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Crystals, and a clash of belief systems

I picked up Miss M's cake today. I also picked up the letter her bio mom write. It was pretty innocuous, nothing weird at all in the contents.

It looks like the reason it was so expensive to mail was because there were rocks in the envelope.  I know that bio mom believes that rocks have powers.  She didn't mention the "powers" of said rocks in the letter.

I am just not sure how to handle this! I think that the "properties" of these rocks meant something, and this is why she sent these particular ones. Specifically, she sent black tourmaline, which isn't even a cool looking rock...but it is supposed to do all kinds of things (thanks, Google!). Included also were crystal quartz, which is supposed to pair with black tourmaline to do something, and pyrite.  Also I know she's studying this in school (or was, not sure if she still attends) so I'm not just pulling this out of my butt!

So now I'm trying to figure out - do we explain to Miss M that b…

Lost mail

So, this blog has almost turned into just a place to vent, and to work things out. I am sort of sorry but, then again, this is my blog and I guess if it's not the one place I can share my feelings and what is going on then there isn't any place!

Big kids' bio mom wanted to make Miss M a cake for her birthday. Now I don't know if you remember, several months ago Miss M wrote her a letter. I guess she moved, so it didn't get to her, but it also never came back to us. About a month ago bio mom asked me for our address so she could write back.  I gave it to her but we never got anything in the mail. I figured she forgot, or didn't have money for stamps, or something.

She sent me an email last night saying that she sent one big envelope in the mail for Miss M, since M wrote her a letter, but that she sent all the other kids letters too, in a different envelope. She sent me a picture of the envelope for Miss M because it came back to her. She had written the wrong ad…

Don't stop believing!

A few random bits of info:

1. Claire is basically potty trained!  Yay!  It was rough going there for a while, and she still poops in her pants more often than I'd like to admit. But #1 is going pretty well, for the most part.  I gave up on Peanut. He pees on the potty when you put him on (or when he puts himself on it, which he still does from time to time!) it's just that he pees a lot of other times too.  So maybe we will try again in a few months.  One out of 2 ain't bad, and he's pretty young yet!

2.  Peanut's bio mom...I'm a little bit worried about her. She is posting stuff on FB like she still has him. She was having a public conversation with someone and then she said "I have to go, my son is tired and crying". Yeah...he was at home, OUR home, sound asleep in his bed.  She's posted other things about how he misses his dad, and she is so thankful she has him.  I want to call her out on it but feel like it might not be wise.  I really wonder…

Potty training and other stuffs

I decided to start potty training.  Both Claire and Peanut. At the same time.

I may or may not be completely insane!

Yesterday we spent most of the day in the kitchen (on the wood floor) and outside.  We did no pants, and took their potties around wherever we went. They have matching potties, it is very cute!  We read stories, ran around in capes (they did, I did not, lol), sang songs. There was lots of pee, some in the potty but mostly not.

By the end of the day I was completely exhausted, pretty sure Peanut was not getting it at ALL and that Claire was really hit or miss.  She did poo in the potty (YAAAY) and also did 2 big pees in the potty. Peanut pees about every 5 minutes, on or off the potty, wherever he happens to be.

Today is going better. Peanut is actually doing a good job of telling me he needs to potty. He even wanted to sit on the adult potty, and he went! 3 times!  Claire can hold her potty for longer, so when she goes potty it is a TON of potty...and if it is on the f…

Former foster parents

Our daughter, M, did not live with us when she was born. For a variety of reasons we didn't feel we could care for an infant on top of everything else we had going on at the time (you can read back about how torn up I was about this choice, back in September/October 2010). I did daycare for her for the first 6 months of her life, but someone else was her foster mom, who held her at night, woke up with her, put her to bed. Then when M went to a "real" daycare, due to the fact that I was losing my ever loving mind, she still came over to our house at least once a week for a few hours.  When it became clear she would be available for adoption at about the age of 18 months old, her foster mom (who had not been planning on adoption) asked us if we would adopt M.  We of course agreed.

Since then, M's old foster mom has been just wonderful. She's come to all of M's birthday parties (except for one, where she had just recently gotten surgery on her foot!), and about …

TPR

Peanut's mom's rights got terminated officially today.

We went to the hearing which was last week. It was crazy.  There was so much lying etc. I wrote it all down, I just want to be able to remember and my brain isn't what it used to be. Still, bio mom's attorney did a good job of making it seem like bio mom just needed more time. I thought the judge would give it to her.  But the GAL and the state's attorney agreed that 20 months is long enough, and not enough progress has been made.  The initial case from 2016 was never closed, even though he did go home for a few months.

I didn't want to go into too many details on here so I'll leave it at that. No adoption date is set yet, I'm sure it won't be for at least 5 more months. I'm pretty sad, but also somewhat relieved knowing that he is safe and doesn't have to be put through any future craziness.  It's a strange mix of emotions.  She can still appeal, of course. We will see!

He really h…

Pee, and stuff

Gross, I know. I'm sorry. I just have to get this out there.

