Photo by Shanna Hullender Photography

"Adopting one child won't change the world; but for that child, the world will change."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The GoOd, the BaD and the UgLy!

I've got a couple of posts that are weighing heavy on my heart. I have yet to share them at this point. They are raw and of course there is no holding back. Adoption is often painted all pretty and rosy but in reality there is so much about it that really SUCKS! <-----Yeah, I hate that word but it really sums up adoption - ugly and offensive. Don't be fooled into thinking that adoption is a win/win situation for those involved. Someone in the equation is always going to lose. Period. Isn't it amazing how something that has brought me so much joy has also brought me so much pain? I am apprehensive about my forthcoming entries because I know they will sting a few people. But then again, it is my blog which happens to serve basically as a journal for me. My intentions when I started this blog was to provide an account of our foster care adoption experiences. I simply can't state the good without stating the bad too. I read all the books and all the experts said it would be like this. So I guess it is what it is: Ugly.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

School Days

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

All In A Name

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

Doing It B.I.G.

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

Show Me The Money

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

The Snaggled Grill

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

Sunday Night Blues

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.