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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A honor roll? My Child?

I could get used to this!

This was her last report card 

Last 4 school years, she'd have begged us at any opportunity to come home early from school, looked forward to appointments that messed up the school day, dragged in the morning getting ready.

This year, she's saying "Momma, hurry up, time to go to school" (early), fusses if an appointment requires leaving early or going late and loves school.

I'm not sure if it's the program she's in, that it's high school and high school is more fun anyway or a combination, but I'll take it.

She's been saying she wants to go to UVA to college. We told her she needs to keep these grades like this so we can afford UVA.

I'm loving that she finally realizes she has a future.  She avoided talk of the future so long, and now it's just a normal conversation to have.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Things Foster Kids Miss

Monkey butt's baby sister called Friday night. We were just leaving dinner and had just gotten in the car when my cell phone rang and it was cutie for her sis.

She talked all the way til we got home.  I could tell most of the conversation from what kiddo's end of conversation was and she filled me in on some of the rest after we got home.

Baby sis said they had school pics done a few weeks ago and kiddo asked if she was going to send us some.  She said she couldn't because nobody bought them for her.

That hurt my heart to think of the little things that we take for granted as a path in the journey through childhood.

As soon as I found that out, I e-mailed the director at the group home and also her social worker and requested the information on school photos and permission to order them for her.  I said I wanted her to feel as normal as possible and the fact that she brought up the school pics with kiddo made me feel like it was important to her.

I also suggested they contact us going forward for any little things that come up that aren't covered that may be important to her, needs and even a few wants if it's not big.  ie. yearbooks, although I certainly hope that she's with a family before high school hits for the yearbooks most kids want.

I got this response from her social worker, none from director of group home:

I’ll let you know if some small expense comes up that can’t be covered by us. But the biggest problem is that I am often left in the dark and never hear about it in the first place rather than that there is no way to pay for it (like school photos and yearbooks). My kids are in so many different school systems that I never learn any pattern of when those issues are likely to arise so that I know when to ask the school or placement about them.

She also added a thank you for caring about baby sis and for being such great parents for our kid.  

Before I even responded, I got another e-mail from the social worker that she tracked down the place that had the photos and called for info and that the customer service rep that answered the telephone said no worries and don't worry about payment.  She was in a group home as a child and wanted to pay it forward and she'd take care of the bill.

That did my heart good.  

Oh, and a big step in baby sis's progress---she asked about my hubs.  She has NEVER asked about either of us before.  Caring about anybody other than herself or her sister is a huge deal.

Monkey also said though that she got sad because baby sis sounded sad for a minute when she was sharing that a 17 year old at the home has a family now.  

I hope cute baby sis soon has one too.  I think her healing is beginning and I hope that we'll so more progress soon. Trying to line up a play date and excited to see how she's doing. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Watching the Debate

.....and honestly I feel anxiety big time. I think one candidate is an idiot for one (he's going to have America file bankruptcy and has a hair trigger that's going to get us bombed or worse), but I prefer to think about the issues, so that's what I'll talk about here tonight.

We could resolve a huge percent of abortion issues to begin with if we concentrated on improving health care, education, birth control, etc.....

I'm against abortion personally, but I don't get the % of people that focus so much on that for "people they don't even know" and are against a child fed, a child educated, a child housed.

Maybe they (childs parents) are taking advantage of the system, maybe they aren't, but why are the unborn important but the others not? Do we not realize that unless we also promote health care, education, birth control, adoption, etc, that forbidding abortions will cause the problems to escalate? These kids that are born that parents wanted to abort deserve a life and a better way to take care of them, whether by their birth families or through adoption.

I don't mind my tax dollars helping those in need, I don't even mind that some of those tax dollars go to those that abuse it, they have to answer for that, not me, I'll take that over my tax dollars being spent to help corporations not pay so much taxes and other wasteful "causes". I don't see how we can claim to be so anti-abortion and at the same time be anti-get anybody help so their kids CAN be born, thrive, etc. I don't see how it's possible to have it both ways.

If we focused on education first, then health care, so much of our problems would disappear with time.....I know it'd be tougher short term, but the long term advantages would really make for a great future for our kids. Yeah, it'd take longer, but that's how to solve your abortion problem, your welfare problem and a large majority of the others problems.

I bet if my childs first family had been educated, they'd have been better prepared to protect her, better prepared to take care of her, etc. Why did my baby have to suffer so much trauma because of a lack of education largely? Yes, I blame education. I don't mean solely books and grades and tests, but real critical thinking skills. With the skills to take care of herself, my childs first mom would have been able to stand up to the abuser. With skills, my childs first mom would have been able to take care of her and not neglect her.

oh, and while I'm on my rant......spending vs debt....that's what the key is, in case anybody is curious. Debt will climb regardless of who is in office because it's so high the interest will keep it up until a change is made, focus on where the spending occurs and how much and that will determine whether the debt will ever be fixed. If you don't believe me---pay the minimum payment on your credit card bill and see how long it takes to pay it off and how little your balance changes.

