Friday, December 31, 2010

Good stuff!!

(Stealing this from you PotterMama :) )


"I will never forget seeing her pull the measuring tape out of her purse as she talked about the skull of her child.
The woman, standing in an airport in Russia with my wife and me, was, like us, an American. She, like us, was in the former Soviet Union to pursue adoption. But she was worried. She had heard “horror stories” about fetal alcohol syndrome and various other nightmares. She said that the measuring tape was for gauging the size of the craniums of her potential children, to “make sure there’s nothing wrong with them.”
The reason I think about this conversation so much these days is because I am finding—more and more often—that one of the primary obstacles for Christians in advocating for the fatherless can be summed up right there in that measuring tape: the issue of fear. As much as we might not want to admit it, many of us don’t think much about orphans because, frankly, we’re scared of them.
Orphans are unpredictable. Often we don’t know where they’ve come from, what kind of genetic maladies and urges lie dormant somewhere in those genes. Moreover, in virtually every situation of fatherlessness, there is some kind of tragedy: a divorce, a suicide, a rape, a drug overdose, a disease, a drought, a civil war, and on and on. We’d rather not think about such things, and we’re afraid often of what kind of lasting mark they leave on their victims.
Those of us who know Christ ought to recognize that fear is often a deterrent to justice, a deterrent that has been indicted, crucified, and buried in the triumph of Jesus. In Jesus’ story of the so-called “good Samaritan,” after all, Jesus presents us with a man who “fell among robbers” and was beaten, nearly to death (Lk. 10:30). With little commentary on why, Jesus tells us, simply, that two passers-by, both religious officials, moved on to the other side, to avoid the wounded man (Lk. 10:31-32).
While many have speculated that there might have been theological reasons behind their neglect (the fear of becoming ceremonially unclean from touching a corpse), the most compelling reason I’ve ever heard was from Martin Luther King, Jr., who wondered whether the passers-by were simply afraid.
After all, there were no streetlights on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho—the setting of this story. There was no police force. A man beaten by terrorists is a good signal that the evildoers are still about, perhaps hiding in the caves along the roadside, lying in wait for their next victim. Moving on along, quickly and quietly, probably just seemed like prudence.
But Jesus never was one for justification by prudence alone. He praised a Samaritan—a reviled outcast from the official religious structures—for the compassion he demonstrated toward this man. And the compassion Jesus commended—and commanded from us in imitation—wasn’t mere charity. The Samaritan didn’t simply help the beaten man; he gave him his own animal, set him up in an inn, and paid for all his expenses for his ongoing care (Lk. 10:34-35). Any Israelite hearing this account would have seen immediately what was going on. The Samaritan was treating the beaten man like family.
Right now, there is a crisis of fatherlessness all around the world. Chances are, in your community, the foster care system is bulging with children, moving from home to home to home, with no rootedness or permanence in sight. Right now, as you read this, children are “aging out” of orphanages around the world. Many of them will spiral downward into the hopelessness of drug addiction, prostitution, or suicide. Children in the Third World are languishing in group-homes, because both parents have died from disease or have been slaughtered in war. The curse is afoot, and it leaves orphans in its wake.
Not every Christian is called to adopt or to foster children. And not every family is equipped to serve every possible scenario of special needs that come along with particular children. Orphan care isn’t easy. Families who care for the least of these must count the cost, and be willing to offer up whatever sacrifice is needed to carry through with their commitments to the children who enter into their lives.
But, while not all of us are called to adopt, the Christian Scriptures tell us that all of us are called to care “widows and orphans in their distress” (Jas. 1:27). All of us are to be conformed to the mission of our Father God, a mission that includes justice for the fatherless (Exod. 22:22; Deut. 10:18; Ps. 10:18; Prov. 23:10-11; Isa. 1:17; Jer. 7:6; Zech. 7:10). As we are conformed to the image of Christ, we share with him his welcoming of the oppressed, the abandoned, the marginalized; we recognize his face in the “least of these,” his little brother and sisters (Matt. 25:40).
The followers of Jesus should fill in the gap left by a contemporary Western consumer culture that extends even to the conception and adoption of children. Who better than those who have been welcomed by Christ to care for the most feared and least sought after of the world’s orphans? After all, who are we, as those who are the invited to Jesus’ wedding feast? We are “the poor and the crippled and the blind and the lame” (Lk. 14:21). Since that is the case, Jesus tells us, we are to model the same kind of risk-taking, unconditional love (Lk. 14:12), the kind that casts out fear.
Yes, orphan care can be risky. Justice for the fatherless will sap far more from us than just the time it takes to advocate. These kids need to be reared, to be taught, to be hugged, to be heard. Children who have been traumatized often need more than we ever expect to give. It is easier to ignore those cries. But love of any kind is risky.
The Gospel means it’s worth it to love, even to the point of shedding your own blood. After all, that’s what made a family for ex-orphans like us."
By Russel D. Moore

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Visit

I thought that since our agency was closed for several days this week we might get away with out a visit this week, but his mom called about 3 hours before the usual time and it was going to be "on." For the past year I have sent the communication book with LM every time telling her at least something that happened during the week. She usually writes back chit-chat or tells me something that she would like changed/done. Two weeks ago (before she lost her visit last week) I sent her a Christmas gift and a pleasant note about LM's week. What I got back was "his pants are stupid!"

I really want to be a light and I didn't want to get upset, but she abuses (verbally/emotionally) pretty much everyone that is in her life, and I wanted to let her know that I will not tolerate that and she can't treat me that way. So...I decided to not send the book this week. If she didn't want to use it for what it was designed for, then I won't participate. She really isn't one to realize social cues (at all!) so I really didn't expect that she would "get it."

The CM dropped LM off and the first thing out of her mouth was "the mom was upset you didn't include the book and tell her how him Christmas was." I told her why and she said that mom wrote me a note and she realized that what she wrote was inappropriate and she apologized in the note! Quite surprising let me tell ya! So I will restart the book but be firm and tell her that I won't accept such disrespect and use it for it's purpose.

She sent him many Christmas gifts including clothes....now you ready???? Here's the kicker.....she sent two pairs of JEANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I about fell over!!!!!!!!! If you have read for any length of time you know she HATES jeans and has told me over and over to not let him wear them (he does...just not on visit days!)

I was talking with the CM and it looks they are going to head to a TPR consult!! This woman LOVES her son, but she simply is just not emotionally/mentally stable (even if Dad got his act together) to care for a child. Their apt was so filled with smoke that the CM could only stay for a minute....LM is asthmatic!!!!! (The Christmas gifts smelled so bad that I had to give him a nebulizer treatment and I had to take my inhaler because neither of us could breathe). She really needs HELP, but she is still in so much denial about her mental state that she doesn't think she needs any help. In any conversation or note, you can tell she has no steady stream of thought. It's so sad!!! :( She talks daily about leaving LM's dad, but then is back in love an hour later. DRAMA!

I am thankful that LM doesn't have to go through that drama and I am glad that he is in a safe and stable place to grow up :) Nothing is going to happen quickly in regrads to the TPR as it is a "whole process" but I'm getting pretty used to things moving slowly! The next court hearing set is the end of January and I might not be able to go because it's the same time as another very important appt, so maybe God doesn't want me there for a reason??? LM is in his hands and I have nothing to worry about! :-)

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's time!

Little Man is getting to that point where he is able to get disciplined for his actions! Whew! This child has an attitude and has no problem displaying it to anyone who would like to see it-lol! He has the language to express simple needs/wants and rather than using them he tends to scream and throw a fit. So...this past weekend Mr. M and I started "You fit..you sit!" It's not really a time-out \, but rather if he wants to throw a fit, that's fine, but we aren't going to listen to it (ok..we're kind of forced to, but we don't give it any attention). The first time we put him on the spot we told him when he was all done crying he could get up. We really expected him to get up a few times, but he just sat there! :) We went about our business and he stopped crying and got up and played. He did it several more times over the weekend, but he understands, sits, stops crying and gets up. The time he spends on his crying efforts are getting shorter each time. Yay!

He also has this stubbornness in him where he wants to get up on the couch (he can do this all by himself but prefers to be lifted up because it's easier!) and rather than saying "up" or "please" he just screams at you. Well....not gonna work here! We told him "no whining...use your words. Say "up please" and he calmed down quickly and said the words. Yay!!! The next time he whined again and we just had to say "use your words" and he did. So....thank God for less screaming!!! We jokingly call him Baby Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! He can go from total tantrum screaming to giggling in a second!

If you haven't read the book "Loving your kid's on purpose" by Danny Silk I highly recommend it! One example in particular that stands out in this case is "fun or room?" If you want to be fun you can stay here and play or if you want to be crabby you can go to your room. I think "You fit you sit?" will turn into that when he can open his door! lol! Lots of great stuff in that book...I think it's time for a re-read for me too :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry CHRISTmas!!

