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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years Goals

How did everybody do on their goals last year?  I see alot of people say they don't make new years goals because nobody actually follows them, but you can't reach a goal you can't see.  Doesn't have to be new years, I actually recommend short term goals.  Set mini goals. Make small changes first. The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention. Every day either puts you closer to your goals or further from your goals (even if you maintain your status quo, you're a day further).  Progress, nt perfection.

While we're at it, make those goals smart!! Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound (in the absense of a time frame, my target date is December 31)


Last Years Goals Vs Actual


  • work on attachment parenting, measure of success will be decreased meltdowns and increased communication
    • meltdowns actually probably increased slightly, but they were more productive and resulted in further healing.  As visits with sis increased, anxiety also increased. On a positive note, one of the teachers said we should have more kids because there should be more kids like ours :)  Given that in 5th grade, teachers were running from her in the grocery store when they saw us, I'm counting this as a success

  • be the best wife I can for hubster by listening and spending more time together
    • Failed miserably in this area

  • Reduce size by 1 dress size minimum for year
    • my weight has essentially maintained for the year, as has my size

  • Payoff at least 1 bill to make more disposable income to enjoy our 'lil family
    • actually, paid off 2 (more, but opened one back up), however, still no more disposable income yet because of job change and renter moving out in April and didn't replace the tenant until November

  • do more as a family than Friday night dinners
    • we went to several movies, Amazement Square, concerts, Safari Park drive thru zoo, 2 beach trips, Short Pump, Dave & Busters, Build a Bear, zoo, dolphin watching, Bowling, Nutcracker, Atlanta and lots of activities there, Cirque du Soleil, put in a gazebo with firepit and did weiney roasts....overall, pretty happy with our choices here

  • Get kiddo into activity for self esteem as well as distraction from stressing over her baby sis
    • we got her into softball, she ended up quitting that due to bullies, working on finding replacement for 2015

  • make sizable bonus for 2014 and participate in monthly incentives every month
    • well, I changed jobs, but it's looking up!! Changing jobs was better decision than sticking it out and making bonuses there, even if it required forfeiting several months of bonus opportunities while waiting on my branch to actually open

  • be a good leader for my team at work
    • again, changed jobs, picked my own team, we're one of the tops in the company, so I'm guessing this one is a success

  • start savings account for kiddo
    • totally forgot I made this goal, ouch!!

  • consistent savings for us, $1 first week, $2 second, etc.
    • acck!! I suck!! lol

  • Contribute to an area of passion (ie, kids backpack program, holiday gifting for kids in need, foster support)
    • renewing our foster license so we can provide respite for the baby sis
    • did holiday gifting
    • inquired on kids backpack program and leader has promised to contact us with more details on how to proceed

  • Be the best me that's possible
    • Always room to improve, but also did better than normal.  I went outside my box. I took risks.  I lead.  Changed jobs and showed my daughter it's not okay to be abused, even verbally.  Made compromises that improved the overall quality of life.



I'll be back shortly with this years goals!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Nightmares

Kiddo has been getting up several times a night for the past few weeks and was super hyper yesterday.  I asked her to calm down and tell me what was going on.  After asking a few different ways, she said she's worried.  She said she keeps having nightmares about her baby sis doing things to her new parents. She's worried that she'll never get adopted and worried that we'll make her call her back.

I reassured her that we weren't going to force her to call her sister, the option was always there, but it wasn't a mandatory "chore", that we're looking to be supportive.

She said she wants to go back to visits every few months, not every month.

I gave her ideas from my past therapy on negative thoughts and told her to repeat "it's just a dream" or "she's never done that in the past, it's not likely now" every time and for her to come to tell that instead of zombies so I can remind her and reassure her, as well as give her an extra hug.

She said she's worried S is so much like her that she'll do something like that. I asked what happened that provoked her doing that in her last home (to remind her it was self defense) and asked her how many times she'd done that to us (none).  I reminded her if she hadn't done that since then and only did in self defense, then logically it was to be expected if S is "just like her" that she would only respond like that in self defense too, instead of offensive aggression.

I asked her if she'd ever thought about doing that to us and she said no.  That was to remind her she only gets violent when somebody is violent with her and she's not a bad kid.

She was still hyper and anxious, but I think it was productive.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Avoiding the Past

After the last few sibling visits, I realized we were totally wrong for even considering adopting the baby sis. The more I see them together, the more I understand that they probably would trigger each other horribly and we'd see bad regression.

They enjoy seeing each other. They worry about each other. They love each other.

They do NOT need to be together though. S's eyes dilated beyond belief (the fight/flight, anxiety, excitement), pulling Kiddos's arm off nearly, Our daughters's distress, all of it was more obvious than normal this last visit. Kiddos's PTSD was triggered at Thanksgiving and again at Christmas. I don't usually see that during visits.

October-December, we had 3 visits together, that's way more than normal.

Kiddo moved in in December 2012.

Her first visit with baby sis after placement with us was April 2013, then June 2013, November 2013, December 2013, March 2014, May 2014, June 2014, August 2014, October 2014, November 2014 and December 2014.

I think they're too frequent now and we need to back off. As the frequency escalated, so has kiddos's anxiety.

Two recent signs of this:

I was sitting in the bathroom talking to kiddo while she was getting ready for school before winter break started and cuddling the kitten. I said something about my mom and she told me to not talk about my mom in front of the cat, it would make the cat sad and maybe she doesn't want to think about the past.

This weekend S called Kiddo and we missed the call. Kiddo refuses to call her back. No reason and I'm certainly not pushing it. I think it's obvious she's not ready for that right now, but still....I wish I had a crystal ball and knew how to handle things like this.

Sometimes our kids just want one family and would prefer not to see things from the past that are reminders of past neglect and abuse.

Kiddo has been a tad wonky since Thanksgiving. With these things, I wonder if it's because of the escalating visits.

She no longer even pulls out her life book.

I'll take the lead from Kiddo, I think instinctively she knows what she needs, I just wish she was a little more obvious about it sometimes, so I didn't feel like I was barking up the wrong tree later. Her body knows what she can handle and she may not be able to process these things at this time and stay healthy.

Even worse, it's hard because I know S is the opposite and needs more time with her, especially now, but our #1 priority is our kid and we have to protect her first.  We'll do what we can for S of course, but we have to do that around what must be done for our own child.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

She ate Santa's cookies

When a child is most undeserving of love is when she needs it the most.

Words to remember.

She's been driving us nuts for about a week now, after such a pleasant calm.

I'm trying to remember she's creeping up on the time with us that matches the time with her last disruption.  She treats us worse because losing us would hurt too much.  It's too risky to be vulnerable enough to let herself be loved as she creeps upon this traumaversary, so she's trying to be unloveable.

In a weird way, I guess it's a compliment.

How terrible it must be to live in such fear though.  I wish her brain was okay with being loved and loving back all the time, not just sometimes.

Yeah, she ate Santa's cookies, raw, uncooked dough plus the ones we had fixed. Poor Santa, but poor Kiddo for feeling the need to mess with tradition and test limits.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wanting Momma time

It's been awhile since kiddo has wanted and craved that momma/daughter time we used to have so frequently.  After she hit 13, she shut me out for awhile.  90% of that was depression and I knew it, although of course, everybody else said it was being a teenager.

She's started coming out of it though and we've spent time playing Mario together, she's requested back rubs and reading to her at night.  She's requested I fix her snack at night instead of her.  She's helped me cook a few times.  She's even climbed in bed before bedtime and asked for me to lay down with her.

Yesterday I took off of work and she claimed to be sick and wanted to stay home. I knew she was faking so I told her to go to school and the nurse would call if she needed me. Her braces knocked loose during the day and I ended up picking her up early anyway to take her to the ortho.  Ironically though, as soon as she got home, she "felt fine" and was up to jumping on the trampoline for awhile.

