Monday, July 30, 2012


Our younger girls should have already had their TPR trial.  At this time they don't even have a date.  Wednesday they are supposed to have a court date to stop visitations....unless it is cancelled.  We plan on travelling to their county to attend.  It is 2 1/2 hours one way and it may be a waste of our time but we are hoping that we will get an opportunity to speak.  We are hoping that the judge will realize that they should be on the docket for TPR not another permanency planning hearing.  We are doing this hearing because our SW is hoping that it will shine some light onto the fact that we don't have a TPR hearing scheduled.  The lack of that hearing does not have anything to do with the SW, it is totally an attorney issue.  If we had the money we would hire a lawyer and have it filed ourselves. 

Michelle in particular needs permanency. 
She wants a new name. 
She wants to stay. 
She wants to be adopted.

The questions I deal with on a daily basis are.....

When will I be adopted?
Why haven't you adopted me yet?
I won't have to go back to my dad will I?  He can't take care of me.
Why doesn't my mom come to visitations?
You are going to court, will I be adopted now?
Why not?
How come you don't know?

I answer as well as I can.  For almost 10 months now I have been telling her about the court process, about how we are waiting for the lawyer to submit her paperwork, we are waiting for the legal process to work it's way out.  I am asking a child who has learned how to not trust adults to believe me and to trust me.  That we are doing all we can.  We have complained all the way up to the state level.  That did get some results, the lawyer received an email from the state telling her to submit it promptly.  We pray that gets some results.

We believe that we will complete our teen adoption before the year is out.  Our local DSS has offered us any one of their court dates to do this.  As soon as the paperwork is ready we will complete her adoption.  This is great and offers permanency and a family for our teen.

What will our 6 year old think?

Why not her?
When will it be her turn?


We got TPR on our teen today.  Mother had already signed relinquishment so we were pretty sure it would happen.  Still, with foster care you just never know how things will go.

In South Carolina you need to have grounds for terminating parental rights and it must be in the best interest of the child.  Since our teen is 17 years old they would not have terminated her parents rights unless she wanted to be adopted and there was an adoptive home designated.  Our teen has consistently voiced that she wanted adopted.  We have consistently agreed to adopt her.  Without either of those along with the grounds for termination, we would not have gotten TPR today.

The following are the 9 different grounds that SC has for TPR.


Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights
The statute provides nine grounds upon which parental rights may be terminated.

While a complaint may address several grounds, only one has to be proven

along with the termination of parental rights being in the best interests of the

child, before a parent's rights can be terminated.

Severity or Pattern of Abuse or Neglect

"The child or another child in the home has been harmed as defined in Section

20-7-490, and because of the severity or repetition of the abuse or neglect, it is

not reasonably likely that the home can be made safe within twelve months. In

determining the likelihood that the home can be made safe, the parent's previous

abuse or neglect of the child or another child in the home may be considered."

S.C. Code Ann. §20-7-1572(l) (Supp. 2002).
Failure to Remedy Conditions

"The child has been removed from the parent pursuant to Section 20-7-736, has

been out of the home for a period of six months, and the parent has not remedied

the conditions which caused the removal." S.C. Code Ann. §20-7-1572(2) (Supp.


Failure to Visit

and during that time the parent has willfully failed to visit the child. The court may

attach little or no weight to incidental visitations, but it must be shown that the

parent was not prevented from visiting by the party having custody or by court

order. The distance of the child's placement from the parent's home must be

taken into consideration when determining the ability to visit." S.C. Code Ann. §

20-7-1572(3) (Supp. 2002).

Failure to Support

"The child has lived outside the home of either parent for a period of six months,

and during that time the parent has willfully failed to support the child. Failure to

support means that the parent has willfully failed to make a material contribution

to the child's care. A material contribution consists of either financial contribution

according to the parent's means or contributions of food, clothing, shelter, or

other necessities for the care of the child according to the parent's means. The

court may consider all relevant circumstances in determining whether or not the

parent has willfully failed to support the child, including requests for support by

the custodian and the ability of the parent to provide support." S.C. Code Ann.

