Friday, May 30, 2008


God has done it, as I knew He would. J received the "more" official call today at 4:30pm. The supervisor and cw will meet with her on Monday to discuss the details and history of Girlie, and then as soon as we return they will begin preplacement visits, transitioning her to J's home by July 15th.

The caseworker came for her monthly home visit tonight and gave me the good news. (Although J had already called me as soon as she was off the phone.) The cw also told me that she spoke with Liam's bio mom about my wanting to allow visits, pictures, etc and she said mom had such a look of relief and joy on her face. His mom said, "So I will get to see him again???" The cw really made a point to tell her a lot of it would be in her court as to how things progressed. If she was safe, appropriate, etc it would progress to a pretty open adoption with a few visits a year, if not then we may be sticking more to pictures and letters, but that I would always be open to communication between them. The cw even said, though I'm not going to get my hopes up, that she thinks mom may even be prepared to sign over rights rather than go through all the hoops to take them away, now that she knows I'm not going to just close off ties. That would be nice. I think too that that would really show him in the future that she wanted what was best for him.

What a nice home visit. :)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Memorial Day Picnic

Here's a photo of our indoor picnic from Memorial Day. Quite the picnic fare. I had packed things that would be easy at the zoo. Of course we ended up not going, but we still used what we had! Uncrustables, string cheese, and rice krispies treats! :) Yum!

Braeden - You still need to work on those picture smiles! :) lol

A Phone Call

... that could possibly change things and be just what we've been waiting for!!!

My friend J got a call from the agency supervisor today. He said that her letter gave made quite a statement. He said he would speak with the regional director, but he feels she is "a contender." Oh, I am so relieved, BUT we are waiting on pins and needles, and she really is trying not to put too much hope in what he said. After all, they have done a lot that is down right wrong and we simply don't trust them. BUT I am hopeful that God is working HARD in this situation with all the wonderful thoughts and prayers being poured into it, and that we are on the right track. :)

In other news, I also received an email from the cw today about Liam. She said that his mom's mom would like to visit him "before the adoption." I thought it was just worded wrong. Really we're talking termination. She wants to see him again before termination, I get that and it sounds fine. But saying before the adoption is weird to me. It's not like I'm adopting him next month. June 24 is court. They will hopefully at that time set dates for court termination. Then mom and dad both have 30 days in which they can appeal. If they do, termination could be drawn out for 4-9 months or so. If not, once termination happens we still have to have an adoption subsidy drawn up which usually takes months, then I have to meet with my lawyer to go over it, then if it doesn't need changing it is sent to the state, then we wait for it to come back in 4-12 weeks, then we set a date for the adoption. We are still talking about a long time.

After court in June visits should drop down to once a month, then once termination happens there will be no more visits. BUT, I've sent message through the cw, if she has talked to mom about it, that I am going to set up a PO Box through which I would be happy to send letters, pictures, she could send things to him, and we could even set up visits for a couple times a year. If that goes well, I'd be happy to create a more open adoption as time passes. I don't want to just "take away her son for my own." He is her son. We both love him. I hope she is not too angry to understand and accept that communication if she would like it. I continue to pray for her and my other kids' parents daily.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Time is Ticking

Well, we only have 3 working days left now (technically 4 but my agency doesn't know I'm moving our trip back a day for Liam's ACR yet) until we leave for our vacation and Girlie still doesn't have a placement set for her to transition to once we return. Yesterday Girlie's day care provider/ my friend suggested that J put in writing to the agency her request to be a placement. That way they would "have" to acknowledge in writing the request and give some type of response. This morning J and I composed a very well spoken letter to the agency. (She wrote it, I helped compose.) She then faxed it to the agency, marked it urgent, and asked for a reply. Nothing all day. At 2:15pm I had a voice mail on my cell from the cw. BUT, it was regarding Liam's visit for tomorrow and said not a word about Girlie at all. THREE DAYS PEOPLE!!! My poor Girlie.

Twenty Years

It's unbelievable, but this next week marks twenty years since I've graduated from high school! wow. I cannot fathom that, where has the time gone? I cannot even recognize the person I once was compared to the person I am today. A trip down memory lane...

Graduation in 1988

1988-1989 One year of college at our local community college toward a degree in Interior Design - decided that although I enjoy design, I really didn't want to continue as a career working with other people's taste and design

1989-1992 Three years of college at Illinois State University for a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work

Summer 1992 "Moved" to Boulder, CO to look for work while staying with some friends - realized that I didn't want to do Social Work with a Bachelors and was afraid of burn out - cost of living in Boulder very high - unable to find a good job - heard of a nanny position back home - Came back, interviewed, and got the job as a nanny to three children ages 1-4

Fall 1992-1997 Full time nanny for same family, bought a small house, did Christian youth work

Fall 1997-1998 Kids in school full time - took a job as a special ed teacher assistant - continued to watch the kids on school holidays

Summer 1998 Decided to go back to school for Special Ed - received IL tuition waiver for Special Ed

1998-2000 Finished second Bachelors Degree in Special Ed

Spring 2000 Job fair at ISU - first table I sat at was the district where I received a job and still am teaching in

Fall 2001 Licensed in foster care with State

Spring 2001 First foster care placement

Fall 2003 Switched to private agency

Spring 2004 "Bo" placed with me at 3 days old

Spring 2005 "Jakala" placed with me at 3 1/2 years old

October 2006 "Bo" became Braeden officially as his adoption was finalized

November 2006 (Currently Liam) was placed with me at 9 months old

September 2007 "Jakala" became Olivia officially as her adoption was finalized

Years to come... who knows how God will work in our lives to change and become the people we are meant to be
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Today at School/Work and Home

Today was Field Day at my school. A time for all of the 3rd through 5th graders to go crazy and run from game to game to have their tags punched showing that they have been to and played as many as they could. My friend and I opted to stay in with the ones who couldn't go out for behavior, late work, or fines. You may say we got the raw end of the deal, but I would disagree. :) It is FREEZING outside!!! Yesterday was so hot I ended up putting on the air because the attic/boys room was stifling. Today the kids were running their hands under the hot water in the bathrooms after coming in because they were so cold! And we stayed inside with actually very well bahaved students. She worked on her foster daughter's lifebook and I checked email and talked. Poor us! :)

I did hear from Girlie's cw finally, since I emailed her this morning asking what was going on. They have decided - oh my gosh - that that couple isn't the best placement for her! What do you know. They have another in mind who MAY work. Time is running out! Plus, my friend J has decided that she would like to have Girlie as a placement. This happened right before the other couple, but they have yet to even acknowledge it. I mentioned again today after hearing from her about the first couple that she would like to be considered. She knows Girlie well, has researched RAD and dealt with it before, has holidays and summers off, can keep her in her current day care, etc. We'll see... but I don't think they will let her. They make me quite mad!

