Thursday, October 21, 2010
Whewww!!!!! It has been forever since I have blogged. So much has happened in the last couple of months so let me bring you up to speed on everything.
The boys both played football this fall. They were on different teams, therefore, we were often running in two different directions. It was really taxing on all of us (and the season still isn't over)!
Shyne celebrated his 6th birthday on September 15th. He had a spectacular shark themed school and swim birthday parties.
Lastly, I started a job with a very short advance notice. I loved being home with the kiddos but our Cobra health care coverage was ending soon. So back to the workforce I went in pursuit of a company plan health care coverage for our family. Everyone has adjusted very well to all the new changes this has brought about in our lives. Even still, the reality is that it sucks to be working for health care! I hate the word "sucks" but in this situation it is most fitting because that is really how it feels. My new job is requiring me to go through 10 weeks of training with 5 of those weeks being out of town away from my family. As I type this from my hotel room, I am wrapping up week 1 away from my babies. The good news is that I get to go home on weekends to see them! I have missed my babies terribly!
I haven't been online nearly as much now that I am working full-time again. However, I did stumble across an adoption forum tonight where the thread was discussing foster care adoptions. Once again, I didn't feel that foster care children were getting a fair shake. Then I saw that I am still getting tons of hits daily on this blog. So even while my plate is beyond full at this point, I am going to have to step it up and keep spreading the word about my great foster care experience. It is the least I can do to help those without voices. I truly believe in this with all of my heart.
My parents have helped a lot with my kids these last few weeks. Shyne told my stepfather this week that "Everyone needs a Momma." Isn't that the truth? I wish all kids had a Momma AND a Daddy so I recommit myself to blogging about my foster care adoption experience.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
The kids all came to me with one pair of decent but clunky pair of athletic shoes. Since the kids were in DFCS custody, they obviously had a clothing allowance. I, however, was unfamiliar with it except that it was on a reimbursement basis only. I didn't know what, if any, stipulations were on their allowance.
We headed to the mall and I bought each of the boys a pair of boat shoes. I purchased some white T-strap Keds for Zippy. I felt she needed the black, brown, and white dress shoes but we would have to suffice with the Keds as they were the most practical and she could also wear them with shorts. I did find a pair of the cutest polka dot tennis shoes ever for Zippy. I was overwhelmed at just the thought of necessities that the kids needed but darn it, they were so cute. My mom also loved the polka dot shoes and insisted on how Zippy had to have them! So there that day, I purchased a total of 4 pairs of shoes, two backpacks, and a dress all while not sure if I would be reimbursed or not. Please keep in mind that the rug had just been pulled out from under me with the notice of my lay off. Every purchase I made from the time I got notice of my lay off came under close scruntity by me. I even felt uneasy about pulling into a gas station purchasing a cup a coffee knowing all too well that I could have saved money by brewing my own at home!
That day at the mall, my mother bought my niece a pair of shoes. That would be my only niece, my brother and SIL's daughter. The one that I had bought two pairs of shoes a few months earlier. The one for which I had purchased 15 summer outfits. The one that I had spent over $2500 painting and outfitting her room with a new bedroom suite and Pottery Barn Kids decor. The one that I paid for and chauffeured back and forth to dance class every Thursday night. The one that my mother shopped for like crazy.
I didn't set out that day thinking or hoping my mom would buy something for my kids. But it did hurt me that here on our first outing together that she bought for my niece that needed NOTHING while there we shopped with my POOR FOSTER KID looking foster children.
So after we left the mall, we delivered those shoes to my niece and that is how we landed in my brother's living room that day.
On their console table was about 5 packs of Disney Princess gummies. Zippy saw them and kept asking me for one. I would ask my niece if she could have one only to have my niece pitch a fit. I kept trying to distract Zippy away from the gummies but time and time again she kept looking, putting her hand on them, etc. It became quite apparent that my SIL wasn't going to offer a pack to Zippy either. I was fuming. Finally, I had enough of it and told Zippy she could have them while my niece raged on. After I had been so generous to my niece, my SIL could not reciprocate and give my kid a pack of $0.25 gummies? My mom was hot too. Keep in mind this was all going on while my SIL questioned me in front of the kids about their race specifically wanting to know if they all had the same dad, what parent was what race and so on.
Boy did my niece ever pitch a big ole nasty fit. My SIL never seized the opportunity to use this as a teachable moment about sharing. Finally, I had enough and we didn't need their gummies either. The gummies had not been opened by the time we made it to the door and down the side walk. I told Zippy we would stop at the store and get her some candy. So I took the gummy pack and turned around and threw them to my SIL that was standing on her front porch with my niece. At that time, my SIL started to console my niece by saying "It's okay, she gave them back to you."
Since I am putting this out here for everyone to read, I think it is only fair to mention that I have discussed my hurt feeling about that shopping trip with my mother. She has apologized and told me that in hindsight she feels that she was in the wrong that day.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Once upon a time, I thought my family was "normal." WRONG, but hey that is what I get for "thinking!" My mother's family was very small and close knit, especially when my grandparents were alive. I have one uncle and aunt and their two kids (cousins) on that side of the family. We all lived within a few miles of each other. I have one brother that is 8 years older than me. Growing we up, we were not close due to the age difference but when I moved back from Nashville in 2003, we began to grow very close. We celebrated birthdays, holidays and milestones together. All was great!
