Follow by Email

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The BFF Triangle

Several years back, we had some drama with BFF K's family. As a result they grew apart, as we weren't constantly inviting K to go do things. It's hard to spend money on somebody when you feel taken advantage of.

K was growing up anyway.  Slightly older, serious boyfriend, driving, job, etc.  It was only natural they'd be drifting from hanging out 24/7. 

We missed K so much though.  It's been rough to feel like we had a second daughter that all the sudden was no longer here.

Everytime they saw each other though, the bond was so evident and so sweet to see how much they truly love each other.

9th grade came along and BFF A entered the picture.  More age appropriate, they started forming a strong bond and so similar to each other, they could finish each others sentences.  She went to the beach with us this year and they had so much fun. 

The downside, however, was we quickly figured out she's in an abusive relationship with a controlling boyfriend.  Of course, like most victims, she made excuses for his bad behavior.  He texted her constantly.  Shortly after we got home, kiddo found out that A was sexually active and was very upset and angry over it.  Hubs gave her good advice and said "when your best friend makes bad decisions, that's when they need you the most.  It's okay to let them know it was a horrible decision, but be there for her because she's going to need somebody to help her pick up the pieces from it"

Fast forward a month.....former BFF K is pregnant.  OMG!! I'm going to be a grandma.  Well, not literally, but she was my 2nd daughter for years, that makes me a grandma, right?

She's a senior in high school and has worked it out to graduate in December instead of May.  Thank God she was ahead in credits, straight A student, etc and only needs 2 classes to graduate. She's taking those 2 classes this semester and will be able to graduate well before the baby arrives.

I'm devastated that she is making these big girl decisions and not being a kid and not getting to enjoy the traditional Senior fun.  This used to be my worst nightmare about kiddo. Knowing the past, I feared so many times I'd be a grandma before she graduated.  I hope we can use this as a learning tool.

After kiddo got over the initial shock and anger, she reached out and said "I'm going to be the best aunt your baby will ever have" and the girls have once again become inseparable.  Boyfriend is still with K, but he's gotten a stable job and working good hours to try to take care of the baby.  K is working part time on the weekends, so they don't see each other often, but her and kiddo are together in between. 

It's been good to see them laughing together, especially since K has been incredibly depressed since finding out she's pregnant. She said she feels horrible, because she was the girl that always talked about girls that got pregnant in high school and how stupid it was.  K was on birth control, but antibiotics interfere with that and apparently their once a week dates were enough to make things happen.  She always said she'd start having babies right after school. We always told her to enjoy life first and be her before having to be responsible for another human. 

My fear is that kiddo will romanticize it, since she'll get to babysit and be auntie, etc.  I hope that kiddo keeps her head on straight and doesn't go down that path. 

With both BFF's making those big girl decisions, it's a scary place for momma to be.

BFF A is jealous as all get out over BFF K. 

A spends ALL her time with the boyfriend.  K sees the boyfriend/baby daddy once a week.  Kiddo feels A is putting boyfriend above them and boyfriend keeps telling A that she shouldn't spend time with kiddo.

So, naturally kiddo spends time with K. It's easier, it's more relaxed, there is less drama.  A and her fight like cats and dogs sometimes. Kiddo is taking the easy way out, A is mad, A keeps texting because she's upset, but then gets mad when she's told what the issue is. 

Kiddo can NOT hang with A's boyfriend. He triggers her. His abusive demeanor takes her down paths she doesn't deserve to be. I've even explained that and suggested she at least split her time, but A doesn't get it and kiddo is left in the cold.  Apparently A even makes fun of kiddo because her and her boyfriend don't spend all their free time together, they haven't even really kissed yet. 

A and kiddo fighting like cats and dogs (not really) but I do think it's funny and appropriate that they did this at the beach. 

High school is so dramatic.  It makes me tired.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Past life......

When kiddo turned 13, her prior adoptive parents sent a gift and a letter.  We let her have gifts, but always put the letters in a file for when she's older and ready to tackle that.  She does know that we have them, however, and that she can ask when and if she ever gets ready for them.  Sometimes she just asks if there is anything in the letter that she'd want to know.

That was 2014.

The letter was addressed to "kiddo PRIOR last name".  We sent a letter that gifts and letters weren't necessary, but that if they felt the need to send them, to please NOT use their last name.

Over 3 years later before we heard from them again.  Last week we received a letter (sent thru DSS).

The letter was addressed to "Kiddo RANDOM last name".  I thought  I'd die.
Too funny.  Kiddo thought so too.

They were kind enough to send her pics of their dog (hers previously) finally.  They also sent a pic of themselves.  She took the dog pictures and asked if she could cut their picture to pieces.  I'm guessing she's not ready to deal with them.

Her grandfather when she was with them recently passed away.  I always worry about loss and grief effects on the trauma brain, even if it's not somebody she's currently close with.  One of her best friends mom was just diagnosed with cancer and that's scary to watch as well.  Every loss brings back feelings of loss and all that she's been through.

This week we heard from bio aunt.

Kiddos biological mom is in ICU, stroke and blood clot on the brain.

We let her know what was up.

She was very concerned about that happening to her one day.  We had a good talk about genetics and environment and how lives are a mix of both.  Pretty sure at least part of the concern was for the 1st mom, although she'll never admit it.

I know she means it when she says she has no desire to see her, but I also know that she cares about her.

Hopefully all this will not turn her too wonky.



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Teenage Contolling Boyfriends

When somebody that had years of abuse tells you you're in an abusive situation, dismissing it is the last thing you should do.  If they share their story, don't dismiss it. Understand the pain that comes from reliving it.

When friends speak up, it may be hard to hear, but look at the common denominator in your challenges. Is it one person that thinks its a bad relationship or more?  If it's more, you know what needs to happen.

Love yourself enough to ask for help.  People do NOT change and nobody should have to try to convince somebody they love to change.  They should automatically be treated with love and respect. If you have to ask for love and kindness, it's not real.

A child can't control abuse within the home but anybody can stop abuse from a partner.  What you ignore becomes more.

Doing nothing says it's okay.

