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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Party

Adoption/foster agency has a Christmas party every year for foster families and kids awaiting adoption. It was decided that we would be invited even though we are finalized so kiddo could see her baby sister.

It was our first time meeting the new mom. Imagine our surprise when talking to her finding out she'd been there barely over a week, the family we knew about and not met had already given up on her.

So sad for Lil S. So many moves. :(
That's family #5 now for her plus residential since the joint adoption disrupted.

Sad for her and furious that we were not warned in advance. Major trigger, our daughter got stressed and worried about sis and went back to hoarding food over the weekend and stress binging, eating uncooked cinammon rolls.

I wish I could make things better.



New Therapist

We got back from adoption weekend, trauma child arrived and we emailed her therapist prior to the appt to prepare her. Unfortunately when therapy day arrived, therapist didn't bother to show up and quit without notice.

We found a new therapist, closer to home, but more importantly not a flake. She seems amazing and has gotten more done in 2 sessions than the last one got in 7 months.

Kiddo is doing well, but hoping this will progress her to next level in her healing.

She called us in the room to apologize for being mean Thanksgiving and to explain what Thanksgivings before us were like. Apparently the kids didn't get to partake in the festivities and adults kept food from them.

She was sent on errands while the grown ups ate and if there was leftovers, the kids could eat.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The really good stuff....

Finally on here to share about our adoption weekend.

So November 7th, we picked up kiddo and her BFF from school at 2 pm, drove 3 1/2 hours to get to the county where the ceremony would be.

We took the girls to Melting Pot for our celebratory dinner. They had virgin daquiris. After as crazy as they were, we had to question if the bartender forgot and added the alcohol.

Crazy, fun girls in the hotel. Woke up the next morning and BFF fixed ALL our hair for us. The ceremony was amazing, despite baby sis not being able to attend. Camera's weren't allowed in the courthouse, but they did have a professional photographer on site (waiting for those pictures).

The judge spoke about us as a family. The attorney got up and spoke about how well we've done together and how just from looking at us, you could tell this was a "meant to be" story.  Kiddo kept leaning over to me and saying "Momma, don't you cry!!" I did pretty well avoiding the tears. I wanted our pictures to turn out nice, lol

We took the girls to Build A Bear afterwards to they could adopt a fuzzy child too. Then headed to VA Beach. Neither of the girls had ever been there.  They loved it and had an amazing time.  We'd definitely let BFF go with us travelling again.  They enjoyed each other and travelled well together with no meltdowns.

When we got home, less than an hour later, kiddo was missing her BFF.

Daddy took bubble gum it's a girl cigars and passed them out to everybody. Everybody thought that was really cute. I'd sent out homemade personalized adoption announcements with kiddo's picture on it that everybody loved, and personalized thank you notes for the gifts received that also had kiddo's picture on it, the adoption date and her full new name and yesterday I got this e-mail from kiddo's social worker that put us together:

I love the photo. Thank you for your kind words and I want you and Wayne to know that you’re been absolutely wonderful to work with. You have all the right instincts, and were so self-motivated to learn. And you were both just plain pleasant to talk with. And seeing you two and babygirl become a family was a special privilege for me. 

It's been 12 days since the adoption and it's still surreal that we have no more visits, no more checks, no more paperwork.

No morning sickness, but man, the paper cuts were terrible. It's over now and it was so worth it. Now, on to the next part of the journey.....enjoying each other as a forever family.

Really? Just really?

When kiddo first moved in and we finally found a counselor after much looking, the 2nd session, the counselor quit.

We got a new counselor.  Some pretty heavy issues related to her past trauma came up. She had a trigger and behaved very inappropriately via texting with her phone. We took the phone away, for good, and e-mailed her therapist so she'd be prepared for the session.

No response.

Went to therapy. Drove an hour to get there. The therapist quit. Nobody bothered to tell us.

GRRRRRRR!!!

I'm so disappointed that somebody in that type position could let their clients down and not even help with the transition or say goodbye. Fortunately, our baby is fine with changing to yet another therapist.  I wasn't nuts about that one anyway, I just didn't want to switch unless I could get the one I wanted her to have.

The one I really wanted her to have IS finally accepting new patients, unfortunately, we called about a week too late. Her baby sister got that therapist.

Well, I guess that's good since the baby sis needs a great therapist, but figures that we'd be a day late and a dollar short.

Here's hoping the next therapist is great and can get her thru this trauma so she can get comfortable knowing she's not going to experience the same trauma she has in the past and that we're now in the forever zone.

We e-mailed a professional we know that could help us with some therapist leads.  Her response:

1st let me say “OH NO, I AM SO SORRY!”

I  really do feel the pain that this must be causing you and Kelly.

But then….we anticipated that she would up the ante as the adoption neared and afterwards. At one level it is a test of “Did you really mean it?”  I am sorry that she chose this form, but again, no big surprise.


It really is a counseling issue. Just don’t panic. Keep close watch. Love her in spite of her behavior- I know I don’t really have to say that, but unconditional love is essential here.

Totally agree with her and committed to doing what it takes to help her heal. We'd do anything for our baby but give her up.  :)

Love that child, just not her behaviors at that moment!  

Monday, November 11, 2013

It's Official!!

Yes, we finally finalized Friday.

A full weekend and lots to share, but so, so tired. I'll share our weekend later. Just wanted to share the good news that she's finally legally ours forever!!

Good grief, I love that kid!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tired Already!!

S is moving in with her new family today (foster only) and will not be able to attend our celebration.

We thought K wasn't going to be going either, her great grandma just passed away, but her mom said nope, she's looked forward to it too long, she was going to let K come celebrate with us.

Busy scrambling around packing, planning and getting things together for our weekend.  So excited. I can't believe this day is almost here.

Put kiddo to bed last night and she got up 3 times within 20 minutes to say she couldn't sleep.  I told her that's because she hadn't laid down and tried to yet.  She snuggled in the bed with us instead, at the foot of the bed like the puppy.

Our bed does NOT have enough room for the 4 of us ;)  But so cute that she wanted to sleep with us the night before leaving on our adoption trip.

Tomorrow is the big day!!