My brother, L, married a gal from the Philippines in 1993. If you have the stereotypical imagine of a quiet, subservient Asian lady in mind, then please toss it out right now! Instead, my sister-in-law (SIL) is loud, opinionated, materialistic and down right offensive. Even still, we accepted and embraced her. After all, isn't that what family is suppose to do?
So in July 2009 after Billy and I decided we would accept placement of our children, I obviously shared the news with my brother. I even shared with him the answer to the million dollar question: "What are they?"
I was hesitant to tell my brother that my children are African American, American Indian, Caucasian and Hispanic. I made him promise on his life that he would not tell her. Yep, I'm talking about my very brown, Filipino, heavy accent, broken English speaking SIL! To this day, she is the only person that I know that does not know the truth. While I am not ashamed of my children's heritage, I knew telling my SIL the truth would be like handing an assassin a loaded gun.
The very first (possibly the second time she met my kids), she kept talking about them being "Mexican" in front of them. She wanted to know what parent was what and so forth. I only told the partial truth because maternal instincts told me that I had to protect my children. So, I lied.
There in my brother's living room, a few things I have learned in life reaffirmed themselves:
1. Some people are as clear as gloss
2. Gut instincts are rarely wrong
3. Live life with little regret
To be continued...
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
The boys started school last Friday and Zippy started pre-school today. Whewwwww, the last few days have been a whirl wind! I'm so exhausted!
I finally got the boy's names corrected at the Board of Education. It happened only after I got twisted then sideways and marched down there on Friday morning while insisting on seeing a Superintendent. Also, all the kids in the entire school system received new lunch numbers this year. These numbers are suppose to follow them all the way through 12th grade. Well, Shyne's six digit number was 066625. Awesome! Last year in pre-K, he came home telling me that a child in his class knew the Devil's phone number which upon questioning him ended up being three consecutive 6's. Needless to say, that was the straw that broke the camel's while the problem itself was compounded by a break down in communication within the school system and snarky attitudes in general. Once upon a time, I use to be very critical of homeschooling. After one school year under our belt and three days into a new one, I can completely see why so many people choose to go that route!
Shyne was particularly excited to start Kindergarten. He has been dying to get to the same school as his older brother! As you can see by some of his photos, he was really wound tight that morning. Actually, I thought I was never going to get a decent photo because he literally couldn't be still. Luckily for his teacher, he calmed down by the time we got to school...only after after I threatened to stay there until he settled down!
I've been full of piss and vinegar the last few days. That combination usually inspires a pretty beefy blog post. If I can muster up enough energy in the next couple of days, I'm going to throw out one called "The Ugly - The Toxicology Report." Trust me, it will be very candid! :-O
Thursday, August 12, 2010
School starts tomorrow for Fuller and Shyne. Fuller will be going into 2nd grade and Shyne into Kindergarten. For those of you that have followed this blog or followed me on Facebook, you know that I was hardly impressed with our school and school system this last school year. Anyway, our school got a new principal this year. It was truly an answered prayer and may have been the best news I had all summer. Plus, we now have a new Superintendent and two new school board members. So needless to say, I'm feeling much more optimistic about this school year.
I tried in February to change the boys names at school as DFCS had given us paperwork stating they could go by their new names although we had not yet finalized the adoption. However, the BOE would not accept it although every other entity that we dealt with did. So a week and a half ago, I took all the necessary adoption papers down to our Board of Education so that we could get our boys names changed to ours on their school record. They directed me to the boy's actual school. I went to the school and a lady met me at the door telling me that parents were not allowed into the building until this week. She said that she could make a copy and leave it for the clerk. She slipped away for a few moments and then cracked the door open and handed me the copies and off she went. So here I stand outside banging on the door because I needed our original notarized papers back, not the copies. I reiterated that it was of utmost importance that their names be changed before the school year started and she said she would pass on the message.
We arrived today at school for the teacher meet and greet event. All the names were correct everywhere we went until we got to the cafeteria. I wrote out my check for over $500 and put the boy's names as requested in the memo line on the check (Both boys will eat breakfast and lunch at school for a whopping total of $1030 for the school year). The cashier flipped through some list and then proclaimed "He is not on here...oh, yeah his name changed. What was it last year?" Before I could answer, she answered her own question out loud by blurting out Fuller's given name at birth. There were people standing in line behind me and of course I had the kids with me. Then she blurted out Shyne's birth name, how the names on the check need to match the name in the system, yada, yada...WHO GIVES A CRAP LADY?!?!?
I nicely tell the cashier that since the adoption was finalized that their new adopted names should be reflected in the computer system. She referred me back to the Board of Ed. Then she tells me that all the kids lunch numbers in the entire county is changing this school year. She writes the new lunch numbers out on a piece of paper with their birth names. Basically, she refused to acknowledge that the kids names had been changed. I take her pen and scribble out their names and write their correct names which she knew as they were right there in front of her!
Of course everyone in earshot hears this exchange. At this point, I'm not real happy. I tell the cashier that the Board of Ed sent me to the school with my adoption paperwork and there is a copy right across the hall in the main office. She still refers me to the Board of Ed. Long story short, after several phone calls no one seems to know who can and will change the boy's names in the cafeteria system.
