Thursday, July 31, 2008


I forgot to tell you, and was so sad to hear this, that when the worker was taking the kids to their grandparents, M (the 8 year old) made some pretty racial remarks. I am so sad. I wish there was no such thing as prejudice. It just throws me off balance when I actually see or hear it, it seems so foreign to me to think that someone is "less" because they are a different color. And so sad for me to know that now. That is probably why M was always asking Braeden to stop roughhousing or "climbing" on him. He just really liked M and was trying to always sit by him or hug him or sit "on" / with him. Breaks my heart. Wonder where he could've "learned" that???!!!


There are a lot of things about doing foster care that I just don't understand how or why they "work" that way. But the biggest by far are the bio parents. Most, many, some, I guess it depends on each situation, but MOST of the ones I have dealt with I just don't "get." I don't understand first of all how they could even "do" some of the things to the children that I have seen done. I know in my head that drugs and other things have a debilitating effect on people. That with certain pasts and circumstances and influences people have a hard enough time taking care of themselves let alone a highly demanding, dependent, child. I do "get" that with my head. But my heart gets torn time and again by the situations my lovies have gone through or continue to go through. And yet this system these children find themselves in the middle of, tends to care more for the rights of these parents than the children who become the victims.

I don't understand a system where a 3 month old child, beaten within an inch of his life, with broken ribs and a permanent shunt in his head, who was at home alone with mom when all this happened, can be "made" to have 2 visits a week with this same mom to "continue the bonding process." This is not a situation I have dealt with personally, but it is a real foster situation happening "out there" as we speak. I don't get that.

But I also don't "get" M and W's parents. Their sister E was in care a year. The parents were doing great (as far as we know). They were to get E back, and they blow it. They then lose the boys. An 8 year old who knows what is going on yet is having such a hard time understanding, who just moved in with his mom and her husband in November. And an innocent 6 month old baby who was born while E was in care.

Since July 2, they have not shown up for anything. Not for meetings, not for visits with E, not even for court this past Tuesday. Today they were to visit with all 3 kids, the first time they would have seen the boys since they were removed. Our agency has to pick up E here from my friend's, drive north 40 minutes to pick up the boys from their grandparents, then drive southwest 10 minutes to the McDonalds they were planning to meet at. The worker even called the parents this morning to make sure they were coming, and the transporter picked up all 3 children. Shortly after, the parents called the transporter to tell her they weren't coming. They had a flat tire. Sounds feasible, except it's the same EXCUSE they have given the past FOUR times they were to come somewhere regarding this case. !@!!!!@!!!! M just kept asking why the transporter thought that they weren't showing up for things, she just said they couldn't. I'm sure he knows. He just wants someone else to acknowledge it too. Unbelievable!!!

I just don't get it...
Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Well the boys left today around 11am. I was sad to see them go, but glad to know they were going to grandparents who love them and want to do what's best for them. I heard later from the worker. When she was at the house helping them "unpack" things grandma was asking her how to make a bottle! Then when she took out the baby cereal she asked what to do with it! I am not sure of her age, but know that her children are in their early thirties. She has no clue and is very overwhelmed. I just really worry for W and how "hard" he is anyway. I think even a "typical" 6 month old would be difficult for them, but he is going to really be a handful. I did hear that grandma took off all the next week from work to help them settle and transition more easily. I'm very proud of her for that. I wish we lived closer to each other so I could help out, but they live about 30-45 min north of us. I wonder if I haven't seen the last of W...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


First, today. My W and M, and my friend J's "E", had court today. J brought her two of her crew over, one had a visit, and I watched them all while she went to court. She sat next to the grandma that W and M are going to and said she was very nice. She feels positive about her as a person and that it will be a place where the boys will be cared for. They also have a daughter living with them who can help out. The only problem is that she works until about 3 each day and the grandpa is in a wheelchair. If the aunt isn't home much during the day it could be difficult with W. He is very needy and a difficult 6 month old. They feel overwhelmed right now but obviously want to do what is right.

I know it's a good placement for M. He is very happy to be going there. They are going to move them tomorrow at 10am. "E" will stay with J at least for now. If things go well with the boys they may look at transitioning E, but my guess is they will have enough with the boys, mostly W, that they won't be able to, especially with E's issues. I wonder if down the road a little bit they will say that they can't care for W any longer. I think I'm going to let the worker know that IF they can't, and IF it's just him, and IF he would be placed with me and would either return home if his bios were able to get there issues worked out OR stay "forever," then I would take him back if it came to that. I just hate to see kids move and move and move. At least he would be in a somewhat familar place. Tonight I left him for 2 hours with a friend while I took Braeden to karate (not as bad as the first one, but not as great as the last), and he smiled the BIGGEST smile when I came to pick him up!! It was too stinkin' cute!

Anyway, after court J came back and we chatted about the whole situation and waited for J's oldest to return from her visit. Liam's worker brought her back and asked to speak with me outside. His mom SIGNED THE SURRENDER PAPERS YESTERDAY!!!! Wow! (But I'm curious why she didn't call to let me know, hmmm...) They are still doing a final visit on Thursday and I will try to get a photo albumn (small) done for her along with giving her the PO box where she can reach us. It's so close to being done!!! August 5 will be termination hearing on dad. He then has 30 days to appeal but with mom having signed away rights and himself being locked up, I don't know that he will appeal. I hope not, it just draws things out and the decision won't change.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Short Visit

Well, we're preparing the boys to leave. They will be going to their grandparents either tomorrow or Wednesday. I am praying it's a good situation for them, there are so many signs of neglect with these little ones, but I'm keeping the faith that things will be better where they're going. They are NOT going to move J's foster daughter, their sister, yet. Hopefully they won't at all. At the very least they will be transitioning her over a long period of time so she will know them.