Sunday we have a play date planned with S so they can have a celebration together and not totally be left out.

Busy weekend. I'm tired already.

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's Almost Here!!

still no news on S's move and when it'll happen and if she'll be at finalization.

Kiddo's BFF is coming with us though. Babygirl is so super happy that her BFF gets to go the beach with us after court and that they get to spend the weekend together.

I love seeing these normal tween moments.

It'll be interesting to see how travel goes with an extra girl. If they behave though, we may decide to occassionally let her come along on vacation and keep the monster entertained.

Her BFF and another friend came over to play yesterday. I think I have a little Tom Sawyer on my hands. Before you know it, they were asking for a broom and dustpan. BFF was cleaning babygirls room.  Babygirl is a messy, MESSY, beyond MESSY baby girl.  I felt sorry for the BFF.

I was also totally mortified.

But BFF's mother apparently told her to make herself useful and make it worth all the money we're spending to have her go with us on this trip and BFF says she finds cleaning fun.  Probably more likely that the messy room gave BFF OCD twitches.

School let out at noon today, off tomorrow, back Wednesday, we pick up the girls at 2 pm Thursday for travel and they're off Friday for finalization.

On another odd note, BFF is now dating our Godson, who kiddo has a big crush on.  She doesn't seem phased though. She said she guessed it'd be weird to date her Godbrother anyway.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Surprise!!

Last weekend I did the photos for a wedding.  I e-mailed my friend about Wednesday to let her know the disc was ready for her.  She said she'd come pick them up over the weekend.  Friday night, the husbster said they were talking on facebook and that she'd be at El Ranchito (my favorite restaurant) at 1 pm the next day having lunch and he suggested we just drop them off there and have lunch too.

I wasn't suspicious at all.

We pulled up at El Ranchito and I saw another friends car right up front. I said "oh cool, Linda is here too".

Still not suspicious.

Got out of the car and said "Is that Emma's car over there?"

Still not suspicious.

Walked into the restaurant and Lupe (the owner) said "they're in the back".  I actually was puzzled at how he knew who we were meeting.

Go figure.  Naive much? lol

It took seeing this sign to "get it".



The odd thing was I'd already figured out a surprise party was in the making. I was just so convinced it wasn't this weekend that I didn't see it coming.

I totally turned to mush, everybody was excited that I was surprised. Our baby was all smiles, enjoying this party especially for her.

Totally cried at the cake and one of the gifts.

Here's the cake.  The picture frame had our names, adoption date and "journey of our love" engraved on it.  A couple people said "OMG, we made her cry". Kiddo said "she's a big cry baby, don't worry about it".

What a nice day.

Oh, and the gift card on the left, it's enough for our celebration dinner Thursday at the Melting Pot.

My only complaint, nobody brought my camera for me because I didn't see it coming!! Boo!!

A great day!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Disruption

We finally broke the news to the baby about her baby sisters adoption disrupting. She is FURIOUS.  She has ranted and raved about that family giving up on her baby sister and how it's not good to keep moving her around like that and how she needs somebody to stick it out and be there for her always.

Then she has asked both me and daddy separately for us to adopt her sister after her adoption is final.

We were stressed out thinking the disruption may put an irrational fear that her adoption would get messed up at the last minute too, but obviously she sees us as sticking it out and showing her faith in us by thinking we're good for her sister too.  Although, it's cute that she wants to wait until after her adoption is final. I guess if it was her sisters "fault", she wanted to make sure she's good first. lol

We have to keep explaining why they were separated to begin with and that it wasn't our choice they be separated, but they both need undivided attention and love until they can move past their past.

On a positive note though, her sis will be 4 hours closer to us so they'll be able to have frequent visits together and probably some overnights as well (assuming they behave and don't trigger each other too badly for overnights).  We are excited about that. C is NOT happy that we don't know this family and can't vouch for them. She's afraid they'll give up on S too.

I told C that I'm bummed about the disruption too and sorely disappointed in the family giving up so easily, but that what we needed to remember was 1) there is a home that she's suppose to be in and 2) she deserves to be as loved and spoiled as C is and that there is a family that's been waiting and searching for S and we're going to have to hope and pray it doesn't take long for them to find each other.


Friday, October 25, 2013

One short year ago....

Exactly one year ago today, we met our precious baby girl for the first time.

I was a weepy mess today.

Thinking of how far we've come in a year, our first reactions to each other, the many milestones we've hit.  Yes, it was love at first sight.

Underweight, bedhead, a dress about 4 sizes too big, and clunky shoes.  We loved her instantly. Then she opened her mouth for our first conversation together.  It only got better.

We looked at her welcome home book together to introduce her to us, let her ask us questions, asked her a few related questions and 15 minutes later, our first introduction was over and we had to leave her.

I knew instantly we'd see her again soon, that we'd made that first connection that would be the first building block to our becoming a family.

So daggone cute today, we told her happy anniversary, we went out to dinner to celebrate (well, really, we got out every Friday night, but she said it was to celebrate) and she changed clothes and fixed her hair real cute because it was a special occassion.

Yes, it certainly was.  No longer underweight, beautiful hair that has grown beyond believe, cute clothes that fit perfectly and while all that is superficial stuff, it's just a mark of how our love has grown and how she's thrived. I had the hardest time not crying as I looked at her today, seeing how quickly our baby is growing up and being so proud of her!!

I never knew we'd fall this head over heels in love. Suspected, yes, knew, nope.
She was so worth the wait!

Monday, October 21, 2013

so much going on.....

In the midst of all the excitement and craziness with the adoption finalization, we got sad news.  Our Princess's sister is NOT going to be adopted by her current foster family after all. Apparently she's too much for them.  My crazy antenna went off before the SW called though. Prophetic dreams, gotta love them.  (always have had crazy nightmares about specific people right before something major and negative happened, but only if they were really close to me, I guess my closeness with C spilled over to her sister in my dream abilities)

I dread breaking the news to our Princess. This close to our finalization I don't really have a choice but to wait before telling her so she doesn't spend the next 2 1/2 weeks stressing and worrying we'll change our mind. At the same time, we can't wait too long, because we have to let her know before finalization so she'll either 1) understand why S is there with somebody other than the family we thought would adopt her or 2) isn't there at all.  S is still coming IF she's placed elsewhere by then and her new family can bring her, but they will not be bringing her if she's with the current family to not put them all in the uncomfortable position of talking about her upcoming adoption that is not happening.  I think it could be good for her to see her big sis happy and see a forever family is possible, but I do NOT want her to have to go thru that if she's with a family that has already decided not to proceed and her feel jealous and left out. :(

For now, she's still in that family while they look for a therapeutic foster home (and preferrably an adoptive setting) for her to move to.

