Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hearing Today

This afternoon was Liam's first part of his termination hearing. Bio mom already signed off her rights, so it's just dad they are terminating on at this point. Today we had a new judge! They were almost going to give us a continuance and a new date, so he could look over the paperwork, but decided not to, SO GLAD!

Dad's was found "unfit." This means that we then were to make a second date for the other part of termination, the best interest hearing. I'm a little, well, ok, quite a bit nervous, for that hearing, which they scheduled for October 21st at 2pm. Bio dad can still come to that, and I have to testify at it. I have to talk about and answer questions about my relationship with him, my love for him, and my willingness and want to adopt him. I don't relish the idea of saying those things in front of a bio parent. I have not had to do this before. In Braeden's case, I happened to be out of town, and had been told that it was not my best interest to ever meet or let them know who I was. It was an unsafe situation. In Olivia's case, bio mom had dropped out of the case 8 months prior, which we later found out was because she was pregnant and hiding the fact. So she didn't show up. (The baby - girl - had been born a week prior we later found out.) In addition, if that wasn't hard enough, Liam's bio dad has a violent past. He is currently in jail and will be for some time, but it still makes me nervous, and a bit scared.

So, I look forward, with anticipation, nervousness, and relief that the end is in sight, to OCTOBER 21st!!!!

From there, bio dad will have 30 days to appeal. IF he does, it will only prolong the process. IF he doesn't, then the agency will begin subsidy paperwork. Once that is completed (totall up to the worker assigned and how long they take), I will look it over with my lawyer, assuming it's ok it will then be sent to the state to be ok'd, once it is then we will be given an adoption date! I'm thinking it may be this spring! :) yay us!

More on Attachment

I'm really getting a lot out of reading the book on Attachment Disorders that I'm on currently, Parenting Other People's Children. It's been a bit hard to get into as the author is restating Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and Bowlby's Attachment theories, and then reorganizing them together to identify "his" trust disorder paradigm. But, it makes a LOT of sense and really showcases "our" kids and the issues they have and why.

I came across another of Olivia's "issues" last night while I was reading. A lot of these things I just don't think about as being from a "cause", I just get frustrated or have no idea why she thinks or feels that way. It is all coming together now! A lot of what this author is saying relates back to the need level everyone has for safety and security. That is the second need level that infants piece together naturally. The first is having their physiological needs met (food, sleep, etc.). Safety and Security can be UNmet when a child/infant is consistently not getting their needs met. They don't learn to trust that their needs will be met. Most of "our kids'" issues can be attributed back to this. They still need the level of safety and security met. Just because they are safe NOW, doesn't transfer for them, because they weren't safe and secure for so long that this is not an easy fix and they are constantly reacting out of fear.

On to Olivia and my newest insight. Olivia often, if we have a day where our meals are a little different (for example we have a snack at breakfast time, a huge brunch, and then will eat an early dinner) will constantly ask about the perceived "missing" meal, in this example lunch. When is lunch? Did we miss lunch? Why aren't we eating lunch? This obviously doesn't happen often, but when it does it drives me nuts. Same when we went to my Grandma's surprise party recently. We ate donuts on the way out of town, stopped for lunch on our drive there, and then ate dinner at the party. Well, the party was from 2-5 pm, so "dinner" was eaten around 2:40-4 or so. We ate tons, then went to my aunt and uncle's, and then swimming at the hotel. She constantly was asking about dinner. Did we miss dinner? Were we going to eat dinner?

Now, these aren't saying that if Olivia was hungry we wouldn't feed her, we had snacks, etc but she was so put off by not having, in her mind, that meal. It all goes back to her feeling unsafe or insecure about not eating and not getting the food she needs. Wow! Even though she wasn't actually hungry in these times, she "missed a meal" in her mind, and was feeling extremely insecure about this. Duh! Why didn't I ever connect that before? I will try to be extra cautious in this area in the future and make sure if we have meals a little differently one day, that she has some snacks out she knows about and can eat if she feels the need. (Healthy snacks of course!) :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I'm really rethinking the therapist Olivia is scheduled to see, and we haven't even gone there yet. My friend J and I had another foster parent training today, with the same RAD specialist as two weeks ago. She spoke today for a while on a child's issues with being controlling and bossy to others!!! Hmmm... In addition, I didn't realize that she contracts through our adopt unit to provide services locally for children with attachment issues!!! I talked to her a little today about who we are going to and she didn't say much but did say that that person will use a psychological approach as that is what she knows. She went on to say later that if we're unhappy to contact her.