I was off on a hot date with hubs when we got the call from school. We were sitting there eating sushi and left to go pick her up.  She was so thrilled to find out we left from there to come get her. It made her feel important and that she was first.  (we didn't tell her we only had one piece of sushi left and popped it in our mouth and asked for the ticket quick, we did tell her about standing up to get them to rush ticket over though, she loved that and felt like her feelings really mattered).

I crave the momma/daughter time more than her, so I'm loving that I've got my daughter back, for however long I have her.

Everybody says it's because Christmas is coming. I'd like to think it's not such a shallow reason.

When she's shutting us out, it's visibly distressing to her when we try to push through, so I'm pretty sure it's real.

The Nutcracker

We have an annual tradition of going to the Nutcracker.

It started with us getting 3 tickets one year to go in hopes that our child would be found in time to go.  She wasn't, so we had a spare seat beside us.

The following year, we got 3 tickets, she still wasn't found so we took our Godson.  It was amusing to see him watching the girls, but even more so to hear hubs tease him asking if he'd have his pic taken with a ballerina.

Fast forward a year!! FINALLY!!! Our lovely daughter got to go with us.  She loved it so much she requested we make it a yearly tradition. We'd gotten in the habit, so that was pretty easy to do, we just added a tradition of getting a nutcracker there in addition to going.

This year we got 4, thinking if S wasn't with a family, we could steal her for the day. Since she is in transition, we didn't ask and asked kiddos BFF to go instead.

That was money WELL SPENT!!! Kiddo always loves it and BFF was absolutely nuts about it. They enjoyed it so much and I think we now have a new tradition to take her with us.

We got them nutcrackers too and shirts.

Here's her collection, left to right: 2014, 2013 and 2012




Thanksgiving Day

We were invited to spend Thanksgiving Day with S and her new family.

I was hesitant to say yes, thinking first overnight and not moved in yet, plus first holiday for the siblings together since being separated.

The SW though, said unless it would adversely affect kiddo, they would really appreciate it if we could say yes though, because they're struggling with convincing S that she can still see her sis after adoption and for them to have us for a holiday together would go miles to help prove their willingness to maintain the connection.

We went, we had a good time, but it was a little odd to spend Thanksgiving with people we barely know (outside of S).  They are really nice and we're optimistic that it will work.

We left when we noticed that kiddo seemed to be getting a little tired of the constant attention.  I think we'll save holiday visits for a day near the holiday instead of the actual holiday.  We all missed our traditions, totally want to spend time with them again, it was fun, just not on the holiday.

We came home and put our tree up and had our Thanksgiving meal on Saturday at home.






Sibling Visit

Kiddo's baby sis is still in visits with her future family.  We spent Thanksgiving Dinner with them and they were seeing her every other week.  This past weekend was their weekend to have her and we took kiddo and her BFF to see the Nutcracker.

Since we'd be in a central location for that, we suggested they meet us for dinner Sunday.

Saturday at 6 pm, I get a text that they beat us to the restaurant and went ahead and got us a table.  Eek!!! I was scrolling like crazy to make sure I hadn't given them Saturdays date instead of Sunday.  Thankfully it wasn't my mistake, but I sure was stressed thinking of baby S there waiting on her sister and not seeing her.

We replanned for a quick lunch before because turns out 6 pm on Sunday wasn't even good, they'd said yes thinking Saturday.  After lunch, I snookered the baby into going to see Santa with sis and BFF. We got the best pic of the 3 of them with Santa.  Memories to cherish.

First meltdown for S almost happened at lunch, but she held it together and her new dad handled it perfectly.

Kiddo said she thought S was going to pull her arm off of her though. Kiddo was so ready to get out of there, loves her sis, but gets annoyed quickly.

The more I see them together though, the more I understand the need to keep them as only children.  So glad they're close though for frequent contact.

The girls exchanged presents and S went all out on Kiddo's gift. We kinda did for S, but that's normal for us, S spent her own money, plus made cookies.

I wish there wasn't so much guilt with those 2 and so much triggering.  They adore each other and didn't deserve to be put in this situation. The first 2 pics are what Kiddo received from S, I forgot to take a pic of what she gave S, other than the picture she made her, so sweet.






Jessica Elf

Wow!! I've been lazy, it's been over 3 weeks since I've posted here. I may have to go back and figure out where I left off so I can catch up.

Lots of facebook posts of people elves on a shelf. I can not for the life of me figure out why people would waste a bunch of sugar for snow angels, go to the trouble of decorating cheerios for donuts and most of all have their elves do mischievious things instead of setting good examples.

Our elf has been kiddo's "friend" since day 1, her secret keeper, a way to get messages to Santa and stuff like that instead of shaming her.  Although last night for the first time, after getting annoyed with repeated food binging in the middle of the night, Jessica ended up on the fridge door. No shame, but at least a way to make it more difficult to open the door unnoticed.

Sometimes I wonder if the food issues will ever stop.

We can't lock it up, that would be counter productive and make her feel unsafe.  Having so much food available helps her feel safe. The downside is that if she wakes up in the middle of the night and gets stressed, without us or the pups awake to help remind her of healthy coping skills, she binges on unhealthy stuff, raw dough mostly.

If anybody has ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments.

She has a snack box. She has approved foods, we only ask that she doesn't eat stuff like that. We've even asked that she wake us up for us to cook it, but when she's stressed her brain doesn't operate as it should.

Oh wait!! This was suppose to be about Jessica, right?


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Being Thankful

So many people on facebook are doing the daily thankful challenge. Not really much of a challenge for me, I'm thankful every day, but is IS alot of fun and I enjoy coming up with different things that I'm thankful for and how to express them.

Here's a few things I'm thankful for, some that I posted on facebook, others not:


thankful for our beautiful, amazing daughter that I fell in love before I even saw her....
Our baby girl an amazing young lady that is a ton of fun to be with, strong, funny, kind to animals and very loved. I enjoy momma/daughter time with her as well as family time. I love when we go swimming, hang out in the gazebo, watch movies, go to shows/concerts/trips, read Arlo, play yoshi, hammock time, giggle together over nothing or something, and more. I fall more and more in love with her every day and she will ALWAYS be my baby girl, love herto the moon and back, infinity and beyond.


I'm so thankful for my hubby, who makes me laugh daily and today and many days he makes me laugh until I cry. He's my best friend, he's with me through thick and thin, puts up with me and is a good daddy to our daughter and the furkids. He'd move heaven and earth for our family and I appreciate his commitment and passion for his beliefs


obviously I'm thankful that our home was blessed with adoption, but I'm also thankful that our baby's little sister is currently having visits with a family that has a desire to create a forever home for her and I'm thankful for friends that I've met because of the adoption journey and that I have friends that have a heart for these special kiddos!!Our daughter has calmed down a TON since this has happened. It's been stressful to be the big sis and handle that guilt/worry over her sis.


thankful that our daughter has been using her words more than actions lately and letting us know things she needs (ie. last year we went to the parade because we thought she'd enjoy it, this year she asked us to not "make her go", she didn't really enjoy the crowds, so we went to the movies and dinner instead and had a nice family day)


thankful that our daughter let me kiss her on the head when I left for work without pulling away (very unusual)

thankful that we were invited to baby sis's new families Thanksgiving so that the girls could celebrate their first holiday together since being separated

thankful that we were invited to the Governors Mansion for the Adoption event. Out of 418 adoptions in Virginia in 2013, 20 families were chosen to this event and we were one. I think it helped our daughter to see she's not alone and see how important she really is. 1) an event celebrating her and others like her and 2) that we thought it was important enough to drive 3 1/2 hours to go to it. She dressed up like a girl with no real complaint and was the prettiest girl there, lol (she said I owed her for dressing and behaving like a girl for the night)