Princess C got a letter in the mail from S today, along with a framed school pic of her. S's letter was too sad and sweet. It said she misses her super much and wants to see her really bad and for her to please remember all their good times together.

I suspect S is having second thoughts about this only child thing.

The SW is trying to find a home closer to us for S, so the girls can spend more time together. I hope that happens, but most importantly a happy, healthy, safe home that she can thrive in and be as cherished and loved as our little Princess is here.

I felt very flattered that the SW asked if I had any leads of good families that S could go too, but very disturbed that I honestly couldn't think of a good match for her. :(

I'm keeping my eyes and ears open though.

On a lighter and more positive note, reports cards came out today. With all the struggles and wondering if she'd pass 5th grade last year, her first middle school report card: 2 A's, 3 B's, 1 C. I'm so super proud of how much better she's doing this year and how well she's adapted.

Guess we'll be broke. After the grades of 5th grade, we really tossed the incentive out there to get her work done and do her best.  She rose to the challenge. Maybe this will give her a good taste of success and keep her working hard. I hope so, at least.

Smart girl said she's saving the money for adoption weekend when we're off in the big cities so she can spend it there instead.

LOVE THAT GIRL!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

the pre-adopt jitters

Kiddo is back to her binging. She said she's worried that M (her SW) will change her mind at the last minute.  I'm pretty sure that's not what she's worried about, but I told her at this late date 1) M can NOT change her mind, papers have already been sent to judge approving it, but in addition to that 2) that WE couldn't even change our mind at this point (not that we'd want to) and to talk to us instead of sneaking in the kitchen after night.

It was a big trigger for her daddy since they have a similar background, but fortunately he was pretty calm.  We talked thru it, left it alone and went back to it later. We came up with a solution together that when she does that, she has to pay us back twice what the item cost from her allowance that week if it wasn't in "her" drawer of stuff that was put together.  1) paying twice will hopefully make her think about it before she acts and 2) most importantly, thinking about it will give her time to think of another coping skill that she can use instead of an unhealthy coping mechanism.

Her file says her last family put locks on the fridge. We are dead set against that, but laying in bed, we were brainstorming and decided we'll put a baby monitor in the kitchen. That way we can hear when she sneaks into the kitchen at night and one of us can get up and comfort her without her needing to take our meals.

We continue to not have the right ingredients for a full meal and eat very odd combinations because of her hoarding and binging.  There is always plenty of food, but our plans change last second way too often because of food missing.

I wish so bad that our baby didn't struggle so much with that.  I want her to be able to remember that she's out of her past situations and it's not going to be repeated.  I know there is nothing that can be "said" to make her know that and only time and appropriate interventions can help her heal from this.  Still though....would totally love to wave a magic wand and make things all better for her.

I think this is perplexing to me because I can't resolve my own eating issues, how will I ever help her with her eating issues? I said I couldn't figure out where mine came from, since I had a healthy, happy childhood, but my husband hit the nail on the head and figured it out.  We all have scars I suppose.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Maintaining Connections

Finalization has been set for November. Of course it's in National Adoption Month.  I genuinelly think that's why the delay.

We invited the babys birth sister and her new family to come. They've discussed it with her therapist and decided that that would be good for everybody.

so, YAY, the baby sis is coming.

I know this is going to be so great for our baby, she really misses her sis.  It's also going to be great for her sister because she's been struggling horribly lately.  Partially missing her sister, partially her normal struggles, but in August she moved into her new home and she said prior to that she doesn't want to be adopted, that she can't count on anybody to keep her, so why bother.

Really heartbreaking. Her new family is trying super hard to get her secure. We're hoping that when she comes to finalization and sees that over a year after we met C, that she's still happy, healthier than ever and see's the excitement with the adoption, that S will relax a little and let herself enjoy her new family.  (they have not signed any adoption papers and will not until S is ready, they are currently her foster family)

We applied for the 2 of them initially, even though we also initially said we only wanted 1 child. The little one decided she'd rather they be separated. I suspect it's because she wanted to give our baby a chance and maybe felt one of them was messing up their placements and maybe if they were separated, at least one of them would find their forever home.

So glad our baby WANTED so badly to be adopted into a healthy, happy family with pets.  Yep, pets was a requirement.

I'm amazed at how as our relationship with our baby has grown, our compassion for those important to her has also grown.  I'm super excited her little monster sister gets to come to finalization.

Hoping it'll be a happy and stress free day for ALL involved.

We've made reservations near the courthouse for our hotel and going to The Melting Pot the night before for dinner, waking up and going to court in our matching shoes for the ceremony. After the ceremony we will be letting the girls play together until lunchtime, have lunch together and then we're off to VA Beach for one night. C has never been to VA Beach and she loved our beach trip to OBX this summer. Since VA Beach is only a couple hours away from court, we thought we'd just celebrate all day at the beach, have a nice dinner at the beach and come back home the next morning.

I'm so super excited. Have I said that lately?

Friday, September 13, 2013

.....and I'm calling GRANDMA!!

Kiddo had a major temper tantrum, because we're SO MEAN!!! How dare we mistreat her like this.

We ordered DNA kits for all of us. We can find out her genetics, but have a little fun too.  She had to spit in a vial to send it off. She said we were mean for making her do that. Obviously she woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

While she was screaming about it, she screams that she's telling M about it (her social worker).  I told her they weren't open, but she could call later if she really wanted to. Daddy told her that M is actually the one that told us about this genetic testing so she might find that call amusing and to go ahead.

As I drove her to school this morning, she calmed down and when we got there, I asked if she wanted my phone to call M before going in. She said no, she was over it now.

