Saturday, August 31, 2013


I am curious.  Who else is required to provide daily snacks for their school age children.  In kindergarten everyone took turns so about once a month you are required to provide snacks for the entire class.  It wasn't too bad unless you forgot your day!

However, after kindergarten all elementary grades provide their own daily snack.  Every day I have to rummage up something healthy for snack.  It is either prepackaged stuff which is expensive, ziplock bags which seem a waste or containers which get reused (tried and failed to keep up with the containers).

I don't recall providing snacks for my older kids when they were little.  They had breakfast, lunch, snack after school and dinner.  When did this extra snack become necessary?  I now have to monitor my kids lunch online because they allow them to purchase chips and cookies with their lunch.  Then they get home at 3 and have a snack and we eat dinner between 5:30 and 6.

All these snacks are killing me.  All this junk food they let them buy is bothersome and another area that I have to monitor or they will just eat the junk food. Oh, and bananas are not a good choice.  Michelle left one in her backpack....for days.  Not so good.

So, do your school age kids need snacks at school?  If so, what do you send?

Note: on the weekends we don't do a morning snack but our lunch time is flexible according to when everyone tells me they are hungry.  We do an afternoon snack if it gets brought up and it isn't too close to dinner time.  Sometimes they are so busy playing they don't come in for food breaks.  However, they do a lot of water breaks.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Christmas Shopping

There are 116 days until Christmas.  I am wondering if I can make some cut backs this year.  Christmas has been so much about getting and getting.  We do crafts and such but with so many kids gifts have become such a big issue.  Last year some of my older kids bought for all their siblings.  I told them that this year they need to pick names or something because it go to be too much. 

Really, my kids don't need much.  We have plenty of toys, books and such.  I have already bought my little ones some toys of interest to them either on clearance or even brand new from someone else who bought too much last year.  For the 4 young ones I think I want to get them a tablet of some type.  They are always taking off with my IPad and use it quite a bit.  I am looking for suggestions.  I am looking to spend less than $100 since I would need 4.  They like to play games, make videos, take pictures and read.  There seem to be all types of tablets out there today and I have no clue about any of them.

I have the two little ones and I am not sure if they will be here or not.  They will be simple, toys.  The 4 year old has a birthday next month and I already purchased him a DS since he constantly has one of the kids games in his hand all the time.  Occasionally he will play with the Leapad games when no DS is available.

I have been watching the youngest 6.  Their favorite things are: wii, handheld electronic games, making forts with pillows and blankets, playing hide and seek, riding bikes, anything art, playing house- school- library, swinging, chalk and dry erase boards, making videos and some of them dressing up.  Hmmm, I think that I will add some art supplies to the list.  They have been banned from the trampoline since they tore up the safety net.

The older kids are harder.  For John up north we are sending those Visa debit cards for him and the girls.  I have started buying those at each payday so that those will be bought well before Christmas.  I am not keen on sending cash but I really don't know what they would like to receive. 

I think that the thing I enjoy about Christmas shopping is thinking about each child and buying something specific for them.  It shows that I know them and their likes, or at least I try!  I like to receive gifts that show that they thought about it as well.  It doesn't have to be costly, just show that you thought of me.  I guess that is why I don't mind the gift giving.  Long before Christmas I start talking to my kids to see if they have any secret wishes and then I try my best to meet that and add something that I think they will enjoy.  It is just the times 10 can get a little costly!

Do you do Christmas giving?  Have you started?  Do you have a specific budget or get the same number of gifts for each kid? 

Thursday, August 29, 2013


The "one night only, we will pick her up in the morning" foster child that we received over a week ago has been moved to her foster family.  She wanted to stay here but we are over our limit.  We all liked the kid but it would have been nice if we could have gotten her to eat more than French fries!  Driving her to school in the next town over was another task on my list that I really didn't need right now.  I have reiterated to DSS that we are already over the limit so don't call with placements!   Really they need to not call because I have a really, really hard time saying no.