I'm thankful that we've found a trustworthy babysitter for the pets so we can continue doing weekend activities without worrying about the babies. I know Lucifer and Arlo in particular love their sitter. He spends quality time with the crazy pets and they don't seem stressed at all when we come home, happy to see us, but zero stress and that's important for all of us. Lee sends photo updates while we're gone, which we all love, especially our baby. They're family, but can't go on trips with us After mom died, we were worried we'd never find the right sitter that would make our babies comfortable with us being gone, so it's nice to know they're being loved on. When we got back from Atlanta last weekend, the pups told us they got lots of treats.

thankful for technology. How fun are google, facebook, digital cameras, cell phones, gps, and more (if I'm honest, digital camera is probably my favorite cool thing)


despite my whining about the cold, I really am grateful that we don't have to heat our house the old time way. My "Granny Grunt" used to cut a tree and put the trunk thru the door and scoot it in the wood stove a little at a time. So glad we have modern conveniences to keep us warm and not have to get out in the cold unless we want to....warm house, heat pump, gas and electric fireplaces and lots of warm blankets on the bed. I'm not the muscle woman she was, nor the resourceful woman that could always make something out of nothing!! and for a Keurig to make quick hot Earl Grey tea to warm me up.


thankful that after 7 months, we have a new tenant for mommys home, giving us the money to keep her house in good shape and the rest for the spoil the daughter fund. If this tenant stays the same time that the last one did, they'll likely be the last one and kiddo will be the next one to live here

I'm thankful she wants to live next door to us when she grows up and that the cycle continues

National Adoption Day

There are currently 895 children up for adoption in the state of Virginia, 142 of those are advertised on adoptuskids.org

I'd like to think that the rest aren't advertised because they're matched and pending adoption finalization or in visits with their future family now.

But, realistically, I think somebody has dropped the ball here.

We waited nearly 3 years to be matched with our daughter. The first time she was up for adoption and TPR had just happened was almost exactly the timing when we were approved, but we had no idea she even existed.

We went to an Adoption Awareness event at the Governors Mansion this week and it's very exciting that the governor has a task force in place to create awareness around the need, but the 20 families invited had all had finalizations in the past year. It was a great place to celebrate, but really preaching to the choir.

If only we could create the passion 12 months a year to find these kiddos a forever home.  A forever home can make all the difference in the world for a child and for the future of our communities.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Adoption Awareness

418 children were adopted in the state of Virginia in 2013.

Kiddo was one of those 418.

20 of those families were invited to the Governors Mansion last night for an adoption awareness event. We were one of those.

We went and an amazing time was had. The mansion was beautiful, it was fun getting to meet the governor and to meet his dog.


There was a lot of good food, all kid friendly. The homemade potato chips were awesome, as well the pigs in a blanket. A couple of the kids ended up feeding the dog, or maybe the dog stole the food. Either way, we got a case of the giggles!
It was great hearing adoptees speak and hear the governor speak about the importance of our children on the future.  It brought another closeness and kiddo even snuggled to daddy on the way back to the hotel
A long drive, but so worth it, just one more way to show kiddo how special we think she is and that she's not alone in the journey.

One adoptee got up and spoke and said she was adopted at age 14 and told just a touch of her horror story before finding her family. Another got up and introduced herself as the other ones sister and said after 3 failed matches, they put her back with her big sister and how much they love their family.

Lots of swag too.  One bag for kiddo and one bag for mommy and daddy to share.  We even got a $25 gift card for Food Lion to put towards a holiday meal.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Holiday Anticipation

Our 3rd Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, and while kiddo hasn't had any meltdowns regarding those holidays or expressed any concern, I can't say I've seen any real excitement looking forward to Christmas, some, but not like most kids.

The first year, she asked for nothing for Christmas.

The second year, she refused to make a list and maybe 3-4 days before Christmas rattled off about 3 things she wanted.

This year, she said she's looking forward to Christmas and she made a list of 13 items.  She was going to list 10, but decided since she's 13, 13 was a good number of things to put on her list, but that she got more than that the last two years, so more was fine too.  13 was just a goal.  That was her goal of what to ask for but it took forever for her to come up with 13 things.

What she wants: heart jeans (which I cannot find anyway and have no clue what she's even talking about), nail polish, hair bows, hoodies, shorts, XBox games, Mario Kart for her 3DS she got last year, reborn baby, jewelry, a stuffed pony, cool hats, boots and Wii games.

The jeans she may be out of luck on.  I got her a huge stuffed giraffe instead that I used the last of my reward points at my old job on right before leaving.  It's 4 feet tall. I doubt she'll miss the pony since she only said that because there was a pony sticker on the paper she made the list on.

I don't think we got her any Wii games that I remember, but I did get quite a few DS games.  The cool hats we haven't gotten yet either. I've never seen a girl love caps and crazy hats as much as her.  Santa is bringing 2 pair of boots and daddy just got her 2 pair last weekend. Boot crazy!!

She said this morning she's looking forward to sleeping in on Christmas break and watching scary movies with her puppies.

It's so good to see her looking forward to something in the future.  It's such progress.

Moms of teenage girls, do you know what she means by light heart jeans? She said they have pretty hearts on the back pockets. I'm having ZERO luck.  She usually doesn't ask for much so even though we always go overboard, her not asking for much out of us makes me want to get them bad.

It's also very unusual to ask for clothing as a gift.  Our baby is growing up.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thanksgiving and Sibling Visits

A little apprehensive, but the girls are about to spend their first holiday together since being separated from each other.

S is still in visits with her future family, however, it's been recommended to them that they find as many ways to show S that they will continue contact with her big sis.

Her attachment issues are much more severe than C's and they said honestly, S wouldn't do any attaching during the visits leading up to moving in with the new family anyway, so all they could hope for was building trust and showing S they mean what they say.

In S's case, the #1 fear she has about adoption is never seeing her big sis again.  Despite that we continue to take kiddo all over the state to have visits with S and she's been with us 2 years and adoption finalized a year ago, she thinks it'll be different once they're both adopted and apparently she's finally confessed to her therapist that is the reason she keeps doing things to disrupt her placements.

Kiddo squealed when we listed to the message on the voice mail last night asking us to join S's new family for Thanksgiving dinner.  At least it'll be at their house so if they end up triggering each other, we can leave instead of having to kick a family out of our house.

I do think this will work the more I've thought about it, but my initial reaction when we were asked a few weeks back to spend time at Thanksgiving with their family was "WTH?"

There is no way I'd have shared kiddo our first Thanksgiving with another family barely known. The timeline for S and kiddo's visits run lateral, just 2 years apart, so I'm getting all silly, sappy and sentimental with each of their visits remembering our journey.  Our first Thanksgiving one of kiddo's new cousins stopped by to meet her, but most of the day it was just us 3.

Maybe a new tradition, maybe a chance to create a different tradition. No hanging out in PJ's all day for kiddo while daddy cooks this year though.



Monday, November 10, 2014

First Famliversary

well, not really.

She's been here almost 2 years now, but this weekend was the 1 year anniversary of finalization of her adoption.

To celebrate, we gave her some choices of what she'd like for us to do.  She decided a trip to Atlanta would be fun and a once in a lifetime thing, because we "go to the beach all the time".

That struck our funny bone, since Atlanta is not much further and we don't go to the beach all the time.

We let her invite BFF to go with us.  Not sure I'd take 2 teens to a big city again before they grow up a little more emotionally, but overall it was a fun trip.

We got down there Friday (and both girls skipped school for the day) and went to Skyview and rode the ferris wheel (both me and kiddo's favorite part of the trip).

Saturday was insanely packed.  We went to World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Olympic Park, an attempt to go shopping and just in general had a packed day.  The aquarium was cool, but insanely packed. I was really worried that kiddo would struggle with it and I'm sure she did, but she did a good job managing her emotions and getting it done.

Sunday, her BFF wanted to shop on the way home and she agreed.  We went to a Flea Market and then Tanger Outlet. The Flea Market was crazy busy and had some trigger profiled people and we could see kiddo getting a little quiet and not interested in yoshi's or headphones, clear indicator that we needed to get out quick.  We got out and she visibly relaxed and no backlash.

