Thursday, December 20, 2007

Deadline

In a not so nice email I sent last night to the cw, supervisor and regional supervisor I explained how upset I was over the cw not coming last night. I gave someone from there the deadline to call email or visit me at work by 3pm to update me on Little One's case. The supervisor called at 2:50pm, but at least he called I guess. A lot of excuses, etc, but he did tell me that they have filled out or are filling out the pre screening packet to move his case to legal screening. He said that at that point they would discuss placement options. Well, of course I was upset by the time we got to this point in the conversation, and didn't even think about the fact that when the prescreening packet is completed there is a form they have to fill out where they talk to the foster parent and have the foster parent fill it out discussing their intentions in adoption of this child. Hello, have you never gone to prescreening since you've been the supervisor??? My guess is no.

On other lines, some of my frustrations of late, I have been told by someone, actually 2 now, in the agency that the mindset of the regional supervisor is that they are "not seeking perfect parenting, they are asking for the bare minimum from a parent to return a child to them." What in the heck is "bare minimum?" I don't think parents are or should be expected to be perfect, I know I am NOT! BUT, these are parents who have in some way made it unsafe for their children to remain with them. What standards are you asking then????

Also, I found out, which I never knew, that private agencies get a heck of a lot of money to return a child to their bio parent as opposed to allowing them to be adopted. They get nowhere near as much if their rights are terminated. I am not sure about relative adoption. What kind of message is that sending to these agencies??? Wow, just floored. BUT I also have heard that some agencies, though that is still the case for them, do not put that money as their goal, leaving out the child's best interest. The agency I'm thinking of going to is like that.

Enough

I've had enough. Have you ever felt that way about something, or someone?

I've had enough of my foster care agency. It's no wonder so many don't do foster care, or do it for only a short while. I've had enough of the excuses, the cover ups, the people who don't do their jobs, the supervisors who say things will change or get better, but do nothing to help achieve that goal, the people who are there to serve and protect children, and seemingly don't.

I need to get out. I need to move to a new agency. I've known that for a while now. It's too much, too stressful. Foster care is hard enough without people within the system not doing what they need to do as a part of their job. the problem now is Girlie. I've seen her come such a long way and been through so much with her, to help her. If I transfer my foster care license, I can take Little One "with me." He has lived with me for over a year. He still would remain a case with the "old" agency and I would still have to deal with them through him, but as for me and new placements, etc it would be so much less stress. The agency I would switch to has 3 people who work there whom I already know, two from my current agency who left long ago. They are Christian based and pray every day before work. They put the child first. But Girlie, Girlie's only been with me since August. She would have to move to another foster home within my current agency. To transition once again in her short life. Maybe it would be for the best??? Maybe they could find a stay at home parent situation for her??? Maybe??? It's just so hard.

Today I gave my licensing worker a "heads up." I told her I was taking the next month to think and pray over the situation, but right now I can't see any other way. I've just had enough.

Pray for us, please.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Guess Who...

Didn't show up!!!???

The CW who was supposed to come for a home visit tonight at 6:15pm and talk about Little One's case.

I am seeing red, this is just the topper in a long day.

I will try to post more info tomorrow.

Thanks.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

SO GROSS!!!

Ok, Olivia, you have GOT to be kidding me!!! You out there, watch out for back packs!

Olivia's class eats a late lunch, so at the beginning of the year we were told we could/should send a small snack (preferably healthy) each day that they would have in the mornings. So each day I have given her a snack to take. She's had apples, bananas, raisins, fruit snacks - I know, not great - graham crackers, etc.

Well, yesterday we got home and my mom had had dinner ready so we would have more time with gifts. Olivia began unpacking her back pack and I said I would do it and she could go on in to eat. I took out her folder and yuck - something wet and brownish in the bottom of her bag. I asked what it was - of course she doesn't say a thing and smells it like she doesn't know - and it STUNK! So then I open the small outer pocket where she puts her snack each day, and each day she opens this to put her snack in every morning! and inside was THE MOST DISGUSTING smell and sight EVER!!! I couldn't even begin to describe, but I did take a picture that I will try to post but as the smell can't be conveyed properly it just won't be the same for you.

Anyway, there was this completely black ball looking thing with a Dole sticker on it, two open and spilled boxes of raisins and another empty wrapper. The black thing turned out to be a half eaten rotten banana - wrapped around an old apple!!!! Oh My Gosh!!! So gross! So I had Olivia go to her room for a few minutes while I took the pics and calmed down - I just couldn't believe she had done that. After dinner she had natural consequences of cleaning it up herself (and I know I'm so mean, but she used bare hands, and I even walked past as she was beginning and said that I hoped there weren't any bugs in there!!!). After quite a few Clorox wipes it was cleaner but stained and still smelled, in fact my kitchen stunk. After bed I stuck it in the wash. It's stained, and smells, but not nearly as bad. What on earth was she thinking?????!!!!!

Snow!

We have it. Lots of it.

To update... last week I never did hear back from the cw regarding Little One's goal. I wanted to know what the agency's plans were/are and he never got back to me other than saying the supervisor wanted to talk to him about the case before talking with me. Yesterday he emailed to say he would like to set up a home visit - for this week - to talk over the case. Do you know how crazy this week is??? We leave for FL on Saturday and won't be back until Jan 5 or 6. Plus trying to do Christmas here before we go and everything else the holiday offers. I told him the only time I could meet would be tomorrow after swimming at 6:15 so that is when he's coming. No home visit last month and maybe he realizes he needs to do one??? :) Oh well. I did end up taking the day of court, Jan 8th, off of work. I used my last 1/2 personal day and 1/2 of my last sick day. I just feel, especially with all this run around of late, that I want to be there IN PERSON to hear what the judge says. I don't want to have to rely on the cw to tell me when he doesn't even always understand things in court himself.

My mom flew in Wednesday evening. Great flight, no one hardly in the airport. We had a night of Girlie saying shut up a lot around my mom when I wasn't around, that was fun. She becomes this different person, it's so hard to explain and understand.

Saturday morning we were heading an hour away to Olivia's cheerleading competition and then to Rock Falls to have "Christmas" with our family. When we left it was starting to snow. On the way there we realized we forgot Olivia's pompoms, and the spinach dip we had made for our get together. Once we were about 1/2 hour north we really didn't have much snow at all so the drive wasn't bad. She did great at competition. She raised her ribbon to me at the end and said with a big grin "We got fifth!" (out of five!) It was funny, she doesn't care, she's just happy to get a ribbon and trophy. Afterwards we went out to lunch and hit the road to travel another almost 2 hours to Rock Falls while the kids slept most of the way. The weather got a little worse as we made our way, but wasn't terrible and they didn't have much at all there.

We had a great weekend at my aunt and uncle's. We had our family Christmas where the kids got some great gifts and had lots of fun. Braeden and Olivia were able to go to the barn to help feed the animals which they loved. Getting them all to sleep while family was still there was hard though and I ended up going to sleep with the kids it took so long to put them to bed. the next day the kids went out to the barn again and my aunt made us a wonderful breakfast of cereal, toast, eggs, bacon, etc. It was great. We hung out for a while, then loaded the car and went to lunch at one of the best pizza places ever! We then headed back and they took great naps on the way.

Upon arriving closer to our town we were noticing more and more snow. By the time we reached home (7:10pm) we saw about 10-12 inches piled all over! I couldn't even get in the drive! I parked on the street, carried the littles in the house, my mom had to take off her shoes and walk in her socks because she has backless shoes and they wouldn't stay on in the snow! Then had to put them to bed, shovel enough to park the car and a walkway to the side door, unpack the car and try to put things away - it's still a mess! It was a long night. :)

Yesterday we had "Christmas" at our house with me giving the kids all presents from me and they opened a larger one from grandma and grandpa that they had had shipped here. They were so excited over everything (Not tons, but a little of it all, shoes, clothes, books, movies, and a few toys - we just have so much. ) but I think the hit was Girlie's gift from my parents - a whole cleaning cart full of buckets, broom, mop, brushes, vacuum, and hand held vac that works! They all want to use that and clean the house! Maybe I'll get some easy clean items that wouldn't harm them and they can really help clean with it. :) Can always use the help! :)
Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Service Plans

I received copies yesterday on my lunch hour ( I ran to get them as I was told the cw had them for me) of Little One's service plans for the past two ACRs that he has had. Those two, and this recent one, all list Unsatisfactory Progress toward bio mom's progress of returning him home. I emailed the cw and asked about this and whether he was planning on taking the case to legal screening. No response. If he does not want to discuss something, confront something, he just doesn't respond. I emailed again a little while ago. If I don't get an answer today I am calling him tomorrow. Court is January 8, he has got to have some sort of plan. Especially because the CASA worker said that the judge on this case is not one to keep on giving chance after chance, but rather wants things to move along and if no progress is being made, then he will question what the agencies' next step is going to be.