J and I ordered FOUR different books on attachment, especially pertaining to children from foster and adoptive backgrounds and we received them this week. We both began a different book today and have been on the phone a few times already tonight sharing things we've read. I LOVE the one I'm starting with... Parenting Other People's Children by John L. Stoller. I've only read the Preface and Introduction so far and SO EXCITED to continue the book. The book came about as he researched ways to teach his foster son's teachers about RAD.

Sections I've LOVED so far...

"The ability to trust or mistrust as appropriate is a survival technique. The RAD child learns to mistrust his caregiver as a survival technique, and this negative lesson learned at an early age becomes deeply entrenched in his emotional core. Once learned, it is very difficult to unlearn. It is very difficult to retrain a child to trust. It takes years of quality parenting to rebuild the lost trust."

"The psychological community... is poorly trained in RAD... has little experience in identifying RAD and has not reached a general consensus on what constitutes a RAD diagnosis... in general does not understand the relationship between the early pathogenic care the child received and the child's symptoms... has not developed generally accepted treatments specific for RAD."

"The few experts who are successfully treating RAD all seem to agree that the parent must be present at therapy sessions. Along with the idea that developing the relationship between the parent and the child is more important than developing a relationship between the therapist and the child (after all, that is the attachment relationship in RAD that has never formed and needs to form now), having the parent present keeps the child from lying to and conning the therapist."

Yes, that all makes so much sense!!! And while I do not think Olivia has RAD, that term is usually reserved for the most severely affected children, John Stoller argues that a more appropriate term is Trust Disorder, stating that unformed attachments come about from a lack of trust to begin with, and states that this covers a wider "spectrum." I believe more and more that Olivia falls into this category. And I want to be a part of her therapy. My guess is that that is NOT how the person we are seeing on Oct 21 treats patients.

I'm seeing more and more of her behavior in a new light with these books. It's quite eye opening. Everything from how she was stiff as a board when picked up and hugged as a child, and still not truly comfortable with hugs now, bedwetting (J's book says angry children often "pee out their anger", being controlling/bossy toward others, manipulation that mostly the prime caretaker alone sees and understands, charming to "outsiders," lying, stealing, whining (but not just typical whining), saying I don't know when asked why? - they truly don't know as these connections just aren't there, and I could go on...

And as for the therapist, I don't think she is going to be what Olivia needs. I'm going to honor our first appt, and ask some hard questions, and then most likely switch to our RAD specialist. I want help with attachment issues and I don't think that's what I'm going to get. But I'm glad I'm finding things out now and not later.

A very good training again today, and some great books that we've found!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

We Did It!

Thank you to those who helped with playing Santa!!! Olivia (and I) sold $1340 worth of fundraiser items!!! Over $540 went directly to our schools and we will be getting the Wii and some games for Christmas from Santa!!! Thank you!

I also was able to get into the therapist I was hoping for. I wasn't crazy about our conversation. Long story, I know she doesn't know me, but I get real tired of people automatically treating you / talking to you a certain way because you hold a medicaid card. She's the only one in the area who directly bills medicaid, I get that there are probably a lot of people who don't show up, etc, but give me the benefit of the doubt before you talk to me that way. Urgh! We have our first appt, more an evaluation, on Oct. 21. Two weeks later will be a treatment plan session, and then her first "actual" appt will be two weeks after that. Here's hoping! :)
Thursday, September 25, 2008


Tonight was "mom's night out" again. Last week I took Braeden out. This was supposed to be Olivia's week, but last week she did not do what she needed to on her homework, because I wasn't there. She had to know I would check it. Obviously a sitter is not going to know what she can do and therefore doesn't expect anything but for her to finish, so she was going to take advantage of that, and did. I let her know I was disappointed in her work, she knew exactly what I was talking about, and that due to that choice she would switch her week with my week. I would give her another chance to show me she could do her work the way it needed to be done. I made it clear I really wanted to do something with her, so I really hoped she could do it, because I knew she could.

