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We made it....

Through Christmas. With no major tantrums or meltdowns. Through THREE DAYS of celebrations. To be honest it was the adults in my life I wanted to put in time out. Can I just say how much I love my mother? After all the support she gave me in the last month she spoiled these kids and THEN had them sleep over so my Hubby and I could have a night to ourselves. We opted for a movie at the theater and then another DVD at home.

I was surprised the kids didn't get sad about thier Mom. We had talked about it before And had given them the green light so to speak to let us know if they were feeling sad. Maybe it was distraction or maybe we will pay for it later but the kids and us had 4 days off from reality where we were this happy, adjusted family enjoying quality time together. We had lots of talk about "next year" and tradition from the kids. I hope we fulfilled thier wish of the best Christmas ever because it sure was mine (well second anyway to the Christmas my husband propo…

Really?

So JB came home Saturday. Sunday she struggled. Monday she got sent home from daycare. She spent the entire evening tantruming and at one point screamed at the top of her lungs while crying for 30 minutes straight and then fell asleep on the floor. Tuesday she was fine at daycare but fell to pieces at sibling therapy. Going as far as to call her sister an F*ing B*tch IN FRONT of the therapists.

We spent a great deal of time creating a support plan for the girls with the therapists. Since they were as much to blame for JB getting sent home as JB was. (Really? You cried every night your sister was in the hospital and slept in her bed and not 48 hours after she is out you exclude and mock her and kick her at day care. Really?) so they started thier sibling session late. At 9:45pm I finally got to eat some canned ravioli and by 10:00pm I was doubled over with severe abdominal pain. As I'm vomitting in my bathroom I hear the girls come upstairs and JB start to throw a full blown temper …

Amazing Educators

Tonight was visiting hour for JB. Her teacher, principal, ESL teacher, reading teacher, and school social worker all came with. Bringing her books and Teddy bears. Can I just say how impressed I am with these people who truly care about this kid.

They gave up their Wednesday evening to spend an hour with my kid in a mental health hospital. They brought cards and notes from students and other teachers. They even checked on me. I have friends who are teachers like this but I had never run across them in a school setting. Sure I think she's special but I'm her "mom". They are worried and concerned and I'm so glad they care because transitioning her back in to school is going to be so much easier knowing they will support her.

So not prepared

If they go home I'm going to need a serious time out- from life. Having JB gone just 6 days and I'm so sad. I catch myself starting to imagine what that would be like times 4 and without the phone calls.

She called me yesterday about an hour before we were to see her at family therapy. "Thats too long Mama." I know it is honey I know.

Family therapy was a lot of background. We scheduled a session with her sisters for Saturday. Well see if she's still there.

My heart hurts. But the duty of Mom never ceases as I'm home with Mr. Mohawk who has a fever and a stomach bug and was kind enough to share the bug with me.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Jelly Bean has been struggling for the last few weeks. I really feel this is due to an increase in time spent with her Mom. Her medication that was working wonders seemingly stopped working. And the meltdowns and tantrums began to become frequent Agian. Last weekend she made a statement about wishing she was dead. We got her calmed down and Monday she seemed fine. Tuesday the attitude returned and she threw a tantrum because she was afraid she wasn't going to see her therapist because I was talking to her. Wednesday I got a phone call from the principal that she bit a kid during reading class.

That night I was taking Gabby to see the psychiatrist to be evaluated for anxiety. It's the same doctor so I asked if JB could be seen since she was struggling. The doctor asked her if she felt like hurting anyone and she said herself. The doctor asked her how and she said a knife. And with that a call was made to the hospital next door and we were sent.

We saw two admissions evaluators …

Things going through my mind

I'm writing this post to hope Murphy's Law will work and the judge will call us in to the permanency hearing. I'm sharing a couch with my kids Mother after a really really crappy week. I was just going to write the thoughts popping into my rapidly firing brain. Then I thought well maybe I can use this time to learn some more of the kids history.

So I asked and she answered. And for a few minutes we were Moms sharing stories. Until we realized we were sharing stories about the same kids. I tried really hard to be kind. To nod when she was making comments while my brain was screaming SHE DOESN'T GET IT. I felt empathy as she shared some of her background. But that doesn't mean I'm going to just roll over and stop protecting these kids. I did bite my tounge when I could have said they are terrified of you. But it took a lot to do so.

Then we got called in. And the judge commended us on working together. She told us that she kept the boxes the girls decorated to bri…

Yeah so I spoke too soon....

