Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Need a Push!

I am not sure what it is but I feel totally unmotivated to do anything these days.  I feed the kids, read some blogs, watch bad TV and do all the general mommy/wife/daughter things.  I just can't seem to motivate myself to do much else.  I haven't been painting or starting any new projects.  This may not sound like a big thing but for me that is a sign of feeling down.  I am not sure why I have no motivation but I am trying to find it.

The kids have been going to the recreation department Monday through Thursdays.  It is a great program where they play games with kids from the area.  They also get lunch and a snack for free.  the entire program is free which is good because I couldn't afford to send all the kids to any similar program.  Since they are gone you would think that I would get something done....nope.

I need to push myself to get started on something.  I need to get painting again.  Any suggestions out there for what type of project I should do?  I am pretty open.  Give me a push!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Teen Adoption

I really haven't written much about teenage adoption. My adopted teen does read my blog.  I told her that I wanted to write about teenage adoption and asked her what I should include.  She said to write that people don't want teenagers, they want little kids.  But if you do go that route be prepared.... to buy lots of food, to deal with random mood swings and.....then she said for me to be nice.  Haha, I know why she said to be nice.  She knows of the struggles we have had.  It has not been an easy experience so I will try to write in general terms.  Every child is unique and every child comes with their own personality.  They are all surprise packages.

What can you expect?  Imagine everything that a child should have learned at home by the age of 16, 17 or whatever age you are considering.  Imagine that they have not learned any of it.  Nothing.  No study skills, no cooking skills, no respect, no routine, no life skills that you consider important. 

They may have learned life skills that were important in their world.  These skills may include lying, stealing, manipulation and any other survival skill that has helped them to survive in their world.  Having said that, it doesn't mean that they aren't open to an alternative and aren't willing to learn new life skills.  Change, however, is hard and backsliding will happen.

The teen years are difficult for most kids.  Teen years are the years are a time of pulling away.  A time of learning independence.  So adopting a teen and trying to form attachment at a time when the teen should be pulling away can be precarious.  That doesn't mean that it is impossible.  In my experience though, the teen has to want it.  I think that is a very important aspect because their time is short.  They don't have 10 or 15 years until they are ready to leave the nest.  They may have a very short period of time.

Kassi came to us as a foster child at the age of 16 1/2, she was adopted at the age of 17 1/2.  Not much time to form bonds and learn new skills. 

School has been difficult for Kassi because she was so far behind when she came.  Combined with a lack of organizational and study skills and it was impossible for her to graduate with her class.  She has passed her state testing so hopefully next year she will complete her credits for graduation.  She plans on doing the same online program that Sarah did to graduate.  Learning that going to class on time every day and that every assignment needs to be turned in are some skills that she is still working on.  Hopefully she will learn these skills before she starts a job!

We have dealt with the mood swings and other behaviors that come with a teen.  There have been times that we have really struggled.  Times when we had to take things day by day.  But with each day is a new opportunity to start over.  Relationships among the older siblings have been strained at times.  They have also been close at times.  In the long run we are family with the good, bad, pretty and ugly.  Love and perhaps even a little insanity bind us together.  We are still growing and learning how to live as a family of many different personalities.

Considering a teen?  Go for it, it is not impossible.  Practice your patience and forgiveness.  Remember to love unconditionally. 

Every child deserves a family, a home to come to for the holidays when they are grown and a place to bring their children.  Everyone deserves to be loved, unconditionally.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Michelle returned from Kidzjam.  She spent three nights with members of our church having lots of fun.  Only problem we are having is it was her type of fun.  No, she didn't have a behavior problem.  She didn't do anything strange.  She simply showed me that it was too soon.  She showed me that we aren't as far along in attachment as I thought and she really shouldn't be going away like that.