The cw also told me that the supervisor said (follow that???) :) That I don't need to go to Liam's ACR. BUT, didn't actually say that, yes, they are still backing me as placement, so I'm still going! :)
Monday, May 26, 2008

Our World

Seriously, what is going on in our world today??? I just do not and cannot understand so much of the attitudes and actions of members of our society. Especially teachers. Your job is to care and teach and encourage, not create isolation and humiliation in our children. This boy is FIVE years old. FIVE. What are we expecting of five year olds, especially ones who are in process of being diagnosed with a disability, to send them so often to the principal's office? And then to humiliate them and create an atmosphere of hostility and social pressure to the rest of these five year olds to VOTE OUT a child from his own class??? Are you kidding me??? I hope that this teacher is severely punished, but with tenure as it is, can she really be??? I hope so.

Here is the "complete" story...
Quote: PORT ST. LUCIE — Melissa Barton said she is considering legal action after her son's kindergarten teacher led his classmates to vote him out of class. After each classmate was allowed to say what they didn't like about Barton's 5-year-old son, Alex, his Morningside Elementary teacher Wendy Portillo said they were going to take a vote, Barton said. By a 14 to 2 margin, the students voted Alex — who is in the process of being diagnosed with autism — out of the class. Melissa Barton filed a complaint with Morningside's school resource officer, who investigated the matter, Port St. Lucie Department spokeswoman Michelle Steele said.

But the state attorney's office concluded the matter did not meet the criteria for emotional child abuse, so no, Port St. Lucie Police no longer are investigating, but police officials are documenting the complaint, she said. Steele said the teacher confirmed the incident took place. Portillo could not be reached for comment Friday.

Steele said the boy had been sent to the principal's office because of disciplinary issues. When he returned, Portillo made him go to the front of the room as a form of punishment, she said. Barton said her son is in the process of being diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a type of high-functioning autism. Alex began the testing process in February at the suggestion of Morningside Principal Marcia Cully. Children diagnosed with Asperger's often exhibit social isolation and eccentric behavior. Alex has had disciplinary issues because of his disability, Barton said. After the family moved into the area and Alex and his sibling arrived at the school in January, Alex spent much of the time in the principal's office, she said. He also had problems at his last school, but he did not have issues during his two years of preschool, Barton said.

School and district officials have met with Barton and her son to create an individual education plan to address his difficulties, she said. Portillo attended these meetings, Barton said. Barton said after the vote, Portillo asked Alex how he felt."He said, 'I feel sad,' " Barton said. Alex left the classroom and spent the rest of the day in the nurse's office, she said. Barton said when she came to pick up her son at the school Wednesday, he was leaving the nurse's office. "He was shaken up," she said. Barton said the nurse told her to talk with Portillo, who told her what happened.

Alex hasn't been back to school since then, and Barton said he won't be returning. He starts screaming when she brings him with her to drop off his sibling at school. Thursday night, his mother heard him saying "I'm not special" over and over. Barton said Alex is reliving the incident. The other students said he was "disgusting" and "annoying," Barton said. "He was incredibly upset," Barton said. "The only friend he has ever made in his life was forced to do this."

St. Lucie School's spokeswoman Janice Karst said the district is investigating the incident, but could not make any further comment. Vern Melvin, Department of Children and Families circuit administrator, confirmed the agency is investigating an allegation of abuse at Morningside but said he could not elaborate.

The following was sent through yahoo groups and has been posted on many blog posts. Please read on...

Autistic Student Voted Out of Class
Last week, a Morningside Elementary Kindergarten teacher had students "vote out" of the class a 5-year old (possible) autistic student named Alex Barton. According to the news article, the teacher had each of Alex's classmates, including his sole friend in the class, state publicly what they disliked about him and then announced that they would take a vote to remove him from the class. Alex has not been back to school since and has suffered significant emotional trauma as a result of this incident.

Regardless of who you are or what your connection to the autistic and autism communities might be, I think we can all agree that this is unacceptable.We need to band together to prevent future such abuses from occurring, to ensure that this teacher is properly disciplined and to encourage this school to adopt both a strong bullying prevention policy and training on respect for all forms of diversity aimed at both teachers and students.

As such, we've provided contact information below for you to write to communicate your outrage. Please be polite yet firm in your comments, pointing out the unacceptability of such actions when aimed at any student, as well as the need for this school to adopt policies to prevent this from happening in the future. This is an opportunity to drive home the message that we will not stand by while one of our own is abused.

We ask that you please cc: in your e-mails to the school district so we can keep track of the strength and sources of this response.

Remember: abusive messages hurt our cause - please be respectful in your comments.