As hard as it is to not know where they are going or how they will be, I must be honest to say that I'm not going to miss the long nights, sore sore arms, crying and arching of the back trying to feed a bottle, etc. Maybe God was using this "visit" as a way to show me that I don't "need" an infant. It was different when I had Braeden and he was my only one. Having the other kids, especially Liam, who need so much attention as it is, makes it very difficult with a little one who is in such need of a routine, attention, etc. Maybe if it was a newborn right from the hospital it would be different, but then again, maybe I'm meant for older children who have a harder time finding homes.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I'm tired, but a good tired. I'm trying hard to keep up in those spare moments with dishes, laundry, etc. Plus trying to keep the boys' stuff together in case they end up leaving tomorrow. I think it may be a good thing for M to go to his grandpa's, providing it's a safe place. He really misses his family so much. We've had a few talks and I wish I could share more about those and about other things, but being a public blog I can't. So many things I wish I could tell you! Anyway, I think it would be good for him and he can take care of himself. I worry more about the young ones, but especially about my friend J's foster daugther. I think it would be extremely detrimental for her to be moved. J is her third home since she was born. She has been in care for a year and moved from home to a relative and now J, and she just turned 2 in May. She already has some pretty strong attachment issues but has done wonderfully in the short time she's been with J. She is really attached now and that has JUST come about the past few weeks. If she moves again to a new home, with a grandpa she hasn't seen in over a year, I don't think they will be able to handle her. I leave it in God's hands.

Today went really well. Liam woke up in a great mood and feeling fine. The kids did well playing and helping out. I got W to take a morning nap, and one afternoon nap of two 45 min sections with me rocking him a minute in between. He had two bottles that were almost 5 oz. He went to bed at 7:30 after bath, pjs and bottle, to wake 45 min later. But then instead of staying up until 9:45 like last night, he went down at 9:10. So, I think he's on the right track. We'll see if he sleeps through the night and what time he wakes. If he moves on, then hopefully they will be able to continue getting him into a routine.

Tomorrow should bring lots more answers...


I think that's how someone described our life right now, and it increased today. First, let me say W is not used to ANY routine. I found that out pretty quickly. I documented eating/sleeping times Sat to have an idea, and he has NO set nap times which I confirmed with M. He just falls asleep whenever and gets up whenever, meaning he takes little/45 min naps throughout the day. He did sleep all night both nights going to bed about 10, getting up at 5 for 3oz of formula (I tried a paci, everything, nothing would calm him but that) then back to bed til 7. So today I stalled some of his feedings/nappings to try to get them onto a schedule, and to work on getting his bottles up more, but have heard from a few lately that some kids just eat little "meals" and it's normal. Also, he has two little bottom front teeth, and is cutting the two upper fronts. BUT, one of his bottom teeth is BROKEN!!! I'm sorry, but that is HUGE to me??!! Am I wrong? How does a just-turned-six month old BREAK a tooth!? I have never heard of that before and will be filling the caseworker in on that.

The other thing that's been different, not so much hard, is M. He is the nicest boy! He is very willing to follow directions, etc and most of his "stuff" are things like poor table manners which just comes from bad habits from his past home. So I try to give gentle, general reminders to all as a whole and not single him out for anything unless I need to (like talking with Liam and Braeden the first night after 9pm). :) I'll say things like, "remember guys, we're going to keep our arms off the table while we eat." etc.

But the hardest for him I think is that he's been transplanted from a home that lets him watch what tv he wants, when he wants, use the computer when he wants, play video games when he wants, etc. into a home that first of all doesn't have much for boys his age right now, and is pretty strict on tv/media input. When we were picking pjs at the store (and he was SO hesitant to even "want" anything until I explained the agency had sent money for us to buy him some clothes, and still it was hard for him to be interested in it) he wanted the Sponge Bob ones. If you watch Sponge Bob I have nothing against other's views of it, etc, but for us I don't like it. I think it, and so many other "kid" shows today are incredibly sarcastic and rude. As a teacher I see that attitude in HUGE amounts of kids these days. NO respect for adults, let alone teachers or parents, etc. I don't want my kids to grow up like that. And if I can help at all by monitoring what they watch, when there are so many WONDERFUL shows that are positive and fun and "cool", then why bother with the not so great ones? My opinion only! Anyway, so I gently said that Sponge Bob wasn't the best choice, that we don't watch Sponge Bob, and showed him every other pair there which were FINE with me. He wanted to know why I didn't like it, and don't my kids like it, etc. I said, they haven't seen it. Then he asked if I thought it was PG13. :)

A lot of our interactions are like that. He doesn't "get" that other families and people and kids do and like different things in different ways. He said yesterday maybe I could live at my Uncle **** house. I asked about it, and it's because they have video games, "the one where you drive the car and can get out and stuff..." I'm guessing Grand Theft Auto? But not sure. HORRIBLE game, especially for kids! I'm not opposed to video games, we just have never bought any (yet?). I used to play Atari and Nintendo, etc and LOVED them! But so many of the games the kids play nowadays are rated a lot older than they are and are so inappropriate. I think that that is the hardest part of getting an older child, at least from the US. They are often used to doing whatever whenever and it's hard for them to understand your rules and why they are there and why they have to follow them. But then to come to grips with it and not be angry at you over it. Just hard.

BUT he has been WONDERFUL for Olivia! She is quite behind her age group socially/emotionally. You can see it most of all when she plays. She just doesn't understand how to engage others in play. When we were in FL, there was a six year old girl who was in the pool with us 3-4 different times. She was very outgoing and friendly and swam by/with us telling us her name, etc. The second or third time I asked Olivia if she wanted to go play with her? She said yes, asked her if she wanted to play, she said yes, then Olivia just stood there. It was awkward. I think she is used to following other's social cues, which could be challenging as she gets older. But, with M here it's been great for her. She's getting a lot of play time with him which really engages her in a way I couldn't. My girl who used to always want to be in the same area as I, has been in the basement all day with Braeden and M playing trains and making up stories and playing legos. Yay!