If friends start drifting, it is usually because they've been alienated and because it's so difficult to watch. There is nothing that can replace true friends. Don't give up.

There is nothing harder than knowing somebody you love is in a controlling, bad, abusive relationship and not being able to change it.

It's even worse when it's flaunted how much they "love them" and knowing they've chosen them over true frlends and a good life.  The people with good relationships don't have to post about it 80 times a day. If you do, you're trying to convince yourself and others.

Others know and love enough to want you happy and call you out. Love yourself.  It only gets worse with time.

I'm so proud of my child for speaking up to her bestie and letting her know with love that she is in relationship that isn't healthy. There was a time it would have been my child on receiving end, not believing she was worthy of being treated well.

It hurts to watch her friend make excuses and keep accepting poor treatment.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sibling Visits

How do you know if a separation between siblings was right? How do you know how often to visit? How do you know what's best for the kids? How do you know if they're ready to get back together again?

Our daughter lived with her younger sister for almost 8 years prior to their separation.  They'd been promised they'd never have to be separated and not to worry, that they'd get adopted together.  A few months after that, it was determined the needs of the girls would make it necessary for them to live apart.

It was heartbreaking.

My child had been ripped out of her last adoptive home, put in psychiatric care, followed by residential treatment. During their 1st overnight visit, things apparently went to WWIII.

It was right after that that they were separated, never to live together again.

Our daughters younger sister was "asked" whether she thought it was a good idea to not live together. Bear in mind the younger sister was in the prior adoptive home at least 60 days after our child was removed.  I'm not sure how much of that was being led to that answer, how much was anger over the situation and how much was the manipulation she went through prior to her removal from the prior adoptive home.

Next month will be 5 years since they were "officially" separated (on paper) but it was 5 years in April since they last lived together.

In that 5 years, we've had numerous sibling visits, ranging from barely over an hour with several supervisors  to all day with no supervision.  We've had no overnight visits.

In 2014, they were doing so well, we considered adopting her younger sister.  As we planned for increased visits before deciding whether to procede, as the first overnight visit was scheduled, both girls went wonky and our child ended up in the hospital for a few hours with an extreme anxiety attack and some cutting.

Needless to say, brakes were put on quick.

Separation was right for them.  They definitely need different things, they definitely are trauma bonded and they definitely are triggered by too much time together.

How do we know how often to visit?  and how much time frame? We kept notes after each visit about before, during and after, as much information as possible.  We were able to determine from that what was working on frequency.

Baby sis came to kiddos sweet 16 party.  Shortly thereafter, she crashed bad and destroyed 2 of the TV's in the group home she's at.  Clearly it was too overwhelming.  She had to share her sister. It was a long drive. It was a ton of junk food.  She arrived late.  So many triggers.

She's not likely to be able to attend future parties until after she's grown up.  I wish so much I could help her sister.  I can continue to help our daughter, but helping her sister is only a part time job for a full time responsibility.

We try so hard to help the girls stay bonded. We try so hard to help the girls heal.  What will happen though when they're older? Will they feel bonded? Will they realize how much we tried to help them stay connected? Will they feel isolated from each other?

I think I know, but how can I be sure?

Time will tell.

If you, however, have part of a sibling set though, I encourage you to make those siblings a part of your family.  If not your kids in your home, at least extended family, with visits. Treat the kids as if they were part of your family, not just your child.  Enjoy the siblings, they will feel your feelings and feed off of them.  Sibling relationships are the longest relationships of your life.  Their visits will help them understand where they came from. Their visits will help them know there is always a connection they can depend on.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Disruptions, Rehoming, Etc

A few pages I've been on lately have been "debating" on whether it's okay to rehome or disrupt an adoption.

I don't see what the debate is.  The answer is a big fat no.  I have a really hard time understanding how anybody could think it was okay.

Can  you imagine growing up with childhood trauma that leaves you with PTSD, anxiety, depression or more and feeling like because you had bad behaviors that you were going to have to leave the home you're in.

How many parents say when they adopt that they love their child as much as a bio child.  I know I do. I'm convinced I love my child probably even more than I would a bio child. She feels like as much a part of me as my heart does.  If they really do, why would they ever relinquesh rights to their child?  I suppose I should be grateful it's legal, since that's the reason I have a child.

Yes, our child was adopted previously.  Yes, they gave up on my amazing child.  Yes, they have serious issues.

Why do  I still disagree with it? Because if things were done properly, the adoption wouldn't have happened to begin with and therefore, she wouldn't have had yet another significant loss in her life.

When I think back to those first months and even years of placement with our daughter,  I look at how far she's come and I'm amazed. Amazed that she has been so receptive to being willing to love and be loved.  For those first few years, she always wondered after every meltdown she had if that was when she was going to be "returned", as if she was a defective purchase.   She tried everything possible to make us give up on her before she got too attached.  We made a commitment to raise her, to be there for her and never turn our backs on her.  She's stuck with us whether she wants to be or not.

There are several that "defend" those that dissolve their adoptions, saying "Well, they had to, it was dangerous to have them with their bios" or "well, if they can't handle the issues they should let them go to somebody who can?"  These are the same people that have adopted and know that there is a waiting period of at LEAST 6 months after they move in before it's even okay to adopt.  How does somebody NOT realize there are problems in that length of time?

When we read kiddos file, it was so evident that they were never a good parental match for her.  The struggles they had and how they handled them, yet, they continued and adopted her anyway?  Pride standing in the way.  If things are tough, ask yourself "What would I do if I had given birth to her?" and follow that.

Many times the child does so much better in the second home, as was the case here.  That's another reason people "defend" dissolutions.  I say that's why she should have gotten here sooner.  We were meant to be her parents. She was meant to be her child.

Yes, I'm passionate about that. Yes, I get angry about that.

I also have read about how the cases somebody were aware of "they were extreme and required residential treatment or forced to relinquish in order to get the child the care they needed and how sad it was for all involved.  Of course it was sad for all involved, but again how did they not know there were problems before adoption? If it's THAT extreme, there is NO way that there were no red flags.

Yes, my child was one of those "extreme" situations that required residential treatment, or that's what her file said.  So not true.

