Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Yesterday was the final visit from our social worker.
At least, it should be the last one.

We had to redo the paperwork for our youngest two kids' last names.

They were hoping to be able to keep their birth last names and also take both of our family names but it turns out that 3 or 4 surnames freaks the government out and we were told that they had to pick 2 at the most.

So that mean that they decided to keep their original first and middle names, incorporate their original last names as more middle names and to take on both my last name and my husband's last names as their last names.

Simple, no?

But it works for us and it makes sense to us and it feels right.

So as an example, Buddy has gone from:

Buddy Middlename Lastname Lastname


Buddy Middlename Middlename Middlename Lastname Lastname.

Still clear as mud?

Well then, let's move on.

Now all we are waiting for will be the papers in the mail that will tell us that we are legally a family.
Till then I still have to carry the papers that say I am allowed to act as their mother but for important decisions their social worker must be contacted.

Can I just say that although I understand the rules and intellectually it makes sense etc. etc. that it makes me crazy?
Good, because I just said it.

Yondalla emailed me about a comment that I left at her wonderful blog about a really important post, this morning and as a part of it she asked me, "I understand that on your blog you don't talk about the youngers as adopted or newer, but how is the adjustment going?".

That made me think about how I do talk, on blog. or anywhere, about my two youngest children.

It is kind of weird territory for me to traverse right now.

See, they are my kids.
When I talk about my older kids, I have never spent time identifying them as my biological children, I know they are, I was there and most of the time other people don't need to know where I sourced any of them...

but then maybe they do.

We are not ashamed of adoption or foster care or any of that.
In fact we are proud of our children and where they came from and of our family.

Even more than ever before I KNOW that there is more than one amazing, magical, permanent way to have kids.

Maybe it is something I need to add into the header or the about me part of this blog to make it clearer that we have grown through adoption.

Yeah. I think I will go do that right now.

Anyway, on Mother's Day, I lit a candle at church celebrating all the mothers that my youngest, soon to be legally ours, kids have had. I think they appreciated it. I know they were relieved when I said that I was thinking about all their Moms and I expected that they were too.

Our family is one of mixed origins and I am trying to figure out how to achieve the right balance of privacy and pride about that and that has been reflected here in cyberspace - my whole life is a work in progress.

Now onto the actual question of how is the adjustment going -

Sometimes I want to just shrug my shoulders and say that I really don't know because I don't have a darn thing to compare it too.

Other times, especially the ones that have a high level of sleep deprivation - I want to clutch the shirt front of whoever is asking and tearfully shriek that it is going to HELL in a bright flashing handbasket.

Our social worker yesterday said that she was impressed with us.
Mostly I am too.

All six of us work hard to figure stuff out and to be good to each other.

I am truly in awe of my children.
Their compassion, their tenacity, their courage, their humour and their good sense.

And I am utterly humbled by them.

Last week I was talking to them about maybe, someday, adding more kids to our family. My youngest (adopted) daughter said, well, maybe we could foster babies. My oldest (bio) daughter, wrinkled her nose and said "We don't FOSTER, we adopt!".
(NO, no, no...she doesn't look down on fostering, she just identifies with adopting - which is a pretty big thing in and of itself).

Last night our youngest daughter struggled through the years of not talking about how she feels to choke out that she thinks that she shouldn't have had to have so much happen to her already.
My husband rocked her in his arms and told her that she was right. Someone who is 8years old should not have had to move so much and have so many different parents.

That my friends, right there is a miracle.
Actually two.
Twice yesterday she came to us to try and put words on the overwhelming feelings inside of her.
I have goosebumps writing that.

Where can I possibly go from there?

I don't deserve what I have but I'll be damned if anyone is going to take it away from me!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Out My Window

It is that time of year again. When both of the crabapple trees in the backyard literally burst into bloom.

It doesn't last long at all.
Sometimes we are lucky enough to get a hummingbird or more often some blue jays or chickadees in there at the same time.

Never of course when I have my camera handy or I am aware enough to notice until just before a flick of feathers out of the corner of my eye alerts me to the lost opportunity.

Mostly though, I would love to capture the quality of the light.
The white flowers are right outside my bedroom window and somehow they seem to reflect blue sky and sunshine into every interior corner.

There is a breeze coming in that window right now, carrying the light fragrance.

It is heady indeed.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Gratuitious Snake Picture and Other Things

A few weeks ago we made a trip out of town to see the garter snakes emerging from their winter den.

The kids were enthralled as the snakes seemed quite willing to be picked up and handled gently.