Next week we're doing "mom's night" on Tuesday, and Olivia wants to get her hair braided (J found someone here who did cornrows on her daughter for $25!!! It took 1hour 45min!!!). I waited to make the appt though until after tonight.

She did her homework and did it well!!! I knew she could! :)

But, when I got here the sitter said, "Olivia is, um, sort of, controlling at times?" I've heard this before. Mostly from my mom. If I'm not around, Olivia takes it upon herself to tell the boys what to do, tell my mom or the sitter how to do their job, etc. I see it a little myself, but am pretty quick on letting her know that her job is not to boss or control, but to just be a sister. And we work on that. She still does it, but not as much as what I think she does when I'm not around. The sitter obviously saw a lot of it tonight. She said she had to keep telling Olivia to just play and have fun. Sad that you have to tell a child to have fun and play. :(

So how to respond to that? She did her work, and that was the stipulation for spending time with me Tuesday. I also don't want to take that time away because I think she really needs the one on one time, even though she would rather be home with the sitter many times. :) Consequences? Talks? I so worry about her with friends as she gets older. I wish I knew how she was/is with them. Does she try to control them? I don't think so. I've always seen her more as a follower with them.

On the up side I found her a great therapist in town! And she takes the medical card! Such a hard thing to find together! I guess she's hard to get in to, but I talked with our school social worker and she knows her and recommended her as someone she would send her own kids to, and she called her herself. She's expecting my call. :) I'm calling tomorrow!
Monday, September 22, 2008

Time Outs, Tantrums, and Trust

Yesterday was an extremely difficult day. It was one of those foster parent, adoptive parent, child is having none of it, all out, hard days. If that makes sense to you, then we are on the same page, or at least in the same book. I couldn't blog about it then, and it's hard coming now.

Olivia does well for a long time, then seems to hit a wall where one time out or consequence sends her into an all out tantrum worthy of a show called "Beyond Supernanny, What to do When You Become the Target of a Child's Previous Past." And two hours of not knowing what is coming next, trying to distract and occupy two little ones, while all of your senses are in tune to what's going on in the next room, and you're trying to let it cycle through, but you want to step in if needed to prevent hurt, and you're making a plan on the spot for the next minute or second of response to her actions and words and her plan - just. plain. is. exhausting. After two hours I felt like I needed to sleep for two days to catch up.

BUT, I knew/know where most of her anger that she builds up comes from. It's from not seeing her brother. Her bio brother she lived with and was her only source of stability for the first 3 1/2 years of her life. her link to "family." her link to her past. her trust. And she just doesn't understand, no matter how many times we discuss it and talk about it and try to work through it, that his foster/adoptive family are the ones who "called it quits" with the visits. Even when the judge ordered visits once a month or more, they didn't do it. I tried and tried and tried. Someone finally did transportation on their end from their agency for some visits, but even that wasn't consistent. I know living 3 hours away makes it hard. I get it. But they are grown adults. A two parent family. A family who took him knowing about his sister and the need for their visits. They agreed. They broke that. And then told him over and over during visits which rarely happened that it was my fault. That I wasn't returning calls.

We do well for a long time, then something like this brings it all out... again. I get so frustrated with these people.

How do you tell your daughter who asks if his family is nice that I don't think they are because of how this is affecting her? I don't. I don't want to color them in a bad light because it's her brother's family. But I also want her to know that I have done above and beyond to try to get visits for her.

How do you answer a seven year old who wants to know why God doesn't make everyone nice? I tried to explain that God loves us SO MUCH that He gave us choices. And unfortunately not everyone makes good choices.

How do you tell a little girl that there isn't a law that says they have to let her visit her brother, when she asks that question, even though you think she's right, there should be, it's not fair.