We stopped at Fuddruckers and it was crazy busy there too so we ate outside.  Again, a little agitation when she saw the crowd and heard the noise, but calmed down after we moved outside.

Overall, I'm so super impressed with how well our kiddo did.

BFF, on the other hand, drove us a little nuts.

When we got ready to go shopping, she started flirting with the valet guy.

When we were at a traffic light, she started to go and we stopped her from walking across. A weird conversation took place on why the lights were the color they were and she said "Oh, that's because only white people can cross here" Yes, in Atlanta. We were so upset with her and she didn't get it.  She thought because she has an AA dad and an AA boyfriend, that it was okay to say it. We had to explain that the crowd near us has no idea of her history and that it wasn't intended to be racist and that it's a racist comment even if not intended, because of the perception and how dangerous it was.

She was visibly agitated at leaving the flea market so quick and didn't realize kiddo was struggling.

She led her away from us a couple times.

We had to lay down some rules and she got frustrated that we wouldn't let them walk around the hotel unattended to cool down, but after all that, no way could we be sure she'd be careful and safe.

Better safe than sorry.

Overall though, we all had a fun time. The girls were spoiled rotten.  We enjoyed our adventures and looking forward to more adventures.

When we got home, our baby said "I'm so glad to be HOME!!"

There is nothing better than hearing your struggling daughter say HOME and realize she means right here!!

Healing daily and continuously.

Love that kid!!




Things That Make Your Kid Happy

There has been something surrounding crock pots with our daughter, but 2 years in, we still have no clue what it is.

Tonight, we got ready to have dinner and she was SOOOOOOOOOOO close to having a meltdown when she found out it was beef stew.  She said "NO!!! I hate it, I hate it!" until I calmed her down by saying "Baby, calm down a minute and listen to momma.  I just want you to know you do not have to eat it, but no snacking, however, you need to know this wasn't fixed in a crock pot. We decided we are getting rid of the crock pots".

The light in her eyes was worth a million bucks.

She ate the stew and liked it.

I wonder if we'll ever know the connection.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat

After 26 years in finance, I finally got to celebrate Halloween.

In the world of finance, month end = crazy.

Many years I'd be stuck in the office until 9:00.

This year, I'm still in finance, but I started my own branch from the ground up, with my own people.  We made a commitment that our new world was going to be different than our old world. That's the reason we left the rat race that is a four letter word place.

Tonight we all left the office at 5:30.

My lovely daughter is 13, but that didn't prevent me from taking her out to have fun.  We went to her BFF's, picked her up and had their family follow us to trunk or treat.  Kiddo carried BFF's youngest sis around the whole time, we laughed, the girls got candy and when it was done, BFF's family headed back home without bff and bff came home with us.

We had zombie meatloaf, that looked nothing like the pinterest version, but it was fun and yummy at least. We had fingers on the side dipped in blood and true blood to drink. I even got the girls cool Halloween cups. Katabooty had to eat the middle finger, weird kid.

The girls stayed up and watched scary movies.

My baby dressed as Hello Kitty.

It's been a good night.

Halloween 2012, kiddo was still in residential and we just had met her. She didn't get to celebrate Halloween that year. She did give us a candy eye ball though as her first gift to her new parents.

Halloween 2013, the Saturday before, we had a wedding, but we snuck by for some candy at the baseball field.  Halloween she had therapy lined up, which we didn't cancel in favor of Halloween because of some issues going on (S being disrupted from her adoptive placement at the same time we were getting ready to finalize, creating big feelings) and being less than 2 weeks from finalizing adoption and her needing that extra support to realize we weren't going to give up on her.  And, I worked in the finance version of Hell and didn't get home until 9:30 or later.

Today was great.  What a difference a year makes!

What did your kids do for Halloween? How will you celebrate when they're too old to trick or treat? We snuck kiddo and BFF in thru the use of BFF's 2 baby sisters, but at some point, I think they'll be skipping that part in favor of staying here watching movies. I read something fun tonight where one persons teenagers went door to door saying "Trick or can" and collected food for the needy.

Kiddo is much too shy to have the conversation and hid in the background with the babies saying trick or treat for her tonight, so I don't see that being easy, but it has possibilities.





New Family

Wednesday we let kiddo skipp school and trekked the 3 1/2 hours to go have a playdate with S.

Why would we drive that far on a school day for a sibling visit?

S has a new family lined up and they're in visits.  This was to give us a chance as families to get to know each other a little bit, make it less anxiety provoking for S and let us talk a little about how to keep the girls connection together.

We really liked the new family.

Really good vibes.

Really hopeful.

It surprised me when they walked in and S immediately went and hugged them.  Even kiddo said she's never done that before.  They said S had called them 3 times already.  The day we met with them was only S's second time ever spending time with them.

The plan is for them to have visits and S move in in January.  It's going to be nice having her that close.

They also want to meet up, at least briefly, over Thanksgiving.  The girls have gone so long without holidays together, they said they'd love to plan a holiday together.

I'm leaning towards telling them to just visit each other and work on bonding and we'll catch up later, but part of me thinks it'd be pretty cool to invite them over for a holiday.  We shall see.  Still a little time to think that over.

Kiddo has been much "lighter" since the visit. She said on the way out that day that she liked the new family and thinks that maybe this one has the potential to work out.

This morning she made me cry happy tears. She said S with the new family reminded her of her and us, feeling that instant connection, that kiddo acted totally different towards us than any other family she'd ever been with too because it felt right right away.

Be still, my heart! I'm melting.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

If I could take it away.....

Being a trauma momma is a hard job sometimes.

Being a mom to a depressed teenager is even harder.

There is absolutely nothing I wouldn't do to make things better.

Kiddo has been depressed for awhile and starts feeling better and then has another trigger or something and her mood goes downhill.

School called me yesterday because she felt so depressed she was in the nurses office ready to cry and requested we bring her an anti depressant to see if that'd help.  By the time hubs got there, kiddo was crying big time.  He wasn't able to just leave her, no way could we just leave her at school feeling like that, so he brought her home and let her take a relaxing bath and then rest up.

She says she doesn't know why. Maybe she does. Maybe she doesn't.  Whether she does or not, I know it kills me to see her hurting.  I'd take that pain from her in a second if I could.

She sailed on me when I got home as if she hadn't seen me in a month, hugged me tight and asked for momma/daughter time.

Before bedtime, she laid down in our bed and said she was going to sleep with us. We said okay, but then she said she was going to her own room, but may come back and told us both she loved us and good night.

It's not like her to initiate the "love yous" except during silly times.

I'm glad she's at least looking to us when she feels bad now instead of completely internalizing it. Now, next step, looking to us AND sharing.

Baby steps!!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Social Worker Visit

So we are renewing our license.  Crazy us.

The social worker visited this week, along with a new team member that she was training.

It was good seeing this one again, this one was the good one that genuinely cared about kiddo and us and wanted nothing more than to see us succeed.

It was funny getting to talk to her after this long.

Our foster experience with kiddo was cut off at 5th grade graduation when the adoption papers were signed (although it was 6 long months before our court date).

SW essentially missed her whole 6th grade year, except for court for the adoption, which she cared enough to drive almost 4 hours just to come for.

She talked to us, she talked to kiddo.  She laughed about some of the things we went thru and her first impression of us as a family.

We were cracking up. I'd totally forgotten about some of the stuff.

It brought to light that despite all the crazies we've been dealing with lately with kiddo's emotions, she has really come a LONG way.

So blessed!!

2 years ago today.....

10 days after being interviewed for our cutie pie, we were invited to come look at her file and talk to her therapist.

After meeting her therapist and telling the social worker, we definitely wanted to proceed, they offered to let us meet our daughter.

A small underweight 11 year old walked into the room, hair tossled as if she'd just woken up, clothes way too big for her.

It was love at first sight.

I knew at that moment we were meant to be.