This takes a lot of courage for me to write, but I am putting it out there because I think maybe other people struggle with these things too. And we should help each other, if we can.

We have a problem.  Our oldest daughter, who is nearly 7, has been peeing in her room for about the past year and a half (maybe more).

At first, when she started sleeping without diapers on at night, she would come out of her room seriously 20+ times to go to the bathroom. Every 5 minutes, at least. She'd go, pee a tablespoon, then go back in her room. Rinse, repeat.  Finally we put the kabosh on that and said look, it's OK to come out of your room at night, but, like, after you go to sleep. I mean how to you explain to a child who can't tell time when it is OK to come out of her room to go pee? She was staying up til well after 10 p.m. and then being super crabby the next day because she was getting no sleep! So, I'm not su…

New addition

There was a court hearing on July 26, and we got custody of Peanut. His bio mom didn't show up to court, so even though we came to court it was over in only a couple minutes and we didn't even set foot in the courtroom.

He moved in this past weekend.  It was a mad frenzy of moving furniture, selling stuff on Craigslist to make room, cleaning, etc.  Hubby's parents have approximately 30+ outfits for him - I have never seen a kid with so many clothes! Seriously!  We barely have room for it all!  :p  So far it has been smooth sailing.  He is such a sweetheart, and all of the kids were totally thrilled to welcome him into the crew.

Assuming his bio mom confirms the visit, we are taking him to a visit tomorrow. The worker asked us to supervise but I just don't feel comfortable doing it, since we'd have our 5 other kids with us.  It's going to be at the mall, so we are going to take the other kids shoe shopping (the worker did find someone else to supervise so that&…

TPR, home studies, and other things

We found out that Peanut's TPR hearing is coming right up, on August 14.  Today would have been his dad's 45th birthday. I'm very sad for him, that he will not have any memories of his dad.

We are still waiting on our home study. They haven't gotten my fingerprints back yet. They've gotten hubby's back, and we got fingerprinted on the same day. This makes no sense but we are talking about the government here, it doesn't have to make sense!

We also started going to family therapy. Our therapist is really awesome. Whenever D was in therapy it was just him and the therapist talking; I had to beg borrow and steal to get any information at all it seemed.  This therapist is really focused on building our relationship with our kids, and I'm very happy about that! The kids actually have little to no one-on-one time with her; sessions always have me or hubby present along with the kiddo. Nothing too strange or crazy is going on, I just feel like with the re-app…

Weekend trip

This weekend we went to visit hubby's mom's family to celebrate her brother's (I think?) 50th wedding anniversary. It was a surprise!  We left Saturday, drove the 5-ish hours, went to the thing (which was at a park), then went to the hotel and crashed.

Sunday morning we were woken by Miss Claire saying oh-so-sweetly from her crib "Hi, Ben!"  We were (all 7 of us) in a single hotel room. It was a really nice one, but falling asleep was a little hard.  Anyway. Sunday, we went to an amusement park!  The kids all had a good time. Claire finally, after 3 days of no naps, took a nap in the stroller which was very much needed. We got home that night at nearly 11 p.m.  Claire, Ben, and Miss M all fell asleep in the car on the way home and started SCREAMING hysterically once we arrived home and they had to wake up and go inside.  Ah, the joy of being up late too many nights in a row!

I got Claire's diaper changed, and she refused to let me change her clothes so she s…

Moving so fast!

As is sometimes typical with foster care, it seemed we were waiting...waiting...waiting...and waiting. And nothing was happening.

Then suddenly things are happening fast, and we're trying to figure out what the heck is going on!

Last week the state called to set up a time for us to do a homestudy. We are in a different state from Peanut, but within a 30 minute drive. However, those state lines are a huge pain in the butt!

We had our homestudy (part 1, anyway) scheduled for today.  Yesterday, we got a text from hubby's mom (Peanut's current foster placement) that the caseworker told her the next court date will be a TPR hearing. Bio mom didn't show up to her court date last week, which isn't surprising since the Department has no way to get ahold of her.  He also said she has had this happen with other children as well, which I was not aware of. I knew she had other kids, but wasn't sure what their story was.

The Adoptions and Safe Families Act requires that th…

May visit with bio mom (and Peanut update)

Well, this weekend we had our May visit with bio mom.  We had planned on Saturday morning at a park, but it rained all morning and was chilly so I asked if Sunday afternoon would be OK.  Can kids play in the rain and not die? Yes. Is it fun for 2 hours especially when it's chilly out? No!

We went to this park by her house, so she could walk there and not have to take the bus.  It was beautiful weather, and it was PACKED!  She said there have never been that many people there before when she has gone.  They have a lot to do there, including a splash pad. I didn't know about the splash pad so we didn't bring swimming suits or anything, but it was fine. There was a pond and a giant playground, and trees and grass...what more could you ask for?