As if this week isn't going to be hard enough (administrative care review, family meeting with therapists, holiday concert, prep for testifying for LM, actual testifying for LM, remembering their uncle who was murdered, permanency hearing, and liscense worker visit oh yeah and our annual wine party for which I got nothing accomplished this weekend.) Jelly bean raged all day. Gabby raged for part of the day. I'm exhausted. The screaming and yelling and crying. The possessions that were confiscated are now sitting in my room. The new pair of jeans Jelly bean wrote all over are somewhere in her room. was assigned writing sentences and it took her all afternoon. She then threw a fit right before dinner and when she was finished eating was sent straight to bed.
I have no idea why today was such an issue. Too much family? Bad visit? Fear about the holiday concert tomorrow?

The other one? She was dealing with seeing Molly yeaterday. She ripped up her class picture and threw away a por…

Yeah so I spoke too soon....

As if this week isn't going to be hard enough (administrative care review, family meeting with therapists, holiday concert, prep for testifying for LM, actual testifying for LM, remembering their uncle who was murdered, permanency hearing, and liscense worker visit oh yeah and our annual wine party for which I got nothing accomplished this weekend.) Jelly bean raged all day. Gabby raged for part of the day. I'm exhausted. The screaming and yelling and crying. The possessions that were confiscated are now sitting in my room. The new pair of jeans Jelly bean wrote all over are somewhere in her room. was assigned writing sentences and it took her all afternoon. She then threw a fit right before dinner and when she was finished eating was sent straight to bed.
I have no idea why today was such an issue. Too much family? Bad visit? Fear about the holiday concert tomorrow?

The other one? She was dealing with seeing Molly yeaterday. She ripped up her class picture and threw away a por…

How far we have come

So I couldn't sleep tonight. I hade a Diet Coke at 11:00pm and well that was a silly thing to do after a 4pm nap. I'm sure I'll pay for it later. In my continued quest to build up my readership, traffic, and ego I was checking out my stats and noticed that this post is the most often viewed. Reading it now nearly 8 months later I can't believe how far we've come. We barely survived that trip to Disney world but we are wiser now and are actually trying to plan another trip in June. Of course now our plans are dependant on where their caseplan heads. We have hit our groove of a family of six and I've almost gotten used to what that equates to in the amount of groceries and laundry. Almost. I no longer have a panic attack when going to Costco. And while the first few months were rocky the kids have gotten over the shock of living together once agian and actually giggle together at times instead of constant fighting and yelling. I don't regret my decision to sa…

You let me say all those mean things?

Last weekend we got together with Jelly Bean and Mr. Mohawk's 3rd foster family. We've seen them twice since LM and Gabby moved in. This was hard on them as they didn't understand why their first foster Mom (we'll call her Molly) had not made an effort to visit them. Well she had, but then cancelled last minute something she apparently did a lot. The girls also reported that she lied a lot skipping trauma therapy appointments telling the therapist they has ballet when they stayed home.

So after we met the 3rd family and had a great time at a moon bounce place and pizza pub Gabby had a little rant. She had been working up to it all day. My little actress who looks a lot like Tinkerbell when she scrunches up her nose was ready for her dramatic monologue which went something like this:

I bet Molly doesn't even care about us. I bet she never did. Why did we have to live with he anyway. I bet she forgot about us and hopes that we forgot about her. She lied all the time. …

Confessions

• I secretly wish for more followers and comments- I need encouragement too
• I wish my kids therapist were girl friends I could plan nights out with
• I wish their Mom would flee to Mexico so we can move on.
• I sometimes hide in my bathroom so I can catch up on reading.
• My children had cereal for dinner tonight because I didn't feel like cooking.
• My anxiety level is so high that I took an anti-anxiety pill today.
• I have several drafts of posts written but finishing means tapping into my emotions and I don't want to think that hard today.
• I was excited to learn that my kids don't have a visit this weekend maybe some peace for me.
• We scheduled a visit with the girls first foster Mom I don't have high hopes that it will go well.

Thanksgiving

As I reflect on the past year I realize how vastly different the list of things I'm thankful for this year compared to last year. The day before Thanksgiving last year my grandmother passed. I was thankful then that she was no longer suffering but that was pretty much it. I was angry and scared and I wasn't happy about much. The year that has followed brought me motherhood, a better relationship with my husband, a new job that I love and many new friends. I'm am thankful for all of these things.

As we spent the day with family my foster kids who were not with their family did pretty good. It was a long day and they held it together pretty much until the end. I only handed out 1 timeout which is a pretty good day for us. I'm bracing myself for tomorrow and Saturday's post visit behavior but hey I'll take for now. I'm glad they got to see how caring supportive families interact. And they felt safe and comfortable most of the day.

