Saturday, August 12, 2017

Anthony is 14

Anthony turned 14 today. He requested a Reeces peanut butter cake. I haven't made peanut butter frosting before, it came out quite tasty.


Anthony was delighted with his cake. *Yes he has gotten quite a bit taller than me!



I didn't know how far the frosting would go so I made a double batch. There was a lot of extra frosting so the kids dipped peanut butter cups into it. 







It is hard to believe that he is going into his last year of middle school.He is growing up so fast and has made great strides in the last year in many areas. Academically he is on his way to his high school diploma and he has come a long way in controlling his anger. He is getting so tall at 5'7" and right now is wearing a size 11 shoe!


2008 


2009 


2010


2011


2012


2013 


2014


2015


2016 


Can't find any digital pictures before 2008. Sometime I will need to crack open my closet and see if I can' find his older birthday pictures! Anyone have a closet full of actual pictures? I'd love to get them all digital but that would cost me a small fortune.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Joselin

Today I picked up Joselin from Columbia so she could visit for a few days. Either she has shrunk or Anthony and Larissa have grown.


We had to eat at our favorite restaurant as a late birthday dinner for her.


When I picked her up at our prearranged time she was crying. She has been very nostalgic all day and very talkative. At one point she turned to me and said, "Thank you. Thank you for putting up with me, thank you for contacting me on facebook even when I didn't want to talk to you, thank you for being my mom because you are my mom." 

She still regrets all the years she wasted being so angry. She told me that her younger brother is now 18. She wishes that she could find him. She says that one day she will find him but how does she tell him that her mom gave them up for adoption because she was selfish. She wanted them to be adopted together because she didn't want her brothers father to have him.  This was the first time I heard this. She said she never said anything because she was embarrassed. She wanted them to both be adopted together so that Joselin could  bring him back home one day. However, she didn't have birth certificates and her brother was a much lighter skin color so the orphanage wouldn't take them together. She left her brother there and got some money for him and then took Joselin to another orphanage where she lied about her age and got more money. Joselin never understood why her mom took her when her first plan failed.

Then she asked me if I regretted letting her mom see her when we went for the pick up trip. I told her that I was very torn about that. We did it because we wanted Joselin to have pictures with her mom. However, we had no idea that her mom would say stuff to her that would cause years of hardship. Joselin said she was split too because those pictures were so important to her but it made everything so much harder. Her mom told her to not ever call me mom, to come back to Guatemala when she was 16 and that she was pregnant. She said an awful lot in a very short period of time and caused a lot of problems! If I had to do it over again would I allow that visit? I am not sure.

I can see that her brother turning 18 has caused her to reevaluate everything. We have all made mistakes along the way, we all have some level of regrets. However, we are here today with a strong relationship because we didn't give up even when things were at their worst.

I have seen that with each milestone Joselin processes more of her past. Some of it pleasant and some of it traumatic. Slowly it is all becoming her past and she is looking at it from a more mature prospective. Some of it still hurts and for some things she will never get an answer about all of her mothers motivations. But as she said herself today, she needs to let some of it just stay in the past.





Monday, August 7, 2017

The Waiting Game

It seems that anything to do with foster care is all about waiting. Waiting for the workers to get back to you, waiting for the court system. Right now we are waiting for two states to talk with each other.  

Our Itty is still looking to go out of state to an aunt. I have not been informed of any progress as of yet. Apparently right now they are in the progress of getting the aunts homestudy done in her state. I was told this could take 6 to 12 months and it looks like that is true. Sad thing is we all know that he is supposed to go but he doesn't. We love on him and tell ourselves that he WILL be going to his aunt. Honestly it helps to guard a small part of your heart. He is at the point where he is starting to prefer one of us to hold him. He doesn't know that at some point he will be ripped away and taken to a new home. It is great that a family member has stepped up, I just wish that the process was quicker.

Our two girls, ages 4 and 5 are a challenge.  Several talks with the social worker and I understand them a bit better.  Their home was deemed uninhabitable.The girls bedroom was the worst of it. Writing all over the walls, trash, clothing and everything else all over the floor. The reason that DSS was called in was because the girls were always wandering the neighborhood without any supervision. It explains a lot. Every day they were trashing their bedroom. Clothing and bedding on the floor. They just throw everything on the floor, trash and all. Toys broken and torn up. Not willing to listen. Fits when we require that they follow our rules. They were allowed to do whatever they wanted at their home, they are not allowed to do that at our home. Having tantrums doesn't change that. Our biggest play area is the garage. They have lost the privileged of going out there after they hurt Benjamin. Both girls weigh about 60 lbs and use their weight to shove each other and Benjamin around. He is sporting a bruise on his forehead from it so they aren't allowed in the garage until they are able to control themselves.

Lately I have caught myself saying that they don't pay me enough for this. When I think that it isn't about the taking care of them it is about the damage they have done to toys and other items. They have to be in my line of sight at all times or they are getting into things. I caught them trying to get into my display cabinet with all breakables. They are always trying to slink off to get into stuff. Our toilet paper cost has skyrocket as the younger one used half a roll and clogs the toilet often. We are on a septic tank and at the rate she is going it will need drained quicker than normal. If she isn't clogging the toilet she is stuffing dirty toilet paper in places you don't expect or peeing on the floor. She doesn't seem to mind cleaning her pee up off the floor at all. 