When Fuller first came to us last summer he begged and pleaded to be called Michael Jackson. That was definitely a "no go!" However, I was happy that he was actually requesting to be called something other than his given name because we were very uncomfortable with it. See, he was Junior and had been named after his natural father. Being a namesake is cool and all but then on the other hand there are some people that you really don't need to be named after. There are details here that I'm not willing to share on this blog but consider this: DFCS doesn't terminate rights on Mother and Dad of The Year. So with that in mind, Fuller was his middle name so we made it his first name and then added a new middle name that he picked out all by himself - Billy's middle name. When we registered him for school last year I wrote his nickname as "Fuller" so at least he got called by his new first name all last year.
Of course there is always the safety concern too. I don't know if the birth family knows the kid's new names or not. However, I don't suppose I would be throwing our whole lives out here on the Net for the entire world to see if that was a big concern for me. I do find assurance in the fact that a bunch of EDUCATED EDUCATORS at the BOARD OF EDUCATION cannot figure out how to change a name in a computer system! So, hopefully the people of concern in our situation won't know how to play the name game!
Family is important as are the names that associate you with that family. I felt sorry for little Fuller as he stood there and witnessed all the unnecessary stupidiness today. Our kids were so excited when they finally got to take our surname upon finalization of their adoptions. Today they were elated about the start of a new school year. My little troopers have marched full speed ahead in their new lives while never spending much time looking back. However, no matter how happy and rosy their little lives are there are days like this when reality takes a big dump on them.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Often, I am asked "Why three?" My response is usually "Why not?"
When we first started the foster to adopt process, we initially set out to adopt one child. While doing our Impact training classes, we ran into a couple that we know that informed us they were doing the same thing but was hoping to adopt a specific pair of children in which they already knew. I remember thinking "Oh my goodness, two kids at once!" The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. In theory, I always thought having three kids would be ideal but honestly I knew I would never make it through three pregnancies and infancies. Seriously, I would have probably needed to be sent home from the hospital with a Prozac drip bag!
I didn't sleep for months. Literally months, people. I have this terrible one track mind and it was focused on adoption. I stayed up night after night combing the Internet and looking at photo listings. My heart broke for the sibling groups.
Our town has been hit very hard by the recession. At one point, we had the second highest unemployment in the country. Everywhere I turned, there were people without work and struggling financially. I was also told by one Social Worker that our county has one of the highest rates of terminating parental rights in the whole state (that is another topic for another night). Anyway, I kept wondering who was available to take all these kids? Then I looked at myself. I was blessed beyond belief. While my husband's business had been hit hard by the economic down turn, we still manage to make it.
A person only has one life on this Earth so why not make the most of it, right? Well, I've never been a person to spend Saturday night on the couch. So why not three? Billy would ask "Three?" like I had lost my mind. My husband is the kind of guy that gives everything he does 110%. I knew he would be more Dad than one little kid could handle! He also happens to be a master of propaganda. So one day, I replied "Billy, anyone can adopt just one child BUT if you are going to do it, THEN YOU NEED TO DO IT BIG!" He chuckled because he knew I had won at his own game. Then around that same time, we had gone to church on a Sunday night and the sermon was basically about faith. I smiled at him like "I told you so!" When a person is in their comfort zone, we feel like we have more control and rely less on God. However, God wants us to step outside of our comfort zone and live by faith. When we do get uncomfortable, then we find ourselves needing Him more. We all know there is only room for Him in the Captain's chair! So, that night when we got in the car, Billy gave me permission to call DFCS and change our status to three.
Reasons to adopt a sibling group:
--this is pretty obvious but it keeps siblings together.
--because the kids will always have each other when they have lost everything else they have known in life.
--because the children have someone else in which to share the emotions/experience of losing their parents, moving to a new home, being adopted, etc.
--because there is a great need for families to take sibling groups.
--because you will never have the time to spend another Saturday night on the couch!
For the record, I took the kids into two clothing stores today. I was asked by 5people "Where are they from?" Actually, one young lady asked me if they were my children. I replied "Yes." She then asked "Well, where is there Dad from?" She looked mortified when I told her they are adopted!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Well, the Tooth Fairy struck last night. Fuller was so excited to wake up and find 5 one dollar bills under his pillow this morning (although I'm only counting 4 in the photo - probably has already lost one!). Of course, there can't be a photo snapped at 8 o'clock in the morning without Miss Zippy wanting in on the action. So she grabbed up her new smocked Wizard of Oz bishop dress and help it up to herself. Guess what she will be wearing Sunday to church? Nice hair, Sister! Shyne was still in bed asleep until he woke a little while later after wetting on himself. He is my only bed wetter and it is very infrequent...THANK GOODNESS! I guess he can blame that one on Daddy for buying them all large Icee's last night on their way home from playing miniature golf. Guess what I did today?
Monday, August 9, 2010
Fuller lost his first tooth today. Goodness, it seemed like it had been loose for 6 months! We were on our way down to the subdivision club house to go for a swim when I decided that I needed to run to the store and pick up a few things for dinner tonight. When we returned to the house to throw the few items in the refrigerator, Billy was there. Fuller wanted Billy to pull his tooth as it was very loose. I didn't want anything to do with it or be near it!