§20-7-1572(4) (Supp. 2002).

Legal Father

"The presumptive legal father is not the biological father of the child, and the

welfare of the child can best be served by termination of the parental rights of the

presumptive father." S.C. Code Ann. §20-7-1572(5) (Supp. 2002).

Diagnosable Condition

"The parent has a diagnosable condition unlikely to change within a reasonable

time including, but not limited to, alcohol or drug addiction, mental deficiency,

mental illness, or extreme physical incapacity, and the condition makes the

parent unlikely to provide minimally acceptable care of the child. It is presumed

that the parent's condition is unlikely to change within a reasonable time upon

proof that the parent has been required by the department or the family court to

participate in a treatment program for alcohol or drug addiction, and the parent

has failed two or more times to complete the program successfully or has refused

at two or more separate meetings with the department to participate in a

treatment program." S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-1572(6) (Supp. 2002).


"The child has been abandoned as defined in Section 20-7-490(21)." S.C. Code

Ann. § 20-7-1572(7) (Supp. 2002).

Length of Foster Care

"The child has been in foster care under the responsibility of the State for fifteen

of the most recent twenty-two months." S.C. Code Ann. §20-7-1572(8) (Supp.


Criminal Convictions for Abuse

"The physical abuse of a child of the parent resulted in the death or admission to

the hospital for in-patient care of that child and the abuse is the act for which the

parent has been convicted of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to committing,

aiding, abetting, conspiring to commit, or soliciting an offense against the person

as provided for in Title 16, Chapter 3, criminal domestic violence as defined in

Section 16-25-20 criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature as

defined in Section 16-25-65, or the common law offense of assault and battery of

a high and aggravated nature." S.C. Code Ann. §20-7-1572(9)(Supp. 2002).

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Our teens mother signed the relinquishment papers on Friday.  For those of you who are not familiar with the process, she signed her rights away. For her it means that she doesn't have to pay any child support.  For our teen it is one step closer to adoption, which she wants.

Before mom met with the social workers to sign she wanted to talk with me to barter for continued contact.  She talks to her teen on the phone and through the internet.  However, I wasn't willing to talk with her.  I am not bartering.  I also am not going to totally stop all contact.  Honestly, my teen is 17, if she wants to contact her mother she can find multiple ways to do so.

Truly, I wasn't going to be the reason that mom signed.  If she signed it had to be her choice, not because I bartered with her.  On Monday we have a TPR court date.  Mom hasn't done anything so I wasn't too worried.  Dad has done even less.  Hopefully on Monday we can TPR on dad and after a 30 day waiting period we can move forward with adoption. 

After we sign an intent to adopt I can give my teen a name.  I do believe that she will keep her first and middle names and only change her last name.  She already changed her last name on facebook a while ago so I guess it is partially official! 

I wondered if my teen would be upset by the relinquishment but she doesn't seem to be.  She sees it as one step towards adoption.  However, I think that anytime a mom signs those papers there are some feelings attached to that.  I watch for it.

Court tomorrow, say a prayer.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Long Week

I thought that when summer got here I would finally have some time to get something accomplished in my house.  Silly me, it seems like I am busier now then when I was in school.  Of course, that could just be because I am getting old and my memory is fading too.

I really need to get back into blogging more often because I can't remember what I do from day to day.  If I wait several days it is really bad.  This week I registered 5 kids for school, 2 girls for dance, waited for an adoption worker who never showed, rescheduled and met on Wednesday, waited for another adoption worker who never showed and I haven't heard from (insert eye rolling here, this is not a first for this person), called doctors and made appointments, picked up prescriptions, scheduled someone to be here tomorrow for my mom while we all go back to school shopping, painted, stripped wallpaper, shopped for the cheapest floor covering that could be found, celebrated a birthday, celebrated an anniversary, gave my mom a shower, tried new product on Larissa's hair, talked to two social workers, talked to one GAL, did paperwork for SW, signed myself up for class and all other mom duties that were required to keep the kids healthy and alive.  (Well, the Zaxby's tonight may not have been too healthy.)

