Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Teenage Adoption

Today I went to lunch with Kassi and Emma.  Kassi mentioned that this was the anniversary of the day she came to our home. I recall that day well, I had no idea that the call would lead to the adoptio of our future daughter.

Honestly, I didn't know the exact date she was placed in our home.  Those become a blur to me. However, I do remember well the calls and requests to take a teenager into our home when we weren't licensed for that age.  I also recall taking placement of her at a gymnastics center.  How she had a few belongings with her yet not nearly everything she wanted.

Placement at 16 and adopted at 17, it was quick but necessary to give her a family she could go to as an adult.  Having a family is not only important as a child but as an adult as well.  Kassi lives closer and now has a car so we see her a lot more often.  We have many more impromptu lunches and conversations.  I expect that there will be a lot of support necessary when she has her baby.

Teenage adoption has it's challenges.  It is hard to change habits by time they are teens.  However, it can also be very rewarding.  I wish that we had gotten Kassi when she was younger.  Mainly because I would have liked to have longer to build our relationship while she was living at home.  However, that didn't happen.  The beauty of life is relationship building doesn't end at 18, we are still building our relationship. Relationships are still growing among siblings as well.  Sarah said that she feels much closer to Kassi now than when she was living at home.  She enjoys spending time with her more than ever.


If you are contemplating fostering an older child go for it.  Go into it with your eyes wide open.  You just never know what child will walk through the door.  It just very well may be your future child.

Love you Kassi (I know she reads my blog)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Decluttering

The first week of school has come and gone and already I am behind.  Getting sick for one day puts me off by a week.  I still feel as though I just want to go to bed but that is not possible for this mom.

With the change in status of Benjamin there also comes a new GAL.  Apparently we will have the same GAL who came to our house for Kassi.  My husband was annoyed because he went through our entire house and then wrote in the court documents that our house was cluttered.  This did not sit well with my husband at all. We have 9 people living in this house and the remaining stuff of our adult children who have moved out.  Believe me when I say that when the kids move out they don't take everything with them.  You become a storage facility and laundromat.

So, we are doing a huge decluttering job.  Oh, while doing a small kitchen remodel.  While homeschooling two kids, watching a toddler and taking care of my mom.

I spent a period of 36 hours doing laundry.  Yes, I stayed up all night to finish all of the laundry in our house. From that laundry marathon I added a good three bags of clothing to my get rid of pile and two bags of trash with clothing that was worn or stained.  Emma has finally grown to size 7/8 so all the size 6 clothing gets to go to Goodwill.  We will have no more foster children so no need to store any clothing for possible children.

Funny as it sounds, we also did socks.  We also threw away two garbage bags full of socks.  Yea, two empty laundry baskets! If we could convince the schools to let the kids wear flip flops I wouldn't have such a big sock problem.

We even matched mismatched socks. I didn't realize that there was such a need.  Larissa said that the same brand of mismatched socks had to go together.  I thought that reason for mismatched socks was so you didn't have to match them.



Of course when preparing for an inspection it is necessary to start a very messy job.  Little Man tried his best to help out.


It didn't seem to matter where I tried to hide the hammer, he found it.  I finally found a spot he couldn't get to......

Naturally, that led to much hammering with his toy hammer from his tool bench!

I am amazed at how hard it is to get rid of stuff even when it hasn't been worn or used in years.  I don't think that I am the only person with that problem and there seems to be varying degrees of "I can't get rid of that, you never know when I might need it".  I believe that I am middle of the road but I am working on it. I have been ruthless in getting rid of stuff. I bet that next week I will need something that I throw away!

Any other collectors out there?  Any minimalists?

Tomorrow, I will discuss how school is going.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Adoptive Placement


Yesterday was a long day.  I woke up at 5 am sick.  I got the kids to the bus and then called on Sarah to watch the kids for me.  She leaves for college on Saturday so I was very lucky to have her around. When Charlotte showed up she helped with the kids. For long term it takes two people to take over my shoes! I gave instructions for my two homeschoolers through the door to do some specific school work and just napped off and on all morning (when I wasn't in the bathroom).  By 2 I felt well enough to head to town to do some paperwork.