Merry Christmas to all of you!!! We have been so blessed with a wonderful year and a whole year with Little Man! Yesterday we decided to bless the firefighters who have to work on Christmas Eve/Christmas with some homemade goodies. They invited us in to look at the truck/ambulance and all the kids were THRILLED! Little Man just stood there for awhile and then throughly enjoyed driving the fire truck! He didn't even flinch when they set the sirens off! LOL!

Little Man loved the presents this morning, but he tended to get fixed on one present and we had to urge him to open another one! At the end all the presents were open except for some 5 of his! Mr. A and Mr. I were more than happy to help him!

This is somewhat bittersweet...we are so happy that he is here with us celebrating, but I keep thinking of his birthmom who is sitting at home missing her baby boy today (not to mention her other kids too...one of which this will be her first Christmas!). She doesn't have any family around and I can just imagine how truly lonely she is feeling today :( Truly praying for some incredible life change for her...there is HOPE and His name is Jesus! The reason we celebrate today!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Not as planned

Court didn't go so well today :( Mom and Dad didn't show up again in person (more excuses) but Mom did appear by phone. She acted so incredibly inappropriate to the judge and would not stop ranting and interrupting that the judge said if she was in court she would be in cuffs and since she was on the phone she was going to hang up if she interrupted one more time. She did. Goodbye! So...this is the THIRD continuation since the end of October just to try and get a JR done! Grrr....January 24th is our next time in court. This judge is actually moving to another area, but she noted that she wants to keep our case. I can't imagine having to start all over with another judge so that is good news!

Little Man was scheduled for a visit with Mom today, but because of her actions in court the judge demanded she be drug screened today and the GAL's attorney suggested that the visit be cancelled because Little Man doesn't need to see her so unstable. It makes me sad...I wish I could peel the layers off her eyes so she could see the damage, but I can't :(

We may lose yet another case manager because this Mom has pushed this one to the brink in a mere month and 1/2! The way she acted in court is what this CM deals with daily. Oh Lord please bring this case to end SOON!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Busch Gardens!


Today we went to Busch Gardens! We were given 5 free tickets from our licensing agency and off we went! This is Little Man on a zebra on the mini-carousel ride. He loved it :) It was a very cold morning to start, but warmed up nicely. He did great the whole day and didn't even fuss at having to spend lots of time in the stroller! He loved the "aminals" as he called them and FLIPPED out when he saw the Elmo show. I have a great pic of my husband holding him and he has this horrible "boo-boo" face (as we call it) because he couldn't go dance with Elmo on stage! Too fun!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Blessed Abundantly!




Little Man was blessed by the Foster Angels with all of these goodies!!!! In the past there have been certain restrictions, but this year they wanted every single child in foster care (traditional, relative, etc) to have an abundant Christmas! I was expecting maybe 3-4 toys, but they gave him so much! Of course he is MOST excited about the Elmo ride-on toy. No, I didn't give him the gifts, but he had to come with me to pick them up so he kinda saw. I've already hid it and he'll forget about it for a week! LOL!
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18 months!!!!!!!!!!

I simply can't believe that my sweet boy is 18 months old today!!! Gosh I wish I could plaster his adorable little face all over this blog! He is such a little spit fire but sweet as can be on the flip side! He has really gotten into dancing lately and it is just the cutest thing...the kid has rhythm! His favorite song to dance to is the Target Christmas commercial with the Electronic Santa Claus. Hilarious! He and Mr. I break it down family style! He can throw a tantrum with the best of them and I am surprised the neighbors haven't come knocking with the way he screams! lol! He is a complete joy to our lives and I cannot wait to see his face Christmas morning! We celebrate Christmas morning with a chocolate cake for Jesus' birthday so I'm sure he'll enjoy that too :-)

Court countdown....4 days...I'm probably setting myself up for another disappointment, but I can't help it! lol!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Where's Grandma?

Little Man likes to "talk" on the phone to my Mom (who lives out of state) at least a few times per week. Mr. I. likes to call Grandma too, so between the two of them she says "oh, really?" a lot since they are hard to understand-lol! Anyway, she mailed all 3 of the kids a "Twas the Night Before Christmas" recordable book. She recorded her voice reading the story and at the end it says "Merry Christmas! Love you, Grandma!" The first time Little Man heard the book it was hilarious!!! At first he just froze trying to figure it out. Then he knew it was Grandma's voice so he ran to the phone. He kept running back and forth between the book and the phone trying to figure it all out! :) So cute and smart!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jump aboard the crazy train!

Oye! Mom has been able to contact workers through the leasing office and she is throughly torn on what to do. She wants to now separate herself (through legal means) from Dad. Will she do it??? I don't know!!!! I know they received an eviction notice yesterday to be out in 3 days. Please pray that she finally makes some sound and smart decisions for her own safety and sanity!! I really pray she finds a safe place to stay where she can work on her own issues apart from this man.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

No visit this week

I guess Little Man is not going to have a visit again this week. At least we didn't go through the hassle of getting him and his things ready, driving there, and waiting only to find out she isn't coming. She never confirmed her visit and apparently couldn't find a way to get to the visit so it got cancelled yesterday morning. She has no phone now (it got disconnected) so I guess we wait and see if she contacts anyone and if there will be a visit next week.

It's so hard to see someone be so eager to get her child back, doing all that she needs to do only to place a man (and toxic relationship) ahead of her son. She seems to have totally given up all of the sudden and it's so sad! Now don't get me wrong....I am thankful that he gets to remain here in a safe environment where he won't be exposed to things a child never should! I guess only time will tell what will happen long term, but we are praying that December 22nd is a big day in his life and ours!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

More drama...

Never did I think that this case could be even MORE screwed up! Oh my...Mom and Dad are both alive and at their apt. Lots of UGLY details came out of yesterday's visit by the case worker/GAL and things are looking bleak. If only Mom could separate herself from this toxic relationship she might have a real chance of living with her son again. As things are right now....it looks like there will be lots of drama in court again in a few weeks. Thank God Little Man is too little to have a clue what's going on...he's playing near my feet happily saying "Thomas...see it mama?!" He loves Thomas the Tank Engine these days :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Disappointed

Nothing was accomplished in court today :( The parents did not show and nothing that was told to be completed was ready to present. The judge was in a VERY bad mood today and I felt very sorry for our case manager :( Mom has suddenly dropped off the face of the earth (Dad too)and it's very rare to not hear from her anywhere from 2-4 times a day, so the judge ordered the CM to find them and drug screen them immediately and be ready with the results on the 22nd which is when we will continue the fun! :-(

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Preparing for tomorrow

I think there are a lot of valuable lessons for me in my kid's favorite Bible story...David and Goliath!

"Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him." I Samuel 17:32
We currently are fighting a pretty big giant here, but as this verse says, we must not lose heart. We have no control, it looks like the parents are doing what they need to be doing, we may not get to keep Little Man here with us forever, BUT we must not lose heart!

" I cannot go in these,' he said to Saul, 'because I am not used to them.' So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine." I Samuel 17:38b-40
We cannot use someone else's faith to fight our giant!

"David said to the Philistine, 'You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty'." I Samuel 17:45

"All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's..." I Samuel 17:47 (emphasis mine)
The following is from my study Bible and totally summed it up for me :)

"Many of us have obstacles looming in the distance. We can approach them with the same confidence as David: When we pray in the Lord's name, remember what God has done and confidently place the results in God's hands." (emphasis mine)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

One year ago today!

I can hardly even believe that it was ONE year ago today that Little Man was brought to our home and joined our family!!!!!!!!! Back then he was a 5 1/2 month old BIG boy who actually assimilated pretty well. I remember the initial item that stopped him from crying was a red bulb on the Christmas tree that he could see himself in :) The first month he was with us are almost a blur as we adjusted to having an infant in the house and especially because he was SO SICK with asthma problems. We had so many Dr. visits that month it was crazy! Of course things settled down and he became part of our family. He has changed so much and is developing into quite the little character! He's not a baby anymore and he is looking more and more like a big boy!

Never in my foster care fantasies did I imagine that our first foster care placement would be this long. I'm not really sure what I expected, but I think I was expecting more of what my friend has had her first year...12 kids! Obviously God has us each on the path that He has planned for our separate families but we certainly have had different experiences for sure!

I have learned so much in the past year...there have been very hard times...there have been fun/easy times...there have been moments where I want to scream at the system...there have been moments when I have tried to encourage workers with tangible efforts to "keep going" when their job was "too much." There have been times when I have cried at the very thought of having to say goodbye...there have been times where I dreamed of the day I could announce that Little Man would be a permanent member of our family! I never imagined the emotional rollercoaster that foster care has turned out to be, but I know that this rollercoaster is from God and we are along for the ride to do as He wants us to!!



We have no idea how much longer Little Man will be here with us (hopefully we'll have a bit more of an idea after Friday) but we will cherish each and every day we have with him and even if he does return to his parents someday we will never regret having the blessing of him in our lives for however long God had him here!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We have so much to be thankful for this year! This is Little Man's first Thanksgiving with us and we are definititely thankful that we have him here to celebrate this year
:-) I think Thanksgiving will be this kid's favorite holiday because it involves his favorite activity---EATING!!!