When our current foster kids go home we do plan on taking a break.  Our adoption worker has asked us to so she can get us an adoptive placement.  I told her that I was working on the "no" mantra then decided that not answering the phone would actually work best.  Everyone in the house recognizes the phone number they call from for foster placement.  I believe that I am the only one who knows the number for adoptive placement.

As far as the adoption homestudy, I have done nothing!  Yep, nothing.  I simply haven't had the time.  I also know that with the foster kids in our home we are not open for adoptive placements right now.  As far as our current kids, I know that they will not become an adoptive placement.  These kids actually have interested family.  At this time I have no idea how long they will be in our home.  I am currently thinking about Christmas and have no idea if they will be here or not.  Makes planning hard.

Our county needs foster homes.  I imagine that many other counties do as well.  If you currently don't, consider becoming a foster parent. You don't have to say yes to every child!  You can have a huge impact on just one child at a time.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Language Arts Suggestions....

Well, I have decided that I am going to withdraw from this program as soon as I get my own in place.  Here is SC you have to join a homeschoolers association if you aren't doing their virtual school.  So I need to do that and find a curriculum. 

I got lots of math options and am looking at them now.  So suggestions for a language arts program?  Average reader, loves the Junie B. Jones series.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Virtual School

Larissa and I are doing the virtual school.  For me it is OK.  Basically it is like teaching school at home.  Similar books, schedule and testing.  However, I am already feeling unhappy with it.  Every week she is doing online testing.  Larissa's anxiety makes testing hard.  If she sees a few questions she is fine but when she sees a lot she just starts guessing.

Larissa wants to do more science and art.  I know that there are ways to incorporate these things better but with the requirement of the schools it is not possible to make changes.

My biggest concerns are her math and writing.  Not the idea process but the mechanics of writing.  She writes very hard and it tires her out.  She does not like to write.  I would like to do a typing class for her.  Math is a huge struggle.  She doesn't even know her basic addition facts.  We worked on them over the summer but she has such a mental block for math that she just shuts down. 

I would love to find a math program that would work better for her.  Any suggestions?  For Jason I used Saxon math years ago.  I wouldn't' even know where to begin today.

I just think that I need to change.  I want it to be exciting to learn, not boring like this program seems to be.  Any suggestions for curriculum out there.  I know that I have some homeschoolers who read this blog.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

How to Wear Your Kids Out

Big boxes, the best thing out there for imaginative play.

(Big bonus, Larissa and Michelle had to work together to make the box move.)

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Some days I get so frustrated.

Over and over I tell my kids what my expectations are. Over and over they defy them.

Over and over I discuss lying and the damage that it does to relationships and trust. No change.

Some days I get frustrated and really don't know what to do to improve these behaviors.

Today was one of those days.  I wasn't out of bed 15 minutes before I had two girls screaming, lying, waking babies and teens, defying the safety house rules.  Today I decided that these behaviors will earn the offenders work detail for the day.  Yes, for the day. 

Of course just because you give them chores to do doesn't mean that they will actually do them. Here the girls are matching socks.  The socks were thrown from one end of the dining room to the other.  They did not start out that way.  There is no way to match them that way.  Out of hundreds non-matched socks they found about 20 matches.

They also had the opportunity to do some weeding and clean their bedrooms.  The rest of the kids made a fort out of the dining room table set in the kitchen, played wii  and generally had a free play day.  They got along great. 
The girls were miserable.  Will it have an impact on their behaviors tomorrow.  Who knows.  I do know that I told them that good behaviors tomorrow will earn lunch after church at San Jose and a project at Lowe's.  Bad behaviors earns a sandwich, chores after church and time with dad when I go to Lowe's.  One child was overheard to say that she was going to be good tomorrow as she headed off to an early bedtime (she loves both eating and those Lowe's projects).
We are a few months shy of 2 years home with these girls.  I know that they have come a long way. I really do understand that.  However, some things have been so hard to break.  I have tried everything I have read about.  Today I told them that their lying and defiance was wearing me out so they get to help me with the house. 
I am thinking that in the future I will have the child take a chore from a chore chart for each lie and breaking of the house safety rules.  Problem is I need to fill a jar with chores.  My biggest problem is coming up with good chores for this.  I need suggestions for some chores.  I know some of my readers have some good ideas.
I will tell the child.....your continued (behavior) has worn me out so you will have to help me by picking a chore.  Think it will have any impact?  If not perhaps I will get a little more order in my house.

