Braeden was in the tub the other night and talking about all sorts of random things, as five year olds do. Out of nowhere he said, "Jack Be Nimble said that he ..."
I said, "Whoa, wait a minute. Did you just say Jack Be Nimble? What are you talking about?" :)
Braeden: "Mom..." Like I am incredibly dense and have no sense of what is going on in the world. "Jack Be Nimble is Jack's nickname that my teacher gave him in the class."
Me: Thinking - Oh. Duh. Yes, of course I should have known THAT! :) But saying, out of sheer curiosity now, "Braeden, do YOU have a nickname in class???"
Braeden: "Yes, she calls me Mexican Jumping Bean. And... (mumble mumble mumble)."
Me: "What Braeden?" Trying so hard to keep from laughing at the Mexican Jumping Bean - it just DOES fit so well.
Braeden: A bit louder now as he's embarrassed by the next thing that will be coming out of his mouth. "I SAID, SHE ALSO CALLS ME, MR. RUNAWAY!"
A fellow single mom emailed me to ask a few questions. She and her eight year old son are looking at adoption to add to their family. After looking at different ways to adopt, she has decided to adopt from the foster care system.
Her first question ...
is in regards to the way that you make one-on-one time with each of your kids. My son is 8 years old and he has been an only child that entire time. Although he has always wanted siblings I know that once he gets them he will need to get used to everything that used to be "his" now being "ours." And one thing I really wanted to do was make time for each of the children separately. You seem to do a good job of that and I was wondering if you could share your "technique."
As far as one on one time, that's hard sometimes, especially being single. I try to connect with each of them one on one during the day however I can. That may be making a point of asking each of them at dinner what they did during their day (and really listening! :) ), or reading a book with them, helping with homework, whatever I can fit in and do without others feeling bad. (If we are having a rough day it doesn't always get done the way I would like.)
I also this year began getting a babysitter from our local Christian college to take the kids out one on one for special time. The first part of the year I had a sitter who came every week. It was great as I was able to take out the kids and have a night a month for myself as well. BUT, it didn't work so well with Braeden. He is extremely active and the sitter had a hard time setting limits and following through so he began to walk all over her. (Not that he was innocent!) She eventually quit. So, I hired a new sitter for this part of the year and for now am just having her come every other week. So far so good.
Usually on their night out we go out to dinner and then to some activity. Unfortunately for Olivia the activity is usually hanging out at Barnes and Noble when it's a school night as she has homework to do. But she still likes the time together. I try to do more with her on our school days off, but then often "pay" for it because of her attachment issues. (We typically have at least a few days, if not a week or two, of just obstinate behavior and tantrums.) :(
I haven't done as much yet with Liam as he's still young and actually loves spending the time with our sitter. Liam is my morning cuddler though, that's his special time of day. Olivia works on getting herself ready while I get the boys up. Braeden usually asks for "five more minutes" so he sleeps a little longer while Liam and I cuddle on the couch prior to getting dressed and ready to go. :)
The other question that I had was in regards to interactions and building relationships with birth families. To be really honest this is one area that I feel very mixed or cautious about. My primary concern is the well-being of the child and I would want the child to have a positive relationship with their birth parent if possible, but ?? How to navigate that and decide if it is a good idea for the child at the time...I feel unsure about how to make these decisions. I understand that some of this deals with very personal decisions and I am not trying to be too personal or nosey. I just think that you seem very level headed and have a genuine desire to create a bond with the birth family that I find admirable. I would appreciate any advice or thoughts on this subject as it is one that I have so much uncertainty about.
Parental contact is a hard one. Especially because these aren't parents who are knowingly and thoughtfully making an adoption plan. They have had their children taken from them for one or many of a number of reasons. You will just have to feel it out and see what will work best for you, for the child, and for your family. At the very least I had hoped for each to be able to share letters and pictures as they grew. So far Liam's is even better than that, and we are able to do visits.
I think as you take a child and get to know the parents, or at least the situation of why the child was removed, you'll have a better feel for what is comfortable. The process of a child in foster care is typically very long and you'll unfortunately have lots of time. (I shouldn't say always though, you could perhaps take a child who was in another foster home and they aren't adopting??? Then you could maybe ask the foster family???)
The other thing to remember is that many bio parents will see you as the bad guy. You are the one caring for their child 24/7 while they can't for whatever reason. Instead of accepting responsibility, many look at the foster parent as taking their child. (I won't say all because I have heard of some positive situations, but with my experiences this has been the case.) You are caring for them "better" than they could, dressing them "better", doing more with them, etc. It's hard for them and they respond by saying things about you or what have you. When Liam would go to a visit with even one little scratch (he's a growing boy after all!) bio mom would say I was abusing him. The agency knew it was all talk, but it was still hard to hear. We have a much better relationship now. I think a lot of that changed because she saw I wasn't just taking him away from her, but was willing to have an open relationship. A lot of it is just going to be on an individual basis unfortunately. I did a post kind of about this recently, don't know if you caught it??? With Braeden's it was a no go from the start as it was a very violent situation. We even had to get an order of protection for he and I during the final part. Luckily I had never met them. BUT, I do wish I had a way of letting them know how he is doing through photos.
*** Update to my answer to this particular question. Prior to writing this, and even more since I did, I have thought a lot about trying to get at least a letter to each of the kids' birth families. I know that Braeden's is in our area. I could have a way to get a letter to them letting them know how Braeden is doing. I don't want to give them pictures, but maybe information. And I could give them my PO box if they wanted to send him a letter. I am still praying about this, but feel like it's a path I may try. He asks about them often and I would love to have some info or maybe even a picture of them to show him. I just don't know.