I don't know if this is th…

Oh the B word

This is the new thing in our house. Calling your sister the B word and then hitting her so she cries and attention is directed at the pair of you. Can I just say it's really getting old. So I tried a new tactic tonight.

We were having a tough evening to start as the girls had family therapy tonight. They go from 5:15 to about 6:15 every other Wednesday. This new therapist promised to keep me in the loop so I could be prepared for what is walking in my door. She has not kept this promise. In fact no one seems to want to even communicate who is supposed to be at therapy as she was expecting Mr. Mohawk tonight and no one picked him up for therapy.

We've had some false starts to family therapy as it is at Moms home and she insists on cooking. And therefor the kids get confused and expect to eat. They are to bring the food home but because of one issue or another they have eaten dinner there (during therapy) 3/6 times. So you know what comes home? Kids who act like they are coming …

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

We had quite the week. We had a mid-week visit that didn't go so great. We had a boatload of attitude and a lot of re-directing mainly because of the midweek visit. I also stumbled across the county clerk website and finally found the case listed for Jelly Bean's abuser. I felt like writing a post on this because child molestation and sexual abuse have been in the news all week due to the allegations at Penn State and their alleged cover up. To be honest I don't know all the facts. I can't read the articles about this because it makes my stomach turn. Which is also how I felt when I heard from the victim advocate this week when she told me Little Mama was going to have to testify at a pretrial hearing as this jerk isn't taking the plea they've offered him. So because he has a legal right my 11 year old who was also sexually abused now has to testify in open court. And if his creep of a defense attorney doesn't think she's credible enough my 8 year old w…

Then why did she have 4 kids?

This is a question I get asked all of the time. Why did she have 4 kids if she wasn't going to take care of them? People ask me this as if I have some insight into what my kids' Mother was thinking when she kept having babies.

I've asked the question for 9 months and I promise I am no closer to the answer than I was 9 months ago.

But generally, it's not one of HER 4 kids asking me. Until tonight when Gabby got frustrated and broke down. I was trying to explain (Agian. For the 700th time) why it's taking so long for her to move back into her Mom's care. No longer do I try to be Suzy Sunshine about it. I support the goal, I don't bash Mom, but I do give her the facts in an age appropriate manner because she's too smart and protecting her isn't really going to help her. She's too smart. So when she started crying telling me she's been in foster care for over a year and she doesn't want to be anymore I responded that her Mom is still learning…

Just a regular Thursday night

Years ago I spent Thursday nights at choir practice. For 6 years I spent every 7-9 pm in a freezing cold church with people I loved singing my heart out. There was a time were I spent Thursday nights working late at a law firm and cramming for tests and finishing up papers. When I finished college and went back to get my paralegal degree I spent 7-9:30 studying legal writing and litigation.

tonight we normally would Have the trauma therapist who works with the oldest two girls. We've done some attachment therapy and lots of processing. She cancelled tonight. But we still had processing. In fact we had a trauma trigger tonight that we spent 40 minutes trying to get a child pulled back into reality and realize she was safe.

It was heartbreaking. In one movement of the hand to try and comfort the child we managed to trigger the fear of being sexually molested. I watch a normally affectionate happy child back away and cower and then cry because she was so afraid to tell us what she was…

Tricky Treat

Jelly Bean did her best to self sabotage Halloween. She tantrumed for the first time on Sunday since starting her new mood disorder medication. All day long she was in trouble. It's so sad that this kid has been so hurt that she tries to make sure nothing good comes her way. In the end we recovered and we went about the festivities.

She was a pirate which fit her very well. Little Mama was a pink kitty cat, Gabby a witch with a pink boa adorned hat, and mr. Mohawk was an Angry Bird. His costume matched mine. The dog was his usual pumpkin which is absolutely adorable. My Mom and I scooped up the kids from daycare (and my little guy was sad since we missed the parade but seriously? They are in day care because we work. Just because it's Halloween doesn't mean it's a half day for me.) and headed to Hubby's office for some cynical trick or treating. The place was a ghost town so it didn't take long. We got home took a few pictures and headed out.

Constant reminders …

Mama tell the story?

For whatever reason this week Gabby and LM have asked me several times to talk about what happened the day they moved in and the day JB and MM moved in. Gabby also started calling me Mama this week. She had been calling me Mom for the past 6 months. This week it's been Mama or Mommy. In foster parenting classes and adoption discussions the experts always tell you that the day kids come home is just like the story of their birh for kids who are not adopted.

Maybe it's the attachment work we are doing in therapy. I hesitate to call it attachment therapy since we will have to "break" the attachment if they go home but it's work to allow them to feel safe and loved and process through some of the things they missed.

