Monday, May 30, 2011

A Little Help

Between eating hamburgers and watermelon I have been working on Larissa's bedroom.  Today I was working on her desk.  She has been a big helper every step of the way.

It may just take me a little longer to finish this project then anticipated but that is fine with me.  For some reason Larissa wants to know how to buy paint.....maybe I don't want to know why.

Yes, we are painting her desk right in the middle of our entryway.  It is hot outside and I don't like to sweat on my paint jobs.

No, I don't have a clue what how to paint that desk....I just know the colors she picked are called strawberry and fudge.

Yes, Larissa is wearing winter clothing......I don't have an answer for that.  The picture was indeed taken today.  I don't think that my A/C is set too low but maybe this old lady isn't too good of a judge for that.

Yes, my kitchen floor is sticky with watermelon juice.

No, I won't take care of it before going to bed.  It will just have to wait for tomorrow because I am heading to bed.

Goodnight all.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Plant Life

I am thankful for the rain we have had lately.....and the plants that grow in spite of my negligence.

Upcoming project.....
Yes, a Craigslist purchase.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


We have been busy around the house trying to maintain a semblance of order around here.....I don't think we will win.

The weeds just keep coming back, the laundry pile just keeps growing and as hard as we tried we can't get rid of the moles and voles (although the cats do catch some of the voles).  Some days I feel like I am going in circles.
I did take the two cribs apart night before last.  Guess who called me yesterday?  Yep, DSS.  I didn't check my messages on my cell phone until later and when I called back they had found another placement for the kids.  Yes, kids.  Two boys ages 5 months and 2 years old.  Guess it is a good thing I didn't get that call, we need a toddler break  My SW does have a sense of humor, she knew I took the two cribs apart the night before.  Who knows when the next call will come.  A lot of new homes will be licensed this summer and I am sure they will take priority in getting placements.
The last day of school was Friday.  If anyone is curious, Joselin is still here.  She did not take off as she had stated earlier.  Actually she stayed home last night and didn't take off with her friends until this evening.  She gave me a kiss as she was heading out the door.  She normally doesn't do that.

I spent two days straight doing laundry and now I have clean laundry everywhere.  Why is it I have no problem washing and drying the stuff but struggle to actually get it put away?  For some reason I really struggle with it.  Naturally I still have some of the baby laundry sitting around in piles and I guess I need to just store them away.  I sent home plenty of clothing.

I did see the babies this week when I met with their dad to give him their diapers and some other random items I found around the house.  They looked good.  I really hope that everything works out for them.  I do miss my chunky baby.

My project for the next few weeks is Larissa's bedroom.  She wants a pink and brown room for her castle bed.  I have a lot to do!  I'll post before pictures tomorrow.

Tomorrow is church and then San Jose for lunch.  We are pretty regular unless someone is sick. 

Life is good.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Attachment, My Humble Opinion

I share our challenges with our older child adoption because I know that we are not alone.  I know this because on a daily basis I talk with others in the same position.  However, it is not my intention to scare others away from older child adoption.  Our experience is only one side of the coin.  Many older adopted children have adapted great to a family and home. 
Why do some children seem to have the ability to attach and others do not?  I certainly do not have an educational degree that allows me to speak with authority but I do have my opinion for what it is worth.  It is my belief that neurologically we are set to attach.  However,  we need to be stimulated to grow those neurons.  If a child is not shown love and affection at an early age then it is harder for them to learn to attach.
I think that the complicated part is that some kids can go through abuse and neglect and still maintain the ability to attach while other kids go through the same situation and can not attach.  I think that this is because of genetics.  Yep, genetics.  If you parent enough kids you will learn that no two kids are alike.  Some are easy going while others are not.  Some children are more resilient then others. I believe that attachment is an area where one child can have an easy time attaching even with minimal interactions whereas another child may require a lot of interactions and still struggle with attachment. 
I believe that most foster children have some level of attachment issues.  Attachment is a spectrum type of disorder.  Many may only have a a mild attachment disorder but it still needs to be addressed and understood.
Currently we are looking at a 9 year old girl.  We are trying to ascertain where she stands on the attachment spectrum.  It is hard because not everyone understands the complexity of attachment.  We know that we can not deal with a child with moderate to severe attachment issues because we have younger children in the home.  We know that she does have some attachment problems.  But we also know that she is an orphan who needs a family.
It is not easy adopting an older child but it does help to go into it with your eyes wide open. 