I told her finalization was soon, she was going to have to find another threat than calling M. She said "Oh yeah", got quiet for a moment and said "Well, I'm calling GRANDMA!!"

I had to laugh. That moment was just what I needed after the tantrum before.

First Family Vacation

Yeah, it was a month ago, but still, just getting around to sharing. Kiddo keeps me super busy.

Mostly good.  But 'lil Miss trauma child has her moments. Total meltdown on day 3. Finally she said "I don't deserve all this. I should be at (insert name of residential center here that she was at). I don't understand why you love me and adopted me".

Oh, it breaks my heart to see her hurt.

As maddening as it is to go thru her tantrums, I have to remember where she's coming from and not take it personal. I'm glad when one of us isn't thinking clearly, the other is.  I started to say "of course you deserve it", but when your child is disregulated, telling them they're wrong isn't the way to go. My dear husband NAILED IT!! He said "Princess, whether you deserve something or not is irrelevant. Things we do as a family are because we're a family. Things we do for you are because we love you, not because you had to earn it".  I fell in love all over again in that very moment.

On a lighter note, 98% of the vacation was a blast and look at this PRECIOUS picture!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Petition to Adopt!!

Woot woot!!

The petition to adopt arrived in the mail today. All we have to do now is sign it in front of a notary, have it notarized and mail back to the attorney.

We're going to do the big celebration ceremony, so we'll be waiting on a date still, but wow, just having this little piece of paper in our hands makes it so real that we're almost at the end of this part of our journey and on to the journey of a forever family.

Can't believe I'm looking forward to Monday now so I can get this notarized!!

Can't believe our wishes really are finally coming true!!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Will Finalization Time EVER get here?!

May 24th, we signed adoption papers, June was adoption board, it's been in the attorneys hands ever since and she's waiting on info from the social worker.  At that point, it has up to 60 more days for the agency to respond to the petition and then a wait on the court date?!

grrrrrr, I'm so ready for this to be over with.

Baby girl is having extreme anxiety over this and worried that we'll back out of the adoption and I think it'd do her a world of good for this stage of our life to be over with and her go back to trying to be a normal kid.

Baby hid a box of cake mix in her closet and had eaten part of it, is binging like mad, easy to trigger to tears now and I just want her to be able to relax and realize that despite all the hardships and trials she's been through, that she's worth every minute of time spent on her and deserves to be a normal child that she's missed being before.

On a positive note, her baby sister is in the middle of visits with her new parents and it sounds like it's going very well.  Hope she gets to move in before her birthday!!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy Birthday Baby!!

we celebrated the Princess's birthday Saturday before last!
she said this was the first "real" party she'd had, with friends and the whole nine yards.

We had the BEST time planning for it and while we were all worried that our expectations would be too high, it went super great. Well, except BFF putting a frog on our baby! lol

Even the cake exceeded expectations.

We expected a meltdown after the party (she usually has her meltdowns after really good things happen), but it was a pleasant weekend the whole time.

She had a pool party, lots of yoshis and peace signs and her favorite colors, her crush, her boyfriend and her 2 best friends, as well as family and other friends. I wonder if her boyfriend realized she was crushing on another guy, lol

My baby is 12. I'm not ready for her to grow up.  I told her we'd start going backwards, next year she'll be 11, the following 10.

She said she wished we'd found her at 3 and she could have had her childhood back.

How it breaks my heart to hear that, and yet, cherish that she wants to be here.

I love that girl, Have I said that lately?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Odd Feeling.....

Adoptive placement papers are signed and our agency has requested knowing whether we want to keep our license open.

Given our babys history and how she's doing now vs prior placement, it's very obvious that she is just right as an only child.  We started our journey only wanting one child, and opening ourself up to siblings if the right match showed up.

Back to only child again.

My silly girl cracked me up, but just affirmed our decision to close our license.  One of her little friends baby sister called me mommy about 1/2 dozen times yesterday. Princess said "No, that's MY mommy".

She doesn't want to share us at all.

All that said, somehow after so long waiting thru this journey for our baby to show up, it feels VERY weird to close the license.  Shortly, there will be no more social worker visits, no required training (although our trainer said we're still welcome to come to the trainings we feel would help us, but that they could no longer send invitations, but she'd keep me in the e-mail loop).

What will life be like just being a family?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Triggers


Yesterday, we went to the last foster care court date and then afterwards met up with her baby sister for a lunch date.  Baby sister is matched with a family now and once she's out of the group home, she'll be going home to them.  We got to meet them.  It was the 2nd time the family had met with S. They thought by C being there, it'd calm S down enough to not be nervous with the new family there.  S & C have both responded very differently to time in residential.  S wants to stay in it. It's "comfortable" for her, while our baby always preferred the idea of permanent home and family. 

The visit was GREAT and they had a great time together, but OUR baby had a BAD case of the crazies yesterday after leaving.
  
We didn't get quite out of the area before the storm hit bad and a tree was down in front of us, the storm and the tree triggered her bad and apparently I totally stressed her out by putting it in 4 wheel drive and going thru the median to get around the long line.  (it was better long term to do that though, because otherwise I'd have stressed her for longer out by sitting there stressing and being in the storm, I felt like if we got her out of the storm, she'd settle) 

It took awhile to settle though. She still is feeling some anger at being separated from S. Daddy held her hand all the way thru the storm, we traded off driving and talked to the Princess about it not being either of their faults that they don't live together, but that having one on one attention is going to give both of them a better opportunity to heal and that we'll always support their continued contact.
  
She yelled and screamed and cried a good hour (at least) on the way home.  She said she's nervous about her birthday because she's never had a "real" party and wants it to be fun and afraid nobody will show up, she's upset that her and S don't live together (she admitted she thinks the F family seem good for her, but I think on some level, she thought as long as S was in residential, she still had a chance of her living with her, despite what she was told prior), she said she yells at us because she doesn't know how to love and that she's mad that she lost so much of her childhood and that when we do fun things together or do something nice for her, she thinks she doesn't deserve it and it reminds her of what she's missed. (she also physically is no longer a baby as of last week, and that triggered alot and she's mad that she's growing up, wants to be a baby and mad that we couldn't find her when she was about 3)
  
So, while the tantrum was HORRIBLE, we're both super proud that she could communicate that much in between her yelling/screaming/crying fits.
  