Next week will be worse, we have two court hearings and maybe a visitation if bios aren't in jail as well as dental and eye appointments.  How is your summer?  Do you seem to be busier or able to relax more?

Now pictures......(because I know that is why some folks visit)

Monday, July 23, 2012


Tomorrow Michelle will be 7 years old.  I asked her what she wanted for her birthday a few weeks ago and she told me a Strawberry Shortcake remote car.  I said that I didn't know if they made such a thing.  She told me that they did, she got one for her birthday last year and it was her favorite gift.  We received the girls a few months after her last birthday and I didn't see that toy so I asked her what happened to it.  She looked at me like I was crazy and said that all the best toys always stay behind.

The loss of everything that has value to the child is huge.  How can you expect a child to value and take care of anything if they perceive that they will lose it all at some point.  Clothing, shoes, toys, crayons, art doesn't matter what it is, it doesn't last long with both of the new girls.  I purchased all the girls some Hello Kitty shoes at the same time.  The two new girls are now on their third pair and they look terrible.  Larissa still has the first pair.  I have stopped replacing them.

Dimples is not allowed to be alone with the dog because she encourages that dog to chew on her clothing.  After throwing away some of the clothing I realized that she needed to wear the worn clothing.  When I told her that she would be rewearing the clothing that she allowed the dog to tear up she flatly told me no she wouldn't. She has been wearing those clothes.  So if you see one of my kids in torn up clothing be aware that I am trying to teach her that not everything will just be replaced.

With Michelle we also have the added issue of jealousy.  Very strong jealousy, so bad that it impacts her life.  I have said that she is so jealous that she will glare at another child with an ice cream cone and not notice the one melting in her own hand.  Her jealousy impacts her behavior at home and at school.  It makes her a bully, she has no friends.  She complains that none of her sisters want to play with her.  I try to point out to her what she does to push others away but so far I haven't had much success.

I can understand the jealousy.  I do, I know that many foster homes treat their foster children as "lesser then" children.  They get the cast offs, the second best.  Our home isn't that way.  We try our best to treat all our children fairly.  Sometimes fairly isn't equally.  We have to take into consideration behaviors as well as DSS rules.  One of the things that Michelle has consistently told everyone is that she wants to stay in our home.....that this is the best home she has ever been in.  I think that it is perhaps the most fair home she has been in and she recognizes that.  However, the jealousy remains.  If anyone knows of a good way to deal with the extreme jealousy please let me know.  It greatly impacts her life.

Back to birthdays....I wanted to have a birthday party for Larissa this year.  However, Michelle has no friends to invite to a party, neither does Anthony.  Michelle's birthday is this month, Anthony's is next month and then Dimples and Larissa's are in September.  Out of all the kids only Larissa has friends.  Larissa had a boy call her from the rec camp, kids that she goes to their houses and plays with, kids from school that call her.  None of the other kids do.  Even Anthony has no friends.  He calls no one and no one calls for him.  He can be a bit of a bully like Michelle.  I think that over time Dimples will have some friends.  She doesn't seem to have the same anger that Michelle and Anthony have.  Odd that my kids with the anger issues are both the older child in a sibling group.

Tomorrow the kids are going to a movie in the morning with the rec department then we are picking them up for lunch at ChicFilA's (Michelle's choice) then home for cake and presents.  John and I are going out together for dinner and maybe a movie (it is our 20th anniversary). 

Any suggestions on the birthday party thing?  I appreciate all suggestions!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Kids Overseas

Why is it I think of all my kids as.....well, kids?  Some of them are actually adults now.  I acknowledge that, but still, they are my kids.  Sorry kids.

Sarah in Italy....

Tasha in Afghanistan.....

Sarah I get to pick up August 7th.  I am looking forward to seeing her.  I know that she is on a growing experience and I appreciate the pictures that TMI posts.