In regards to lying, some of my kids do it on reflex.  If I think that they are lying I slow them down and give them an opportunity to correct their lie.  Making them think about it can help.  If they do self-correct then there is no consequence for the initial lie.  Anthony and Larissa are very good at taking that opportunity to self-correct.  On occasion Emma has started doing it after observing the positive outcome for Anthony and Larissa.

Anyone out there dealing with the lying?  What about the lying about things that don't even matter?  Any success in dealing with it?  I am all ears.

Friday, August 23, 2013

What a mess of a yard

Two weeks ago we had some trees taken down in the yard. I had wanted this one next to the house gone for quite a while. These types of pine trees can snap and it was too close to my house for my comfort.

They took out 8 trees and left a nice messy yard full of ruts and holes where they ground down the stumps.

This week we had the well company back out.  After drilling down 860 feet we have water and a huge mess.

I would show you some nice pictures of my garden husband weed whacked the entire thing.  Imagine my surprise when I went out to weed and saw nothing.  My husband was standing next to me wondering why I was upset.  He had forgotten that I had put plants in that spot!  Guess it wasn't meant to be, I really didn't have time for it anyways.

Anyone enjoy yard work?  I could use some help.

Myrtle Beach

Last weekend was our scheduled weekend to take Sarah to college.  However, at the last minute she decided to stay at home and continue at the local community college.  We already had the room reservations, care provider for my mom and permission from DSS to take the foster kids.  Therefore, we decided to go ahead and go to Myrtle Beach.  We left on Friday in the pouring rain and figured that it would rain the entire weekend.  There was an 80% change of rain.  However, it never rained on us.

The beaches were pretty empty.

We had a great trip.  Some of the kids made bad choices for themselves and had to sit out but that was their choices, not mine.  It didn't affect my enjoyment of the weekend.

I think that over time I have come to learn that I can not take personal responsibility for the kids actions.  I can't let it affect my enjoyment in activities.  I try to have their behaviors not affect the other children either.  In the end they suffer the consequences alone.  I don't think that they find it too fun.  Hopefully one day it will make them think twice when they miss out on the fun.  Maybe.

(Note: Sarah was on this trip, she didn't want her picture taken!)


It was a great weekend trip!  Anyone do weekend trips?  If so, where to?

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Larissa to her dad: Is Sarah adopted?

Dad: No she isn't.

Larissa:  Well, when are we going to?

Ooops, forgot to explain that not all kids are adopted.  Some parents are able to parent their children.   I guess that is a strange concept in our home where there are 6 adopted kids and many foster children coming through the front door. 

Momma Failures

I had one of those failure moments today.  I signed Larissa up for a homeschool gymnastics class.  I was sure that it was today at 1:30.  I took her there at 1:30 only to find out that it was on Tuesdays.  All I could say was that they both start with a "t".  Thankfully they let her take a make up class at 5:30 so she was happy.

We got started with our virtual schooling.  We are behind with our virtual schooling.  I am still figuring out how to meet the needs of Larissa with the little ones.  Larissa is a late night kid, we do math after all the other kids have gone to bed.

We are still working on setting up our space.  It is a work in progress. Hopefully this weekend we can get our space organized so we can find everything.  Want to see a before picture?  Not sure if I should share that yet!

We lost one day to a headache.  Her medical and emotional issues are why I am doing this.  Yes, we have a couch in our "school" area.

