Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Moms Fail Sometimes

...but it's hard to not beat yourself up over it isn't it???

After our hard talk coming out of nowhere yesterday.  After all the big feelings of hurt, sadness, anger, isolation that it brought out in Braeden.  After blogging about those hard feeling. - and then seeing how Braeden went to bed on his own over an hour early, did not wake up for almost anything this morning and only had ten minutes until the bus was coming, and how extremely agitated he was in those minutes between waking and leaving... I still didn't put two and two together.

I was focused on our morning routine. Focused on getting kids ready and out the door. Focused on my own day that lie ahead.

It was a huge mistake. I should've seen the signs. I should have known he should have stayed home.  But I missed it.

Which created an extra rough day for him at school.
Which meant multiple phone calls in attempts to help him de escalate.
Which then resulted in having to pick him up three hours after school began.

Mom fail. 

We'll try again tomorrow.
Monday, September 14, 2015

A Child's History

When you are parenting children with different backgrounds, you never know when something will come up regarding that background.  You're going along not really thinking about their history, you're driving or looking over homework or spending a day at the zoo, and BAM you're hit with a question or observance of a life that is unknown.  Sometimes these are heartwrenching comments on what might have been or wondering what someone looks like.  Sometimes they are quirky ideas on what their birth parents do as a job (I've heard such things as racecar driver, singer, etc) or where they are originally from (Africa, Ireland, you name it).  Sometimes they just lead to more questions.  Questions that can never really be answered or satisfied.

Every foster and adoptive parent chooses to approach these times differently.  Not necessarily better or worse, right or wrong, but no two people are the same just as no two responses will be the same.  I try to be as honest as I can be, age appropriately, while respecting the fact that the people I discuss are not present to share their side, that no matter what I might feel or think about past events that led my children to need a different family, they are still my children's firsts.  Their first parents.  Their biological ties to this world we live in.  I will not speak harshly of them.  And that's hard at times.  To separate my feelings of anger or disbelief with the fact that my kids will always hold a special place in their heart for them - as well they should.

Today was one of those "out of the blue" days when "stuff" comes up when you're least expecting it.  Olivia had a doctor's appointment in Chicago today.  It was at 2:00 and without knowing what traffic would be like or if we would be in quickly or what tests they may want to run, I decided to take all the kids with instead of trying to find places for them to go after school until I returned.  Driving back toward home, I can't even remember how or why it came up, but Braeden began talking about his story.  He knows more than I had originally planned on telling him until he was older, only because his older biological brother whom we see every now and then told him.  It's not an easy story, and I don't share much negative if I can at all help it when we do talk.  He "misses" them terribly and brings them up from time to time.  More than anything he has a hard time with the void of just not knowing them, not having pictures of them.  We talked a while and I shared a bit more of his story than he had heard before.  He was crying silently and Macy asked why he was sad.  She has become very aware of that in others lately and is growing by leaps and bounds in her vocabulary.  It was sweet, but hard to explain.  I just said he missed someone.  

Liam then wanted to know some of his story.  I told him a little more than has been shared before as well... and he began crying.  Liam is my sensitive guy.  As is Braeden actually.  Liam began crying the other night when Olivia's dog threw up because he didn't want her to be sick.  Then he cried when Macy was in bed watching a movie because we thought she may be sick and again he didn't want her to be.  We quickly took his story from the beginning through to when he joined our family.  He was brought to me by a caseworker while I was working Open House at the middle school I was currently teaching at.  After the Open House we picked up Braeden and Olivia and they ran out and yelled hello to their new "brother".  It was so sweet.  He brightened up as we shared how much we loved and love him and how much he changed in the first few weeks in our home.

Their histories are hard.  They have each been through things, remembered or not, that make them who they are.  Things that many of us can't fathom.  There isn't much sugar coating to do except to share in bits and pieces with as much love as is possible.  I know as Macy gains even more vocabulary that she will share more with us about her past and will have many questions.  The other day I videotaped a conversation she had on her play phone with her former house mom.  It was so bitter sweet to witness.  I taped for 3 and a half minutes before Olivia came upstairs and broke the spell.  I long for the day I can take her back to visit and see the reunion they will have:  Macy and her house mom.  She cared greatly for my girl and I am forever grateful.  It's a positive light in the midst of some not so positive moments.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015


At night we have a 'routine' like many do. My two youngest go to bed first since their bodies need more sleep than their siblings. And although we are working on other arrangements, they both sleep in mom's room currently. Not ideal but it is what it is. But that's another post. :)

When they go to bed I lay with them until they're asleep. Liam on the other side of my bed, and Macy in her toddler bed nearby.  I have a playlist of songs on my phone we listen to as they fall asleep. The first song is from the musical Finding Neverland and it's called Believe.  

Tonight as I was laying there, waiting for their bodies and minds to calm, a few lines from this song hit home to me.