The CASA worker came over last night. I like her a lot, BUT she has never been around the system until my Little One. She is starting to see the frustrations I have felt with this cw for a long time now. We talked a little about court and she doesn't think he will return home, but then said that they will need to look at Grandma as a placement. I said that actually, no they didn't. Since he has lived with me over a year, 14 months by then, then I should legally be the first placement consideration for Little One if he is not returned home. She was surprised I was saying that and didn't know about that. I assured her it was the "law" (Not sure about law but that's what they are supposed to go by.) I told her it couldn't benefit him to leave a home, the only one he's ever known, to then be sent to live with people he's met twice in a completely new state. It would tear him apart. She said she didn't even know if I was interested in adopting him until now and had been told by the agency to not ask me that because we weren't at that point. Ok? Well, I would LOVE to keep him as a permanent part of my family I assured her!!! :)

I really really want to go to court on the 8th but just don't see how I can. It's at 11am which means I'd have to take off a whole day, not even a half, and I have 1 1/2 days left for the entire school year. Plus it's only the second day back after the holiday break. I'm SOOOOO bummed about it!!!! We'll see... maybe I will go...
Sunday, December 09, 2007

So Cute

I almost forgot. While we were waiting in line to see Santa today at the party, Braeden and Olivia were reviewing what it was they were going to ask him for. They are encouraged :) to ask for one special item, and then Santa always surprises with a few other of his ideas as well. Anyway, Olivia has been told about High School Musical on ice that is coming to Chicago and is excited about that or ice skates, and Braeden is addicted to Lion King right now and wants a toy with those figures. (I have all three for them already. ) :) So, when we went back to the table to open the gifts that they received after seeing Santa, Braeden opened his and said, "But I wanted a Lion King toy!" I guess he expected that -poof- his toy would be there! I explained that this toy today was just an extra gift and that now that Santa knows what they "want" he can bring it on Christmas. It was so cute. :)

Christmas Party

Today was the Christmas party hosted by Olivia's doctors. It was really nice. When we got there, we made our way to the cookie decorating table. Olivia and Braeden each decorated a cookie and I did one for the littler kiddos. While they were busy munching away on those I went up 3 times to get food for everyone. They had pizza, chicken, mac n cheese, green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, and desserts. It was really good food too. They also had a table to decorate tshirts, but it was using those fabric paints which take forever to dry and I just knew that with the four kids and the gifts we were to get that the shirts and ourselves would be ruined by the time we made it to the car, so we skipped that table. After eating we went to see Santa. He and Mrs. Claus gave each child a TY bear with stocking cap, a HUGE candy bar, and a candy cane. Then they each also received a gift through Make a Wish. The gifts were great! Unfortunately Braeden received a game we already had and Girlie, I could tell through the wrap that was coming off, the EXACT doll that I had bought her and was already wrapped and under the tree! :( SO, we are giving the game to Braeden's day care class because they don't have it there and he will still be able to play/use it, and giving the doll to someone else. After coming home I gave each of them something else (I have a stockpile that is added to whenever I see really good deals.) At the party Olivia received a special Barbie with long hair which she is excited about "doing" and Little One got a very cute Eeyore that sings and waves his ears.

Olivia's leg problem hadn't shown itself again since the other night so at the party they said to just watch her. Well, spoken too soon I guess. The kids went to bed a little while ago at 7. (Only Olivia and Braeden slept at all today, and only for less than an hour on the way home from Chicago.) At 7:35, another loud thud from the girls' room. Olivia again was on the floor unable to move her legs. She seemed awake, but scared. She said she couldn't turn over in bed and was coming to tell me. I helped her back to bed and asked if her legs hurt or tingled at all. She said they didn't. She got back to sleep ok.

It's freaky. I almost wonder if it's not a different way her body is processing being tired, stressed, whatever. Last year it was mid January when some major sleep walking began with her. When school was out, no more sleep walking. Could this be her "new thing" or is something else going on????????????? I'll call in the morning and see if they want to see her at clinic. Maybe we could get a 1pm or so time on Tuesday and I could take a half day. I have 1 1/2 days left for the whole school year. :( BUT, I want to do whatever needs to be done, regardless. If I use more (and I'm sure I will) then I use more and rework the budget. AFter Christmas I've already talked to her about dropping one of her activities and seeing if that helps at all, maybe even two. Right now she does cheerleading, swimming, and gymnastics. With all day school, maybe it's just too much for her. I'd like to continue swimming because we're around water a lot, especially going to FL twice or so a year. Maybe cheerleading. Then we'll see if it needs to be more.
Saturday, December 08, 2007

Supervisor's Meeting

Well, I had the meeting yesterday with the agency supervisor who was the one to talk about O's wish, and with his supervisor, a woman I've not yet met. I came prepared with multiple emails, complaints, etc just because I did not know whether we were strictly there to meet over the incident at the family meeting, or if they would bring up anything else themselves and I wanted to be ready. They didn't, so I didn't use any of the info I had and that was fine with me.

The regional supervisor started by asking who would like to begin. I was not going to start this conversation as he had still not contacted me at all to apologize or anything. He began by basically trying to get out of it and saying that he didn't say anything about the wish except to let mom know he would be going out of town and wasn't sure why the cw did say more. I said, Oh no, wait a minute. And I told them exactly what was said, when and how. The reg. Sup. tried to get them off the hook I guess by saying that when there are out of state trips they always speak with the bio parents to let them know, etc. I said, There is NO TRIP. The only thing that was asked was to be able to give Make a Wish his birth certificate IN CASE she wished for a trip. She DIDN'T and I said that right at the beginning of that conversation. I made it very clear that they DID NOT need to and SHOULD NOT have even mentioned the words Make a Wish.

I then reiterated that the cw said Lisa's ADOPTED DAUGHTER, etc and that that shouldn't have even been said. It just floored me that even at this point they were trying to get around what was said and what actually happened. I told them my biggest concern right now is that we are going forward with allowing publicity and that she may learn our last name through this and who knows what the future will hold for Little One. She said she understood and that my having an unlisted no. will help. Oh thanks.

She also said, which I have not written about, that IL is changing how they want foster and bio parents relationships to be. I just read about these so called changes in the last foster newsletter I received. They spoke of the ideal of bio parents going to foster parents homes and basically co-parenting with regards to homework and bath time and bed time, holidays etc. While I think that would be wonderful with the right, willing, cooperative, safe, bio parents. I have yet to have any of that kind of parent with my foster children. I have met Girlie's mom for her birthday at McDonalds and that was fine. I would do other things with her similarly. I have agreed to call and have Little One's bio mom come to his doctor appts, but not in my home. Not when I barely if at all really know these people. Not when I am a single woman with 4 small children. Not when I know a lot of the things these parents have done and are into. I wish I could put all my trust that God would guide through these situations and I would help bio moms by mentoring or whatever, but with the ones I've had thus far I don't see it happening.

To update on Little One, he has lived here with us since Nov 2 2006. He was in care about 4 months prior to that in another foster home, that was not a good situation and why he ended up with me. Here it's usually around 18 months that a decision of permanency is supposed to be made. The day I met for the family meeting, they had his ACR and I received the service plan, my part, that evening. It stated that mom's progress was unsatisfactory. I do not have copies of his last two ACRs but have asked the cw for them. A friend who was a cw has told me that if she has more than 2 unsatisfactories, then they should be looking at taking the case to legal screening ( the first step in the termination process ). The service plan also stated, under the question of whether or not the child was residing with family, that the maternal grandmother lives in Alabama and is a potential adoptive placement if/when the mother fails to gain him back. My heart was racing. This has been my fear since I first heard of grandma and her guardianship of Little One's 4 year old brother this past summer.

