Monday, August 31, 2015

Rough Week

This past week has been rough.  I continue to work on my decluttering and am at the point where my house looks worse than when I started in spite of two trips to Goodwill.  I am also working on a kitchen remodel and added a bathroom sprucing up.

I continue to homeschool two girls but have some concerns.  I have mentioned that I would talk more about our homeschooling and I will, sometime....soon.

We got Sarah off to college.  I sure miss her, she is my late night partner in crime.  She is also a great help with the kids when I need to run and errand, such a luxury.  I miss her, I miss her company.

My mom is about the same, requires a lot of care yet doesn't.  She is content to watch TV and is happy when I bring her her late night snack.  Although caring for her is not too hard, it is just constant.  She doesn't get fed, changed or moved unless I do it or her caregiver does.  You can't take a break for a day and be sick. I always worry that she will develop bedsores or something will happen while she is watching TV and I won't know about it.  Yet, none of that happens, we go about our business of caring for her on a daily basis.

Anthony seems to enjoy middle school so far and hasn't had any complaints.  No calls or such about behavior problems.  Michelle on the other hand started her first week with small behavior issues and continued them for the second week.  Frustrating.  I told her this was a new start, she isn't taking advantage of that.

Then comes the hard days.  Jason asked to do lunch with me.  He is struggling.  When he talked to me about how he laid in bed crying that morning it hurt.  When my kids are hurting it hurts me.

Then I got a text from Joselin that she needed to see me that day.  When I walk up to her and she sees me and starts crying I want to cry.  I don't even know why she is crying I just know that when the response to seeing mom is to cry then it isn't good. We had a long talk, she is struggling too.

On a good note, Kassi saw her doctor and they are 90% sure it is a boy.  She was supposed to see the doctor today and I haven't heard from her so now I wonder what's up.

I don't talk about the older kids often because I consider their life stories to be theirs. That doesn't mean that I am not active in their lives.  Daily I text most of them or talk on the phone.  Frequently we meet up for lunch or the kids come by for dinner. I am always there to offer support, give sometimes unwanted advise and to be a friend.  They are adults, free to make their own choices and I try to respect that.  However, as a mom I sometimes feel the need to give a word of caution when needed. There is such a balance with adult kids and I have had to learn when to speak up and when to shut up.  I think that overall I do a pretty good job at that, at least they are all still talking to me.

Hopefully this will be a better week and I can get something accomplished.



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Teenage Adoption

Today I went to lunch with Kassi and Emma.  Kassi mentioned that this was the anniversary of the day she came to our home. I recall that day well, I had no idea that the call would lead to the adoptio of our future daughter.

Honestly, I didn't know the exact date she was placed in our home.  Those become a blur to me. However, I do remember well the calls and requests to take a teenager into our home when we weren't licensed for that age.  I also recall taking placement of her at a gymnastics center.  How she had a few belongings with her yet not nearly everything she wanted.

Placement at 16 and adopted at 17, it was quick but necessary to give her a family she could go to as an adult.  Having a family is not only important as a child but as an adult as well.  Kassi lives closer and now has a car so we see her a lot more often.  We have many more impromptu lunches and conversations.  I expect that there will be a lot of support necessary when she has her baby.

Teenage adoption has it's challenges.  It is hard to change habits by time they are teens.  However, it can also be very rewarding.  I wish that we had gotten Kassi when she was younger.  Mainly because I would have liked to have longer to build our relationship while she was living at home.  However, that didn't happen.  The beauty of life is relationship building doesn't end at 18, we are still building our relationship. Relationships are still growing among siblings as well.  Sarah said that she feels much closer to Kassi now than when she was living at home.  She enjoys spending time with her more than ever.


If you are contemplating fostering an older child go for it.  Go into it with your eyes wide open.  You just never know what child will walk through the door.  It just very well may be your future child.

Love you Kassi (I know she reads my blog)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Decluttering

The first week of school has come and gone and already I am behind.  Getting sick for one day puts me off by a week.  I still feel as though I just want to go to bed but that is not possible for this mom.