After a month there, it finally came out the real story and that's where "find the need behind the behavior" comes in.

Our child and her past is the reason I'm so passionate about it and why it angers us so much.  She's thriving with us but I get more angry over the last adoptive parents than the biological parents.  The red flags were there. They didn't try attachment parenting. Reports are done and sent to court before adoption to explain why the adoption is a good idea.  How did they in good conscience send that report in.  So much heartache could have been prevented.

She's best here and not there. We provided what she needed when they couldn't, but if they hadn't adopted when it was obvious it wasn't a good match, there would be one less disruption out there and alot more calm years in our girls life.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Is your goal attachment or compliance?



Connection before correction. True compliance doesn't come until attachment arrives. You may get behaviors you want short term, but not the understanding of the behaviors if you don't focus on attachment most of all. If you want long term success, please look for the need behind the behavior.


Imagine your child came from a history of abuse or neglect. They don't know what to expect. They have no idea what a family would be like.


Why would we think somebody coming in from situations so much different would understand the dynamics of a family. That's just setting yourself and your child up for a hard road. It very common, for a child to experience this feeling. There will be a lot of new things your child experiences after bringing them home. Don't expect 100% compliance on day one. It's nuts. This is a long journey and little things along the way "we do this as a family" or "we do this because...."


Please don't push because they don't want change. Change is hard for everybody, extra hard for your trauma child. Show grace, show love, show vs tell. What you do is so much more important than what you say.


You think you're just like other families, yet, something must be wrong. Your new child is pushing back on everything, even things that don't appear to matter. You want her to be comfortable but she just fights every thing. She doesn't have a clue how to articulate what she feels. She may not even know. It's unfamiliar. This just feels wrong to her.


Why would we be surprised that unfamiliar territory would be rejected initially? Isn't this true for most of us? It must be so much worse on a child, ripped from everything she knows, clinging to everything she's ever done. Then these strangers that claim they'll adopt her want her to be different. I'm sure she feels that's an attack or criticism. Without a solid structure in the early years, all the sudden parents that try to communicate....scary!!


So, your child that just moved in is annoyed that she has to sit at the table and eat dinner as a family. You've cooked a great meal, not a tv dinner in the microwave, not sandwiches on paper plates. She's scared that she's going to break a plate. She's scared she'll not like the new food. She's scared she'll never have junk food again. Why on Earth would a family insist that every little detail be the way they want it. Your child wants to eat off paper plates? Let her. She'll eventually move to eating on real plates with the family. She just nitpicks at dinner and doesn't really eat, OR she eats so fast you don't know what happened to the food. Poor kid was neglected perhaps? She's afraid it's her last meal. Of course she crams it in before somebody can take it away. You're eating as a family and she's never been taught table manners, she may nitpick because she doesn't want to mess up. It's okay. Let her grow in her own time. I promise it's not forever.


Your food served overwhelms her. How about making some of her favorites, some of yours and have her take a bite of yours each time. Gradually she'll learn to enjoy real food. Kiddo's favorite food is Calamari now. Before if it wasn't nuggets, burgers, fries, peanut butter or cheese, it was frowned on.


All the kids in your family attend private school. You always assumed you'd send your own kid to also. Your new daughter throws a tantrum about that idea. We ended up letting kiddo go to public school even though we wanted private school because private school was scary, more attention and she was hypervigilant and felt bad and didn't like too much attention, whether negative or positive. After a childhood full of having no attention, that small of a classroom can be too much attention and overwhelming and lead to failure more than success. Maybe private is the right answer, but please look at the need behind the behaviors before making big decisions.


Your kid is struggling in school. That's why you want her to go to private school? She needs a tutor for almost every class but nobody has nurtured her education so she refuses to participate and she shuts down? Hummmm....sounds familiar. Despite D's, your new daughter says she knows how to to do everything by herself (because she's had no help and it's overwhelming, accepting help equals something being "wrong" with her) Our daughter struggled back the first few years, we focused on attachment vs grades and now she's an honor student, almost all straight A's, proud and has goals. Before she didn't even believe she had a future.


Maybe the answer is home schooling, maybe it's unschooling, maybe it's an IEP, maybe it's private school, maybe it's public school, maybe it's just giving it time. For us, time was part of the healer. The other part was her temporary stint with homeschooling after ankle surgery. That gave her the confidence to get caught up without fear of looking dumb in front of classmates. A teacher came in and with one on one time, within a few months, she was ready to tackle the world. It took 4 years for our child to let me help her with her homework. She wants you to believe she doesn't need help. She wants to be under the radar and not have to switch homes yet again. She has no clue why she's been through so many foster homes. Maybe the last one didn't have time for that and she's scared. Let her know you're available, but don't push yourself on her. Homework is not the end all. (but that's another story that I could easily go down a rabbit trail on)





What? She doesn't want to go to church with you? Have you heard her thoughts? Is it a deal breaker? or is it that you don't have child care? or that it's that important to you? "I hear that you don't want to choose this religion, but as a family until I know you're safe and can prove you can handle being alone thru behaviors (or whatever), I will need you to be at church with us". We're a mixed religion family so we were well prepared in this area, being very tolerant and understanding that not everybody has the same needs.


However, recognize that some kids feel like they're being condemned at church and that they already think they were removed for being bad deep down and this just further antagonizes the problem, so be prepared if she decides not to continue with any religion. Our child was manipulated at times in the name of religion. Religion makes her feel not good enough. We can show Christian love without the stress she feels in organized religion. I truly believe God would prefer we show love than talk it.


Maybe she doesn't want to do any extracurricular activities. We pushed our daughter to try things, but ultimately she does better jumping on her trampoline alone than team sports, etc, fear of failure, rejection from others, not being sure she'll be there long term and not wanting to get close to others, a hodge podge of reasons. We asked ours what she was going to do to fill that time spot as she dropped out of activities along the way. Yes, they are good for you, but it's not the end all. Ours has tried soccer, softball and piano and gave them all up, with time she's getting better about commitment. It took ages before she invited friends outside of the friends that were children of my friends over. She thought she wouldn't be here forever, so why bother getting close to her classmates.