During the summer they had talked of possibly granting her guardianship of Little One as well, but then it didn't happen for some reason. The ONLY reason I even knew of this was from the CASA worker, not the cw. So, when the cw came in after I read the service plan and bio mom was not there yet, I asked about the "future" with grandma. He said that at one point there was talk of guardianship but that that was no longer an option. He said it was either return home or adoption. Then he asked me how long I've had him. Technically here if you have fostered a child over a year, then you have first right at adoption over any family if they are not returned home. I'm hoping they stick with that, because I'm pretty sure that at this point he is not returning. Why on earth they would want her to start going to doctor visits now is beyond me. We'll see... My prayers are just for his best. If he can return home to a safe, loving environment, great, if not, I do not think it in his best interest to live with a grandma, family or not, that he has met twice in his life for an hour each. I think at that point he needs to remain a part of our family.
Thursday, December 06, 2007

Doctor's Update

Well, Olivia's doctors called back this afternoon. They want me to watch her. If "it" happens again before Sunday, they want us to come into clinic next week. If it doesn't, we are going to a Christmas party with the staff there on Sunday. (They are having a Santa from Make a Wish and took all my kids' ages, etc. Should be fun!) They said they will watch her there on Sunday and decide from that I guess if we should come in, if she hasn't had another "episode" prior. Otherwise we will just need to keep a close eye. So, we watch...

My Oldest

Something is going on with Olivia but I'm not sure what. Twice over Thanksgiving break she had "episodes" where she couldn't walk or support herself on her legs. Both times she had been sleeping, she was EXTREMELY tired, and wasn't feeling well. I wrote it off as exhaustion and thought I'd just watch. She has occasionally complained of leg pain prior to that, but nothing big. Last night, a normal night, bedtime at 7, about an hour after going to bed, I heard a huge thump up in her room. She was calling out for me. When I got to the room she was on the floor saying she couldn't walk. She said she tried to get out of bed but couldn't stand. I tried supporting her but she could barely stand, it was all me holding her up. She has been scared of this obviously during these times. I wondered if she was half sleep walking, but wasn't sure. I carried her to bed and she got to sleep ok finally and was fine this morning. After dropping the kids off I asked her if she remembered last night and she did. I asked if she was awake and getting up or didn't remember actually getting up. She said she was awake and was coming to tell me she couldn't get to sleep, but when she tried to get out of bed she couldn't stand. I called her doctors in Chicago this morning, well her RN. She was going to consult with her doctors today and get back to me. No word yet.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How Cluttered is My Mind?

This is off of another blog, and my mind is not too cluttered, thank goodness! :)

Your Mind is 42% Cluttered

Your mind is starting to get cluttered, and as a result, it's a little harder for you to keep focused.
Try to let go of your pettiest worries and concerns. The worrying is worse than the actual problems!

Case Review / Family Meeting

Little One had a case review yesterday. They have these every six months. I was unable to go to his last one as it was when we were in FL. I really wanted to be at this one to hear what's going on in his case and if they discussed the possibility of Grandma as a placement, but it was scheduled for 11am. To get a half day off from work, it is up to or from 12 noon. I didn't really have a way to take a half day with the time of the meeting but wanted to be there. They have been saying they were going to schedule a family meeting, (where the bio, foster, cw get together) soon but hadn't. I have NEVER had a family meeting for ANY foster child in fact, but these are supposed to be done every three months. So we set up a family meeting for yesterday afternoon and I took a half day. I also had a TB test for Girlie scheduled after that.

Anyway, it was very interesting, meeting the bio mom of the child I've been caring for for the past 13 months. After coming in the cw quickly intro'd us as he was still getting things together. She said "I just can't wait to get him back." and then we sat in the most uncomfortable silence ever! Seemed like forever even though it was only about 2 minutes. We had our meeting. She said I needed to put more lotion on him and wanted to know why he was being targeted with biting - he's not, he bites too and all in his room are "doing it" on occasion. I explained it was a developmental stage and that frustration and lack of communication skills make for some biting. She also wants to be included on all doctor visits. I was just listening and trying to be positive. I was glad to meet the person who gave birth to this special child. I love him so much, but how can you tell that to someone who sees you as the bad guy. She has said so much about me at past visits, etc and I know it's hard to know someone else is raising your child I can't imagine. But I wish she would have asked what he's like at "home." What makes him laugh, what makes him mad, what does he play with, who does he play with, where does he go, but she didn't. It makes me sad. I could tell actually that she wanted to say a lot more about what I was "doing wrong" but didn't. I guess I should be glad she didn't. It ended amicably and I told her I was glad to have finally met her. She seemed to feel the same.

BUT - during the visits I was outraged and couldn't believe it when they supervisor, who was present over the phone, asked the cw to talk about the "make a wish thing." WHAT???!!! I tried to staunch the discussion by saying "she" wasn't wishing for a trip and push it aside, but he continued. The cw said to the bio mom of my foster son that "Lisa's adopted daughter has been granted a wish through the Make a Wish foundation, so (Little One) will be able to benefit from that too." Word for word. I about died. I didn't want to go into it right then because to me that would just call more attention to it for the mom, but are you serious!? What right does she have to know anything about that. That was a complete breach of confidentiality and completely unprofessional!

Needless to say as soon as I returned home that evening and the kids were tucked away in bed, it boiled over in me. I sent an email, not raging but really stating how I felt about this situation and that it was completely wrong. I sent it to the supervisor, his supervisor, and her supervisor. The local office supervisor, who was at fault, sent me a two sentence email asking me to call him so that he could talk with me. I don't think so. I feel like he should call me. Then a little later I received an email from his supervisor apologizing for the incident and stating that she had tried calling my home number twice and the voice mail wasn't working right, but she would really like to meet with me about this. She said that she would be in town on Friday and asked if we could meet at 3 or 5pm. I responded that Little One's CASA worker was coming for a visit at 4:30 but that I would try to reschedule to meet with her at 5 since I am not off work until at least 3:20.

I just spoke with CASA and we pushed her visit back to 6:30, which means a late evening for the kids, but since it's Friday it'll be fine. I'm glad that the regional supervisor responded quickly and wants to meet, but really what can be done? I guess all I would like is for the office supervisor to acknowledge he shouldn't have said that, and that IF bio mom would want him moved due to this, that they will not allow that and will talk to her about the situation if it's needed. What else can you do? You can't take that back. And yes, possibly this info will be publicized locally, but if so that is our business to allow that. Not to mention that if it is now publicized and IF bio mom sees it, she will then know our last name. I doubt my picture would be or have been associated with the publicity, and she never would have connected me to this little girl. Now she will IF she were to see an article or something, which she may not. It's just a lot to think about and take in. I know I'm rambling, sorry, it's just hard to even think through all the aspects on this.
Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Scene Behind Me

As I sit here at the computer catching up on a few things, the kids are behind me playing what has to be the funniest thing they've done in a while. Did you know that Mary and baby Jesus ate Thanksgiving dinner with their friends. Baby Jesus of course needed to use the high chair, so Girlie's baby was without. They had a wonderful feast of turkey and banana splits and were in high spirits throughout! :) Unfortunately Little One woke up not feeling well today, which is why we're skipping church this morning. He vasilates between playing with the kids and sitting in my lap. Oh, now the scene has switched and Olivia is getting baby Jesus ready for Halloween. He's going to be a pirate! He sure looks cute! LOL!!!!
Friday, November 30, 2007

Make a Wish

I didn't have a lot of time on my post earlier regarding Olivia's wish experience from last night.

On our way there Olivia said "Tonight is the best night of my life." I said, "Really, why?" She told me that she was so glad to be able to meet three other families who have kids with something "going on in their body" and that she was meeting with people who help kids have wishes. It was too cute.

What a wonderful time we had. Our area is having to do things slightly differently as we currently have four wish children and not enough wish granters. Wish granters are teams of two who travel up to two hours from where they live to meet with wish families during this process. The first visit typically has one granter working with the parent or parents and the other working with the child to really get at what that child wants to wish for. Since we are so low right now on wish granters they had all four of our families meet at a pizza place locally. We each had a big booth and two granters from Chicago and two (a husband and wife "team") from Champaign (south of us) came. One wish granter was to sit with each family, help to fill out paperwork, and talk to the child about their wish.