Could also be partly because Liam woke up sick. :( He didn't eat breakfast, but has had a hard couple days with all the changes himself. He came over and laid his head on me, and Blechh!!! threw up all over me! :( Lots of running around and cleaning and getting him situated, so W and I have been up in/near my room all day while Liam is in bed. He's feeling much better now and is napping, so we'll see... On with the day

Friday, July 25, 2008

Exhaustion, and a Snag

They're here! Where to even begin???

The caseworker called from the hospital. She said that there's a grandpa she didn't know about who called and wants to take them. All 3 of them. This worker is just taking the case temporarily while the "regular" one is out for a few weeks with health issues. She doesn't know the case well, so doesn't know this person. She obviously asked why J's foster daughter "E" hasn't been placed with him then. He said he's tried, but they wouldn't. (ahh hahh) She was going to just place them with him, my two plus J's one, but decided to wait until she could check him out on Monday. My two "M" and "W" will be here until at least then. While she was talking to me, M, the one who will be 9 in Aug, was on the phone talking to grandpa. M told him that he wanted to see what my place was like cause he might want to stay here. That is a HUGE red flag to me!!!

Anyway, they arrived and were FILTHY! I gave W a bath pretty much right away. I also gave M some dinner as he hadn't eaten. He was so thankful and polite. Such a nice nice boy! W came with one outfit and some diapers, M came with a set of PJs. I had picked up an outfit earlier for W, so I put that on him after the bath and we went directly to the store. They had clothing vouchers, so we were able to get some nice things without me spending money. If they stay, we will add to that. I did buy formula, diapers, baby food, and a gift for each of them. I had found earlier an awesome Hot Wheels set that had been $20 and was $5!! I also got him 3 extra cars. He was so funny. The cars said they were for 3+ so he asked me how old Liam was and when I told him 2, he put them away from Liam (who was not very happy). Too cute.

M was pretty sad when the worker left. While she was still there he was asking me questions about how long each of the kids had been with me. I explained and then he asked if they still got to see their moms. We tried to tell him how it was a different situation than his. He said, "Well can't they still see their moms even though their yours forever?" So hard to explain to him!

Before we left, when M was eating, Olivia went up to him and said, "I've had a lot of changes in my life too." Wow. She gets it, but she was old enough that she stll remembers a lot, especially her brother. Tonight at bedtime, which was 8:30 - my kids are usually in bed at 7 - M was having a hard time. He couldn't believe how early we were going to bed, and it's just a hard time especially the first night. M asked me about his parents and why he wasn't there. I explained that sometimes homes aren't safe places for kids to be and we talked a little about that. Braeden, my 4 year old I've had since 3 days old, said, "My life was like that, but now I have my mom who takes good care of me forever." I about cried. I think they finally were asleep by 10.

The hardest has been W. He's a doll, but imagine, especially you moms, a 6 month old child you know NOTHING about. Not when he sleeps, how he goes to sleep, what position he sleeps in, when he eats, if they have given him baby food, if so what, etc. Right now I can't get him to sleep unless I'm holding him. I got him to bed for a bit by himself, cleaned the kitchen, and wrote the first three sentences here, now he's sleeping in my arms and I'm typing one handed!

Cute coincidences - M's bday is 6 days before Olivia's and W's is 7 days before Liam's, whose is 8 days before Braeden's!

I'm wiped. Off to bed... well if I can...

On the Way

The caseworker called just a little while ago. The ones who will actually remove the children are on their way now to get them. They live about 10 minutes north of us. After that the caseworker will have to take them to ER. All kids coming into care for the first time go to the hospital to be checked out prior to actually being placed in a foster home. She said she'll call once they are there.

I also talked to our Make a Wish office today. They said that if there are seats still available on our flights(there were this morning, I checked), and if we can get DCFS to sign releases fairly quickly, the boys can go on our Wish trip with us in August!!! That would be so wonderful! A great way to bond, get away from here for a while, for the older to get his mind off things for a little bit, and great in that they wouldn't move in and then have to go somewhere else while we were on our trip so soon after they came. I would be extremely sad to have to leave them so soon.

Today's the DAY!!!

I got the call this morning from the caseworker, they are moving the boys TODAY!!! Don't know what time yet, can you say running around like a chicken with it's head cut off??!! I am trying to get out all the bottles and accessories, ran to Target to get diapers, formula, etc. I will wait to go through clothes once I know the little one's size. The older will need to shop. We were supposed to be going to my family's to stay with my aunt and uncle this weekend as a little getaway, now I'm not sure. I told them maybe in the morning, but am nervous how they are going to be. Being taken from all you know is scary, plus the older has had a lot of changes in his life more than this. I'll see how today goes, but we may end up here for the weekend. I'm so bummed, I didn't tell the kids and now am glad, but was really looking forward to seeing everyone and spending time with them. Plus I'm sure they've done a lot to ready for our visit. :( I'll update when I can!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Court Tuesday

My friend J, who has the 2 year old foster daughter "E", is going to court on Tuesday. It's a continued hearing from E's last one where she was to go home and didn't. That one was July 2. She is the one with the two brothers still at home whom the agency wants out of the home to place with me. Anyway, hopefully you followed that.

I talked to the caseworker today to see if she had heard anything. Since court July 2 the bios have not done one visit with E, nor anything else that I know of. We're pretty sure they don't want to show themselves and have the boys taken. But if what is going on is right, then they should not be in that home!!

She was preparing the court report and adding in all that has and has not happened since court on the 2nd. Today they were to have a visit and didn't show and she said that that was just the tip of the iceberg. She is hoping that the judge will agree with them that the boys need to be taken into protective custody and placed in care and that it will happen that day. So we'll see what happens.