She got off the bus excited but barely hugged me.  I thought that was odd.  Then the adults came to me with great stories of her eating abilities.  They were praising her massive amounts of eating.  She did so much eating that even the tables around them noticed this great feat.  All I could do was smile and concur that she can eat a lot.  Inside I was wincing.  Overeating was a big issue for her when she came to our home.  We thought that we had gotten portion sizing to an appropriate amount.  Now I see that she will overeat for the attention.

Then within minutes of being home the tears came.  She was crying for the adult chaperone that was in her room.  That was Friday, she is still crying for her adult chaperone today (Sunday).  She hasn't mentioned a single kid and only told me stories after I prompted for them.  She talks about other activities the church plans on doing this summer.  I think we have a zoo or beach day planned for that day (whenever it is).  Michelle will not be going on any activity without family for quite a while.

I look at the pictures from camp and realize that she was never with her peers.  She was either with adults or much older children or teens.  Yesterday she didn't want to play with her siblings.  I had to force the issue.  I think that we have gone backwards and I know that I have myself to blame.  I really thought that she was ready.

She is already talking about going back next year.  Next year we will have 3 kids old enough to go.  That would cost $600.  I do believe that no one will be going next year.  Instead we will take that money and will be staying in a cabin in NC with family.  Attachment will happen with mom and dad, not the chaperone.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Foster Care is Never Boring

If you want excitement in your life, become a foster parent.  This morning, as I sat in my pj's, DSS showed up to take our little foster child to his aunt.  A call would have been nice but such is the life of a foster parent.

This was a good thing.  Noncustodial parent forced him into foster care believing that he could get him back sooner.  I wonder if dad realizes that his son cried himself to sleep last night.  He wasn't crying for his dad, he was crying for his aunt. 

He was still asleep when DSS showed up.  The look of joy on his face when I told him he was going to his aunt was priceless.  I am happy for him that DSS was able to make this happen today instead of Monday.  He would have had a miserable weekend.

Foster care is never boring.

Summer Days

Our summer is moving along. I have a lot of things I want to accomplish and I have come to the conclusion that I won't!  I am lucky to just get all the kids fed every day and an appropriate amount of laundry finished.

Quick update:

This week Larissa tried out for the competitive dance team at her dance studio.  She was accepted and I look forward to all that entails.  I do feel the need for a paying job to pay for this experience!

Michelle left on Tuesday for camp with our church.  With modern technology we are able to see periodic pictures with updates.  She appears to be having a great time.

Sarah has decided that she wants to attend a University about 2 hours away.  The cut off date for applying is July 1 so we have been scrambling.  Oh my gosh!  I am not ready for her to leave but I understand her desire to spread her wings.
Jason has been in town a few weeks and is trying to get his life in order so that he can attend college in the fall in Charleston. Tasha has applied to a college in Charleston.  I AM NOT attending any college this semester but have been doing many FAFSA's.
Larissa is still wanting to homeschool so I am working on that paperwork.  Kassi is still working from behind and needs to find a high school program for the fall.  She may attend the virtual school that Sarah graduated from.  I really need to do a teen post some day.
My mothers aide has been replaced.  She asked one of my teens to clock her out of our house 45 minutes after she left.  That combined with missing the next day forced me to request a replacement.  I have been training the new person on my mom and she seems to be doing well.  My mom likes her and that is important.
I have been working on cleaning out the is slow going.  I have a friend who wants to go into business with me but I just don't know if I have the time, geez, I can't even get the garage cleaned out.