Little Man's permanency hearing is next week and so is the one year marker of his arriving at our home. It has been a good 2 months since he has had any "after visit" nightmare wake-ups...that is until last week. His Dad's visits have been reinstated and with the all that is coming next week there is some definite stuff in the spiritual realm that is going on! He had a visit yesterday and last night he was just fitfull in his sleep and around 10:30 he had "THAT" scream! He is really only half awake, but is so overcome that it's hard to settle him back down. He is fearful and can't relax to go back to sleep. This has only ever happened after his visits. I am THANKFUL that he is in our home and that we have the opportunity to pray over him when he is feeling this way! God has taught me a lot about spiritual warfare in the past year and just what a position we are in for Little Man (and any other child/ren that come into our home).

Have a BLESSED day blog friends!!!! We will :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thinking about Christmas....

I'd like to hear from some of you other foster parents out there....Do you do something for your foster children's birthparents for Christmas? If so, what do you do? A card? Special picture? Gift?

Last Christmas we didn't even have contact with his parents so it wasn't an issue. Since then of course we have developed a relationship (kinda) :) . I was thinking perhaps a special card with his picture or something similar.

What are you ideas???

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting bigger!

My big guy is 17 months old today! I can hardly believe it!! We went to a dinner at church last night and as I was tucking him back into his carseat to go home I told him that I loved him and he grabbed my face a planted a big 'ole kiss on me! Then he said "wub woo!" Awwwww.....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A tad tired (warning...a little venting!) :)

A few weeks ago Little Man's transporter asked both the mom and I if we could switch his visit from Wed. to Tues at 10am. We both said that was fine. I verified it with him last week when L.M. was dropped off. Yesterday comes and it's 9:30 (time scheduled to pick up)...9:45...10:00 and no transporter. I called him and asked what was going on and he said that he had double booked and was currently supervising a visit. He called me back a few min. later and asked if he could pick him up at 3:30. Ugh...fine! Little Man got back home at 6:30 last night..had dinner and went to bed. Just a tad tired (this is the 3rd time the transporter has done this me) of my time not being valued and expectations of me being flexible.

So when he got back I read the communication book. If you have been reading my blog for awhile now you know that L.M.'s mom is VERY picky about what he wears (NO jeans...baggy, etc). So..for his b-day back in June she gave him 3 outfits. In order to stop her complaining about what I put on him I only put him in these outfits (rotating them). Yesterday she wrote and asked if he had any other clothes that fit him. Ummm....yes of course he has more than three outfits! I am getting more bold with her about things like this and wrote back to her that I will be more than happy to put other outfits on him, but if she prefers no jeans/baggy only clothes that she will need to supply them and I would be happy to put him in them for his visits. Just a tad tired of being "told" how I need to dress a child in my care. When you have your son back you can dress him how you want to. You kind of lost that right when you made the choices you did. I tried to respect her wishes and it's just frustating she doesn't appreciate it!

So another thing is that they meet at the mall. I have a bag that I send with him and she has placed two small blankets in there for them to sit on (him at least) while they play. A couple of times now she has told me they need to be washed. Umm...ok I did it last time and I will do it once more, but I wrote to her that perhaps next time she could take them with her, wash them, and bring them back. Just a tad tired....I know this seems like a silly little thing..what's the big deal, but all these things add up!

His mom can be a nice lady...really, but she has a big issue of expecting everyone to DO for HER. She wants the state to supply her with a rent free apt, she wants "someone" to get her a job and a car, she wants DCF to supply all the big things like a bed, stroller, etc that she will need. I am all for helping people in need, but I also think they need to learn to look in and do something for YOURSELF for some self-satisfaction. Neither one fo them have actual jobs...their criminal histories make that tough. I have ZERO confidence that the two of them together could at all take care of Little Man's needs. No jobs...no stable housing...and the kicker is that she thinks she'll have him back for Christmas! Just a tad tired....

All of that to say that I am leaning (more than ever!!) on God to take care of Little Man. I have NO control...court is two weeks away and that will be a pivotal day. If we have to send him back I will be concerned for his health and safety everyday, but at the same time trusting God that He knows what He's doing and will protect Little Man.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

National Adoption Day 2010 is coming up!

November 20, 2010 (many states are celebrating the 19th) :-)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Little Man happenings...

Little Man has been so funny lately! He is really trying to say SO much and will repeat almost anything that you ask him to (ask his brothers!) The last couple of times that I have gotten him up from sleeping I walk in the room and he says "Mom, got poop!" and he pats his diaper! LOL! A three-word phrases and right about 75% of the time :-) Today he was picking stickers off of something saying "Oh no. Sticker. Da-buge (garbage)." He's a smart cookie and he likes to show it!

He has also been super interested in John Deere tractors lately too! This brings back a flood memories because it was at about this age that Mr. A was a John Deere addict! He could identify all sorts of tractors, watched tractor videos, played tractors, etc. Little Man's interest has re-sparked A's interest too :) Mr. I loves to ride our toy tractor so they were outside riding tractors, pretending to harvest and restore old tractors. It was cute to see them all working together! Usually L.M. is busy destroying what the other 2 are doing! There are so many aspects that I think about when I contemplate the possibility of him returning to his parents, but one thing I know he will miss FOR SURE are those big brothers!

Another one of his big interests is FOOTBALL much to Daddy's happiness!!! A couple of mornings last week when Mr. M. was home on his days off L.M. woke up and I brought him downstairs. He immediately asked for his "boot ball, Daddy" and ran and got the football and brought it to play with my husband. Ahhh...now that's the way to make a Daddy's heart sing!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Aquarium

I took Little Man and his brothers to the Aquarium today (Mr. A had a home school class). L.M. is finally getting really interested in the creatures and kept saying "fish! fish!" He's getting to be so big! I think he was literally stunned when I let him get out of the stroller..usually I have to keep him contained! lol!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Court today

We were all at court (minus our cm) and in front of the judge and she apparently did not receive a couple of the documents that she required. She asked the AG's office and the GAL attorney if we should proceed and it was decided that we would!

It became official and irrevokable in court that "legal" dad is no longer attached to this child at all and the bio dad is now officially on paper as taking responsibility for Little Man. He has now gained back his visitation rights and will get to see L.M. tomorrow.

As for some other things...they both were required to do a drug screen right there at court. The dad came back dirty on two different drugs. The judge says this is one of the most messed up cases on her caseload! Lucky us that it's our first one! LOL! So...he has a case plan hearing set for Monday and he will be having drug screens as part of that plan.

The big news is that she also set a permanency hearing for December 3rd!! 2 days after what will be the one year anniversary of L.M. joining us. I was not aware (until today) that this case has changed to a concurrent plan. It was asked that if adoption became the goal, would we be interested. Absolutely!!!!!! Of course there are so many ways that this whole thing can still go and pretty much ALL of it at this point depends on how dad does between now and December 3rd! He swore up and down to the judge that he would be clean from here on out and he'd not show up dirty anymore, so we shall see!

On another note...I had to take baby girl (the one I'm babysitting for another set of foster parents until she is old enough to go to daycare) to court with me and oh my was she a hit!!! One big Sherrif could not stop cooing and talking to her and finally I asked him if he would just like to hold her and his face lit up and he said "yes!" So he was walking around court with the baby and walked over to the judge and she held her for a bit too. She only protested one time and it was simply perfect timing...right on cue-lol!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's Orphan Sunday!!!!!!!!!

Please read the following link. It has great ideas as to how you can help (no not all of them are adopting a child!) the 147 million orphans living in this world today!

http://www.amazingmess.com/2010/11/spirited-sunday-orphan-sunday.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheAmazingMess+%28The+Amazing+Mess%29

Many months back it was placed on my heart to (once again) ask my pastor if we as a church could participate in Orphan Sunday and National Adoption Month this November. It was a prompting directly from the Holy Spirit and after 6 1/2 years of trying to get a church to listen to this "cry" it was accepted! There was a 1/2 page bulletin announcement about National Adoption Month, websites to get involved in, as well as discussions of how to help orphans from the pulpit, and a table out in the lobby with more information about adoption and foster care!! To go from nothing to that much participation has me very excited about what God is going to do to impress upon people's hearts the intense need for people to DO and not just listen! Excited to see the fruit!!!

Another one :)

No, we aren't fostering another baby (yet!) Two weeks ago I got an email asking if I would consider taking care of a little one (yet to be born) until she was old enough to go to the daycare her siblings do. Of course I said "sure!" She was born last Wednesday and is now 5 days old! She was just over 5lbs at birth so she is a little peanut! I'll really only have her for a few weeks since the week of Thanksgiving the school here have off (mom is a teacher). So I get all the goodness of taking care of a baby with out having to be up all night! :-) Win-win!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

More?