A friend of J's works for our local DCFS office. I guess a bunch of workers from that office up and quit and they are doing everything to not pull any more kids at all because they don't have the manpower to stay on top of things right now. Crazy, but if kids are in danger in the environment they're in, then manpower or not, something needs to be done to help them. I just don't get it. Never have, never will.

* Update on Taekwondo *

Braeden was a different kid today at karate!!!

He did so great! The first 14 minutes he was absolutely PERFECT! The last 26, he still did great, but was more antsy. Rolling a little when they sat, getting out of line a little, but overall GREAT! He even was able to do the fun obstacle course at the end! The funniest though, was when they had Master C and his two daughters/assistants in each corner of the mat. Each held a small mat and the kids had to do a different kick at each. C told them that they needed to keep their hands up to protect their noses. He makes funny stories for them to do the moves. The other kids put their hands up like a block, but Braeden grabbed his nose with his hand. It was hilarious. Two moms and I on the bench were rolling! So funny!

Master C came up toward the end and asked me if I threatened him. I wanted to say I had people praying! :) But, I told him that before class (it's at our mall) Braeden had seen the small arcade nearby and asked to play a game. I told him he could if he remembered to listen and follow what the class was doing! That's it. I was so proud, and he was too. He kept smiling at me and giving me the thumbs up, it was too cute! The "game" he picked??? One of those gumball machines that have the gears and levers and looks like a roller coaster inside. Funny!

Here they had to put their hands at their sides and say something. (He's the first one on the left.)

They were practicing stepping and doing high blocks.

And here's Braeden running through the obstacle course!!! Go Braeden!!!

Carousel Pictures

Here are two pictures my friend sent. These are from Pirate's Cove carousel yesterday. I love the effects she added!!! If only I could figure out how to do that! How fun!


Our (Braeden's) second class is today at 4:30 Central Time, please be thinking of us!!! :) I'll update after.

Trip Details

As you may or may not remember (Julie!) :), we have one more trip planned for this summer. Olivia's wish trip. She is being generously granted a wish through Make a Wish, and through that we will be going to Orlando August 4-10. I think it will be a wonderful experience and I myself am so looking forward to experiencing Give Kids the World Village where we will be staying. We still have some unanswered questions on how things "work", such as car seats, and it's been difficult not having a wish granter to ask our questions of, but Olivia is so excited and I know that they will have a glorious time! :) We received our itinerary in the mail on Tuesday.

The one thing I'm nervous about is traveling. As a single parent I am able to bring along one extra adult as a wish participant. My mom is going to be that adult. My dad is going to come along as well, but will pay for his things himself. BUT, since my parents live 1 1/2 hours from Orlando, they are driving and meeting us there which means I'm on my own with traveling. Normally this wouldn't bother me in the least. We travel and do things together constantly, obviously, and I wouldn't want to continue to take kids if it meant I was afraid to go places with them. However, I hated airports with one child, even more with two, and three was horrendous. Hence the "bus" of a new car and why we typically drive to our vacation spots now.

I can't stand going through security checkpoints, trying to get everyone's shoes off, keep track of escape artists, juggle one in my arms, and yet still fold up the stroller and place it on the conveyor belt. No matter how many are around, no one ever seems to notice you could use a hand and offer to help. The one exception to this was when we flew to FL on Christmas Day. That was nice. People were in holiday spirits, and the airport was rather empty.

In addition to the airport situation, our flight there leaves at 6AM from an airport 1 1/2 hours away, which means we're going to be picked up around 2:30am! Then we have a lay over and have to switch planes in the middle of the flight. I am so nervous about the cranky, tired kids and how easy/hard it may be to make it to FL in one piece and without a nervous breakdown. Please pray for us!!! And for our fellow passengers who I pray are able to get to their destination without children (mine anyway) crying and sounding miserable. :)

The one thing I'm most excited about on our trip right now, as silly as it may seem to some, is that I think we're going to be able to meet up with two of my blog friends: Brandi and Jessica! I'm really looking forward to meeting them!!! God works in wonderful and mysterious ways, including the web I guess. :)

Any thoughts or advice on our travel situation???
Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ahoy Mates!

Today was one of those memorable, great days.

The weather was absolutely perfect, not too hot, not too cool. Gorgeous! My friend I've known since high school, Braeden's godmother, and her two littles and my crew, went to a wonderful park I found online. Loved it!!!

She has two boys, ages 2 and 7 months. The two year old is my godson and I had not yet even met the little one. They are too cute! We have tried plans a few times in winter to get together, but sick little ones, bad weather, etc made us continue to miss each other.

I found this park online in Elk Grove Village: Pirate's Cove. It was great. It's mostly for kids age 2-10. Parents and others don't pay to get in, only kids who will be riding. They have an antique carousel, train, bounce house, play area with a huge dragon slide, a climbing wall, train cars that you "pedal" with a hand crank, small bumper boats, and a (cheesy) pirate "show". The kids loved it! Liam was a bit cranky about getting off each ride. He was tired and loved the rides! :) We got there a little after noon and they close at 4pm. It was the perfect amount of time.

After the park we took the crew to Sweet Tomatoes. Buffets are always good choices with many littles to feed! But it was a bit pricey. And $2.50 for a child's drink - that is crazy!!! We will get water next time! :)

Here are a few photos of our day:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Can You Say Disaster?!

Well, Braeden started taekwondo tonight.

I have tried to find a sport or something to interest him, something he could get "into" and focus on and get excited about. Olivia has done gymnastics, swimming, cheerleading, and she will be doing dance this year. (Only dance, we "gave up" the rest and she picked dance as her ONE thing for the year.) Braeden tried gymnastics and made it through two or three classes. I spent the class time running after him. He is just so head strong and independent and wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it. He did not want to wait his turn or would want to do something across the room instead of what they were doing. It was embarrassing I must admit. Then we tried swimming. He LOVES to swim and is fearless in the water, to the point of being scary. Same results. He just could not sit still on the wall and wait for his turn to go across the pool. We did one class session of 6 weeks.