This is quite a sight, there are dense, wriggling masses of them all over and you have to be extremely careful where you step because there are so many of them slithering about on the ground.

They don't creep me out, that much. Although I would much rather be photographing them then picking them up, I do have a serious sense of the heebie jeebies when it comes to possibly stepping on one or more.

My husband and children were amazing yesterday, all five of them volunteering for a trail run that I participated in. So proud of them all and they are in turn so proud of me for being "a strong athlete!".

We have had a brief call from Obie, he is back in care, or was as of Friday and we may see him today or tomorrow.
Wrapping my heart in kevlar before seeing him, may help.
It is the addiction and the problems behind that addiction, nothing we do will change that, he will need to change himself.


Buddy, has been drivng me crazy for months with growing his hair long, the other day he mentioned again that he really wanted it cut.
As in, with an electric razor, which we just happen to own.
It looks great and a lot of hair hit the floor.
But it was nothing in comparison to his younger sister.

Yes, she is sporting a buzz cut too.
I made her think about it for a while first but she was quite firm about it. It has been two days and they both look absolutley adorable!

I will try and post a picture of their heads sometime soon, after all, that would be a form of penance for the snake picture - I know that some people find that very creepy.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Brain Can Not Hold All This Stuff!

WARNING! The following post is full of thought fragments and half baked ideas:

One thing I have been thinking about has to do with body image and how we (as women) seem to see ourselves physically, usually in a negative light.
There is a great blog out there called The Shape of A Mother
Go and look, it is quite wonderful and I won't go anywhere while you do.

Anyway before I even found it, I was thinking about what it would be like to not just have photos of real women's bodies but have them without identifying features. Now, that would mean without faces (or heads which sounds creepy, but I digress) and having things like tatoos, scars or birthmarks photoshopped out but that would be not to heighten the anonimity of the participants for modesty but because I want to know if we could pick ourselves, our very own bodies out of such a gallery.
Would we really know what we look like?
When I worked as a volunteer at Planned *Parenthood when I was a young thing, I was absolutely stunned at how many of us (women again) didn't actually know about all our own private parts.
Now I wonder, do we know as little about the rest of our bodies? Have we looked upon them with disgust or distaste or not looked upon them for the same reasons or because we feel somehow that it is wrong.
Therein lies the point of this whole thing.
Would I be able to pick my very own body out of a lineup of many other women's bodies or is my vision too jaundiced?

Something else, totally different.
I am so angry about what has happened with Obie.
It is like there is a cinder block of emotion sitting on my chest and it doesn't feel like it is going away.
The motel he was at? It is still an active John motel.
Children being warehoused in motels of any sort is wrong but the government that is their parent choosing the cost cutting measure of using places that are cheap enough that prostitution occurs regularly on the premises is beyond anything I can cope with.
My plan right now, once the adoption is finalized, is to do something about it.
Where I live right now?
It is a very rich place, has been for a while and will continue for a number of years.
There is NO monetary reason that these kids are being put into these places.
There is No monetary reason that there are so few treatment beds available for kids like Obie.
Somebody is going to tell me why it is like this.
Somebody is going to be accountable for why Obie was pulled out of my fingers.
When he was in jail and then in the hospital for his psychological assessment, when he was clean and well fed - he was ready for treatment. It was where he wanted to go next. He wanted a different life.
And it didn't happen because he was left in limbo too long.
Somebody is going to have to try and explain to me why that isn't going to be changed.

Sure, I know that even if he had made it into to treatment, he might have crashed and burned out of it - but now we won't ever know.

BTW, if you have read this far, and you were one of those who offered good advice or kind words - Thank you so much they are very much appreciated.

In other news, last night we had a recurrence of the "Mama-I-can't-sleeps" from Monkey.
At 10:30pm.
Fine. We talked, cuddled, reassured and re-tucked in at, a half an hour later.
Finally I was dozing off to sleep around 11:15 pm when I could hear someone playing in the bathroom. Water on. Water off. Water on. Water off. Etc.
I got up and sure enough the culprit was Monkey.
She had re-arranged her bedding, pushed all her stuffed animals on the floor, played with the fan all before to moving to the bathroom.
Now I was no longer wonderful, compassionate Mom, I was ticked off and getting way too tired.
There is being unable to sleep because of tough thoughts and feelings and then there is the I'm not going to sleep because I can come up with more entertaining things to do.
I told her that she owed to her own body to get some sleep to recover from the full day that we had already had (church/playing at the playground, 5 k walk with family, playing for hours on scooters out front), and that was what she was going to have to do.
This morning when she awoke much earlier than expected (thanks to Buddy her brother wandering into her room - which he is explicitly not supposed to do) I took a page from FosterAbba's book and had them both pay me back some "time".
It worked pretty well, because I didn't treat it like punishment. It wasn't retribution at all.
It was just that they needed to entertain themselves quietly in their own rooms, while we did things that needed to be done (Dad cleaning up the kitchen and me getting a run in) that we might otherwise have been able to do while they were sleeping.