More delays...really? Ahhhh...Sometimes I wish I could shake these people and say "do you realize what you are doing to this poor child?!" I wish sometimes they could think about L.M. and not about their personal wishes!! Bad choices :( Little Man's bio-father has had his referrals to start working on his case plan tasks for a month..has he started? No! L.M.'s mom has a task she is to complete each week...she has skipped the last 3 weeks because it's too far for her to walk (yet she did this for many months and the whole time she was pregnant!) Frustrated!!!

On a good note...we really like our new CM! She is very realistic and is very honest with the parents. Hopefully she is just what this case needs :) Court has been rescheduled for next Tuesday and I am very interested to see what is going to happen!

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's here!!!!!

HAPPY NATIONAL ADOPTION AWARENESS MONTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope to share lots of ways to support adoption, foster care and orphan care over the course of the month! Get involved!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Insightful thoughts!

A friend referred me over this blog and she has some wonderful thoughts on how family/friends can help adoptive/foster parents. All pre-adoptive mom you will want to read this too!!



http://theteabotribe.blogspot.com/2010/10/what-every-adoptivefoster-family-needs.html

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Prayer and Fasting

This month I have been fasting and praying for the hearts of many as we approach National Adoption Month (November). Of course I have also included in that Little Man and his case. I have been praying that (for his sake) the bio-dad would complete his case plan in record time making L.M.'s time in care as short as possible...that all would go swiftly and smoothly in court...that paternity would be officially established...and that our CM would like her job (lol!)

In this month we have seen his case manager leave, we got a new case manager, court was cancelled (delayed 2 weeks), paternity was established, and no case plan has even been started. God is making it very clear that things will happen in His timetable and not my mine. This is no surprise, but I was hoping they lined up together-lol! ;)

There are still 4 days left in this month...wonder what else will happen. I called his CM this morning and verified that the visit was remaining the same and it would happen today. I had L.M. and all his things ready to go. The transporter never called, never showed up. I called his CM to what was going on (I don't have the transporters #) and it went to VM and I haven't heard back. Roll with the punches!!! One day they are going to "forget" to tell me...ya know...the one with the child....and they are going to come to pick him up and we won't be here. Then maybe they might think about calling me???? I am a communication person...I NEED good communication. This is yet another way God is stretching me through this process!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ahhhhhh.....

So I finally got ahold of our CM's supervisor and apparently they have no idea when she may (or may not be back!) My question was about court and the visit prior tomorrow and he said that the visit is going to be held as they typically do and that court has been rescheduled for 2 weeks from now. Ahhhh.....if I had not called him to see what was going on I would have shown up with a 1 yr old (having gone through security with all the "stuff" he requires) and would have found out that it was cancelled. I would have been FUMING! Apparently until we have a clue what is going on with our CM we have been reassigned to a new CM. We actually already know her because she was his CM for 1 week before we got the one now on leave. Oh my! My head is spinning and I can only imagine how IRATE his parents are. Tomorrow was to be the day that bio-dad gets a case plan and his visits re-instated. Now he has to wait another 2 weeks. It's been about 3 or 4 months since he has seen him :( How do people do all of this without the grace and mercy of God????

We are headed to the beach to relax!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mystery solved!

So I finally found out today why our CM has not been responding to my emails/texts/calls. She is "on leave"!! Hmm....the message said to call her supervisor should I need anything, so I called him to see if our visit/court is still on for Wed. and of course he didn't answer either. I will be trying all day tomorrow until I get ahold of him because I am not going through all that work only to show up and it's cancelled! I have no idea how long our CM will be out and (obviously) no one told us she was on leave....ahhhh....another "experience!" Also, that means I won't have that "buffer" between bio-mom/dad, Little Man and myself for the visit (unless her supervisor is planning on being there in her place). How do people do this with God to depend on....SERIOUSLY!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Yay!

After 10 1/2 months in care it has legally been established in court who Little Man's Daddy is!!! Whew...it took a long time, but now he can work a case plan as well. It simply stinks for Little Man to have to wait even more time which will be even harder when we all have to say goodbye :( God's ways are not our ways and we just have to trust Him no matter what!

Oh...and still no communication from his CM. Annoying!

Really???

I don't know why I am surprised, but Little Man showed us today how he is able to climb out of his crib!!!!!!! He is such a climber and I knew this day was coming, but I was hoping I'd have a little more time!! He is also starting to work on his 2 year molars....really?? There has literally been no break in the cutting of teeth since he began at 7 months old! At least he'll have a full set soon and I know it will be done! LOL!

Keeping my days busy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wondering....

We have pretty much had the same caseworker for our Little Man ever since we started this journey 10 1/2 months ago (we had someone else for our first week). She isn't the best person at communication and I can't say that we exactly mesh, but she generally will respond the quickest to me if I text her and second is email. Over the course of the last couple of weeks she has not returned any emails or texts. She has always supervised our Little Man's visit and returned him home following the visit. The past two weeks a transporter has brought him home.

This afternoon I got a message from his GAL asking if I was planning to be at court tomorrow. I had no idea there was anything going on tomorrow! His JR is scheduled for next Wed. and I plan on attending that, but no notification about this one. His GAL is currently trying to find out why there is a hearing tomorrow. I have texted and emailed Little Man's CM today and have gotten no response.

Hmmm....wondering if we have a new case manager in our future......

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

15 month old well visit

Little Man went for his well-visit today (1 day late..oh well!) and he is doing great! He is right at the 50%ile mark for height (31.25 inches) and weight (24.5lbs). He has thinned out since he started to be mobile :) His head circ. was in the 90th %ile!! She wasn't alarmed as his head always has measured large. She noted on her form the measurement and then added "with hair" LOL! The boy just got 1/2 of it cut off and people just can't believe it :) Otherwise things look good. He has allergies that have been bothering him lately and she prescribed something for those, but she was overall pleased with his development and very impressed with his language abilities! Unfortuantely he had to have 3 shots today...ugh! Poor thing has been super crabby today. Hopefully that turns around quickly!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Grief and Loss Training

Last night I went to a training at our foster care agency. It really didn't end up being a lot of new information, but what I did get from it was personal stories of experience from other foster parents who are in the trenches and have had to say goodbye. I was the only one there who hasn't had to...YET. It just started me on thinking about having to say goodbye to Little Man...how our kids are going to take him leaving...how L.M. is going to feel becoming an only child with no one he knows (well) around. It also brought me back to the day that Mr. I's foster momma gave him over to me. I have a totally different perspective of that day now. She had him for the first year of his life and walked a very similar road to us.

I *know* that we are doing God's will. I know that we are doing what He has asked us to do. I know that it's best for children with be with their biological parents. I know that reunification is always the goal for foster care.

Even though I *know* all these things it isn't going to make my grief any less. I don't think I will be able to do it again if I don't cry those tears, grieve and heal. We were the ones who spent late nights with him when he was sick...we took him to the hospital...we took him to the specialist and pediatrician appts....we dealt with all those crazy days/nights when he was teething...we taught him to sit, crawl and stand....we saw his first steps...we heard his first words...we prayed over that child when he was initially grieving and so much more. We can't just turn that off. We can't pretend that he wasn't a member of our family. It came to my attention that certain case workers may expect that to happen. I will kindly let them know about our experience.

I am not looking forward to that day, but I do have peace that when it is time, that God's grace is sufficient for our healing and it will also keep Little Man safe. I have to trust that the system (although it fails often) has done what it needs to do to ensure it is the right time for him to return. I have ZERO control there. I can definitely say that my faith in God has increased since starting this journey of foster care and I know He is with us at each step...even when that first goodbye has to happen.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Second Party Review Update

I had the pleasure of meeting Alidah yesterday...a supervisor at the agency of our current CM. I guess these second party reviews are done once a year. It wasn't because of length in care as I had thought. It was interesting to give her pieces of our story and to hear her be surprised about it. Some examples were that 1) we were the only foster home he has been in 2) that he has been in our care for 10 1/2 months and isn't going anywhere anytime soon 3) what has happened with "mom's" other children and that she only wants to parent Little Man 4) the whole "Dad" situation and more!!! She really loved our communication book idea too! It was nice to hear someone in this situation really "get it" from Little Man's perspective that we are the only family that he really knows and that his mom is just a nice lady he visits once a week for an hour. She asked if we would be interested in adopting him if the situation would come to that. Our immediate answer was YES!!! Will that happen?? Only God knows for sure...we can only speculate (and hope!)

Two weeks from today is a big court date and bio-dad will finally be getting recognized. His CM wants the weekly visit to happen before the court date. Yes...she is asking me to take an active 16 month old into a court room...Lord help me! LOL!!! It will be good for the judge to see him and put a face with a name and it will be interesting to see how he reacts when both his mom and I are present. That has never happened before....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Secondary Reviews

I'm not sure why (maybe some of you seasoned f.p.'s can tell me) I have had two calls to do secondary reviews. I'm assumming that since Little Man has been in care for quite awhile that they just want to review everything their care managers are doing. One was just over the phone, but the other wants to do a homevisit. It sure is a good thing that I am so flexible! She wants it to be tomorrow. Umm...sure....I can throw you into the mix! She's going to meet with Little Man at his visit with his mom on Wed. too. I'd be interested to hear "mom's" review! LOL! "Mom" and CM don't have the best of relationships!

