Saturday, March 14, 2009

The King...

... of drama and procrastination would be my Braeden.

Tonight I put him to bed with the same reminders I give every night. You may have a child like mine if you sometimes say, "Remember, you don't need to come down to where mommy is." "You're in bed now, I don't want you getting up unless you need to use the bathroom." "Braeden, you don't need to come show me a dead ladybug, or give me a tiny pebble from your rock collection, it's bedtime." ETC...

So just a few minutes after I said things along these lines, Braeden had to come downstairs with glee on his face, "Mom, guess what, I forgot to tell you my scratch is GONE!" smile, smile, smile.

I said, "Braeden, remember, I put you to bed already, it's time to sleep now, we'll have lots of time to talk again tomorrow."

I went back to what I was doing as he went back to bed... or so I thought.

Two minutes later he came back down. Crying. Weeping. "Mom, I miss Grammy and Buddy," crying just tears and tears and big weepy tears, "Do you think we could call them so I could talk to them?" More crying. So dramatic.

I said, "Braeden, do you want to talk to them because you want to stay up late?" with a slight grin.

And Braeden replied, in his teary weepy voice, "Yes."

Well, at least the kid's honest!


(Ok, I DID let him call Grandma and Grandpa, come on, that was a GREAT ploy! - I HAD to give him credit!)
Friday, March 13, 2009

March 23

The day I meet with my lawyer to go over Liam's adoption subsidy!!!

Following that it will be sent on to the state, hopefully to be returned within 3-4 weeks, then we will get an adoption date set! So we could be looking at the end of May! If not, then we will have to wait until mid to late July as we'll be out of town all of June and possibly the first week of July.

It's finally on the horizon! yay!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Serious Life

Time for the March issue of Serious Life Magazine. If you haven't yet checked
this out, be sure to do it! It's a free online subscription, and is written by a
wonderful person! The Pray for Abby badge on my blog is the little girl of the person who puts out such an awesome magazine. And this month my blog is listed in the blog directory!

Be sure to check it out!Serious.Life Magazine
Monday, March 09, 2009

Some Helpful Books

So, a while ago I shared how Olivia has been introduced to the birds and the bees in the schoolyard. Yes, I know this is common, however it is NOT common for SECOND graders to talk about SEX!!! I was floored and so not happy. She has one friend I'm not crazy about, for this and other reasons. I'm extremely blessed though that Olivia comes to me, talks to me, confides in me, and looks to me for guidance in these areas. Blessed! But, the whole sex conversation, I needed help.

I found a few GREAT books through another blog and ordered them recently.

One I gave to Olivia. She POURS over it! She LOVES it! She sits by me on the couch and "hides" it from the boys while she reads it. We talk about it - when the boys aren't around - and she thinks she's so cool. :) The book I gave her is The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls. It's an American Girl book which she thinks is cool too. This book talks a lot about health and cleanliness and changes that will happen during puberty. The biggest of these of course being the ... PERIOD. :)

The second book I got is called The Wonderful Way That Babies Are Made. Love this book! It has two sets of text on each page. One is a little larger and is meant for reading to children ages 3 and up. Olivia and I have read this together already. I must admit, I have a hard time saying words like "sperm." :) But even this "younger child version" uses this vocabulary. I love it though because it talks a lot about God and His plan for us as His creation. It also has a few pages talking about adoption, and talks about how Jesus was adopted by Joseph. The older child text goes into more detail both physically and spiritually and Olivia and I will get into that in not too much longer I think.

The third book I think I will really like too. It's called What's the Big Deal? Why God Cares About Sex. I like this because it's like a conversation between kids and parents and the book even suggests that a child/parents read it sort of like a play. I like the discussion because it's very real to where kids will be. It talks about why some people think and talk about sex so much, but also about how God wants us to view sex. BUT - a "disclaimer" - there is a chapter on AIDS and HIV that I do NOT like how it is presented. Am I saying there shouldn't be a chapter on this, no. But, this book says things such as most people who have HIV contracted it through breaking God's commands. (Sex outside of marriage and extreme promiscuousness) OK, that is NOT my child, but yet that WILL put those ideas in her head. We WON'T be reading that chapter. I may just yank it out. :)

Foster Care Hit by Economy

So I wondered when the current economic situation would threaten foster care and now it looks like it is beginning to, at least here in IL.

I found out today that currently there is a plan in the courts to end adoption subsidies in our state. Right now, when a foster child is adopted, they retain an adoption subsidy, basically their foster care payments continue into adoption until the child turns 18. They are also given any therapies they may be needing, future counseling if and when it's needed, a medicaid card, and day care paid until the child is 3. Maybe to many of you you're thinking, that's crazy, my child doesn't get that and I adopted them, or I birthed them, whatever it may be. I understand what you're saying, but you also need to remember that these children were lingering in foster care, not being adopted, and aging out of the system, all because many of the people who loved them and could give them a home couldn't afford the day to day costs. Many of these children have behaviors, or need therapy, due to their histories. Counseling alone could cost a small fortune. I know for myself as a single parent, I honestly don't know if I could afford my lovelies without the help that the state gives. Mostly because of day care.