So much has happened in 2 years and it's been an amazing ride, can't wait to see what this year brings!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Big Feelings

I picked up on this, but didn't bring it to kiddo's attention because I didn't want her feeling guilty or backtracking, I wanted her pure honest thoughts.

When asking what was wrong Sunday night, she said she's worried this new family may give up on S like all the others did.  I thought it was interesting that she didn't say "I'm upset that S is not moving in with us"

We went to therapy Monday night and kiddo put her legs on me and just wanted to be all over me during the session and trying to divert.

Eventually though, with pieces here and there, her therapist says after asking about her guilt "I wonder if you also kinda like having momma and daddy to yourself". She admitted that she thought she'd struggle sharing us and the furkids.

The therapist led her to the answers to realize that she need not feel guilty about those feelings, that it didn't contribute to us not adopting S, that that wasn't in her control.  Her feelings are just that, feelings.

So, whether right or wrong, I confessed to her....when we were considering adopting S, I was feeling a little twinge of "I dont want to share my baby" either.  I love our closeness and I was fearful that the family dynamics would change with another child, yet, I was willing and wanted to do whatever was best for both girls and would embrace our new reality should it become sensible to go that route.

Kiddos reaction...."MOMMA!!!" and laughter!!

I think she secretly enjoyed knowing I wanted her to be my baby.

Things have been pretty good since, but wondering what tonight will bring.

Even though we withdrew our request for adopting S awhile back, our fear is that families will continue to struggle with her, so we're renewing our foster care/adopt license so that we can be a resource for S's new family and take her overnight or weekends before their adoption is final and give everybody a break.

This may trigger some big feelings. We will get through them though.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Giving Up

Kiddo is doing a good job of using her coping skills, with 4 showers yesterday, but at 8 pm still no talking.

When I finished laundry, she took her laundry basket and said she'd put her own clothes up.

Momma spidey sense said "uh oh, reason she doesn't want me in her room?"

I went in during her fourth shower and almost all her pictures were turned face down.

Not really sure what that means.

Our family pic collage was still up and her digital frame was still up, but the rest were faced flat down (including BFF and sister)

I decided to wait for her and ask.

First she said she didn't know what was wrong, until I pointed out I noticed the photos down. Then she said she's worried about S.  She said she's worried this new family that was chosen for S will not work out and that they'll give up like everybody else has.

We had a good long talk. She had a headache last night and stayed up for awhile because she couldn't sleep, but I felt like our talk was productive.

Now, to see if that helps how she's doing and if we see our old cheerful kiddo again soon.

So worried for my baby, my heart breaks daily to see her sad.

Lockdown at School

The local news station announced yesterday that kiddo's school was on lockdown due to an "issue" with a young female student.

Then a separate announcement about a child running away.

I went in panic mode.

kiddo's MO used to be running away before she moved in with us.  She's been a little wonky lately so I got alarmed.  Realistically I knew they'd call me if it was my child, but usually I get calls about the lockdown drills and didn't get a call, so I worried something had happened.

Funny how you think you're convinced of healing in a certain area but when you hear of that behavior, you realize you're not.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Proud Momma Moment!

Parent/teacher conferences were Thursday.

We went and I loved hearing about what a joy kiddo is to have in class.  She's always struggled with school some and in 5th grade when she first got here, she didn't behave at school at all. We were constantly getting calls.

One of her teachers said "You two should have more kids, we need more kids like kiddo around".

and "Kiddo is so polite and listens well" (cough, cough, who is this and what happened to my daughter?)

"Kiddo participates so well in class and while she seems to struggle with tests, she knows the answers, she volunteers first in class all the time".

So proud of our baby girl.

B average for this semester.  She's come so far.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Stressful Weekend

We went to the zoo Saturday and as we were walking around and I'm hearing parents fussing at their kids and kids getting whiny and grouchy,  I was wondering why so many people call the zoo a happy place. I was thinking I was glad Kiddo is older and enjoying it.

I thought too soon.  Not long thereafter, she started getting tired and grouchy, causing some dysregulation.

We got home and thought things had calmed down and kiddo asked for her meds a little early for a Saturday and said she was going to bed early.  I went in her room and she was crying. When I asked what was going on, she started screaming and yelling.

Daddy went in and she screamed and yelled some more.

There was no calming her down and by this time I was worked up and crying and hyperventilating.

It was not a pretty sight.

She screamed, yelled, kicked the wall, threw her soda bottle against the floor and was actually scaring me pretty badly how upset she was.

She would scream. Daddy kept repeating over and over again "Kiddo, I love you very much".

We reminded her to use her coping skills and she screamed some more.  She said she was mad that I turned her radio down when I came in and music was a coping skill.  I explained I turned it down so I could hear her and that when we left she could turn it back up, but we were there to see what was wrong.

I suggested she take a shower (another coping skill), listen to some music and come when she's ready to talk, but not to lash out at us for being worried about her.

As of this morning, she still says she has no idea what was going on.

So worried about how upset she's been lately.

I'm guessing it's about her sister, but I really don't know.  I wish I knew. I wish I could help. I feel so helpless.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Matched!!

We got word today that the family in question has reviewed S's file and has decided to move forward towards adoption.

I was excited about the idea of it and scared to death that they would end up calling us after we agreed to be a resource.

So, why am I sad right now?

We always only wanted 1 child. We always felt like an only child was just right. We've almost always felt like part of the reason she's done so well with us is because she has had individual attention.

so, why am I sad right now?

more importantly though, if I'm feeling sad, what is my baby feeling?

We broke the news to her tonight that her baby sis has finally been matched with a home....the good news....she's only going to be an hour away!!! She handled the news very well.  She's a touch sad and I can tell she's feeling some anxiety, but so glad she'll be close.

Super excited about that!!

Since S is apprehensive about being part of a family and only wants to be here, we've agreed to be a part of the transition process.

S will be meeting her future family soon for a quick meet and greet, but the first or second play date, we'll be meeting up and doing a joint family activity for both our families so she can relax and see she'll still have time with her big sis and that we're all committed to keeping that bond strong.

Praying and hoping for a successful forever home this time (even if we are a tad sad).

Here's to hoping for a happy future for both girls, forever and always!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

On a Brighter Note....PET THERAPY!!!

Dr Burns and Dr Sam would say get rid of the negative thoughts (ie. my depressive thought about being so inadequate and not being able to help my baby) by replacing them with positive thoughts (that we're both better off because our pets are good therapy)

Meet Arlo. Arlo is our 4 year old American Eskimo Dog.  He wrote kiddo a letter when she was in residential before she came home, introducing himself and letting her know how excited he was to get a sister and how he hoped she was wanting a fuzzy brother like him.  He's been instrumental in helping kiddo with how well she's done so far....

One of kiddo's "requirements" of a family was it be a family with a dog, she has always adored dogs and he's one of her "coping skills".  They "got married" with him wearing her Yoshi shirt and her wearing my wedding dress, while playing dress up. He will not swim with us, but he'll play in the snow and chase snowballs all day.




Happily, she fell in love with Bonkers pretty quickly too.  Bonkers is our 12 year old cat, we inherited from my mother. Bonkers, however, was not amused to have a sister that dressed her in baby clothes and pushed her around in baby carriages.

 


One of my favorite memories is kiddo's first night with us.  She came in our room late and woke us up and asked me to come "get this crazy cat, she's scaring me, attacking my stuffed animals".  She'd given her a TON of catnip right before bed. Lesson learned. 

Those are the 2 pets she had to greet her when she first came home.


Our pet lover wanted more though.  While we were on our first family vacation, we found out about a bengal (1/2 Asian snow leopard) that was looking for a forever home.  The day after we got home from the beach and I went back to work, Daddy and Kiddo made the trip to Maryland to get this crazy bengal.  She was 3 at the time (4 now) and we named her Rocza.  Rocza and kiddo are kindred spirits.  Very much tomboys, climbing over everything, very chatty.  Rocza doesn't "get" love.  Kiddo said they are alot alike, they don't "not" love, but they don't really know how to show it that well and feign independence.  Crazy cat even climbs on the jungle gym with her.




and last, but not least, despite that the bengal was adopted on the spur of the moment, that didn't get us out of the promised dog.  