Finally, and quickly, on Thursday of last week, Bunny was spending some time have adolescence all over the place and talked to me about not feeling as close to her older brother as she used to and also feeling that her younger siblings didn't like her particularly either.
This, after Buddy and Monkey had both volunteered to help her clean up dog poop in the back yard for which they declined payment so that Bunny could get all the money for a game she wanted!
Anyway, being the patient and brilliant parent that I am, I reminded her of that occurrence and then mentioned that she really was in the perfect position. Monkey adores Bunny and would love to do anything that would allow her to be in Bunny's presence (see above example).
I suggested that Bunny take advantage of this fact.

So, ten minutes later, Bunny asks if it is okay if she and Monkey go off to the library (5 blocks away) for an hour, all by themselves!
And they did.
And I cried and took pictures.
And they had a wonderful time.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

He is Gone

"I think that we missed our window of opportunity."
That's how his social worker put it.

Thursday afternoon Monkey, Buddy and I went and picked up Obie from his motel and met his social worker too.

That was a first.
She was nice and down to earth and seems to really care about Obie.

She was also hoping that Monkey and Buddy would be able to use any influence that they had to get Obie to have a blood test the following morning that he didn't want to have.

A blood test that he needed so that he could get into the treatment placement right away, they had just had an opening.

Obie didn't want it and said that he didn't want to go into treatment anymore but he did say he would think about it.

The kids, along with me offered to pick him up and take him to the clinic. Monkey asked me if we could take him to Dairy Queen as a treat for after and even get him a little present too, like we do whenever they have to do something hard. So that was offered too.

Then I had them back off and we went to a nearby playground for a little picnic and some playtime.

I have mentioned before that Monkey and Buddy get a bit too wired around their brother. It is like they feel their brains are allowed to go on holiday. This time was no different.
Buddy got wedged into the rubber baby swing.

Yeah, I didn't quite believe it either.
But there he was, good and tight.
Or rather bad and tight.
For a few minutes I thought we might have to call in outside assistance.
Finally though with much whimpering, some scraping and bruising we freed him.

There were a few minutes that I did take to talk to Obie about treatment.
I told him bluntly that I knew it was really scary.
No I have never been in treatment, but I did go into an intense therapy program to try and break the cycle of violence and stop hitting my oldest son.
It was really hard.

I also told him that he was already good at having to hustle to live, he had to be to stay reasonably safe on the streets and eat etc. but that I was worried if he had to keep doing that kind of thing that he would end up hustling his little brother and sister one day, because that is the way that addiction works.

He seemed okay with me saying that and that was the end of it.
They played a bit more and we dropped him off with some books and a package of Bits and Bites at his motel room.

That was the last time that we have seen him.

We heard from his social worker the next morning, she had managed to get him to the clinic for the blood work but he was having a melt down, I could hear him yelling in the background.

I called her later and she said he had bolted and was gone.
If we heard from him we needed to notify the police.
He had started using heavily again.

Since then I have been trying to hold it all together.
Monkey and Buddy are having a tough, tough time.

Addiction has robbed them of so much.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Recipe for Disaster

Ingredients: one kid
one younger brother and one younger sister
two dysfunctional parents
one dysfunctional social care system

1. Move kid back and forth between birth family and foster homes, repeatedly - ensure much agitation.
Add at least one instance of molestation.
Let sit for at least three years.

Fold younger brother into the mix. Repeat step 1.
Let sit for four more years then fold in younger sister.
Repeat step 1.
Punch and knead thoroughly, set in a warm place, cover with damp cloth and allow time for parentification issues to arise.

Remove kid at age 10 to foster care placement, with no warning, at birth mother's request. IMPORTANT: Allow some weekend visits with siblings.
When kid's siblings are removed from birth home, DO NOT find a placement where the three will be reunited. Make visits between siblings difficult geographically and rare.

Kid should screw up royally at foster placement after two years by breaking one of the big rules about not having drugs right at the worst possible moment for foster family so that he is moved into group homes.