We began at 4:30 and I let them know we would need to leave by 5:30 in order to pick the others up before day cares close at 6. We were blessed with the husband, on the husband and wife team, to be our wish granter. He is so very nice. He and his wife are retired and he has a job mentoring teens at a junior high. Another granter, from Chicago, had a family who hadn't arrived and she sat with us during most of our time there, talking with Olivia.

When the granters first came in, they brought each child a fleece tie blanket made by Chicago school children. They knew Olivia's favorite color was red and gave her one with red fleece with gingerbread men on one side and greeen fleece on the other. She LOVES it!!!! They also gave her a princess book! :) She was on cloud nine.

The night flew by with paperwork and Olivia describing her wish and giving them the picture of the pirate ship. Most of the paperwork was in case her second wish of Disney came through and they needed travel information, but he said he's pretty sure the first wish is doable and shouldn't be a problem. Some of the questions they ask you to answer really make me see what a blessing we have in that Olivia isn't "sick." We, unlike many families in this situation, don't have to worry about wheelchairs, nursing care, medical needs, etc. We really are blessed.

What a heart to have to be a wish granter. It is all volunteer. More money to put toward children's wishes.

We were asked whether or not Olivia's name, story, etc could be used for publicity. I knew the question would be there at some point and made sure to ask her again what she thought before we got there. She said yes, she didn't mind. He took down our local paper's name and the Christian radio station that is local. Our news, etc comes from Chicago so I don't know that they will do anything with that. I was a bit nervous signing that paper. We have "let out the secret" so to say of Olivia's status. But people have not turned around and gossiped or shared this that I can tell. It's in the hand of supporters, friends, family who love Olivia. I still am nervous about it really "coming out" but know that God is in control and that we have made the right decision. It's all about helping raise money for Make a Wish and helping to just get the message out that children in life threatening situations are able to receive a wish, not to mention how much Make a Wish could do with more volunteers, etc. When I explained to Olivia about how her wish would cost a lot of money and that people would work on raising that money, she wanted to help. She wants to help raise money for kids to get these wishes. She is wonderful. :)
Thursday, November 29, 2007

O's Wish

Olivia has "officially" made her wish...
She finally decided she wanted a clubhouse type something for the back yard. I looked up some pictures of tree houses that I've seen done on Extreme Makeover Home Edition and found the website. This is what Olivia wished for:

http://www.danielswoodland.com/tree_houses/deluxe_scallywag.php

Now, that said, this tree house is INCREDIBLY expensive! I know they would most likely reduce the price somewhat for publicity, a wish child, etc, but still, I don't know if this is doable. But, maybe something similar. (It just looks so cool, though!) :)

I think this will definately be something that my kids and all our friends would enjoy for YEARS. I just hope we don't plan on moving ANYTIME soon. :) There is NO way this could be moved!

They do ask for a second wish, in case. Her second is Disney World which would be awesome too. I would LOVE to see/stay at the Give Children the World Village for wish children there. So, now we wait and see what happens. :)
Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Early Christmas

I received an early Christmas gift, my two chairs I've been wanting for the living room! Yay! We have furniture! They are great. They are somewhat low to the ground and a great fabric, so it's kid-friendly. :) A must! Love them!




(Our living room is not usually this clear of toys!
I had to do some quick cleaning to take the pic! lol )

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Saturday Night

This past Saturday we went up to Lincoln Park Zoo for ZooLights. It was SOOOOO much fun!! The weather wasn't bad at all and going in and out of the animal houses helped as they were quite warm. I loved it and so did the kids. They aren't usually open in the evenings and the house lights were dimmed and the animals were just right "there." They especially loved the gorillas who were very mellow and laying right by the glass. There was a mom and baby they watched forever and the male just off to the side. Very cool. We also saw the hippo swimming which we never even see when we go there.

The outside was all decorated and lit up. There were neat "snow globes" outside with characters in them. In the Lion House was Santa, but up on a platform so I couldn't take the stroller up. I was not up to taking all 4 in line with no stroller so we bypassed to a sad Braeden. The tattoo table next in the row was enough to get him motivated again! :) He and Olivia had penguins on their arms in no time! :) (I wondered though how accessible was Santa to someone in a wheelchair and was that fair????) :(


Sorry, want to keep this post on and two cuties were in the stroller! :)

Parade Pictures

Here are a couple pics from the parade. My favorite I won't post. It's the three squinting in the snow coming down rather hard as we were just about to get into the train station with our Subway sandwiches, Millenium Park in the back ground. :)




A sleepy girl in the stroller!!! Yes, it's Olivia :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Fun

We had a good Thanksgiving day. I was up at 3:45AM to get ready to take the 3 oldest to Chicago for the parade. We've gone the past two years and it has become somewhat a tradition. My friend took Little One Wed night and kept him for Thanksgiving, as she did last year, to make it a little easier. Of course it was nice and warm two days prior, but snow was predicted for the day of the parade, so we were ready. They slept in their clothes and the car was packed and ready. After I got myself going I got Olivia up, well, actually I went in to get her up and she started out of bed, she was up. I have a feeling she didn't sleep much in anticipation which is probably why we had the issues with her later. I got the others up and loaded in the car after a diaper change and coats and we were off.



The ride went well as they ate breakfast. When we got to the train station a little after 5 Olivia told me she thought she was going to throw up and didn't feel well. Not one of my finer parenting moments as I asked if she felt like this when she got up - of course she did! We could have gone back to bed! BUT, we did still go as she thought she'd be ok. She was fine but didn't eat really and slept through half the parade. It was cold though. We had other plans after the parade, but headed back instead. Girlie's face upon seeing the big balloons was priceless. She was just in awe. It was too cute!!! It snowed a bit during the parade and got pretty heavy right at the end. We had our now traditional turkey Subways for lunch in the train station while we waited for the next train. :)



After getting home I unloaded Girlie who had just fallen asleep and laid her on the couch in her snowsuit. I got Braeden who had also just fallen asleep and came in with him and Girlie was sleeping. I laid him on the other end of the couch and he fell back to sleep too. Olivia and I grabbed blankets and took naps on the floor. :) It was a full day to say the least.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Test

Read on another blog, way too funny...

How To Know Whether You Are Ready to Have Children

Mess Test:Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains. Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there all summer.

Toy Test:Obtain a 55-gallon box of Legos. (If Legos are not available, you maysubstitute roofing tacks) Have a friend spread them all over the house. Put on a blindfold. Try to walk to the bathroom or kitchen. Do not scream. (This could wake a child at night.)

Grocery Store Test:Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best) and take them with you as you shop at the grocery store. Always keep them in sight and pay for anything they eat or damage.

Dressing Test:Obtain one large, unhappy, live octopus. Stuff into a small net bag, making sure that all arms stay inside.

Feeding Test:Obtain a large plastic milk jug. Fill halfway with water. Suspend from the ceiling with a stout cord. Start the jug swinging. Try to insert spoonfuls of soggy cereal (such as Fruit Loops or Cheerios) into the mouth of the jug, while pretending to be an airplane. Now dump the contents of the jug on the floor.

Night Test:Prepare by obtaining a small cloth bag and fill it with 8 - 12 pounds of sand. Soak it thoroughly in water. At 8:00 PM, begin to waltz and hum with the bag until 9:00 PM. Lay down your bag and set your alarm for 10: 00PM.Get up, pick up your bag, and sing every song you have ever heard. Make up about a dozen more and sing these too until 4:00 AM. Set alarm for 5:00 AM. Get up and make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.

Physical Test (Women):Obtain a large beanbag chair and attach it to the front of your clothes. Leave it there for 9 months. Now remove 10 of the beans.

Physical Test (Men):Go to the nearest drug store. Set your wallet on the counter. Ask the clerk to help himself. Now proceed to the nearest food store. Go to the head office and arrange for your paycheck to be directly deposited to the store. Purchase a newspaper. Go home and read it quietly for the last time.

Final Assignment:Find a couple who already has a small child. Lecture them on how they can improve their discipline, patience, tolerance, toilet training, and child's table manners. Suggest many ways they can improve. Emphasize to them that they should never allow their children to run riot. Enjoy this experience. It will be the last time you will have all the answers. "

Van Update

Sorry, I forgot to talk about the van. So far so good. The brake and antilock brake lights still come on from time to time but they have for quite a while. I took it in for that long ago and spent over $125 for them to tell me they couldn't find anything. so we'll see...