Then, I missed soccer sign up.  I was sure that I knew the sign up dates.  Obviously I didn't, I missed it.  Michelle was fine with that and decided to do dance.  She is now signed up for jazz and hip hop. 

For some reason I have been a little off this month.  I know that it is because I am multitasking right now to the max.  I need to learn how to use a calendar better.  Right now I keep every thing in my head, appointments and all.  Normally I don't have a problem with it. 

Anyone else have some bad mommy moments?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How short people shop....


I know I said that we weren't going to take in older children.  Well, I guess I have to eat those words.  Yesterday we received a call from DSS asking us to take a 13 year old girl.  I said that we were already over by one.  They begged and said it was just for the night, they would pick her up in the morning.  They needed a place to put her for the night until they could find a permanent foster home.

As usual I said yes.  After all, just one night.  That one night has now turned into a week.  But it should only be a week since they did find a foster home willing to take her.  They are on vacation until next Thursday.

I actually like this girl.  Michelle has followed her a little but isn't as obsessed as she has been with some other older folks.  I have banned Michelle from being upstairs unless it is bedtime.  This child is African American and I think that has made a difference with Michelle.  If we weren't full I wouldn't mind keeping her as a foster placement.  But, it isn't meant to be.

We had a visit from our adoption licensing worker last week.  We have to do the homestudy all over again.  For the fourth time I have to get letters of references.  I am not sure which of my friends would still be willing to vouch for my sanity.  I did receive a positive response on facebook so that should be covered.  I have some physicals to do and lots of paperwork.  I haven't even started. Honestly, I am conflicted.  They want us to stop taking foster children after our current kids leave.  They want us to maintain our foster license but keep our one opening open.  I understand why, if we wanted to accept an adoption placement we would have to have the foster placement moved. 

My problem is I find it hard to say no when a kid needs a safe place to land.  They call us now even though we are full. I know that when these kids leave they will try to fill that spot with another sibling group.  I am not sure how long I will be able to say no.  If we sit empty for long I know that I will cave in.  I wonder if we shouldn't just foster.  Ack, stress!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Changes for my college bound kids.  Sarah decided at the last minute that she wanted to attend the local community college for another year.  So we quickly pulled her out of Coastal Carolina and back into the local community college.  I am happy to have her home but was hoping that she could have a positive experience while living on campus.  I guess that she just needs a little more time to fly the coup. 

In other college student news, Tasha is unable to attend college this semester.  She might not be able to do so this entire year.  About two years ago she moved back home.  She was planning on going to college at that time but received a call from the NC National Guard.  She was told that she was going to be deployed. 

Tasha maintained her SC drivers license, voting registration, and everything.  However, her unit put NC for her taxes.  She asked for it to be changed several times and the person responsible told her that they didn't know how to do it.  Well, because of that she can not claim SC as her state of residency.

On top of that, even though she returned in October, she did not move out of our house until February.  So they are not willing to claim her as a SC resident until February of 2014.  This means that she sacrificed a year of her life to deploy and now has to sacrifice another year of college because of that. 

I am so upset about this.  I believe that soldiers returning from deployment should be allowed some type of exception.  I don't even know of any way to fight this but I am researching.

If anyone has any ideas about this issues I am open to them.  She is dropping her classes tonight.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Foster Update

There isn't one.

Hmmmm, how so?  I haven't heard a word from a social worker or GAL in weeks.  I have no idea what the status of this case is.  The kids mom hasn't heard from anyone either so we met at McDonald's for the last visitation.  I tried calling everyone today and left messages with several workers, still no word.  I guess I will need to get in touch with mom and schedule another McDonald's visit.

Along with no word came no pay.  Apparently these kids aren't even in my house.  These kids have been in my home for about 6 weeks.  I called and left messages about the lack of a subsidy payment as well.  Haven't heard from anyone.  (Note to possible foster parents, be prepared to support your foster children for a while before you receive any subsidy.  In our state that subsidy is $332/month.)