Maybe your child gets angry because you say no too much. She feels like she was always allowed to do "xyz" before but now you don't let her. You don't let her because you're a good parent and it's not a good choice for her. How do you make her understand she was never allowed to do "xyz" its just that she was neglected and nobody ever watched her. Maybe nobody cared what she did or where she went. That's part of why she was taken into care. Never bad talk the birth family. Empathize, be real and truthful, but don't attack the person, just be clear about the behaviors. "I didn't have you as a baby and this is how we do things, even if you don't feel like you need xyz, I do, humor me". She eventually saw it for what it was and I never had to bad mouth others.


Give your child a chance to make choices. Say yes as much as possible. Yes helps her learn that you WILL provide her needs and even some of the wants.


What do you mean your child doesn't understand what an adoption is? Of course they don't, they know their birth family couldn't do it long term, why would they think a stranger will accept them for who they are?" Our baby had a failed adoption even, so that added another dynamic to the mix. It's a long ways between being a family in name and being securely attached.


How do I help her without her shutting down? Attachment, attachment, compliance isn't goal, attachment is. Attachment comes with patience, diligence, time and effort, an effort not to make it about me, but about relationships.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Highlights of Being 15

15 started with a great pool party to celebrate your birth!

You started high school in August and celebrated with an over the top fun slumber pool party that your friends are still talking about.

You finally got a new phone and have behaved with it long enough to enjoy it.

You enjoyed school immensely this year, after years of hating school.

You achieved A/B honor roll at a minimum every semester and straight A's a couple of times, earning the academic letter.

You signed up for dual enrollment/advanced diploma for the remainder of high school, because you started having goals. What amazing progress, going from not believing in a future to planning for a very bright future.

We took you and BFF to dinner theatre to see Beauty and the Beast. Not the Disney Version, but over the top crazy version, semi-redneck. Poor Beast, at the end, that mansion turned back into a double wide home.

We gave you tickets to see Carrie Underwood for your birthday and since your dad hates country music, we had a girls night and took your friend, K3.  A was there too and we had an amazing time.

We took you and K2 to the Make America Rock Again concert and she loved it so much. K2 is such a respectful kid and we really enjoyed her.  She was stunned to find out you weren't kidding about having a baby sister.

We took you and B to see Cirque du Soleil.  B is insanely crazy and cute in small doses, but has no manners and would get on anybodys nerves long term.  Not using utensils for a upper scale Mexican restaurant, really?  Her parents said she talked non-stop about how fun it was though. It was nice to be able to share experiences with somebody not able to do that themselves.

We took you and BFF to see Santa and the Nutcracker.  BFF is so adorbs.  Moose sat on your BFF's head while y'all unwrapped your BFF hoodies.

You had 4 boyfriends this year, only 1 of which you wanted to "go OUT" with.  We like him.  The others, not so much. I didn't want you out with them anyway. I trusted them as far as we could throw them.

You went to several parties and even went out of town with BFF to trampoline park. All of that was a really big deal.  You used to not even tell us about parties, not wanting to go, now you're a social butterfly.

You had your first "date", fishing with Z.

We took you and Z to see Blue Oyster Cult and him and dad had a great time at dinner talking about video games.  Y'all shared a funnel cake and afterwards you said "Did you see Z feeding me? did you think it was sweet? I bet most people did, but I bet he did it to make sure I didn't eat the whole thing"

We went to VA Beach and you finally didn't hate it, with it being crowded.  You got a henna tattoo of Tweety Bird.

You got a car--cute Beetle with your school mascot on the license tag and the car is your school main color.  Your got your learners permit and driving me insane with the constant need to drive, even when we have nothing to do.

Your cousin got married and you handled the crowd, the change in schedule and the timing like a champ, we were so proud of you. We went to visit her a couple months before for the shower and you played with the little kids there.

We went to a water park with your sister and she has made enough progress that she let ME go on a water slide with her when you weren't interested in going.  She also was nearly in tears when we left, showing that she's learning healthy attachments.

We went to the Broadway show of Rudolph for Christmas, which was insanely fun. You thought you were too old for it, until we got there and you found out how appropriate it was for all ages.  You said you hoped that they were nearby this year too, so we could go again.

We went to see Cheap Trick, one of dads favorites, and you got another guitar pick for your collection.  Your sister called while we were there and asked us to bring her home for Thanksgiving. We weren't able to, so we went to her for Thanksgiving and ate at Cracker Barrel.

We went to see Rick Springfield, moms teen heartthrob, and mom jumped out and hugged him and you couldn't believe it.

Mom went to Arizona and you handled mom being gone like a pro and video chatted with me a couple times.  You sprained your wrist while I was gone though.

We went to the Broadway show of Cinderella. It was good, but I think you liked Rudolph tons better, probably partially for seating.

We took you and I to see Pat Benetar and John Waite in concert and you two were roasting all of us old people and having entirely too much fun with snapchat filters on random strangers.

Your uncle from Germany visited and we all went to a cajun festival together.  I finally got to try alligator there, you stuck with your old standby, chicken nuggets.

We attended high school graduation together and you didn't sit with me, being a big high school girl, you sat with friends.  I think I'm suppose to be offended, but I was nothing but proud.

15 was amazing and I'm so excited to see what 16 brings for you and us.
I love you baby bear! To the moon and back!!


Sweet 16

Baby girl monkey butt turned 16 last month.
Where does the time go?

We had a great sweet 16 celebration. There was 70% chance of rain that day, but not a drop of rain, perfect weather for a great pool party.

More friends in attendance this year, the attendance goes up every year.   They had a crazy good time. We extended time of party to include lunch of a hotdog cookout and the party was suppose to be 12-4.  As it turns out, the first person arrived before 11 and the last person to leave (other than cousin who tends to stay til bedtime) was around 6:30.

We invited her baby sister, who ended up being able to attend. This is only the 2nd party since kiddo has lived here that she was able to attend.

Kiddo said it was amazing being able to have baby sister, boyfriend and best friend all in the same location.






So many people invited that we had to have cupcakes in addition to the cake this year.  