How do you answer unanswerable questions from a little girl who has had too much happen in her life to understand? I wish I knew. I muddle through.

I'm just glad that after 1 1/2 hours of tantrum, we started to work through trust. The trust that she still doesn't fully have in me as mom. The trust that is always being worked on, but will never fully be built. Maybe when she's a grown woman and has a child herself and doesn't always have answers but tries her best nonetheless. Maybe when she reads this blog as an adult and can relate somewhat. Maybe. For now, I only can ask God to lead. God to direct. God to be my words. Because I don't have them.

An Exciting School Project

I am SO EXCITED about a project my class is about to begin!!!! I can't even describe my enthusiasm! :)

Right now I have a student teacher. She is wonderful and has stepped into my shoes quickly and done a great job at it. Of course she's still learning, she's a student, learning to be a teacher. But she knows what she's doing. She's just gaining experience.

Because of this it has afforded me lots of time. Time that is sometimes hard to fill. I can't plan too far ahead with my class due to their disabilities in learning. You never know from week to week, sometimes even day to day, what you can move on with, what you need to continue working on, what they just aren't going to "get" right now, etc. You can only look up bulletin board and art ideas for so long! And then finding interactive websites, I've found some great ones, but again, only for so long can I look through pages of site names to check out. So, I've caught up on blogs in some of my time, and have looked for other things we could do as a class.

And I found a GREAT one!!!

We are going to be pen pals (yes, even today in our email world do these exist) with a class in GHANA, AFRICA!!!!! O M G !!!! (goodness that is)

I asked another teacher, who is incredible with projects and technology and integrating them into her classroom, to combine with us on this endeavor. We are thrilled! Then we found that our 3rd grade has leveled reader stories called "Letters to Ghana" about a class that does just this! Wow! So we're encorporating those into our plan.

Plus, whether it's "appropriate" or not, it's a Christian school which I'm ecstatic about! The kids are working on introduction letters this week for us to send out. I can't wait! I have so many ideas of collecting things to send to them. Showing them our money, city pictures, etc. I am so excited, can you tell! ? :)
Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy Adoption Day

Today is Olivia's one year adoption "anniversary." Her adoption day! She choose to have donuts for breakfast today and we read the book Happy Adoption Day.

We also attended a picnic for our foster care agency which included our county/area and two others. The picnic was about 45 minutes away. We went with J and her three and had a lot of fun. NO ONE, not even any workers from our agency, was there.

But we did meet lots of other foster families and found out that they have a support group that meets the third Friday of every month, with child care, and dinner. We are so excited! We haven't had connections like that here and although it will be a bit of a drive, we are really looking forward to it. Just a place to share experiences and life will be wonderful. It was nice to spend the day with "families like ours." Strange as that may sound to some of you. It is nice to hear words like "best interest hearing" and know what they are going through. It's nice to see other foster families, other interracial families, other families dealing with bio visits and caseworkers, and just the world of foster care and adoption. It was nice.

A great way to spend our special adoption day! :)

A Smile Award

Rebecca from Adopting Again nominated me for the Smile Award! I'm incredibly honored. :)

Characteristics for the Smile Award:
1. Must display a cheerful attitude.
2. Must love one another.
3. Must make mistakes. (I think we can all relate to that!)
4. Must learn from others.
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world.
6. Must love life.
7. Must love kids.

Rules for The Smile Award:
1. The recipient must link back the the award's creator
2. You must post these rules if you receive the award.
3. You must chose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself.
4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award, as posted.
5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7. You must thank your giver.

The creator of the award is Mere

(I don't have the link though! Sorry!)

And now my five nominees...

Brandi from Living Freely
Julie from Me and My G
Jessica from Dearest Jessica
Carolyn from The Stitch That Makes the Sweater Perfect
Holly from Purpose Driven Family
Friday, September 19, 2008

The Tricker

This morning Braeden took the toy he got yesterday in his kids meal (a Joker toy from Batman) and was showing Olivia since she was asleep last night when we got home.

Braeden practically yelled, "Olivia, LOOK, I got the Tricker!"