Made more bedroom changes.  Larissa has been having a hard time with sleeping.  The other night she came down saying that she was scared.  I asked her if she needed us to put the bed back in our bedroom and she said yes.  She left and I assumed that she went upstairs until John came to me and said that our bedding was moving.  She had crawled into our bed and John slept on the couch that night.  So a bed has been added to our bedroom.
I have connected with our adoption worker and she is going to come out sometimes to update our homestudy.  We have a fire inspection sometime around the 10th of July and Kassi needs to get fingerprinted.
We got a new foster child.  A three year old boy and it is a messy case.  I believe that he will be in our home less than a month.  If he doesn't go to a parent on Monday then he will go with a relative on his merit hearing in July.  When he was dropped off we learned that Peanut and Kiwi may come back into care.  It has been years since they were in our home but we hope to have them placed with us if they do come into care.
I did video tape the kids and now am having technical difficulties.  Hopefully it will get posted soon!  If not I may have to retape.
I do believe that brings us up to date.  It seems like nothing is going on but in reality a lot is happening.  Life has a funny way of doing that.
Hope everyone is having a great summer.  nite

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Adopt again?


The kids reaction when I tell them of our intent to adopt again.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Beautiful Song

Beautiful song and strong story.  I know that Wiki isn't always accurate but I found the same information on several sites.  Learn something new every day.  Wish my faith was that strong.  Not sure what I would do in the same situation with my children.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Little ones want to do a video.  Any questions you would like to ask them?

New (to us) Vehicle

This was my facebook post right before we left for Disney....

For some time we have been struggling with transportation issues. Every time we have received a foster child we have had to take two cars whenever we went anywhere as a family. In June Kassi turns 18 and we have the opportunity to try for one last adoption. Our preference is to take siblings.
Our biggest stumbling block has been transportation. We are not able to take on a car payment at this time.... I have been praying about this. Waiting to see if the door opens or closes for a future adoption. Yesterday, on a Saturday before our big trip, John was paid some back pay that the VA owed him. We went car (pig van) shopping and were able to purchase a van. The price was within $100 of his back pay. We thank God for his timing and provision.
Yes, on a Saturday John was paid some back pay.  We had no idea how much the VA owed him, they don't let you know when and how much they are paying until you get it.  To get enough to buy a big white van was a blessing to us.  We traded in our 2002 eight people seater Sequoia for a 2011 fifteen people seater Ford.  It is big and white and Kassi says it looks like a prison van. 
We drove it to Florida and back with no problems.  Coming home we had room for 10 of us and all our luggage.  Tasha was going to drive some of the family home and then go to Charleston, this prevented her from having to drive the extra miles.
It is big and white so I see some sort of decorating in the future.  I am thinking car magnets or something.  Also, I do need to save for some running boards, Emma struggles to climb into the van!
One stumbling block gone.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Disney Part 2

So how was Disney?  Great.  Every time we go to Disney we have a different experience.  We stayed at one of the Disney resorts so we were able to use their transportation.  This was important to us because we had young adults, teens and little ones.  Having the ability to come and go at separate times was a great option.

We also got the military dining plan.  This was also a great choice because food is often a big part of our budget on vacations.  Having all the food prepaid for was a great benefit.  We also had one meal reserved each day and this allowed all the separate groups to come together at one point during the day. 

Most of the time John and I took the little ones and occasionally we would have some other kids tag along for periods of time.  The kids also broke off into groups that changed frequently.  There were lots of options for everyone.  On the last night the teens took the little ones and John and I were able to go on a date.  That was very nice!

One day we met with Kathy who I met over the internet.  We have been talking so long that it was nice to finally be able to meet up.  It felt like I was meeting up with an old friend.  We knew each others kids and issues which made for a nice afternoon.  It is nice to talk with someone who understands what types of issues you are dealing with on a daily basis.

Rain, we got lots of it.  It didn't stop us. Actually the last day we were there a tropical storm was coming through.  That was actually the best day!  It was cooler and the rides we went on didn't have any lines.  We had the most relaxed, less crowded day that day.

Things we learned....Larissa does not do well with heat, lots of walking and she needs an IV drip of food.  I am not sure if it her medication or just her metabolism, but she was miserable by the afternoon and got carried by several of us.  The last day when it rained all day was her best day.