With the change in status of Benjamin there also comes a new GAL.  Apparently we will have the same GAL who came to our house for Kassi.  My husband was annoyed because he went through our entire house and then wrote in the court documents that our house was cluttered.  This did not sit well with my husband at all. We have 9 people living in this house and the remaining stuff of our adult children who have moved out.  Believe me when I say that when the kids move out they don't take everything with them.  You become a storage facility and laundromat.

So, we are doing a huge decluttering job.  Oh, while doing a small kitchen remodel.  While homeschooling two kids, watching a toddler and taking care of my mom.

I spent a period of 36 hours doing laundry.  Yes, I stayed up all night to finish all of the laundry in our house. From that laundry marathon I added a good three bags of clothing to my get rid of pile and two bags of trash with clothing that was worn or stained.  Emma has finally grown to size 7/8 so all the size 6 clothing gets to go to Goodwill.  We will have no more foster children so no need to store any clothing for possible children.

Funny as it sounds, we also did socks.  We also threw away two garbage bags full of socks.  Yea, two empty laundry baskets! If we could convince the schools to let the kids wear flip flops I wouldn't have such a big sock problem.

We even matched mismatched socks. I didn't realize that there was such a need.  Larissa said that the same brand of mismatched socks had to go together.  I thought that reason for mismatched socks was so you didn't have to match them.



Of course when preparing for an inspection it is necessary to start a very messy job.  Little Man tried his best to help out.


It didn't seem to matter where I tried to hide the hammer, he found it.  I finally found a spot he couldn't get to......

Naturally, that led to much hammering with his toy hammer from his tool bench!

I am amazed at how hard it is to get rid of stuff even when it hasn't been worn or used in years.  I don't think that I am the only person with that problem and there seems to be varying degrees of "I can't get rid of that, you never know when I might need it".  I believe that I am middle of the road but I am working on it. I have been ruthless in getting rid of stuff. I bet that next week I will need something that I throw away!

Any other collectors out there?  Any minimalists?

Tomorrow, I will discuss how school is going.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Adoptive Placement


Yesterday was a long day.  I woke up at 5 am sick.  I got the kids to the bus and then called on Sarah to watch the kids for me.  She leaves for college on Saturday so I was very lucky to have her around. When Charlotte showed up she helped with the kids. For long term it takes two people to take over my shoes! I gave instructions for my two homeschoolers through the door to do some specific school work and just napped off and on all morning (when I wasn't in the bathroom).  By 2 I felt well enough to head to town to do some paperwork.

When we arrived our adoptive worker handed us a page that she called the happy paper, the placement agreement. That form also stated that we have 60 days to file for adoption.  No problem with that on our part. We were also handed all of his medical history.  Some of the heart stuff I hadn't seen.  He had SVT and arrhythmia.  The records mention this as if it was two different things.  It also mentions that he had some blocked PAC's. Honestly, I don't know what it all means and I was never explained it by the doctors, I was just the foster parent. I often worried when we were handed our heart baby with a strict regimen of Digoxin if we were really prepared to deal with his heart condition.  However, he did great and hasn't had any problems (we just lost a lot of sleep).

Then she proceeded to read us his entire file.  There were no surprises there.  I think that at this point we actually know more than DSS does about the family.  She also read me every medical appointment that he had, every one that I took him to.  All of his developmental information had been supplied by me as well. Thankfully his background paperwork was only 6 pages long.  (With Emma and Michelle we were handed a 2 inch binder and we had to go through the entire report.)

After initially the pages and signing the background report we signed the Agreement to Place Child in Adoptive Home.  Gladly we signed that page. As of August 18th Benjamin is no longer a foster child, he is now an adoptive placement.  This also means that any subsidy agreements that we have made are now effective.

Next we read and signed the subsidy agreement.  We will get a $300/month subsidy as well as medicaid.  Our state also pays $1500 towards the cost of finalizing the adoption.  Our lawyer does not bill us, he bills directly to the state.

He also gets $1500/year of supplemental Benefits for Medical Assistance.  I actually asked what this covers since it was followed by a page of what it doesn't cover. She said that the only time she has actually seen it used was for respite care, it will cover $500/year of respite care. Would be nice if it covered braces but it doesn't. Because this actually covers very little, we have never used it for any of our other kids.