Contact info: Elementary Principal: Mrs. Marcia Cully ( (772) 337-6730

St. Lucie County Schools Superintendent: Michael J. Lannon Phone: 772/429-3925 FAX: 772/429-3916 e-mail:

St. Lucie County School Board Chair: Carol Hilson 772-519-0397

Vice Chair: Judith Miller 772-528-4545

Regards, Ari Ne'eman President, The Autistic Self Advocacy Network( 732.763.5530

No Zoo

Well, with the 90 percent chance of precipitation expected today in Brookfield, we are not going to the zoo after all. :( The kids will be so sad! I think we'll do a picnic lunch in the living room with our fixings. :) It will just not be a good day to go. Go figure. And tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and beautiful! :( Maybe we'll go rent a movie too. That would be fun...
Sunday, May 25, 2008

ACR Decision

I've decided I am going to postpone our FL trip a day and go to Liam's ACR. I just don't trust them and don't want to spend the time worrying and wondering what happened. I'll just go. I'll keep the little 3 in day care that morning, bring Olivia with me as she can wait with a book in the "lobby" area, and then we'll pick up the kiddos and hit the road from there. It'll be a good time to start and they will hopefully be somewhat tired out after a full morning with their friends. I'm glad of the decision but bummed it's one less day on vacation! :)

Craft Time - Shrinky Dinks !

Craft time almost did not happen tonight. Why is it that you can have a great weekend, and then it is completely turned around (or at least it feels that way) within about 20min of something a little different. We went to a graduation party today of a friend of the family. The kids did great at first, but then about 10-20 min toward the end I about lost it. It felt like one thing after another. They were still in their church clothes, I figured it's a graduation party, no need to put on play clothes. I guess I should have asked. They had some lawn games. So Braeden had done about 3 knee plants in the grass in his only-worn-two-times Hartstrings navy and white striped pants that Grandma had bought him before I noticed. Olivia "had" to tattle on Braeden for silly things a few times before I asked her to sit a minute. At which point she pouted and sulked. While sitting, she put her feet, which had her spanking white mary janes, only worn twice before, and which she picked for today telling me she would take good care of her clothes (an issue this year for her), behind the cross bar of the metal folding chair putting some nice copper colored stripes across the toes of both her shoes. Girlie, who has been known lately for putting anything at all off the floor into her mouth, was going around and picking up blown away chips to put in her mouth, with a plate of food back on the table at her spot. Then when I brought her to the table she began her infamous crying like she's dying. At which point I decided it's time to go and then had both Braeden and Liam crying terrible tears because they didn't want to leave. It sounds like a bunch of silly things now, but at the time I was beyond frustrated and needing some peace and quiet. I gave everyone (myself included) time outs on the way home so that I could think/pray/and collect some of my lost patience. Whew! We got home, they played well for a little while and I gathered our craft items. It worked out okay. :) So here it is...

Shrinky Dinks!!! I LOVE shrinky dinks! We used to do these when I was a kid, all those cute little preprinted sets. You can't find those anymore, or at least I don't think you can, but I did find a package of blank shrinky dink material for making wonderful ideas into reality at our local Wal Mart! :)

We originally were going to make picture frames. This was one of the ideas listed in the shrinky dinks package and I thought it sounded great. So I let the kids each pick a picture from a collection of "extras." And we gathered the materials: Shrinky Dink material cut into frames (I used my scrapbook paper trimmer), colored pencils, and my scrapbook markers (for myself, Olivia, and Braeden), white paper to put under the frames for the kids to color on, and a cookie sheet for baking.

The one rule I gave the kids was that they couldn't write numbers or letters. Whatever they drew, would be backwards once the frames were flipped over, as you color on the backside. I wrote letters, but knew they wouldn't understand how to do it backwards.

Well, the frames didn't really turn out! :( Olivia's and Girlie's did, although they are a bit "modern" and curvy! :) But mine and Braeden's looked like pretzels! I was so disappointed too because can I just drop the modesty for a minute and say mine was so cool! lol :) I was going to use a picture from Lego Land at Downtown Disney and had written Downtown Disney and drawn designs, it was so good! :) Oh well... Here's Olivia's finished product. She did great! We glued in the picture and are going to put a magnet on the back.

So, since Braeden didn't have a finished craft, we cut squares of the material and punched a hole with a hole punch in the top to make charms for necklaces. Braeden wrote part of his name on his, the yellow one, so he then did a second one. Olivia's has her holding a book because she loves to read, she said.

This is how much they curl as they shrink. The kids loved watching!

Braeden's finished product! I put a jump ring through the hole and hung them from a ball chain. They are so excited to have jewelry that they made themselves!!! So fun!

The day turned out great after the 20 minutes of Yuck. What a blessing! :)

Update: I just washed Braeden's pants and my Shout Gel with scrubber has worked miracles and gotten all of the grass stains out!!! Yay for Shout Gel!!! :)

Funnies Again

We've had some funny instances of late that I thought I'd share. Especially with all the worries with Girlie and Liam right now.

First was when we were on the way to Braeden's urologist appointment on Wednesday. I don't think I've mentioned yet how he is going to be circumcised this summer??? :( Poor buddy! But more on that later. I handed him back some lotion to put on his knees as they were very ashy. As he was rubbing in the lotion he all of a sudden said, "Mom, Hair!!! I have fur on my legs!!" :)

Next was when we were driving back home after church this morning. Our church is in an area that is developing rapidly, it was recently built, and there are fields interspersed with new housing developments. As we passed a field with a tractor hard at work Braeden was beside himself with excitement. I asked what the tractor was doing plowing up the dirt, what were they going to put in the field??? Braeden yelled, "Craps!!!" LOL :) After quite a bit of giggling on my part I said, "Braeden, It's crops!" Then we were all giggling. Good thing they don't know what "crap" is yet! :)

Finally, we were listening to a Wow compilation Christian CD at lunch today. One of their favorites, "Cartoons" by Chris Rice, came on. I said, "Who is singing this song? Who knows?" And Braeden yells, "Rice Cake!!!" Yes, that's the new Christian artist. :) After we got out the correct name, with many giggles on my part, Braeden thought he'd be even funnier and said, "I know, it's Cheese Cake!" He cracks me up! :)