So, I waited a while and have heard lots of good things about karate being helpful for kids who are hyperactive and in need of structure. We have a program that is pricey, but you can sign up through the park district for an 8 week session for a great price. I thought that would be a good way to see how he did, and then we could sign up fully if it was beneficial to him. You can do 3 park dist sessions before you have to make a commitment. It is 2, 30minute sessions per week.

Today was his first day.

Disaster would be the appropriate word.

The "Master", Master C told me when he was filling out our form and getting his uniform that once he "entered" the class Braeden "was his." I asked if that meant that if he was out of control I was not to step in, and he said yes. I had talked to him on the phone prior about Braeden's need for structure and how the class worked, and my wanting to make sure he would do this before our full commitment, etc. Out of the 17 kids ages 3- maybe 8, Braeden was THE ONLY ONE acting up. He did the first one minute or so of class (I'm not exaggerating), then was growling (as a lion) at Master C, fooling around, rolling around, etc. He would NOT participate. Every now and then he would look at me and say "Hi mommy!" and wave as if he was the lead in a play or something. I tried to just ignore him and let "C" handle it. He had to practically sit on him during the class. At one point he told C he needed to tell me something. I said it was time for class and he needed to get back to class with the rest. He was bawling. I felt so bad, but knew if I hugged and coddled him now we'd never get past that and he would get attention for what he was doing. It was so hard.

But, I was more saddened to think of what his future in school, etc could look like if he isn't able to get past "this". Not so much taekwondo, but just being able to be socially appropriate when needed. He is one of the smartest kids I know, and I'm not just saying that. He remembers everything and comprehends so much. But I foresee him being labled a troublemaker and "one of those ADHD kids" by teachers unwilling to take the time to get to know him. I think that was the problem with his preschool this year. He hated it. And while I am not a parent who just takes my kids words at face value and blames everyone else, I really don't think his teacher got to know him. I think he was bored. I worry he won't learn and be challenged and will end up hating school. I am so worried for him.

After the class C came up to me and said that it will take him about 3-4 classes but that he should come around. I certainly hope so. If C is willing to keep at it, then I will keep bringing him. I want Braeden to be successful. I want him to see that he can have fun and be interested in something while following the rules and doing what is needed to do. I know God will do wonderful things through him.

Here he is before class started. He was so excited and proud of his uniform.

And here he is once we got out to "the bus" and mom had to talk to him a bit.

I talked about how sad I was that he wouldn't listen to his instructor and that I knew he was such a smart boy and could do all of the things the other kids were doing but I didn't get to see him doing those things. He seemed pretty sad about it. I hope it helped and that Thursday, his next class, will go better. It doesn't help that after the first four classes we'll be gone for the next two on our trip.
Monday, July 21, 2008


I love legos! I hope that my kids will get "into" them at some point. I loved playing with them and building things when I was little.

On Saturday, on our way out of town after a fun day of shopping, we drove past "Streets of Woodfield" - a small strip mall area. There was a huge giraffe sticking out of a corner "store." Or so I thought. We drove around to see it up close and it was enormous! You could walk under it's legs to get into the "store" and in it's mouth it held a street lamp. Seriously. :) I had grabbed a brochure at the mall, and realized that it was for this place. Legoland. How cool is that? I thought it was probably like the huge lego stores I've seen at the Mall of America and Downtown Disney. BUT, when I got home and looked through the brochure - oh my gosh!!! It sounds INCREDIBLE!!! There is a factory tour, a 4D Movie, a dragon ride, an adventure trail, a miniland and hero area of created pieces, a place to build and test your own ideas, a soft play area, and a cafe. Of course there's a shop too. Some "store" - more like a mini theme park!!! I just looked up the website, it's the first of it's kind in the United States. I can't wait to go - oh and bring the kids too of course. :)

Here it is: Legoland

I'm thinking of seeing how much a birthday party would cost for us, J and her 3 and my friend T and Braeden's bio brother and sister. We are doing large parties only at ages 5, 10, and 16, so this is HIS year. :) I want to go first though to really see it! It looks like so much fun!
Sunday, July 20, 2008

Furniture Time

We got the furniture all put together. Braeden helped with the cordless drill/driver and thought he was the coolest thing ever! :) I am going to wait to put the second dresser together until I know more about our possible placements.

Here is Braeden's new dresser, he is so excited!

And Olivia's new desk...

She loves the shape of it!

And finally the boys toy shelves...

Now to figure out what goes in them! :)
Saturday, July 19, 2008

An IKEA Kind of Day

Today was one of those yucky, rainy, inside, kind of days. We had originally planned on going to this great outdoor pirate park place, which we will hopefully still try sometime, but it was pretty bad out. So, we packed up what has been dubbed "the bus" by the kids, and picked up J and her three girls, and off to Schaumburg and IKEA we went. They installed the DVDs yesterday so we watched Dragon Tales on the way there. (Well, they watched and I drove!) :)

Although I still haven't heard about the boys, I just have this feeling that it's not a matter of IF they will come, but rather WHEN. I could be completely wrong, but that's what it seems like. Looking at adding two more boys, I realized we needed a bit more storage and IKEA was just the place I had been thinking of visiting. I hit the jackpot! :) I got two small dressers, a new desk for Olivia since the crib is no longer in her room and she is starting to really need a homework place, a chair for the desk, a storage shelf system with small bins for the boys room to hold toys, and a bunch of AA batteries. I always stock up there as they run $2 for 10!!! I spent less than $200 for all!!!

We ate lunch at IKEA when we first arrived. I love their food and it's so cheap!