There were for sure a few really tense moments.  At one point she asked if Y could take off his shoes and walk around the pond.  I don't really like the idea of the kids having their shoes off in a public park in not-so-great areas …

What happens when you meet your twin

I did meet my twin last weekend. OK so we aren't really twins (obviously!) but when I heard her story I was just blown away by the similarities to my own.

Our church has had a series of forums this year. One was about infertility, one was about divorce/widowhood, one was about adoption. I didn't make it to any of the other ones but I wanted to attend the adoption forum.

They had 3 panelists - one was adopted as a newborn, one was adopted by her father (bio father left her mother when she was 2) and has also adopted a child internationally, and one has adopted 3 children from foster care before having biological children.

The woman who adopted from foster care shared a story that was so similar to ours with D.  About living with a child who doesn't want to be adopted, who tells you he hates you, who says he'd rather live in JAIL than live with you.  Who tells you you will never be his mother, who does stupid things and makes poor choices.  Who acts angry all the time, …

Bio Family Relationships - Part 3

I'm writing more about bio family relationships. You can read part 1 and part 2 if you are interested in this on-going, unending saga.

When we ended our story last, Bio Mom had stopped talking to me for.  Two weeks later, Ben (our  bio son) gets a letter in the mail. With a return address of our city.  Yup, it's from Bio Mom. Apparently she moved to our city, and didn't say anything.  Well...that's sort of weird, right?  I texted her and let her know we got it and said thank you (it had stickers and a picture in it). She said she mailed letters for the other kids too, on the same day, but we didn't get those letters for another week for some reason (that has happened before so I'm not surprised, our mail is crazy).

Then the other kids got their letters.  The outside of the envelopes said "Mommy Hername" on the return address which is what we had all agreed she would be called.  However...on the inside they were all signed "Mom (Hername)".  Th…

Bio Family Relationships - Part 2

If you'd like to read Part 1, here is the link.

She started talking to me. A lot. Like, every day.  She asked for advice on everything in her life it felt like. She was almost like a child in many ways, not knowing typical things. She said she was drug free and that she had become a Christian, and I believed her (and still do).  
Fast forward to December 2016, we happened to be in said city that Bio Mom lived in, visiting our family, and reached out to her to ask if she'd like to see the kids.  I felt like things were going well and like I could trust her, yeah she said some sorta weird stuff sometimes especially about her past but it is what it is. I didn't know what to believe and what not to believe, some of the things she said were so crazy about things that had happened to her, but still. She was making an effort big time and I wanted to reward that.
So we picked her up from her house, went to a children's museum there, and went to dinner with her. Everything wen…

Bio family relationships - Part 1

This was an incredibly long blog, so I am breaking it up into multiple days
Sometimes stuff with bio family is lovely with adoptions. Sometimes, stuff with bio family doesn't exist. There is no contact, everyone just goes on with their merry lives.
When we were setting up our contact agreement with Bio Mom (when the state basically told her that she was going to lose her rights, she could sign them over or they could take them) - Bio Mom wanted us to agree to weekly visits.  We said no way, that would not allow the kids to truly attach to us as their parents etc.  So then she asked for monthly. We asked our caseworker, the GAL, anyone else we could get our hands on what was a typical contact agreement like, spent a lot of time talking it over, looking up info online on what was "normal" etc.

We came up with twice a year as what we were comfortable with. She said she didn't want to be like "santa clause or the easter bunny", that if that was all we would allow …

Second post this year! Huge, emotional, train wreck of a post

You guys, can I get an award for this? Two posts IN ONE YEAR!

This is a dump.  This is the condensed version of our life with our oldest child for the past year or so.  I feel like this needs to get out there, because even though this is so lonely I KNOW I am not the only one going through this.  And maybe this will help others in similar situations.

The past few years have been very hard. Our oldest, adopted at age 13 and living with us since age 11, has really struggled.  We had depression, a suicide attempt, days spent in the psych ward, counseling where he was diagnosed with a mild attachment disorder, and counseling which attempted to remedy that.  His number one goal in life (or so he says) has always been to get AWAY from us and to make his own rules.  Which isn't a bad thing because, hey, no one wants their 30 year old kid sitting on their couch playing video games right? Go spread your wings, little birdy!  But...14, 15, 16, 17, all pretty young for that.

It got to the po…

Well, here we are again

It's been a year since I last wrote. So much has happened! Way too much to put here, but suffice to say it has been crazy.  Our oldest has headed off to boot camp for the Marines, he'll be in the reserves. The other kids are 9, 7, 6, 4, 2.

Maybe I'll have time to catch up on stuff later, though I'm feeling a little weird about posting too much online. It's scary out there in the internets!

I'm writing because our journey in Foster Care Land might not be over, like we sort of thought that it was! Let me explain.

In January 2016 hubby's brother and brother's girlfriend had their son taken into foster care. They didn't tell anyone, and their son was with a foster parent (a stranger, no one in the family) for 3 months until hubby's mom found out. She contacted the state and was able to be the foster parent for the little boy.  Brother and his girlfriend got straightened out, and got him back about 9 months later.

In January of this year my husband&…