Then, for a picture funny, this is from Saturday. I bought the olders new car seats. We have been watching them for a while. Each of the stores around here have them in different fabrics and slightly different costs, but I love them. Braeden was ready to move up to a booster with just a seat belt, but still the back. Olivia has one that has an adjustable and removable back. She wants the back though. Hers really isn't very comfortable. This new one is by Evenflo and is great. Very cushy and it has little side lights in the head rest for nighttime trips. As much as we travel, and are traveling this summer I thought they'd be perfect so I got one for each and am going to sell Olivia's in the newspaper. We got them Saturday and the boxes of course became play things. Olivia wanted one for a tunnel. As she was crawling in, Liam thought he'd be funny and climbed on top. She was whining/laughing that it hurt, but instead of getting him off right away, I must admit I took a photo. :) It was pretty funny. :)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

No News for Girlie

Still no word on Girlie. That makes me think that the regional director has gotten involved and sees that that family isn't going to work out. I hope so, but have no way of knowing. The cw had called Thursday about setting up a visit and has not done that, so I'm thinking they are shifting focus??? We're only here for the four working days this next week, then we leave for FL on the 2nd. We won't be back until the 22nd, and then that leaves the last week of June for her to transition somewhere before she leaves July 1st or 2nd. The only way that could change was if they allowed her to stay with me until we leave on our Niagra trip which I think is around July 17??? but also allow me to transition to my new agency. I am not staying with this agency any longer than absolutely necessary, but want to do what's right for Girlie also.

In other news, Liam has an ACR (a case review) on June 4. His court date is June 24 and at that time they should be setting dates for termination since his case has passed legal screening. Previously, in case you don't know or remember, they (my lovely agency) had talked about allowing Grandma (who lives in AL, has his older bio brother, has only been here to see him two times for an hour each the entire 19 months I've had him, and when she does visit him she sits in a chair and doesn't interact with him) to take him upon termination. Here are the posts on what happened with that: Liam 1 Liam 2

So, in wondering whether I needed to postpone our FL trip one day and go to the ACR, I asked the cw. I mostly want to know if the agency is still following what they told me was "in writing" with not trying to go toward g'ma, but back me keeping him as a permanent placement. I just know God has placed him here forever, but know too that there are still things we sometimes need to do to be sure that happens. So I asked her. She said she thought so, but would ask the supervisor and get back to me. That was earlier this week. I called Thursday and left a message asking again. Still haven't heard a word. I know that I can appeal the decision if it is indeed made to try to move him, and that I will most likely win as he's been here so long, but I shouldn't have to do that. They told me they were keeping him here. BUT, I don't TRUST them! :(

We could use a few prayers. :)

Previous Post Update

Braeden's school project update:

I did contact this teacher. I asked a friend at work who is very good at "verbage" to help me so that it didn't come across completely accusatory, although that's how I was feeling. She emailed back and said that it was a project that her assistant did with the kids and that she will try to be more mindful next time. She did apologize for any hurtful feelings that Braeden had. I hope she does take time to think about this. As someone else said, I am sure he is not the only one to be in a similar position. Being a single mom through adoption, there isn't even a dad in the picture anywhere for my kids. But with the way the world is in so many cases, especially in our school district, things like this need and deserve to be thought of and accounted for. The worst part of it was that he had a family tree project in this class earlier in the year and I had questioned her at that time over how the assignment would be presented/discussed. She at that time, told me she would try to be more careful. They did that project by simply asking for who lived in their house and made the "tree" that way.
Friday, May 23, 2008

Adoption and School

I just don't understand people sometimes. I pray for understanding, because at times like these I just don't. Especially in the world today. In my class I know my kids' basic backgrounds. I know if there is a mom and dad, or a dad at home and mom lives elsewhere, or a mom and no dad in the picture at all, or living with relatives, whatever the situation. Especially at this time of the year. We've gone all year with conferences and report cards and field trip forms and IEPs, etc. Without major information I know who lives with whom.

And yet Braeden's teacher doesn't seem to care or pay attention or something. I work in this district where he attends preschool. People know who I am and some of our background on foster care/adoption. I just don't get it. Earlier in the year I even talked with her about a family tree project and she said herself that she needed to become a little more aware of family situations.

So yesterday, Braeden's last day of preschool, when he brought home a bright yellow envelope with a sticker on it that said "Don't open until June 15," you know what I did right? As soon as Braeden's eyes were averted I opened that thing up! My heart dropped. There was a laminated poem, printed out, with a small picture of Braeden underneath. I have to admit I don't even know what the poem said, I couldn't get past the first word... Daddy.

Come on! There is no Daddy. Why does Father's Day automatically mean that we send little gifts home to "Daddy" for these children to pass on? A teacher should know their students. Couldn't she have asked me who Braeden could have written his to? Maybe a grandpa? I could have said, Yes, that would be perfect. Or another male role model??? But they know there isn't a Daddy. And I'm pretty sure where Braeden discussions of late, of me finding a Daddy for him, getting married, wanting a dad, have been coming from.

And then when I tried to (ashamedly) toss away the envelope, who caught me but Braeden himself. He was quite distraught. He told me that that was for his Grandpa, his Big Buddy. I don't feel comfortable having him give his Grandpa something that says Daddy. Why couldn't it have just said Happy Father's Day??? Or just had a nice poem and picture with no reference at all???

My heart broke for him. For us. For all the kids who have to go through this because of unthinking teachers, unthinking people in this world. He's four. What will happen in the future? Olivia had some similar issues the last two years. I think about things like this as a teacher, I did before I got into foster care/adoption. Why don't others??? I just don't understand...

Tagged Again

I've been tagged again, by Holly, but with a different kind of questioning. I am so not good at these people! lol :) I'll try my best...

Favorite person (outside family)? I have some very interesting, creative, and wonderful friends. If I chose just one it wouldn't be right! :) My favorites are those who truly know and accept me faults and all.

Favorite food? Oh my gosh it HAS to be the Teriyaki Sirloin from The Melting Pot. LOVE it!!!

How would the person who loves you most describe you in ten words or less? A crazy woman for wanting so many kiddos??? :)

Any regrets in life? (I have to reiterate what's already been said, it sums things up perfectly!) Of course- many, but God is a redeeming God and has used everything that I have messed up to form me into who I am now and even now He is at work refining me! Praises to HIM!