Billy yanked his tooth out while Fuller never flinched. Actually, he didn't even hardly bleed or anything. Fuller was so proud. I think Shyne was actually a little envious of his older brother. Anyway, we went on down to the pool and swam for about 5.5 hours. Yes, we like to do everything BIG around here!
After dinner, Billy mustered up enough energy to take the kids to play miniature golf while I had to run to Office Max to pick up much needed office supplies. We all returned about the same time and that is when I snapped Fuller's photo of his snaggled grill. He looks sort of pitiful with his chlorine induced red eyes and his brother's two sizes too small shorts. Oh well, I wanted to capture the moment because this was such a big day for him. Not only did he lose a tooth but he also hit a hole in one while playing putt putt!
We are desperately trying to get the kids in bed earlier this week since school is starting on Friday. I hustled the kids upstairs to brush their teeth. Fuller returned and said that Shyne dropped his tooth down the drain! What???? What in the world was Shyne doing with Fuller's tooth?!? Oh well, Fuller handled it pretty well when I told him that we would write a note to the Tooth Fairy explaining the situation. Normally, I would have let Fuller write the letter but because we were racing the clock trying to get ready for bed, I wrote it. It read as follows:
Dear Tooth Fairy,
Fuller lost his first tooth today. He was so excited about you coming to visit him tonight. However, his brother, Shyne, dropped the tooth down the drain. We ask that you consider leaving him something because he was such a brave little boy today. We promise that he lost a tooth as there is a big hole in his mouth to prove it!
Shana Vinyard - Fuller's Momma
The note seemed to satisfy him. It was written on a bright pink Post-It note and sealed in a Ziploc bag. I pray the kids fall asleep fast tonight. I personally have been ready to hit the hay since we returned from the pool this evening! Hopefully, between Billy and me one of us can manage to stay up long enough to leave Fuller some money!
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Yep, I've got a bad case. Summertime with my kids is almost officially over. School starts back on Friday so we only have a few more days to end this summer with a bang!
We took in all the freebies that we could find this summer. We visited the library each week for storybook time and/or featured guest, took in free kid movies at a few different locations around town, played at the park, hung out in the play area at the mall, swam frequently, had play dates, attended dance camp, went to two Vacation Bible Schools, went to the beach, played too much putt putt, hung with the neighborhood kids, played some baseball, took in a lot of not so free movies, spent three weekends at the lake, bounced on every inflatable east of the Mississippi, stayed up late, and slept in each day. It was great even if I did stress over it in the beginning! In all honesty, it was the best summer of my life. Of course, if I can wrestle an alligator then surely I can handle 3 little angels for 11 scorching hot weeks, right?
Thank you God for allowing me the opportunity to spend this special time with my precious kids.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Last Sunday was Homecoming at our church. Billy and I seated the kids at a large round table while we went through the line to make them plates. A lady at our church sat down at our table. Zippy was standing in the seat of her chair yelling across the room to me and pointing at the lady. I quickly let Zippy know it was ok and that lady could sit with us. The lady later told me that when she sat down at the table, Zippy turned to her and said "I already have a Mommy!" while pointing across the room to me! On the surface her statement was really cute but then again the core of it is really sad. So far Mommies have been easy come, easy go in her short life. I guess in kid terms, we showed up at the park one day and now we are their parents. So, it does make sense that Zippy would be concerned when a sweet, smiling woman sits down beside her at church. It looks like I will have to keep telling her each night when I lie down in bed with her that I will be her Mommy forever and ever.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Around 8:45 a.m. on July 17, 2009 it was already a hot and humid Georgia morning. Billy and I nervously left our quiet house and drove about 10 minutes across town to a local park. There we met the children and their foster parents. Billy had already met the foster dad the night before and picked up a truck load of their belongings. We drove separately that morning because he had another truck load of their belongings to haul to our home. We had only met them the one time at the park about 10 days earlier. At that time the kids had been told that we were friends of their foster mother. I had made them a little scrap book about Billy, me and our families. Their therapist read over it with the kids and that is how they broke the new to them about coming to live with us.
They said their goodbyes to their foster parents. Fuller was teary eyed, Shyne was so excited he had jumped in my car almost immediately, and Zippy was quiet and reserved. I drove off with 6 little eyes staring at the back of my head. They were so brave and none of them cried. They had a lot of questions about the beach and if we lived there. See, one of the photos in the scrap book was of Billy and me on the beach! One asked if we lived in California. They were tickled about our cat, Stinky, as they never had a kitty cat before.
Things were wild those first few weeks. They were always good kids, but VERY hyper with all the newness all around them. They went to bed every night without incident. They never cried and always fell straight to sleep. Maybe they were exhausted because I know we sure were! I remember lying down in bed so worn out not knowing how in the world I was going to be able to get up and do it all over again the next day, and the next day, and the next day, for years and years!
Their foster family had been working with Zippy on potty training. I remember taking her to the potty those first few days. As I was standing there waiting for her to do her business, she would make me turn around and face the corner of the room. It was a very mysterious feeling because here was this little person that I had already loved for so long in my heart but yet I didn't know her. What was she really like? Would I have to stand in the corner forever while she pottied? How long would it take to get to know them?