Last month the kids worker told me that she was going to be out and that another worker would take over for visits.  That never happened.  I just don't know what to think.  I understand that our county is very understaffed but the last visit that DSS had was over a month ago.  If I thought that these parents were a threat I wouldn't be able to do visits at McDonald's.  The problem is I am not the one who is supposed to be doing the visits.

To other foster parents out there, are you having worker shortage problems in your area?  Do you monitor visits?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Old Wooden Pier

The Looks

The title of my blog came to me because we get a lot of looks. Many of them are simply curious which I totally understand. Heck, I would stare at our group too!

However, they are not all simply curious.  Some are condemning.  We are judged by some simply because we have a beautiful, colorful family.  If you had seen the rest of the look that this lady gave my husband you would know that it was not a curious look.  It was a judging look.


So sad for her,  I pray that one day she can experience true love that doesn't know any boundaries.

(Edited to distort the face to make the person more nameless.  This could have been any of many and it isn't my intention to harm the person; simply to raise the awareness that this does happen today, just about everywhere.....even in churches.) 

Friday, August 16, 2013


We got a new pet....a mouse that someone bought to feed to a snake and then couldn't do it. The cats are really enjoying it. I am not too sure what the mouse thinks of the cats.

It is late here and everyone is in bed (the clock needs batteries, it is about 1:30 am here).  I am enjoying the quiet and watching the cats watch the mouse.
I find that when I get very stressed I have a lot to say but can't seem to make myself sit at the computer and write. So much is going on right now and I am seriously juggling a lot of things.  I am going to take a weekend break and then I will be back.  My objective is to write for 30 days straight. 
See you Monday.
(Guess the name of the mouse)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Anthony is 10!

It is hard for me to believe that Anthony is now 10 years old!

He was 2 1/2 when he came to our family as a foster child.  A very wild child with no language and no ability to play.  He destroyed furniture and walls.....but didn't he look so sweet!?

He still had his head full of hair at 4.  We weren't allowed to cut it.

He was 5 when we completed our adoption.  He was a foster child for 3 years.  Visitation twice a month did a number on him.  He didn't really begin to heal until the visitation stopped.

At nine Anthony was finally put on mood disorder medication.  What a difference it made in his life.  A large amount of his behavior issues disappeared.  His teacher was shocked at the change in him as his anger slowly dissipated to the level of a typical 10 year old boy.

I think that this year will be a great year for Anthony!

Tasha was in town for the celebration and lit his candles for him on his requested ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins..

He was grinning from ear to ear. 

It is hard for me to believe that in 8 short years he will be 18.  He tells me that when he turns 18 he is not going to do what Joselin and Kassi did.  He plans on doing what Sarah is doing and stay at home and go to college.  I want that future for him as well and I believe that he will achieve it.

Happy Birthday Anthony! 


Wednesday, August 7, 2013


I spent my day waiting. 

I started my day at the VA with my husband.  He was getting shots in his neck for pain, yuck.  He had to have a designated driver.  That was me.

I brought him home and took Anthony and Larissa to the doctor for their ADHD medication check.  We waited over an hour there.  Must be a lot of kids getting back to school something because we normally don't wait long at our doctors.

Then I went to the Medicaid office with two kids in tow to get some paperwork on Emma and Michelle.  Hopefully we can get them covered on something pretty soon so I can get their ADHD meds.  We only have one birth certificate.  A spelling error on the other is delaying the other birth certificate.  We are waiting on the second birth certificate before we head to Ft. Jackson to put them both on Tricare.

Next we headed over to the Department of Health with WIC vouchers.  I needed the name changed over to me.  We had the pleasure of waiting there as well.

Then we came home and waited for the roofer.  He said he was coming today around 3.  At 4 he called to tell me that he thought he was at the wrong address.  He said he was at our address but at the next town over.  Funny, I didn't think that there was a similar address at the next town over.  Google and MapQuest couldn't find one either.  Either way he said he would put our city name in and come over.  By 6 he hadn't showed up so I gave up that and went to the pharmacy to wait on prescriptions.

