Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pinata Continued

First we took some cereal boxes out of the trash and cut a ring. We used a few strips of paper mache across the ring and top of the balloon to attach the ring, the top of the balloon was sticking out (didn't think to take any pictures). More cereal box was cut to make the rest of the hat.  More paper mache was added to attach it all together.

We cut some slits in the ring for the ears.  This added stability to the ears.

We are now letting it dry again.  The kids are having such a great time that they decided that they want to each do their own creation this summer.  They plan on making it outside which would be a cleaner option!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Easter pinata

I read Kathy Cassel's blog and after reading about her Easter pinata we decided to do one as well. We have been doing some of the family building activities in her book, Just for Me!  My Family.

We have a serious procrastination problem here so I hope that we are able to get it finished in time for Easter of 21015, not 2016.  After watching the kids apply liberal paste while working on it, it may take a long time to dry.

After reading the directions the kids got started.

The kids tore the newspaper into strips.

The little one who has learned how to climb onto the table inspected their work.

Then it was time for dipping the paper strips into the paste.  We made it kind of thick.

Wiping off the excess paste is an art.

This would have been a perfect project for outside if only our weather would cooperate.

I have to say that given the mess and only one bowl to work from the kids worked together very well.  Yes, Michelle is not here, that is a story for tomorrow.

More work needs to be done.  Hopefully it will dry quickly for us!

Paper mache is so much fun!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


How we keep track of our active Little Man.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


If you decide to do foster care you have a lot of paperwork to do. Adoptions from foster care are the same.  International adoptions require a crazy amount of paperwork.  If you continue to foster or adopt the paperwork never ends.  Annually you do SLED checks, fire inspections and such.

About two years ago we decided that we wanted to adopt through the foster systems again.  We wanted to stop fostering and do a straight adoption.  Emma and Michelle were adopted this way.  It may not seem that way since they did not have TPR when they came but they were.  Actually they came from a disrupted adoptive placement.  Anthony, Larissa and Kassi were our foster children and we adopted them after they had TPR's.

We finished our homestudy paperwork and then tried to pull away from foster care.  We had a huge problem with that because they are short of foster homes here and I have a hard time saying no to a placement.

After a very busy year of over 20 placements we told DSS that this last short term placement would be our last.  We really wanted to adopt another sibling group.  The short term placement has turned into a possible adoption placement.  We didn't go out and seek an adoption of a single infant.  Funny how our plans don't always work out the way we plan.

Since it has been almost two years we have to redo all of our paperwork.  This means physicals for everyone, SLED checks, financials, Child Factor Checklist, discipline agreement, emergency planning, application, bioparent contact agreements, pet shot records, and gun records. There might have been more, we just sat and filled out and signed a huge stack of papers.  We are still working on the physicals.  I need to take my mom and two more of the kids.  Adults have to get TB tests but kids don't.

You have to be committed to constantly redoing the paperwork and inspections.  They tell me that often no matches are made in the first two years.  I can't imagine how I would feel if I was redoing my paperwork and hadn't had a match in the first two years.  Would I give up?  I wonder how many people don't renew their homestudy.

This time in our paperwork we were able to put that we were trying to adopt a specific child, our Little Man.  We do have some court dates.  In May they have a pretrial court hearing.  This is where they determine who has to be at the TPR trial, what needs to be done before the trial and it is an opportunity for the biomom to request a lawyer.  If she doesn't show up for this hearing then she will probably not have a lawyer for the TPR trial.  TPR is scheduled a month later in June.

So we will gladly prepare our paperwork.  We are delighted to have some court dates. We finally see some progress.

Monday, March 23, 2015

My Day

Lately my days have been busy from sun up to sun down. I go to bed tired and I wake up tired. I guess part of that problem is I can't wind down until about midnight.