LOL LOL LOL It took me a second, but I was cracking up so hard I could barely point out that it was the JOKER! Not the TRICKER! :)
Thursday, September 18, 2008


Braeden and I had time together tonight. I hired a sitter from our local Christian college to babysit every Thursday night. I plan on taking each of the kids out on their own for some one on one and spend some nights on my own as well.

I like our sitter "A" a lot. She's 23 and in her senior year as a Social Work major. She has a one year old niece she's watched a lot as well as other child care experience. She came over to "interview" last week and started tonight.

I asked the kids who wanted to be first to go out with a special night with mom, and back to those attachment issues, Braeden yelled, "Me!!!!" and Olivia was silent. She is looking forward to doing things, but wanted to spend the first night with the sitter. :) Oh well.

Braeden wanted to go bowling. He's never been, we'd talked about it while in FL in June, but ran out of time. I called our lanes and made sure there was open bowling today. So when we were on our way, we started at McD's for dinner and a little play time in their outdoor play area. We also talked through bowling "rules" so that he would know what to expect and how to act.

After dinner, we headed to the bowling alley. Broke my heart! They had reserved it for a youth group and we were turned away!!!! Talk about disheartened. Braeden kept saying, "Dang it! That bowling place is dang it!" Where did he hear that!? Crack me up! So... we ended up going to Barnes to play and read, then to Target. Braeden ate a biscotti from Starbucks on our way through the store. Target has some major sales right now!!! Backpacks are 75% off!!! We didn't need one, so I did real well and passed them by, BUT I did get a cushy butterfly chair for my classroom for $7.50! Plus a bunch of their dollar bin items were 75% off! I got a cart full of things for $20. Wow!

Braeden and I had a great time on our first mom's night out. :)

UPDATE: I found out where he got the "Dang it" - Grandpa admitted it, it was from him! :)
Monday, September 15, 2008


My 500th post!!! How crazy is THAT!? (I'll leave it be, that says enough, but tune in to my 501st because I really need your help with something! :) )
Sunday, September 14, 2008


Rain Rain Rain, that's all it's been doing here!!! Today we couldn't even get to church because the roads were flooded leading us there! :( We did make it out to the store and gas station after naps at least. I finally wrote big long letters to Give Kids the World Village and Universal Studios to thank them personally and tell them what wonderful organizations they have. I wanted to get to Walmart to print out pictures to include in the letters. So, we did.

On the way home Liam decided to have a little fit over who knows what and THREW his SHOES across the inside of the car! Little stinker! Well, natural consequences often prevail in my home, so he walked from the car to the house in SOCKS! He couldn't believe I wasn't carrying him or putting his shoes on and was not too happy. I was bringing the camera in from the car, so I HAD to snap a photo. He kept looking at his feet, not believing he didn't have shoes on and his feet were soaked! (We stripped the wet socks as soon as we got inside!) :)

Attachment Cont'd

This was my favorite page in the booklet we worked through yesterday...

In working with children who have attachment needs, you may find the following points helpful:

These behaviors developed over a long period of time. Addressing the behavior will also be a lengthy process.

You are not handling an incident. You are handling what has become the child's overall approach to life. Everything that you build into your home to create structure and stability and to ensure safety and well-being is part of the discipline process.

Realize that other parents, and even professional, may not understand what you are going through. Expect a range of responses and even judgements.

At least initially, and probably for quite a while, you cannot expect to get the rewards and joys that parenting usually brings. Just knowing this will help you to adjust your expectations and think about ways to ensure that your emotional needs are met elsewhere.

Realize that the behavior is not about you or your parenting. Knowing this will help you to remain more objective and to control what will sometimes be overwhelming feelings.

All - so true.


Attachment is a huge thing in adopting children. Usually we think of issues with attachment as only being a subject relating to children who are older when they are adopted. Often it conjurs images in those who haven't been around "these children" much of beaten, terribly treated children who haven't been given enough love. Love will cure all, right? Put them into a loving home and they will be "normal" in no time. Not in these circumstances. Yes, love will give any child a home. Love is what we, as adoptive parents turn to when reason and patience and understanding fly out the window in the midst of some of these "issues." Love, unfortunately, is not always "enough" to change the behaviors, the learned survival behaviors in some of our children.