BFF spent the night, the kids all had an amazing time and I got thank yous and "can't wait for the next party she has" from alot of her friends and a "You have the most amazing parties". 

We held the party the Saturday before her bday since her birthday fell during the week, so for her birthday I took the day off, hubs and I took her and her boyfriend to the park. They invited me to play truth or dare with them, lol, and then we took them to the Mexican Restaurant, where kiddo got sung to, wore a sombrero and got whipped cream pushed in her face by the staff.

A birthday to remember! 


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Progress in Dating

Our beautiful angel has had a string of inappropriate boyfriends for the past few years.  She wouldn't even ask to date them after she got of age to date because she knew they were inappropriate, but it was as if she couldn't begin to be interested in a decent guy.

In February, she came home and said she finally dumped A, the guy everybody said over and over wasn't good enough for her.  Then she came home and said B was her boyfriend.  Yes, A, then B.  I did my homework and found he was a scumbag too.  He even looked scary like he'd do something to her.  She came home and said she broke up with him, that he was a jerk.

We laughingly asked if she was going thru the alphabet for her high school years and if she really wanted that reputation of so many boyfriends. We asked who all at school had names starting with C, since she was going thru the alphabet.  It became a running joke and for a few weeks, she left boys alone and was telling the creeps no.

Then came the day...she came home and said remember "Z" that I've been friends with since 7th grade, well, he's my new boyfriend.

Yeah, we had to laugh about her jumping right to Z.

She said "I decided you're right, it's better to date a friend or nobody at all".  Not only that, but a week later, over dinner, it was "Mom, Dad, I need to ask you something" She actually wanted to go OUT with this boy. Finally one she trusted.

She's been dating him a few months, we like him and they are friends and not 24/7 on each other.  When we got ready to officially meet him (we'd met him at back to school previously, but not in a setting where we got to know each other), she said "Dad, I think I'm worried because you two will talk and I'll be left out, because y'all are alot alike".

Finally, she liked somebody like her dad and not somebody like the past people in her life that ended up in jail, etc.

They are similar enough that I feel like it's not going to be long term, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.  It's a promising sign that she's looking for stability and goodness and not just that bad boy chemistry.

Momma brag

It's been awhile since I've posted, but I needed a place to brag on my baby, so here goes.

Kiddo just turned 16 last month. She was 11 when she moved in, a short 4 months after being separated from her younger sister.

Along the years, we have had sibling visits and watched them progress from high anxiety short visits to fun longer visits.

When our kiddo first moved in, getting rid of any material thing was unheard of.  She'd lost so many things, she'd cling to everything she could.

Next month, baby sis will be 13.  Baby sis still doesn't have a home.

As I was putting together a box of gifts for her, kiddo said she had some books for her and asked for my help to get them together.  They were books we'd given her for her 13th birthday, as well as books we'd given her when shark week entered her life.  She hand picked which ones were appropriate for her, flipping thru, laughing and remembering us and our talks with those books.  She picked out the ones that her sister could read and self guide to learn the necessities and left the one on her shelf that required parental involvement and left the one that was more difficult to follow.

I was so impressed when kiddo explained her logic in her choices. She really has grown so much and has such a good head on her shoulders now.

So, baby sis is getting a good collection of teenage situation books by American Girl as well as the American Medical Associations Guide to Becoming a Teen Girl handbook.

Today we went to her psych for update.  Back in December, she had one med significantly reduced and today she got another med reduced for trial purposes.  I couldn't be more pleased with how hard our baby girl has worked and how well adjusted she's getting.

I hope I didn't jinx us with this post.

I love that kid.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Momza's Crazy Adventure to Arizona

I won a trip for 2 to Arizona from work. The 2nd person has to be at least 21 so that meant my 2nd couldn't be kiddo.
Hubs couldn't go because we didn't feel comfortable not having one of us with kiddo. My BFF has health issues and she wouldn't be able to handle a trip like that so I invited a friend from work that manages a branch across the state.

I didn't get home until almost midnight Thursday night and had to wake up at 4 am Friday morning for my flight, my plane arrived in AZ about 12:15 and my luggage WAS NOT there!! Eek, had to file a report and turns out my bag was at Dallas.

Then we went to transportation and a driver was suppose to pick us up. He wasn't there. I had to scramble and find a number for the hotel and ask for somebody handling travel for our company and they said driver left, thinking I wasn't there?! what the?! they sent somebody to pick us up but it took 30 minutes to get them there but they upgraded our ride there to a Cadillac Escalade.

When we got to the resort, my room had been given away because I wasn't there?!!!?? But no worries, they upgraded me to a casita, lol

The gift card for incidentals wasn't there either. By this point, E and I were STARVED!!! We went to walk to the restuarant near the lobby, but got lost and ended up in a senior living center, lol (the resort is 65 acres and our casita was on the very west edge of it), shortly before 4, we managed to find the lobby. I'm all icky feeling since I couldn't change when we got there because I have no luggage, so we asked the lobby which of the restaurants I would be allowed to go in in my travel clothes that was close enough to find without getting lost again. Lunch was at 4 (after being awake 12 hours). Finally, I was relaxed and chilling. lol.

E wasn't though, because she was upset that I was having to buy lunch on my dime because the company gift card they promised wasn't there for me and it was going to be about $60) HR lady came in and we waved and chatted with her and I let her know that my luggage was delayed and that the gift card that was suppose to be waiting for me wasn't. She called a girl and left message her to find me and get me the gift card. K (HR lady that we were talking to) told me to go shopping and get one outfit for the night and turn it in to get reimbused and she bought our $60 lunch for us).



Can't say enough good about this place: http://www.fairmont.com/scottsdale/dining/ironwoodamericankitchen/

What was possibly BEST hamburger I've ever had in my life. Oh, and birds ate with us.

We went shopping and I got clothes for the night and bath and body works and the cab was $15 for 2 miles, lol came back and was dropped off at lobby and we asked bellhop for golf cart ride to the casita and she called the other bellhop to get cart. I said I was running into gift shop to get drinks to take to room because I was feeling thirsty. Emma came with me, we ran into friends and 2 drinks and 3 hours later, we remembered we had a golf cart waiting on us, lol.

