My name is Sheila and I am 45 years old. I married my High school sweetheart at the tender age of 17. We had our first son 9 months later. 14 months after that son number two was born. 22 months later we had our little girl. So there I was, 22 years old, with three wonderful children and the love of my life.I loved being a Mom and I enjoyed it more than I ever thought possible. I would hold them and watch them sleep never wanting to put them down. Clint and I were very young and I'm sure some thought we were crazy, but I wouldn't trade it!As my children grew and we bought our land and built our home I began to miss having a little one. My babies weren't babies anymore. I decided it would be fun to have little ones around and approached my husband, then the kiddos about becoming a foster family. I thought it sounded like a great idea and it would be wonderful for the kids to be involved in helping those that needed us. Everyone agreed, I made some phone calls, and we began our journey.....We went to foster parent training and did our paper work, back ground checks, home visits and then we waited. I was a little surprised that we didn't get a child immediately. Then it happened on March 18, 1998 while I was shopping with my friend Chris I received the phone call that would change my life forever. The social worker wanted to know if we would take a little boy who was 18 months old and his 3 month old baby sister. I was so excited I couldn't wait to get home.Richard and Katy came into our lives that very evening. They were beautiful but they didn't smell so pretty! My daughter Ashley and I gave them baths and fed them. Ashley read Richard a story while I rocked Katy. They stayed with us for 15 months and then the dreaded phone call came. Richard and Katy were going home. I know I am supposed to be happy and that the goal from the very beginning was reunification. I had watched the parents with Richard and Katy and I truly felt in my heart that they were not ready for the responsibility. Katy was so frail when she came to us she was failing to thrive, she spit up all the time, had frequent diarrhea and many ear infections. She was just beginning to blossom. I feared for her safety. There was nothing I could do but pray to God to watch over these children and keep them safe. I was not prepared for how difficult it would be to let go. I loved these children and I didn't know if I would ever see them again. With a broken heart and tears streaming down my face I stood next to Clint as we said our goodbyes. I will never forget the looks on their faces. I felt as if they were asking me why they had to go away.Three weeks had passed since our sweet little babies had gone away. My heart ached and I thought of them constantly. The second week in July I received a phone call from D.H.S asking me if I minded speaking with Katy's doctor. The worker informed me that Katy had been found unconscious in her crib and rushed to the hospital. She had suffered a metabolic crises and because of a lack of oxygen she had brain damage. When she awoke from the coma she was unable to speak, sit up, stand or walk. The doctors needed to speak to someone that knew when Katy had attained each milestone such as walking and how well she talked. They had nothing to compare her current condition with. I asked if we could come to the hospital and be with her. When we saw her tiny little body in that big hospital bed with all the tubes coming out of her I couldn't believe it was the same child. I stayed with her night and day. I took her to the play room and coaxed her into taking tiny little steps with help. I got her to take small bites of food. I bathed her and brushed her tangled hair.The doctors explained that Katy had a rare metabolic disorder called Medium Chain acyl CoA Dehydrogenase. Medium chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase deficiency, or 'MCAD,' is a disorder in which your body is unable to breakdown fats to make energy. Normally, fat is broken down into energy by "enzymes." This energy keeps your body running whenever it runs out of its main source of energy, a sugar called 'glucose.' In MCAD, a very important enzyme for breaking down fat, the medium chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase enzyme (MCAD) is missing or does not work correctly. This means that people with MCAD can't break down fat for energy when they run out of glucose. When people with MCAD fast, they can experience a range of serious life threatening symptoms or even death. Persons with MCAD cannot use this fat to make energy, consequently, the body begins to fail and malfunction once the food the person has eaten runs out. The main treatment is to avoid going without food for very long periods. Children should eat high carbohydrate meals like sugar-containing drinks, cereals, and pastas when they are ill. Children with MCAD should follow a low fat diet. If not detected and treated appropriately, MCAD can result in death. Untreated MCAD can lead to mental retardation and death.Katy was released from the hospital into our care. Richard went to another foster home due to all the therapies and constant care Katy needed at this time. Richard never made it back to us. He was adopted by a family that fell in love with him while we helped Katy with her long journey back. We spent everyday working with Katy encouraging her to walk and talk.On April 27, 2001 when she was 3 1/2 years old Kaitlin Elizabeth Kimble became our daughter. She was officially ours. When the Judge announced her new name and put her in my arms I felt the same joy I felt when my biological children were born. The same feelings overwhelmed me and I knew that God had brought us to Katy and that she was supposed to be with us and never have to say good bye again.Now it is December 2, 2007 and Katy will be 10 years old on the 24th. She is in the third grade. She is truly a gift from God. She brings us so much joy. I will admit though that it isn't always easy. Katy has developmental delays and ADHD do to the metobolic crises. She goes to speech, occupational and physical therapy twice a week. She has a Para professional that helps her because Katy has not learned to read. She needs constant supervision as she does not think things through. She is very revved up and is on medication to help her sleep. I was very much against giving her any medication in the beginning but after being up until 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning trying to get her to sleep and regularly being late for school, I soon realized that this was a good choice for Katy. It slows her down enough to be able to go to sleep and she is able to wake up in the morning feeling rested and ready to go to school.Katy has three older siblings Chris her oldest brother is 27. Randy her brother is 26 and her sister Ashley is 24. She has a niece Brooklynn who is 6 and a nephew Hayden that is 3. She has another nephew Peyton that is 3 1/2. Join me as you peek into my life and all that it entails as a Mom to three grown children and Katy a 10 year old who keeps me on my toes. I'm Nana to three beautiful grandchildren and wife to the love of my life. The journey continues......