This is a difficult topic to touch upon, but it's an important one. One that many shy away from. But you need to know and try to understand. My former foster daughter "Girlie" was one of those considered at the far end of attachment. Reactive Attachment Disorder, RAD, has already been batted around even though she is still young for an official diagnosis. While I saw the signs, and recognized the amount of work she is/was/will be 24/7, it was still a hard decision to not "keep" her. And I hear comments from friends and family about how cute she is, how love and stability would even things out, and I think of how they don't understand and haven't been around older children with these issues. In young children, RAD is managable, in older children it can mean daily calls from school, bullying, stealing, jail... I wish people did understand. Many, Many, Many children are adopted and then given up in disrupted adoptions due to attachment and then having the children reaching adolescence. Many.

Attachment issues are not just found in children having been in 20 or more placements, or children having been adopted as teens. I have a friend who adopted an infant who has RAD. He did not receive the amount of nutrition or care he needed IN THE WOMB. From the time children are conceived they are forming attachments, building trust in the world. But for children brought into hard situations, to parents not knowing fully how to parent and not finding out, to relatives who are no better and sometimes worse, to having their needs go unmet day after day, etc. These children have a hard time forming attachments.

Yesterday my friend J and I went to a foster parent training. Can you guess what it was on? :) It was a great day. One of our two trainers is one of about 3-4 specialists in RAD in Illinois. While most of what we discussed J and I already had read up on, researched, etc it was great information and nice to be able to discuss some of these issues. One topic of conversation however I found incredibly relevant and eyeopening.

For quite a while I have thought Olivia had some processing issues. I thought maybe they just weren't noticing it yet at school but that it would be only a matter of time. I had talked to her doctors about having her evaluated by a neuropsychologist. Often when I am talking to Olivia she completely mishears or misinterprets what I've said. Many times she has heard something completely negative and immediately had a 30 min or more all out tantrum over it, even though that wasn't what was said. For example, one time in FL I explained to the kids who were going to lunch with grandpa, that they should be on their best behavior and that after lunch we would go swimming if they had done well with him at lunch. She heard "You are not going swimming." and immediately started a tantrum which lasted quite a while.

Yesterday the RAD specialist gave this exact thing as an example of how children with attachment issues perceive things their parents say. They will always seek to pull out the negative, even if it's not even there in the statement. Wow. In addition, bedwetting is a huge area of control for many with attachment problems. Olivia wets the bed every single night. Every night for the past 3 1/2 years she's lived with us. I've thought for a while that Olivia has had some attachment issues, I don't know what foster child who is somewhat older doesn't, but hadn't put her perceptions of my dialogue into that area of inspection. She is my one who is happy as pie to go to a sitter's or have a sitter over or spend time with others, where they boys will sometimes be sad or just huggy for a few min before I leave. Olivia says goodbye and hugs me, but because she's learned that that is what people do when others leave. It all makes so much more sense now that I've put it together with the rest and discussed this more with others "in the know".

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Missing Comments???

Do you wonder where my comments have disappeared to from your own blogs?? I'm reading them! I'm keeping up with all of them! I love the posts and have millions of comments running around in my head! :) So, where have all my comments gone?


You see I'm a teacher. And my school district has blocked all blog access on our network internet, in the safety of the children you know. And last year I had figured out a "backdoor" way to be able to read and post on blogs no problem. This year we have all new computers (I "have" an awesome!!! new MacBook) and we have wireless internet and the network has changed. So no more backdoor. The wireless internet is great right now because I have a student teacher and "need" to be out of the classroom most of the day while she is in charge. Such a strange feeling. But finding things to do - not so easy. I mean come on, you can only look up ideas online for bulletin boards, lessons, art projects, etc for so long. As much as I love computers and the internet, I can't do that all day.