The entire process lasted about 30 minutes.  It took me longer to get there.  I headed home and went to bed relieved to have the adoption placement paperwork completed.  Now we wait for the lawyers to do their job.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday

We are attempting the bus again for school. I am not sure how many times I have tried the bus in the morning but as I was standing out there in the dark I was reminded that there was a reason why I dropped the kids off at school in the mornings. We were told that Michelle had to be there at 6:05 and they would pick her up on the way north.  Well, the bus went north.....and didn't stop for us. Honestly, if I had the equipment I probably could have clocked the bus going over the speed limit.


I had Anthony preparing for school while I took Michelle out to watch the bus fly by.  We waited a while just in case a different bus was coming.  Anthony was told to be at the corner at 6:35 so we ran in and got him.  I thought for sure that Michelle's bus would come by when I was getting Anthony.  I was sure that the driver was hiding around the corner waiting for me to turn away.

We got back to the corner and Anthony's bus came at the exact time that they said they would be there, nice, thank you.


Last year I dropped the kids off at 7 am.  We waited until 7:15 before I called the transportation office.  I wanted to make sure that they didn't miss us.  I have learned to take my cell phone with me, there was a time I forgot to bring it and was left standing on the corner until sweat dripped off my nose.

Transportation called the bus, I could hear the voicemail answer.  Nice to know that in an emergency we will not be able to contact the bus.  Good to know that in advance.

Thankfully the bus showed up 5 minutes later.  When I asked what time to expect her tomorrow she said that she didn't know.  I think that i will aim for 7:10.

I am wanting the kids to take the bus because I don't want to have to wake the baby this year to take the kids to school.  I would also have to wake Larissa and that would partially defeat the purpose of homeschooling.  Emma, well she was up at 5:30.  Obviously my morning kid.


We did get some areas organized and were pretty much ready to go today.


Later I received a call from adoptions.  We are meeting tomorrow afternoon to sign the intent to adopt and they want our lawyer to send a Letter of Representation. I called our lawyer and he had us come in this afternoon to fill out some paperwork.

We come home to Emma tied up.....she was happy about it so we let it be.


And how was your Monday?

Our Weekend

This last weekend before school starts we completed a few things on our summer to do list.  The summer went by so fast that we didn't get to finish everything.

We rented a cabin by a lake and the kids got to go fishing.  They had never gone fishing before. They also didn't catch anything so I think I will take them again when the weather is a little cooler.

Long ago I camped in tents, this cabin is about as rough as I get these days.  Actually, I would not take Benjamin camping in a tent, so many kids have walked away lately and I know that he would try to run.





Yuck, I had to show the kids how to put a worm in a hook.  Again, yuck.  I haven't gone fishing in many, many years.


After many yucks Anthony put his own worm on the hook.



Ahhh, the excitement.  I am just not into fishing.  I remember getting up bright and early and going out on the boat to fish.  It was exciting when you did catch something but boring when you didn't.





 The play area was directly out our front door.





Benjamin loves to slide.  He has been sliding since before he could walk.  He can clearly say slide too.


It was a beautiful day and the weather was great.  Summer is officially over as school starts for our kids.



Thursday, August 13, 2015

Odds n Ends

Well, I thought that DSS had straightened out the problem with our address being matched with biomom.  Turns out I was wrong. I have received mail addressed to her at my house.  They still have her address as ours.  I was assured that they would correct the problem.  I made some phone calls but wasn't able to actually reach a human. I left several messages but haven't heard back from anyone.  I guess that I am going to have to go further up the chain of command.  This is getting really frustrating.

We haven't heard anything from biomom.  According to her family she wants to have another baby but plans on leaving the state to have it. Knowing what I know at this time, I hope that she doesn't get pregnant again. As far as Benjamin's case goes, she sure did a lot of huffing and puffing and even went to the state to complain about her case, in the end she didn't file an appeal. She hasn't asked for a final visit so I assume that they won't have one.

I received another call from adoptions.  She had more questions for me about him for his file. I think that it is funny that they get all the information from us for his file so that they can call us in to read us the file.