Little Mama was only 3 1/2 when her 2nd sister was born. And by the time she was 7 she was left at home overnight to care for the two other girls. Part of what we are working on is letting her be mothered. Allowing her to be the little girl even though she …

You Member...

Mr. Mohawk says "Mama? Member when we went there? You Member?" at least 3 times a day. I love that he can remember outings and places such as the birthday party at the park near our house. But telling me the story EVERY time we pass by which is at least twice on school day assuming we are driving anywhere else- it gets slightly annoying. Also slightly annoying? A 10:30 am phone call from day care telling me he can't keep his hands to himself and they need someone to pick him up.

Thank God my Mom quit her job last week because I don't know what I would have done without her today. I was the only person in my department today and nada bunch of high profile projects to get done. (Guess who will be working while kids are at their visit tomorrow.)

Tomorrows 5 hour visit with their Mom should be real interesting.

Plan Ahead

I'm a planner by nature. Not so much that I had a strict timeline of needing to be married by 27 or having my second child at 32 but enough that I think to figure out what tasks I need to handle and what I'm going to cook for dinner. This week I'm trying to plan for next week and to be completely honest I'm scared. Not because it's Halloween but because my husband is going out of town. For a week. And it will be me and the kids....for a whole week.....by ourselves.

They ate me alive last week while it was just the 5 of us. I was crabby, tired, and angry. I'm determined lot to be this way this time around. I anticipated that any task will be hard so I'm working to get everything that could be an issue out of the way. Costume shopping for the girls was completed tonight. If they couldn't handle it on Sunday after their visit and with my husband home there was no way they could this Sunday. I also had to give up celebrating my Mother in laws birthday becau…

My favorite word...

WHATEVER. So simple a statement and can be used in EVERY situation as evidenced by Jelly Bean and Little Mama. We had all kinds of attitude this afternoon post visit. We are a little heavy handed with the sarcasm in our house. Mainly because we have 3 highly skilled drama queens and the prince of theater living in our home. The best way to deal with them sometimes is mockery and overdramatization. Mirroring.

So today we were having a particularly challenging time breaking down LM's wall of silence when confronted with poor choice behavior. And when we asked a question we got whatever and I don't know (my second favorite phrase - because is third in line). So after we got through the stone wall and dealt with the temper tantrum over shoes by JB. We left to go to dinner with family. Since there were 6 adults to 4 kids we had no problems with competing for attention. But we did have several trip to the bathroom.

During the first trip Mr. Mohawk says to me while on the potty "…

Blissflly Unaware

At the beginning of the year I was ignorant. Blissfully unaware that I was on the same planet with pencils. I worked in a doctors office and only used pens. Then I became a foster Mom. Can I just tell you how much I HATE pencils? Firstly, there are NEVER sharpened pencils around. And those little plastic sharpeners - CRAP. My four kids step on them, break the pencils in them, leave them for the dog to find... So I solve the problem by buying an electric industrial strength one for $19.00. YEAH now I can have sharpened pencils in the house.

Not so fast Love. You have to be able to FIND a pencil to sharpen it. So I solve that problem. I hit the school supply sales with a vengeance. I stock up. I get a plastic 3 drawer container for the desk and devote an entire drawer to sharpened pencils. I congratulate myself for being organized and proactive. By week 2 of school there is only 1 little stub of a pencil with no eraser in my pencil drawer. I refill. 2 weeks later same problem. Then the k…
The girls met the judge today. They spent nearly 2 hours with her. They brought her cupcakes they decorated in boxes they decorated. They brought a list of questions which included how much time do we have left, what happens if my Mom hits when we go home, and what's your favorite color? (Red) most of the answers were I don't know but the kids said they felt better having met her... I do too. At least now she can put a face to the reports and see how bright and talented they are. I don't know what happened I wasn't allowed in the room And I don't want to know. I wanted their voice to be heard and not mine. And I want them to know I stand behind them no matter what my heart says.

We had several breakthrough moments which included Gabby telling my husband that she needed "some time alone please because I'm really angry with you right now" during an argument. Little mama telling MM that he can put on his own clothes after months of trying to get her to st…

My first birthday party

To attend as a Mom. And man was I a fish out of water. Even though I've been mothering for 9 months now and I'm shuffling 4 kids around which gave me a pretty fast learning curve but I've totally missed out learning the ropes of being a "normal" Mom on the sidelines with other "normal" Moms.

