Monday, March 28, 2011

Got Love?

I love "adoption" tshirts! I have a couple from 147 Million Orphans but other than that it's hard for me to find ones that aren't Africa specific. When I saw these below, I LOVED them! Our family often gets "matching" shirts in the summer for when we go to special places together and I suggested to Grandma and Grandpa this year that we get these to be those shirts, and they agreed! Grandma and Grandpa have them too and I can't wait to get a big group shot! These shirts come from Kelly at their Minus 1 Project blog.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Scare

Man, kids can sure scare you sometimes can't they!? :)

This afternoon, the afternoon that I had about a million things to do including getting work done for school this week.... yep that would be the one... Braeden, Liam and I were on the couch. Boys were watching a movie and I was beginning to get ready to work on some IEPs for my annual reviews which are Tuesday. (We found out just before break the dates of our annuals... I had a work day on the Thursday before but with coordinating with two other teachers and people talking to me off and on, I only got TWO finished! Course I had great ideas of working on them earlier in the week but Olivia's room and such won out!) The boys were believing they needed more room and were close to one another, Braeden nudged Liam and he fell backwards, landing on the floor. We have hardwood with a thin rug on top, so it was a crack when he fell. At first I thought he was kidding, laying there the way he was, eyes open, not moving a muscle. But then I called his name, and no silly grin came to say "I'm kidding." He was twitching his legs and arms a bit but not responding at all. I had Braeden get my phone and called 911 right away. I thought it COULD be a seizure as that's how his usually play out, but without the twitching. It was VERY scary!

He still was not responding but I could see he was breathing ok. He closed his eyes as I was talking to the operator. The ambulance and others came fairly quickly and of course as soon as they walked in the door he blinked and began coming to. They tried to get him to respond but he still wasn't. They couldn't get a neck brace on him or strap him successfully to the board as he kept twisting and was having none of it. They finally asked if they could just carry him out and since he would have already done more damage if there was any to be done from twisting I agreed.

The kids and I got things together (we're pros by now and each grabbed something to do and their coats and shoes as I got Liam's coat and some snacks) and left to meet them at the hospital. By the time we got there he was coming out of it but still groggy and so tired. They think the fall triggered a seizure, and he is SO tired after a seizure! They had to run a line and take blood to test his levels, which all turned out fine, but he wasn't happy about it, poor buddy. But he thought it pretty hilarious when I said they wanted him to pee in a cup, a new experience for him! He grinned and said, "Eewww" but then wanted to go do it. So funny! But that test came back fine too. And after a nap...

... he was giggling and back to himself! :) (The ambulance workers gave him this cute bear!)

So glad it all turned out ok, but such a scare in the meantime! And because mom was exhausted and didn't want to cook, and because they all did so well at the hospital, I took them out to dinner and to see the new Diary of a Wim*py Kid movie, then they hit the hay and I began work on my IEPs, which I'm pleased to say are just about complete! All in all, a VERY hectic last day of Spring Break!
Saturday, March 26, 2011


After all the work that our spring break was this year, I had planned ahead for a small, somewhat local, trip for us to take at the end.

Yesterday we drove about an hour away to a hotel/waterpark. We checked in and got busy having fun! My great friend (for years and years!), who is also Braeden's godmother, and her two boys joined us!

We spent the night and got back at it the next day...

Of course vacation wouldn't be complete without both playing at the arcade, and getting a ninja sword! (And it only took 360 tickets to "win" this lovely piece of plastic!) :)

It's all about the chips right now for Liam... cheese is headed to the wayside...

After some water fun, we headed out to see The Imagination Movers, with Choo Choo Soul opening!


It was a really great show! And one of the things I was most impressed with was when the lead (girl) singer from Choo Choo soul said (not the EXACT wording but you get the idea) that she was covered from neck to wrist and top to bottom (clothes) and that that's important to show girls that you can be cool and still be covered and be a role model THAT way instead of exposing yourself. LOVED IT!

The crew!