A piece of this song says:
It’s so frustrating when no one else sees everything you see
So for now it is just an illusion, confusion
Unless it’s someone who believes

Today was a rough day. 
It was rough this morning when my youngest said and did some mean things to her 9 year old brother. 
It continued when I had a not so great encounter with a coworker. 
It faltered more after lunch when Liam began melting down. His allergy meds were wearing off and he was hot and exhausted. No excuses but all that played into the next two hours of him refusing, crying, and just altogether having a hard afternoon. We are working on the mom/teacher thing but it's not easy.
The day progressed with hearing from Braeden (during school) and later his teacher, concerning the rough day HE was having. Along with the ominous phrase the teacher spoke saying he wasn't sure "what was going to happen from here."  (Just WHAT did THAT mean? - and I couldn't ask questions about the day because Braeden was in my classroom at the time of the phone call which would have escalated him again.)
And... I still had my classroom open house that evening.  Oye Vey!

Three of my four kids today were in places in their hearts and heads that were not their norm. 
They do NOT always act this way. 
They do not always choose this behavior they are actively engaging in. 
Sometimes?  Yes.  They are not angels.  And I am not naive enough to believe that ALL of their behavior is out of their control.  Today was not the norm.

For those who parent kids from hard places, you may be able to look past these behaviors and search for the meaning, try to figure out the cry that is at the root of what is being shown outwardly. For the majority, for many I work with, many who work with my children, many I am friends with, even if I try to explain Braeden's anxiety, Olivia's or Liam's past, Macy's heart, it's all an 'illusion.' They see the behavior as good or bad. As all in that child's control. And that child is then judged accordingly, and myself right along with them because I'm the parent.  And some comments from those I work with, work for, am friends with, don't go unnoticed.

I have a few good friends who see past these behaviors to my kids themselves.  And for that I am grateful.  For others.  For those who work with kids LIKE my own.  I WISH that you could see and know this child.  These children.  
I wish you could see Braeden's generous heart.  His overwhelming sensitivity for others, for those who are put in hard circumstances.  His thoughtfulness.
I wish you could know what my kids have gone through in their short lives.  Things you would cringe over if you heard the descriptions.  Things you wouldn't even know how to respond to.  And yet they are expected to react to stressful situations and circumstances with grace and calm.
I wish you could have the pleasure to see the joy on the face of a 9 year old who has finally grasped the concept of reading after years of work.  
I wish you could see through new eyes the amazement of an automatic bathroom faucet and how water - clean, safe water - comes out at the touch of a button.
I wish you could hear a 14 year old who talks about being thankful for being adopted out of her past circumstances and not knowing where her life would be without that journey.
I wish you could hear my "rough, hard to handle" 11 year old tell you daily how beautiful you are, how much he loves you, how 'not' old you are when you are complaining about your eyesight or health.

It’s so frustrating when no one else sees everything you see
So for now it is just an illusion, confusion
Unless it’s someone who believes

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Week of Firsts

For many this has been a week of firsts...

First days of school...

First time dropping a child off at college, or kindergarten...

First time riding a bus...

First time having their MOM as a teacher...

First time with a classroom of new students...

First time having no children at home, or no children in local school districts...

Or the first time not getting a classroom ready for a gaggle of students...

We've had our fair share as well.

It was Olivia's first day of high school as a Freshman:

Braeden's first day as a sixth grader at a new middle school 
(which has been a bit rough - 
please say a prayer for him and for his mama's heart):

Liam's first day at a new school as a third grader 
in his MOM's class:

(His first piece of work in said class:)
(Maybe his first attempt at brown nosing???)

Macy's first time deciding she's not thrilled with school after all 
and maybe staying home with mom would be better:

And the first time I was messaged from her teacher 
with such a great picture reminder that she's going to be ok after all:

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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted through foster care. We just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

Macy - 5

Macy - 5

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What you should know about HIV

-HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles). - HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives. - People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do. Additional information on transmission of HIV can be found on the Center for Disease Control website: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources

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Orphan Crisis

• 147 million orphans in the world
• 50 million orphans in Africa 
• Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS
• 16,000,000 have been orphaned by AIDS
• Every week, AIDS claims as many lives as American fatalities in the Vietnam War
• 854 million people do not have enough to eat
• Malnutrition is associated with the deaths of 5 million children under the age of five
• Every 2 seconds an orphan dies from malnutrition

Hence the title of my blog

Little Did I Know

Little did I know that the road would be so rocky
Little did I know that the trip would take so long
Little did I know that my heart could hurt so much
Little did I know that God is never wrong

Little did I know that love could be so powerful
Little did I know that a dream so far could go
Little did I know that God would place the right ones
Little did I know that my heart, so large, could grow

Little did I know that a dream has it’s own timing
Little did I know that this day would finally come
Little did I know that four souls would be sent to guide me
Little did I know that they would choose to call me mom

But God knew all along and He had a plan to follow
God knew all along that my dream would soon come true
God knew all along that we five should be together
God knew all along that I’d share it all with you

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