Sometimes when I'm beat down or feeling sorry for myself, I think about those three little brave people. Their little world was spinning out of control and not once did they ever cry. The had lost everything in life that they had known: Taken away from their parents and now away from their foster parents that they loved so much. Yet still with all they had been through, they never cried.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Oh well on to more important stuff! A year ago today, I met my children for the very first time. Billy and I met them at a local play ground along with their foster mom. I remember Fuller running up to us asking if we were his foster mom's friends. I had to walk away for a moment because I started crying. He was so beautiful and charming and it was possibility that one day he would be my little boy!
Shyne was too busy playing to slow down long enough to talk to some old folks like us. He blasted past us saying "I run fast!" Seriously, that is the first thing he ever said to us!
Zippy grabbed my camera and wouldn't give it back. We had a gentle tug of war going on over it. She won and bolted off running as fast as she could but then tripped and fell down dropping my camera and scraping her knee. Billy has always said from that first night that "the little one, now she is the one that will be a handful." He hit the nail on the head with that one because she has more personality than I have ever seen in a little one that age. Oh and boy does she have him wrapped! Yep, bonfide "Daddy's girl."
What an amazing 365 days it has been! I feel like I have known and loved them forever!
Today, we went to a local amusement park to hang out with some friends that live a couple hours from us. Yeah, it was the hottest day of the year with temps hitting 102! Oh but that didn't stop us! We actually visited the same amusement park last July or August not long after the kids came to live with us. I didn't really expect Billy to join us today because we were just on vacation recently then he had a short work week last week with the holidays. Oh by the way, Billy boy doesn't miss work often for play but today he really insisted on going. He later told me that he wanted to be there and experience it with the kids because they have already grown and matured so much since our last trip last year. He basically realized it was a "stop and smell the roses" type of moment so he didn't want to miss it. So there he sweated with the rest of us while making wonderful family memories. My kids really have a wonderful Dad. Maybe that will be the subject of my next post.
Anyway, I'm so tired and I hope this is all coherent. I couldn't let a a big anniversary like this pass without mentioning it.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
My heart breaks for the older kids. There were a few teenage boys that were looking for Christian homes and are scared of getting too old and aging out the system. Wouldn't it be sad to turn 18 years old and released out in this nasty world without loving parents to guide you? How about holiday weekends just like we had but without any family to share it with? Seventeen years old and wanting a CHRISTIAN family to call their own, wanting their own dog (remember they probably have been bounced around all their lives and have never had the opportunity to have their OWN pet), and part-time job so that he can save to buy a car. Seventeen years old and still holding onto the sliver of hope that one day they will be adopted by their Forever Family. Wouldn't you hate to know that society gave up on you because you were too old even at the tender ages of 8, 12, or 17 years old? Goodness, it breaks my heart into a millon pieces.
I would like to see those teenagers find homes. Just in case you don't think you can adopt, I would like to throw out some info about adopting from the Georgia foster care system for you to consider. Most states have similar guidelines.
You don't have to own a home to adopt from foster care. Apartment living is completely fine.
If single, the adoptive parent must be at least 25 years of age and at least 10 years older then the child. If married, at least 10 years older then the child.
I know of people in their late 50's/early 60's that have adopted from Georgia foster care so don't let age hold you back!
Foster adoptions costs very little if any money at all to the adoptive family as the state covers most, if not all, or the expenses.
The adopted children are eligible for Medicaid until they turn 18 year old (even after the adoption is complete).
The adoptive parents even qualify for monthly financial assistance if the child meets one of the criteria below that qualifies the child as "special needs":
1. A child who has been in the care of a public or private agency or individual other than the legal or biological parent for more than 24 consecutive months.
2. A child with physical, mental, or emotional disability, as validated by a licensed physician or psychologist.
3. A child who is a member of a sibling group of 2 or more placed in the same home.
Basically, the state is trying hard to make adoption possible for all of those that are interested. Sadly, more people need to open their hearts and homes for these kids that need families.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
They had a sibling group of three they wanted to discuss with us. Yep, I just knew it would be three. Billy was already scared silly that we were approved for up to three kids but was going to freak out when I told him we got "the call" about three kids! See, they could have called us about one child or a duo. So immediately, it was kind of hard to get over the moon excited because I was so scared that I would vetoed by Billy (not that I have ever really gotten vetoed by him but this was a HUGOMONGO life decision for us and we both needed to be on board). When I told Billy that the call was about three kids, he was pretty much like "3?" Not like, three? But more like THREE while the blood drained from his face! Being the trooper that he is, he agreed to go along to the DFCS meeting with an open mind and heart.
DFCS shared the kids ages with me: 2, 4 and 6 years old. They told it was two boys and one girl. I was told that there were really no "issues" with them and of course, I knew there were THREE of them! Independence Day fell on Saturday so a lot of people were celebrating and on July 3rd so their office was closed. Our case worker did not work Mondays so we made an appointment to come in and look at their case file on Tuesday, July 7th. Just my luck, I would have to wait over a long holiday weekend. I didn't know why they had come into state custody, their race, if the boys or girl was the oldest, etc. Goodness, I should have asked more questions! Being the pessimist that I am, I kept telling myself that it probably wouldn't be a "match" so that made it much easier to get through the next few days.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Blogger isn't working well with me tonight and is not allowing me to upload photos. Oh well, another day.