If at all possible, pause and add a dash of maternal grandmother refusing to become his main caregiver - allow to marinate while being bounced from group home to group home, it is important to try and include the widest variety of social workers possible for the kid with much changeover.
This will definitely bring out the bitterness of the dish, you will know it is on it's way to being done by the rage that bubbles to the surface.
Kid running away a lot, developing a drug addiction and a whole set of skills designed to keep him alive on the street - is a sign that the recipe is nearly complete.

Put him in a pre-heated group home, one with actually good staff and an on site education component where he is doing well for the first time in a long time and then have him violate a small condition of his parole and throw him into juvenile detention.

Have him serve time, go through psych evaluation and be paroled again.
Have no place for him anywhere other than a somewhat sleazy motel room with a one on one worker.
Leave him there in limbo for days then weeks while waiting for a bed to open up in a secure treatment facility.
Ensure that he is good and bored and antsy and lonely. There is only tv and nothing else. This will bring his rage and anger issues to a boil.

Then move another troubled kid into his tiny motel room with him.
Stand back and wait for repeated explosions.

The disaster is now underway.

I need a break from Obie.

He is wearing me out.

He is so messed up and I don't know if he will ever make it to a point where he isn't.

There is so much wrong that it is painful to think about.

He doesn't understand how to relate to his siblings other than by rough house play.
They get tired, wound up and often mildly bruised from these sessions. They stay unfocused and riled up for a while afterward.

Monkey bolts any food she is eating when she is around him and then has trouble actually keeping it down while playing with him.
Buddy unknowingly mimics Obie in so many ways.
Obie writes phone numbers on his arms to keep them from being lost - Buddy starts writing random things on his own skin.
Obie gets a hair cut and Buddy starts bugging me non stop for a haircut.
Obie wears his pants halfway down his butt and Buddy starts trying to do that.

Not good for any of them.

Obie doesn't know how to behave with a family or in a normal public setting.
Like the library.
Monkey usually loves going to the library.
Obie and Monkey were supposed to sit and look through some kid's magazines while I went a few stacks away for a few minutes to get some knitting books. I could hear them shrieking and carrying on and made it back to them just in time to stave off an annoyed librarian. I was embarrassed. When I made them be quiet, Obie started winding Monkey up to play hide and go seek, when I stopped that, Obie tried to do it again without me knowing.

When I introduced Obie to another family that we know and bumped into to, I had to ask him to take the pop bottle lid out of his mouth first.

He tried to hustle me for food and money when I was dropping him off.
The skills that he needs to survive on the street are all there and in my face as he tries to manipulate me into doing things on his terms.

I have to pull back a bit and I have to talk to all three of them about why.
It isn't easy.
I don't know if this kid will ever be able to function in a family, ever.

I think it would freak him out way to much to even try.

Two times a week is going to be what I will do, we have ended up with much more than that because he is very good at making things like that happen when I am not realizing it.

This does not mean that we will not see him or try and keep him in our lives....he is, as long as possible and as much as possible, an important part of our extended family...but it has to be on our terms, not his.

I know this and yet, I feel sad, sad, sad.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What is wrong with you this morning?!

Asked my older daughter at the breakfast table.
Her eyes wide with that horrified consternation that only teenagers can really pull off.

Granted I had been breaking into song, using a truly terrible french accent at other times and been burbly, bouncy and generally unrestrained.

She caught me off guard and I quieted, sitting still for a moment as I tried to figure out what she meant.

Her face changed the same moment as I put it together -
"got enough sleep for the last two nights!!!" we finished together.

Life is still busy and hectic and stressful but
damn it looks better after some serious sleep.

Looking for more, the sleep debt is pretty big but my stores of hope and optimism are higher than they have been in a while.

We are talking to Obie (older brother still in care) about possibly, one day, a long time from now, after treatmant and anger management etc. being a permanent member of our family.

This will likely be a loooooong road.
He was supposed to meet us at a playground lastnight for a visit with his younger brother and sister and a talk with us and instead he got mad earlier in the day, threw some stuff around, ran off from his one on one worker, met up with a friend of his and ended up playing with bb guns, police were called and I am not yet sure whether this is going to land his butt back in jail!

Maybe not, we need to find out more.

And no, this has not put us off of possibly making him our son.

He is a really messed up kid and I have no intention of trying to take him on by ourselves anytime soon.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sometimes it is hard.

My husband seems able to sleep whenever and wherever and I resent that.