Summer is Here

Are you ready?

It has been in the 90's here and the grass is wilting.

I have a feeling it is going to be a very hot summer.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


"I was never attached to my first family". Those are the words that Joselin told me tonight.
We had a long conversation tonight, one of very few that we have had over the last 8 years. Joselin is not willing to talk freely, she cannot share her feelings, she does not trust. We have taken her to therapists where she has literally said nothing. Yes, it is kind of frustrating.
It is not that she can't talk. She can talk quite a lot when she isn't giving us the silent treatment. However, it is a lot of talk about nothing.
Although she doesn't talk much about feelings and such I sure can and do. I know that she has not forgiven....anyone for anything. She holds a lot of anger in because of this. I have tried to help her to learn to understand the motives of people. That sometimes our perceptions of others motives may be wrong. That no one is perfect. No family is perfect.
Tonight I asked her what her plans were. I didn't know if she would answer me or not. I had no clue that this would lead to a long conversation.
She told me that she was not attached to her first family. That she was moved around a lot between family members and spent a lot of time alone doing whatever she wanted. She told me that she wasn't used to having so many rules. She missed her freedom to do whatever she wanted to do.
Very importantly....she doesn't see the value of a family. Interestingly she says that she attaches to her peers very quickly and then ends up hurt when they reject her. This has been an issue for us. We have had quite a few disagreements over her quick attachment to her friends and her willingness to reject us and our rules for them. But, she is just not able to develop long-lasting relationships and those friendships eventually disintegrate.
She claims no attachment to our family. However, I know, really know, that there is some level of attachment with me. I am the only one that she has opened up to on those rare occasions when she is willing to talk. She has said that she never talked to her biological mother and is often jealous of the other kids and their ability to talk with me. There is some part of her that wants that but she just doesn't know how to reach out and grab it.
Ack, older child adoption is so hard. Joselin lived with her biological family for 10 years, all of her important developmental years. It is hard to change that. It is hard to have an impact on that.
Regardless, we try and we try again. Maybe some day something will stick.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ignore the Jaw

If you come for a visit please ignore the jaw sitting on the floor. I can't seem to pick it up this evening.
Not much surprises me in life. With all my moves, kids, foster placements I have experienced a lot. However, Joselin did surprise me today. She let me know what her plans are........she is moving in with her special education teacher. Possibly moving to North Carolina this summer. She wants her paperwork and such.
. I said, ignore the jaw. I don't even know what to think about this new plan.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Not much to say, I have been extremely lazy the last few days. My biggest accomplishment was getting Larissa's bun to look nice for her recital. I can honestly blame this cold I have, I would love it if I could breath again. First it was the cough keeping me up half the night and then the congestion. Seems like the cold medicines they sell now don't work as well as they used to.
Tomorrow I will be taking Sarah into Columbia so she can take an end of year exit exam for one of her classes. She is almost finished with her classes and she has done really well with her online work. She works independently and I don't have to monitor her at all. I do receive weekly emails from the school updating me on her attendance. After this semester she will only need three more credits to graduate.
I really do need to motivate myself to do some work around the house. I have two cribs to take apart and laundry to wash. I still need to pick up the baby stuff that is scattered all around the house. Without two babies underfoot you would think that I would have lots of energy to get it done. Just the opposite, I seem to have no motivation.
Tonight we had 5 kids home, 2 dogs and 2 cats in heat.....and the house was sooooo quiet. I will get used to it after a while. Probably about the same time I stop having these feelings like I am forgetting something every time I leave the house.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Does someone look a little excited about her recital?

Yes, more Larissa pictures in her dance costume, it is my blog and I can indulge if I want!

Larissa's I dunno look.

