Here is the second part to our adoption story. If you haven’t read the first part check it out HERE.
First published August 9, 2018
Not long after the adoptions we were surprised again by another little miracle. Mr. Jacob came into this world in the spring of 2013. His arrival was a little bit rough as he was quite a bit bigger than his brother (both were 9lbs +) and we spent a little extra time in the hospital. Everyone was ecstatic to have their baby brother join them at home.
Not long after this joyous occasion was when my marriage really began to crumble. The stress of a large family coupled with the extraordinary needs of our special needs children was taking its toll on our little family and soon afterwards my husband walked out on us. He did eventually come back, for a little while, and then left again.
Round and round on that chaotic merry-go-round we went. Then In the Spring of 2014 , just before Jacob’s 1st birthday, he walked away for the last time. It was a very hard time for all of us but once again we made it through. It took us a little bit to find our new ‘normal’ as I wasn’t really sure what normal was anymore.
Then that fall William moved schools. That was a major catastrophe! He did not adjust and we just didn’t know what to do to help him make the adjustment. The teachers couldn’t handle him so we would go to the doctor. The doctor would prescribe more medications.
The medications would make him sick or have crazy side effects. Then we would go back to the doctor to eventually find something that worked.
The problem was that each medication would only work for a short period of time before it needed to be increased or changed out. The side effects were scary but I trusted the doctors and their knowledge.By Christmas of 2014 I was worn to a frazzle from the impending divorce, the issues William was having at school, and then Caitlyn was experiencing some behavioral issues and was put on medication as well.
Momma was one crazy mess! In fact everyone was a crazy mess. It was at this time I began to experiment with essential oils to help calm and relax everyone. We eventually got everyone squared away and over the Christmas break I had decided to do a ‘medication vacation’. I discussed it with the doctor beforehand and he encouraged me to make an appointment if I needed him for anything. I think he was a bit curious as to what the outcome would be.
Surprisingly enough everyone did very well and the oils seemed to help at least until school started back.The kids started back on their medications after I received several notice from the teachers about their behavior. I had made appointments with the doctor and we both felt that they ‘needed’ the medications to go to school. Read the last part of that sentence again… they ‘needed’ the medications to go to school. Yeah, when that hit me I realized that I wasn’t the one having the issues when they weren’t on medications.
However when they were on medication I had to deal with the mood swings, tantrums, and everything else that they had been holding in all day long! No wonder they were so grumpy with me after school. In January of 2015 I made the decision to pull William out of public school with his doctor’s support. (There were several reasons that the decision was made as he also had dietary restrictions that weren’t being adhered to at school as well as the reactions to the medications.)
The change in him was instant. He was back to being his fun loving little self again and that made my heart happy.Now trying to teach him was another matter but after doing a TON of research we finally figured it out. We found so many resources that have helped us along the way and we are so thankful for each and every one of them. There was some trial and error though but with every failure we were learning what did and didn’t work.
By Spring he was off all of his prescription medications and doing wonderfully! This change encouraged me to make the leap and pull the girls out of school before the school year ended. I still didn’t really feel like I knew what I was doing at all but I kept trying. Half the battle is won by just showing up and every morning I showed up ready to try again.
Part of the problem we weren’t having the results that I expected was because I didn’t know that homeschool looks different for every family and every home. I was trying to recreate ‘school’ at home and that didn’t work for us. It was at this time I really started getting involved with some of the groups on Facebook and taking advice from more seasoned homeschool Mommas. Boy did we see a change in our attitudes around the house.
Everyone was having fun! The biggest problem I had was affording the materials that we wanted to use. Luckily I stumbled across the Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool. It was just what we needed. The lessons were simple and already planned out. You really didn’t need to do much of anything except print out a few things here and there.
That fall big sister also decided she wanted to homeschool much to my surprise. She was able to help out with the younger kids as well. This allowed me more time to research other things that I hoped to incorporate into our learning experience. Again I kept running into the MONEY issue. That’s when I remembered the Florida Gardiner Scholarship I had applied to earlier in the year. It has been such a lifesaver for helping to purchase materials and supplies to help William have an exceptional educational experience right here at home where he is most comfortable.
With new materials and a new zeal for teaching we started on our homeschool journey which is going on its fifth year here and has seen one graduate already. Over the past few years I have grown in leaps and bounds in my knowledge of homeschooling. We have also learned to homeschool through the good days as well as the bad. Every day is a learning experience and we can make the most of every minute that we have,
We have also had several life changes over the past year which have resulted in the addition of 3 new family members, Mr. Awesome and his two sons, and a move where we did a drastic downsize. In the midst of all the chaos, which can often times spell DISASTER in our home, we try to keep calm and carry on. We do this with some simple, and not so simple, routines that I started way back when my nine was only four.
We have also found a lot of resources, tips, life hacks, and gadgets to help us get through those tough times and keep school entertaining. Some of these tools are so much fun the kids don’t have a clue that they are actually learning and they would probably still love them just as much if you told them Momma’s trick.
I encourage a lot of ‘free learning’ so we are always looking for new resources. I am excited to share these with you and your family so you too can provide your children with the most personalized and exceptional education to fit their needs.
I look forward to sharing a lot more with you all in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. Maybe, just maybe, we can help someone else’s walk down this path a little easier.