When we came back thru the lobby, the girl looked at my face and just died laughing. I said "I'm sorry, we ran into people and 3 hours later, I remembered we asked for a ride". They were so sweet and it wasn't like they rejected giving people rides waiting on us and she said it was no big deal and she was glad we were having fun anyway.

I can't say enough good things about that resort.

I have been there once before, but it was years ago and it was even better than I remembered and I still recalled it as the best place I'd ever stayed in my life:

http://www.fairmont.com/scottsdale/?cmpid=google_scp_search-branded_branded-e-revsh&gclid=CNHlvKHf09ICFZWCswodYpoM5Q

11:30 pm AZ time, my luggage showed up. That's 1:30 my normal time.

Next morning, we get up at 7 am AZ time because we want to fill in every second we can since we missed out the day before on so much, still no gift card. Company had breakfast waiting, we decided to go to the ghost town and have fun. We weren't able to go the day before as planned because by the time we got in, ghost town was closed. I was much more annoyed about not getting to do activities the first day than the fact that the luggage was delayed.

E said for me to call HR and get card before we went since the day could get expensive. After a few calls I tracked down M (the girl K had contacted), she met us in the lobby and gave us the card. We asked a bellhop about a ride and he said the cab to the ghost town would run 127 each way and suggested uber instead, lol. He helped us get set up and got us a $15 coupon, but uber doesn't take the gift card, lol. So my money again, $30 there, $45 back. lol. Get to the ghosttown and buy our ticket for 3 of the exhibits and hand them the card we got. They don't take cards, it's 1837, they need cash, lol. You can't even make this up. I just fell across the counter at that point.

I had to call hubs and get the pin number to our credit card because I had to go to an ATM machine and you can't use gift cards on an ATM. so our money again, lol. We went ziplining, rode a historical train tour, went in a mystery house and toured a gold mine. By then we were ready for lunch and found a cute place for burgers and hotdogs. They even took cards. yay!! Gave them my gift card, ummmm, we don't take American Express, only Visa and Mastercard. I was dying laughing at this point, probably looking like an insane person. I paid cash and we ate, explored the ghost town more, watched a gun fight, toured a church, bought souveniers. The "cat house" I wanted to visit was closed.



Tired, we called uber to pick us back up and headed back to our casita. On the way we saw a casino and I got excited thinking about moms ashes and that she'd like to visit there and asked E if she was interested in going to the casino after dinner. The uber driver said it was a nicer one closer to our place and gave us recommendations, etc. E was too excited, she said she hoped I wasn't kidding because she REALLY wanted to do that.

Dinner was a company required dinner (the only thing we were required to do with others). She asked me what time dinner was over (it was open and no close time) and I said no specific time, she said look at her when I was ready to go and we'd go. Not long after dinner, we bailed, lol. Oh, but before dinner, there was a reception. I said I wanted to go to the orange grove and then hit reception late. We ran into a golf cart guy that picked us up and we forgot about the orange grove, lol. We had an amazing time at dinner, but still excited about our adventures planned.

After dinner, we hitched a ride with a golf cart driver, but he got lost. We ran into our normal golf cart driver and he told the guy that he didn't know what he was doing and that they needed to take us, that he could drive the local resort people and he'd take those of us in casitas. We were dying laughing. Our new golf driver told the one that was lost that he'd taken us there numerous times and we'd be fine. ALL of us were laughing.

We changed into our play clothes and called uber to pick us up after dinner and we headed to casino. As you can guess, I made next to nothing, lol, I quit quick knowing how my trip was going. E came out ahead about $250 and gave me $45 (she made me use $25 there and the other $20 was for the trip back to the resort--uber was $27 each way, my money because they don't take the gift card, only normal cards, lol). We ran into people from our company that we had met at the dinner from other states, so we caught a ride with them and saved some moolah, lol. So, I told E since we forgot the orange grove, we needed to wake up 1/2 hour early and go see it and then head to lobby to check out. We set my alarm for 6:10 am, since we had to leave in the company provided bus at 7:30 to go to the airport.

Alarm goes off and I felt so groggy from getting in late night night before. This girl doesn't do partying and late hours.

I get up though and take my shower and then wake E up. She looks at me like I've grown 2 heads. My phone had auto advanced an hour for time change, but Arizona doesn't have time change. I woke up an hour early for nothing.

We forget we were walking to the orange grove and got on a golf cart, where our little guy spins around the corner and drops my luggage. I scream "I can't believe I forgot to go the orange grove". At that point we didn't even have time. He said "girls, I've got this, I can ride you over real quick and get you back in time". He dropped our luggage at the bus and told them to give us 5 minutes. The orange grove smelled so amazing.

We head back, get in the bus and go to the airport.

Once at the airport, I pull out the gift card and go to the kiosk, check in and want to use the gift card to pay for my baggage claim. They don't take that gift card, so I use my own money again. 1st leg of the journey home went well, connecting flight was delayed. I hate the Charlotte airport so of course that's the one I was stuck in during the delay. Get back home after finally getting on my plane and my luggage isn't there.

What?! Luggage? Missing? Both ways?

How does that even happen? It's 11 am and I still don't have my luggage. It was promised by 5:30. I called, they do have it and it will be delivered, but good grief. What a ton of challenges for so much fun and yes, the fun WAY out weighed the bad.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The broken road

5 years ago today, there was a little girl visiting for the weekend that woke us up crazy early. She was so beautiful and spunky.

We assumed that since a visit was planned with us, it was because we were going to be chosen to be her parents. It's unusual for a child to be visiting multiple families.  During that weekend, she mentioned to us that she was visiting another family the following weekend.

A few issues happened with that little girl outside of the visits that caused her worker to delay her decision a little longer than we thought it would be.  

That's what we were told though. We didn't know then it was really a different reason.

We weren't the ones chosen and it would be several months before we realized that there was a grander plan that was coming true and the perfect daughter was just around the corner, one that we were meant to parent forever and would instantly fall in love with.