She wanted to play when we got home. I told her I was tired from being yelled at and that I loved her, but I needed a rest first, that she could either sit next to me quietly or play with the pets.  She chose to sit on my lap and rub the dog. Once she was regulated, we were able to do some bonding activities and ended on a positive note for the day.
  
And then today, the crazies started agan, lower key than yesterday, but so exhausted from yesterday and just want to sleep.  Say your prayers that we get thru all this with minimal damage to each other.  Right now, she's being super sweet and loving, and apologized, we had a good talk and trying to heal.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Adoption Agreement....SIGNED!!!

My head is pounding now, all the stress is releasing now that the documents are signed.

It's been such a wonderful day.

The kiddo got out of school, excited that she'd passed (yes, she was genuinely worried, and mommy was a touch worried, given that she's not a great test taker and apparently school is all about the SOL's now)

The hubster recorded her a special mix CD today and picked her up in the convertible early to come home in time for her custodial worker to show up with the paperwork for us to sign.

She got to sign the TFC paper with us to release her from TFC.  We all loved that she was allowed to use our last name on that document.

Then we went to dinner and celebrated at the Japanese Steakhouse. Love the floor show. It's where we celebrated when she first moved in, so it's really appropriate.

Now, bring on the court date!!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

You know you're a trauma mom when.....


  • kids are going nuts in your place of business and you're the only one not being judgmental because you know there may be more to the story and it could just as easily be you and your child
  • you celebrate the weeks you DON'T get e-mails from the teachers
  • you see one of your childs teachers in the grocery store and THEY run the other way, instead of your kid
  • you celebrate that the food "safety" box in her room is no longer empty every morning
  • your friends kids are all getting awards, honor roll, etc at school for end of year and you're celebrating that your child got thru the year with only one fight and is passing
  • you're excited because she worked up the courage to tell you she's "mad at you" instead of worrying that'll result in getting "sent back"
  • your daughters soccer coach "bribes" her to play her best by letting her use 1/2 time that's for team to strategize to come hang out with mommy and daddy instead 
Add yours....

oh, how being a mommy to my special girl changes our perspective!! She's a wonderful child and we love her dearly and celebrate every bit of progress.  This is just a short list of recent things that come to mind.  

and if you're not a trauma mom and stumbled on this, enjoy every success of your child, no matter minor or major.  If you celebrate the little things, you'll be more likely to be "invited" to celebrate the big things with them.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Best Friends

Best Friends.... 

Kiddo had her first sleepover this past weekend. 2 crazy, giggly girls in the house and it was so wonderful to see her so happy.

Then the same day, moms best friend called.  She called Saturday to see if she could borrow our carpet cleaner. I gave it to her since we have no carpet anyway. We talked for AGES. She's missing my mommy pretty bad lately and went to her house and sat on her porch for awhile. I broke the news to her that we're renting moms place out and she expressed concern about what the renters would think, given that she CLEANED THEIR PORCH while she was there. I couldn't help but get the giggles at that.

I know mom had to be cracking up if you were watching at that point.

She came and visited the next day and and shared memories about how special mom was and told babygirl all about her grandma.  Peggy (moms best friend) was stunned by our daughter, a little girl that acts way too much like my mommy and looks way too much like me. She's as convinced as I am that this was a "God Match".  Babygirl even told Peggy that when she grows up, she's moving into that house and that she's more than welcome to sit on her porch anytime AND clean it.  That's my child.

Anyway, it was good to see her and go down memory lane, crying and laughing with somebody that "gets it". My mommy was MY best friend too, other than my hubby.

We told her when mom left us that we were bored silly and finding the baby really helped us so much.

I'm so thankful for the legacy my mom left through us and for her living on through our memories. She'll be loved forever!! I hope one day after our baby grows up that I'll be her best friend.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sibling Day

Yesterday we had a FAPT meeting out of town.  Since babygirls sis hasn't yet been adopted (she's currently in residential) and we'd be close by, a lunch date was set up for the two of them.

What a coincidence....and on sibling day.

It went very well.  The hubster and I set a code word in case our babygirl got stressed and needed relief she'd have a way of letting us know without hurting her sisters feelings.  It was so sweet to see my baby so protective and sweet with her baby sis.  It's obvious she loves her. It's also obvious why our baby needed to be an only child.  I suspect based on the mischevious look of her sister and cuteness with her age that my baby probably didn't get her share of attention, with the "baby" pulling most of the attention.

It was good for them to see each other. I was really proud of how they both did and looking forward to their next meeting together.

FAPT meeting was amazing, we got kudo's for how well our sweet girl is progressing and got bragged on about the amount of training we had, but even better--the worker that sees us interact with kiddo the most said "we can say it's training all we want, but from my viewpoint, it appears they really have natural parenting for attachment instincts".  Woot woot, every progress report that our baby has made progress in some area no matter how small and hearing that we're doing the right things and that it's okay that we haven't fixed every wound overnight helps us recognize to continue being patient with her and continue to help her the best we can.

I think though, that despite good instincts and good training, that the good chemistry between us as a family, the good match and kiddo's WILLINGNESS to work on her trauma is as every much as important as what we've done or haven't done.

TEAM--Together Everyone Achieves More

and right now, we have a great team--us, the Princess and her amazing workers!


Saturday, April 6, 2013

what a day....

This morning soccer was at 8:30 with pictures an HOUR before. None of us are morning people and baby girl was exceptionally grouchy.  We got there and to make it worse, photos were running behind and it was only 29 degrees outside.

Did I mention team photos were required?

We went to the movies to relax as a family and then dinner and the grocery store. Grocery shopping is stressful for both me as and the baby.  That made for a not fun trip with the baby tired and grouchy. I guess I'll have to remind her when she fusses over the lack of snacks why we don't have many.

She wasn't amused that I made her hold my hand on the way out the store, but that's as close to time in as I could do in my moment of stress.  It did help though getting her mostly out of a disregulated state. 