Whew...

It's been a long couple of weeks. And while I have had a minute or two here and there to keep caught up on many of the blogs I read, I just haven't had some solid time to sit down to write my own. so here it is...

PARENTS - my parents flew into town for a whirlwind weekend two weekends ago. Our big adoption celebration was on Sat. Nov. 10th. They flew in Friday the 9th at 5:40pm, but their plane ended up delayed and didn't arrive until about 6:30. The kids were wound up to say the least - they're arrival was kept a big surprise!!! They then flew out on Monday afternoon.

ADOPTION CELEBRATION - was on the 10th. It was such a huge success, so many wonderful people and so much fun. It was a bit stressful in that there were many who didn't know each other and I wanted to talk with them all, plus having to try to keep an eye on the two little ones. People kept finding them out and about and bringing them back. We had the celebration at a church and my parents a friend and I were there starting at 9 to decorate, it was actually from 11:30-2:30. Braeden had had enough of the one room and at one point actually found an elevator and took it by himself. I think he was a little scared, and relieved, when I opened it. There were so many people who drove near and far to attend, we were very blessed. My dad's side of the family came about 2 1/2 hours to attend, friends from by hometown came about the same distance. Friends who have never met the kids but have kept in touch from when I was involved in youth ministry in Bloomington, and a friend from my youth from there as well, drove about 1 1/2 hours. I just wish I had had more time to talk with each of them. I had scrapbooks for each of the kids for people to write notes to them and then get their pics taken, and the comments were so wonderful. Of course I got pictures of every person except Braeden's godparents, my parents, and myself. Go figure! But it was a wonderful day! For those who left early, you missed the fireworks. Braeden had eaten SO much JUNK! Then my uncle was flipping him and he said, I'm going to throw up, sure enough ALL OVER! My uncle was great and held him and much of the yuck as I grabbed the garbage can! :) He was fine the rest of the day!

OLIVIA - had her most recent doctor's appt on Mon the 12th. Her white blood cells have been low so we discussed her change of meds, which they are still deciding on. I also told them that she has been practicing swallowing and is ready to switch to more pills. They are thinking about that too???? She has also been having a bout with homework and lying lately. Last week she didn't bring home her homework notebook evey day. She is supposed to bring it home the beginning of the week of then do something in it that is written to do, each day. She had consequences of going to her room, but it didn't seem to phase her. She also lied each day about it and why she didn't have it. I read another blog where they have talked about instituting a "correction" jar/cup. There are slips of paper inside listing different "jobs" as correction for misbehavior, but then there is also a slip that says Mercy. They talked with their children about how God gives us Mercy sometimes when we deserve punishment. So, I decided to start it with Olivia. Only for two things that she is needing to work on right now - lying ( because it's usually about nothing anyway), and hurting someone, usually Braeden, supposedly on accident, but then not saying sorry. If that makes sense. Anyway, right after we talked about this on Sat, she lied about not putting away some markers in the basement. When I went down to grab something, what do you know. So, she had to pick a slip. Clean the Bathroom. It took her a good part of the day as I would have her do one part at a time, but she did great. Then she kicked Braeden, supposedly on accident, but didn't say sorry, so she had to pick again. No TV all Weekend. Monday, yesterday, she came home from school and told me that she "had a break from her bag book and word ring" tonight. I thought maybe, since it was a short week, but was surprised because she has had this every Mon-Thurs since school started. Well, it turns out that she just didn't want to bring it home. A lie again, so she had to pick again. Clean the Bathroom!!! I think this is the cleanest my bathroom has ever been. The other slips say Mercy, Clean the Basement (organize), clean the Kitchen Floor, and Copy a Page From a Book (my choice). I put up the Bathroom and tv ones up for a while, she doesn't know though.

MAKE A WISH - We finally heard from the Make a Wish people. There are 5 wish children in our area currently and not enough volunteers to be wish granters. So, they are organizing a time for all of us to get together and meet the Make a Wish people to start talking over their wishes. As of right now this will possibly occur on the 29th.

SATURDAY - I took Braeden and Olivia to see Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. Cute movie. Braeden loved the sock monkey. He said that the monkey only wanted a hug, a cuddle, and no one would hug him, then at the end he got a hug. It was too cute.

SUNDAY - I took Braeden and Olivia to see the Indiana Youth Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker. They loved it. Braeden was a little antsy the second half, but did well.

GIRLIE - God blessed us Incredibly and the person we were waiting on to get her day care license got it in the mail Sat the 10th, so Girlie was able to start at her home day care on Mon the 12th!!! She has bitten there a couple times, but our provider is so great and knows what is going on with her. She has fostered/adopted herself and has dealt with biting before. I think she'll do really well there. Thursday, the 15 was supposed to be her ACR - Administrative Case Review - that they hold every 6 months. I took a half day because I really wanted to know what was going on with her case. Also, there was the name of a boy listed along with her name that I knew nothing about. The cw called me Wed night and in talking, I said I was going, and she said it was in a city 3 hours away! I hadn't even paid attention to the address, why would it be somewhere else? I guess this boy is a brother, or half brother, who is 17 or 18 and his worker is from there? Anyway, no way I could go and I now had a half day for basically nothing. I got a lot done for Christmas though. The cw then let me know that they have to start doing visits with this brother. They have never even met! He isn't going home, she probably isn't, why on earth have them have visits???? He is an hour or so south so we are hoping he has to travel to her and not the other way around. That is so crazy!

OTHER LIFE - we have sicknesses yet again. Girlie had a fever (slight temp) last night and this morning. I plied her with Motrin and took her to day care. Just to get through today and tomorrow I hope! Braeden last night was saying his stomach hurt and he was going to throw up. Throwing up is a big thing for him right now. :0) But he also asks for medicine all the time on the premise he is sick, because he likes medicine. I think he had gas last night, but he was complaining this am too. I got him off to school, no fever or anything, and he skipped into day care, so we'll see. I sure hope we all make it to the big parade on Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Van Update

I picked up the van on Monday. So far so good. Let's pray this "holds" until I can afford a passenger van, or some wonderfully rich individual feels called to bless us with one! lol, :) one can hope, right!?

Swallowing Pills


Olivia has done great with the first pill she has switched over to. She was on three liquid medications upon coming to live with me at 3 1/2. She recently switched one to a pill, a small pill. She has done great with swallowing. The next she will switch is to a pill about the size of a Tylenol capsule, the first was like a TicTac. The final she will go to is a huge horse pill sized thing. Today she "practiced" for switching over to the next pill. Yesterday she swallowed, with ease, three separate Pez candies! Today, she swallowed a candy corn!!! yay Olivia!!! Our next Dr appt is Monday the 12th. We'll see what they think, hopefully she can switch to the next one for sure. Maybe both??? That would be great! No more liquids! You go girl!


What A Day

Well, Girlie is done at her current day care. When I picked her up today after work they said they were sorry, they know they told me 2 weeks, but she bit today and today is her last day. Nice. Needless to say it was a shock.

I called the agency and spoke with the supervisor who said they would try to figure something out. Asked if I had anyone in the area. Really, how many times do I need to tell people no with regards to that? The person we've been waiting on to get her home day care license was told yesterday that her paperwork is "there" and she only needs to receive her license in the mail. Which is great, but doesn't help me tomorrow. Who knows for sure how long it will take. He said he'd look into it.

Then his supervisor called to talk with me a little while later. She said that they were still working on it, but wanted to talk. She said she wasn't sure what my thoughts/intentions were but said that Girlie is a special case with all she's witnessed, etc. She said that she bites because she feels anxiety. I get that, for the most part, but don't think it's completely right. She is very smart, she is also very old for her age and isn't scared, intimidated, etc. If anything she's the opposite. Anyway, she said that this is a caregiver problem. That at home with me she feels secure, etc and that with me working she is placed in a situation where she doesn't get that nurturing she needs, so she bites. She said that maybe we need to discuss placing her in a home with a stay at home parent. I get that too. I wish I could be that, but financially can't. I just would hate to see the progress she's made over the past 3 months nixed with a transition to a new home yet again. It would be her fourth home in just over two years. I don't know how well she would do with that. We ended our chat for now.