This morning I dropped the kids off at school at 7:15 as usual and then had to head to Columbia for a pediatric cardiologist appointment for Little Man at 9 am. We had a little time to waste so stopped for donuts. We had a great time and I do believe that I washed most of the sugar off of him before his appointment.

Little Man attempted to speed up his appointment by yelling at the door and climbing around on anything he could find.

He also escaped from the room when the cardiologist stepped in.  I didn't know he could run so fast!

They did an ultrasound of his heart and determined that he looks great.  He had two issues with his heart; a fast heart rate and a hole.  Both issues have resolved.

At the end of our appointment the cardiologist looked at me and said that he hoped I had help at home because Little Man has so much ENERGY.

We were a few minutes away from Tasha so we went and picked up Vaida to watch her for the day. Tasha had a big test to take.

We loved on Vaida and send her home in need of a bath.  Larissa came home from school sad because she always leaves school before Birthday goodies are shared.  Today she missed out so we decided to make cupcakes.  Little Man shared his frosting with Vaida and patted her on the head giving her a frosting hairdo.

I brought out the bag of costumes and Larissa and Emma decided to put on a show.  Larissa would teach Emma a few dance steps and they would come out with costumes and dance steps to go with them.  They had a great time.  Emma and Larissa have been growing their relationship a lot lately and it is nice to watch.

Here they are as twins...

I had plans to get to bed early tonight.  Not going to happen.  It is almost 11 pm here and I have to go and take care of my mom before I can head to bed.  I guess I will head off to do that, maybe I will get to bed before midnight and not after midnight.

Good night.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Father Daughter Dance

The girls school had a Father Daughter Dance.  Larissa and Emma were able to go and had a great time.  Michelle, still struggling, couldn't go.

When asked if her dad could dance Larissa wasn't too sure.

Practicing their dance.

Larissa danced with her dad.  Emma said that she was too embarrassed to dance with him so she danced with Larissa and hung out with her friends.

Who knows, maybe next year Emma will dance with her dad.  She missed out on a great dance partner.  Hopefully Michelle gets to go next year.

Who else has Father Daughter Dances at their schools?  I don't remember the schools having these years ago.

Friday, March 13, 2015

When is the Right Time?

When is the right time to adopt?  Is there a right time to adopt?

This is a hard question for me because the right time is different for everyone.

When my husband and I decided to adopt from Guatemala we had retired from the military lifestyle, bought a good size house, I was a stay at home mom, our kids were older, and we had the money saved up for the adoption.  We committed to a 7 year old so we could keep birth order that we read about.  All was great except the child was 10, not 7, so birth order went out the window.  Guess what, birth order was the least of our issues.  We threw the birth order issue out as we continued to adopt. We adopted a 17 year old with 4 younger kids in the house.

One issue with going out of birth order is making sure that you protect the younger child(ren).  I would not put an older new child in a bedroom with a younger child.  You don't want your child to become a victim.  It can happen.

We did what was right for us at the time.  However, you can rent and adopt.  Your home has to pass inspections and size requirements, but you don't have to be a home owner.

You can be working and adopt.  You will have the challenges of any other working parent.  However, it is quite possible that you will spend more time with appointments and therapies.  I worked for a year full-time with the National Guard.  I had to quit because all my leave time was used on appointments for the kids.  It was too much for our family.  Having a stay at home parent works for our family. However, our family is large so the number of appointments in magnified.  Next week I have one IEP appointment, 2 orthodontist appointments, 2 doctor appointments and visits scheduled with the GAL and adoption worker.

Before looking at adoption read, read and read.  If possible talk to other adoptive parents.  Do not think that if you love the child then all will be well.  Know what possible behaviors you will be dealing with.  Expect to have behaviors that you are not prepared for.  Have a support system, person or group.  Be prepared to be judged when the kid acts out, others will look at you.

Be prepared for a life change.  If you don't think that you can handle a child screaming for hours then don't do it.  If you can't deal with peeing, defecating issues, don't do it.  If having a child lying to you sends you over the edge then don't do it.  If you are not totally committed then don't do it.