All the other kids tolerated the heat and walking just fine.  Fighting was at a minimal level and everyone got along reasonably well. 
Thursday night came our biggest challenge.  I paid a friend to stay at the house to watch my mom.  However, she is not able to change diapers.  I was paying the aide who has worked with my mom for a year to come to the house and change my mom.  It was working fine until Thursday night when she didn't show up.  I was able to get a nurse friend to go to the house but it totally stressed out my friend. This aide comes to our house 5 days a week through a program for the elderly.  I was paying her extra to come later in the day.  Now I am not sure what to do about the situation with the night time issue because it is separate from the day job.  It has also become apparent that she is also taking small things like sodas and toilet paper.  I am not sure what all she helps herself to but it is apparent that she is.  It makes me wonder how much of my increase in grocery bills is due to her taking stuff.  My mom really likes her and is comfortable with her.  Ugh. 
We do have my mom on a waiting list for a nursing home.  I really should look at other homes because this home is the best in the area and the waiting time is at least a year. This trip has made me realize that we just can't take another family vacation as long as my mom is still in the home.  Having to rely on others to do their job is difficult.  I haven't called the company that employs my moms aide because I am so torn.  If I find her a home in the next few months then why have her get used to a new aide.  However, I don't feel that we can trust her in our home.  More ugh.
So, we are back and trying to get into our summer groove.  I haven't made any phone calls about the aide and everyone is wondering when I am going to do it.  I am trying to get my house and garages in order and trying to determine what to do with myself.  I passed all my praxis licensing teacher exams and have only applied to a job in my county.  Not sure if working outside the home is the right thing for my family right now.  I feel very much afloat right now and am trying to decide what direction I need to go.
Later.....all about our new and unexpected car!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Disney Trip

Our crew drove down to Disney World for a few days of family fun.

We went on many rides and saw many shows.

The little ones earned their Mickey ears.

We ate too much food at some pretty cool restaurants.

Watched the fish.

Went on a safari.

Watched the Lion King show again.  Larissa claims that she will be dancing on that show one day and we can all come and watch her.

We broke out our rain ponchos.

Met Pooh

and Tigger.

Fit around a dinner table at Sanaa (at Animal Kingdom Lodge)

Played cell phone games.

Received some advise.

Colored some children's menus.

Ate lots of desserts.

Met up with Kathy from Cassel Crew

More rain.

Saw some wildlife.

Carried tired Larissa.

Met some Princesses.

Custom designed some more desserts.

Weathered more rain.

And generally spent some good quality time together.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sarah's Bedroom Makeover

A lot has happened in our household in the last week.  I will backtrack a bit to Sarah's bedroom makeover.

To confuse you, the girls were moved to the master bedroom and Sarah moved to their pink bedroom.  Kassi moved to the FROG.  I promised Sarah that I would repaint the pink bedroom sometime. 

Sometime came the week before we left for Disney.  Tasha took Sarah to Charleston for the week so I could work on the room.  Sarah requested a ceiling fan, curtains and a place for her concert posters. Beyond that, she gave me total freedom to do whatever I wanted.

Before (after I emptied the closet)

  I decided to do a very dark purple on two walls and white on the other two.  On one purple wall I planned on painting dandelions.
In Sarah's bedroom she has a full size bed and a twin bed for when one of the other girls come for a visit.  It can be used as an extra bed or for seating.

This was a very low cost project so I needed to come up with a very cheap way to hang many different sized poster items.  I am not big on taping posters to the wall.  I finally came up with this idea....... I put cup hooks on the trim of both windows.

Then I put string going across the space.

I bought some little cheap clothespins at Walmart.

It came out great. 
Sarah can change her items out very simply and easily. 
This project cost less than $10.

For curtains I used the flat sheets from the new sheet sets.  Sarah already had a grey furry comforter so I decided to go with a purple, grey and yellow color combination.

We had bought the ceiling fan a while back.  It was the biggest cost of the entire room makeover.

I also painted Sarah's favorite saying on the wall. 

She was very happy with her makeover and enjoyed doing it for her.
What do you think?