/end of rant for now ;) I think I covered alot of my hot buttons.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Freshman Year So Far......

Kiddo is making nearly all A's (some are A-'s but we'll take those, huge step of progress) and we've been incredibly busy.

It all started the week before school started.  We let her throw a back to school sleepover to solidify the friendships from middle school and remind each other of friendships and loyalties before they got separated in the New Tech Academy vs Regular School program.

Back to School Party:

 Those girls sure can eat. The theme was girls rock, The purple monkey was the monkey kiddo got at the cajun festival.  I didn't think we'd get rid of the girls the next day though.

Back to school shopping, momma may have went a TAD overboard.

That's just part of it. lol

The kids in the program she's in got macbooks this year instead of ipads and there were several meetings at school about the new program and construction that was going on fixing "their wing", a school within a school.

Since she no longer hangs out with K all the time after all the drama at the end of 2015, we suggested she not go all in on one person this time and that she should juggle so she's not taken advantage of again.  She has a bestie that she loves as much as K, but she is inviting different friends based on the activities.  

First activity of the year was a spoof of Beauty and the Beast at a dinner theater only an hour from here. It was hilarious and the girls loved it.  She took "twin" to this one.  We like twin. She's very low maintenance.  
This was "the beast" and after beauty fell in love and the spell was off, not only did he turn into a really weird looking guy instead of a handsome prince, the castle turned into a doublewide.  

It was very interactive too and the cast came into the audience several times and used people, including taking off my hubs hat looking for a perfect rose.

The girls got to have their photo taken with the cast after the show. 

The following week, we took "wild child" friend to Cirque du Soleil.  She's cute and funny, but really rambunctious and doesn't have very good manners.  I know it's part of her lack of being able to do things, I know her parents don't have the finances available to take her places, so we overlooked it and tried to teach her a few things. She's not somebody I hope she'll take too many places, I like her in small doses. :)  However, it is fun taking somebody somewhere they wouldn't normally get to go. 

Her mom messaged me the next day and said "wild child" hadn't shut up about it and loved the show and hanging out with monkey butt.

The next week we took KL (can't think of a nickname for her that really works for this yet) to a rock concert--Make America Rock Again.  We had front row seats and I've never seen a child so excited about going to a concert in my life. The girls had a great time. This friend is funny, polite and really enjoyed herself.  

The following week we took KD (can't think of a name for her yet either) to see Carrie Underwood. Very outgoing and silly.  Monkey butt said she loves her, but she's one that she can only take in small doses. I enjoyed her at kiddos birthday party and I think she reminds me alot of kiddo, except that she totally forgot to even say thank you.  I could tell she appreciate it though, so it was forgiven.  

That was girls night. Hubs can NOT do country music. Major trigger for his childhood trauma so I suggested I take them alone.  The girls had a ball and were all squeals.  

What was funny was "twin" aka this years (and probably long term) BFF ended up going to. Her mom ended up getting tickets for her birthday and used the other ticket on BFF, so they got to see each other, although we had much better seats.  

I don't hate country music, but I'm also not a big fan of it, so I was very surprised when I walked away saying that was probably one of the most amazing shows I'd ever seen.

She enrolled in a parenting class this year and she had to keep a robot baby over the weekend and respond to it's needs. Her grade will be based on how well she tended to babies needs and how she responded.

She said that baby was annoying and not to worry, that made her realize she definitely will be waiting a LONG time before she has real babies.  She "apologized" for waking up during the night as an infant. She actually really enjoyed tending to her during the day, but she doesn't do well with her sleep getting interrupted so that got on her nerves bad.

I snuck a look at some of the things they're teaching her and they promote attachment and not crying it out and have had some lessons about various ways families are made, including foster/adopt.  I'm so glad she hasn't triggered from it.  I'm also glad she wants so much to break the cycle that she starts learning about this early.

Last week, the tech academy finally opened their wing and kiddo and her classmates moved from the auditorium to their wing. They had an open house and it was amazing. I wish they'd had a program like that when I was in school and facilities like that.  I wanted to bring the chairs home with me.

Not only do they sit at tables with a group of kids instead of individual desks, they also have rolling chairs with a saucer on the bottom for storage.  I spun around in it and it's more comfy than my chair at home or work and I thought I had a nice chair both places.

They even have a little coffee bar in their area, free to the tech students and they sell it to the regular students to help fund their needs.

To learn more on the program she's enrolled in....

I ran into the secretary from the middle school the other day and she asked how monkey butt was doing.  To see her face when I told her how she was doing and how she fights us when we can't get her appointments for after school hours, when at middle school she'd beg for it to be slap in the middle of the day so she could have the most time off possible.