Oooh, this looks like is is shaping up to be a really healthy and pleasant Mother's Day post, doesn't it?

It's not that I don't count my blessings, I do, every single day. It is just harder to do when you are so exhausted that you can't see straight.

The last two nights have been much better on the Monkey front.
Attaching in Adoption by Deborah Gray is a book I have read before and own a copy of but I needed to sit down and crack open again so that is what I did on Friday afternoon.
Good thing too.

Both parents went in at a Friday night bedtime and talked to her (okay I talked but my husband gave the appearance of agreeing) about how we were both strong and healthy and that we work hard to stay that way and detailed how physically safe our house is from anyone being able to break in and kill us. This included listing all the animals that we have in the house that would work as either a deterrent in and of themselves like the dogs or simply as a warning system, here we suggested that the guinea pig would likely do its part.

Never thought that being as open as I was about my colonoscopy last November would help to lend credence to my claim that I take preserving my health very seriously, but it did.

Emphasizing the steps we take to stay alive and present helped address her fears about our dying or being killed.

At the same time I try to be reasonable, yes someday we will die but at no point will it be because we aren't trying our darndest not too.

She has slept through both nights and was pleased with herself for doing so.

Of course, the absence of her needing me was quickly filled in by my thirteen year old's need for reassurance that I love her and that she has a defined place in our family and that she is loved.

And there are the others waiting in the wings. My oldest boy is one that I have to make an effort to give attention and time to because he usually won't ask for it, even if he wants it and would benefit from it.

It is hard balancing the four of them and I'm with them nearly all the time.
Yes, I usually consider myself very lucky that I am.

It is all a bit harder right now.
Dad is back from being away for nine days and it is never easy to reintegrate him into the routine.

There is anger that he went away and resentment that he has just shown up again and expects to step into a position of authority (on my part as well as that of the kids).

I struggle with thinking that I would rather he just didn't come back.
Not that he is a bad person or that I would want anything to happen to him, but the travelling for work, the importance of work and the time and interest that work requires of him - is draining to try and live with.

There are times when I imagine that it would be easier for me emotionally to not have to work around him in my own home.

This happens when he goes away, particularly for a long time.

I want to be the kind of wonderful, well rounded person who is genuinely happy when their spouse goes off to an amazing city and visits museums of art and goes for fascinating hikes and eats out every meal and is pursuing his ambitions etc. etc.

But I'm not.

I am bitter and tired and trying hard to cope with the fact that right now, I don't have any time or energy to pursue my own ambitions, as little as they are.

One - I hope to finish knitting a baby blanket, as a gift, in the next day or two.
Two - I need to sleep, a lot and then figure out if paying that sleep debt will make it possible for me to tackle the run that I have been working toward for the past five months.

And those come after the other stuff that needs, must be done.

There just isn't enough of me to go around.
Still mothering is the most important thing to me.

Four kids I wouldn't, couldn't trade for anything.
Possibly five, if and that is a big if, we can slowly, slowly feel our way towards a permanent relationship with 14 year old Obie (my youngest kids bio sibling who is also in care).

We are starting to talk about that with him.
It would mean at least a year of his being clean and sober in a residential treatment program.
He needs to learn to live without drugs and alcohol and with structure before he will likely be ready to try and live in a family home.

I do have hopes for the future.

Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Nightime is for Sleeping

I think I am going to have to bite the bullet and figure out a way to teach 8 year old Monkey that night time is for sleeping.

It is killing me.

Right now it is Dad who is in with her - thank all that is holy - but even with that, I am feeling like she is sucking me completely dry.

She doesn't sleep at all most nights until after midnight.

The few times that she does go to sleep, I can't sleep because I keep waiting for her to show up at my door and stare at me.

A few minutes ago there she was, with the "my stomach hurts" routine...I suggested a sip of water and then go and lie down but let me know if it didn't get any better.
Not five minutes later she was back at the door - "it hurts even worse now!" she says accusingly, all the while staring at our older daughter who is cuddled on our bed.

Yeah, I know that she wants that same attention but she got the bulk of the attention already.
This afternoon I took her swimming and this evening was dedicated to her soccer game.


Yet I feel like a bad guy.
Still I am going in and liberating Dad away if at all possible.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Evangelicals start adoption push

(Click here to read the well written , original article at yahoo news)

I am not linking to the other more incindiary blurb at the parenting website where I left the following comment in response - I am vaguely embarrassed that I still read and comment (occasionally) on adoption there because when I do, I feel somewhat suckered, like I did what I am supposed to and got aggravated enough to participate and that the content and the issue at the heart of the matter is not what is most important.