So... I discovered my newest addiction (in a good way) - Google Reader!!! Our network doesn't recognize that as a blog, so I added in all my blog addresses and it notifies me everytime there is a new post so that I can read it and keep up with the goings on. BUT, I can't comment. :( So the comments are there in my head and there are times at night while I'm online at home that I think to go and comment, but not as often as usual. Sorry!!!! :)
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sadness Tonight

I received a call a little while ago from a very good friend of mine. She was calling about a family who are good friends to us both. While I lived back in my hometown, until I left about 10 years ago, I was close with their family. There are three girls a little younger than I who became great friends and I spent lots of time with them, their parents, and extended family as well. I went to different family events and cookouts and did a lot with them. They are extremely special people to me and to God.

Today my friend was watching the daughter of one of the three girls from this family. She is the first and only grandchild of these wonderful people, and the father watched her during the day. He wasn't feeling well so my friend was watching her today. His wife returned from work to find him passed away. They are still not completely certain of the cause.

I am in shock. He wasn't that old and I always loved how he was so excited to see the kids when I would bring them to visit. (It wasn't as often as I wish it could have been.) He was a wonderful father, husband, grandfather, father in law, and friend. He will be greatly missed.

I'm trying to figure out how I can attend the funeral. It sounds like it's going to be on Monday, possibly around 10? If so, I'm thinking maybe I can drop off Olivia at a friends' and the boys at day care, early and get there by 10. (It's about 2 1/2 hours away.) Then be back by 6 to pick up the boys??? Probably. It's worth it. It's times like these that I wish I had a little car as well as the "bus." Maybe I'll look into that at some point.

Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers during this time!


Update on the water issue, called a sewer company I was referred to. They came out yesterday, knew the house as they've worked on it many times throughout the past, flushed the line of roots, kept the walls clean which my last sewer people did NOT, and charged a lot less as well! They said they'd probably need to come once a year but that that should take care of it. I was gearing up to get estimates on removing my two beautiful trees in the front yard, now I can keep them! :) Yay!

"Only One or Two Years..."

Olivia had her second dance class today - she did so great, again! :)

The other day after watching High School Musical 2 (yet again for the millionth time) Olivia said, "I think I want to take dance class for a year or two... then be in a movie."

So serious. It was too funny! :) Yep, sure Olivia, you keep dreaming those dreams and setting those goals! You can do anything! :)
Sunday, September 07, 2008


I'm not sure if I've posted about Kids LAKE before or not, but if not it's about time!

Kids LAKE is a wonderful way to start your children and / or family thinking about needs around the world and how we can come together to help meet those. It's geared toward children but is hoping that through this website families will begin to discuss and understand some of the suffering in the world, look at it with God's eyes, and help in any way they can.

Kids LAKE chooses one organization/cause each month for children and families to get involved in. This month's project hits close to home for me. They are raising money to help out the AHOPE orphanage in Ethiopia. AHOPE takes in children with HIV/AIDS and helps them to get the medicine they desperately need and hopefully to find a forever family. Some of these children arrive "late," and unfortunately pass away before they find a family or arrive home to their family, and many are saved with the medicine available now and able to go on to lead normal happy healthy lives in their new families. I know some of the families through the internet who have adopted these precious children, some who work for this wonderful organization and orphanage, and our family sponsors one of these little ones personally to help fund his monthly medicine.

I am hoping to be able to get my children involved in this website and possibly even my class. I'm excited and hope that some of you may learn about the opportunities presented and get involved yourselves!!! Together, we make a greater impact than apart!!! :)
Saturday, September 06, 2008

Dancing Diva

Olivia is THRILLED to be taking dance this year!!! She did SO great! I ran into her instructor yesterday and she commented on how she couldn't believe she had done so well after not taking preballet or anything. She was impressed. I passed the info on to Olivia who was beaming! She seems to take to anything she puts her mind to! :)