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Decisions


Today was Katy’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan) it started out much like all the others. With everyone signing in and making small talk while we waited on everyone to get there. There have been a few changes with the way the state department handles state testing. We went over some questions about Katy’s academic development in order to see what kind of testing she would qualify for. It was decided that a portfolio would suit her needs but in order for the special education teacher to work on this portfolio with Katy she has to provide services for her. Katy has not been going to special Ed because I have not wanted that for her. First I am very pleased with her teacher and her Para. Her teacher is wonderful! She goes out of her way to make amendments so Katy can still be a part of her 3rd grade class. Which I feel is very important not only for the social skills she gains by interacting with children her age but because she likes being with them. She wants to be involved with them and be a part of the class. She is also able to keep Katy on target which is not an easy task. Katy respects her and is willing to listen to her. Katy has had the same Para since Kindergarten they have developed a bond. As a parent it is so much easier knowing that the person working with your child every day cares about her and wants what is best for her. We also have a very dear lady working with Katy outside of school. She is helping Katy learn to read and working on knowing the value of money. Katy’s Para works one on one with Katy with her reading also. Ok back to the portfolio. I am faced with the decision of deciding to either let Katy continue with things as they are and fail her state testing which will bring the schools score down or let the Special Ed teacher work with her and turn her work in as a Portfolio showing her work as she is capable of doing it. Now the first reason I have not wanted Katy to be in the Special Ed class. It is about 100 feet away from her school in a different building which is underground. It is old and it leaks and many have been sick because of the mold issues. It makes me sad that the children that already have problems are the ones who are using this building. Who wants their child in an environment like that? Katy already goes to her therapies in this same building. I just didn’t want to add another daily session to it. The second reason I haven’t wanted her to go is because Katy does so much better when she can get one on one. She is easily distracted and has a hard time focusing where there are other children involved. I just didn’t really see how putting her in this situation was going to benefit her. I would rather her be upstairs with bright lights and being with her favorite people either doing what she can with her classmates or getting the one on one with her Para. The Special Ed teacher told me that she had a spot for Katy where she didn’t have any other children. I asked her if she could guarantee that it would continue to be that way and she said no. Which didn’t surprise me. The third reason is I have dropped in down stairs on several occasions and found a hen party going on in the Special Ed room! Katy was not involved because she wasn’t there but other children were. I also witnessed a child asking for assistance and was told to sit down and wait in a tone I would not want a professional to use with my child. (He interrupted their gossip session) I have expressed all of these reasons except for the last one to the team at past meetings. I ended up crying because I was so frustrated! I truly felt as if the schools test scores were more important than my daughters well being. Yes I did express this to them and of course they disagreed. They told me that they felt Katy would enjoy it and that she would be less frustrated by not having to take a test that she couldn’t read and couldn’t understand. Each of her therapists gave their reports and Katy’s Occupational therapist said that Katy had made many improvements and recommended going from 2 times a week to once a week. I honestly do not think that would have been recommended if in an earlier phone conversation I had not mentioned to the Special Ed teacher that I was considering taking Katy out of Speech. The Special Ed teacher called me and asked if she could provide services to Katy this year. I told her the only way I would even consider it would be to replace one of the therapies where I felt she was making the least improvements. She doesn’t get one on one in speech and I feel she has been kind of stuck. She doesn’t seem to be improving in this area as much as the others. I can take Katy to other therapist where she could get one on one if I felt that was necessary. I was just considering how she would do without it for a while. I am not saying that her therapists are not good at what they do or that they haven’t benefited Katy. I am very grateful for all they have done for her. I have probably totally confused you at his point. I am letting Katy go to Special Ed and work one on one with the Special Ed teacher as a trial until the end of the year. I am going to try it and see if it benefits Katy. If it doesn’t we won’t continue. I hope it is the right decision. I have really struggled with it. I want my little girl to learn all she can and I want her to be happy doing it.

2 comments:

ashleykimble said...

Wow, that was a lot to take in in one sitting. I hope things work out. Katy deserves the best available, I hope she gets it. I will be praying about the situation.

Billie said...

Wow...that's a lot to digest. I know the whole IEP thing because of Sierra. However, her needs are not as severe as Katies.

I do know that I have already learned that I need to follow my parenting gut...and that I need to push/fight for what I want.

I know you do and know the same thing already. It's not their child...you need to live with your own actions anyway.

Did you ever consider private school or anything for her? I have NO idea what the options are out there...your special ed room sounds terrible! I can't believe the state allows such a thing.

Good luck with your decisions!