It was a good day for a recital. It gave me something to concentrate on besides the quiet in my house. Most of the family came. I told Joselin to stay home this weekend and to attend the recital. She didn't do either.

The recital went very well. Larissa was very excited and enjoyed going on the stage. I find it funny that a child who doesn't like to talk to others doesn't have a problem going in front of everyone and dancing. She did tap and ballet this year. She wants to do more next year. Anthony says he wants to do dance too.

Look at that goofy family....stare if you must.

Friday, May 20, 2011


I wasn't able to go to court today because Larissa had preschool graduation. I received a call at 11:43 am and was told that they kids would be going By 12:15 everything was loaded up and the kids were gone.
Was I ready ....... no. Part of me thought that they might not go home because of new issues. But part of me also knew that if I didn't pack then I would be caught unprepared. So I half-hearted started packing. I didn't finish. When I received the call I rushed through the house gathering baby items together.
There are still many reminders all throughout the house. Two cribs to take apart and store away, two car seats to clean up and put away, a high chair to clean and store, toys everywhere, socks I didn't get to match, random laundry, shoes I found in the car. In every room in the house you will find evidence of the babies. I packed so quickly that I realized tonight at Walmart (when I walked past the diapers and thought I needed to restock) that I had forgotten to pack any diapers.
So, the house is quiet tonight. We will have a new schedule to get used to. Sure, it will be easier with no diapers. Easier without two little ones to care for. But, there will be no baby cuddles, baby laughs, no baby hanging onto my legs saying mamamama, no chunky baby to carry on my hips, no baby love.
I miss my babies tonight.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Child

Picture and practice today. I wonder how they will come out....Larissa was so serious until they said to smile then she would flash a huge grin.

She is such a sweetie. Such a loved and cherished child in our home.

Yet, if you were to see her on a photolisting would you turn away? All her DX's would scare off many. However, her DX's do not define who she is.

I spent my afternoon talking with an adoption social worker listening to another child's DX's. Some of her DX's would scare potential families away. Some of her DX's are already living in my home. How do you determine if the child behind those DX's would bloom within a family or tear it down? I know that both scenarios are possible. However, I also know that our family is strong enough that it wouldn't be torn apart. Because of our journeys we are very familiar with issues that others can't even begin to understand.


We have decided to do one more adoption. How safe should we be? Safety of our children is our top concern. Beyond that what do we look at? Medical visits, therapist visits, dealing with schools and IEP's.....they all come with the territory.


So, we move forward. We look at the child behind the DX's. We pray for guidance in our choices.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Staying Busy

I have been keeping busy the last few days. I have too many projects and too little time.

I have a china cabinet that I am trying to redesign. However, I ran into a problem with my chop saw....I obviously need a new blade. That project got stopped in its tracks.

I am also attempting to wash and find all the babies items. I am filling a suitcase with matched, seasonal, fitting clothing items.

I seem to have a lot of laundry to sort through...and this isn't all. I have more upstairs washing and sitting in piles!

Then I noticed a problem in the play smelled like a wet dog. I don't do dog smell well. I had to go out and buy a little green machine and clean the couch. I probably should do it a second time (the water coming out of that machine was NASTY). I gave up on cleaning the area rugs when I found an area rug on clearance at Lowe's for $60. My SIL wants my other rugs.


I need to keep the dog off of the couch. She has gotten spoiled and thinks she belongs there. I think retraining is going to be a long process.


Do you think that this will help to keep her off?

If you come for a visit just take a toy off and have a seat. The couch now smells great!


John and I headed into town today with Anthony and Larissa. We got Larissa new tights for her dance recital and then went to an adoption open house. I had never been to an adoption open house. I was a little strange but very informative. They had pictures of kids available for adoption and the social workers were there to answer questions. Sadly many of the children would not fit into our home because they either needed to be the only child or the youngest. However, there was one girl.......well, we will see.

Tomorrow John and I have training and then Larissa has dance pictures. I need to figure out how I am going to put her hair into a bun. I think I will swing by Sally's on the way home from training.