All else is going well...Little Man continues to add words at rapid speed! It's so fun. Yesterday he said "Star Wars" LOL! Ahhh.....4 males who love Star Wars to one momma who's not such a fan-LOL! I know way more than I ever expected I would!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The beach!!


This was Little Man's first trip to the beach!!! He had so much fun running all over the place chasing seagulls, getting knocked over by waves, and eating sand! LOL! Whew...taking 3 littles one to the beach is a lot of work, but they all had a GREAT time!!!
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Friday, October 1, 2010

One step closer!

As you are aware we have a new FDS. She literally threw together our homestudy (her very FIRST one!) and took it directly to our county agency. I was definitely expecting kickbacks or some sort of something that needed clarification or changing. I got news today that we once again have a homestudy with ZERO kick-backs!!!! :-) YAY!!!! One step closer to re-licensure!! We just have to go to the state yet and we should here back from them in a week or so (hopefully!!)

Little Man has been soooooo crabby this week and has been waking up at night (he usually sleeps through the night) and hasn't been eating his usual cow everyday-LOL! I took him to the Dr. yesterday thinking that he definitely had an ear or sinus infection. Yep...sinus infection. Thank you Lord for antibiotics!!! I think Mr. A has one as well. He goes on Monday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chugging Along

Things with Little Man's case continue to move....slowly. From what I understand, with the given DNA results, the CM is going to try to get referrals for the bio-dad to start on "tasks" until he can be assigned an official case plan in court (end of Oct). At least this way he will already have a month under his belt...well...that's if the CM's office approves the referrals! Praying they do!

Little Man's visits are remaining the same. They are still waiting on answers to when she can do her theraputic visits. After that (as long as there are no recommendations) she will start with unsupervised visits. From what the CM tells me, Mom definitely needs some coaching in how to appropriately discipline. Little Man is a mover, shaker, climber and screamer! LOL! She is going to have her hands full!

He has started saying "Elmo, blue, Amen (consistently), and God" this week :) It's so cute! He officially learned how to open the baby gate....ggggrrrrr!!! It is now only a derrant!

Yesterday our FDS came over to finish up the final paperwork for our re-licensure. Yay!!!! She is new so hopefully things are all complete and we don't get any kick-backs! Things are all pretty much remaining the same so it's pretty standard. Things are going well :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

DNA!!!!!

Well, they said the results were going to take 6 weeks, but voila! they only took just under 2 weeks!! We have answers now and the bio-dad/legal dad issue can be worked out now too!!! This means so much for Little Man's case and only helps the timeline for his reunification. Bio-dad can officially start working a case plan and hopefully permanency can come for him sooner rather than later!! :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Signs and Words!

Little Man is now up to 29 words and 12 signs!! He seems to come up with more and more words every day! The only problem with this is that his wonderful older brothers think it is hilarious to teach him particular words. This afternoon he was walking around the house slapping his backside and saying "butt...butt" and then cracking up. The two older ones were peeking from the other room cracking up! He is starting to actually use these signs and words to get what he wants which I really love! He has this incredible scream that pretty much deafens you when he doesn't get his way or when he is reeeeeaaaallllyyy tired! Our friends heard it a couple weeks ago and his CM heard it for the first time yesterday. Oh was she surprised! That's what happens when baby goes for a visit at naptime! LOL! So...the words are welcomed relief!

He loves to dance these days! Anytime any kind of music comes on he starts swaying side to side and most times will lift his hands and say "Dod" for God :) We play worship music constantly here, so I guess he's caught on! He also has started to pray on his own. It's adorable! He holds his forearms and says a whole bunch of jibberish and then usually signs "all-done." Tonight at dinner though he said "Amen" clear as a bell :)

He is growing like a weed and it is so fun to let him run around outside and watch him explore his surroundings. He loves the grass and giggles uncontrollably when he falls down and it touches his skin. I cannot wait for winter to get here and we can be outside a lot more :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When??

Some of you may know from my other blog, but my 7 week old niece passed away a few days ago. She was born a very special little girl with significant special needs, but that didn't matter. She affected so many lives of people around her and many she never even met (me included). The boys and I have been talking about heaven where little Selah now lives and how we may be sad on earth, but in heaven Selah is healed and whole and she gets to be with Jesus! (Oh and out of the blue they are excited to get there and talk to David from the Bible to hear first-hand more about the battle with Goliath! lol!)

I think this has brought babies back to the forefront of A's mind (it's been awhile since our last respite) and he was asking "Mom, when are we going to have another baby?" I told him that was up to God and He would choose. I didn't know. Then he said "I want 2 babies...no 3 babies!" That's when I said he'd have to help Mommy feed the babies and change their diapers! Mr. I chimed in to be silly and said he wanted 19 babies to live here! Oh my! I can't even imagine-LOL! I am so blessed to have children with open and willing hearts. Children that want to take care of and LOVE others!

Several people have asked me why my sister and her husband would choose a special needs child *knowing* her time on earth would be very short. There are many reasons, but mostly every child deserves to know love and a have a family and although they knew her days were numbered, so are ours! We simply don't have the luxury of knowing the *when.* Our last day on earth could be today. Have you savored every moment with your loved ones? Have you lived life to the fullest? Have you LOVED? How would you feel if you found out you were going to die in 4 weeks and everyone around you said "oh well...they are going to die. I'm not going to invest anymore time, love or energy into them." OUCH! That unfortuantely is how many of the doctors/nurses in the hospital viewed my niece :( Every life has value no matter the length of time!!!

PLEASE take the time to pray and consider adopting a child (here or around the world), consider becoming a foster parent, sponser a child through an adoption agency, financially support someone you know who is adopting, be there to give the tangibles as well (a meal, clean house, yard work, etc), PRAY for the families who have said YES to a child, and more!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

DNA FINALLLY!!!!

Today Little Man was swabbed for his DNA testing!!!!! I can't even believe that it happened. We have been saying it needs to be done for ummmm....like 7 months (or more!) so I am so glad that it has been completed!! The stinky part is that it takes 6 weeks to get the results :( That's six more weeks where not much can be done on the daddy situation and the things that need to be dealt with there. So...we wait some more!

Little Man (if you know him in real life) does NOT like to sit or be quiet. When we walked into a room full of people sitting so incredibly quietly I thought to myself "oh great...mine's gonna be the one wakin' this place up!" After a small snack I let him get down and wow did he warm that place up! :) A whole bunch of grumpy people melted when he walked up to them and gave them a high five :)! Everyone was laughing at what he was doing and smiles were all around!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dropping Numbers!

New data: Many fewer US kids in foster care

By DAVID CRARY (AP) – 3 days ago

NEW YORK — The number of U.S. children in foster care has dropped 8 percent in just one year, and more than 20 percent in the past decade, according to new federal figures underscoring the impact of widespread reforms.
The drop, hailed by child-welfare advocates, is due largely to a shift in the policies and practices of state and county child welfare agencies. Many have been shortening stays in foster care, speeding up adoptions and expanding preventive support for troubled families so more children avoid being removed from their homes in the first place.
The new figures, released Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services, show there were 423,773 children in foster care as of Sept. 30. That's down from 460,416 a year earlier and from more than 540,000 a decade ago.
California had the biggest one-year drop — from 67,703 to 60,198. Just eight years ago, the state had more than 90,000 children in foster care.
Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania are among other major states that have lowered their numbers sharply over the decade.
"It's extraordinary," said Terri Braxton, a vice president of the Child Welfare League of America. "There's been a major focus on foster-care awareness, on new legislative policies, and it's heartening to see that these efforts are finally paying off."
Though many of the initiatives are at the state level, Braxton said the trend had been aided by a federal law, the 2008 Fostering Connections Act. It allows use of federal funds to assist children who leave foster care to live with relatives other than their parents — an arrangement which in the past was generally not eligible for federal aid.
Braxton said many challenges remain, including dealing with the increasing number of foster youths aging out of the system without a permanent family. The number of such youths rose from 19,000 in 1999 to a record high of nearly 30,000 in 2008.
Kathi Crowe, executive director of the National Foster Care Coalition, said a key factor behind the lower foster care numbers was the greater emphasis on preventive services, so fewer children needed to be removed from their homes.
"And in cases where they are removed, there's now a real priority to provide the kids with permanent homes so they don't languish in the system any longer than they need to," she said. "All those things combined — it's all good news for kids."
Richard Wexler of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, which seeks to reduce the number of children unnecessarily placed in foster care, said he was encouraged by the lower number of children taken from their parents in the first place.
Overall, entries into the system were down 6.5 percent for one year, and down 17 percent since they peaked in 2005, he said.
"This is one more indication that, at long last, the politics of child welfare is catching up with reality," Wexler said in an e-mail. "The proportion of children deemed 'substantiated' victims of child abuse in this country peaked in 1993 — it's never been as high since. Yet for more than a decade afterward, states kept taking away more and more children."
"Now, finally, it's sinking in that most cases labeled 'neglect' — the single largest category of maltreatment — are really poverty, and it makes more sense to try to deal with the poverty than destroy the family," Wexler wrote.
Wexler also said that several heartland states — including Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and the Dakotas — were continuing to take children into foster care at relatively high rates.
"The gap between these states and best practice has grown," he said.
The new data was contained in the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System report released annually by HHS's Administration for Children and Families.
The average length of stay in foster care has been reduced by more than 10 percent since 2002, according to the report — the mean stay is now 26.7 months.
Of the 423,773 kids in foster care on Sept. 30, 53 percent were boys. Twenty percent were Hispanic, 30 percent black and 40 percent white; 114,556 of them were available for adoption.
___
Online:
Administration for Children and Families: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/index.html