When we arrived our adoptive worker handed us a page that she called the happy paper, the placement agreement. That form also stated that we have 60 days to file for adoption.  No problem with that on our part. We were also handed all of his medical history.  Some of the heart stuff I hadn't seen.  He had SVT and arrhythmia.  The records mention this as if it was two different things.  It also mentions that he had some blocked PAC's. Honestly, I don't know what it all means and I was never explained it by the doctors, I was just the foster parent. I often worried when we were handed our heart baby with a strict regimen of Digoxin if we were really prepared to deal with his heart condition.  However, he did great and hasn't had any problems (we just lost a lot of sleep).

Then she proceeded to read us his entire file.  There were no surprises there.  I think that at this point we actually know more than DSS does about the family.  She also read me every medical appointment that he had, every one that I took him to.  All of his developmental information had been supplied by me as well. Thankfully his background paperwork was only 6 pages long.  (With Emma and Michelle we were handed a 2 inch binder and we had to go through the entire report.)

After initially the pages and signing the background report we signed the Agreement to Place Child in Adoptive Home.  Gladly we signed that page. As of August 18th Benjamin is no longer a foster child, he is now an adoptive placement.  This also means that any subsidy agreements that we have made are now effective.

Next we read and signed the subsidy agreement.  We will get a $300/month subsidy as well as medicaid.  Our state also pays $1500 towards the cost of finalizing the adoption.  Our lawyer does not bill us, he bills directly to the state.

He also gets $1500/year of supplemental Benefits for Medical Assistance.  I actually asked what this covers since it was followed by a page of what it doesn't cover. She said that the only time she has actually seen it used was for respite care, it will cover $500/year of respite care. Would be nice if it covered braces but it doesn't. Because this actually covers very little, we have never used it for any of our other kids.

The entire process lasted about 30 minutes.  It took me longer to get there.  I headed home and went to bed relieved to have the adoption placement paperwork completed.  Now we wait for the lawyers to do their job.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday

We are attempting the bus again for school. I am not sure how many times I have tried the bus in the morning but as I was standing out there in the dark I was reminded that there was a reason why I dropped the kids off at school in the mornings. We were told that Michelle had to be there at 6:05 and they would pick her up on the way north.  Well, the bus went north.....and didn't stop for us. Honestly, if I had the equipment I probably could have clocked the bus going over the speed limit.


I had Anthony preparing for school while I took Michelle out to watch the bus fly by.  We waited a while just in case a different bus was coming.  Anthony was told to be at the corner at 6:35 so we ran in and got him.  I thought for sure that Michelle's bus would come by when I was getting Anthony.  I was sure that the driver was hiding around the corner waiting for me to turn away.

We got back to the corner and Anthony's bus came at the exact time that they said they would be there, nice, thank you.


Last year I dropped the kids off at 7 am.  We waited until 7:15 before I called the transportation office.  I wanted to make sure that they didn't miss us.  I have learned to take my cell phone with me, there was a time I forgot to bring it and was left standing on the corner until sweat dripped off my nose.

Transportation called the bus, I could hear the voicemail answer.  Nice to know that in an emergency we will not be able to contact the bus.  Good to know that in advance.

Thankfully the bus showed up 5 minutes later.  When I asked what time to expect her tomorrow she said that she didn't know.  I think that i will aim for 7:10.

I am wanting the kids to take the bus because I don't want to have to wake the baby this year to take the kids to school.  I would also have to wake Larissa and that would partially defeat the purpose of homeschooling.  Emma, well she was up at 5:30.  Obviously my morning kid.


We did get some areas organized and were pretty much ready to go today.