Anyway, we loaded up and rolled out to the beach for a week long stay. My kids are dark skinned and I have never even seen them get a hint of a sunburn. Even still, I greased them down in SPF 50 sunscreen a bare minimum of two times a day. Even then, they still got darker! I on the other hand wore SPF 6 and still hardly look like I have seen sunlight in months! It is so interesting how God made mankind so similiar yet all so differently. Apparently, everyone around us was thinking the same thing!
In one particular gift shop, I noticed a store clerk really checking us out. I knew we were throwing her for a loop. Then she asked me if we lived on a boat! Seriously, she wanted to know how our kids got so tanned! I laughed and make some joke about how we must have looked ship wrecked.
Then Billy was at the pool and a German guy asked in front of our kids where our kids were from. Billy's response was "Dalton, Georgia." Then another day, a tween girl asked Billy why his kids were so dark when he is so white.
OK people, I am not politically or socially correct. Never have been and don't really care to be. HOWEVER, even I have more tact or perhaps more sense than to ask questions like that to a complete and total stranger. The part that ticks me off to no end are the questions that we get asked in front of our kids like they are deaf and dumb. I'm a smart aleck and some may go as far as calling me a smart a**. Both are terms that I really don't dispute. However, I have been trying to set a good example for my kids and also try to not give them a complex about their adoptive situation. However, people are really starting to get under my skin. Seriously, off the top of my head I could think of some very good comebacks about race and color to have spat off to the GERMAN guy. Trust me when I say that I would have been completely capable of clearing the pool with a snarky response to his inquiry. Seriously, I have to censor myself. I have to pray about it. I love the stunned looks, the stammering, and they way people have to readjust themselves when you make a profoundly smart aleck comment/statement to someone. But I am a Momma now and I can't live life Jim Carey in Liar Liar and go around and say everything that I think like I use to. I now have six little eyes and ears watching and listening to me. I love the first song on my playlist by Hillsong. I try to remind myself of these lyrics:
Everyone needs compassion
A love that's never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
Kindness of our Saviour
The hope of nations....
Don't get me wrong, I don't get offend by everyone that asks me questions, not at all. Some people just rub me raw though with the way the come across. Of course, those people present themselves completely different that those that are sincere. I don't mind telling people that our kids are adopted and that they are multi-racial. If anything, it is something I love sharing should the situation present itself correctly. What I do hate are the people press harder after I say my kids are "multi-racial" and then give them the run down of those races involved. For some, they feel the need to know what parent was what so they can figure out who was getting with who. I mean, I don't go around asking strangers how much they weigh, how often they have sex with their spouse, or how much they reported on last years income taxes. Why do they feel so comfortable with asking me such intimate questions regarding my children and their history? You.Would. Not. Believe. the questions I am asked about my kids and their biological family. Isn't some stuff suppose to be private? Seriously, people...
I know that we will continue to draw a lot of attention to ourselves, after all, my babies are beautiful! But I have been wondering for a long time, how I will handle all these inquiries in front of my children since I can't tell those inquiring minds that they need a nose job, need to get a life, or that they are freaks, etc. I've finally come up with a decent idea that is definitely more of the Christian attitude! I'm going to have business cards printed up with my kiddos photos on them along with this blog address. The awesome photographer that I use, Lacey D. Cummings of Lacey D. Photography, inspired the idea. After each photo shoot, she gives me business cards with her information on them but they feature a photo of my kids. They are amazing! So I thought I would pick one of my most favorite pics and make it business card size with my blog address printed on it. So when I have someone that is digging too deep, I'm going to simply smile and hand them a card and nicely tell them that while I don't care to discuss all the details of our situation but that they can read what I am willing to share right here on this blog!
Sorry this was so long but I had to vent somewhere!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
We have now had the kids 11 months. I remember last year sorting through their little clothes and wondering if I would ever be able to dress them the way I wanted to. I know that sounds shallow but it is true. I KNOW most people get some satisfaction out of seeing their children in a cute new outfit. You know, makes you want to take their picture and all. I obviously had those same desires but was so overwhelmed by how much other stuff they needed at the time.
I wanted to get their rooms decorated like kid rooms so they didn't feel like GUESTS staying in our formal guest room. I wanted them to feel at home because I knew deep in my heart this would be their forever home. With that came needing blankets, sheets, and mattress pads. Oh, lest we forget the twin beds themselves. Then there were the toys, books, toiletries, medications, school supplies and the list went on and on. How would I ever afford to dress them decently when we needed so much AND I just lost my job?
Fast forward 11 months.
The other day I organized Zippy's closet. I separated out the shorts, pants, capris, dresses into winter and summer, tank tops, t-shirts, outfits and so on. A lot of stuff I didn't even have on hangers. I've picked up a lot of clothes here and there while out shopping and buying used from individuals and consignment sales. After I got the closet organized, I stood there in disbelief how many clothes she has...just a mere 3 year old child. Literally, her good sized closet is full of beautiful clothes. Completely full. I counted 30 pairs of shorts and 15 skirts (a conservative count that only included only what fits her right now and what was not in the dirty clothes basket). Also, I have passed on probably 2-3 garbage bags of clothing that I didn't want to an underprivileged family. I didn't bother to count anymore because I felt ashamed that at one time that I felt so overwhelmed to now be so over blessed! God has been so good to us, no doubt.