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Today's meeting

The staffing for Little Man went well today. The Mom has been doing most all of what she needs to do. The unsupervised visits are not going to start until one more thing is completed. They want her to complete theraputic supervised visitation with a psychologist (2-3), and as long as those go well she will have earned her unsupervised visits! There has also been some movement with the legal dad/bio-dad situation so that is awesome as well.

Prayer List...
That both Little Man's Mom and Dad find jobs
That they are able to find low cost options for Dad to start working on a case plan
Finalization with the legal Dad situation
Little Man's emotions/spirit as he adjusts to the upcoming changes of more time with his Mom

It looks as though Little Man will eventually be reunified with his parents however it still will be awhile. He has officially been here for 9 months now! I have been hearing of lots of other people's case lately that have been 2 and 3 years long...I guess 9 months is nothin'! LOL!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy

Check out this link to watch this wonderful adoption story :)

http://www.pbs.org/pov/woainimommy/watch.php

So happy for baby girl!

Little Man's mom wrote today that she had the baby (perfect size :) ) and that she was healthy. Mom got to spend some time with her in the hospital and had many pictures to show the CM today at the visit. She started to tear up (totally understandable!) but said that she has peace with her decision. I am so happy for this sweet baby girl that she has a family that wants her so badly! They are having an open adoption so that is even better! I cherish that we have an open adoption with A's birthparents!! What an amazing gift! The adoptive family did make one "promise" to Little Man's Mom that concerns me (in the following through of it), but hopefully they follow through and she doesn't have to be disappointed. Little Man saw the pictures too :)

Love this song!

What an amazing song! The boys will certainly be getting this Veggie Tales DVD for Christmas!!!



Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the staffing for Little Man to begin having unsupervised visits with his mother. Although I have very mixed feelings about this I feel the Lord telling me to start preparing him for his return home. This breaks my heart, but I also know that God brought him to us for a specific time and season and we have done/are doing what God asked us to do. I am in the process of making a book for him (will definitely need to get that laminated!!) about his mom/dad so we can talk about them and prepare him for these visits/reunification.

This also has sparked an open discussion with A and I about Little Man leaving for longer periods of time and eventually return home. My older guy is very "tough" and rarely cries/gets emotional, but as we gently talked about it I could see his eyes tearing up a bit. He said "Mom, I'm a little bit happy and a little bit sad." When I asked him to go on he explained how much he loves Little Man, but he won't miss his crying in the middle of the night-LOL!

This probably won't take place for several more months...maybe more depending...but I think it is going to be important for us to continue to bring the topic up every so often so the boys don't "forget" that Little Man probably won't stay here forever and that there will be another baby who needs us to take care of him/her and love them just as much! :-) Ok...so maybe it's a good reminder for this Momma too!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Officially a Big Brother!

Little Man's mom had her baby last Thursday making Little Man a big brother ;) Unfortuantely he won't get the opportunity to meet her. The adoption plan has held and she is on her way to meet her adoptive family!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Adoption Stories

Tune in!

http://www.pbs.org/pov/adoption/

Please visit this link!!

Please visit HERE and see the amazing thing the Lord has done for a friend of mine! Please help them bring these beautiful children to their FOREVER HOME!!!

Been awhile...

Well, there hasn't been too much going on! Little Man is teething AGAIN, but it's the final four!! I will be so happy to have a happy little boy back! He continues to get into simply everything and now tries to RUN! It's so cute because his little feet just don't go that fast yet, and he ends up falling over. No, I'm not mean...he laughs, stands right back up, and does it again! His language is really coming along as well and he now says both A and I's names as well as cracker, tada, and he will give a good attempt at any word you ask him to say :)

As for his case...there has been a permancy staffing set up for next Thursday where they will discuss unsupervised visits for the mom. I have reservations about that happening, but I certainly have no physical control. All I can do (and the most important thing I can do!) is storm the heavens for Little Man's safety during those times! I know the legal father has been invited to join via phone, so maybe something will get settled there as well???? Unfortunately I will only be able to attend by phone, but I am glad that is an option.

There are a lot of possible twists and turns that this case could take. We just have to wait it out and trust God has it all planned for good! Baby girl is due in about 2-3 weeks, so we will see what happens with that situation as well. Mom has a history of saying one thing and doing another, so we shall see if the adoption plans continue. Honestly I hope for baby girl they do! The sad part is that Little Man won't get to know his sister :(

We haven't had any respite/temporary situations lately. I'm actually a bit thankful for that because I have kicked off our homeschool year and it always takes a bit of time to get into a rhythm :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Visits cancelled :(

Last week it was 12:45 and Little Man's visit is at 1:00. I texted his CM and she said that she meant to call me, but that the visit was cancelled because Mom's bus pass ran out and she didn't have transportation.

Then on Friday I get a text to see if Little Man can have visit that afternoon. Sure! So I wait and then get another text...the visit has been cancelled and he'll get a longer visit next week.

Today I was expecting him to have that extended visit. I was blessed that I had notice this time, but I got a call from the CM's supervisor that she was out today and he couldn't find someone to cover the visit so it is cancelled again. His mom must be livid! Knowing mom's personality the CM is going to have quite and ear full when she gets back! I would volunteer to drive him to the visit but the problem is the supervision of the visit when I have my own kids. If my husband were here to watch them, I would have volunteered. How are they supposed to be bonding when they don't see each other consistently? :(

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Veggie Tales please!!!!


Little Man loves to wear shoes that are way too big for him and then he climbs up on the computer desk. He loves the music from Veggie Tales and he was trying to see the action on You Tube! He's getting so big!!!
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Re-licensure almost complete!

Today we had our visit from our current and new FDS. The new FDS got throughly introduced to what it's like having a house full of boys!!!!!!! LOL!! Everything went well and was very simple since we have had one permanent placement since we got originally licensed! We have had a really "easy" year compared to so many others! The health inspector called as well today, so we have that set up for next week. So all we need to do on our end is send our new FDS the completed health inspection form and get the fire extinguishers retagged and voila! Done! Then it's out of our hands and the waiting game begins again to hear if we have been approved. Gotta say I'm not worried :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

UP!!!

It is a personal pet peeve of mine when children (my own or someone else's) go to the legs of the mama and whine/cry to be picked up. Most people think that's just what babies do, but for some reason it drives me nuts-LOL! I have been working with Little Man for awhile now on signing and saying "up" when he wants me to hold him. Well....I am happy to report that he now waves his hand up and down and "uuuu" over and over till you pick him up! THANK YOU LORD! :) I think that sometimes we as parents don't really realize how much these little people are capable of. He is 13 months and he can tell me many of his wants/needs without whining/crying.

It is always a goal of mine to teach my children to ASK for what they want using specific words and not to use manipulation/whining/whatever other method to get me to do what they want! One example of this for my older kids is when they say "I can't get the gate open!" We have baby gates up everywhere and until recently they have not been able to open them. I *could* simply walk over and open it for them understanding what they need, but I want to teach my children to verbalize that need/want. So....I will say "excuse me?" or "please try that again" and they are able to rephrase that statement with a request "mom, could you please open the gate for me?" It definitely takes time, as most things with kids do, but very worth it to me!!!! The bible teaches this same thing when we approach God....

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

AND

James 4:2 (New International Version)
2You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. (italics mine)



That's the good stuff....the stuff we are still working on you ask??? He has started this nasty little tantrum business with high pitch screaming. Lovely! Ignoring them works sometimes...we all may just have a reduction of hearing though! The teething is still roaring it's ugly head. Hopefully we get a break after this current ones pops!

So bummed :(

We got a letter in the mail last week from our FDS that said she is leaving our licensing agency to pursue her other career goals in another state...the nerve!! LOL!!!! She was a person we totally trusted and knew we could count on her. I sent her an email demanding she not leave (we have that joking relationship!). She's not listening :( She did email back though and say that we were an easy family to work with (and secretly her favorite ) and she wants to show our new FDS the ropes with our family, so we will get to see T. one more time and meet O. as well. We are praying that we have a similar connection with her. God must have something planned :) We are getting ready for all of our renewal stuff so things are going to be hectic for O. to get thrown into the mix!! We only have to get our fire extinguishers re-tagged and our half is DONE!