So....pretty much my whole day was spent waiting.

Ever have those days?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Busy Week

It has been a busy week here yet I feel as though I didn't get anything accomplished.  My house looks as big of a mess as it was at the first of the week.  The kids were going to a summer program which has ended and they now have too much free time on their hands.  Today was a rough day of bickering.  It didn't matter what it was, they were going to fight over it and then come and tattle to me about it. dinner time I had enough.  I told them that the next child to bicker was going right to bed because I have had enough.

Obviously I need to get a better schedule going.  I have started a daily reading and math time to get the kids back on track. Also, we have a lot of changes so I need to get a new chore chart going.  I have decided to give special chores to kids who lie to me.  Today I was able to get the shoes closet organized and a lot of clutter picked up.  I need to get a list of possible chores so that I am prepared.  I am contemplating having a jar to allow them to pick a chore.  Maybe the lying will decrease.....or maybe not.  It is worth a try.

I took Anthony and Larissa to the dentist this week.  Anthony had no cavities so he doesn't go back for 6 months.  Larissa had an old filling that fell out and they want to crown it now.  It is a baby tooth that she will lose in the next 2 or 3 years.  I also got referrals for both kids for the orthodontist.  Now I am afraid to take the other two in!

I also registered all the kids for school this week.  Larissa was really quiet during this time.  It is an exciting time, learning who your teacher is and all the school supplies.  In spite of the other kids excitement, Larissa didn't ask to go back to school.  I know that she was thinking about it and she has said that she is concerned about being bored.  When I asked her about it she paused and said that school gives her a headache.  She will do homeschooling this year and will decide at the end of the year what she wants to do next year.  I was surprised that she was already thinking forward so far.

I am not sure what it is about a big family but the person in charge of taking registration money was shocked that we had to pay.  If you have free lunches you don't pay a registration fee.  The registration fee here is $30 per child. (I remember the day when there wasn't a registration fee.) The lady asked me why we were paying a registration fee since we had so many kids.  I was surprised that she did.  I told her that we had too high of an income and didn't get free lunches.  She seemed shocked and said the she assumed that anyone with a lot of kids qualified.  Oh well, not us.

Then I had to make a lot of calls.  The upstairs A/C unit died and needed some new part.  I couldn't tell you what, just that they came out and when they left it was working.  The kids were very happy because it was the upstairs unit. 

Then the roof started leaking.  Our new roof is only 2 years old, it shouldn't be leaking.  I had to dig up the invoice and call them.  They will be out next week.

And, Jason was home for a visit.  His car was overheating and he couldn't get home.  That repair ended up being the thermostat.  From what I understand that was a good thing.  I don't know, I do not have a mechanic understanding of cars at all.  I rely on my auto repairman to do the right thing for me.

Also, the dishwasher needs repairs again.  It is pretty new but is falling apart.  We seem to wear those things out in less than a year.  They should use our house as a testing point.  If it lasts a year here then it is a good dishwasher.  I have been dawdling on making that call since it isn't as big of a priority as the roof and A/C.

Next I had to make arrangements to take Sarah to her college.  We are making a weekend of it so I had to find someone to take care of my mom and a hotel big enough for our family.  I ended up spending more than I wanted on a 2 bedroom condo. Oh, reminds me, we need to ask about the foster kids.  We have to get permission to take them or they go to respite.  We have never had a problem getting permission but I also haven't heard from them all week.  I have requested a doctor appointment, need to know when speech is and have no Medicaid cards.  This seems to be the norm these days.

I can already tell that this is going to be one of those months where the money runs out before the month does.  Lots of expenses this month.  Last month was a hard month with a lot going on.  Also we had three extra mouths to feed. I have been surprised at how much our grocery bill has increased.  I also had to buy new clothing for the fosters.  They came from another foster home so they received the placement check (a whopping $100/child).  I had to buy underwear, shoes that fit, socks and clothing for the two little ones.  The thing about foster care is you have all this extra expense but you don't receive any subsidy until the next month some time.  Here subsidy payments come about the middle of the month.