Favorite Charity/ Cause? HIV awareness, AHOPE Africa

Favorite Blog recently? So many great ones!! My newly found favorites are: A Purpose Driven Family and Home Hope and Future

Something you can’t get enough of? Down time with my kids :)

Worst job you’ve ever had? Dish washer in my college dorm! Yuck! Clean off your trays people! Especially the peanut butter!

If you could be a fly on the wall, where? There are SO many! But right now I'd really like to be a fly on the wall of the room my Liam does visits with his birthmom in, just to see what he's like there. I've been told he doesn't smile or talk or anything. :(

Favorite Bible verse right now? 1 Samuel 27 "I prayed for this child and the Lord granted my request."

Guilty Pleasure? Milky Way Midnight bars and Ben and Jerry's Phish Food (Now I'm hungry!)

Got any confessions? I’m a mess! I only appear all-together on the outside! (Ditto that!)

If you HAD to spend $1,000 on YOURSELF, how would you spend it? That would be hard for me! I shop for kids and love it, I have trouble shopping for myself. It would probably be books or shoes. :) Maybe both. :)

Favorite thing about your house? I love being so close to great parks, the wood floors and the layout, small but nice.

Worst thing about your house? Not so crazy about the fact that there is no garage and that our lovely sewer plant is right behind us.

One thing you are bad at? Gardening, taking care of plants. So not my thing!

If you could change something about your circumstances, what? If I changed something it could change what kids I have, I have to know that God has me where He wants me.

Who would you like to meet someday? Jesus Christ- I mean, who else compares to Him?? (Ditto again!)

What makes you feel sexy? Ummmmmmmm…I pass.

Who is your real life hero? All of the children who make it through foster care with a head on their shoulders and a positive outlook on life.

What is the hardest part of your job? Some of the people I work with and some of the parents of the kids I try to help.

When are you most relaxed? While reading or cuddling some kids.

What stresses you out? The foster care system and caseworkers who don't know or do their job, also I have issues with control. Other's peoples kids who don't know how to act is stressful to me. But so is Braeden is other situations. Change/transition is hard for him. :)

What can you not live without? Water, I drink it constantly! :)

Do you agree or disagree with the recent article that reported that blogs are authored by narcissists? Never heard of it. Don't know that that would be true. Maybe for some.

Why do you blog? It began as a way for me to keep family and friends updated on our adoption journey.

Who are you tagging? Runergirl, Kellie, and Jessica
(I just tagged some others recently, so I'm trying not to over-tag! )

Rules:1. Answer the questions (Did I really have to include this as a rule? Duh!)
2. Link back to whoever tagged you
3. Tag whomever you want! (Holly changed this rule- it was supposed to be 8 people with 4 different categories but that stressed her out :) I agree!)
Thursday, May 22, 2008

Movie Geek

I am a movie geek, I must admit. I LOVE Movies!!! :) And among my favorites... the Indiana Jones Trilogy!!! Can I just tell you how excited I am that a NEW Indy movie is coming!!!??? I can't wait!!! :)

Girlie's Future

Please continue to pray for Girlie. As you may remember, I notified my foster care agency a while back to begin to search for a family, a forever family, for "my" Girlie. She will need a lot as she grows. For those who don't know about Reactive Attachment Disorder, which she has to a tremendous degree already at 2, it is not something you can just "love" away. All the love, stability, etc in the world will not make it go away.

I received a call Monday at lunch that they had found a potential family and wanted to pick Girlie up from day care that day to meet with the couple at 4:30pm. Whoa! I was not happy. When we discussed this, the regional director and I wanted for me to be able to sit down with whoever it may be and go over the behaviors, etc that present themselves so that they would understand what they were getting into and could decide honestly about now and in the future. My whole reason for doing this was to prevent further transitions and upsets. I want to find a family for her that will not disrupt the adoption down the road when things really get rough. The caseworker left me hanging for a few min to talk to the supervisor and when she came back she said, "Oh, yes, that's what we decided and I forgot." Yea right. The cw and supervisor already met with the family Friday apparantly. I should have been there. I didn't even know.

So, I was to bring Girlie and meet with them first before they met her. I called the agency counselor, whom I had already talked to about her previously. She couldn't believe all the symptoms that were already present in regards to RAD. I left a message asking if she could join my meeting with them, so that they could hear things from her as well. I also printed out two pages of things we have seen with Girlie, and some things on RAD. One was a list of 28 symptoms of RAD in children. Girlie already hits 17 of them, and the rest will be a matter of time. They are things that she really needs to be older to even be around in order to do them.

The couple came in and were very nice. They really listened to what we shared, which I didn't know if that would happen or not. BUT, they work more than I do. The mom was just coming off of three days of double shifts. And while the supervisor told them that they should leave her at her current day care, they work weekends as well when the day care home isn't available. She will NOT make it in any other day care. A HUGE concern for me! They were ready to remove her from my home a while back when she was kicked out of her first two day cares. She is in a day care home now of a foster/adoptive/former caseworker parent who has children with RAD and understands. You won't find another like that. They were smitten during the meeting with her, who wouldn't be. She is adorable, and who could believe that she is capable of the things told to them? Surely with love all will be fine. I know that's what they think. They have never even heard of RAD. They don't understand.

Since then I have talked three times, twice today to the cw about finding out their plans for weekend day care. IF (WHEN) she doesn't make it in the day care they find for the weekends, what will they do? I highly doubt they will give up their job or find one that is only on the week days when her current care provider is available. I just know they won't/can't. What then? Each time the cw said, "Yes, I need to talk to them more. I'm concerned about that too." Fine, but the last time I said that today was when she called to look at scheduling another visit for them. No, this needs to be dealt with FIRST. If they can't reconcile the weekend day care, it won't work. She will be asked to leave any care setting she's in besides her current one, and then they will disrupt yet another placement for her. That is NOT right, and is not what she needs. It's not fair for her to set her up to fail.