That delay happened about the time things were coming to a head in our daughters first adoptive home.  I'm convinced the delay was so that child would go elsewhere and we'd be available for our child.

Thank God for that broken road that led us straight to our daughter <3

I can't imagine life without her. The moment I found out about her though I knew why WE went through all we did before finding her. Every tear, every rejection was all a part of what needed to happen so we'd be available when it was time for her to be with us.

When I think of those visits vs the visits with our kid though....it was so different, I see now that it just wasn't there.  She was fun, we enjoyed it, but it wasn't like having a daughter with us.  Our baby even felt like our daughter from the very first moment we laid eyes on her.

I was exhausted when we dropped Ms H off after that weekend with us.

When we dropped our kiddo off after the first weekend with us, it felt like she'd only been with us a few hours. I cried that she wasn't going back home with us.  It was like the difference between babysitting and parenting.

Okay, maybe I do believe in love at first sight.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hyper Vigilance

Complex trauma in a child can create a host of diagnoses aka alphabet soup for a kiddo. Our child was no exception. One of her diagnoses is PTSD and that comes with an extreme sense of hyper vigilance.

One piece of the evidence was her stress level in crowds and noisy situations. Crowds make it more difficult to manage the awareness of any perceived threats nearby, as does a noisier than average situation. When you've been abused for years, you become so aware of all your surroundings at all times, so you can bolt at a moments notice.

It is a survival skill that's used to avoid, minimize or handle situations.

A gift at times, but very draining and difficult in most cases.

Early on, we could tell her stress level would get up if she couldn't see everything around her, have clear ways to the door, be able to hear what was going on and protect herself.  During attachment therapy, one of the things done to monitor what level she was at was her looking around the room for 10 seconds and then closing her eyes and telling everything she could remember in a short time frame.

Literally there would be nothing in the room that she was not aware of being there.

Last week, she went to a friends house for her birthday party. It was the first time visiting that friend.  When I picked her up, as you walk into the house, the laundry area is where you come in at.  I was talking to her friends mom and noticed the decor in the laundry room with the words "laundry today or naked tomorrow" on the wall.

Our laundry hamper broke and we'd ordered a new one, which also has that same phrase on it. When I mentioned her friends laundry room having that on the wall, kiddo looked at me like I grew two heads.  She hadn't even noticed. I was near tears and squealed. Literally.

I looked at hubs and said "Can you believe she didn't even NOTICE that?!".  Hubs knew what I meant but kiddo said "don't make fun of me momza".    I assured her I wasn't making fun of her, that I was actually mentioning it because I am so proud of her that she's made so much progress that her first instinct isn't to check out every detail of her surroundings, but to relax and just enjoy her life.

Obviously I want her aware enough to be safe, but I want her to relax enough that when she's in a safe environment that she can have fun and not be so concerned about how to escape.

Proud momma bear here.  Kiddo has worked so hard on her trauma and made so much progress.

This weekend, she went to the trampoline park with BFF.  I asked if she wanted to put a xanax in her purse in case it was overwhelming there. We hadn't been there before because of the crowds. She said it wasn't necessary. Crowds didn't scare her the same way they used to.  As long as she had somebody with her, she was fine.

She's also JUST started in the past 30 days going into a store by herself.

So much progress.

Thankfully though, this survival skill should help her recognize when somebody is fake or a threat.  I think that will automatically come back when needed.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Loaning Momma Your Purse

love my baby girl

She's so sweet, she loaned me her cross body purse for my trip so I'm safer in Atlanta :)
This way I am not carrying my big purse that somebody can just grab off my shoulder.

Why am I blogging about this?

There was a day when kiddo wouldn't have loaned anybody anything, but especially not a parent that is leaving her for a few days.  That abandonment mentality would have made her feel as if not only was I leaving her, but taking her stuff too. 

She was going to have one if not the other.

This is a big deal.

She knows that I will always come home.  

Since I will always come home, there is no need to "protect" her stuff from me.  Her things will always be here and so will mom.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Becoming a vegetarian

me: would you like some eggs for breakfast monkey butt?
kiddo: no momza, that comes from a chicken and I'm a vegetarian now
me: oh, you are? I had no idea. When did that happen?
kiddo: since yesterday in Independent living Class when we saw a video on how nuggets are made
me: ok......what would you like then?
kiddo: cereal (and grabs bowl and milk)
me: you do realize milk comes from a cow, right?



kiddo: I want cheeseburgers
me: I thought you were a vegetarian?
kiddo: You know I can't give up cheeseburgers, they're my favorite, I'm eating cows, but not other animals, but especially not chicken



kiddo: momza, can we have chicken tenders?
me: I thought you weren't eating chicken?
kiddo: this is different, this is chicken BREASTS. It's the rest of the chicken I'm not eating



THESE VEGETARIAN RULES!! lol

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Love Never Fails

Read something during lunch and think it is worth repeating....copied some of this but I can't find it again to name my source....some is all mine though, lol

How many times do we go to bed tired and overwhelmed, feeling as though we have not connected?

Children are people too and they should have a voice. Why is it okay for us to have opinions and our kids not? Why is it okay for us to be grouchy, but not them.  Dr Suess had the right idea.



We all get tired at night. Kids fall apart, parents fall apart, and yet, it is one of the most important parts of the day, because when your child goes to bed, they have all night to think about what JUST happened.

So, when your children go to bed, leave them with love, tender voices, kisses goodnight (if they will accept them) and encouragement.

Just because our girl is a teenager doesn't prevent me from saying "Good night darling.... I love you..Sleep tight..." or maybe even rubbing her back and reading to her occasionally. I can say this even if they don't receive it. I can say it anyway. Don't stop just because you don't get those words back.

Sometimes you feel as though no one is listening and paying attention all those times when our love seemingly fell flat at her door.

But our kids do hear our words. Sometimes kiddo's mouth opens and her mother comes out. I hear back what I put in and it hits me in those moments "she does listen, even when she pretends she's not".  So many things we say come back later, when we least expect it and the joy that she listens and retains. 

Don't ever think, even for a moment, that it's not worth it. Ever y bit of energy put into our childs future is WORTH IT.