Love isn't enough.
That is the first rule of adopting children with any history of trauma and for kids in foster care, that is all of them.

I would say that doing it for an ideological reason isn't enough either.

You need knowledge and understanding and to be very open about how these kids behave and WHY they behave that way.

You have to be prepared to change the way you think, the way you do things and often the things that you beleive.

Being pro children is about far more than being willing to find space in your house for a foster child.

A "loving religious home" is not better than no home at all - if that home has no understanding of the issues that arise or how to deal appropriately with them.

Trying to get people to adopt children as a way to deal with (in my opinon bizarre) concerns about "homosexuals" adopting - is a terrible reason.

Even more horrifying is what would be happening to the children who are gay that are adopted into these bigoted families.

Adoption, any kind of adoption, is about having children and parenting and being a family.
Just like choosing to have children biologically.

It is not and should not be a political action.

Children as pawns.

It makes my stomach turn.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Yesterday's News

Yesterday, I took the day off from church and from running and from feeling bad about how messy the house was.

After dropping Buddy off at his babysitting course and checking in at church to make sure it would all flow smoothly without me...
and handing the electronic game system to 8 year old Monkey (I am not above bribery)...

I climbed into the bathtub
I read a book.

It would be hard to explain how good it felt to do those two things.
Kind of like I was refreshing my soul.

After I had turned the last page and stretched, oh so luxuriously in the warm water, I checked the time.


Buddy should be phoning anytime for us to come and meet him to take him out to lunch.
With the course he is taking, they don't set a specific time for the break, because it happens when they have covered a certain amount of the material.

Fifteen minutes later, still no call.
Check phone.
It is off the hook.
Even if he has been phoning, Buddy will not get an answer.
Just a busy signal.

Freaking out, on my part ensues.

Three siblings are herded into the van.
Rubber is burned.

The guy at the front desk - who doesn't answer the phone on the weekend - he is just the guy at the desk - says "Oh yeah, the broke for lunch already and are back in class now, your little fella kept trying to get a hold of you, over and over."

I sprint up the stairs two at a time to the second floor and burst into the classroom.

His face is so white and drawn and his eyes so big and scared and unsure.
Me babbling to him and teacher and class at large.
"I'm so sorry, phone was off hook, he needs lunch, I'm going to get it and he can eat in here right?"

Sprint back out.
Buy food for rest of family and take out for Buddy.
I wave him out of the class to take it from me.

Then I burst into tears and I am down on my knees, arms wrapped around him.
I am so sorry Son, so, so sorry.
It was an accident! We didn't know the phone was off the hook!
I'm so sorry I wasn't here when you needed me, I'm so sorry you were scared and that another Mom didn't seem to be where she said she would be.
I'm so sorry you felt let down and abandoned even for just a little while.

He is hugging me and kissing my cheeks.
It's okay Mom! Really, it's okay! It wasn't anyone's fault! It was an accident!

Finally we are laughing as we wipe each other's cheeks.

And straightening his shoulders, back in he goes with his BLT, orange juice and fries.

What a kid.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Water, water everywhere

What is concrete and expensive and wet all over?
Our basement.

Add an extra ten or twenty thousand dollars to the previously estimated total cost of fifty thousand dollars.

Marvel at how calmly I bandy those sums around.

Note how weeping tile is named for the sobbing sound the people paying for it are making.


It is 10:25 pm, do you know where your two youngest children are?

Why yes, actually.
Despite having been tucked firmly into bed over an hour ago, they are actual taking turns in visiting the bathroom instead of sleeping.
To the best of my knowledge there is no actual physical reason that they are doing this, perhaps they like the flush sound that the toilet makes, or the soothing trickle of the tap water as it glugs down the drain.

Or, could it be that they do not feel that they are well and truly ready for dreamland until I shriek threats at them?


Has anyone else's 8 year old ever asked if they could go and play with their brothers at the playground in the middle of a soccer game that they are playing in?
Then sulked when told they couldn't?


Our eleven year old is the very proud posesser of a hot off the presses Babysitting course certificate. He passed the final exam with only one error.

Congratulations sweetie, I really had no doubts that you could do it.