I finally called the regional director today. I asked if she knew of the family that they were looking at for Girlie and she took on a tone of "you are trying to sabotage any placement" by saying very professionally that any time they move a child, blah blah blah. I said, OK but I just wondered if you knew about the fact that they need weekend day care which (name) isn't able to provide??? You know that Girlie won't make it at another care place?? Her tone immediately changed. I dont' think she realized that they needed weekend day care. She sounded as concerned as I am. She said, no she won't and she needs stability. Thank you. I'm hoping that that call helped and they can figure it out. We'll see what tomorrow brings...


In case you haven't heard, or maybe you don't know who this family is, but last night Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest daughter Maria was accidentally killed when her brother ran her over in their driveway. Steven and his wife have adopted children and set up a foundation to give adoption grants to families. He is a wonderful singer and their family lives the Christian faith. They walk the talk. Maria just turned five. This also comes in the midst of celbrating the engagement of their oldest daughter and the graduation of their son. My heart and prayers go out to this family. Especially their son. I cannot imagine the grief and guilt he must be experiencing. I pray that God gives them abundant blessings in this time and help to heal feelings of guilt.

There is a memorial blog to view a glimpse of this precious little girl: Maria's Memorial
Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Zoo Time

We're planning a trip to the zoo on Monday!!! I'm so excited! We love the zoo and the kids all do soo soo well there. I emailed out to some friends to see if any would join us and so far one couple I haven't seen in literally years is coming! I am so thrilled to see them again! Yay for the zoo! I'll post pics on our return! :)


OK, I've been tagged by Kathy. I am not good at these. I have to tell 10 different/strange/uncommon facts, etc about myself. I'm not really very interesting!!!

Here goes...

1. I'm a very small part Native American.

2. I love love love roller coasters, but cannot stand the swings ride or the one where the floor drops out!

3. I am super organized, but lose my debit card often!

4. I hate the sight of blood.

5. I love Peanut Butter and bologna sandwiches! I grew up thinking this was as common as PB&J.

6. I like instant mashed potatoes better than the real thing!

7. I travel a lot but have never been out of the country.

8. I sometimes buy ice cream that my kids never even realize we have. :)

9. I love to scrapbook, but aside from a baby book from Braeden's first year, I haven't touched it except to work on Girlie's lifebook before she leaves.

10. I want MORE kids!!!

And to pass on the torture, I tag Julie, Brandi, and Torina.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Own Shirt

Someone asked, so I thought I'd post a picture. Yes, I did make a shirt of my own. I thought they would be fun to wear on our vacations this summer. So here's mine... :)


It's his Law, or that guy down below, that is trying to keep me from using my money to pay off debt and follow God's plan for my money.

Sunday Olivia was taking a shower, and it was God I know who sent me downstairs for something while she was in there!, because I could not figure out for the life of me what the rain type sound was and where it was coming from. I knew it couldn't have started raining that quickly. Oh no, water from the shower was leaking through the floor and into the basement. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have to call a plumber to figure out that one and possibly pull out the tub and surround to fix the problem!!! Yuck!!! I wish I knew how to do it myself, but it's not something I'm going to tackle. (Rockstar that I may be to some! :) lol ) I am SO close to paying off my debt. My rebate check would have paid the remainder of my car and then I have some still on a student loan, so very close, yet now so far. Yuck!!!

I will just pray continued blessings and money to come our way to help pay for this setback. We will get there, it will just take a little more time and patience.
Sunday, May 18, 2008

Craft Time - T Shirts

Today we made T Shirts! This is a simple and great way to allow kids to design their own shirts! I think it works better with kids 5+ though as we discovered. :)

Materials Needed: Plain T Shirts (Found Olivia's at a craft store for $2.50 and found a set of 3 under type shirts on clearance for $2.34 in both Braeden's and Liam's sizes.), Sandpaper (I found that the finer the grade the easier for kids to use), Crayons, and an iron. Also a scrap piece of cardboard to place between the shirt for ironing.

First, let kids draw a design on a piece of sandpaper with crayons. I cut about 4 inches off the end of the sandpaper since their shirts were small. ** Make sure that they press and color very hard with the crayon!!! This is important and is why Braeden's and Liam's didn't turn out real well. There really needs to be a good amount of wax from the crayon on the sandpaper.

Next, place a piece of cardboard inside the tshirt to be ironed so that the color doesn't bleed through. And put the sandpaper design side down onto the tshirt on top of the cardboard.

Then, make sure the design is centered and in the right place on the shirt.

Set your iron and heat it up on a cotton setting. Iron over the sandpaper design for a couple minutes, pressing down hard.

Finally, peel off the sandpaper and allow the shirt to cool for a few minutes.
Your new tshirt is ready to wear!!!

Didn't Olivia do a great job!!! They are so proud of their shirts! Olivia is planning on wearing hers to school tomorrow. Yay!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Social Ramifications

So if you haven't seen the lead story on yahoo this morning, check it out...
Yahoo Story

This blows my mind. I'm sure there are more details to this than what is being presented, but basically this is the focus. And this is what is being reported across the country based on my Googling of it.

HIV is NOT spread through saliva. Check this out: How HIV is Spread This case is now outwarding telling the public, who are mostly uninformed as it is, that HIV is something to be feared. That it can be spread easily. That many with HIV are trying to deliberately spread the disease.

I'm all for punishment when due. If he was being arrested for something wrong, he should be punished. If he was assalting the officer by hitting, kicking, fighting, he should be punished. But spitting, with or without HIV is NOT something that should be punished by 35 YEARS in jail. Come on, what are we saying here???

Finally, upon "researching" this story online in the five minutes I took, I found a question posted on Yahoo. The question was saying that HIV can't be passed this way and asking if others thought this was too high a price as well. The answers given by most of the responders (approx. 17) were just chilling. They made me fear for Olivia and our family in a way I hadn't before. Very scary.
Click here to read
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Red Letters Campaign

This is something that I cannot even put into words. I have only begun to delve into the website and sign up to be a part of their "campaign." It's amazing. Click on the Red Letters Campaign badge on the right and watch the video. We ALL need to step out and do something to end the poverty in this world. We can do it. We are called to it. We need to save our world.
Sunday, May 11, 2008

Our Trip

We had a lot of fun on our short weekend trip, however most of us are sick now! :) Liam cried a lot Saturday, which is so unlike him. I thought it was just that he was tired, we got to bed late Friday and he woke up at his normal time Saturday. But, he ran a low temp during the night last night and has been crying off and on all day today, just not feeling well at all. :( And Olivia's got quite a cough, mostly at night and in the morning. I started her Zyrtec up again and it seems to be helping somewhat.