I called the supervisor a little later as I hadn't heard from anyone about tomorrow. He said they found a foster parent at home willing to watch her as a respite during the day until my friend got her license. I talked with him regarding my hope that this will be what she needs and my feelings regarding her moving yet again. BUT, if that ends up in her best interest, hard as it would be, I would understand and would pray they found a really great home. What if she goes to one and then starts biting, etc there and they don't like it and want her moved??? I don't want her to end up a case who bounces numerous times and is unable to form attachments, etc. I wil continue to pray for this. It's all I can do. :)
Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Boot

Well, Girlie officially received the boot from yet another day care today.

Yesterday I was told to pick her up again as she had bitten 3 times. The cw got them to isolate her instead until I was done at work. BUT I had to sign a paper saying that the next time she bit I would have 2 weeks to move her to a new place.

She bit twice today.

Tonight at the YMCA where Olivia does cheerleading, the younger 3 were in the nursery. I was retrieved after Girlie told them to Shut Up, numerous times. I guess someone was eating his dinner and she started over there. They told her they would get her a snack but that that was his. She turned to them and pointed her finger and said You shut up. She continued and got up from time out many times. I took her up with me to sit and miss out on the toys and snack and movie and she was not a happy camper, which is good. She knew she made some bad choices and what she was losing. Some parents tried talking to her after she had some time to think and she kept covering her face and not really even looking at them. She was embarrassed. I'm glad she understood but that's also what is so frustrating. She is a smart girl. She doesn't do this at home. She has bit twice the entire time she's been with us and has said shut up a couple times, but she knows it is not accepted and we just don't see it. I'm glad of that, but frustrated it still has not carried over to other areas. The looks she gives, it's like she is such an adult. I hate to think of all that the baby has been through to make her this way at the age of two, a young two at that.

Initials

Yesterday as we were riding in the car to pick up Girlie from day care, Olivia was reading signs outside as she often does now. She read one that has initials in it's name but was reading them as a word. I explained about initials and what Braeden's were, as he has a necklace with his initials he received for his adoption. (A hemp one that I made.) She then thought about what hers are, and asked me what mine were. I said that mine are LMB. She thought a moment and said, "Is your middle name Mom???"

Too darn cute! LOL!
Monday, November 05, 2007

And Again

Girlie's day care called at 10:15am. She's bitten three times, you need to pick her up. I called the agency and talked to the case aide to see if they could pick her up, even to just bring her here. He called the day care and got them to "isolate" her the rest of the day. When I pick her up they will discuss the next step in the process to me! I guess she now has a two week probationary period. If we can't "work together" to deal with this and "stop" it, then she will be kicked out yet again. :( What can I do???? She's not 4, I can't punish her at home. It's more their deal.
Sunday, November 04, 2007

Rating My "Life" :)

This was fun, but ironic how high my financial scored considering all the junk with the van right now!!! :0)

This Is My Life, Rated
Life:
7.2
Mind:
7.1
Body:
5.9
Spirit:
7.9
Friends/Family:
5.4
Love:
1.5
Finance:
8.1
Take the Rate My Life Quiz
Friday, November 02, 2007

Girlie's Face

I wish I could post a picture of my little darlin's face. Halloween morning, on our way out the door, down the two cement steps next to our house, which we walk down every morning, as it was a little dark that morning, Girlie took a fall and had quite a face plant right into the cement at the bottom of the stairs!!! Oh my, she is scratched up! Mostly her nose got the brunt of it.

Thankfully she was fine, just a bit sore and a little bit bloody. :( I was grateful that her visit with bio mom was the day before and that she won't have another for two weeks. Isn't that sad. If it was Olivia or Braeden, poor dear, but things happen, you'll be fine. :) Girlie or Little One, your thoughts immediately turn to what will people say, what will people think, what will their parent think, will the agency move them because they don't think they're "safe"... on and on. It's sad that that is what your mind starts processing.

She's on the mend, her cw knows about the accident, and if there are still marks come next visit, we'll deal with it.

On another note, her biting continues. Once earlier in the week and twice yesterday. Oh my Girlie!
Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween Night

We had such a great Halloween! I was able to run over to Olivia's school to help her get ready and then watch their "parade" of costumes. I've never been able to do that before! Here she is, after getting ready in the bathroom...


We had a fast but fun day! The kids at school did so well and really we had no behavior issues which you sometimes do on holidays! :) After school Olivia and I had to take in the van, pick up Girlie and then we ran to Sears to pick up our pictures. They look so great! We then grabbed the boys and went home and got our costumes on. I am "cool" mom on Halloween, I let Olivia and Braeden eat candy for dinner! :) (They really hardly EVER get candy, the night is so rushed anyway, last year I figured what the heck, let them eat as we go and we'll call it a night! ) You should see how much they have, and how much of it they will never touch! :)

Here is Braeden coming through from one house with moving monster people that he was a bit scared of! :)

The funniest was at one house where Olivia and Braeden went up the steps to get their candy. Two teens came behind them to go up as they were about to come down. They had kind of scary masks. Olivia walked right down, Braeden stood still. The teens waited and I asked him to come down. I said it was ok they were just masks and the teens said Oh are we scaring him, and backed up. He just stood there and said Sissy! wanting Olivia to come get him! I got him and we got past the big mean monsters! lol! Too funny.
Here's where they had to go through this big blow up haunted house to get candy! So funny!







My Van

$1800

Yes, that's eighteen HUNDRED dollars to fix the yucky van!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007

MRSA

I'm sure it's where you are as well. It's scary how quickly this "superbug" is spreading through schools. We currently have 3 children in our building we know are being tested for MRSA. One has been out almost a week. His cousin, from another district, was officially diagnosed with MRSA and they think "our" student contracted it from him. If it's possibly in my school, I am sure it's possibly in Olivia's school. I've heard nothing from her doctors about this. Should I be concerned that my daughter, whom has a questionable immune system, is potentially around this??? I wish they would send out a letter letting us know if this is something to be wary of.
Monday, October 29, 2007

What to do

Phone call today at noon: Yes this is ----- from Girlie's day care. She has bitten THREE times today and someone will need to come pick her up.

Me: Are you kidding?

Them: No, I'm afraid not.

Me: She was just evaluated for a behavioral intervention on Friday. They are going to be developing a behavior plan and talking to you about it. I really have to come get her?

Them: Well it sounds like you're a step ahead of us on the evaluation, we were going to have someone do that too. But yes, you do have to come get her.

Luckily I have a great school and asked if I could bring her here. They said yes. My class has it's Movie of the Month today (they earn movie and/or movie and snack by their behavior during the month). We were just starting that. She has slept from 12:20 until now at 2:40 and is still asleep! Must have been tired. I have a snack and all ready for when she wakes up. At least it's not Braeden, he would not do well here - too crazy! :) She'll be ok, but really, picking her up because she bit!? If it happened three times I really don't know how well they're watching. You know she just bit, set her aside from the others for a while or something. At least be more vigilant! Argh!
Sunday, October 28, 2007

Another Saturday

We had originally planned on being at another large pumpkin farm on Saturday. It looked awesome and we were going with a close friend I unfortunately don't get to see too often. But, some unfortunate circumstances came up for them and they were unable to come. :(
So, instead I took the kids to Boo at the Zoo at Brookfield Zoo. We went last year and they had a blast.


We normally go to Lincoln Park Zoo, which we LOVE, but this was a special occasion. I forgot however that at Brookfield you can't take strollers inside the houses! I wasn't about to take the 2 little ones out at every house to walk through in five minutes and then strap them back in. SO, we stayed outside. It was still great. We did go to the dolphin show. :) That was the only behavior we had, Braeden was a little too active. Crawling all over the benches and licking, yes licking, the water that had splashed us from the dolphin jumping. He switched places with Girlie in the stroller for a bit after that. :) But the rest of the day was wonderful. We got some really cute pictures and they had lots of fun. Braeden likes Brookfield because they have elephants, which Lincoln Park doesn't. The weather was a little chilly at times, but not bad, and the animals must have been liking it because they were all out and parading around. The leopard and giraffe were very close and the little ones loved the dolphin show, except for the splashing! :)



Friday, October 26, 2007

My Car

My minivan is junk. It really is. I think I've blogged before about all the issues I've had with it, since day one, literally. I think about everything that can be fixed or replaced on it has been fixed or replaced. My check engine light is on. It's been on for 3 days. I hope beyond belief that it is nothing and just needs to be reset. The van goes in on Halloween.

