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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sibling Visit

Nancy Thomas said "A bond with an unhealthy sibling can stand in the way of the parent-child bond".  That's because the siblings carry a collective memory of the past trauma.  

We initially applied for our daughter when she was still with her sister.  Their adoption disrupted and initially it was perceived that our daughter was the issue.  Later it was determined to not be the case at all.  While we waited for several months, during that time, the girls were separated.  We saw our daughter listed as a singlet, needing connection to sister, but placed separately.  We submitted interest and immediately got a call, since her case worker had already reviewed our home study when they were together.

It was heartbreaking to think those 2 cuties would have to once again lose another family, but also each other.  Keeping them together though would have worked against their healing.  They needed very different things to be able to heal properly.

We were asked if we'd be willing to maintain contact and of course we were, no child should have to choose between having parents or siblings.  What we didn't anticipate though was falling in love with her sister.

Not on the same level as how we fell for our daughter, but lil sis has stolen our heart.

Over the past few years, I think we're slowly getting in her heart too.  She greets us with a huge hug right after she hugs and kisses her sister and she's finally saying "I miss you too" or "I love you too" when we say those very important words to her.

For the first 2 1/2 years, we could say that and she'd say "Uh huh" and we'd have to ask for hugs if we would get them, although hubs could get it willingly, she was much slower to trust me.  She enjoys rough housing with him, rubbing his beard, riding piggy back, etc.

Sometimes we have frequent visits, other times it's a long time between visits.  Our childs needs come first and we're the ones that have to do the most work to make it work.

After the heartbreaking phone call she had with her sister where she wasn't getting school pics because she's in a group home, After making a call to her social worker and offering to pay for the pics for her, she got her photos. I sent a note to lil sis to let her know not to just do without, if it's something like that and she can't find the right person to do it, to let me know or tell her sister to let me know and I'd work on it on her behalf and/or do it myself.

I really want her to learn that she can ask for what she needs and many times that's all it takes to get her needs met. She has needed to work on her communication skills for awhile, so it was a perfect opportunity to let her know we have her back.  I also let her know she's important to all of us, not just to her sister.

She called not long after and asked kiddo if she'd ask us if we could come pick her up for Thanksgiving. She wanted to come here, but didn't realize how far it was.  We told her it was a long drive and we couldn't get help to get her to us, but we'd come to her.

When we got there, I praised her for her progress and also for being willing to ask for what she needs.

So, what does she do? She asks me if someday I can get her a camera, lol.  Okay, it wasn't all material. She also asked me if I could get her social worker to try to find her Ipod which didn't make it in the move.

I told her good job asking and yes, I'd definitely ask her worker to search for her stuff and at some point, we'd find her a camera, but it may take a bit.  Managing expectations, you know?

As for the visit--it went pretty well.  She redirected easily, she's very proud of her progress and she accepts no better than she used to, not seeming to take it as personal rejection of her.  We were supse happy to see that and let her know that.

I did have to threaten to get her a dictionary though.  She has a mouth on her.  She also still has the rough play going on, "beating up" on her sister with an inflatable monkey because kiddo wouldn't give her the phone (which was because she was texting with bad language)

I was so proud of my daughter for standing up to her sister. She's always let her get away with anything she wanted and she said "why would you thinking beating me up will help you get what you want, that makes it LESS likely".  Made me double proud because I've used that on her and that means she's listening, taking it in and understanding.  Hubs told her not to be so aggressive, that acting out doesn't get you what you want.  She calmed down.

She does try the cutesy stuff to try to get away with things--ie. telling her to eat another bite and we'd order dessert to take to the park and she cuts one macaroni in half.  Ummm, want a re-do baby?!

This was the first visit in awhile totally just us an no supervision. She normally tests boundaries more without a witness anyway, but if that's her stretch, that's awesome.  

Her house mother didn't believe that she used to be violent, so that was promising that they've never seen any evidence of that.  She said she's made amazing progress in alot of areas.  Her areas of improvement needed are the same ones that took our kiddo the longest to work on.  

Food issues, first and foremost.  

There is hope though. I've seen so much improvement with our child and seeing her sister follow these footsteps, just slightly behind gives hope that she'll improve as well.  

She willingly let us leave with no sadness exhibited, so that worries me from attachment standpoint, but overall it went well.  

Missing Dad and Messages from God--We All Have a Purpose

I'm missing my daddy-o like crazy. I was talking to one of my older cousins about a week ago and he was telling me about the "big wreck" that dad always talked about. Dad was in a severe wreck about 3 years before I was born and almost lost his life. Thanks go blood donors, he lived and from 1967 til the day he died, like clockwork, every 90 days he was at the donor bank giving blood to pay it forward.