I know that this sounds like a complaining post.  The kids are going crazy and the house is falling apart.  But really, I am thankful. 

Thankful that I have a house in spite of the upkeep and a phone to call repairmen. 

Thankful that in spite of how much they annoy me at times, I have been blessed with the opportunity to be mom to so many children. 

Thankful that our pantry is full even if it isn't full of everybody's favorite thing. (Although I do have a secret stash of chocolate). 

Thankful that even though money is often tight these days, we do get all the bills paid. 

Thankful that all my concerns these days are manageable and that I have been given the ability to multi-task, because I sure have to multi-task.

So, how is your summer wrapping up?  Are you ready for school?

Thursday, August 1, 2013


I am actually loving the new set of wheels.  I wasn't happy that white was the only color available but we are having fun with it. 

I love the seating that is available.  We no longer have to take two cars. 

When a kid is annoying others they can be sent to the back row, a option that has been used.

Driving it isn't difficult although U-turns in the middle of the road don't happen.  The brakes are great and even when stopping suddenly it doesn't swerve around.

One huge benefit.........when we go through the bank drive through we get a whole lot of suckers!

Emma Rose

When my husband and I went to DSS for the original reading of Emma and Michelle's file we had no idea what to expect. We knew what types of issues they had on paper but not much background information.  We asked about grandparents.  We were told that the grandparents wanted the girls to be adopted because Emma was not planned and didn't receive the care she should.

Ah, heck, her mom didn't want her.  I don't like to say that but it is the reality.  To start life that way is so hard.  How I wish that her mom would have simply put her up for adoption at birth.  Every child deserves a family that wants them.  How different her life would have been had she been cherished and loved as a baby.

This is the only picture posted of her on a social media.  How I wish I could have gotten her at that time.

However, we didn't.  We received her after 6 failed placements and every day since has been a struggle to help her to heal and move beyond her early beginnings. Her tantrums lasted hours.  Developmentally she was years behind.  She doesn't have the memories that her sister does which sometimes seems like a blessing.  She seems to have found  her own way of dealing with the pain.
After 6 months the tantrums finally stopped.  We have no tantrums today, none.  It was those tantrums that made people turn away.  There were times that we questioned our resolve.  I am thankful that we did hold on tight because what if we had thrown in the towel at 5 1/2 months?
Emma and Larissa quickly formed a strong bond.  Sure they fight, but for the most part they play well together and get into trouble together.  I believe that her ability to bond with Larissa has helped Emma to move forward with attaching with her family.

Today she is happy.  She is always a mess, her hair never looks brushed right after it was brushed and she is the sloppiest eater around.  She is also very clumsy.  She is always sporting a new bruise or Band-Aid.  Hopefully dance will help her to learn how to stop tripping over her feet. At times she can show her little mean side but can turn it around.  She has been caught telling the truth lately which I am happy to see.

Academically she is on target.  She is starting the first grade this year and is reading well.  I believe that she will have a good year this year.
Attachment is a work in progress.  I was shocked by her change after her adoption.  She made more of an effort to attach.  I believe that she finally realized that she had a family.  She seeks me out a lot more and is constantly asking me questions.  Most of the time her questions have been answered numerous times or the answer is obvious.   From my point it seems that she is trying to have a conversation and isn't sure how to do it.  This is something I am trying to work on at this time.
Interesting to me is she does not try to attach with others like her sister does.  She seems content to keep her attachments within the family. She has a few friends who are her peers which delights me. I would have thought that her attachment issues would be worse than her sisters but they aren't. 
When we were at the courthouse for the adoption her social worker told me that she never thought that the girls would get adopted.  She thought that they would go from home to home and eventually age out of the system.  Thankfully that didn't happen for these girls. We may not make a big difference in the world but to these girls we have made a world of difference.  We have been blessed to have the opportunity to add these girls to our family.