I have heard of many who have gone to God in prayer over the "things" in their life and He has met their need. I need new transportation. BUT, I want a 12 or 15 passenger van! I want to add to our family at some point. God calls us to take care of the orphans of the world. I want to travel with my kids and not worry about my car breaking down.

I am going to God in prayer over somehow getting a passenger van. I owe too much right now to trade mine in or I would. I am still "upside down" in payments. Please pray for my car situation if you feel called to do so. It would make life a little easier. :)
Sunday, October 21, 2007

Halloween Pictures

Almost forgot, our halloween pictures turned out great. The kids did so well. Braeden didn't smile, but he didn't do the sticking out the bottom teeth thing either. :) And Little One didn't smile, but it looked great since he was a Scarecrow and I had "stitched" on smile lines. :) Yay! We celebrated with Dairy Queen! (No Whitey's around here! - for those of you who know what ice cream is!)

Dream Halloween... What a Wonderful Experience!

Wow. That's all I can truly say, but I will try to add more. Wow. It was amazing.

I don't know what I expected for sure, but it was completely different. :)
Just the thought and preparation and time that went into this one evening was amazing. I know it was a benefit and that it's purpose was to raise money for CAAF, but being able to experience it was such a gift. I saw a number of families who were there as "guests," (as we were distinguishable by our orange "credentials"), who seemed to just take for granted all they were being given. I could tell many of them had been there previously as they brought metal "carts" to haul all their stuff, or got tables right away so that they had a place to roost when not taking in attractions and when they were eating.

I was constantly in awe. There were craft tables, huge, long craft tables for kids and beyond these, against the wall were boxes and boxes of extra craft supplies so that they would not run out. I can't imagine they used all of them, there were so many. And the trick or treat areas, little "houses" the kids went around and had their credentials punched for each one, looking inside there were piles to the ceiling of the gifts they were receiving. Amazing.

Anyway, upon entering the evening, each child was given a huge decorator pillowcase to fill with stuff, and their own halloween disposable camera for the evening. I let Olivia trick or treat first as she was so excited about it. We went to 2 of the 3 areas and she got some really neat things. A Dora wheeled luggage bag that is a yellow car with the characters in it and the lights in front light up and it beeps, a Scooby Doo scrapbook kit, hair things, an American Girl hardback book, a poster kit, a coloring book, and a necklace and bracelet set. Then we went to an area with Eli's Cheesecake! They had mini cheesecakes and these long tables at kids' height with bowls of real whip cream, choc chips, gum drops, candy corn, etc to put on top of them. We went through one side of the room on the way there that was restaurant after restaurant of food you could eat. We got Ziti and bread from Maggiano's and then ate at Eli's area because, like I said, the tables were gone. We then went to the third trick or treat area and she got a Barbie toy phone, and two other things.

The remainder of the evening we wandered from place to place. There was a large stage at the front that had rotating entertainment, which repeated once through the evening. There was the huge craft area, where Olivia made a candy bracelet with licorice rope and candy, and a magnetic bat (there were 3-4 other crafts we didn't get to). There was a retro type carnival game area (no prizes, just fun) which she loved to play. There was face painting and stick on tattoos. There were many characters, some she had no clue about: Popeye and Olive Oyl, Geoffrey, many clowns, the penguin from the surf movie, Tweety, Sylvester, Bugs Bunny, etc. There was another line down the other side of the room of other restaurants. We ate here later and had CA Pizza Kitchen. There was a beverage area. There were TONS of volunteers helping with everything. A bunch of them had the job of carrying around polaroid cameras and cardboard frames which had been decorated with halloween stickers and a sticker saying Dream Halloween 2207, etc. They would take pics and hand them out along with the frame, so cool. We got 3 of them. One of the two of us at the Eli's tables, one of Olivia and Barbie :), and one of Olivia and the penguin (name?). A silent auction took up a part of the middle. As far as entertainment, we saw part of Bitty Bear's matinee from American Girl, Barney, a couple really good dance groups, one Irish dancers, one contemporary, and the live auction. This was when Melina K from CSI NY came out and hosted. They had prizes like a trip to LA to see CSI, a trip to Shanghi, a trip to London, a new car (as the lowest of these went for $3600, I didn't bid :) ). We also were able to meet Melina and had her autograph Olivia's credentials.

The evening wrapped up with all the characters on stage and dancing with the kids. Olivia just walked around them, a little intimidated, but not wanting to get off the stage. :) She had SUCH a great time!!! And everywhere we went people were telling her how beautiful her costume was. I am glad I got it for her. :) As we were leaving, there was a big table full of "adult" gift bags. Someone stopped me and said, "Wait, you didn't get your gift bag. I just need your credentials." Mine was turned over to the back, I really assumed these were for sponsors, etc., not guests. I said, "But I just have an orange tag." She said that was ok, everyone gets one! I was awed again. Inside my gift bag was a Dream Halloween Tshirt, men's cologne, a limited ed Barbie of the girl from Titanic, an American Girl book and craft kit Molly's Halloween, and two I guess specially made for this, matchbox cars in plastic display cases that say Dream Halloween 2007. The cars are special in that they have Halloween themes and say CAAF, Dream Halloween, etc. How fun!!!

Here are a few pics from the evening:

Waiting in line outside to get in.


Bipass looking at Barney,
and see if you can spot the purple butterfly fairy on the screen behind him!!! :)
(You can click to enlarge the pic!)


Melina K from CSI: NY

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dream Halloween II

Dream Halloween is TONIGHT!

I'm also taking all 4 to try to get Halloween costume pics this morning, could be long day! lol

The Frustrating Things

There are a few different things of being a foster parent that leave me boggled.

Why is it that the agency who place children in our homes feel that they can announce appointments, visits, etc at the last minute? Why do they think that if the child/children are in day care and they need to reschedule a visit that they do not have to tell you because the child is at day care anyway, it's no big deal?

Last week I was called at 11:47am on Tuesday, Little One's visit is always on Wednesday from 10-11, only to be "told" that they moved his visit to Tuesday and were currently at his day care to pick him up for his 12-2 visit. What? Unbelievable. Yes, I have no need nor desire to know where "my" child is when they're not with me, you're right. Not to mention that I know they knew about this for at least a week because my friend's visit was rescheduled for Little One's time and I had wondered what they were going to do since both were at the office as supervised visits. In addition, Tuesdays are our long days, and LO had a doctor appt after I picked him up. So, he had no nap, a dr appt at 4:15, dinner in the car, and then we took Olivia to cheerleading from 6-7. What a day, poor guy.

This week, Girlie's cw called Monday night to tell me her mom was in treatment about an hour away and they were moving her visit to Tuesday, the next day. (Hers is usually Wed also.) So she would be picked up at 12:30pm, and brought back at 3:30pm. I usually get her at 3:50 on Tuesdays so we can get the boys and go home for dinner before cheerleading (no dr appts this week). I called at 3:45 to see if she was back yet and she wasn't! I had no idea where she was or how much longer it would be. I decided to run some errands and even found a new outfit for myself for Dream Halloween tonight. (I never splurge on myself!) At 4:41pm the case aid who had taken her to her visit called and asked where to take her as they were just getting into town. I asked why they were so late. He laughed and said that the visit had been moved back an hour and that it was the cw job to tell me, sorry. I picked her up at 5 right after she had been dropped off. So another Tues with dinner in the car on the way to cheerleading. I called and emailed the cw and the supervisor about this. The cw NEVER responded. I did get an email from the supervisor who said that the visit had been moved back a half hour and the cw didn't think it would be a big deal. He then said the case aid got lost on the way there and stopped for food for them on the way back. (Would explain why the healthy snacks I packed weren't eaten.) Well, if all that is true, why didn't he apologize on the phone when I talked to him and tell me he had gotten lost, etc? That would have made sense. The case aid has been "caught" telling lies about my friend who is a foster parent and I'm not about to join that bandwagon. This is ridiculous. He has my cell, he could've called and explained he was going to be late. But no. We foster parents just sit around and have no life except for our foster kids and their schedule.

Why is it also that we who are with, see, take care of 24/7 the child/children in our care can't make a simple decision such as getting their hair cut!!???