Vignettes - Early May

-Birth Grandma, is here for a visit this weekend. It is very easy for me to judge her and the choices that she makes and if that was all I did, I would not be able to manage a relationship with her at all.
Instead, I just try to take anything she tells me with a huge grain of salt.
Although I had some warning from Obie (older bio. brother in care) that he expected her to visit this weekend, the first news of it that I had from her personally was when she called at 4:30pm on Friday to tell me she was at the mall 5 minutes from my house and could she drop by for a visit!
Which complicated my already busy supper hour and preparing to get Monkey to her soccer game for 6pm.
Still, I did it.
Birth Grandma still doesn't seem to know what to do with my older kids and from past experience they are uncomfortable around her. The good news is that she didn't show up with gifts for just the youngests this time. There were no gifts for anyone, which in itself is odd because she did miss both Buddy's and Monkey's birthdays completely.

-Birth Grandma, Obie (older brother in care), all four of my kids and me (I?) met up for dinner last night at a nearby restaurant. This was the first time that the three teenagers were together. It went fairly well. Even taking into consideration Bunny (my oldest daughter) asking me if it was okay if she read her book at the table because all of the "birth" family were talking mostly to each other.
Monkey was sitting next to Obie and that made for some very interesting things. He is six years older than her and three years older than Buddy and when he lived with them he was quite parentified. He sometimes refers to himself as having raised them. That dynamic began to play out right away.
Monkey reverted to an almost three year old level, it would have been sickening if it wasn't so unconcious on her part. Some of the time he was playing with her and some of the time he was spoon or hand feeding her food. It bothered me, but I am very conscious of his feelings and try and step around them. When I said that he wouldn't be able to do that kind of thing much longer, Monkey leveled a look at me across the table and said that Obie could feed her whenever he wanted. Unfortunately that meant that Monkey ate way too much, way too quickly and she felt quite sick for hours afterward. I tried gently but firmly to tie the the two things together and will probably revisit it in the morning. Underscoring the idea that she needs to listen to her body and what she needs ahead of trying to please someone she loves.
Big things are in the works for Obie. He has finished doing his time in juvenile jail, which included a mental health assessment at the local health facility that specializes in that. He is looking healthy and good and seems ready to move forward into a treatment program for addictions. Obie has talked about how he would like to be in a longer term secure placement, because he has found that helps him stay focused on doing his school work and staying out of the trouble that is so plentiful in so many places. His social worker is trying to find him one in a rural setting where he could do some work with animals, like his little brother and sister, he is really fond of any kind of animal. I am cautiously optimistic.

-There have been many mini breakthroughs with Monkey. She is telling me more and more about the things that she has been through and she is using words more and more and seems able to express herself in a healthier way.


-I awoke to what I thought was a house shaking thump at about 3 this morning, I don't know if it was real or I dreamed it but at any rate it meant that I wandered the entire house checking things out. Aside from discovering that we had forgotten to lock the front door (duh), the only other thing I found was:
an inch of water in the basement.

after we thought it had been waterproofed to the tune of $4000.00
i feel sick.

-tomorrow I am taking off of church so that I can take Buddy to babysitter training and be available to him for the day. He is nervous but I think he will be fine.

-yesterday I accepted a last minute invitation to be part of a parent panel for a training course for adoptive and foster parents. It was worthwhile on many levels for me. Not including the $25 I will get as payment for doing it. One of the adoptive parents to be did get on my nerves right away when he said that adopting a kid from foster care was like buying a used car (bite my butt buster), and another guy who was there for foster parent training and therefore apparently not interested in what an adoptive parent had to say, actually spun in his chair a few times while I was talking and kept moving the blinds so he could peer out the window until his wife hissed at him to stop (I hope you get hemmerhoids mister!) but other than that, I would do it again.
Someone wants me to talk about my kids? I am so there.

-I have to revisit the fact that my basement is wet.
This means so much that is bad in an expensive sort of way and I just am not sure how I am going to swing it all and did I mention howfreakingtiredIam?

There is so much good in my life to celebrate and so much that is goofy:

I was in a rush to get changed and spiffed up for the training so I washed up, got dressed and was distracted at the last minute by Monkey having shut her finger in a door so it wasn't until I was literally in front of the building that I realized that I forgot to put on deoderant and it was the kind of day that I needed it. I rummaged through my purse and decided against corn chips and lip gloss as alternatives when I came across an herbal foot creme and used that instead, it worked but felt weird, my armpits are still slightly itchy.

Now, in the spirit of attempting to address the i'msotiredI'mnotsurehowI'mfunctioning issue, I will attempt to go back to sleep.

And not think of the water puddled in the basement.

Splish splash

Friday, May 4, 2007

Carol Kathleen Breeze June 2, 1956 - May 3, 2007

Carol was Ann Adams adult daughter.
Carol died last night.