Tasha, I won't get to see until Novemberish.  If you know military then you know that there is not an exact date and if there was I wouldn't tell you.  Tasha says that she is going to stay with us until she decides what she is going to do.  She is torn between two different places.  One of them is Charleston, which I hope she picks since Jason is there.  She is such a mover that I suspect she will be with us for a total of 3 weeks tops.

It is such a strange thing when your kids grow up. They start to have lives and experiences separate from you.  I love travelling with my kids and showing them new things.  When they go off to strange new places without me I feel......left out, excited for their new opportunities, unneeded, worried, happy for them.  Obviously I am a conflicted mom.  Any other moms feel this way out there?

Friday, July 20, 2012


This little shop sits behind our garage. It actually has a window unit in it.

It is not pretty, lots of weeds lead up to it.

John has been helping me to transform it into my artist's studio.

It still needs some work but is usable.

Today I decided to get back to painting.  Painting is such a stress reliever for me.

This is Prince Ferdinando, he is looking for his Princess.  Larissa wants him in her room.

John is now home full time.  He was in a training program with the VA.  However, all that training amounted to was filing and answering phones.  He was getting a stipend of $890/month.  It just wasn't worth it after gas and dry cleaning bills (he had to wear a suit every day). 

So, now he has free time on his hands and he is going to help me with getting an ETSY shop going.  I have lots of ideas but not so much time to do them!  This is a new venture for me, I am used to painting for my kids and not putting myself out there for failure.  As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Maybe I can make a little money to make up some of our budget shortfall.  The house remodelling and travelling budgets are gone.

It feels as though life around here is going to get very interesting indeed.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I don't know, maybe you can tell, but I am just plain sad.  I can't seem to shake it.  It is not because of my mission trip although it started during the mission trip.

Sarah is in Italy.  She was so excited about this mission trip.  After years of bullying she had hoped that she would find her place on such a trip.  She gave up her trip to New York with me for her 18th birthday to put the money towards this trip.

While I was in Guatemala she got to make her phone call home from the airport.  John was home to get the call and told me what she said.  She was crying.  She didn't even want to go to Italy.  There is a girl on the team who keeps making sarcastic remarks to her.  The bullying continues, even on a mission trip.  I cried in Guatemala for my daughter with the soft heart.  I couldn't do anything to help her. 

For some reason I can't shake the sadness of my daughter sitting in an airport crying because of a bully.  My husband did contact TMI and received an email from the leader saying that when she talked to Sarah everything seemed fine.  I know Sarah, she wouldn't tell her if there was a problem.  I pray that things changed once they got to Italy and she is doing well.

I received Sarah's last letter from Florida.  She no longer wants to go to the college she was looking at.  She is no longer sure that the mission field is right for her.  She just wants to come home to her family where she is not bullied.

The world is just not the place for a sweet, soft hearted child.

Then this leads me to more sadness.  Foster care and adoption of hurt children can give you a skewed look at life.  I wonder what we are doing to our children as a country.  So many children are hurt before they are even born.  Alcohol and drug use while pregnant harms these children.  Then the same problems, drug and alcohol, impair the parents ability to parent.  This leads to more problems. 
Perhaps the children come into care, with my new girls the 7 moves has caused more damage. 

We are dealing with problems with all of our adopted children that will be lifelong challenges for them.  They will have to deal with the impact of their parents choices all their lives. We just have the tip of the problem in our home.  How many more children are dealing with these challenges?  How many will never receive the help that they need?  How many will grow up and continue the cycle?  What are we doing as a country to stop this?  These children of abuse and neglect become adults. How many of them end up in prison?  On the streets?  Dead?

Yes, today I am sad and I just can't seem to shake it.

Joselin Getting Older

Two days ago we celebrated Joselin's birthday.  She is now 19/20.

She wanted to eat at her favorite restaurant....San Jose.

I got her a pair of earrings while I was in Guatemala.

She loved them and the recipe book that is written in Spanish.

She has never really learned to read in Spanish so now is the time to learn!

Yes, that is a lot of candles.

She got to visit with her puppy.