Later I received a call from adoptions.  We are meeting tomorrow afternoon to sign the intent to adopt and they want our lawyer to send a Letter of Representation. I called our lawyer and he had us come in this afternoon to fill out some paperwork.

We come home to Emma tied up.....she was happy about it so we let it be.


And how was your Monday?

Our Weekend

This last weekend before school starts we completed a few things on our summer to do list.  The summer went by so fast that we didn't get to finish everything.

We rented a cabin by a lake and the kids got to go fishing.  They had never gone fishing before. They also didn't catch anything so I think I will take them again when the weather is a little cooler.

Long ago I camped in tents, this cabin is about as rough as I get these days.  Actually, I would not take Benjamin camping in a tent, so many kids have walked away lately and I know that he would try to run.





Yuck, I had to show the kids how to put a worm in a hook.  Again, yuck.  I haven't gone fishing in many, many years.


After many yucks Anthony put his own worm on the hook.



Ahhh, the excitement.  I am just not into fishing.  I remember getting up bright and early and going out on the boat to fish.  It was exciting when you did catch something but boring when you didn't.





 The play area was directly out our front door.





Benjamin loves to slide.  He has been sliding since before he could walk.  He can clearly say slide too.


It was a beautiful day and the weather was great.  Summer is officially over as school starts for our kids.



Thursday, August 13, 2015

Odds n Ends

Well, I thought that DSS had straightened out the problem with our address being matched with biomom.  Turns out I was wrong. I have received mail addressed to her at my house.  They still have her address as ours.  I was assured that they would correct the problem.  I made some phone calls but wasn't able to actually reach a human. I left several messages but haven't heard back from anyone.  I guess that I am going to have to go further up the chain of command.  This is getting really frustrating.

We haven't heard anything from biomom.  According to her family she wants to have another baby but plans on leaving the state to have it. Knowing what I know at this time, I hope that she doesn't get pregnant again. As far as Benjamin's case goes, she sure did a lot of huffing and puffing and even went to the state to complain about her case, in the end she didn't file an appeal. She hasn't asked for a final visit so I assume that they won't have one.

I received another call from adoptions.  She had more questions for me about him for his file. I think that it is funny that they get all the information from us for his file so that they can call us in to read us the file.

On a great note, the little one we had for respite has found a home.  After 5 rejections her family was found and they are delighted.  She went on a weekend visit and then moved in with her adoptive family the next week. She was such a sweet baby, I didn't understand why so many rejected her.

This has been a long week.  My husband has been out of town for training.  When he was in the army we were used to the separation. However, we have gotten used to him being home every night.  It is strange going to bed alone at night.  I don't sleep as well.

I have been tired anyways because my shoulder is acting up.  I finally went to the doctor this week to get some drug to deal with the inflammation.  Normally when my shoulder acts up I can take the change out of my purse (lots of change) and rest it for a while. Within a week it normally heals up. However, this time around it didn't. The male doctor that I saw asked my why I didn't just carry my purse on the other shoulder.  I told him that I couldn't, I am left shouldered and left handed.  I also use the left shoulder for holding the phone.  Am I odd, does anyone else have a specific shoulder that they use for carrying their purse and such? Bursitis is annoying but in the big picture of life it is manageable. I guess that the combination of carrying a baby and getting old is catching up with me.

We are prepping for school here.  Our schools start on Monday.  We had meet the teacher tonight for Michelle.  Her school has called me several times to see if I wanted to enroll Emma and Larissa. I keep telling them no but they keep calling. Anthony is heading off to the middle school and has orientation this Saturday for half a day.  He is excited and worried which is to be expected.

Honestly, this summer had gone by way too fast. We haven't finished everything that we wanted to do. Also, I have two girls to prepare curriculum for and I have been procrastinating. Regardless of whether we are ready or not, Monday will come and school will start. Anyone else have a short summer?  Is this another effect of getting old?  I was always told that time flies faster the older you get.  Someday's it feels as though that is true.

We have a lot planned for this weekend so we will see summer leave with a blast.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015