Her death was expected but none the less devastating.

Please take a minute and leave a kind word for Ann and the rest of Carol's family at Roc Rebel Granny.

Kindness is not something that they will be taking for granted right now and it costs so little to give.

Ann, I am so sorry for your loss.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Husband Leaves on Business Trip

Kids become glued to my body.

At least as long as they have nothing to distract them.

Yesterday I took all four to meet up with another family at an indoor pool.
The two teens were fine hanging out with their friend but no so much with my two youngest.

Didn't matter that there was a huge waterslide, an incredibly cool water park/ climber thingy or two other kids their own age to play with that they know and like.

If I moved into the (really) hot tub, they moved into the really hot tub.
Same with the steam room.
Except that I told them they couldn't come in with me and to go play, so they sat directly outside the door shooting wounded looks at me through the condensation on the windows.

When they finally settled down enough to play together a whole twelve feet from me, the youngest Monkey, managed to bang her nose on the floor of the pool and came up flowing blood.

I scooped her up, set her out of the pool, pinched her nose and calmed her down.
The blood mixed with the water on her hands and arms and seemed like there was quite a lot of it.
There wasn't but she was starting to freak out.

A lifeguard led us off to the office we spent ten minutes in there with ice and papertowel and when it clotted up it was time to leave the pool.

Oddly enough, Buddy, the brother who could not leave my side for the rest of the time was quite content to play with the other kids while I was in the office.

Go figure.

Bunny, my oldest girl, wasn't aware of any of this happening and in the changeroom, reached over and gently tugged on Monkey's nose in an affectionate way and was freaked right out as I shrieked, "don't do that!" fearful the nose would start again.

Then I had to explain why and what happened.

Then I had to endure showering with two nutty kids who thought it was hilarious to carry on loudly about the abuse they were enduring in having to shower with me.

Loads of fun was had by them.
And that was kind of nice.
Although I did gather up my clothes and run away as soon as possible.

At 3 in the morning Bunny, 13, phoned me on the intercom from her room in the basement and asked if she could come up and sleep with me, because she was having dreams about me being dead.

Always something I want to hear about in the middle of the night.

She is sound asleep beside me and her little dog is snoozing on my feet.

I can hear my oldest son moving around downstairs, it sounds like there was more dog puddleage in the house and that he is mopping it up.

That kid is a treasure.

Did I tell you about how last week, while the husband was off on another shorter business trip, Sunny came up to me and said, you could use a break, I'm going to take the youngest kids to the playground for an hour, okay?

Not such a bad age (knock on wood).

(The above post includes the actual psydoenyms that I am going to use for family members - I coudn't remember the last ones I picked, so these will work much better for me.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Ice, Ice Baby

My youngest daughter is, without a doubt, gorgeous.

She is a child that anybody would want to adopt.
An adorable, little girl.
Cuddly and cute and giggles and occasionally lisps or rounds her words in such a sweet way.

Then, you get to know her.

Oh so slowly.

The layers peel away and you find the frozen core at the middle.

Stiff with fear, rage and mistrust.

Oh my poor little baby.
How I wish I could fix it.

No, your Mama shouldn't have ever left you.
Yes, your Foster Mom should have come and gotten you.

Addictions and age and laws and everything else aside, you are right, it is a parent's job to stay with you and come get you if you are taken away.

I do see how you can look at me with such distrust.
I do understand how you can see me as such a threat to your emotional safety.

I am all about trying to break through those defenses of yours and you already know what happens when someone who says they are your Mom gets inside your heart.
They break it.
And no reason is good enough to make it okay that they did it.

And nothing I say or do on this green earth is going to make you trust me.
That is going to take time and sometimes I am afraid there isn't enough of it for that to happen.

How can it take me 9 long months to figure out that it isn't a cognitive issue that you don't seem to know how to play by yourself?
You are afraid of being alone with your thoughts!

You can't sleep at night because you don't know what to do when there isn't a distraction from all that thinking and feeling!

I'm in for the long haul kid.
Even if inside you CAN'T know it.

And I'm fumbling in the dark trying to figure out what is the next right thing to do for you, minute to minute.

Sometimes I get so ******* tired of it, of doing it wrong of taking steps forward and then seeing it all slide backwards and I will yell or withdraw a bit.

That is me.
But I am like a pendulum, I keep swinging back...

Just try a teeny bit, okay?

I know you already are.
Coming and telling me when you can't sleep, hoping that I can and will help you, is a move in the right direction...
I hope...