Little One has not had his hair cut since last MAY, when I had finally hounded them enough that they got mom to say she would get the money for it. She wanted to take him, and not let me. But on it dragged until I finally gave the cw the money and said to tell her it was from the agency. So she got it cut (after about 3 more weeks). About $8. I have again been hounding them for the last couple months. Mom was going to have the money the first of this month, then had to spend it on something else. If she can't even afford $8 to get his hair cut, when she has no other expenses for him right now, no bday gifts, nothing, how can she afford to care for him full time??? So I emailed the cw and supervisor as to what is the solution??? The cw called mom to see if I could take him, no. The supervisor emailed to say that five months was a lot of time and maybe mom could meet me at a hair place to get it done? She has been one to say a lot about me without ever meeting me, one reason he has a CASA worker. I said that would be fine if the cw or aid were there also. He talked to her Wed at her visit and got it ok'd for me to take him and then keep it up. It was cut last night. Looks much better, but I had to get it cut like how she did it last time. Not the way I would do it, but at least it's short again! :)

Frustrations! :)
Sunday, October 14, 2007

Proud Pumpkin Pickers

Since we are going to another large pumpkin farm with another friend and her son on the 27th, I let Braeden and Olivia pick out pumpkins this Saturday and will let the little ones pick some (with help from B and O I'm sure) the next time.
Today we carved the pumpkins. They have never before wanted to even touch the insides, but today did a lot of the de-gooping. Olivia drew her pumpkin face herself and even carved the large eye alone. (I helped with the rest as she was taking a while and the others were more intricate. We have non-sharp cutting tools.)



All 4 little ones got into the act for a little while.



The proud results!!!





We Have A Couch!

Finally, we got our couch from when I won the money a little while back. It came Friday and we LOVE it!!! We finally have a place to sit in our living room, what a concept! We've lived here over a year and no living room furniture as yet. We have, on the side to where the camera is, a dining room table and chairs, and then along the wall to the left of the camera, 3 bookshelves filled with books. (We LOVE to read!) Now a couch has joined the conglomeration! Hopefully soon we will add two small chairs and a coffee table, then we should be set. :) It's getting there! :)


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

You Gotta Laugh

Tonight we were talking at dinner about Olivia and I going to Dream Halloween. Braeden was quite miffed that he was not going, even though I told him that she would do this with mommy and then mommy would find something for Braeden and I to do special together. He was having none of it. I went on to TRY to explain that Olivia has a "sickness" in her body that she would always have and that this was a special event for her to participate in. Braeden turned to his sister and said,

"But Olivia, I have a cough too!"

Kids. LOL!

Girlie Update

To update you on Girlie...

First day of new day care she ended up with double ear infections and 103.5 fever.

She was home with me the next day, and then a friend watched her the next. She went back to day care the following day, 2nd day there, and bit THREE times!!! Within an HOUR!!! Hello! Are you not paying attention!? She's been there two more days since and no aggression, so maybe we're heading into better territory?

She ended up with no bio mom visit last week, long story, but that is the day she bit. Tomorrow is her visit day, we'll see what happens. Supposedly the last visit she had Girlie reacted "differently" toward mom. Whatever that means. Cw said she acted very differently toward her and that mom was acting really paranoid. Who knows. Cw also told me that the regional director said that they should start toward termination, that mom isn't doing much and probably won't as she has had four not returned in the past ( high school aged now). Even though she said that, and I thought it would head that way myself, doesn't mean we're looking at an adoption any time soon. IF it goes toward termination, it will still be a long process... (but I am thinking of girl names!!) :)

Today's Mail

Can you tell what I got in the mail today????


Yes, Dream Halloween tickets and a Parking Pass!!!!! Woo Hoo! We're going! Hooray!
Saturday, October 06, 2007

A Day at the Zoo

We had a great great day today. I took the kiddos up to Lincoln Park Zoo. I hoped for a free parking spot, and we found one! We took lunch and snacks, so it only cost about a quarter tank of gas. :) The kids had a ball. We took some time to run and play in what will probably be the last "summery" day of the season.


They had a "Fall Festival" in the farm area of the zoo. Lots of very neat, free activities. The kids got to ride John Deere mini gators (like Power Wheels), and had their faces painted by what have to be the best face painters I've EVER seen! They were so quick and the faces were AMAZING! Only problem was that Girlie was scared to pieces and cried whenever they came near her, especially Braeden! lol :)




If we get to go to Dream Halloween (I am in the lottery for tickets, no set slots as I hoped) I wish these people could do Olivia's face again, how beautiful!!! :) (It's hard to really see in the picture, but it was so great up close and personal. Even sparkles, she was in heaven!)
There was also a free pumpkin "patch", but seeing as we're going with a friend next Sat to a large patch, Braeden goes with his day care the 16th to another, and we go to yet another the 27 with another friend, we passed on getting pumpkins for now! :)
Needless to say, everyone slept well on the drive home. Too bad we have no chauffer! :) Could've dozed off myself. Too much traffic!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Costumes

I don't think I've officially posted the costumes the kids are going to use for Halloween.

Olivia as you know will be Pippi Longstocking, her new found favorite movie.

Braeden since day one of discussing it, has wanted to be an elephant. But not the cute Dumbo Disney one I saw, because that one uses the child's face for the elephant's face. No, he wanted a trunk! So I found one where the elephant's face is on top of the child's face, including trunk. It's plush and will be nice and toasty if we have a chilly Halloween.

I got an adorable hand-made Raggedy Ann for Girlie.

I looked and looked for a Raggedy Andy for Little One, but couldn't find one his size that would look right with hers. So, I found a very cute hand-made scarecrow for him. So, we are ready.

Hopefully we will get good pictures. I love hanging a big 11x14 on the wall of their Halloween picture, they always look so cute. And I have a Halloween mini scrapbook with one page/picture for each year (just 3 so far). :) Love it!
Thursday, October 04, 2007

I Gave In

Alright, I did it, I gave in to peer pressure (maybe imagined, but there nonetheless). lol ;0)

I bought Olivia a Halloween costume on ebay tonight. She will be Pippi for trick-or-treating and school, and use the new one if we go to Dream Halloween and/or to dress up for some special pictures at this awesome place in FL when we go at Christmas. It's beautiful. Purple. Lots of tulle and flowers. Wings. So adorable! I can't wait to see her in it! I hope we get to go to DH!
Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Destiny?

Well, we must be destined to go to Dream Halloween. Last night the presenter who had originally told me about it called to say that she received an email from someone who had open slots and that if I was interested I could go. I asked if it was a lottery for tickets, but all she had was the email saying they had open slots. She is going to have that person call me. So, it looks like we may be going either way.

Now, my huge why-do-I-even-worry-about-it dilemma. I am handmaking her Pippi Longstocking costume. While it is turning out pretty cute, should I get her a new, more "spectactular" one for this? There are going to be "stars" there. The host is Melina K... from CSI. I don't know... It's just that it's probably a once in a lifetime thing. Ahh.... decisions. :)
Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Dream Halloween

Have you ever heard of this?

DreamHalloween

I hadn't. It's put on in Chicago and LA, not sure if there are any other locations. It's a benefit to raise money for CAAF (Children Affected by AIDS Foundation) for children and families living with HIV and AIDS.

I heard about it when I went to a DCFS workshop recently in Chicago. The presenter suggested I go but when I looked into it, it seemed the deadline for families to apply was past. There is a cost for most attending, as it is a benefit, but from what I'm understanding they invite families affected by HIV/AIDS to attend as well, free of charge. There are celebrities (SP?) hosting, plus there is a dinner, games, etc and some trick or treating in a major way. If she is to be believed, the presenter said that the children trick or treat and receive toys and items worth over $1,000!!! Wow! I'm sure they are all donated to help raise money at this benefit.

Anyway, I had written it off as a possibility for this year but thought maybe we could go next year. Yesterday, in the midst of it all, I received a message at home from Olivia's social worker at Univ. of Chicago Hospital. She asked if we knew about Dream Halloween and wondered if we were interested in going. She said to let her know as she needed to submit names, etc by Wednesday. Of course I called and said we would be thrilled. I would love to get a sitter for the others and just take Olivia so that it is a special thing for her. I did find out when I called her back that tickets are given out in a lottery. So although our names have been submitted, there is no guarantee that we are going yet. I would assume we would know by the end of the week. It's on Sat, Oct 20.

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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and 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