I love to shop, really I do. But I'm giving it up for a while. We need nothing now which is good because I'm broke until a couple of these houses I have under contract close! LOL!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
I really need to start taking more photos, really. I'm just not one of those Mom's with a camera stuck in my kid's face all the time. That REALLY gets on my nerves but I'm sure those photos will be much appreciated one day (and it makes for a much nicer blog)! Ok, I just gave myself a pep talk as I MUST try harder! However, I did take photos of our HOME today because we are putting it up for sale.
Anyway, I thought I would post some photographs of the kid's rooms. They are so proud of their little sanctuaries. I guess I can't blame them since life before foster care had them sleeping on the floor or in a playpen. Little Zippy always wants to show everyone her room. So as inappropriate as it is for her to ask the lawn guy to check out her room, I continue to allow it (of course while in my presence) because she is so proud and having a room means so much to her. Yep, MANY people have made the trek upstairs to see her little haven!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I had never been a cook. I always managed to mess up even the most simple recipes. Better yet, I NEVER had all the ingredients to do a complete meal. So in the beginning (and now), it really stressed me out thinking about feeding three little growing kids. Plus, I didn't want to load them up with a lot of processed frozen rubber...I mean food. So this meant that I would have to learn how to cook all while coping with all the other changes going on in my life.
So at 33 years old, I embarked on learning how to cook. Fortunately, the kids were not picky and loved almost everything! However my saving grace was getting a subscription to E-Mealz. I was recommended their website from an adoption forum that I frequent. Many of the mothers on there had tried it and recommended it. It is roughly $12 for a three month subscription. I select the grocery store that I want to shop and the meal plan and they post that week's menu and shopping list. The great thing about the E-Mealz is that they shop your store's sales ads for you and then compile that weeks meals based off of it. Their menu never goes over a certain dollar amount so you always know how much you should expect to spend each week on groceries. Plus they include a very detailed shopping list for you so you don't have to make any unnecessary trips back to the grocery store. I am forever grateful for E-Mealz and feel that it was truly Heaven sent to me. Now my family eats tasty balanced meals on a budget. Not only do I love but so does Billy and the kids. They are always excited to find out what we are having for dinner now! Check out their website at http://www.e-mealz.com/.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
I'm going to be honest and tell you that when I think back to 10 months ago, everything is sort of a blur. I was overwhelmed but I probably had one of the best cases of denial ever. Even if I did find enough sense to acknowledge that I was overwhelmed, I probably would not have ever admitted it to anyone! Really, I didn't know I was overwhelmed at the time. I think I was in a true survival mode.
The kids were very hyper in the very beginning. Imagine taking a child that is ADHD (which Shyne is) and sugaring them up and sending them to Disney World. That was our kids...for weeks. Then to boot, Billy and I were very inexperienced with children. I don't think I can say that enough. Billy and I were very inexperienced with children. Other than my three year old niece, I had never babysat before. Oh wait, I did reluctantly help with a vacation Bible school a couple years before!
But looking back (and even then we recognized) that the kids were obviously over stimulated but for the most part didn't have anything terrible going on that we felt ill equipped to handle. For the most part, they were hyper and trying to adjust and we were tired and trying to adjust.
- The kids did not play with each other, specially the boys.
- Fuller would oftentimes go off by himself and pout when in the presence of other kids.
- Both boys were girl crazy. Shyne was especially excited to start Pre-K so that he could get "57 girlfriends." Sometimes he would even say that he was going to bring them home at night and kiss them.
- Fuller was obsessed with Michael Jackson to the point he wanted to be called Michael Jackson.
- Zippy insisted on being carried everywhere.
- Zippy was partially potty trained. She had been fully potty trained then had a big regression after a visit with her bio mom.
- Shyne occasionally use curse words.
- Both boys thought punks, thugs, hoodlums, gangsters, etc. were cool.
- Shyne would actually say that he was going to a gangster when he grew up. However, he didn't know what a gangster actually was.
- Shyne had impulsive behavior. Sometimes he would curse and hit other kids.
- Fuller was extremely bossy to Shyne and Zippy.
- Fuller had a terrible time sharing. What was HIS was HIS and what was THEIRS was HIS.
Fast forward 10 months to now:
- They are all playing together!!! Praise the Lord. This was a hard one to break and took a lot of work on our parts!
- Fuller gradually quit pouting. It is hard to pinpoint how long this took because it was gradual but I can't remember when he last went off by himself and pouted because his friends wanted to play something different than him, etc.
- We implemented a rule that none of them were allowed to have boyfriend/girlfriends. This was reinforced by Shyne's teacher as one of her class rules prohibited the same. We never kidded around with them about having crushes on girls etc. All this girl crazy talk was quickly abolished probably in the first couple of months we had that we had them. Guess what? Shyne thinks girls are gross now! LOL! Now we have eased up on them since they are now exhibiting very normal behaviors for their ages. We don't want to think that it wrong to like a member of the opposite sex.
- Fuller still likes Michael Jackson but has expanded his musical tastes to include other artist. He is no longer wearing his one bicycle glove everywhere!