We headed home after the show and crashed. It was a GREAT two days... and I was so impressed with how well all the kids did. But I really noticed it in Braeden. I am so proud of him! He is still doing so great in controlling himself and it's just PLEASANT to be around him and do things for and with him! (I tell ya, the last 6 months were ROUGH.) They all did so wonderful and it was a great two day vacation! One day of catching up on laundry and working on my IEPs for my annual reviews at work this week, and then back to the grind. :)

My Girlie

My friend J called me yesterday as we pulled in to our getaway hotel... more soon on that trip!

Girlie had just left.

They found her a placement, a home, hopefully her forever family.

It sounds like it's a real shot at what she needs. It's a single mom, but a stay at home mom. Only one other child, who is now a teen. A mom who knows RAD and has dealt with it. Oh how I Pray this is it for her! I pray she can heal and make it! We are surrounding her with prayer!

Love you my "Girlie!"

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Spring Break

Plus a portion of my tax refund having been going toward completely overhauling Olivia's room.

She just fit into her room with regards to storage and such and there was no room to add in a new one (small bedroom though mine is smaller). :) I researched and found a storage system and bed that I thought would be perfect. I measured and created a graph of the room and the furniture pieces and played with them until I found the best way to place things. Monday Olivia had a doctor appt in Chicago and afterward we headed to IKEA and filled up the van, having removed the back seat (luckily - we NEEDED the room!)

Tuesday Olivia stayed home with me and we worked ALL DAY. I was in her room the entire time from 8am until 3:45pm, with a break for lunch. We went to a newer "diner" in town that we hadn't been to yet - YUM! It was so tasty! And Olivia tried Green*River for the first time and loved it! :)

Wednesday it was just me at home and I worked ALL DAY with barely a break for a bowl of cereal at lunch. :)

Thursday Olivia and Liam had appts in Chicago and we did a little shopping before and after. Then last night I worked a couple more hours after the kids went to bed (Olivia and Braeden have been sleeping some in the basement this week during break.)

FINALLY - we're finished! :) Such a great feeling! I still am working some on her closet, but otherwise we're DONE! Drum Roll Please...

Here's the room when we first purchased the house five years ago...

Here's a recent picture prior to the overhaul, loved it but no extra room...

And now for the finished product...

It's hard to get a real good shot as it's a small room.

Our new one will stay in my room for a while, but when she's a bit bigger she'll have a mattress/bedding underneath this bunk...

This is Olivia's bed space. It's a bit busy for me, but I know she'll LOVE it (did all this last night and she hasn't seen it yet.) :) The two white boards are magnet boards.

This is Olivia's area... the two wall shelves and lower shelves and drawers. She'll also have most all of the closet which we're redoing with an organizer set.

This is the area for our new little one. Her two shelves and the tall wardrobe as well as two small bookcases with doors. The toy box will be shared. I picked up the Groov*y Girls doll and horse yesterday at a thrift store for $1.80! :)

This summer Olivia and I are celebrating her turning 10 by going on a special trip together just the two of us. She had a few choices that were given and she chose to go to NYC. We'll go while in FL so that the boys can stay with Grandma and Grandpa while we're gone. When I saw this Statue of Liberty applique I just HAD to get it (Plus it was on MAJOR clearance!) Of course it looked about three times bigger in the picture!!! Still, I know she'll love it!

And there's a great new (empty) wardrobe just waiting for cute little girl clothes! :)

And that's been my spring break! We have some special plans for today and tomorrow to make up for all of mom's work! More on that later!!!
Thursday, March 24, 2011