AFter IKEA we went to Woodfield. I wasn't sure how Braeden was going to do as he was starting to act up a little, but they all did great. We looked at some stores and then got a snack as a reward for their great behavior. The only thing I bought was a cute sweater knit mouse on major clearance at Hanna Andersson. (for the little one if he comes to stay) :)

They all slept the whole way home! :) A fun day.
Friday, July 18, 2008

Good News

Liam had what was supposed to be his last visit with his bio mom today. When the caseworker picked him up I asked if she would take my camera to get a few pics of the two of them. I don't have any of her, and as much as I hope that the "open adoption" situation works out with communication and possibly visits, you just never know what the future brings and I really wanted him to have those. I wish I had that for Braeden. I also asked her to ask mom if she may have a couple infant pics of him that I could have or copy to keep for him.

Anyway, she said that mom was asking her if she will still be known by him as "mom." I assured her that while I will be "mom" to him, he will know he is adopted and that she is his birth mom. I will never deny her of that. She "gave" me a great gift.

After the visit she said that mom was really touched that I wanted pictures of them together. She is also going to look for some infant pics for him!!! AND - SHE IS GOING TO SIGN HER RIGHTS AWAY!!!! They are going to do one last visit in two weeks, on July 31st, and she will sign a surrender of her rights at that time!!!

Oh wow! I think that that is such an unselfish decision and I'm so proud of her for being able to make it. I think that both she and Liam will be glad of that in the future. The caseworker asked her about meeting with me prior and she said she'd like to, so we'll see if that gets set up. Now, as great as that is, that doesn't mean his adoption will happen any sooner. Unfortunately bio dad is still involved even though he'll be locked up for quite some time. He won't "get" Liam back but will prolong the process nevertheless. He won't sign. But that's ok. It's a healthy step for his bio mom, Liam, and I. And hopefully will forge a relationship for his future.

August 5th is his first termination hearing for the bio dad. We're on the way! :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nothing Yet

No news today. Both my licensing worker, who does the placements, and the caseworker called today. They still want the children pulled from the home, but DCFS is dragging their feet and not wanting too. J and I are perplexed. We just can't figure it out.

Upon speaking with the caseworker I found out a little more on the oldest. He will be 9 in August (Olivia's bday month too!) and is going into 4th grade. That would be great because he would be in my school building (3rd-5th) which would be nice to be able to keep an eye on how he's doing socially and would help with knowing his teacher and working with him academically. Plus, we have a great program that began two years ago that would be so helpful to him. It's called Rainbows and is comprised of small groups of kids with a staff member who has been trained to follow the Rainbows curriculum. It's for kids who have had some major trauma (loss of parent, foster child, etc.). I think it would be great for him.

The caseworker said he seemed like a really nice boy, the same impression J got the one time she met him. The youngest is almost 7 months old, putting him at a January bday most likely. Funny, because that's Liam's birth month, and Braeden's is February. So, the oldest boy is two years older than Olivia, who is 2 1/2 years older than Braeden, who is two years older than Liam, who is two years older than the youngest. A pretty good range. :)

I continue to pray for these boys and God's plan in their lives.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

God's Timing

Well, to say God must have had a bunch of things planned for us is probably an understatement.

Buying the new, bigger, car a year prior to when I had planned. Not going to NY when we had planned that trip since January. Switching to my new agency this past week.

Today I received "the call." My friend J's 2 year old has two brothers, I think I've mentioned. They are still at home. Her foster daughter was placed with her in April, from another foster placement. Since she came into the system, her half brother had moved in with mom and dad, and they had had a baby. They are now 8 years, almost 9, and 6 months old. J's foster daugther was supposed to return home on July 2, but it didn't go that way. The parents went back to supervised visits, and to do those had to come into the agency for a family meeting, they have not shown. They are now wanting to pull the other two. They called to ask about placing them with me. Could be tomorrow or sometime in the next week. A little nervous about the older one, but excited too about both, especially having a baby around again. Braeden at first was NOT having it. I think it's been hard on him with Girlie leaving, he hasn't seen that before. I'm nervous about his reaction, but he was better later today after we had talked a few times, so I think it will work out, depending on the older's attitude, etc.

Pray for us!!! :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Our New Ride

Here it is! I'm a bit nervous driving it, but think it will be fine. :)

A Special Something

I had told Braeden when Olivia and I went to Great America that we would look for something "special" for them. This is what Olivia and I found:

We now have three superheroes in our home!!! :) They love them, and they were cheap plus I got 10% off with my Six Flags credit card. We don't have much for boys in the dress up area, and I thought these would get used, unlike so much of the junk they sell. :)
Monday, July 14, 2008

Van News

So after a couple days of worrying and thinking on our vacation, I've also had lots going on with the new van. We're getting it tomorrow morning!!! They won't have installed the DVD system yet, but will make arrangements to do that in the next week or so. It was supposed to be a 9.5 inch screen, I told you that right? Well, today I got a call from the dealer. They got the van in today. He said it looks great and is real clean. BUT, he didn't realize that the rear air conditioning vents run down the length of the middle of the van - right where the new DVD was supposed to go!??? I was flabbergasted. How do you spend this much time working on getting this and not know that??? I was at a loss for what to do. He said he would check into things and get back to me. What next??? But, then he called back. They aren't doing the 9.5 inch, they are now putting in TWO 8 inch screens!!! One on each side of the middle, running with one DVD player and including two wireless headsets!!! No extra cost!!! Yay!!! Something working out!!! :) We get it tomorrow! I can't wait! Bring on the kids!

NY News

So, NY is not going to happen for this year.