Anyway, we did have a great time. The kids were thrilled when they found out what we were doing!!! They just could NOT wait to get there and swim and see everyone! We haven't swam since FL at Christmas and they love to swim so much, so they were ecstatic! We arrived at the hotel about 6:00pm. The kids did a great job in the car and kept themselves occupied the whole time.

After arriving we had a snack, I thought it would be better to eat dinner after swimming. While getting ready my cousin J called and ended up coming over after we swam a while. She brought us pizza! and even more importantly, that beautiful new baby of hers! Her little one is soooooo sweet!!! Toooooo cute!

The pool was awesome! The slide was a huge hit! (I even went down a couple times! :) ) We had the pool completely to ourselves except for a short time when some guy was in the hot tub. I think he even took a pic of us with his cell phone at one point, so weird!

We got to bed late, about 9:30. And of course they were up bright and early by 6:00am! We were dressed and went down for breakfast a little after 7. After watching Disney Playhouse and packing up the room, relaxing a bit, we headed out about 10:15. We went to Wal Mart first and then got to the baby shower at 11 when it started. It was so much fun! The kids did pretty well. Liam did well at first, hence the cutie pie pic of the three, but then cried during most of the rest. Braeden was getting pretty wound up toward the end, just a lot of unstructured time for him. But they had a lot of fun and it was great seeing so many family members and getting to meet some new friends as well.

After the shower we left to go with two of my cousins and my aunt to a park for the kids to run and play and let off some steam. It was beautiful out. On the way there Braeden said, "But mom, no one took a shower!" What??? I had no idea what he was talking about. "Mom, you said it was a shower, but no one took a shower." !!! LOL !!! A baby shower!!! I was cracking up! It took me a min to compose myself and explain to him. Then he said, "But that's a party!?" You're right Braeden, basically a baby party. :) The park was great and the kids had so much fun!

We then met up with family for dinner at a favorite pizza place. SO yummy!!! Liam played the entire time at the park and seemed to be doing well. He was in a high chair at the restaurant and then my uncle walked in. He has a beard/mustache and I don't know if it scared him or what, but Liam sort of screamed and wanted out of the chair as fast as possible! He buried his face in my neck and grabbed his arms around me. He ended up falling asleep and slept on my lap while we ate dinner. :)

They slept the whole way home and we got home around 11:00pm. Wow. I'm still trying to feel "normal" again but it was so worth it!!! We all had a really great time. I so enjoy spending time with my family! :) I'm hoping we can get there for a weekend this summer to spend more time. :)

Craft Time - Ice Cream

This was so much fun! I used to do this with my fifth graders 4+ years ago when I taught that grade level and had completely forgotten about it until another fifth grade class near me was making this last week and sent down the recipe.

First, start with collecting these ingredients:

1Tbs sugar
1/2 C milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
6 Tbs rock salt (or regular salt- which we used)
1 Gallon sized Ziploc bag
1 Pint sized Ziploc bag

Next, fill the gallon size bag with ice about half way up and add the salt. Then seal it.

Then, mix the sugar, milk, and vanilla in the pint size bag and seal it.

Next, open the large bag again and place the small bag inside. Seal the large bag again.

Finally, shake the bags and your mixture in the small bag will turn into ICE CREAM! (Will take about 5 minutes of shaking.) You can also play "catch" and have younger children shake the bags in this manner. (Don't let Olivia's smile fool you, the shaking was hard work! We had three bags and I would probably do just one at a time next time. She's smiling because she saw I was about to take her picture! :) )

Last, enjoy your yummy treat!!!

Even Olivia loved it - she doesn't like ice cream! :) I think making it was a big factor in that! :)
Friday, May 09, 2008

Adopting From the System

My friend J and I are always checking the adoption photolistings on different websites. I used to inquire about kids, but nothing ever came of it so I rarely do anymore. But I still look. I hate seeing some of the same faces over and over again. Children who have been waiting and waiting for a chance to be a part of a forever family. A family that will be stable and loving and provide a good home for them.

Yesterday J inquired on a little girl she had just seen on a heart gallery. A 2 year old. Adorable. All that it said in her listing to hint at "special needs" (many who end up listed online do) was that she had some "medical challenges" and "medical instability." So J left a message to ask about her and they called her! Never happens. She is the first to inquire about this little girl. And, her medical challenge??? She's HIV+!!!! I have shivers! She is Olivia's godmother and knows that this is nothing compared to so many issues she could be facing! She is excited and is having her home study sent. She will also be speaking to the person a little more in depth soon. I'm so excited!
Thursday, May 08, 2008


Tomorrow after school/work I am going to be picking the kids up and heading out to a small "vacation." They have no idea! :) Girlie is going to be picked up and will stay with my friend J until church on Sunday. Makes it a little easier on us, plus she's started to feel pulled toward and has had some dreams about, possibly being the one to take Girlie in a permanent situation! I think having her for the weekend will definately give her an idea of what she's like, but am afraid that even if she does decide to pursue this, that the agency won't allow her to. She's already switched her license from the agency we were both at to the one I will be switching to after Girlie leaves. In addition, her foster daughter has been with her 3 YEARS and is still not in a permanency situation. Our agency has messed up BIG TIME on this case. Rights should have been terminated well over a year ago, but weren't. Documentation wasn't kept. Caseworkers came and went. Lots of things that would take a long time to tell. My friend has advocated big time because some things that have happened are just horrible! So, not sure what terms she would be on with them as far as taking Girlie. We'll see what happens.