- Zippy started walking more after we sat her down and had a little conversation with her about it. It is amazing how it really stuck with her and she tried really hard to resist asking or pleading to be carried after a couple of months.
- Once I complete my job and got Zippy out of daycare, I had her fully potty trained in about two weeks which was about mid-September.
- Shyne's cursing and impulsive behavior pretty much came to a screeching halt once he was diagnosed with ADHD. He can concentrate but has the hyperactivity part of the disorder. He was put on the lowest dosage of medication and we immediately saw drastic improvements in his overall behavior and academics.
- The rule is that no gangsters are allowed in our household. So they are not allowed to wear their baseball hats anyway but the right way. Shyne now says with disgust in his voice, "Mom, we don't allow gangsters and thugs in our house, right Momma?" However in public if we see someone that sort of fits the description, I have been loudly asked "Momma, is that guy a thug?" Yeah, that could make for a nasty situation! SNIKES!
- Fuller is still bossy but not as bad. I'm not sure if this is about being the first born or about being parentified or possibly a combination of both. Now Shyne and Zippy tell him that he is not their boss and that they don't have to mind him.
- Fuller is much better at sharing but can still get a little possessive at times.
While things were never really bad in the beginning, we have definitely come along way in a short period of time.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Of course, I got in line behind chatty Cathy that looked to be in her mid-sixties. She was oohing over Zippy. Then she said that she had always hoped that she would have a little girl. I told her that she had two older brothers as well. She went on to say that she never had the opportunity to have kids and all that she ever really wanted in life was a big family. She went on to say that she grew up in a children's home with several siblings but that they were busted up and sent to different places to live or adopted by different families. She said that her twin sister was raised apart from her in South Carolina. She said it all very quickly but I could see the hurt on face. Zippy had wondered away from me but was still within eye sight. That is when I told the woman that my kids are adopted. Her lip quivered and said that she really wished more than anything that she and her siblings could have been adopted together. She left in a hurry. I left in hurry as well.
As my day has gone on, I find myself thinking back to that woman. She was raised in a group home without a mother. Then she never had the opportunity to be a mother herself. I imagine that makes Mother's Day very lonely. My heart breaks for that little girl within her.
Isn't it amazing how profound a brief encounter with a stranger can be?
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
May is Foster Care Month! These are my three little foster care gems! There are hundreds of thousands of children just like them in the USA awaiting their forever homes. Check out http://www.adoptuskids.org/ for kids available in your state!
Monday, May 3, 2010
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I added a ton of Zippy's photos last night but they are much further down the blog list. I had started the post and saved it several days ago. I thought that it would post in the order that I posted them but I guess it goes by date it was drafted so my post is a little out of sequence. I'll have new family photos up in a few days too.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I worked hard to prepare myself for the day that a child/children joined our family. For the most part, I did a great job on that! If there was ever a surprise in this whole journey I would not hesitate one moment to say that it was NOT with the kids themselves or even with Department of Family and Children's Services (DFCS). I was most surprised by people around me whether they were family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances and sometimes complete strangers. While I read that adoption can evoke strong emotions that will sever friendships and familial ties,I never dreamt that it would be to this magnitude. Nothing I read could have prepared me for this shock of bitter reality.
There were people that I had reservation about telling our intentions to adopt from foster care because I just knew the response would be so negative. I would break the news and they would sincerely be thrilled for us. Then I would tell someone that I figured would be all for it to get a very negative reaction from them. I simply could not speculate on a person's reaction to our news. I'm pretty sharp tongued but sometimes reactions were so negative that I was speechless.
I always loved the uninformed people that really tried their hardest to be persuasive on a subject they know absolutely nothing about. When I told people the ages that we were approved for, I was asked if I was crazy, why could I not just get a baby, etc. I was told by several that they knew of person that knew of a person that adopted a child from country XYZ. You know, I really should check into getting a baby from there. You get the drift? This is when I really start to come to the conclusion that some people feel like they are getting a better "product" per se by going international. I'm not against international adoptions at all. Had it not been for international adoptions, I may never arrived to where I am now. I still have a place in my heart for international adoptions. However, I do know that a person's adoption program of choice is a very personal decision. People were so down on foster care and that fueled my desire to adopt from foster care even more. How could a person be so negative about adopting a fellow American?
My in-laws were poker faced and never said a word or asked a question when we told them of our intent to adopt from foster care. Even throughout our training and home study process, we would mention it to solicit dialog from them about the matter but they acted as though they hardly heard what we were saying.
I had one family member question why we would want to adopt. Then very loudly and ignorantly, she told me that she would never adopt if she couldn't bear a baby. She would rather not have kids at all than have to adopt. She has one grown 30 something son. Looks like her superior genetics produced her a deadbeat that doesn't work, has been involved in drugs and has done time in the BIG house.
One of our closet friends dropped us like a hot potato pretty much the moment we got "the call." She was always going to do something grand for us and the kids...of course, contingent on the adoption finalizing. Really? Contingent on finalization? So what if we didn't finalize? Seriously, what if? Would it have been so terrible to give otherwise poverty bound children a little token gift or party? No big deal because it never happened. Empty promises. Did I mention they are also neighbors and go to our church? I'm cordial but that is it. No hard feelings and I wish them the best in life. However, I do not consider ourselves "friends" anymore...I guess we really never were.
To be continued.