Normal not being a positive or negative term just descriptive. MOST parents in our area birth their own children. This party was for one of the kids in Mr. Mohawk's pre-k class. And some how I got in the huddle of the lady who just gave birth that works with my husband, two pregnant women. I had absolutely nothing to add to the conversation. I felt super out of place. And the whole time I'm thinking do these other Moms feel this way too? Is it awkward because it I'm not really his Mom? That I feel silly because I can't comment on my own pregnancy experience? What if they ask me how he was as a baby? These people don't know he's a foster kid. …

The Notebook

So our CW suggested the moms of the kids start a notebook to help make communication more constant. I had flash back to junior high where my friends and I would pass a notebook back and forth. Let me tell you not much good came of these. One week into the notebook I'm already starting to feel this way. But hey I'm being asked to do it to help the kids so I will.

There is just one teeny tiny problem. Mom doesn't really speak English and she does not have much of a formal education in Spanish. I am not fluent in Spanish. I took it through junior year of college and despite brushing up on it I'm still pretty rusty. I started the notebook at our court date 2 weeks ago. I nicely wrote out the family rules and wrote several paragraphs in Spanish. The case worker was impressed but Mom asked me to print because she can't read cursive. The idea was for her to take it home and write questions in the notebook. The notebook was supposed to come back with the visit supervisor.

A …

She Yelled?!?

I have some thoughts to put down about the legal aspect of the case but I want to blog those from a real computer and not my iPhone. Since it's 6:30am on a Saturday I only have a few minutes since there is a reason I am up at this unsightly hour for the second day in a row. Apple picking today and friends coming over afterwards to watch the Bears beat the Packers and my house is not exactly in a state of clean.

Clean is the wrong word. Organized. But I have 4 children in a 2 bedroom/loft townhouse so really you can expect much but the clutter is driving me and the kids bonkers. So yesterday we cleaned and cleaned but still aren't 100% back to what my house looked like before it's occupancy tripled but we are close.

I got up yesterday to wake the kids so they could go to their visit which switched from Friday nights to Saturday mornings. Of course this was not a welcome change by them and they grumbled about it and came home saying their visit was awful. JB barometer for th…

Over the Edge

I joke with the kids Tuesday therapists (two of them come to the house) that one day I'm going to write a book about this experience and I come up with new titles for this book all the time. This week I named it Pushed Over the Edge. Because this is how I feel. In the last week or two I have been pushed, poked, pulled, and pinned to the edge of reason, patience, common sense and my limit.

I have been asked to go against every hope and wish in my heart and help the woman who hurt these kids that call me Mom in order to HELP her get them back. And I did what was asked of me. And then I turned around and listened to one of the very same children accuse me of not caring or loving them for 8 hours as she tantrumed and acted out, threw things, and bruised her sister. Then I woke up and did it the next day. And while all I wanted to do was cry I instead laughed about it.

The Tuesday therapists asked for a shout out in my book. Anonymous of course. I told them I'd call them Night and D…

You know what they say about all therapists?

That they need their own therapist. Which makes me wonder what that means for foster moms with chronic illness and a psychology degree. For me it means I have 5 therapists in my life. My own. JB's therapist, LM & Gabby's therapist, LM & Gabby's trauma therapist, and the new family therapist. It means that I am CONSTANTLY talking about feelings and techniques and trying to analyze and figure out where feelings are coming from. It means that at every turn we stop and talk about the feelings even if its in the middle of Target.

Which was the case the day before school started. We finished getting the last of the supplies and sat down to eat at the Pizza Hut in the food court at Target. School starting was/is a big trigger for my kids. It is their big obvious marker of time (even though they came into care at the end of June). And it finally dawned on them that "oh hey I've been in foster care a year. My Mom said she only gets 2 years and that doesn'…

I have several spectacular post ideas

But at the moment I'm spent. The last two weeks have been exhausting. And though I have at least three posts on school starting, being confronted about adopting them, family therapy and an in school suspension.... I.just.can't.

Because these children have sucked the spirit out of me and I have a big project due at 10 am Monday and I'm not done due to the antics of my weekend. Which means I need to be out the door at 6:30am and it is midnight on Sunday.

I need a miracle here. And some sleep. Ooh and a vacation. With a spa. And a beach. And a blue drink with an umbrella...somewhere where I don't have to talk to A.N.Y.O.N.E.
The last two weeks have been incredibly stressful. I have to admit I've cried on more than one occasion out of sheer frustration and because I was feeling beyond overwhelmed. Like this morning after I lost it in the car after JB punched LM before 7AM and my plan to get to work early went right out the window. I cried pretty much the entire 45 minute drive.

School starting brought out all kinds of changes in these kids. NONE of them good. My guess is that it was a tangible marker of time for them. They know they came into foster care BEFORE school started last year and school starting up again means an ENTIRE year has passed. My suspicion was confirmed last night when Gabby asked me at dinner how long they've been in foster care. At one point their Mom made a statement that she "only gets two years and then the state takes you" so their anxiety level has increased big time surrounding the length of time it is taking for them to return home. This uncertainty is drivi…

Who are these kids and why are they calling me Mom?

