to eat
Concerned with details, but ignoring the main issues
Few or no long term friends; tend to be loners
Attitude of entitlement and self-importance
Sneaks things without permission even if he could have had them by asking
Triangulation of adults; pitting one against the other
A darkness behind the eyes when raging

RAD arises from a failure to form normal attachments to primary caregivers in early childhood. Such a failure could result from severe early experiences of neglect, abuse, abrupt separation from caregivers between the ages of six months and three years, frequent change of caregivers, or a lack of caregiver responsiveness to a child's communicative efforts. Now knowing the definition of RAD Emma's behaviors become clearer. She was born in China and lived in an orphanage until 4.5 years old. She then was adopted and her time with her former family will always be a mystery that I don't think I want to solve. During those 4.5 years her disorder was never properly diagnosed and/or her behaviors never properly corrected. We adopted a 9 year old who was out-of-control in every way.

Now two years later we continue to see Emma make small gains to become an attached little girl. She enters into 4th grade at school this year and looks forward to making new friends. She enjoys reading, making crafts and science experiments. Happy 2nd Gotcha Day Emma Paige!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Whole Wide World

EPCOT at night was delightful!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lunchtime Crowd

Party of 12! Lunch was great at Joe's!

Mr Potato Head

Hollywood Studios Toy Story worth the 60 minute wait!

Tuesday Treasures: Friends

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pool Time

Fun swimming with friends!
Nick high diving with a little help from Ashley!
The girls conga line in the pool.

Blue Monday

Cruising to the Magic Kingdom!
A magical day for all...
Even if its Blue Monday!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Beach Bash

Making castles in the sand.

Surfing onto the land.

Nick relaxing in the sea....

Sal just being me...

A chance summer meeting,

A fish frenzy feeding!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

After All These Years

After all these years
You stood by me
The days and nights that I was gone
After all these years
You sacrificed, believed in me
And you stood strong
Cause with our friendship there's nothing left to fear
After all these years