I think she's genuinelly learning too.  The things she tells us from time to time indicate she's actually getting something out of school now.  It's not about teaching to the test.  But, more importantly she's grown in her attachment, but also grown in her comfort level with her peers and has a more rounded childhood.

Her English teacher told us at the open house that our child is awesome and she wishes all her students were as well behaved and attentive as her.

Well, that's August and September in a nutshell.  October has more rest time than the last two months.

October began with a career fair field trip.  One of her friends posted 2 videos on my facebook wall of the trip. We let monkey take her phone for photos while she was gone that day. We normally require she keep her phone at home so it's not a distraction at school.  She took tons of selfies with her friends that day.  Her happiness is so fun to see.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Progress Report

Our child moved in when she was 11. She was in 5th grade.  Her behaviors to us didn't seem excessive most of the time, but 

5th grade.....teachers calling saying she was threatening to bite them, that she was shutting down and ignoring them in class, that she called classmate molerat.

9th grade....teacher says to me "Your daughter is awesome, I wish all her classmates were as well behaved and as attentive as she is"

5th grade....take kiddo out to sports complex and she has complete meltdown over crowd and strangers and is hanging on to the fence screaming for us to just send her back.  

9th grade....take kiddo out to the food truck rodeo, really crazy crowded, way worse than the sports complex. I was starting to get stressed. We look over at kiddo and can tell she's a little anxious but overall doing okay. We ask how she feels and she says stressed, but it's okay, that she'll tough it out because she knows we'd been looking forward to going.  

Ridiculously proud of her for that, but we left and didn't eat there.  Where's the enjoyment of lunch out if the whole family can't enjoy it.  We enjoyed Cracker Barrel instead, lol

5th grade....tell kiddo to do homework, she claims it's already done and it isn't.

9th grade....tell kiddo to do homework, she either says it's done and it is or she gets right on it.

5th grade....try to help kiddo with homework, she meltdowns and screams for us to send her back, she hates us

9th grade...try to help kiddo with homework and have a reasonably good time together, considering what the chore is

6th grade....stranger contacts kiddo online and she responds and doesn't tell us, continuing to talk to him

8th grade.....contacted online and she immediately brings it to us for us to report to police

5th girl, but doesn't apply herself, mostly due to anxiety, ptsd, etc and barely passes.  I'm concerned about her having foundation to even pass 6th grade and grades going forward. Wouldn't barely passing just make the next year that much harder.

9th grade.....all but one class is an A. Don't even get me started on the other class, it was not even her fault.  Technological error.  

5th grade....give consequence for action, has total meltdown, takes 6 years to actually do it because you have to get past meltdown first

9th grade...give consequence, get the eye roll a lighthearted ugh and does it and back to her normal self

I hope I'm not jinxing us by sharing this.  Honestly, I think that's why I have not been so diligent with giving updates lately.

She's an amazing daughter and I'm so lucky to be her momma! 

4 years ago today

.....made a typo in the title the first time, typed 4 TEARS ago today.  Which honestly, isn't that far off either.

4 years ago today, we interviewed to be parents to our beautiful baby.

This was my facebook post that day.....

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around that it's only been 4 years, she feels like such a big part of our lives, as if she's been here nearly forever.

Today would have been my mommys birthday and I hate that she never got to meet her grandchild.  At the same time, I'm so convinced in some way, she probably had a big hand in picking out our 'lil beauty!!

We celebrated with fried apple pies for breakfast.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Facing Triggers

I talked about us going to see Beauty and the Beast.

Back in 2006, we had reservations to see Smokey Joe's at the Barn Dinner Theatre.  That morning we got a call from the nursing home to come over, that my grandmother was probably not going to make it much longer.  She took her breath about 15 minutes before we were suppose to leave.  My mom told us to go anyway, but of course we didn't, we wanted to be there for my mom.

In 2007, we decided to try it again. We went to see the show and that night I had this weird uneasy feeling all night and the next morning.  That next morning my mommy took her last breath.

It caused a trigger in me and thinking of the Barn Dinner Theatre made me think of death and here it is 8 years and 10 months later before I could tackle going.

After all, I try so hard to teach my child to work through her triggers, to not let things that remind her of bad times stand in her way of happiness, so I knew I had to tackle my own and lead by example.

We got home that night and the water wasn't working. The pressure pump on our well messed up.

The next day I got to thinking about kiddos situation when she was little. For years, she had no electricity or water in her home.  I worried not having water would trigger her.

She looked at me like I bumped my head when I asked if she was okay. She said it wasn't even similar at all.  Things break, we'd get it fixed quick. We went to a hotel to shower, we worked through it and didn't let the stress get to us.

Have I said lately how proud I am of this kid?

She's doing so amazing and I'm so excited to see how much she has progressed.

Even my friends are talking about how different she's seemed the last few times they've seen relaxed and happy she seems.

And high school....more on that later, but her adjustment to high school is going amazing!!