Photo by Shanna Hullender Photography

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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Momma and Prince Charming

I remember being a child and loving that one on one adult attention. However for me, I didn't have to constantly compete with two other adorable kiddos. So from time to time, we will grab one child to run errands with etc.

So on Saturday when I had several errands to run, Shyne was more than thrilled to tag along. Since he was the guest of honor, I let him pick our lunch spot. I knew before I asked him, he would want to eat Japanese. So we ate, had the car wash, did a few other errands, went to the convenient store and bought candy and an Icee, then to the playground. Can't you just tell by the look on his face that he was loving every minute of it?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Happy Gotcha Day - Two Year Anniversary

Copied from my blog post from July 2010 - Photos taken in October 2009 - 3 months after placement.

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.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It Is What It Is

In our Georgia foster care classes (IMPACT) we heard a lot about how anniversaries can be very hard on the children. We were told to expect high emotions around important dates even if the children were unaware of those dates. So far, we haven't experienced any of that with our children. However, I have noticed a huge difference in my emotions around those important circles on the calendar.

As we approach the two year anniversary of our "Gotcha Day," I find myself flooded with adoption emotions. I guess it is only natural to think back to how life was two years ago in the days before our kids arrived in our home. To be honest, it is very bittersweet.

As for my family in particular, within these two years I have both gained and lost family members through this adoption. Going back and reading my blog entries from last summer, I see that I still had a lot of raw feelings about it. However now, my viewpoint along the lines of "it is what it is." Every single relationship I had at that time has since changed and this statement isn't necessarily a bad thing. It reminds me a lot of dating when you go through a bad break up to get back together and the feelings never quite being the same.

When we set out to adopt, I guess I thought I would be able to give my kids the same type of happy childhood that I had growing up. In the end, I've had to accept the fact that no matter how hard I try, I cannot give my kids my life and my childhood. My family and extended family are different now. There are different players involved, therefore it will never be the same. I grew up adoring my aunt, uncle and cousins. On the flip side of things, my children pretty much have a non-existent relationship with their only uncle, aunt and cousin. Then their relationship with my parents would be best described as a pony show. To this date, none of my parents have ever taken all three of my children at the same time to do anything as simple as getting an ice cream cone. They love them no doubt but it is definitely a different relationship than I had with my grandparents. But that too is okay because like I said before, it is what it is.

I'm not mad at anyone. I'm not bitter. If any anything, I would describe myself as dangerously independent and indifferent. As for my children, they are resilient troopers that are having a happy and wonderful childhood now. And lastly, it is what it is.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 9th

Copied from my post last year but with the dates changed.

Two years ago on July 9th, I called DFCS and told them that we would be willing to accept placement of the kids in our home. That was a Thursday morning. On Saturday morning, my mother and I headed out to Jacksonville, Florida (approximately an 8 hour drive) to trade my convertible in for a large SUV. There is nothing like losing your job and having to go buy a new (well, new to us) car a few days later. It was the closest one to us that had all the options I wanted PLUS leather seats. Yes, it was the leather seats that I was really after. I think it was that maternal instinct already starting to kick in! Billy stayed back behind and worked on his long honey-do list that included toddler proofing the house. We simply had too much to do to make the trip together because DFCS was wanting them in our home ASAP after we gave them the green light.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The day I met my kids

Two years 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. The kids had no idea that we were their potential parents. 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 730 days it has been! I feel like I have known and loved them forever!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"The Call"

This is copied from last year's blog post except I changed it to reflect that we got "the call" two years ago.

Two years ago on Thursday, July 2nd, my world was spinning. I had been laid off from my job the day before. While I still had 2 more months to work, I quickly decided that I needed to start drumming up some business with my side gig, real estate. There was a new listing in our neighborhood and I had a prospective buyer. So I lined up a showing later that day. While showing the house, my phone rang and I looked down to discover that it was Department of Family and Children's Services. Great, they were probably calling to tell us we needed to do one more training class! I hit "ignore." That call could wait. Then they immediately called back a second time. I hit "ignore" once again. Then DFCS called back immediately for a 3rd time! The buyer told me that it was ok to take the phone call as he sensed it was obviously urgent. I blurt out that we were trying to adopt and that I was pretty sure that I was getting "the call." We were wrapping things up anyway and I wanted to talk when I had a little more privacy. We said our farewells and I jumped in the car immediately and called DFCS back.

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.