Girlie Update

I so appreciate all of the comments and notes! Thank you! Just to let you know where things stand... My friend J has told the agency in no uncertain terms that a placement must be found by Monday. She's exhausted all day care options, DCFS no longer allows home day cares (???) but the children must be in a public setting with curriculum in place (meaning she couldn't go back to a mutual friend who is the one who took Girlie when she was kicked out of the two while living with me), and J works full time as a single mom as I do. There were no local placements (which we knew) but the agency did open it up to a large surrounding area. As of tonight... no luck. They have found NO ONE who will take her even as a respite placement in the interim. She has qualified for our local day treatment facility, BUT the two psychiatrists are on vacation for two WEEKS and they aren't accepting placements. I suggested that she talk to them about a residential placement that a couple of my former kiddos have gone to. It's not too far and if she qualified locally I would think she would qualify for that one as well. That way she'd have a safe place to be, wouldn't transition to a respite home that wouldn't work anyway, and then a more exhaustive, far reaching, search could be done for an experienced family. I'd love to see her listed on CHASK or on some of my Yahoo groups with families who know exactly what they're getting into. Part of the problem here is also that they are searching for a family with a stay at home parent and if there are children, that they are at least middle school age and older. Exactly what I was fighting for back when but they would not push to make her specialized. She NEEDS to be specialized. Not that that will mean the "perfect" family is found and she'll never have to bounce again, BUT it's at least a better shot with experienced parents.

My prayers continue to go out to her!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tearful Goodbyes

The kids and I had to say goodbye to a very special person in our life tonight.

It was pretty sudden and we most likely won't get to ever see them again... how's that for a jolt.

The little one in these pictures with Liam is our former foster child "Girlie." She and Liam are four months apart and have always had a special bond.

When her case headed toward termination I prayed about whether or not we were her forever family. A lot. She came to us at 23 months and had been through h**l and back and had the scars to show it. She could swear like a sailor. She was "kicked out" of two different day cares for biting so hard on other children's cheeks to leave huge and immediate bruises... and for no real reason. She had to be put in one piece PJs, inside out and backwards to keep from smearing feces during the night. And the list could continue. At 2 years old she hit every bullet point for a child with RAD that a child her age could hit, and then some. There were only a few she didn't and it was because of lack of exposure to those circumstances, I felt it was only a matter of time.

Though I loved her to death it was the hardest year I've been through as a parent. And during that time of prayer I knew that we were not meant to be her forever family. But my heart hurt for my kids, especially Liam, and having to say goodbye. That was in July of 2008. Two and a half years ago.

The agency I was with did NOT do what needed to be done in finding her a suitable home. She needed experience and parents that we just didn't have available in our area. There was no one. Eventually my friend "J" stepped up and said that she would parent her, that she knew what she was getting into. She was already parenting one with some minor attachment issues, had experience with special needs, researched RAD, and didn't want to add more children to the mix eventually like I did. So Girlie went to live with her new family.

It was a rough road for all involved in many ways, and there is a lot more to the story, but suffice it to say they were on the road to recovery, rights were terminated, and adoption was looming. And then a couple weeks ago the bottom dropped out. She had been going to a public day care and she lost it and got in a huge scuttle with a teacher, threw a toilet tank lid, breaking it into a million pieces, and fought like HECK. She was asked to leave. Girlie was sent last week to a new day care, one that specializes in special needs kids. Today she threw a piece of glass at a teacher, cutting her leg, and spilled an entire jug of grape juice on their carpet. And my friend, upon searching her room today, discovered a nail file in her bed that had been missing for a while. Among other things, these were huge red flags.

They've been in counseling, and the counselor is amazed at some of the things that come out of her mouth. She is ARTICULATE and so so smart. She sounds like a ten year old trapped in a five year old body. Really.

And when J called me today to tell me what was going on with her newest day care, she also told me that she has given the agency notice. They are finding her a new home.
As. Of. Tomorrow.

So tonight after church we went to say our goodbyes. How do you do that?

(Unfortunately I only had my cell phone camera.)

How do you explain to your three children WHY this is happening?

How do you tell your five year old what is going on? That he will most likely never see his buddy again?

How do you explain enough so that your seven year old doesn't want to just look at the things on the fridge instead of being open about how upset he is and joins in a picture?

How do you listen to this 5-going-on-10 year old tell you they're not scared about tomorrow when you ask, when you know inside they are being confirmed in what they most likely have thought from the get go... I'm going to control this situation because it won't last... adults can't be trusted... I have no one to care for me but me... I'm going to act up so they'll send me on when I get too close because I want to control...

How do you do THAT?

Oh how I wish there were a way to take her back. I just can't. I know I can't. It would be a miserable thing for us all... but oh how I wish...

My prayers go with her... I hope yours do 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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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