Flew By

The past week went so quickly it's hard to believe it's gone! Tuesday I had work, then Braeden's karate, then we went out to eat, then put the kids to bed. Wednesday I had work, then Olivia's first day of dance (she's taking ballet and tap this year in place of gymnastics, swimming, and cheerleading), then we went out to eat, then put the kids to bed. Thursday I had work, then karate (Braeden's last day - he's decided he'd done and I won't push him to do something he doesn't want to do), then we picked up chicken nuggets from Wendy's and went home to eat those with some veggies, then put the kids to bed. Friday I had work, then Olivia and I went grocery shopping and to the library, then picked up my parents and the boys and went out to eat with a friend of the family on his way back to Chicago, then put the kids to bed. And today we took the kids out for a donut, drove on the way to the airport and stopped at a thrift shop where my mom and I found some great deals while the others stayed in the "bus" and watched a movie, then we went out to eat for lunch, and then dropped off my parents at the airport. (Can you tell my parents are big "out-to-eat" people!?) :)

On top of that, the past two weeks my basement drain has been backing up more and more. It does that every once in a while, it's an older home, but usually rights itself in a few days. This time not so much and I just have not had time to do the prep work to the basement to call someone to come work on it. I am pretty sure it's due to tree roots in the line, the city even flushed the line for us the other day to make sure it wasn't that, so someone will need to come and send something in to cut out the roots. Makes a terrible mess and as the basement is like our family room there is a lot to move.

Today at the thrift store I bought some cheap sheets to tack up around the area so that I hopefully don't have to move so much. I think I am also going to get an estimate on removing my front trees. There are two huge, beautiful, trees, but that is where the roots are coming from and I don't want this situation to continue. Tonight after giving the boys a bath there was a literal flood in the basement! About 2 inches around the drain! I was not in a great mood much to the delight (not!) of the kids. Yuck!!! I'll have to be careful this weekend and call someone on Monday.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008

New Layout

I love my new blog design! Blogs for a Cause is a great way to get a new look for your blog and donate money for a great cause of the month as well as money to help in the mission field. Wonderful!!!

"Feel My Leg"

Tonight as I put Braeden to bed he said, "Mom, feel my leg." I did and said why? He said, "It's HAIRY!!!" LOL I was dying. He thinks he's getting "fur," "hairy legs," and is so proud. It's hilarious. :)
Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Random Pictures from the Weekend

We really had a great weekend this past holiday weekend.

Here Braeden is figuring out (very quickly) the ins and outs of a Nintendo DS. Whose DS would this be??? That would be GRANDMA's!!! LOL Crack me up!!! My mom loves this thing! :) And now the kids do too (remember we don't have video games!). :) But this was a lifesaver at the party. 3 1/2 hours was a bit long for him! :)

Olivia however became the baby watcher. :) She LOVES my cousin's little one (J)!!! And J was mesmerized by Olivia and her hair, she watched her nonstop!!!

My cousin and aunt are big into rummage sales right now. They are loving finding things, especially kids clothes and accessories. They gave us bags of things they found for the kids!!! Here Braeden is modeling the awesome Superman blow up outfit they got him!!! It was hilarious. Unfortunately, Mr. Sensitive didn't like feeling laughed at. :(

After opening all the goodies, we grabbed out a couple things so that the kids could change out of their "party" clothes to go out back. They were able to feed the horses...

ride the 4 wheeler...

act like "farmers"...

watch each other ride the 4 wheeler...

and they fed all the barn cats! :) Boy that was BIG fun for my crew!!! :)

The next night we met up with family at the BEST pizza place!!! Olivia got to play with baby J, who got a great grab of her barrettes!!! :)

That night at the hotel we bypassed the swimming as the water was FREEZING. We went into the little arcade instead, a novelty for them. We loved the air hockey and played quite a few games, even Liam got in a few shots! :)

And here is Olivia as mom sent in a great goal! :) (I ended up winning because she hit in 5 of my 7 goals herself!!!) :)

A fun- and family- filled weekend!!!

And the Envelope Says...

We have a Learning Explorer in our family!!!

Olivia received her official letter inviting her to be a part of our district's Learning Explorer (gifted) Program!

Yay!!!! Way to go Olivia!!!

In our district this is a pullout program. She'll go once a week for 1 1/4 hours and have extra work, projects, etc. She is so excited, as are we all! She was jumping up and down for joy tonight when I read the letter aloud. :) So proud!

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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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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: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources

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