We promised kiddo a puppy when the adoption was final.  It took several months after finalization to find the perfect puppy, but meet Lucifer, our Siberian Husky.....Kiddo's pride and joy. Luce looks up to kiddo like she hung the moon and these two are never far from each other.  This one is the crazy pup and he just turned 9 months old this month. Lucifer goes swimming with us, he naps in the hammock with us, claims a couch when watching movies and even gets in the shower with Kiddor.  

He even jumps on the trampoline with her. 






So, this is life in our household.  Our pets are great for all of us and help us get thru the bad spots.  They'll help us this time too.

(she's even adopted a terrapin from the yard before as well)

Depression Sucks!

Oh wait!! This is the second time I've titled my post that way recently.

Well, it does.

I've been battling mine worse lately and decided to take today off to regroup and try to get my bearings back so I can help kiddo with hers.

I was right about something going on.....

turns out for about a week, she's been going in the bathroom and spitting out her meds after taking them. That's why she's not sleeping.

She said it was because she's been having nightmares.

This morning she was off the wall with crazies before school and on the way to school started crying so much and said she's been feeling really depressed the last 2 months and was afraid to tell me because she was afraid we'd be mad at her.

Calling psych to get her an appointment to review meds and see if she needs a different med or a different dose of the med she's on.

I pulled over immediately, hugged her and told her I will NEVER be mad at her for telling me how she's feeling and being honest.  I get angry when she's not telling me the truth, but something like this, she should NOT be dealing with alone.

I asked if she knew what her trigger was.  So far, she claims it's "just" missing her sister, as if that isn't enough.

I suggested a playdate, but I haven't heard back on that.

I'm trying to straighten up the house because when the house isn't chaos, my brain doesn't feel so chaotic.  I think I'll start with her room instead of leaving it though, because maybe having a freshly cleaned room will help her as well.

Now, to battle the depression enough to get the energy to do something around here today. I really just want to sleep the day away.

So worried about my baby girl.  I hate that she's feeling like this and my heart is breaking.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Feeling Helpless

Char called daddy today from school to pick her up early.  She felt bad.

He picked her up, but miraculously, she was better really quick after leaving school.  Hubs took her out for a snack hoping that the drive and going to eat would get her to open up. That's when she normally opens up.

Something is bugging her, but she still hasn't come out with it.  I asked when she was going to tell me what was on her mind and she said she didn't know.  I asked her if she knew she wouldn't be judged and she said yes. I asked her if she knew that if it was something I could help with, that I would. She said yes. I asked her if she knew that even if it wasn't something I could help with, sharing would give her somebody to help her carry the burden.  She said yes, and left the room.

She was so done with my prying.

Later she asks me to fix her something to drink. I told her I'd trade her for a "hint".

She said "School is getting harder".

Not buying it, but going to pry some more later.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Eating Issues....

sometimes I wonder if and when the eating issues will ever be resolved.

We try so hard and I know her HEAD knows that we'll always feed her and that she'll never do without, but her poor little body's memory still betrays her.

Friday night in the middle of the night, our daughter came into our room and hugged me and said she had a nightmare about Arlo starving to death and Lucifer eating him.  We responded with "Oh baby, I hope you know that nobody living here will ever starve, there is always food available".

Her response "Yes, I know, okay".

The next morning there was ZERO ice cream in the house, she'd binge ate it all after the rest of us went back to sleep.

That day, I found a can of spaghetti o's in her playroom.

Today, the crescent rolls are missing again.

It makes me so sad that she has had so much neglect that she still worries, after this much time, that things will go back to her not having enough to eat and feeling that she has to hoard food.

I cry for every moment like this that we experience, because I relive feeling pain for her that she's felt so much of her life.

If only there were a magic wand to get her through all this.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bullying

I know it's going on and I know my daughter isn't telling us everything.

Last night she was telling us about her ex boyfriend making racial slurs towards her new boyfriend.

Last week she was telling me that the kids in her gym class make fun of her about her weight.

That's ALL she's mentioned.

But, twice in the past 2 weeks she's wanted to stay home, sick.  The second time we didn't fall for it, but the first time we let her stay home.

She made these while at home that day:




This last one was to me and daddy, the others I found in the bathroom.



Loss and Grief


I left my previous job in April, after nearly 26 years.

It’s been so exciting to start a career with a new company, whose beliefs line up with mine and really believe it’s all about the people.

This was really a big deal.  I used to be the poster child for loyalty for my old company. I used to joke that I’d get a tattoo with the company logo on it……so glad I didn’t now.

When I left, I took 2 great employees with me.  One of them struggled a little with leaving and felt sad, while still excited.

It wasn’t until this past weekend that I had any feelings of sadness.

As I mentioned before, we recently renovated our dining room and living room, just finishing the floors last week.  As I brought things back into the house and placing them in their appropriate spots, all the awards I had won from my previous job were in a box and I was placing them with care.
Symbolically, I was going to get them all to fit in the bottom few shelves and leave the top shelf for awards from my new company.

As I thought about that, the tears finally came. It’s been over 5 months since I’ve left and I finally started crying and grieving for this significant change in my life.

I don’t regret the move a bit. I’m much happier where I’m at. 

I was grieving for what could have been though. Things used to be so much better with the last company than they are for employees now. It makes me sad how the human element is missing altogether now, and of course, their results are nowhere near as good as they were when they took care of their employees.

I can imagine this is similar to what our kids that are adopted from foster care feel.

It’s okay to be happy with your new family, being loved, being spoiled and still grieve and feel sad, despite the abuse in the past.  The first families should have taken care of these babies. There should be no need for foster care. I grieve for the childhood my child never had.  I know she grieves even more.

Of course, most of the kids adopted from foster care have behavior issues, they’re grieving.  It’s still a loss even if it’s a life you want to continue to experience.  These kids loved their biological parents and the bio’s in many cases loved these kids too, they just didn’t know how to love the correct way.

So as I grieve over the life with the company that had bosses that mistreated me, I understand so much better how my child can still grieve for those that didn’t protect her as a child.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Update on Baby Sis.....

Sometimes I wonder if kiddo just "feels" things.

I asked kiddo what was on her mind Saturday when she was acting so out of sorts.  She said she's worried about her baby sis and worried that they will not let us adopt S because C doesn't want to move out of her bedroom.

I'm thinking that was an indirect way of saying she'd prefer to stay an only child and just have frequent playdates where they get along so well all the time instead of fighting while living together.

Ironically, the same day, I got an email that they may have found a potential home for S. Nothing is definite yet, so we're not talking about it yet because we don't want to stress our baby out wondering and worrying about S and whether she'll be rejected once again.

Once it's more in stone, we'll work out a playdate hopefully and get some of these big feelings resolved.

This will be an ongoing battle and no matter whether S is here or somewhere else, C is going to have big feelings around it, alot of guilt and alot of worry.

I wish I could take some of the load off her poor little shoulders.

It's nothing either have done, but what was done to them that causes this challenging situation.



Thinking, Feeling, Doing.....

This weekend we got finished with our floors and have some new furniture too.

Over the weekend, we had several times of spending time watching movies together as a family, which we haven't done in ages.

Tonight, we had dinner at the table (which is embarrassingly unfortunate that we only do about once a week).  After dinner, we played the therapy game.

Kiddo loves the game, but also always gets a little dysregulated with it.  Working on trying to convince her answering the questions and thinking about them is okay, that it's okay to have feelings.  She's a little diversion artist.

It was nice to talk over dinner and listen to her talk about her new boyfriend of the week and what's going on at school and her actually talk about something important to her to us.

She went on her first field trip yesterday since she's lived with us and that was weird for me, but she did fine with it.  I was regretting not finding out in advance and planning for background checks and being chaperone, but I think she enjoyed the ride with friends and the out of the ordinary.