That cousin stopped by to see me the other day and it was all I could do not to cry, seeing that prominent strong family feature man face. He looks so much like I think my dad would have looked if he'd lived to that age. He told me a story that ran chills up me. The way God has been talking to me lately has taken an odd turn.

Sometime before that point and that wreck, dad had 3 buddies that he hung out with constantly after work. They'd go to the hamburger stand, drink a beer, etc and then go wherever the party was. He'd NEVER told them no. NEVER.

One night, they were all at the hamburger stand eating and the 3 guys were talking about the plans of where they were going after dinner. My dad said "You know, I'm staying here, eating my burger and going home and going to bed, I'm exhausted".

The next morning he woke up to find out his friends had all died in a severe car crash, one that there was no chance of living from. It took 2 wreckers to get the car unattached from the tree and after their funerals, body parts were still being found for weeks. :(

God had a big plan and kept him alive for something special that only he was suppose to do, yet, despite beating odds several times, he died at 53, still WAY too young.

The message I got was that God has a purpose for us all. I thought of all the people I know, you all would understand my feelings and why I've done nothing but cry thinking of this.

Thanksgiving, we took monkey butt to see her baby sister. It took nearly 4 hours to get there and 4 hours back. So stressful to do all that in one day, but worth it too. On the way home, we stopped for a potty break. A real one, not the prayer kind, that time. When we left Sheetz, hubs said "You wanna drive the next leg?" I didn't want to, but did. RIGHT after I pulled out, a state trooper pulled me over for speeding. I forgot it was 45 there for the next mile and then went back to 55. I pulled into a parking lot. He got out of the car and came up to me and a woman was in the lot (store was closed) and screamed "Officer, please call an ambulance". Her son was in the car having a bad seizure and she didn't have a cell phone. His life was saved and that officer wouldn't have been there if I hadn't made a mistake and sped.

The day before that, I went into work and the first customer was a new customer prospect, a referral from a loan I had closed the day before. My assistant helped her and they took forever to close that loan. I wondered what was up. When the loan was finished she brought the customer over to my desk and introduced me. Both had been crying. My assistant said "I don't know if you remember, but this is the year anniversary of the day my friend Lisa died. This girls name is Lisa and she said something when she sat down that made me know I'd just been sent a message from Heaven". The woman was crying and saying "I can't believe God loves me enough to be the one to deliver that message".

It runs chills up me how we can be used in the small details for a bigger picture. now I'm totally in tears.

My Daughters Soul Belongs to Lucifer and His to Her


Lucifer is her Siberian Husky dog.  He was her adoption gift, which took several months to find.  She searched the internet high and low for the perfect sidekick.  When we did the math, it appears he may have actually been conceived on adoption day. This was the picture on the ad.

Wednesday the 16th, I woke up right before 3 am to the sound of Lucifer having a very severe seizure. I was panicking and trying to calm him down.  He wasn't the same dog after the seizure and he had another about 6 am.  A trip to the vet, blood tests, observation, etc and some meds, he came home that evening with a port in his leg.  The 18th, he went back to the vet and the blood tests were backed. He had a tick bite from a suicide bomber.

It's been a week and he's finally almost himself again.

It made for a very wonky girl, very stressed, etc.  Add that to upcoming sibling visit on a holiday and she made the decision to download snapchat on her phone.

When we gave her her phone, due to her tendency to attract predatory types, we made her sign that she would not download kik, snapchat or any other apps without our knowledge, those 2 were automatic nos, other apps would be case by case.

So, she currently doesn't have a phone and I feel horrible for not seeing that this would happen and putting it away temporarily until she was regulated again.

I was in tears last night and hubs was saying "you knew we'd have occassional setbacks, not worth crying over, she's made tons of progress".  I'm like "I know, I know, I'm feeling horrible that I didn't see it coming and be proactive".  I know this child like the back of my hand, I should be able to protect her better.

I guess I'll never be the perfect mom, but I'll keep trying.

Lucifer is doing great today by the way!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Friend Time

October 2015, we took former BFF to the beach with us.  Shortly after our return, there was a ton of drama with her family.  BFF Drama

Kiddo has a new BFF now and BFF-K hasn't been here but once since last October.

Yet, she's jealous.

But that's a different story.

Back in early October, we were headed to a food truck rodeo, just me, hubs and kiddo.  It was crazy crowded so we ended up leaving and going to Cracker Barrel for lunch too.  Cracker Barrel is BFF-K's favorite restaurant.  That got us to talking about her and that we miss her.

Later in the month I made plans with a friend (Lucy) from Tennessee to meet at the half way point for lunch because it's been so long since we've seen each other and neither of us have had time to visit.  Lucy's favorite restaurant is Cracker Barrel so that's where  we planned to meet.