I don't think I have even that option with Olivia's, but do have one person I could ask to see if they ever have contact with her any longer.
I could use prayers on this area if you feel so led! :)
We had originally planned to go to the aquarium - free day! - but it was GORGEOUS out, so we went to the zoo instead. We had a blast! :)
He couldn't believe how close the lions were - he LOVES lions! He growls all the time, yea, he growls! :)
On the way to get her earrings done tonight I let Olivia know we were going somewhere special. I talked to her about how well she had done lately with bedwetting and how proud I was of her. She guessed everything under the sun as to where we were going and finally, kiddingly, guessed getting her ears pierced. I thought she was going to fly out of her seat when I said yes. She couldn't believe it and was screaming and jumping up and down.
When we got there I was so scared. Only one person was working. That meant one ear at a time. I thought there was no way we were getting both done, but talked to her and she was still positive she wanted it done.
So we did... and she did AWESOME! She barely moved. I got great video of the first ear getting done, but my dialup is not cooperating tonight and I've already been kicked off twice trying to upload it. I did get the pictures of her second ear getting done, up and ready to post. She chose little silver balls, white gold really, and I like them a lot.
I realized I didn't get a close up of her with them done... sorry! Maybe tomorrow! :)
Olivia has been alarm free at night! She is so awesome! No more bedwetting!
Olivia has been wanting to get her ears pierced forever, but I've always told her when she turns 10. Lately I've been thinking that I would surprise her for her 8th birthday in August and let her get it done. When we were at the mall on Saturday, my friend J got one of her girls' ears pierced. I thought for sure Olivia would be repelled by the pain. Nope, J's little one didn't even FLINCH! I couldn't believe it! So of course she just wants it all the more. But she's good about not begging as she knows my stand.
Well... I think as a reward for her bedwetting being DONE, and as a part Valentine's Day gift, I'm going to take her Friday after school. Just us girls. I'm so excited! She will flip! I do still think she's going to scream and cry, but then will be thrilled to see what they look like! :) I can't wait!!! Pics to be posted!
I know... a picture of Liam and his little tantrum... I couldn't help it, I love this photo! :) He was not happy with mommy because she kept bringing him back to the play area where the other 10 of us were so that she could keep an eye on him. Man, what a mean mom! :) LOL
This was in the jungle expedition. You were supposed to stick in your hand for a "treat". (It sprayed water on you!)
My friend J gave Braeden this Speed Racer wheel. He LOVES it! He HAD to bring it in the mall and drive the stroller! (Yes, a double stroller is used at times like this with two feisty boys in a very crazy people packed mall! :) )
The next day when we did gifts...
If not, read it!
It describes additional wording and plans for Health Care linked in with the Stimulus Plan.
This is some scary stuff. It reminds me more and more of a government being concerned with helping those who are young and strong and healthy. A government who cares more for money than it does for the individuals who make up this beautiful country of ours.
"The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle’s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis. "
What does or could that mean for people who are on medicaid??? Such as my children!
Or people - adults and children - who are HIV+??? Such as my daughter!
I've seen the misinformation that runs rampant in our country, even by supposed in-the-know health practictioners. If a council is set up to decide what treatments and people get the go ahead, regardless even of their own insurance or ability to pay, but especially if they're on medicaid, heaven forbid, or if they have a misunderstood and feared disease, what could that potentially mean?
What about children adopted abroad and brought into this country with illnesses or disabilities or AIDS, who are coming to be loved into a family, given care, given health? I've seen these faces. I know these stories. What could this health care bill mean to the future of kids such as these???
It's scary, and this bill should not be passed quickly to boost our economy. It should be studied and looked at in depth. This knowledge should be given out to the public. We should make ourselves aware and let our voices be heard. I fear for what could become of the country if we don't.
Knowing that three kids is already quite pricey with parties, and especially knowing that I want more, I decided a couple years ago to only do big parties at the kids' fifth, tenth, and sixteenth birthdays. So since this was Braeden's fifth, we went all out. He was able to choose Lego land with our friends, or something closer adding his friends from school. He picked Lego land.
We headed up to the Chicago area with my friend J and her three girls, meeting my friend and her two (who are Braeden's bio brother and sister) at Lego land. It was fun, but I don't know that I would go there and pay the cost any other time. Maybe if we lived closer and bought the year pass??? We ate pizza and cake, opened gifts, played in a huge lego area, rode a dragon ride, watched a 4D lego movie, took a tour of "lego Chicago", went on a lego jungle expedition, and saw Pres. Obama in legos! It was pretty funny that most of our kids knew exactly who he was! I have more pics I want to post, but here are a few to start with...
J and our six heading in to lego land...
At the entrance, the eyes moved and the littles wanted nothing to do with it!!!
A group shot after playing!!!
I will never forget the day he was brought to my door. Three days old and not much more than 5lbs. The first night was tiring and emotional, but it got easier. :) And now, he's not such a baby anymore! Where does the time go???
First, our trip to a local McDonalds to meet up with his birth mom. We had a lovely visit and Liam had a great time playing and being with his "first mommy."
We picked up Braeden from day care after our visit, and since I had my camera in my pocket, I HAD to take pictures of the pee pants!!! :) He was a bit excited getting ready to go for Liam's bday dinner, and decided he didn't need to use the bathroom. When I pulled out the camera he was hiding and laughing and trying not to let me get a shot, but I did!!! :) Stinker!
And this is my favorite! Olivia wanted to give Liam her own gift, so when we were at Target the other day we stumbled upon a great wooden firetruck. It had been $20 and was on clearance for $5! She wanted to give him that, so she paid half, and Braeden paid half. Liam was delighted! And here he is hugging them his thanks! :)
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What you should know about HIV
Other Awesome Blogs
• 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 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