We took a day trip to one of those little tourist towns with lots of unique stores that are way over priced today. It was for Little Mama's birthday. We took a boat ride and walked in and out of these cute little art galleries and stores. I LOVE the shabby chic signs that are colorful and distressed and have inspirational sayings. So I was happy to stumble across this entire corner of these cute frames, art work, door hangers, and magnets. The first one I came across was "A girl can not possibly nice and organized." Which is so totally me. Then I saw a magnet that said "Who are these children and why are they calling me Mom" To which my response was to laugh out loud. Hysterically. For two full minutes. Unfortunately we have a stainless steel refrigerator so I didn't buy it. But I found it funny. And then I wandered into the baby section of the store and I got instantly sad. LM came by and asked why I was looking at the baby stuff. Because I have two friend…

My Daughter

This week there was shift in me. I know that I am a Foster Mom. These children living with me have no other connection than this. But THIS week I caught myself not clarifying for everyone that THESE are NOT MY children. Rather I let go for one week and just lived in the moment.

At the grocery store on Monday the well meaning cashier exclaimed:
C:Are all four yours?
M: Yep
C: They are so cute! I've always wanted to have a lot of kids.
M: It keeps life interesting.

On Tuesday when asked what I was doing later:
M: It's my daughter's birthday dinner.
O: Oh Wow how old is she?
M: 11.
O: Thats a good age.

On Wednesday at the State's Attorney's Office:
M: We will do whatever we can to make this guy accountable for what he did and we appreciate you trying to prevent unecessary trauma to our kids.

Today: I just simply missed them. And my heart broke when the little guy told me he missed his Really Mama. I cried on the phone to my Mom about how angry I am that these people have abuse…

Unfair

Wednesday I recieved what I would consider two major blows. The first was a phone call from the District Attorney's office. The Victim Advocate called to set up a meeting with Little Mama to prep her for a pretrial hearing in the case agianst the Monster that hurt JB in foster care. I'm sorry did I hear you right - LM has to testify? When is the hearing? 2 weeks? And I'm just finding this out now? Do you know she was abused also? And that guy is sitting in jail? And its a major issue with my kids as he was the father of another one of the kids? Luckily this was in time for her trauma therapist to prep her before the DA. To say I was caught off guard was an understatement. And man am I worried about the trigger this might be. After a year in therapy she still hasn't disclosed ANY of the details of her abuse to her therapist. This may just be the log that breaks the dam.

Then Case Worker came over for our monthly visit. We had emailed with some major concerns about v…

True in my Heart

I couldn't help but cry. After a long day and missing dinner with the kids I came home to find them busy qt work on their scrapbook from Disney World. They are very creative and love paper craft stuff and their therapists suggested it as an outlet for working together and to raise their self esteem. Little Mama can even be on a scrapbook club at middle school next year.

So I turned a table in our kitchen to a scrapbook zone. Since I gave up my workspace when the kids came I no longer had all my supplies in the same area. My husband hates where it is but for now it's good for them. And there they were all three girls working quietly when I arrived home. They were struggling with how to make the pages come alive and asked for my help but they made a really good first stab at it!

They had a picture of me with Belle my favorite princess and they wanted me to write this in cursive on the page "Mom with her favorite princess.". I paused. I struggled to find the right way to…

Are you sure she's not mine?

Sometimes it's hard for me to ignore the similarities of the kids' personalities to our own. I may have written about this previously but we had one such instance last night. It could also fall under the category "I could never be a child therapist because I wouldn't be able to keep a straight face".

Tuesday is home therapy day. Jelly Bean's therapist Jelly N. (they have the same name so we use name plus initial since big Jelly Bean and little Jelly Bean may have been offensive). Anyway at their last visit their Mom made a comment when Jelly Bean was acting up to the effect of "yeah and your foster mom said to the judge Jelly Beans a perfect angel".

So the kids come home and accuse me of this and since we've had issues with them hearing things that were not actually said or true I wanted to address right away. As is her nature to feel loyal to her Mom Gabby didn't want to have any part ofthis conversation until I explained that I'd rather…

Pictures @ Disney

Jelly Bean on the Monorail. Mad at everyone for being in her
presence.


Mr. Mohawk and I at Epcot watching Illuminations.



Jelly Bean's toe. Because apparently this was more interesting than Disney Hollywood Studios.



Mr. Mohawk trying to find out where the bus was taking us.