You also have to remember that although you are asked to give your children everything and treat them the same as a birth child, the state doesn't completely view it that way. If you were to pass away, heaven forbid, with a child you adopted through the state system, that child becomes a ward of the state again. Nevermind you adopted them for life. Nevermind your will and subsidy list a caregiver in the case that happened. They MAY go along with your wishes, and probably will, but it's not a given. The child is "theirs". That BOTHERS me!

What makes me nervous and sad is the fact that if it does indeed pass, and it looks like it will, that IL no longer is granting adoption subsidies, we will go right back to kids lingering in the system. Aging out of the system. With no forever family. No ties to someone. No home. It already happens to many, it will be multiplied if families don't receive this assistance. Maybe it's not right, but it will be reality.

My friend J has 3 foster children right now. The older two are heading toward adoption and may make the "cut" with their subsidies. But the youngest, if she even does end up in a situation where she could be adopted, is the one who would need the subsidy the most, and she wouldn't be "done" in time. She has major issues. Sensory issues. Aggression issues. She needs social work and occupational therapy. She will need counseling. She needs respite. She will need a lot. And as she gets older it will only get more difficult. If they discontinue subsidies, could my single friend J continue to advocate and help her without all of that help herself, I highly doubt it. Would someone else knowingly take that on without some kind of help. I can't imagine.

I heard that foster children in homes where the family wouldn't adopt without a subsidy will be moved to a home that will. Do that many homes even exist? What would I say if they asked me? The thought of going through all the - excuse me - crap that you have to go through as a foster parent, and then not having some kind of assistance, I don't know if I would want to. Why not adopt internationally and not deal with it if there isn't a subsidy anyway?

I also heard that my current agency themselves is keeping at least three families in a state of family preservation, rather than bringing the children into care although the situations are dire enough that that is truly what SHOULD happen, all because of money. There isn't money to bring them into care, so they are leaving them with the families who are hurting them, and trying to make it work.

I hope that some of this makes sense. I have so many feelings and thoughts swirling around in my head because of this information. Money shouldn't be a factor in having or adopting children. But unfortunately it is for so many. I worry about the kids this will affect. The kids who don't even know what is coming. The kids who trust the state to do what is right by them, and are then left to the wolves with no one to call their own.

I pray for the lawmakers, I pray for the foster care agencies, I pray people will be open and willing to adopt without a subsidy if need be, I pray for the children.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

More on Benefits

Here is a link with more detailed information on Wendy's adoption assistance. It's no wonder that they are currently ranked number ONE in providing adoption benefits!

Click Here

Didn't Last Long

Well, those of you I've met IRL, you unfortunately won't get the opportunity to see Olivia's lovely earrings up close and in person. That's right, they are no longer.

I was so frustrated with her today. She has wanted her ears pierced forever. I was originally going to let her do it when she turned 10. Then she did so well at getting past her bedwetting and things were going along great, and I let her do it as a surprise Valentine gift. I talked to her extensively about not playing with them, how they couldn't come out before at least 6 weeks, possibly longer, etc. I thought she could handle it. And yet today she came home from school with only one earring. She admitted she was playing with them and took one out. I took out the other one. We're done, until at LEAST 10. I was and am very disappointed in her.

Along those same lines (?) I think we're FINALLY at a point of her beginning counseling. I have tried for a couple of months to get it situated, but unless I caught her adopt unit "person" actually in her office, she never returned my phone call. I got a hold of her and she tried to put it off again, but I said no, this is who I want, please send the letter. They have to send a letter to the person you want to counsel the child, for it to go through the adopt unit. A lot of red tape to me. I decided to have her go to the counselor she went to a few years ago from our old agency while her brother was having some hard times and then ended up moving. She already knows our situation, and her brother is what Olivia really needs to work on processing the most, so I think in the long run she will be the best choice for us.

Things overall have gone really well with Olivia for quite some time now. We still have little instances of attachment issues, but overall there has been nothing big. (Knock on wood big time!) :) I hope that counseling, for both of us, is a great way for her to re-look at what "happened" to bring her to care, why her brother left, and why we aren't able to visit with him. (His adoptive parents.)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Very Disturbing

I couldn't even fathom that this was true when I read about it on another blog earlier. I had to go to the link and read for myself what was said. But unbelievable enough, it is true. The following statement was made by Senator Dave Schultheis of Colorado Springs:

"What I'm hoping is that, yes, that person may have AIDS, have it seriously as a baby and when they grow up, but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that," he said. "The family will see the negative consequences of that promiscuity and it may make a number of people over the coming years begin to realize that there are negative consequences and maybe they should adjust their behavior."