If they ask for one more drink of water. Get it for them.

When I was little, my daddy was good about this, even though mom tried to convince him I was manipulating him.  I just asked because it was one way he showed love....yes, I could get it for myself, but that was "our time"....

Kiddo asks me for little things like that so frequently, things she can do herself and hubs will say "You can do that".  I say "of course she can, but she wants momza to do that" and I do tend to spoil her a little.

The night before my wedding, my daddy got me a glass of water and told me a bedtime story) Even if you think it is a massive manipulation. Do it. If they decide that is the time to talk, set a reasonable 10 minute limit, and talk to them.

You cannot err on the side of love, voice, acceptance, compassion or patience.

LOVE NEVER FAILS.... never ever.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Learners Permit Drama

So hard to believe monkey butt is even old enough for this.

She turned old enough to get learners on December 29th.  At that point, she was in the "I need to be a kid longer and not ready for this" phase. We told her no problem, we'd never push her into it, she'd do it when she was ready.

We didn't even mention she'd already sweet talked us into a car, lol

Earlier this week, kiddo says "Momza, I'm ready to test now", so I agree to get off work early and me, her and daddy-o would go.

Her dad and I fought over it.

He said "Why do YOU need to get off work for this? I'm capable of taking her"

I said "I know you're CAPABLE of taking her, but this is a big deal and I want to be there for her"

Then when I take the time off, he wants to go too, lol, apparently he recognized it was a big deal and wanted to be involved in that memory too.  If he thought it was a big deal, I still don't know why he thought it was weird I thought it was a big enough deal to go, lol

We're past that though.  Here's what happened:

The hubs brought kiddo over to my office and we left from there and took kiddo to get her learners permit. (she missed 1 question and it was sign, so we have to take her back in 15 days, you can not miss any sign questions and pass)

I got so upset though. We got there with her birth certificate (and with adoption, at the time of adoption, original certificate is sealed and a new one with same number is issued with me and hubs as parents).  Part of the reason they do that is so adoption can be kept just like biological kids and no extra paperwork, blah, blah, blah.   Turns out it’s an exception. Of all the oddball things, when she was 4, her birth family got her an ID card at the DMV, so we started filling out paperwork and they already have her in the system----as a S (birth name). 

So, they tell us to go home and get her adoption papers to prove she went from one name to ours, since in their system she doesn't have our last name.  The kicker---she wasn’t a S when she was adopted. She was a M by the time we found her, because she had been adopted before.  Thank GOD for good lifebook.  Between monkey butts stuff and the file we got when we adopted her, we were able to come up with copy of her S birth certificate, court docs showing S rights terminated, copy of M adoption papers, copy of M  birth certificate, copy of M  termination papers, then our adoption papers and birth certificate. PAIN IN THE BUTT!!! Part from her stuff, part from ours.


Not to mention, very triggering. No wonder she missed a question, she had to have that trigger of going thru memory lane 5 minutes before testing.  L

oh, and the boy she just had broken up with showed up right after us to take his test. He missed the same question, they're back together, but that was making her nervous because he sat close and they weren't back together yet.

eta: the first person was way rude about her medical history (application requires what you're taking meds for), second person didn't even bat an eye.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Years Goals and Accountability, Last Year/This Year

Last Years Goals and Accountability:


Parenting for Attachment--I think most of the time I did that, not perfect by any means, but thankfully kiddo is forgiving and let's me have re-dos

2 sizes smaller in 2016--1 size down

Get kiddo a passport--never got around to it, I need a re-do on this goal

Become a core branch by the end of first quarter--I think it was actually 2nd quarter when this happened, but better late than never

project organization--is this even possible with a crazy teenager in the house that love chaos? lol.....well, at least a couple things got done, shoes have a home now

Create good memories as a family, not taking time for granted, but enjoying what life and each other has to offer. I don't want our child looking back and saying "We never did anything together" or "we just sat around watching TV" or "Friday nights were the only times we did anything" (our normal family night to do to dinner together)--totally ROCKED this, despite a rocky year with so many financial emergencies that came up. Broadway show of Annie, tubing, Disney Live, Taubman Museum, Wii time, Chicago concert, pool time, Tybee Island, Pat Benetar concert, Cajun Festival, Splash Valley, Beauty & the Beast Barn Theatre, Cirque du Soleil, Carrie Underwood concert, Make America Rock Again Concert, Mountain Trip, The Star, Rudolph Musical, Thanksgiving with Sammie, Cheap Trick Concert, Nutcracker Performance, among a few of the bigger things, little stuff too

Be the best me that's possible--not exactly measurable, but I tried. Hopefully that counts.

There is just something about a New Year--the fresh smell of the calendar, a new journal with nothing written on the pages, 365 pages long.

I know today is no different than any other year, but just imagining that fresh journal with no blemishes on it. When I'm coloring and love the page until the first time I go outside of the lines or writing until I mess up and it gets messy.....until that moment it's just perfect and so nice to look at.

We can make a change any day. We can stay the same if we want too. There are no rules, but it's a fresh new book with none of the pages written on yet. I want my pages to be meaningful for 2017 and work with purpose and passion towards my goals.

2017 goals:

  • Parenting for Attachment--I want kiddo to continue to progress and attach, she's doing amazing and I never want to be an obstacle in her achieving her goals
  • Reduce 2 sizes--I'll do this by reducing carbs by 25% for awhile, then to 35%, then 50% until I find my happy spot, without going cold turkey where I can't keep control. I low carbed for 4 years and stress and grief after losing mom got the better of me.
  • Get kiddo passport--her favorite uncle (and my favorite brother in law) lives in Germany and we can't visit if we don't get her a passport
  • Earn 20K or more in bonuses for 2017
  • work on project organization around the house--I can't stand the chaos. Kiddo and hubs loves the chaos, so I have to be creative in working around it and doing the best I can with it
  • Create Memories with my family. I don't want our baby looking back and thinking "we never did anything as a family
  • photo a day
  • teach kiddo to drive and get her learners permit at least
  • Be the best me that's possible. My family and friends deserve nothing less than the best from me.