Little Mama and Mr. Mohawk talking to Cinderella. Jelly Bean is hidden to the left.


Gabby with Pooh.

If I'm being perfectly honest....

I would grade myself as a D for Mommy today. I yelled. I was annoyed. I was tired. At one point I tried to hide in my room (which for anyone with kids probably knows is damn near impossible). I really wanted out of this commitment and this life I got us in to. And then I felt guilty for feeling all these things. I really just want to curl into a ball and cry my heart out. Have one of those long ugly cries with snot everyway and my face scrunched and then just fall to sleep from sheer exhaustion.

The thing is I know WHY some of today was the way it was. We had a day to do nothing and I didn't realize before my kids don't do "nothing" well. We had no structure in our weekend and while I was looking so forward to that I didn't remember they don't handle that well and this is really the first time in 2 months we haven't had a bunch of places to be on a weekend. We were also supposed to visit with Little Mama and Gabby's first Foster Mom this afternoon. …

Crickets

I don't know how quite to set the scene for you so you understand how out of LEFT FIELD this statement came. Jelly Bean is my difficult kids. She has ADHD. She seeks out negative attention like a missle. She is loud. She is defiant and can turn tears on like a faucet. She has no concept of keeping her hands to herself. She wets the bed. She has serious flakey moments. And at the same time she can be giggly and girly and lovey and helpful. She can be funny and cute but these moods change like the wind.

Saturday she got in trouble. First for kicking her brother. Then for going up to their bedroom while writing the sentence "I will not kick my brother" 200 times and ounching her sister. For which more sentences were assigned and then some more for talking back and generally pill like behavior. She didn't get them done Saturday by the time we had company over so she spent Sunday until we left for a party writing and then wrote in the car and then wrote some mor…

Piece of Cake

Fridays are never fun in our house. Friday from 4-7 our kids have supervised visits with their Mom. They get picked up from daycare by the supervisor and then brought home. Friday mornings are usually pretty rough. Usually we have tears and purposeful disobedience like we did this morning when Jelly Bean was told by Dad to put on gym shoes and did so until he left and Mom came down to find she had put her sock covered feet in flip flops are was trying to sneak out of the house this way.

Friday evenings when the kids come home are a crap shoot. Depending on what happens their behavior can escalate or I can be dealing with tears. And I'm just going to put it out there. I. AM. TIRED. Of them coming home in different clothes, covered in candy/frosting/soda, with stained clothes, and hungry. Tonight Mr. Mohawk came home with blue and red stains on his face and pajama pants on. Apparently family tradition is to smash each others faces in cake (which of course he doesn't know because…

Super Hero

I couldn't help but giggle this morning when my little guy tied his Spiderman shirt around his neck like a cape this morning. Today is the big birthday party day and he is excited. Of course life happened yesterday which means that Jelly Bean will not be participating in the moon bounce at the party.

Here's the thing I HATE that she can't. I had this awesome picture in my head of all of us jumping in it together and some amazing candid shots for their photo album. I knew Friday would be hard as their Mom cancelled their visit. Whennpushed their case worker told me I could tell the kids she was sick. I don't know if it's true or not. She cancelled therapy Monday. An if it was because she was sick I would think by Friday night she would be better. Of course Little Mama pointed out that if it was her she would have has the visit anyway. Buy I digress...... So Friday morning Jelly Bean was having a great start. No issues getting ready and I reminded her on the way onto …

This is what my family looks like....

Blogger land has been EXTREMELY helpful to me this past year (my GOD its been a year!). I began following and reading some really articulate and interesting blogs by other Foster/Adoptive Parents and I can't thank them enough. I don't know any of the personally but none the less they have each helped me in some way even if it was just to know that there were other woman out there who go through the same things that I do. (Many of them have much, much more on their plates.) Jen over at A Nickles Worth of Common Sense is one of these wonderful people.

Race and ethnicity are sometimes complex issues but as Jen pointed out they can make life more beautiful and interesting. And despite having been with a hispanic (Puerto Rican) man for the last 10 years, five of which I've had a hispanic last name, I never really FELT the difference until my Mexican kids showed up. My beautiful dark haired, brown eyed, tanned kids who are a stark contrast to my fair Irish skin, Blue eyes, …

Who do we see tonight Mom?

Ok. I knew being a parent would be crazy and demanding. But when I pictured the life of a foster Mom I never imagined we'd have so many appointments. The two oldest have therapy with their mom on Monday, Tuesday their support therapist comes and the two younger kids therapist comes. Thursday is trauma therapy and Friday is there visits with their mother.