Since it would be a long drive, we told kiddo she could see if former BFF-K wanted to go since it was Cracker Barrel and maybe they could catch up.  That was, of course, with the understanding that because of that drama, despite that we love her, we're not getting used and it's not going to result in her going on "trips", etc and us spending all our money on her.

Lucy had to cancel due to sickness of husband, but we decided we'd go to a closer Cracker Barrel, take the girls and go for a drive in the mountains and catch up.

It was good to see her.  I did notice though that while we all had a pretty good time, the dynamics have definitely changed and kiddo was ready to go back home when we were done.

Can't go back to yesterday, we were different people then.

We'll always love her though, she was just here in that capacity for a season.

Emotionally Charged Election and Adoption

I've cried myself silly over the election results.  I went to bed a little before midnight thinking it was sounding like it'd be forever.  I had nightmares til 2:30 am, when I woke up.  I laid there worried and finally got up to check the results.

I cried and cried and cried and never got back to sleep that night.

The next morning kiddo got up and asked who won and we told her.  She was stunned and said "who votes for a child molester?" My heart hurts for her that this is her future being messed with.  My heart hurts for early sexual abuse victims and the slap in the face it is.  My heart hurts for every non-white person out there and for every woman.

A friend of mine that adopted a beautiful "brown girl" (partially hispanic) posted that her daughter was full of anxiety over it, scared she'd be send to Mexico.

I posted on facebook that I was sad reading that.  Shortly thereafter, I found out two mothers of other "brown children" (AA" had similar stories to share)

You'd think people would be supportive.

WOW!! Just Wow!!

I've been torn up ever since. The bad thing was not only about election results, but about finding out people in my circle don't see a problem with this?!

I was accused of calling people racist because I said no child should have to worry about being ripped from their families because of racism and hatred.

Any sane person realizes that the only people I referred to as racist are the ones making these comments.  Anybody that thinks they're called a racist either misread because it's against their guy or has a guilty conscience.

However, when a child has somebody walk up to them and said "I hope Trump wins so you'll be sent back to Africa with the rest of the N***", yeah, I call that racism and hatred.

When a child thinks they're being deported because of the color of their skin, yeah, that's racism and hatred.

I call racists racist.

It offends me that I was heartbroken over a friends personal situation and the response wasn't of comfort, but to slam me, to slam that family, etc.

We have a personal responsibility to be a light in a dark world.

Blaming the mother or family for the child's fear is counterproductive.  It's not the family putting this fear in our kids.  Yeah, it's up to us to pick up the pieces, but anybody dealing with anxiety issues knows it's more complicated than the mom saying "it's okay" and moving on.

Add trauma, PTSD and other things to mix, it's a long journey and alot of people will need time to heal from this.

The number of sexual abuse victims that were triggered by things Trump said on TV, the memories, the PTSD, in addition to those real fears because of things said.

Why isn't it obvious that the appearance for a lot of people is that this bullying is the new norm?

People were quoting laws to support why these fears were silly, instead of looking at what was said during the campaign.  Yes, we have laws that protect adopted children.  However, Trump did say he disagreed with the anchor baby law, the perception of the 14th amendment and the entire immigrant situation.

If he wants to overturn the 14th amendment, naturally many of our adopted children are going to be fearful.  Most of the kids that have been adopted have limited, if any, knowledge of their history.  Anytime a question was asked during his speeches, he evaded the answers. How would anybody know if there were exceptions if he doesn't clarify. Of course our children are scared. I'm scared too. I do believe that there is no way that part would get overturned and these beautiful babies are going NOWHERE, but I'm scared of the hatred and fear that this has generated.  I'm scared of my childs future. I'm scared of the message this is sending to the world.

I wonder if the result of the election would be different if everybody had kept an open mind and actually LISTENED to the journey instead of deciding who to vote for based on party.

Why do I think many didn't listen?

Well, partially because of the result and I like to think that most people are better than the hatred and racism we're seeing.

However, another reason is the number of people that claimed they voted for Trump because they're a Christian.

Most because of the abortion issue ONLY.  The thing is Trump has always been pro-choice until he decided to run. I guess it's possible he changed his mind before running, but I think it's very unlikely. I think he put that as part of his platform to win only.

What the heck? You voted Trump because you're a Christian?

Does not compute. (and don't even get me started on how offensive I find it that several have said if you're a Christian, you would have voted for Trump, don't even pretend you know what others hearts are like)

As a friends son said.....
And Jesus said "build a wall and keep everybody that's not like you out, bomb the s*** out of them, Make fun of the disabled, disrespect women and lastly be sure to deprive people of their human rights."
-Two Corinthians

His boyfriend responded with:

Absolutely, then he ran his fingers through his blonde hair and blinked his bright blue eyes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Anxiety and Sibling Visits

Kiddos anxiety and other issues have calmed down so much in the past 6 months.