On a great note, the little one we had for respite has found a home.  After 5 rejections her family was found and they are delighted.  She went on a weekend visit and then moved in with her adoptive family the next week. She was such a sweet baby, I didn't understand why so many rejected her.

This has been a long week.  My husband has been out of town for training.  When he was in the army we were used to the separation. However, we have gotten used to him being home every night.  It is strange going to bed alone at night.  I don't sleep as well.

I have been tired anyways because my shoulder is acting up.  I finally went to the doctor this week to get some drug to deal with the inflammation.  Normally when my shoulder acts up I can take the change out of my purse (lots of change) and rest it for a while. Within a week it normally heals up. However, this time around it didn't. The male doctor that I saw asked my why I didn't just carry my purse on the other shoulder.  I told him that I couldn't, I am left shouldered and left handed.  I also use the left shoulder for holding the phone.  Am I odd, does anyone else have a specific shoulder that they use for carrying their purse and such? Bursitis is annoying but in the big picture of life it is manageable. I guess that the combination of carrying a baby and getting old is catching up with me.

We are prepping for school here.  Our schools start on Monday.  We had meet the teacher tonight for Michelle.  Her school has called me several times to see if I wanted to enroll Emma and Larissa. I keep telling them no but they keep calling. Anthony is heading off to the middle school and has orientation this Saturday for half a day.  He is excited and worried which is to be expected.

Honestly, this summer had gone by way too fast. We haven't finished everything that we wanted to do. Also, I have two girls to prepare curriculum for and I have been procrastinating. Regardless of whether we are ready or not, Monday will come and school will start. Anyone else have a short summer?  Is this another effect of getting old?  I was always told that time flies faster the older you get.  Someday's it feels as though that is true.

We have a lot planned for this weekend so we will see summer leave with a blast.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Swimmer in Training

video
 

Where to Put Those Books?

Homeschooling comes with many challenges but my current one is organization. Where to put all those books and such?  Obviously our bookshelves need some organization.  Obviously I need to declutter.  This isn't our only bookshelf but it is in the area where we will do our work.


Honestly, I would like to just buy new shelving and put all my homeschool stuff on it!

For you homeschoolers out there, how do you organize all your "stuff"? Anyone like to organize and want to come for a visit? I'll cook you some southern food!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Do You Want to Talk Money?

I know that people are curious as to adoption subsidies yet no one wants to talk about it. Yesterday when adoptions called she told me that they had the legally cleared letter, we have been selected, and that we need to negotiate the subsidy.  As required she asked me if we would adopt without a subsidy.  Honestly, I told her yes. After a moment of silence she said that she needed a dollar amount.

Our state is one of the lowest states for subsidies, the subsidy for an infant is $332.  We have been receiving a little more, $380, to offset the cost of transporting him to the heart specialist in Columbia and for the fact that he can't go to childcare so needed a full-time stay at home mom.  They either give extra subsidy or they have to do paperwork to reimburse for mileage after every appointment.  Giving the extra subsidy is easier for them. Little Man is eligible for a subsidy because of several factors; family history of mental illness, his heart condition and the fact that his biomom did drugs and drank while pregnant.  Sometimes things come up after the adoption, Larissa was not diagnosed with epilepsy when we adopted her.

We have been told that the amount to start with is the current foster board payment.  Generally they will then offer a little below that.  However, my husband and I had already discussed it and had decided to ask for $300. We could have asked for a little more but felt that $300 was fair. The negotiation has started and I assume that they won't lower it, however they may. Little Man will also be covered by Medicaid.  We have our own insurance and sometimes that actually causes a conflict. However, that are lots of families that need it so it is great that children who are adopted from foster care will always be covered by insurance.

My husband is out of town this week so we can't meet until next week. Our adoption worker is going to call me after she has finished the subsidy paperwork and the rest of the paperwork.  I am hoping to get to Columbia next week to sign the paperwork.  She also asked me if we needed a lawyer which I said no.  In SC there is a reimbursable allowance for the lawyer of $1500.  Our lawyer doesn't charge us, he simply sends his bill to the state.  Not all lawyers do that.  She also told me that there were open dates for adoption in November, I hope to get it done before then but if not, adoption will be in November!