So that is how life goes here. Many things to do and not much accomplished. Oh well, I just keep trying.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I Said No

I received a call from DSS asking if I could do respite care for the little 2 year old we had for the weekend a few weeks ago. She is "supposed" to go home on Friday.

I said no. Tomorrow John will be home and I hope to attend an adoption event. Then Thursday we have training and Larissa has her pictures for dance. Friday morning we plan on attending court for our two who may or may not be going home. If the respite doesn't go home on Friday then we have recital practice on Saturday and then dance on Sunday. Really not good timing to take on an extra 2 year old.
Of course, I then said BUT if you can't find anyone else call me and we will work something out. Ugh, I can't just say no! John thinks they will call back, I feel like they won't.

Monday, May 16, 2011


The foster babies have a court date on Friday. We were told that they were definitely going home, then no, then yes and now it is definitely a maybe. Yep, that is how foster care goes. I already requested respite care for our vacation in July "just in case".
So, just in case they do go home I have to pack their stuff up. They have been in our home since September 1st so they have a lot of stuff.....everywhere. I also have to talk with Anthony and Larissa to let them know that the babies may be going home.
This case has not been typical. I know that there is no way that the courts could get TPR on the parents so languishing in foster care is not good. However, I want them to go home to the best situation possible. But, on the other hand that baby is mighty attached to me. No one promised that foster care would be easy.
So many people tell me that they couldn't do foster care because they would get too attached. I understand that. I truly do. But as adults we understand that foster parents are supposed to work for reunification. For me there is a bigger pain......that the baby doesn't understand. She is not old enough to know what is going on. In her mind I am mommy. When she leaves I worry that she will think that I have abandoned her. Will she look for me when they go out? Will she wonder where mommy is? Ohhh, that is my pain and it saddens me greatly.
Friday morning you will find my husband and I sitting at court. What happens there will determine how the rest of our day goes. If the kids go home we will determine a time for us to have them and their stuff at DSS. We will pick up Anthony and Larissa from school and allow them to say their goodbyes. We will take the two car seats out of the car and put away all the baby stuff. We will constantly think that we are forgetting something every time we leave the house. Then we will wait for the next call.
That is the life of a foster parent.

I Actually Won Something!

My craft boxes won "Top Pick" on Would You Like to Craft? I won a $10 gift card to Lowes. I will definitely use that card. Typically I do not link to many sites I visit, however lately I have felt more like joining in on the fun.
I can tell that my blogging skills are marginal when they tell me to "Grab a Button" and I have no idea what they are talking about! Thank goodness for internet searches. I think that the button is going to show up.
Sometimes I wonder if I should put my crafts somewhere else, perhaps on another blog. I don't because my crafting is sporadic, depending on what is going on in my life. So my blog incorporates: crafting, parenting, adoption, foster care and all that comes with it.
Some days I do wonder if I give folks whiplash....talking about mental illnesses one day and making marshmallow cones the next. Frequently, my way of dealing with the stresses in my life are to create something. Creating keeps me sane......although it may just drive my husband crazy!

I have been doing just a little too much playing lately and my house shows it. So, I am off to clean, yuck, my least favorite thing.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Getting Crafty with the Kids

I follow a site called Wood You Like to Craft. This month they are making tool boxes. When I was a Boy Scout leader we made similar boxes. I decided to make some simple art boxes for Anthony and Larissa.

I actually had all the wood and only had to buy a dowel. I made a simple Boy Scout style box.

Originally I was going to paint it for them; however, after thinking about it I decided to let them paint them.

They really enjoyed themselves, serious painters.

I decided to paint the backside with their names.

Simple names.........hand painted.

Do you think that there is any chance they will take better care of their art supplies?