She's loving school this year.

She's no longer binging in the middle of the night almost every night.

She's been so calm and normal.  (knock on wood)

She had a doctors visit the other day and she's lost 30 lbs since middle school let out, and the only change made is not getting up every single night and binging.

There have been a few instances, but not very many and I'm so proud of her.

I started to share something on kiddos facebook wall and realized it sounded like she was my birth child so I only showed her and said "for a minute I almost put this on your wall, I forgot you were adopted".  She laughed and said "I forget that sometimes too"  Ding, ding, ding, anxiety down, she's normal.

I'm a little worried about the upcoming weeks and through year end.  Her baby sis called her a few weeks ago on my cell phone on a Friday evening as we were leaving dinner.  They talked a good 15 minutes or so and all sounded well.

The problem? Baby sis called again the next two nights.

Baby sis called the next week twice.

All this contact is starting to get to kiddo so I didn't give her the phone last time.

Friday night we were at a concert and baby sis called during intermission. I didn't answer since I knew we wouldn't be able to hear well and kiddo couldn't really talk to her.  She called back twice more, so the 3rd time I thought something must be wrong and I answered.

She asked kiddo to ask if we could come pick her up and bring her here for Thanksgiving.  Kiddo said she loved that idea and to call the next day so we could talk about whether it's possible.  Her sister is in a group home nearly 3 1/2 hours away. If we picked her up and brought her here and had to take her back, that'd be 14 hours on the road in one day.

Kiddo said she'd have to spend the night.  Last time though kiddo ended up in the ER with anxiety of the idea of that, so clearly that can't happen.

I reached out and asked if somebody in the group home or one of the social workers could bring her here and we take her back.  Nobody is available.

I think we may go there for Thanksgiving and have lunch and come back. Then Saturday we'll do our own at home Thanksgiving.  I hate that she's so far away and I hate that we have to break it to her that no, she can't visit for the weekend and no, there is no way to just come for Thanksgiving day.

As much as I would love to be able to, my first priority is to our daughter.

It's such a good sign though that she called and asked that.  She usually doesn't put much importance on people, nor does she have a history of being able to ask for what she needs.  I'm so proud of her and that's why we have to play our cards right on how we handle this holiday upcoming.

Then we'll need to set the tone at that point for the expectation of holiday visit at Christmas.  We are NOT going there Christmas Eve/Christmas Day.

They love each other, but she's very obviously a trigger for kiddo.  Finding that happy, healthy medium is a balancing act.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

and Yet Growing Up!

We got kiddo her car last weekend.

Yeah, I know we said we were waiting for Christmas and going to surprise her with it.  There were a couple things that made us change out mind.  We first were wondering how to get out of state and back without her realizing it to pick up the car.  We then wondered where to hide it successfully.  Then we started thinking about how we are very predictable.  Kiddo asked for so little and she knows because she rarely asks for anything that we'll move Heaven and Earth to get her what she asks for on the rare occasions she does.

She asked for a car for Christmas.

Deep down we know she knew that if there was any way possible, we'd make it happen.

So all the plans for an elaborate unveiling was not really going to be a surprise.

What would be a surprise is waking her up nearly 2 months before Christmas (before she even has her learners permit) and go pick up the car together as a family.

She was so excited.

I'm glad we decided not to wait.  We couldn't have pulled that off as successfully as my parents did.

The baby is growing up way too quickly.

Still a Kid!

Last year kiddo decided that she would follow Halloween rules and since she was 14 would not go trick or treating, despite that she clearly wanted to.

So we bought her candy and let her invite friends over to make smores (who didn't show up, but that's another story)

this year, she asked me if she could go trick or treating and gave me a long list of things she'd like to dress up as.

So, yeah, my 15 year old daughter and her BFF let me take them trick or treating and even okay with my walking with them.

I loved seeing them be kids.  There were so many years I missed out on, so those things she does longer makes my heart sing.

Kiddo dressed as a dead bride. Her bestie was a pirate.  I was Hello Kitty, lol. Yeah, I dressed up. No, I didn't ask for treats. lol

After dropping of BFF, kiddo and I dropped by the little store near us for dinner.  I think the men hanging out in there thought we were sisters from the way they talked and flirted with both of us. Kitty outfit must make me look young ;)

It was a fun night.  Teens are every bit as fun as the little kids.  Seeing a teen act like a little kid is fun too---comparing treats and trading candy.  Awwww.