However, this morning she did NOT want to go to school. She still claims she felt bad/sick, but it just doesn't ring true.  Something is going on and she's not talking yet.  She's starting to talk a little though so maybe soon instead of through behaviors.

Maybe we'll play her therapy game again tomorrow.

It really is nice.  While she normally can't get thru the whole thing completely regulated, we do get to have a few good conversations from it and when it's our turn, we get to teach and model appropriate reactions.

Looking forward to more family time coming soon.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Thoughtful Baby.....

Something is up with babygirl. She's not saying what yet, hoping it doesn't come out negatively when it does. I keep letting her know we're here when/if she's ready to talk about it, but no words yet.

This weekend, we finished our reno project and started bringing our stuff back in the house. Both Saturday AND Sunday kiddo requested family time and all to watch a movie together.  This is a big deal. She enjoys our Friday family night, but usually just plays off and on alone with the occassional visit with us during normal time.  In addition, the 3 of us went antique shopping together.  She ended up enjoying it and finding 2 antique dolls and a high chair.  She said she's ready to take up that habit with us now.

It was so nice to have so much togetherness and so little bickering.

BUT....I hurt my back getting the stuff back in the house in between the quality family time.

This morning I had to break the news to her that while I was willing to stay in the bathroom, I would not be able to wash her hair for her in the tub, she'd need to take a shower.  We had about 2 seconds of "ahhh...." and she cut it off before it turned to a whine.  She said "Okay momma, but you don't have to stay in here, go lay down and rest your back til time to go".

When I got home tonight, it's STILL ridiculous and she said while we were serving up dinner, "Momma, remember when you hurt your ankle?

me: "Yeah....." (wondering where this is going)
kiddo: "Remember what I said?"
Daddy: "it'll feel better when it quits hurting?"
kiddo: "No, I said I'd be momma's servant, well, momma, that holds true for now too while your back is hurting, just don't be needy"

lol.....my crazy kid, really, don't be needy.  I'll take it, it's rare to have her volunteering for helping with something

Daddy: "Maybe you should loan momma your bell?" (not sure if I mentioned the bell before, it's for her to prevent yelling across the house after bedtime if she needs us)
Kiddo: "Well, daddy, let's not get crazy about it"


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Thankfulness.....

the author of my favorite blog challenged her readers in this to share their thankfuls:
http://lastmom.com/thanksgiving-thursday-im-thankful-daughter/#comments

So, here it goes.

Like last mom, I'm totally addicted to my daughter. She's my love and my baby, even if she is a teenager ;)

I'm thankful:


  • she enjoys mommy/daughter time enough that despite being a normal teenager, at least once a week, she'll request some extra time with me!!
  • she was willing to give us a chance as her family, despite how many people have let her down in the past....chaos was the norm, not the exception previously
  • she continues to try so hard to heal
  • she chose a good example for her best friend, making it easier for her to know how to relate to kids her age and not get sucked into bad peer pressure
  • she's tolerate and open.....she's not judgmental at all and she believes firmly in equality for all people
  • she forgives me when I make mistakes
  • she's AMAZING with the pets and I've never had to worry about their safety (which is a real concern for a lot of kids diagnosed RAD)
  • she's not a couch potato and likes activity
  • she enjoys doing many of the same things we do, she's not just humoring us going to concerts, plays and more!
  • she's funny and gets us! 

Therapy Pets

It was suggested before we adopted kiddo, that a therapy dog may be a great plan for her and that Arlo would fit the bill based on his personality.

It's become therapy PETS.  Arlo, Bonkers, Rocza and Lucifer.  All 4 of our pets have been instrumental in helping our child work through her feelings.

We talk through difficult subjects "through" the pets instead of directly at times to make it easier.

Change has always been difficult from day 1 with kiddo.  Changing something puts in a fear that maybe our family situation will change too.

Even the little things she resists changing, so in 2013 we had no remodeling projects and this year tried in advance to prepare her for our projects.

She struggled at first and then settled in pretty well, but sometimes with her you can't be 100% sure whether she's faking it and masking her feelings because she logically KNOWS, but her heart tries to betray her with her feelings.

We just finished refinishing the floors, which completed the end of our living room and dining room remodel.  Yesterday we were able to start putting our new furniture in the house and while it's exciting for us, we know that it can be stressful for her.  She seemed excited though and her and the pups settled into the couch and snuggled while we tested the TV.

Arlo was giving her lots and lots of kisses and she asked him what was wrong and why he was so lovey and clingy this morning.

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKING!!!

We said "Maybe he's worried with all the changes going on and wants to snuggle to make sure he's not a change, we should reassure him and give him kisses back" and "Arlo, you know FAMILY never changes, us, kiddo, and the rest of your siblings are all family and that never changes"

Today was a GREAT day!!! In the middle of all the chaos from putting stuff back in the house, we decided to watch a movie together as a family, at kiddo's suggestion. It was so nice all being in the room together watching a movie.  Well, a movie and a half, we also caught the end of one of DH's favorite movies and her and daddy had a great time laughing thru that.

Adoption Day

Adoption Day is in November just 11 days after "our" adoption day.

National Adoption Day, Our Adoption Day.....so much in November.

We got an email yesterday asking if we were interested in participating in an adoption event this year on Adoption Day. I'm bouncing the walls at the idea of being selected.

While C's former case worker was upfront and said she has no idea how it works since she's requesting based on that area of the state and we live in this area of the state, she'd send in request for us to be one of the invited families.

It's an elite invitation, with 4 families from each region of the state invited to the Governors Mansion to celebrate Adoption Day there. Not sure of all the activities, but our whole family is just stoked at the idea of being able to have dinner or festivities or something AT THE MANSION.

How cool would this be?

Now, I'm almost wishing we hadn't made reservations for our adoption anniversary our of town because this is going to be twice in one month with a road trip and overnight trips.

So special.  Before we said okay, I talked to baby girl to make sure she wouldn't be too overwhelmed by the idea.  She's more concerned that we will not be selected, lol.....I think she likes the idea of dressing up and going to a mansion and being all that!!

Now, off to find me and kiddo a new dress suitable for the occassion.

Who cares if we don't know if we're going yet?

A girl and her dress.....oh, and new shoes!! That's a must!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Holiday Tip

Yes, I know it's September

Yes, I'm posting a Holiday Tip

Yes, I've started my shopping, and actually almost finished with it

My tip for adoptive parents is every chance you get, find something personalized for your child.  Many times when a child is adopted from foster care, they've had years of having to leave their belongings behind in a hurry, things not being sent to them, belongings being lost, etc.  As a child moves from foster home to foster home, there may be "community toys", toys that are meant for the whole household, or even community/hand me down clothes.

That little extra to personalize the gift, perhaps a tote bag with their name on it, for example, goes a long way to saying "I mean what I say, this gift is for you.  You are important."

Most people like feeling like they have belongings that are truly theirs and many of the kids coming up through the foster system either don't have that luxury or don't trust that luxury.  Something as simple as a name on their bookbag or lunchbox says "This is something that will not be taken away from you to pass to the next child".




Saturday, September 20, 2014

Bullying

I hate bullying. I hate that it continues to go on despite 0 tolerance policies.

Babygirl has had at least 3 instances of something happening before gym that has kept her out of that class and "hurt" her ankle twice and requested my writing a note to get her out of gym.  Once I did write the note. The other time I was on to her and figured out something was up.

After a temper tantrum, she finally said she hates gym class because the kids make fun of her in gym for being slow and being fat.

I wasn't fat in school, but I was slow.  Athletics isn't my strength, so I totally got what she was saying.

She's not fat either, not a skinny girl by any means, but not "fat".  She's also far more athletic than I ever will be, she plays outside so much of the time.

I told her I wasn't writing a note because if her ankle was hurting bad enough to get out of gym it was hurting bad enough to not play on her trampoline and she was full force out there.