I made the sides high so that the kids could pull out their craft items without hindrance.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Larissa was scheduled to have her evaluation in August but we were on the "call" list for cancellations. I received a call last night asking if I could get there at 8:30 this morning. The office is an hour away so it was close but we made it.
Genetics......what can I say, we knew what risk factors our children had when we adopted them. We knew that both of the kids were already showing signs of bipolar. Part of our adoption agreement included medicaid. Along with medicaid there is a medical fund we can tap into if we need to get therapy that is not covered. We may just have to use that extra fund.
Larissa has anxiety issues (as expressed with her selective mutism) and she came by that honestly. She also has bipolar and possibly something new to me, intermittent explosive disorder. Never heard of that one but I am researching it. I was told to also be aware of schizophrenic symptoms and just watch during puberty (another genetic issue we were aware of).
Why do I bring these up? Because it is very important when adopting from foster care to have as much information as possible about the biological parents mental illnesses. Because our case went on for three years we were able to get psych evals on the mom and a lot of behavioral information on the dad. Very valuable information for our children.
Keep in mind that if the bios have a drug addiction problem they just might be self medicating a mental illness issue. They may not be aware that they have a mental illness. Being informed, proactive and observant allows for the opportunity to break the cycle, treating any mental illnesses early can make a huge difference.

We can't do anything about the genetics our children were given. However, we can teach coping skills, get interventions whether therapeutic or through medications and find compensations. The doctor today had an interesting observation on genetics; he said that genetics gave us bad eyesight (we both wear glasses), however we use glasses to compensate for it. We don't walk around blind because genetically we were given poor eyesight. So the trick to mental illness is to find what works to compensate for it, there is hope for a normal life.

For Larissa we are first going to find a new neurologist. Her seizures are not under control. She still has them every night. The neurologist just keeps adding more meds and upping the dosage. The neurologist also does not believe that children can have bipolar or that selective mutism is real. We feel that she needs to have a doctor who treats the whole child, not just a symptom. The neurologist in Texas wanted to put her in the hospital and find the medicine that stopped the seizures. We were in the middle of moving and didn't have time to do that. This neurologist here has not done that. We were given two different neurologists who have the facilities to do that. So on Friday we will take Larissa back to our doctor for a referral to one of those neurologists. We also have the names of two psychologists to look into. There is also a neuropsychologist in Charlotte who is a possible option. I actually like that idea because he would treat more of the entire child.
It was a good day because we received some answers and verification of our concerns. More importantly we have a plan of action.
Looks like it will be a very busy summer for me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Marshmallow Cones

I bought these ice cream cones at Walmart. The packaging said that it was for kids so I was hoping for cones that were a little smaller. But I didn't expect this small! How do you get any ice cream in those?

They seemed sized for marshmallows, not ice cream. So today we made marshmallow cones. I melted some chocolate and got out our sprinkles. I put a little chocolate on one end of the marshmallow to hold it in place.

Then I dipped the end in chocolate.

The kids decorated.

It was a chocolately good mess.

Then they ate some, naturally.

Great, tasty fun.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What do you see?

When you look at this child what do you see?

We saw a child, a child who needed a family. We were told that she was 7 years old, perhaps 8. In fact she was 10 years old, perhaps 11. Although all the adults in her life thought she needed a family, she did not. In her mind she already had one. However, she felt betrayed by that family. She also felt betrayed by our family when she came to America and didn't receive everything she ever wanted. We have never met her view of what a perfect family is supposed to be. I struggled with that for years until I realized that no family would meet her idealized view of a family.

Over the years I have tried to teach her to forgive for those betrayals. She needs to learn to forgive so that she could move forward. She refuses. Until she can forgive, she will walk around with so much bitterness and anger that she will always be miserable.

I have learned something in can't force a person to forgive. It must come from their heart. They must decide to forgive. I wish I had the answers to help her. All I can do is pray for healing of her heart.

When I look at that picture I see my daughter. My hard headed, obstinate daughter....who I love.

Another Unfinished Project

These boxes showed up today. Free delivery is a great thing. In those two boxes is a ladder for the pool. The outside ladder folds up and locks so kids can't get into the pool.

My first thought after opening the boxes was that John was missing out on the fun!

I got this far before the directions said I needed to put it in the pool and put sand in it.....uh, not prepared for that. Tomorrow I will have to buy some sand.

So, I have another unfinished project at my house, this one sitting in my driveway.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Busy Day

The kids were busy today.....

So was the dog......

and my sweet husband.

We were all busy making pizzas together.

How was your day?