We are working of retraining. So far it has fallen on deaf ears. It is frustrating but we will continue. From how the case has gone we have a lot of time to work on retraining. A grandmother has come forward but she is out of state. If that progresses it will be at least 6 months. They won't be going home to their parents any time soon as the case has had several twists and turns and is no longer what we started with.So we wait. Wait to see if they determine that grandma is a good option. Wait to see how vigorously the parents work to get their kids home.

Yes, the waiting game on all fronts.

Welcome home

Today we celebrated with friends Sarah's return. She wanted some country fried steak so that is what we cooked. We sure can fill our dining room table.



Overflow seating




A huge challenge that we have is the size of our kitchen. It is just too small. All the pots that we use are huge, we were moving them around today trying to get food cooked.  There really isn't much that we can do about it but limit who goes into the kitchen when we are cooking. There is quite a traffic jam in there often!

I made some pineapple upside down cupcakes. The recipe is circulating around facebook and it is very easy to make. Actually, they all disappeared rather quickly, I may need to make more for tomorrow evening.



Sarah will be home until next weekend when she heads back to school for her last semester. Actually, not her last semester for school but her last semester for her bachelor program. In January she will start her masters program but will live at home. She has already been accepted.

She has to do another trip for that program and honestly I am concerned about funding it. We pretty much paid for most of the last trip. I was annoyed because I thought that they were overcharging for it. She did end up having about $1000 left which they allowed her to keep since most of the money came from us. It will go towards her school this next semester. For her next trip she wants to go for almost a year to teach English to refugees. I can't afford that trip so she is going to have to figure out how to get funding. I am surprised that the school doesn't teach something on how to fund these trips.

It is almost 2 am here in SC and I am about to head to bed. I find myself staying up later and later. I just changed my mom and gave her a late night snack so she is watching TV and snacking. She has always been a night owl and so have I. It is a bit of a challenge since the kids go to bed at a normal time. I need to try to go to bed earlier so I can get more that 4-5 hours of sleep at night. More sleep might make me more productive!

Tomorrow, or later today, I will post updates on the foster kiddos and what is happening.

Night all.....or good morning.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

25 Years

During my last blackout period my husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. Our anniversary is actually on Michelle's birthday, or should I say it the other way around since our anniversary came first. For our anniversary we actually went out of town for the weekend all by ourselves. Two nights with just the two of us! We went to Tybee Beach and stayed at a bed and breakfast there. We spent a fun day in Savannah, GA and walked the beach in the mornings and evenings.












Our bed and breakfast. This is the first time we have stayed at a B&B.







For both of us this is our second marriage. I have to say that it hasn't always been easy, there have been some hard times.  There have also been many great times. In so many ways we are so different but in the important things we are the same. We both feel that we have built our marriage and family through adoption and our family is best if our marriage is strong. 

We are old fashioned in that I stay home and he works. I really don't think that we could maintain any sanity if we were both working. I did work full time for the National Guard for a short period of time back when I was in the Guard. Anthony and Larissa were young. Both had challenges that required a lot of appointments. One day I realized that I was out of sick and annual leave time and needed time off to take a kid to an appointment. My employer wanted to keep me and was willing to work it out but I didn't feel that was fair. My husband and I made the decision that I would quit. After that I did complete my master program in special education. I have never worked in it but if the need were to arise it is there.

We enjoyed our weekend and the kids survived. We had to farm them out to three different homes! Not having parents who can watch the kids makes it a challenge to get away. Most of the time our get away is a movie!



Michelle is 12

We celebrated Michelle turning 12. We have gotten very low key with birthdays lately. We went to eat at San Jose and came home to presents and cake. 


She must be getting old, it took a long time for her to blow out those 12 candles.


Benjamin helped make the cake.


We made two cupcakes to do a taste test.


I don't have a picture but he did a big taste test on the cake too. He got out a spoon and took a big chunk out. We covered it up with lots of frosting!

It is hard to believe that Michelle is now 12, next year she will be a teenager! It seems as though the years go faster and faster the older I get. Last year was very rough for her and I am praying for a better year this year. 

She will be going into the 7th grade this year and is now 4 ft 10 inches tall. She didn't want me to give her weight! She is right between Joselin and Sarah in height at this time.

Today she had to go get a shot before entering the 7th grade. Tricare keeps fighting us on putting her at the doctors office with everyone else so she had a new doctor. They asked all the basic medical history questions and of course I had no history on the parents. I honestly don't know anything about their medical history, I have no clue if we should be watching for any type of medical issues. All I know is that they both were drug addicts. Not a very good history to know. 

At this moment my cluster of kids are 10, 11, 12 and 13. 


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Rocks

Has your area embraced the new painting rocks craze?

Our county has a facebook page where you paint rocks and share with the group that you have hidden rocks or if you have found rocks. You are supposed to either rehide your found rocks or paint and hide your own.

We decided to paint some rocks that would match where we wanted to hide them, some of our frequented locations.

The older kids and I painted in the evening.



The foster kids painted some


Even the little ones participated.


Today we gathered all our rocks and went and hid them. We posted it and watched as people were finding them, some rehiding them as well.


Benjamin hid a rock at one of his favorite places to eat.


Anyone else painting rocks? I'd love to see what you are painting.