I was stressed and tense when we got home, her "help" with bringing groceries in didn't help and she was still a tad off. I think I needed a time out, lol.  

After a few minutes though, we are all relaxed and I'm enjoying just hanging out beside the kid while she watches TV.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Attachment and Trust.....

More on attachment.....

First, therapist doesn't feel like babygirls attachment issues are extreme and definitely not in the RAD spectrum. Not that I love and trust her therapist, but on that I'll agree.

Attachment specialist is giving us monthly reports on our sessions with her and it seems that babygirl is progressing well and on target.  She's obviously got some fears and distrustful still, but she says it's also very obvious that she wants to be a part of this family, wants to love and trust us and willing to do the work to make it work on her end.  She also said it's obvious that we're naturals at parenting for attachment.

That made us feel really good.  I want so much for us to be good parents for our Princess and be exactly what she needs to heal, get through her past and become a regular family girl.  On an even better note, the attachment worker said when she got the last report from her social worker, that she almost cried with how well we're all doing together and how good of a job we're doing for her.

Speaking of family, she got to talk to her bio sister on the phone the other day.  Daddy said "Your sister sure sounds cute".  Princess says "Yeah, that's how she gets you, she's not as innocent as she sounds".  lol

That said, plans are in the works to try to line up a lunch date with her sis.  She seems pretty excited by it.  She also seems to enjoy and get excited about time with her new family and really cares about building a family.  I love it.

Today during our attachment session, one of the exercises was using a doll with tears on one side and smiles on the other side. We had to tell each other a story using both sides of the doll.  Babygirl told a story about a dog chasing a cat and the cat being sad and not feeling loved, but then the dog caught the cat, told her he loved her and he wanted her to be a part of his family. Not sure what to make of that, can't wait to get the report.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

a year of firsts

Each holiday brings another first.....finding out traditions from her past, merged with our own traditions. More love, more fun, more learning about one another.

She loved the thought the Easter bunny put into what's in her basket, wasn't amused that he doesn't hide eggs with money in it.  Guess we should discuss more things before holidays, lol

The caterpillar on top is the one from Mario that she wanted for her birthday in June. She also got a building Yoshi.

We went to church this morning and I finally got her to agree to a different church with a pastor, music and people I liked pre her.  We got there and the crowd freaked her out, so we went back to the little country church near us and she was happy.

Crowds and noise are tough on her. Daddy/daughter dinner on the way home from therapy last week was going to be Panera, but it was busier than normal so they had a change of plans.

At church, she originally requested going to the little church because she didn't want to walk in the rain. I almost reacted and said that was silly, but I pulled over, we talked and I found out it was the crowd that stressed her. Fortunately I noticed the stress before getting out of the car. I explained its OK to say she's stressed and why so we can help instead of finding an excuse that we may not respond to, thinking she's silly if we don't pick up on the stress.

I do adore this child. How lucky we are.


Friday, March 8, 2013

5 stars




woot woot!!

The baby's social worker came for a visit last week. It all went well and then she asked for permission to speak with the kiddo privately.  Kiddo showed off her room and they talked a few minutes.  When the social worker came back out, babygirl stayed in her room playing.

SW told us we got 5 stars and that the baby is happy to be here!!

I got excited, then I wondered if that was 5 out of a possible 5. lol

The way my mind works.....

Happy as a Family

The kiddo turned me to mush this morning, and it got interrupted by my laughter.

Babygirl said to me "Bonkers and I talked last night a long time about how much we love being a part of this family".  (Bonkers is the cat)

About the time I'm almost mush, she finishes it off with "We were arguing though about which one of us loves Arlo the most".  (Arlo is the dog)

So, yeah, good thing we have pets.  That makes her happy as a family.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

love family days....

Today was such a good day.

Cartoons in the morning, Trip to the museum, late lunch, shopping for some more jeans for munchkin, playing with baby dolls, hubs and baby girl watching TV together while I fixed dinner, then all of us to my office so I could get some month end stuff done, home, playtime and storytime.

No meltdowns, even when the baby dropped her phone and broke the screen.

Kiddo and I got matching monkey mood bracelets today.  Hubs is happy. Now he knows when to avoid his 2 favorite redheads.  ;)

I wish weekends were longer.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Another Attachment Session

this one was at our home instead of the office, so it was interesting trying to keep Ms ADHD girl focused and not playing with the pets instead, but overall, very productive.

My favorite exercise was us "beeping" each others noses and "honking" our chins.  We both got a case of the giggles.  Then again, her trying to keep a straight face while I made her laugh was interesting too.  That took no time to get her to laugh three times.

We looked in a mirror together where I'd describe her as I see her.  The attachment specialist asked her if she believed me and she said yes.  P said she sees in her eyes that she wants to believe me, but not sure yet. I hugged my baby and told her I 100% meant everything I said about my beautiful girl.

We always end our sessions by eating, which means right before eating we wash our hands. This time was washing each others hands.  Right after daddy washed her hands, she immediately picked up the cat.  Daddy had to wash her hands again, while she was giggling.  P asked if she knew why she picked up the cat right after daddy washed her hands.  She said "Because I wanted daddy to do it again!"

P said very smart, most kids didn't communicate that that was why.

We got to watch each other instead of going in different rooms this time. It was so much fun to watch the baby and daddy playing together on these exercises.

Eating--P told her that feeding each other is a way to show each other we love each other (after munchkin was basically shoving crackers down my throat and I was being gentle, lol).  Babygirl proceeded to kiss me and tell me she loves me and P challenged her to show me by being gentle instead of so rough.

I can definitely see where these attachment sessions will pay off. We have fun AND build attachments.

On a related note, a kind soul sent me some attachment cards from Theraplay and daddy and I are finding opportunities to do some of these things without the structure of a session to build on it.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Insanely Comforting

After 3 long years, just knowing our baby was home was the first comfort.

But it was still slight distress because baby girl STILL had not been taken off of adoptuskids.  I was getting a little distressed and the irrational part of me was thinking "were we the best choice, but not what they were looking for and still actually looking and going to pull her away from us?!"

FINALLY!!! February 19, she's finally been labelled as "placed in state".

How reassuring to finally see those words!!!