She cried and cried and finally told me about the bullying going on in gym class. She said she doesn't want my calling the school because it will make it worse.

I wish I could make it better. She's always a target. It's almost like her trauma and reactions are written on her face that she doesn't have the tools to effectively fight back with it.  We work on it and work on it, but she has years of learning social situations to catch up on to help avoid being the target of middle school brats.

We've gotten another American Girl book on bullying and her and I went through it together and I've encouraged her to read it and memorize some of the coping skills, but I feel so helpless.

What to do....what to do.....

Monday, September 15, 2014

Familiversary

For my adoptive peers out there, what do you do to celebrate? Do you celebrate?

It seems almost counter intuitive to celebrate. Adoption always has some loss involved.  In kiddo's case, loss of birth family, loss of first adoptive family, loss of her sister S.

At the same time, we all feel strongly connected and like celebrating anything and everything. So, we asked kiddo if she'd like to go somewhere and celebrate and she said yes. We gave her a choice of several places and she's chosen Atlanta.

We're going to go to the aquarium, which her and hubs have wanted to go to forever and maybe to Covington and go see movies/TV shows being filmed and get good food.

Hubs suggested beach and she said "We go there all the time, let's do something we don't get to do".

lol....all the time, really?

Also, we've invited her BFF.  It's not just about being family but about her being in a normal atmosphere and getting to be a kid.

BFF's mom said "Kiddo, you're a very lucky girl that you always get to do so many fun things".

Kiddo said "even luckier than I get to do so many of them with my bestie"



Ortho Visit

Kiddo called me all pitiful sounding today and said "Momma, I've been trying to call daddy and can't reach him".  One of the wires on her braces got loose and her mouth was bleeding, so I went and picked her up at school and took her to the ortho.

Good report....we're still on schedule and potentially may get her bottom braces next week. He said teeth look amazing this time and good job brushing!!

I'm always so puzzled when kiddo calls, she sounds so little and young.

My baby, growing up so fast, and sounds like such a little kid on the phone. I can almost pretend for just a moment that she's been here forever and have a flash back to how she must've sounded then.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tantrum, tantrum

I hate homework. HATE homework!!!

I don't know why homework is such a trigger, but I got home the other day and hubs told me Char had run away from home to the back yard because of homework.  Apparently she got upset when hubs had her do her homework and more upset when his math rules didn't match what she thought they should be.

Mind you the homework was correcting a failing test, so obviously the math rules she thought applied didn't match, but that's another story.

She got mad, threw a tantrum and a half and left.

I got home and went outside and the pups came running and showed me where she was at.  She was not amused when I suggested she may want to not run away with the pups because they'll tell me where shes at (if she was really interested in running away, I would never say that, I was trying to lighten the mood)

Afterwards, I always ask how running away helps, that math will exist here or somewhere else. Everytime she says she doesn't know, that she knows she's not thinking rationally, but at the time it makes sense.

This happens EVERY time we do homework that is difficult for her. EVERY time.

I just wish I knew why that was such a trigger and it's not like we get into it or anything before the tantrum starts, just the mention of it starts it.

She calmed down after 3 hours, came back and did her homework in the kitchen with my help while I cooked dinner and then got me to fix daddy ice cream for her to serve him to apologize for how she spoke to him before I got home.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Home Study Time

reopening home study and getting background checks redone, medical, etc and social worker will be calling soon to schedule coming out to talk to all of us on our reevaluation.

So nervous.

We got an e-mail to go ahead and proceed, because worst case scenario we've done this for nothing, but this way we'll be ready in case S becomes ready to be a family girl in our family.  If she gets ready, we'll be ready and not have to start over.  If she doesn't, then we can always go inactive again.

So nervous.

and have I said I'm really nervous?!

I can't imagine life with 2.  I want her here if they need to be together. If they shouldn't be together, I want things like they are. I'm so scared.

I can't do this blog justice because I can't even form a coherent thought.

For those that have been there, done that, how was the transition going to a second?

S says she's not getting adopted by anybody but us, which makes me believe that maybe she'll do the work to make this work, but what if she's the terror that she is with others and it's harder.

If it's worse than we imagine, and she's full blown rad instead of the issues we know about, we're screwed because once she's here, there is no going back regardless of why, because of the damage that it would do to kiddo, not to mention baby S.

S was only 4 when they were removed from the bios and 7 when removed from the first adoptive family, so she can't verbalize her stress as well and it comes out in behaviors. I have to remember that, but it's tough.

Imagine if you were taken away from all your family for something you didn't do, just to be put in a home with strangers. I can't imagine what that's like and I'm sure my behaviors wouldn't have been good either.

Imagine not being in a permanent family and not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

I keep thinking I KNOW deep down that S would be better off for it to be here, at the same time, if things were to never get better, will we be okay as a family unit or will I end up in the funny farm?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Trust

Monday I had to go out of town for a business meeting.  Kiddo had anxiety again, claimed not to, but it was obvious from her hyperness that she was feeling anxiety.

Tuesday morning I called and hubs said she didn't want to talk to me on the phone.  Apparently she was worried about that because then she grabbed the phone to talk to me.

I came home Tuesday night and she was wound up and wired, but so happy to see me.

She pounced on me on the way in the door, knocking the pups out of the way and saying "She's my momma first, I get the first hug".  She had me read to her and even had me and daddy both kiss her good night. She NEVER wants kisses.

She's been super affectionate and hubs asked her "Do you get it that we're yours forever?"  I love how he phrases it we're hers instead of her ours so she's not a possession and she gets to rule that part of it.

She said yes.  We'll see though.  2 days later and still a little wired and more on us than normal.

I'll take that over January's response though. Improvements!!!

On another note, I was asked twice this week if I was interested in a promotion.  I turned it down.  There is no way I can put myself in a position to spend more time away from home and create extra anxiety for our baby girl.

Still proud of her progress though.  We'll make it.  A week at a time, a day at a time, and some times a moment at a time.

She's a treasure and is so worth all the heartaches we've dealt with over the last few years.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

PTSD and Hugs

My favorite blogger is Last Mom.  She recently had this blog (hope she doesn't mind the link being here,  I'm going on a limb and assuming an extra link to her page can't be bad ;) ): http://lastmom.com/hugs/

It was very eye opening for me.

It never occurred to me that PTSD was the reason for kiddo being a little hesitant on hugs. Since it's more from those closest to her, I took it as purely attachment based and try to adapt to it and give hugs where we can.

I read this to my hubs (since like Last Mom and her family, the resistance is more towards the dad) and he had that lightbulb moment. He also has PTSD from abuse and he said "Ah man, I don't know why I didn't get it before" and he clarified that yes, it took him years to get the whole hugging concept and be okay with it and he's still not okay with it in most situations, so it threw him for a loop that he didn't think about that being her deal too.

Know what? I think I've seen more hugs since that night, freely given and no pressure.

He doesn't reach for them now, but asks instead, and also that side hug recommended in the comments, yep, trying that too.


Hygeine

We were told hygeine would be a problem before she moved in. That's normal for a sexually abused victim.  Being dirty on some level makes you feel like people will leave you along. Likewise with overeating and putting weight on.

We worked on that and it wasn't much of a fight, just modeling appropriate behaviors and giving her friendly reminders. She didn't balk at it (much).

After she got in the habit and became a teenager that takes 3 showers a day at times, I assumed we were past this.....until we got to the orthodontist and he said "She's not brushing her teeth, I can't work with this"

I was beyond embarrassed, but really upset that I didn't see it coming or know there was a problem.

So, this momma is back to staying in the bathroom while she brushes her teeth both morning and night.

I wish I could fix the background thoughts that cause the behaviors, because I know it's not a behavior thing. I can't punish her because it's not about being bad, it's about the perception of protecting herself.

Some days I wonder how long it'll take for her to start trusting that her past is not the norm.

My heart breaks for her some days that she still suffers this much.

She seems so normal most days, that trauma behaviors throw me for a loop now.