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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

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.