So Monday when Mom cancelled family therapy (and what could be more important at 8 pm on Monday night when you aren't working OR parenting) I was relieved. I was tired and really just wanted to hang out with the kids instead of sitting in a waiting room for an hour wondering what information I was going to have to unravel and explain to the kids. I didn't want to deal with trigger behavior or attitude. So when Gabby asked me, "Mom who do we see tonight?" I said we have a free night. And while there was initial excitement it then sank in that they were not going to see their mom. I could hear her brain turning. Sta…

Father's Day

I am writing this post on my new iphone. It makes me excited to be able to blog more frequently. Perhaps you are wondering how the permanency hearing went. The goal stayed return home in 12 months. A review hearing was set for three months to see how family therapy is going. (Currently the girls therapists are trying to stop therapy until Mom can admit responsibility and stop using the time for the kids to feel sorry for her and sharing with them that their Grandma was raped....Don't even get me started on it...wrong on so many different levels.)

So we celebrated Fathers Day with breakfast and handmade cards. It was nice to see the kids so excited. And before we get the day started with a BBQ at my parents house I just wanted to take a minute to acknowledge my husband.

I love him more today than I did when I married him. I didn't think it was possible. He is a fantastic Dad. He does dishes and laundry and takes time to explain how things work. He works hard to provide for us and…

We are both Writing

Currently I am hiding in my room savoring the last few moments of peace and quiet I will get this morning. We bought a laptop since the computer was in the little guy's room and we found it challenging to use it at night when we actually have time. And since we have 4 children and our dog in our 2 bedroom loft townhouse we are simply out of space to move the computer to.

I have already broken up an argument, doled out tylenol (for sore breasts), discussed puberty and growth spurts and downloaded videos from vacation.

My husband got up early to help Jelly Bean write the sentences she was assigned last night for 1)calling another boy on the bus a B**** and 2)Lying about it 2 days ago when confronted. Because her Social Worker at school had her call and tell me about it when he got the notice from the bus driver.

Our two major rules are 1)Keep your hands to yourself. 2)Tell the truth. Punishment is doubled if you break either of these rules. Because Jelly Bean has been "grounded…

Oh My Goodness.....

Am I exhausted. It could be from the tons of walking in the unseasonable warmth Orlando, Florida had this week or the 6AM wake up and 1AM bedtimes or trying to wrangle 4 kids in the Happiest Place on Earth. However, I believe it is the emotional exhaustion that I have from my 7 year old foster daughten from the past week. Because she pushed EVERY S.I.N.G.L.E. BUTTON that I have. Every one.

Now maybe it was naive for us to think we could take 4 children to Disney World and come back on speaking terms but my husband and I - Disney veterans- thought how bad could it be? Apparently, the answer is pretty bad. To th ep[oint I actually was on hold with Disney Babysitting trying to price out a day of services. I can't tell you how many times I said "Jelly Bean please stop (insert favorite annoying behavior here ie:jumping,bumping strangers, hitting your sibling,walking ahead/behind us, rolling your eyes, talking back, climbing on railings, asking me to buy things, asking to use the …

MOM

I haven't written a lot lately mainly because we are so busy. But I couldn't let my 1st Mother's Day pass without an entry.

First, I want to take a moment to honor my own Mom. While she wasn't our #1 cheerleader when we began this journey she has been the quarterback as of late. When she found out the older girls were moving into our house she dropped everything and came over. She took the next two weekends to come help us get organized and has formed special relationships with each of the kids. She is a Grandma in the best possible way and I love her more for her big heart than ever. (and she took us for pedicures which was awesome!)

I was missing my own Grandma and I admit that I cried to myself in the shower. I always imagined my first Mother's Day with my Grandma. Opening a special gift from her while she did this little smile/shrug she used to do. I hope I'm making her proud.

My kids and my husband made me VERY PROUD this past weekend. I was treated …

Love Should be Multiplied Not Divided

So when I can put down some cohesive thoughts I'll go into my theories about why this all happened. Regardless of the why - we now have all FOUR siblings in this sibling set. My foster kid's older sisters came to live with us last night. With 4 hours notice. I saw all the pieces come together - the bunk beds we had purchased the day before. The constant discussion about what if the girls needed to move? The capacity of 6 people for our hotel room for our trip to Disney. (Which was originally for my sister in law and her boyfriend's kids but they broke up.)(AND YES WE ARE STILL GOING)And so when at 3 pm yesterday the kids case worker called and told me their current foster parents gave notice that they wanted them moved by that night we were able to come to a decision.

I'll admit - I'm terrified. We as rookie parents, are now outnumbered 2 to 1. We went from a family of 2 to a family of 6 in a matter of 4 months. And as much as I'm sure that this is the rig…