Now I can finally quit stalking the listings!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

meltdowns....

....... after meltdowns

Last night was the roughest night ever.

Temper tantrums galore last night, kiddo yelling and crying' sending up with me in tears too.

Hubster got kiddo calmed down to listen some and I apologized for having to see me cry and explained screaming and yelling is a trigger for me as it is for her. We explained how it makes us feel to get yelled at, followed by shutting down and not sharing her feelings verbally. We let her know we understand by her actions that she's stressed, but if she shuts down, its hard to figure out what triggered the stress.

That provoked even more crying (from me and her), a ton more hugs and so many attempts to let our baby know our job is to help.

She cried, apologized and hugged us and shyly asked if we'd still be able to have our bedtime reading ritual.

What was a horrible evening turned productive and sweet and this morning was the calmest morning in awhile.

When I went to wake her up, no screaming today....just a "5 more minutes please" and we both took a 5 minute catnap and got up.

She's so worth the tears, but I really wish I wasn't a crier.







Sunday, February 17, 2013

I love weekends....

it's crazy how bad I miss our baby during the week when I'm at work.  As career-oriented as I've been in the past, it amazes me how much I would totally give it up to spend every possible second with the kiddo.

Things went better this weekend than they did over the week, so I'm guessing that my going back to work must've been the trigger for her.  She said it's the "time of year" that did it, but looking at her file, all her moves have been late May/early June.  That should be interesting.

We were playing school and went on a "field trip" to see the goats.  Babygirl was pretending I was her best school friend and she was the teachers daughter.  She "invited me" to come home with her after school when we got back from the field trip. As we entered the house, I jokingly said "house sure is messy".  She said "Well, my mom works all the time"

WAAAAAAAA!!!

My poor princess.

(fyi--I don't work all the time, it's full time, but not more than a normal full time job, although I guess after 9 weeks off, it seems like all the time to both of us)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

What a week.....

After a 9 week bonding leave for kiddo, I had to go back to work Monday. Hated doing it, because I could totally be a stay at home mom and be happy, despite having a rewarding and successful career.

I think it triggered the crazies though. We had one rough week.

Babygirl was argumentative all week, she shut down during school one day and wouldn't do her work, she wet the bed every night, she stomped my foot, she left her IPad at home twice, she didn't remember to have her homework signed, she lied to us a couple times, she had a meltdown because she didn't want to give her classmates Valentines (after picking out some at the store) and a serious meltdown over us reminding her to brush her teeth after she tried to go to school without brushing.

What a week!! I was so looking forward to her therapy and seeing if her therapist could help her with her coping skills. But 45 minutes before her appointment, we got a call that she left sick, so rough week and no therapy.

I hate that my going back to work seemed to trigger her so bad. It breaks my heart. I know schedule changes are hard on her and we're going to have to work thru this together, but it totally made me cry several nights to see her so obviously hurting.

So, any good thoughts and prayers are much appreciated.  I hate seeing my baby hurt.

On a positive note for the week, this sweetie pie made her daddy the sweetest birthday note yesterday and had her daddy buy me a Valentine balloon from her and she had daddy bring her by my office after school one day and gave me a big hug. She totally loved her webkinz goat she got for Valentines from us.  (she adores the neighbors goats and is currently trying to talk daddy into getting us some goats for her)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Honeymoon

Everybody constantly talks about the "honeymoon period".  It's almost annoying how much the honeymoon is discussed. I find myself talking about how much I love our little girl and invariably, anybody that has experience with adoption says "You're still in your honeymoon period", as if that's going to change how much I love her.

I can say with certainty that I love my baby regardless.

Yesterday we had our first FAPT and VEMAT meeting.  It was determined that the honeymoon is actually over and that they consider her conditions pretty severe. It's actually reassuring to me because based on her behaviors, that she's being her and that even if things were never to get better, we'd totally always be hopelessly in love with this girl.

That said, totally need to work on some things. Calling another child at "molerat" at school, asking a teacher if she could bite her when she was mad, having complete meltdowns over homework or having to go to school in bad weather (storms are a major trigger), food binging at night, sleeping in clothes, bad grades, bedwetting 2-3 times a week and serious focus issues.  Some of these are just minor things that I note but don't "worry" about (ie, bedwetting is not a big deal, just a symptom of the need behind the behavior), but I want my baby to do well, both socially and academically, in school, so we have some work to do and I'm looking forward to seeing her progress into the sweet young lady she is.  She truly has a heart of gold, and she needs to know this is forever. 

The incident at school happened Tuesday. Wednesday as we went to meet with her social worker, our baby started crying and begged me not to tell what happened and changed her feelings chart on the fridge to sad.  I asked her why she was so stressed over us telling and she cried and said she was worried they'd take her away from me.  We assured her 1) that calling kids names and threatening to bite a teacher wasn't acceptable, but it also wasn't a reason for DSS to remove her from our care and 2) we wouldn't let somebody take her away over something like that.

Despite a zillion conversations about it and lots of hugs nd kisses, I don't think she believed us that she was coming back home with us because she packed about 15 baby dolls for the trip and her bag of coping skills, lifebook and photos.  She was such a happy girl yesterday afternoon when we got home and so loving (even more than normal and she's a loving child on a normal day). 

Good times or bad, we're in this together and I adore her.  I think we're handling her issues pretty well and starting to connect.  More on our attachment interventions later. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A mothers word....

You know how moms always say "I just hope you have a kid just like you" and it's always such a threat, but you never think it'll happen.

When I was growing up, I was a big time baby alive fan. Mom thought they were the most hideous looking baby dolls and I totally loved them. After I grew up, kids didn't appear to be in my future, so it didn't look like she'd ever get her threatening wish.  But mom and I enjoyed each other and were best friends.  We went to a rummage sale together and she caught sight of a Baby Alive and picked it up and said "is this what I think it is?". I had to laugh hysterically, because she was so right, it was completely horrible looking and yes, it was a baby alive doll.

She spent a quarter and got it for me and told me not to complain about it being ugly, if I loved it so much as a child to have so many, I needed to suffer thru her buying me one as an adult and how I should be glad I didn't have a kid that was so nuts over such an ugly baby doll.