He is talking about how horrible it is to want to test pregnant women for HIV in order to be able to give them medicine to help prevent their unborn child from contracting the mother's HIV if they are indeed pregnant. He thinks it would be condoning "poor and unacceptable" behavior.

WHAT!? Where on earth did this person come from and how in the world did he become a senator!? This kind of thinking is unreprehensible! Sentence a child to a lifetime of medicine and blood draws every three months, not to mention that he's HOPING they have AIDS, all in order to make the woman feel guilty about being sexually active??? Wow! I hope he receives quite a backlash following this statement.

And if you need to read it yourself, here is the article: IDIOT makes a statement
Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Part-time Job???

Do I have time for a part-time job??? I'll have to definately think it through!

Did you know that Wendy's has UNBELIEVABLE adoption benefits for ALL employees who work for them over a year???

A $23,300 grant and 6 weeks of PAID leave for an adoption!

That is AMAZING!


Liam's subsidy paperwork is DONE!!!

What this means is that his paperwork is now on the way to my lawyer. I'm hoping he receives it this week. Then he will call me and set a day/time to meet and go over it (although I've already gone over it so it should be nothing.) After we go through it, assuming it needs no changes, we will give it back to the agency to send in to the state. They will approve it and ok it, hopefully within 3-5 weeks. Once we have it back, then my lawyer will file for an adoption date! Usually that means about 5 -6 weeks after it comes back. So... essentially... if I meet with my lawyer next week... we could be looking at an adoption date at the end of MAY! Wow!!! I can't wait!

And an update on my healthy living... In January I knew I needed a major life change. I started eating better, much more whole foods and packing in the nutrition in the calories I am taking in. I also started doing the Wii Fit and have now added in different work out programs. Yesterday was my 8 week mark and I have lost 23 pounds! :) My first major goal will come in just 11 more pounds. At that time I'm buying a bike and bike trailer so the kids and I can spend time together being healthy this summer! :) I can't wait!

Absence and Answers To More Questions

Sorry I've been gone a while. I have been so sick. :( I was off Wednesday and Thursday last week, finally having gotten to the doctor and received my prescription of antibiotics. Friday I was dressed and ready, though still not feeling well, when Liam woke with crusty eyes, green nose, and fever. So we were both home Friday and he got antibiotics for an ear infection. I was glad actually for a reason to stay home though. I was out of commission still on Saturday and Sunday. After a bad day Saturday, I did some planning Sat evening and brought up some toys we hadn't used in a while to occupy time on Sunday. I also asked Olivia if she wanted to do breakfast herself and she was on cloud nine. (She did a great job with toast, cheese, cereal, and apples!) :)

I received a couple more questions this week that I'd like to answer in case anyone else would like similar information...

My first question is about the spacing in age of your kids. I was wondering if you could give me some of your insights in regards to age differences amongst your kids.

Really that is going to depend on the kids you end up getting and what experiences/traumas they have been through and how it's affected them. Adopting at all, but especially adopting children who are waiting to be adopted is very different from having birth children and adding them one (or more at a time) in birth order, and being biologically related. Each of these kids come with such a unique series of genetics and histories, it's hard to know how or where or if they will "fit in" with children already in your home. It's a fine balance.

For me I know that taking another girl is going to be hard for Olivia. Especially if she is close to her age. The house I am currently in (and yes I dream of moving to something larger at some point, but for now this is our home) has three bedrooms. I have the smallest, Olivia the next largest, and the boys have a finished upper room that is quite large. Olivia is VERY protective of her room and her things. Even though she really doesn't play with them. She does not like kids in her room, but always wants to play in the boys room or play with the baby toys that are just out in the living room. She has a little bit of a hard time with Braeden still occasionally as well. I really think that it's because Braeden had been with me for a year when she came at age 3 1/2. He had TONS of stuff. :) He had had his first Christmas and first birthday with me and was given lots by friends and family.

When Olivia came, they had had nothing and she came to me with one doll. She got lots too, over time, but I think it has always stuck with her that I "like him better" for whatever reason. It's been hard to "prove" her otherwise. She's 2 1/2 years older so does have more responsibilities, homework, etc. She sees that as being unfair. Her attachment issues and prior history would make it difficult to take on another girl.

So , I wish I could answer your question better, but it just really depends on the kids themselves. I think as you get your feet wet and possibly meet some kids you'll see more of what will work. Just be sure to ask LOTS of questions! If adopting children who are waiting, SWers are not always up front about issues.

My second question is if you might share some of your experiences of adopting trans-racially. I am totally open to the idea, and feel hearing experiences from trans-racial families is a good way to prepare myself.

Really this has been a non-existent issue for us. I was a little hesitant on how others would react, but have had no issues. My friends and family have been wonderful. As my children get older, I hope to continue to prepare my kids to meet with compassion whatever may come their way. I know, I am not ignorant of the fact, that things very well could be said or things done, strictly based on the color of my children. I want them to be aware as well so that they go into this world with eyes open, but hearts open as well.

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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:

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