On another note.........
Lately I've been running into amazing little girl deals (1.00 outfit last week and this week I got a 5 pack of 0-3 girl onesies for just $2) and I am just waiting for my little girl (no matter how long God places her here!) :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Digital Scrapbooking

I love it! I really wanted to scrapbook Little Man's first year (+) with us, but physically scrapbooking is so time and space consuming...two things that I don't have! So...I went to www.smilebox.com and created a nice book to send with Little Man documenting lots of fun things that he did/learned while here and will send it with him when he returns home (whenever that may be!) Actually I'll probably have another one for him by that point. I wish I could post it here because he's so darn cute, but oh well :( I may tweek the book a bit to add more details, but it will definitely give him something tangible from his early childhood and a memory piece of the people who loved him so much while him mommy/daddy got their "stuff" together :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

I HATE TEETHING!

Did you hear me scream that title???? LOL!!!!!!!!! Oh my!! The four molars went better than this one stinkin' tooth that just won't come all the way through. Grrrr....it's been 5 days of a screaming baby! Today he was actually doing well for awhile so I decided to run to the store. They happen to have carts with steering wheels (his first time) and that did the trick while in the store! Whew! Well...I knew there would be drama when I took him out, but I had no idea...I think I should count myself blessed that no one called the police! The way he screamed when I pryed his little paws off that steering wheel made people stop what they were doing and look! Oh my!! The LOUDEST scream I have ever heard...it hurt my ear! PRAYING that this tooth pops through over night, that he gets some relief and we can all feel free to resume life as normal :-)

Excited to read this one!

http://www.sweetwaterstill.com/thismeanswar.htm

There is so much spiritual warfare in adoption/foster care and we have simply been waiting for a book that discusses the very real nature of what happens when you decide to adopt/foster. We have experienced both, so even though I haven't read it, I am very excited to get my copy!!

You can also go HERE and try to win a free copy! QUICK...the opportunity ends Wednesday!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Really?? LOL!

Little Man's birthmom has some interesting takes on things...

1) She is convinced that when he gets a diaper rash it's because the CM and I have his car seat straps too tight...the fact that I told her it was from antibiotics was not considered-LOL! OK!

2) Today "mom" was putting Little Man in his car seat in the CM's car and asked the CM to turn her air on right away because the tint on her car windows was making it too hot in the car! ROTFL! Everyone in FL has tint to keep it COOLER in the car. Oh my!! She has some interesting ideas on things!!

The other hard part in her note to me today was when she asked if he asks for mama or dada. I'm still thinking about how to put that gently in my response to her. Yes, he asks for mama and dada, but he means Mr. M and I rather than her and bio-dad :( I don't think that she understands all that Little Man has been through and how a 1 yr old perceives all that.

There is a training coming up on how we as foster parents can recognize grief in the children in our home and help them through that. I am all for that and I hope I can attend the training, but I emailed our FDS back and asked if there was a training/teaching for birthparents to also recognize the signs of grief in different age children and how to help them cope. It is incredibly traumatic for a child to leave his/her birthparents (no matter the age) and it is important for us to know that, but at the same time when a child is in a foster home for so long, and then they have to say goodbye to all that they are used to and return home, those same grief feelings will occur. Just because he is back with her doesn't mean it's going to be roses right away. I didn't receive a response, and my guess is that nothing like that is in place. I'm going to have a book written for "mom" when Little Man goes back home (so much to tell!), so maybe I'll just send some info myself that will kind of explain what she might see and not to take it personally, but to understand what it is and help him through it.

The staffing that was going to be held on Tuesday was cancelled, so we are still waiting for the rescheduled date. Until then, we are continuing with supervised visits.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Court today

So not a lot happened today in court. The "legal" father "birth" father debate continues, but something was done today to hopefully get things moving in the right direction! :) I had the opportunity to meet the birthfather today. He seemed like a nice guy and although he didn't get what he wanted in court he was very respectful to the judge. It was also mentioned today that mom has received a diagnosis through her counseling and further sessions have been recommended with a target completion of December 2010! December 1st will be one full year that Little Man has been with us. It breaks my heart every time I hear about pushing things back farther and farther because it's Little Man who is going to be the one suffering. The longer he is away from them the more he is attached to us. We are praying for God's complete and perfect will to be done!!

These two verses were in my devotions today....

"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah 46:4

"....what I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do." Isaiah 46:11

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ditchin the bottle!

Woo Hoo!!! Little Man is *officially* done with the bottle!! I am always leary about switching over, but it has proven unfounded as none of them have had an issue with it. As long as they have the milk, that's the important part :) I am always certain to break the bottle habit before 15 months because that's the age when strong attachments to things take place (blankets, stuffed animals and bottles!!) So, we are at 13 months and using big boy sippy cups! Actually he's getting really good at using an open cup too, but for cleanliness sake we're hanging onto the sippy for awhile! :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pulmonologist Follow-Up

This morning we had Little Man's follow-up appt with the pulmonologist and she said he is doing **GREAT** His breathing treatments have been decreased to once a day for the next 3 months and then to wean him off of them! :) Yay!! She also suggested a visit with her, myself, Little Man, and his birthmom to train her in signs to look for that he may be having trouble, how to manage his asthma appropriately, and how to give his breathing treatments. Awesome!! Hopefully she will agree to come and we can get it done in the next 4 weeks or so before both L.M.'s b-mom and the Dr. have their babies!! :-)

Just in case I don't get a chance to post before next week....please be in prayer for us especially on Monday and Tuesday. Monday is another status hearing which from what I hear b-dad will be attending. This will be my first time meeting him and the length of this case could be extended??? Tuesday is the unsupervised visits and/or reunification staffing for L.M. Please just be praying for God's will through it all and that I shine His light as this sweet little boy's future is determined. Thank you!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Well Visit

Little Man had his one year check up the other day and is doing great! He lost a pound after being sick, so was down to 22lbs and is 30 inches tall. That makes him 50%ile for height and only the 25th for weight. She was impressed with his language skills (has at least 10 words/approximations) and he started signing "all-done" and "light" this past week :) He tries to say pretty much anything you ask him to and enjoys spending time creating his own little silly 1 yr old games! He also finally started initiating going down the stairs backwards rather than head-first. Thank God! He desperately wants to be a big boy like A and I and each day is getting closer!

Baby A is still here until tomorrow morning. If we were asked to keep him I would jump at it in a heart beat! He is such a pleasant newborn! He is a great eater, he sleeps well (2.5-3.5 hours at a time) and is just a sweetie! Nothing beats the smell of a newborn's head either :-) Little Man cared the 1st day, but after that he has been laughing at the baby and doesn't really care if I am holding him. Progress :)

He's walking!!!

video

Over vacation Little Man started to take steps, but it wasn't until this week that we really started to call him a "walker!" He is all over the place and SO proud of his accomplishment :-)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

So far so good :)

Little A arrived shortly before 8 last night and is as cute as can be!!! It never gets old seeing Mr. A get excited when a new baby arrives :) Mr. I not so much...he's not really into babies-lol! Little A is 3 weeks old today and barely cries unless there is a need. I got about 5 hours of sleep last night total, so that's not bad! Now for today...Little Man was in bed when A arrived, so we will see what today holds! We have Dr. appts for Mr. A and Little Man (well-child visits) today, so I will have all 4 of them in a tiny Dr.'s office. Ummm....yeah! This should be interesting :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Changes

Today I got an email from my friend who was licensed just a month after us. They have had a sweet little baby for the past 6 months and learned today in court that as of next week he will be going to live with his grandparents. We have been talking a lot over the last 6-7 months about having to say goodbye to our little ones...the first ones :( It really is the best situation for him to be in because it is with stable family members, but that doesn't make it any easier for them to say goodbye. Due to recent changes in Little Man's case it is possible that he could be here for quite a while yet depending on particular choices that are made on bio-mom's part. Each month, week and day that passes it gets harder and harder to even think about saying goodbye :( I'm really not sure how people become foster parents without a relationship with Christ...REALLY!!!

On another note...we will be welcoming our 3rd respite baby here tonight!! There is a small chance an emergency travel order will be granted in court this afternoon, but not likely to happen. The baby will be here until Monday night! I was half asleep when the person called, and totally forgot to ask about the gender! LOL! My *feeling* however is that it is a girl :) We'll see if I'm right!! So...I am going to go to the store this afternoon and am going make a few meals to freeze for the next several days! All laundry is done and things are "caught up" on. I know I will not have much time for this with a newborn (in addition to everyone else's needs!) in the next 5 days :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Update on Little Man

I took him to the pediatrician this morning and she listened to his lungs and did hear "something." She decided to do a breathing treatment and listen again. If he still sounded bad she would start with a shot of antibiotic in her office, but if was better then we could just do the oral antibiotics. Thank God he was moving air well and sounding good! Something is clearly wrong with the little guy since he woke up with a 104.5 fever this morning!! She decided that just the antibiotics for now and breathing treatments for the "gunk" but that should take care of things. We have a follow-up next week and also his well-child visit. I feel like between all 3 kids we are at that office a lot-LOL!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

So sick of being sick!