The place I was going to rent from did get back to me and admit their mistake which I was very glad about. They offered an upgrade to one cottage for one night, then a separate cottage for the remaining 6 nights. With what happened similarly last year in TN, I just did not want to have to pack up the crew and stuff in them middle of the vacation. Not fun with kids and trying to be relaxing and peaceful. I suggested maybe we keep the deposit for next summer. They then emailed back that someone had changed their plans and our original cottage was available for one day shorter than our original trip. I asked to go ahead and wait until next summer anyway. I think with going through a couple days of thinking I wasn't going, and then thinking that maybe it was a good thing what with the wish trip not being originally planned for this summer and having so much more going on than we originally thought. God's way of slowing us down??? :)

We'll skip it and see what next summer brings.
Sunday, July 13, 2008

Craft Time - Boys Only

Since Olivia and I were to be gone today, our "normal" craft day, I took the kids to Michael's yesterday for Braeden to pick a couple things for the boys to do today. He picked a foam dinosaur ($1!) which I'm betting the sitter did most of, but that's ok. :)

And a wooden set to color and stand with a small cross piece. Braeden's of course were knights, that is his new obsession lately. And Liam's were airplanes. Liam didn't seem to do much with his, but here is what Braeden accomplished. They are too cute! :)

A "Great" Day

Today Olivia and I hit the road, left the boys with a sitter, and went to Six Flags Great America!!!

I have a Six Flags credit card (paid off now!!!) and was able to get two free tickets and $25 in food/merchandise vouchers free with points. I wanted to take Olivia by herself this year, I took her and Braeden last year, because she was finally tall enough to ride some of the bigger rides this year! She and I LOVE roller coasters. Braeden, not so much of a rider. :)

I originally had a sitter who had said in May that she could watch them one day over the summer, so I ordered the tickets. She is someone I trust with the kids and someone I know is good with Braeden, who can be a handful. But, she ended up never following through. At the last minute I found someone for today. She said it went well and that they were good. I'm so relieved and glad! :)

Olivia and I had so much fun. It was just the perfect weather and she got to go on so many fun rides. The Demon was her favorite. What roller coaster enthusiast wouldn't enjoy two loops and a spiral!? We rode it twice! :)

She also LOVED the Giant Drop. (Once she finished screaming like a banshee the first part of the way down. It was too funny!) But she did love it!!!

She rode three other coasters, a rapids ride, and a boat ride that were lots of fun! We also saw Scooby Doo!

I thought this "game" would be fun for Olivia and I was right. You have to try to climb to the top without flipping the ladder and falling off. If you can, you win one of those humungo stuffed animals. If not, you still win a small monkey, a prize either way. :)

She made it pretty far too, before falling! :) She loves her monkey!

We had a tiring but fun day and hope to find something for Braeden and mom to do soon. We picked out a special something for each of the kids too, at a great deal, but I'll take pics of those tomorrow and show you then! :)

New York

So, we were supposed to be leaving on Saturday for our second trip of the summer. New York. I had researched where to go on our family "only" trip this summer and decided on the Niagra Falls area to see the Falls and do some other "local" activities. I found a great cottage, right on a marina and booked it for July 19-26. Or so I thought. Late yesterday I received a voice mail on my cell phone from them, they were expecting us that day and hadn't heard from us and wondered where we were. What!? I opened my email to make sure I wasn't wrong, but I wasn't. There it was in black and white, so I returned the call. They said they would check on it and get back to me.

I hadn't heard from her today, but when I got back tonight, I found out that they had emailed first thing this morning, apologizing and offering another in exchange. Actually two. We would have to go to one the first night then a second for the rest of the trip. Both are more, the second is double, what the cottage I had booked costs. But, I had really researched where I wanted us to stay and why. I don't think the other is too far, but moving all four of us after a day??? I don't know what to do!?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Blog Buzz - Financing Adoption

The newest blog buzz question is how to afford adoption. For me, as a single person, and a full time teacher, this was unfortunately a big part of how I went about adoption at the start. But, there are ways to do it no matter what type of adoption you choose. After researching, I decided that adopting through foster care was how I wanted to start.

For one thing, it was a good way to help children who needed a safe haven, even if for a short time period. There are so many foster homes that are NOT good. I have seen children who came to me from another foster home, with blisters on their feet and shoes in their hands because they didn't fit. When I asked why they didn't have shoes that fit, I was told that the previous foster mom used the money for herself. That is a mild example. Many of these children go from an unsafe home life, right into an unsafe foster home life. No wonder so many children rarely see adults as trustworthy in this system. Theirs haven't been.

Additionally, as a single teacher, foster care provided a way to help with the financial aspects of parenting. While it by no means covers everything (if you are doing your job as a parent and not just keeping the money for yourself while neglecting your foster children), the state covers medical aspects of foster children, day care is paid for if you work or are in school, and a subsidy is sent to you to help with bills.

If a child is unable to return home, and parental rights are terminated, the state will also pay attorney costs for the adoption, day care until the child is 3, and the medicaid card and subsidy remain.

I have found 3 of my children through foster care so far. 2 have been adopted and 1 will be in the near future. While I continue to foster, I am also looking ahead at international or domestic "traditional" adoption in the future. I have begun an adoption fund with "extra" money I receive from selling things on ebay, etc. I will also look into other fund raisers as the time comes closer.

For me, foster / adoption was a way to grow my family without worrying about the financial aspects.

Friday, July 11, 2008

48 Hours - Thursday/Friday

And now, the Thursday/Friday edition...

Thursday Liam and Olivia had their second neurology appt at the Univ. of Chicago. We had been told 4 months ago at their last appt that both should be scheduled for an EEG at the same time as this routine appt, but they never called to schedule these. When Olivia and I were here last month I mentioned this to her HIV doctors. They contacted her neurologists and they said again that they would have someone call to schedule these. Never called. By the time I realized that they hadn't called, it was too late for me to try to get a hold of them and schedule them myself.