Emma and Michelle came to us from a disrupted adoption.  We were their 7th placement.  We should have had a period of transition where we got to know them better.  We didn't have that because they had to be moved.  The first 6 months truly tested us.  The screaming went on for hours.  The temptation to call and have them moved was there.  However, we knew that if we called that we would be causing more damage.  We were committed, we stuck with it.  After 6 months the screaming decreased. They weren't a danger to the kids or pets, they weren't violent.  One of them just screamed, for hours, often.  To add to that she got up at 5 am every day and woke the household up.  Dealing with screaming when you are tired is hard.

Be aware that adopting a child doesn't erase the past.  Be prepared to deal with behavioral issues for years.  It is possible that they will never totally go away.  Parenting doesn't stop when a child hits 18, be prepared for a lifetime of commitment.

Perhaps I sound negative. I would rather tell someone to prepare for years of behavioral problems and have them come back and say they had none.  It is possible to have very few issues.

On the flip side, children can heal.  They can learn to love, learn to live in a family. One day your desk will be full of little love notes.

I love being a mom to all of my children. I love all of my children. My commitment has always been there for all of them.  However, my feelings of love came quicker for some than others.  When you are deep in the battle for their emotional health it can be hard to form that attachment.  But then suddenly, one day in a period of calm you look down on your child and feel the love.  It happens.

So when is the right time?  For everyone it is different.  It may be when the child walks into your life, when you watch a show on adoption and feel the pull, when you talk with an adoptive mom, when your spouse brings it up.  Having all the information, logistics, finances in place is great.  But in the end the heart will tell you when it is the right time. Listen to it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


My email has been changed.  I was looking through my old email and found some emails from readers.  I stopped using that email because I was getting so much junk mail I couldn't find the non-junk emails!

So, if you emailed me and I never responded I am sorry.  It wasn't that I was ignoring you, I just couldn't find you. I did open one email and read it.  I decided to think about my response.  When I went back I couldn't find the email among all the junk.  Tomorrow I will answer it in a post... how do you know when you are ready to commit.

I have updated my email so feel free to write me, I really try to respond.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Ready for Summer

On February 24th we had a dusting of snow. Seems like it was colder later than usual here.

Today, less than 2 weeks later, Larissa decided that it was time to jump in the pool!

She did the toe temperature check so knew that it was very cold.

She agonized over whether to jump or not.

Couldn't stand it, she had to jump.

Anthony decided to jump this year.  Last year he said it was too cold.

He still thinks it is too cold.

Larissa jumped in a few times but didn't stay in long because it was too cold!

How is the weather in your area?  We are ready for summer.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Year Ago

A year ago, Sarah and I headed to town to take infant CPR classes.

We brought an infant car seat with us. We were bringing home a temporary placement from the NICU.

We were told it would be a few weeks.  I imagine that we were called for several reasons. First, I stay home so finding care for the infant during the day wouldn't be a problem. I also transport for all medical appointments and he was a heart baby.  He had to be taken to town to see the cardiologist regularly. Finally, I had asked for a temporary placement of a baby.  We had many temporary placements that year so might as well request some baby cuddling time.  We love babies.

Winter turned into summer and Little Man was still with us.  Temporary got a little longer.

By time Christmas rolled around his biological mom hadn't seen him in over 5 months.  No contact at all.  She has all of my contact information.  Not once has she requested a picture or asked me how he was doing.  Remember, he is a heart baby.

He has grown so fast and is so inquisitive.

He turned one year old last weekend.  I wonder if his mother thought about him.  I was half expecting a text from her but didn't receive one. We invited his aunt to come and celebrate his birthday and she did.

He loves to "read".

He plays with his work bench often.

He points to his family.  We are all he knows.

It has been an exciting year.  I hope that within the next year he will have permanency.

We love him very much.