In all fairness, they are cuter now. I showed mom a pic in a catalog before she died, but she didn't agree with that.

Today, Princess discovered the joys of thrift store shopping and got 3 baby dolls with her allowance. 2 were Baby Alives. Between mine, the one Santa brought her and these 2, she now has 4 Baby Alives.

Guess Mom got her wish, and YES, she's totally like me in a zillion other ways too.

The one on the left is the 1970's version that I had that mom spent a quarter to get me. The middle ones are the ones from the past 10 or so years and the one on the far right, the R Santa brought to 'lil miss for Christmas. 

How they've evolved, but they are silly dolls. I totally LOVE the new one though <3

Attachment Exercises

We started our first attachment session this past week, using the Marshak theory.  The first session we did some attachment exercises with no intervention and just videotaped. Next week before we do session two, we watch the tape and hear the critic of how it looked from the attachment therapist perspective.

Some of the things were a little silly, others I could definitely see why they'd work.

I wanted to share here:

  • feed each other
  • comb each others hair
  • put hats on each other
  • play with squeaky toys together
  • teach your child something new she doesn't already know
  • leave the room for 1 minute and come back
  • pretend to read each others palm

At the end of the session, we were asked our favorite and least favorite exercises (both of us and our daughter).  All three of us said leaving the room was the least favorite.  Kiddo said feeding each other and playing with squeaky toys was favorite. DH said playing with squeaky toys was favorite. I said combing each others hair and reading each others palm was favorite.

Can't wait to see what's next to come.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mornings are such a bear.....

I'm not a morning person anyway and now we're 6 weeks in to having kiddo here and my having to wake up even earlier.  I remain calm, but she's not a morning person either, nor my husband.

Needless to say, it makes for interesting mornings. Between baths and breakfasts...

Getting her out of the tub this morning and out the door on time this morning was a chore and a half. The Disney Princesses on her bath wash and shampoo came to life this morning in the bathroom and kept her otherwise occupied and running late.

On top of that, this morning kiddo was refusing to eat breakfast after I got up early to fix her favorite--scrambled egg with Mexican cheese dip on it.  Anything is better with cheese, right?!

I was getting annoyed and trying not to transfer that emotion to her, I've been sick a week and kiddo not eating her favorite breakfast? Really? She said she'd just eat at school.  Ummmm, I've been packing lunches because she hates school food?!  We made a deal then and there with daddys intervention. Thank God for his clear head because mine is still foggy.  No more fixing breakfasts!! We'll let her have breakfast at school and sleep in about 15 minutes later in the morning, giving us more time to get ourselves together and her more sleep.  I'm so glad we got this settled before my leave is over.....I go back to work February 11.

Now, if Ms Picky would just start eating lunch at school, no more packing, heehee!!

Daddy hung the moon though, he got her cheesesticks at the grocery store yesterday, so all her worries were that she had a cheesestick for lunch because "Mommy is trying to kill me and didn't pack a cheesestick yesterday".  Ummmm, because she ate them all as snacks.

But her nighttime snack issue is a story for another day....could use some input there to help her manage that process.

I love this kid though, have I said that?!  I know mom is in Heaven laughing though, she got her wish, I got a kid JUST like me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Settling In....

Haven't come in lately because we've been so busy with the "new baby" aka 11 year old daughter.

She's only been here 6 weeks. Some days it feels like just yesterday with the excitement and other times it feels like she's been here her entire life. She fits our family like a glove.

Yes, there is always growing pains, but well worth it. We're all learning each other, adapting well and loving our new family together.

I love how open she is and how much like a smaller child she still is sometimes. I know it's because of her past, but what I'm impressed with is her willingness to go back to that time and have a "re-do". 

Just playing with a child tells you so much about that child and this little angel is heavensent and has a heart of gold.

Only 2 more weeks of leave for me before I go back to work. Dreading it, we've loved this bonding time together and I could easily become a stay at home mom.

If only we would win the lottery so I could stay home and be here for my baby every day when she gets home from school.

(incidentially, now that she has a family to count on, she says she's not leaving us and when she's 40, she'll just move in next door and adopt kids and have a farm)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year, A New Me!

Ahhhhh, a New Year to give us a New Hope. On the midst of reviewing the prior year and realizing there is only one goal that I even came close to hitting, I’m still optimistic for success going forward. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Let’s make it better in 2013 and focus.

…..SQUIRREL!!!

Found our kiddo in 2012 and looking forward to making a great life together in 2013 and forward.... a new me is me being "mommy". Yesterday I dropped by the office and one of my team members said I'm just glowing and that mommyhood seems to be agreeing with me. I tend to agree. I'm amazed at how NOT stressed I am over the job while I'm on leave. I've found a new identity!!

While we have great hopes, we don’t always take action into fulfilling those wishes. So, 2013….bring it on….let’s work on the controllables! Let’s make those wishes action based.
2013 resolutions:

• Daily focus on attachment parenting, continue to learn on attachment parenting through training, reading and following Last Mom Blog, but most importantly experience with our Princess
• Payoff 2 bills….switching jobs in 2011 to take care of our daughter and have plenty of family time really played havoc on the budget, need to get this in control so we don’t feel broke all the time and so we can budget for tons of family activities easily.
• Lead by example at home and work—with a new daughter in the home, it’s important to teach her, love her and show her. Love her unconditionally and help her build on her trust in us over the course of the year and realize she can count on us for the long haul.
• Spend 10-15 minutes a day on housekeeping so it doesn’t get behind and so we’re not cutting into family time to do mundane housekeeping chores
• Get out of the rut and work on new things to do as a family together, not just “eating out”. December was full of fun activities and we made the most of it. Just because it’s not Christmas doesn’t mean we can’t find fun things to do January-November.
• Start a college savings and a normal savings for lil Miss after her adoption is final and teach her money management
• Regular charitable donations in an area of passion (ie, kids)
• Eat healthier (adding veggies to dinner), become more active and see results through a 2 size reduction in 2013
• BE POSITIVE!! AND BE A GREAT ROLE MODEL FOR OTHERS!

My family, colleagues and friends deserve to have the very best of me, not second rate material