We arrived for their appt at 12 pm. They were scheduled for 1 and 1:30, but her HIV doctors had wanted to see Olivia also to see how she was since her med switch, so we arrived a little early. When we checked in they said that they had been looking for us all morning for Olivia's EEG. Oh, nice. I explained the situation and that we had never been called and they called down to explain to the EEG people. At the appt, the doctor said he was actually glad and it was fine that she didn't have one. He was glad to hear that she has been doing so well on the meds and hasn't had anymore seizures or related issues other than some leg pain from time to time. He is going to see her again in 5 months and will do an EEG that day to see where we're at.

With Liam, he was glad to hear that he has not had any more problems. He had had two, what we think were febrile type seisures. They happened far apart and nothing since, so we're on a wait and watch time with him. The doctor said he won't set a new appt and we'll just see how he is. Sounds good to me.

We headed back with two sleepy kids in the car and picked up Braeden from the sitter's. We played at a park for a while and I debated whether or not to take the kids to a drive in theater I had discovered online. It's about an hour south of us and Wall E was showing, with the last day being Thursday. I thought it would be such a great experience that they would love, but it had also been a long day. I'm glad we didn't go!!!

After dinner we headed down to the basement to watch a little tv and relax. We had just turned the tv on about 6pm and I was getting ready to get on the computer, when the rain began. It was POURING! And then the power blinked and went out. We headed upstairs to look for a flashlight, and as I passed our side door I saw that the garbage can lid was in the neighbor's yard. I was about to open the door to get it, when I saw this:

That's my van and the tree is from a house two doors down. It had cracked part way up and fell across the neighbor's yard. I then turned and looked in their backyard and saw this:

It was CRAZY. We didn't hear anything but the rain!!! We went down to the basement to wait the storm, made the futon into a bed, and giggled and laughed under the blankets. At 7:10 I didn't hear anything, so we went upstairs for Olivia to take her medicine. The rain was done and it was clear as could be outside. I got the kids ready for bed and tucked them in, still no power. Everyone in the neighborhood was outside. It looked like a war zone almost. There were huge branches/trees everywhere. Everyone was helping each other cut up the trees and get them to the side of the road. One of my neighbors told me that she saw her garbage cans fly into the air and swirl around, like in a tornado. A friend who I called to check on saw the same with a lot of junk/garbage.

I talked with my friend J, who was over one town connected to ours. They had rain, but that's it. On her way home from her parents, she crossed an overpass and looked into my town, she said it was a sea of black. She had had no clue.

The next morning, all was clear and ready for the pick up crews:

We still had no power.
We left at 8 to go get breakfast and take Olivia to her day camp at 9. Before getting food, we drove around a little bit. It was nuts. There are trees and downed lines everywhere. Just lining the roads. We got some food and Olivia ate on her way to camp. Her camp was moved to a different building because of power/trees. Then we went to J's house to eat and play a while. We went to a few stores with them, out to lunch (I have no power and had planned to grocery shop this morning), and then home to check the situation out.
Still no power.
I put Liam down for a nap, and got out Braeden's Video Now for him to watch while I made some calls. After nap time, we had a snack and left to clean out the van. I have been emailing my Ford dealer to get a good deal on a van. I finally figured with gas and all they are trying to get them out, so I got a great deal. I had to take the van for them to look at as my trade (it's all paid off finally!) and sign a paper before they went to get the van from Chicago. On our way I got some great pictures of some of the damage around town:

This was in the middle of the road, but was moved...
This is a clump of 3-4 trees that grew together in one clump. It split right down the center and each "tree" fell right over into both neighbor's yards and completely blocking their own. Crazy!

This is the "farm" where Olivia's day camp, and Braeden's next week, is...

A yard in my subdivision...

I just can't believe it. Driving to J's was like going from one world to another. They had NO damage AT ALL. A matter of crossing one street and seeing nothing.
The van situation is very exciting. I got a great deal and should be getting my van on Tuesday! I got a 2008 Ford E350 12 passenger van with ??? (under 20,000) miles, an extended bumper to bumper 100,000 mi/6 year warranty, an installed DVD system with 9.5 inch screen, etc for only $15 more than what I paid for my junky 2001 minivan. And now I have room for more kids! :) The best part of all! :) And we'll have it in time for our NY trip that we leave for on the 19th. Yay!!!
After picking up Olivia, and hearing from someone there that we may have 2-3 DAYS of no power, we went to the store. We got a rechargable (in the car or house) lantern, batteries for our flashlights, and food we didn't have to cook. We got power back at 5pm!!! Yay! (I was missing the computer I must say!) :)
Oh, What damage did we have in the storm??? Especially since we have two trees, one HUGE, in the front, and one in the back?? None. One branch was torn in the front, right over my van, but hanging on with a thread. I got on the ladder today after moving the van, and tugged a little, it came right down and went out to the curb. Blessings!

48 Hours - Wed. Night

So much has happened in the last 48 hours it's crazy. :) We'll call this Wednesday night's portion of that time period. :)

Our church rented our local (small) waterpark that night from 7-9pm. My friend J and I debated, but the weather looked great for the night, so we went. Our park has two zero depth small kid areas with two small kid slides, and which lead into a deeper pool. There is a small lazy river and three bigger slides - both of which you need to be at least 46inches to go on. There is also a concession stand area and a sand play area.

It was lots of fun, but, as the sun descended, it became rather chilly. After about 40 minutes, my three were chattering they were so cold. They get cold pretty easily, but it was chilly. So, where did they spend most of their time?

The sand!!! :)
They did great and Braeden especially made me so proud. Last year I had to sign a paper because he has absolutely no fear of the water and was "swimming" toward the deeper area. A lifeguard saw him, thought he was drowning, and jumped in to rescue him! He stayed where I asked this time and did great! :)
We have a lot of families/kids in our church and it was neat to see so many there. Needless to say they were beat and slept great that night. :)

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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:

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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