Anyway, I'm picking up the other three and we are driving a little over two hours to a hotel I reserved for the night. It has a pool and a small slide that the kids will love. It's only a few minutes from our family on my dad's side and we will get to go to my cousin's baby shower on Saturday to see everyone. I'm hoping we'll be able to hang out with at least some of them then the rest of the day. I love seeing them and the kids adore them all!!! It will be so much fun!!! We'll hit the road to come back that night to be home for Mother's Day. Just a perfect little getaway! :)


I ordered and paid for my first Etsy/RME item! I'm so excited! It was completely free and I cannot WAIT until it comes!!! I have received so far a total of $55 in RME for FREE! The item I bought cost $32.60 with shipping, so I still have money left to spend. :) Sign up quick, who knows how long they will continue this intro deal to gather clients???

Bought on Etsy: This Adorable Bag/Toy

PS, my necklaces came yesterday and I love them!!!
Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Free Money!

Is there such a thing? I saw this on another blog and tried it. It's a new online pay service, similar to Paypal. All you have to do is click the link I added to the right and you will receive $25 free to use through their site. I will receive $10 for referring you! Plus, when you sign up, you do NOT have to give your bank information, or a credit card. I found a site on Etsy (of course) which accepts RME (Revolution Money Exchange) so I will be using my FREE $25 on that site. I will either not go over $25 or will use another way to pay for the rest of the cost if there is one, as I do not plan on giving RME my information past what they have, I already use paypal. Anyway, FREE $25 sounds good to me!!! It took me 5 min total to sign up and get my free money!!! Go for it!

If you want to find sites on Etsy that take RME, just go to their search bar and searching under tags/titles list RME. About 150 PAGES of items came up. If you don't care for a specific item, but would maybe like other things they sell, click Shop under the item you see and it will take you to that person's shop.

Update: Just so you know, I did Google this site and looked up references on it's safety. It is backed by FDIC, which is why they do ask for your SSN# during sign up. There were articles in both the Washington Post and USA Today on it's safety as well as other websites and many current users rating it extremely well. I also found out, which I didn't know, that Paypal began in exactly the same way, with giving away "money" to new users. :) Good to know these things prior to signing on to something so new. :)


This morning I went to another school in our district. Our district is divided into three schools, one is K-2, one is 3-5, and one is 6-8. I work at the 3-5 building. Our high school is a separate district that we share with two other towns surrounding us. Since I am teaching, and my class is becoming even more next year, a class working on more functional life skills for students who may not ever be able to succeed in a regular education setting, I went to observe the two students I will be getting next year. Interesting experience. Possibly something to share another day...

But, what was funny was that Braeden's preschool class was right across the hall from the class I was observing. He saw me when he came into school, during a tornado drill, and when we were coming in and they were going out for recess. Each time you could tell he just wanted to run to me and be with me so much and almost was crying at the thought of turning around and going back to his class. It was too cute. I gave him a few hugs and some sign language I love yous and sent him on his way. So cute. :)

Cheapest Dinner EVER

You will never believe that my friend J and I took our 6 kids (ages 6, 5, 4, 2, 2, 2) to a local buffet last night. The cost for all EIGHT of us??? $8!!! Only EIGHT DOLLARS! J and I had gotten cards from the buffet at school for a free buffet for ourselves as it is teacher appreciation week this week. The two year olds were free and the others were charged 50 cents per year of their age. It was great, the kids did great, such a perfect dinner!!! We ate and ate and then had dessert!
Monday, May 05, 2008


This speaks volumes...

"When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed. We have refused to be instruments of love in the hands of God to give the poor a piece of bread, to offer them a dress with which to ward off the cold. It has happened because we did not recognize Christ when, once more, he appeared under the guise of pain, indentified with a man numb from the cold, dying of hunger, when he came in a lonely human being, in a lost child in search of a home."

Mother Teresa
Sunday, May 04, 2008

Craft Time - Placemats

We had craft night again tonight! Two weeks in a row! :) lol Actually, after last week went so well I wrote out and scheduled all the weekends from now until the end of summer (can you say OCD???), with two exceptions as we will be traveling those weekends. We have some great things planned.

Today we went a step beyond the foam peel and sticks and created our own placemats. I purchased three sheets of stickers, cut out a large O and B for Olivia and Braeden to place on their mats, gave them each a choice of scrapbook paper colors, and let them go. Their final creations will be taken tomorrow to be laminated so spills will be no worry! :) They had a blast!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Break A Leg

Olivia had a first grade musical on Thursday night. She has been practicing for quite some time. There were four classes that participated together in the musical and Olivia was one of about 20 that had speaking parts. The show was called The Unity Tree. All the girls were cats and all the boys dogs. It was about a puppy and kitten who want to play together, but the dogs and cats keep telling them that they can't because cats and dogs don't get along. I was a bit tearful at the end thinking of the greater meaning. The lead roles were played by a Caucasian "cat" and an African American "dog." The end song they did together was thought provoking, to me. I hope others got out of it something bigger as well. Our community is not known for great "race relations."
Olivia did GREAT! Of course at home when she practiced she was much more dramatic, I think she was a bit nervous seeing the audience, but she got her lines and knew when to speak and just did wonderfully!!!

I'm so proud of her, and so was her brother Braeden. The two little ones were home with a sitter. A sitter we've had many times and is really good with the kids, and yet Girlie gave her a run for her money! :) That's Girlie!


I just am "addicted" to Etsy right now. Have you checked out this site yet? It is so great! It's basically an online marketplace for people to set up shops and sell handmade items. They have everything!!! Some are a bit pricey, but many things are quite reasonable, and you can pay with paypal! I found one shop I loved and asked my mom to pick a necklace for Mother's Day. Then I splurged and got myself a Mother's Day present as well. :)

Etsy Shop: For the Love of All Things Creative

My mom choose the wood one Shown Here and I got myself the orange glass Shown Here

As I find (and maybe buy from) more cool Etsy shops I'll list them on my blog.

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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

Check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Blog Archive

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:

Other Awesome Blogs

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