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Call

video

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Fetus - unborn offspring

Typically I don't talk too much about current social issues other than adoption/foster related things. However, I am going to say it, there was a time in which I was pro-choice.  Abortion was something I personally would never do but I didn't feel that it was my right to make that choice for others. After I had Tasha and before Sarah was born I actually miscarried.  To me it was losing a child.  As soon as I learned that I was pregnant I visualized my future child. I loved that child. I cared for that child. I was devastated when I lost that child.

Medicine Net defines a fetus as: An unborn offspring, from the embryo stage (the end of the eighth week after conception, when the major structures have formed) until birth.       



Where in that description does it say that a fetus is a bunch of unfeeling cells that can be discarded at any time.  Any woman who has been pregnant long enough can feel their child move, feel the child react to different stimulus, sounds and even caffeine. That child is kicking, punching and head butting your bladder.  That child has nerves and can feel. It is an unborn offspring, a child who has all of its major structures formed by 8 weeks.

People get upset by the killing of a lion, work hard to save turtles and many other animal causes yet there is no such uproar about the death of many unborn offspring. I don't know if the reports are correct or not about the selling of aborted babies by Planned Parenthood but if they are then I have to wonder how neutral they are when a pregnant woman walks into their offices.  How much nicer it would be if that pregnant and scared woman had a different office she could go to for support to have her child.



There was a time in which women had no rights, African Americans had no rights, children had no rights, Perhaps it is time for unborn offspring to have some rights.

As I have gotten older I have shifted to pro-life.  However, I realize that it is not an easy issue.  It is a complex problem and our society has made it too easy to use abortion as birth control.  It takes a change in society that I don't see happening any time soon. Actually, our society seems to be heading towards self-destruction.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Never a Dull Moment

Saturday morning the police came to my door.  They wanted to know where our little black Toyota Corolla was located.  When we bought Kassi her car we gave Jason our Corolla.  We haven't changed the title over yet so they traced it to us.  I asked why they were looking for the Toyota.  They said that the car was involved in a police chase that morning in a town about 40 miles away.  Uh, I said that I doubt it was my son, he doesn't ever go there, works nights and always stops for the police and waits for me to bail him out. I give them Jason's address and tell them that he has a 100 lb dog who barks but is not violent in any way.

They left, I called Jason.  After several attempts I finally wake him up.  I asked him why he was in that other county.  He didn't know what I was talking about.  I asked him if he had lent out his car.  He said no.  I told him that his car was involved in a chase with the police and got away.  At that moment he looked out and realized that his car was not in the driveway.

He had friends over the night before and he thinks that one of them took his keys and his car. Nice friends.  The police get to his place and he files a report for a stolen vehicle. He was very upset that one of his friends would do that. He was shocked that they would do that.

Thankfully by Saturday night his car was found.  By that time he was at work so we called on Sunday about his car.  It had been towed back to town but they weren't open on Sunday so we had to wait until this morning to get it.

This morning we went to get his car.  The car had been left at a church in the next county over and there was no damage.  They even left his key in the console. We paid $200 towing fee and he took it back home.

The police did dust it for fingerprints but I doubt that they will find the person.  I imagine that the odds are higher that Jason will find out who it was.


Our insurance will reimburse us the towing fee because we selected the towing option.  If we didn't have the towing option we wouldn't have gotten that fee back, it would have gone against the deductible which is higher than $200.

Sometimes I feel as though I just can't prepare my kids well enough for the outside world.  My kids can't imagine taking a friends keys and car, going to someone's house after they get off work and threatening them, trying to rob someone as they leave work.  These are things that they simply wouldn't do.  However, in some ways they aren't prepared for those that do these things.

In the last few weeks a couple of girls have been killed by teenagers in our country.  Then my 9 year old wants to go out front and ride her bike.  I find myself leery of allowing that.  I know that they would fall victim to someone trying to lure them.  They can't imagine that someone would want to actually harm them. Kids fall victim because they don't really understand that there is evil out there. It exists.  It is real. as a parent I try to shield my kids from some of that.  However, I then worry that they aren't prepared.  How do you find that balance?  How do you prepare your kids for the moment when they come up against those that look to harm them? This is something I am still working on.