The poor baby is sick AGAIN! He had a bit of a runny nose on vacation, but nothing major at all. The Monday we were traveling back he began to get worse and by the time we were back in hot/humid FL he was really not well :( Two nights ago he woke up with a fever and yesterday he wasn't too hot, but just out of it. Today he had a temp of 103.3 so I talked to his pulmonologist since he had some wheezing and fast breathing. On his last chest x-ray there was something that could be (or could turn into) pneumonia so with a fever that high she wanted me to start him on an antibiotic tonight. She said she would call it in (this was at 3:45) and I could pick it up in an hour. I went to pick it and she hadn't called it in, so this could be another long night ahead! He has an appt with his pediatrician set for early tomorrow morning, so we'll get things straight then. Mr. A went to bed saying he was so tired and didn't feel well. Maybe it's just a virus going around? The thing we have learned with Little Man though is that something simple (like a cold) can turn into more for him very quickly with his asthma, so...better safe than sorry!

His social worker stayed for her monthly visit today and she said that Mom continues to do what she needs to do on her case plan. The CM completed the homestudy (so Mom can have unsupervisied visits there if approved). There are two reasons that it most likely will not be approved. We have court again at the end of the month so we will see what happens. I am very interested to see if bio-dad will show up!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Here and gone!

Little D arrived at about 9:30 this morning and is just so cute! He had a crazy bite (not sure what from) on his cheek that had become infected. His foster mom took him to the Dr. yesterday to get it checked out and got a prescription. It can be hard when kids just come into the system to get things straight with medicaid. So...at naptime I called and spoke to our pharmacist and she was so helpful and said it was no problem to get them filled. Great!I was going to go when Mr. M got home from work, but then I got a call at 5:15 saying that they found relative placement for him and he was gone by 6:00! Ya never know what's going to happen around here!

As for Little Man he was supposed to have a nice long visit with his mom today, but the transporter never showed up so the CM had to cancel the visit. I am glad I was not sitting in the mall with the CM/mom at that point. I'm sure that mom was quite angry after not seeing him for 2 weeks! Take two is tomorrow afternoon...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We're back!

We had a wonderful two week vacation!! Little Man did AWESOME, well...except for with that whole being locked in a car seat for so many hours thing! LOL! The way home was a bit long! He got to try the slip-n-slide, play in alfalfa, meet lots of new people, and get into lots of trouble :) He is really trying to walk a lot more and has taken as many as 12 steps! Over vacation he cut two molars and has two more attempting to come through! Poor thing! He has an extended visit with his mom tomorrow since we were gone.

Tomorrow we also will be adding to the crew! We will be doing respite for an 11 month old little boy who we will call "Little D" here :) Wow...it will be like having twins!! I am interested to see how Little Man responds to him! 4 boys for 11 days!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

WE HAVE THE TRAVEL ORDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 40 minutes before the day ended, but we have it and are ready to get this vacation started :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our Little Man is ONE today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is such a fun loving and sweet little boy that has touched our hearts in a way we never expected! :) He is celebrating his b-day with his birthmom today for a few hours and then when he gets back we'll have a little party of our own :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A squeaky wheel gets some answers :)

Well...apparently the judge that needs to sign the order is out of town and won't be returning until tomorrow morning. The office of the Attorney General thinks it should not be a problem to have the order signed tomorrow and then it will be scanned and emailed to us. YAY!!!! We should be able to go as planned!!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Please PRAY!

We are down to TWO business days left to get our travel order :( I truly believe that we are going to get it on Friday but we can use all the prayers that we can get!!! If we don't get it then we have two choices...1) delay the trip until we can get the order 2) leave little man here in respite. I really do not want to do option 2 at all because he wouldn't know the people and go through those feelings of being abandoned/etc all over again, it would be horrible when we got back, and I'd just plain miss him! My sister was saying that she has known of several cases with her friends where the same thing has happened. It shouldn't be this way...guess we can say that a lot in foster care huh? Maybe this is why God is having us drive rather than fly...so we can be flexible??? Praying that it miraculously comes through on Friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the prayers :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

What's going on here

We are busily preparing for vacation in just 6 days!!

I knew Little Man was cutting a tooth, but I really got a good look today as he was screaming his head off and no...not just one tooth....FIVE teeth are all trying to come in (2 of which are molars)!!!! Poor baby!! He just wants to be held (it's a good thing I've been working out!) and is pretty whiny :( We are of course praying these pop through or at least stop causing pain before Sunday!!!

L.M. is really starting to catch on to signing and in the past few days added "please" and "dog" to his repetoire :) Today Mr. A was playing a video game and L.M. pointed to the t.v. and then signed "please." It's amazing how young they really do understand things. At least he was polite about it :) He will imitate some animal noises as well. He has 8 words as well!! He likes to play the "walk between two people" game and is still learning his balance.

Still no travel order :( Grrrrrrrrr.....................

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chest x-ray update

The pulmonologist called me this afternoon and said that in the right base of Little Man's lung there are swollen airways and mucus collecting. She said it's coming back as "likely viral pneumonia" but she said that she doesn't prescribe based on just an x-ray and that's common with asthma. So she has increased his pulmicort from 0.5mg to 1 mg (still 2x's a day) and then we will do another x-ray again in about 8 weeks to make sure it's cleared. If he starts with a fever or any other symptoms we are to call her immediately and we will go from there. He has had some increassed wheezing the past few days and has slept more than usual, but no other symptoms.

Silly me...I honestly thought (or really wanted to!) that things would be "all clear!" Hope the increased meds help!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Walking Billboard

The past several days have been very interesting for me :) It seems as though everyone has taken an interest in getting info about adoption/foster care from our family! People ask us here and there, but it's been crazy the past 3 days! In Walmart the other day as I was grocery shopping, no less than 5 people stopped me to ask about the kids/adoption/foster care! I was able to educate some and others just commented on "how amazing that is!" A few thought Mr. A and Mr. I were twins! Ummm...no...they are both Asian (one is bi-racial) but A. is 6 and I is 4 and they look nothing alike-LOL!

This morning I had to take Little Man to get a chest x-ray. The receptionist was asking all sorts of questions about foster care and said she was interested!! I gave her the phone number and of course 'played up' our agency since we love them so much! Then we got called back for the x-ray and I was able to educate her about foster care too! People seem 'hungry' for this information and it's awesome that I can help to educate and get the word out about how more loving foster homes and adoptive homes are needed!

I LOVE it when our family is used to touch/move the hearts of others to help the orphan or child in need. What a blessing that is!!! :-)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

First steps!!!!

Little Man took 3 indpendent steps today! He will work for the remote, cell phone, or any other technical object :) It's amazing how fast little ones change! Just 6 months ago when he arrived at our door he couldn't even sit up...now he's OFF walking!! :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

HAIR!!


Here is a pic of Little Man's haircut! Those curls are just so sweet :)
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Judicial Review

I had the opportunity to attend my first JR today and meet Little Man's mom. It was very interesting to say the least! There was a plea from her to increase visitation, but that was not granted due to no one being able to supervise an extra visit right now. The most time/questions seemed to be in regard to the birthfather. The situation with the legal father is still a mess, so until that gets figured certain things cannot happen. "Mom" really seems to be doing what she needs to do to get Little Man back, but there are definitely a few things left to "prove." It is difficult to be general and vague here, but at this point things will pretty much remain the same, I learned a few new things, and met the birthmother of our sweet little angel!

On another note...he got his first haircut yesterday!!!!!!!!! He still has tons of curls, but just a little more in check :) Super cute for those 1 yr old pics!! :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Few things

Things have been CRABBY around here for a few days and I am so excited to say that I can officially see tooth #5 !!! I cannot wait for that thing to break through!!! He must be working on more by the looks of those gums. Why did God make the teething process sooooo ssslloooooooooooooowwwwwww????? Poor baby (and the rest of us! LOL!) !!!

Little Man's mom agreed to us getting his haircut!! Well...she said a trim, but we'll take it!! Little Man will be ONE soon and we'd like him to have a decent haircut for his first b-day pics :) Still working a potential photographer that won't charge an arm and a leg!

I think I mentioned the Judicial review next week. I totally read the time wrong on the paper! Oh well...a wonderful friend has offered to watch the kids so I can attend!!! It will be my first time actually meeting Little Man's birthparents. Should be interesting!

Little Man is now wanting to upright most of the time!! He always tries to keep his walker near to him so that he can just stand and go! I guess he has decided it's time :) It's so cute to see him walking outside with his walker down the sidewalk-LOL!