She sure has grown a lot since we send down a birthday package to Guatemala in 2003.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mission Trip Final

We all were to fly out of Guatemala City very early on Saturday and we were hours away.  The roads add lots of travel time to any trip. 

So On Friday we got up and headed to Antigua.

We went shopping in the market there.  I bought the usual souveniers but was really looking for a Guatemalan cooking book that Joselin had requested.

There were no books in the market so I took off on my own to find a recipe book.

 Aha, I found a book store!

And they had exactly what I was looking for.  Score.

That evening we stayed at a very nice hotel in the middle of town and had a nice dinner with a show.

It was a great trip and I would love to be able to go again next year. 

I didn't know what to expect and wondered how much we could do considering the different languages.  We were asked to build relationships.  It is amazing how much of a relationship you can build with language barriers. 

We were to show the love of Jesus and I feel that our team did that.

If these group visits are done well it is helpful to the Che teams that visit the village weekly.  We don't see the immediate impact of our visits but according to the Che team there is an impact that is felt by them in the weeks following our visits.

Everyone survived at home without me.  However, EVERYONE was happy to see me return!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mission Trip Part 2

Our mission trip had several objectives.  We visited with 2 schools in the village and had a Bible study class for the children.  The kids loved having their pictures taken.

They were also enthralled with the class.

This little one was lured in with my camera.  I would take a picture and turn it around so that she could see herself.  She finally sat at my feet and rubbed the my stubble on my legs. 

We also had a clinic with 3 doctors and one dentist.  Several of the mission members were nurses and they ran the pharmacy.

We brought 400 pairs of glasses donated by the Lions Club.  I worked there several days.  My experience for such a job.....I wear glasses.  It was purely guess work and trying on of lots of glasses.

Some of the men helped work on the church.

One of the biggest objectives of the mission trip was building relationships.  That meant lots of playing with the kids.

My little friend from school sat on my lap for quite a long time.  She also wrote me some art on my notebook.

It was so peaceful at the village.  They do not live by our quick paced standards.

On Thursday the village had a final church service.  It was a beautiful service.

After we left the village for the last time we drove by the ocean to watch the sun set.

To be continued....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mission Trip Part 1

This was my first international mission trip and I had no idea what to expect.  I have to say that the experience was pretty awesome.  Our group was working with a village that is being helped by .  Our group visited this village last year and expect to go to the same village again next year.  They think that after that year the village will have completed the program.

From their site:

The vision of Global CHE Enterprises is two fold:
  1. To see individuals encounter the living God through the actions of the body of Christ so that they are changed from the inside out and in turn enable God to work through them so that their communities are transformed.
  2. To lead individuals and Christian organizations worldwide to initiate and strengthen ministries that lead people to become followers of Jesus and lift whole communities out of cycles of poverty and disease.
Their aim is to give these communities the tools to help themselves.

We arrived in Guatemala City before noon on Saturday..

We were picked up by Dr. Hugo and other Che members and we stopped for lunch at Pollo Campero.  I found this interesting because Joselin asked for that restaurant when she first came from Guatemala.

We travelled a few hours to a hotel where we stopped for the night.  The hotel was beautiful and the landscaping was gorgeous.

We had a view of some volcanoes.

The next morning we had breakfast and watched one of the volcanoes erupt several times.

We spent the morning travelling to and touring an area of land that has been purchased by Che to build a training center.

Our group.  We were all from different churches and towns in the area.

Dr. Hugo is quite a character and quite an advocate for the Global Che program.

Can you guess what type of plant this is?

We got a tour of the property.

After touring the property we packed up and headed further out.

We arrived at Champerico where our hotel was located.  The town we were to visit was a short distance from there.  The roads are so bumpy that is took about 45 minuted to get to the village.

We visited the village where they had a 4pm service planned to welcome us.  The service was great.  It doesn't seem to matter what language you sing in church, the understanding is universal.

After the service we went to dinner and then back to the hotel.  The next morning we started our work at the village.

to be continued tomorrow....