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3 Years

I went back this week and read the December 2013 posts I wrote.  It was 3 years ago that my kids moved in. I find it helpful to peak at what was going on as it's a good reminder of how far we have come. In doing so, I was reminded that December has been a pretty trying time for us and for me. It also happens to be busy season at work as I write contracts that mostly begin on the first of a calendar year. We had Jelly Bean's hospitalization and Solana's arrival in Decembers past and its no wonder I've been totally out of sorts. I hadn't realized how anxious and stressed I felt until Christmas ended and my to-do list was only 15 million things long compared to the 30 million it had seemed to be.

We've become a family in three years and have weathered some pretty life changing events - the losing and gaining of jobs, moving houses, switching schools. Adoption. Welcoming a baby.  We aren't the same people from 3 years ago. We have grown so much! If I could go …
Dear Sheila,

You've been on my mind quite a bit today. I'm not going to lie, that really annoys me. I don't really want to think about you. But today as I watched the children you birthed delight in the magic of Christmas I couldn't help but include you in my thoughts. I've had a few hard conversations this week because of your choices and I just want to say I think its incredibly unfair of you to occupy space in my mind today.  I'm writing this letter knowing it will never reach you but hoping it quiets my thoughts.

You cancelled your 4th visit in a row and you told Caseworker #4 you were going out of town.  Visits are stopped until further notice and even if you wanted to see the kids, I would have to exclude Solana from that visit.  I have some theories about why you might be going out of town. Several of which have to do with giving birth in another state where you won't be on The Department's radar. Maybe you are going home to see your family but …

FAQs

I had some questions asked of me recently that I thought I would answer here:

1) How do you keep doing this after so much crap?
I actually had two different foster moms ask me this. One dealing with a false allegation and one in a kinship case with a pregnant, unstable bio mom.

I'm not sure I have an eloquent answer to this question. I think I've reached a point where I see the bigger picture - the kids.  That's not to say this stuff doesn't drive me nuts or make me emotional. I would be spitting fire if we had to deal with a false allegation. I'm really upset about the potential of having to make a decision about another baby. But if not me, who? We are good at this. There are kids that need me. And I probably need them. I am a caretaker by nature.  What would I be doing with myself if I didn't have 15 different obligations all at once? I have no idea because I've always been this way. And right now all of the current drama is related to my children. I s…

Mother of the Year.

As I mentioned on Facebook, Monday was a rough night. It was my fault because I wasn't staying patient. Wasn't being therapeutic and was definitely PMSing. It was ugly. I, was ugly. 
I admit that because I'm not perfect. I think its a helpful reminder to read about other's admissions of imperfection, especially during the holidays when everyone is wearing matching sweaters, building insanely cute gingerbread houses, and sharing pictures of holiday gatherings.
Not us.
Nope.
I screamed. I yelled. I swore. 
And I didn't want to be near my kids. And they weren't really even the reason I was feeling out of sorts. Sure I was mad that once again a bowl of milk was left sitting on a table all day and that no one did the dishes or took out the garbage or fed the dog. But if I were being really honest, I was just really beat down by the stress of work, school, and foster care. And I was dreading my period and the disappointment that would come with it, after opening ano…

It is a process

It's a physical ache. A pain in the middle of my chest.  And it causes hot tears, the kind that sting my eyes.  It settled over me today and I couldn't shake it.

It started with news that more people in our lives are expecting and today, I just couldn't muster the happiness.  I heard complaints of not feeling well and my ability to plaster the smile on my face just vanished from my body. I left the house to "run an errand" but really I just needed an escape.

All week I've been able to communicate and tell people about Solana leaving without any trouble.  I probably sounded like a PSA for "How to be the role model foster parent".

People were asking:

So will you get to adopt the little one? Is she staying?

Well no, actually.  She is going home in a few weeks. That's the goal of foster care. We are really happy for her dad. He really gets it. We've built a relationship. I'm so glad she doesn't have to go through the pain of adoption or …

Quiet

When the Fab Four went home the house became quiet. To use the cliche, deafeningly quiet. I missed the giggles immediately. This past weekend as we sailed past 24 hours gone and inched towards the first 48 hours without Solana, the missing laughter is what I noticed first.  Not just from her, but also from my kids.

She's just a funny little being.  She discovers new things daily, and she has this soft little voice and this loud buzzer sound she makes, that you can't help but smile at them.  She only knows the words: up, please, no, Mama, Dada, and hello, but each one seems so meaningful.  We all dote on her and squeal with delight about the new things she does. Having wrapped pretty much the entire family around her tiny fingers, there was a big void this past weekend.

I tried to give latitude to everyone, including myself.  I got up to work on my thesis for grad school and the kids tried to get the rest of their homework done from our trip.  I ignored bickering. I granted lo…

Happiest Place on Earth....

Unless you have a sister in foster care who is about to be reunified and will no longer be allowed to live with you.  That's the status of our trip for Simon. Last night he came and found me requesting a hug. About 5 minutes later he came and told me he was really sad. Did I mention we are in Disney World? For the last week? After getting off a Disney cruise? All he should be worrying about is what time the fireworks start and if he can have more cotton candy. Instead, this crappy thing is about to happen in two weeks and it scares the crap out of him. Brings my sweet boy to tears. In Disney World  It broke my heart. I'm trying to focus on the fun and the memories. Trying to memorize all of the fun things and adorableness that is Solana (she literally waves her arms around to every song and shouts "Mimi!!!" When she see Mickey or Minnie. She also learned the words No and yes this week and I swear to God she said "Hello Simon" this morning. I tried to snap …

Lemons Into Lemonade

Although we are barely holding it together, I can say that we are growing in the pain. I heard Smiley say to us tonight "I don't want to talk about that" when someone brought up a time she got upset (that we as a family thinknis particularly funny).  Sarah admitted that she was overwhelmed at school and decided to ask to go to the bathroom "for a break". Stella has articulated that while she is sad, she is happy for her sister to be able to have a parent she can count on. And then there is my Simon, who has perhaps grown in his ability to connect to us 100%.

My son, who can't stand to be held has requested extra hugs. He is suggesting conversation topics at dinner. He asked me how my day was. And he asked me to come and lay with him in his room tonight. For the second night in a row. And we talked about all kind of things I've never heard him mention before. Memories of his time in the other state he lived in. Memories of his brothers. Things he misses…

Counting Down...

About 8 years ago, I learned to never walk away from a conversation that would bring me closure.  I was called into a meeting at my side gig (at my church). The writing had been on the wall that I was not long for the position and that there was a fundamental difference of beliefs happening.  We were parting ways and I had the opportunity to say exactly what I was feeling and thinking and so I did.  In a calm, clear voice, I said everything my heart needed to say and I walked away from something I loved dearly, with zero regret.

Today was kind of like that.  The writing is on the wall that reunification is happening, and soon, and I had the opportunity to put everything my heart needed to say, out on the table, so that when Solana leaves, someone I love dearly, I will have zero regret.

Through tears I explained to her Dad that I believed in him.  That I was proud of how hard he has worked and I believed he was ready. That I didn't fear for her safety. But that my biggest fear was…

It's OK to Say No

I've got several posts started about how we are struggling. There has been so much crying and tantruming that I opted out of family therapy last week. I just couldn't do it. And that's ok.  For the last 2 + years I've sat with my kids and tried to listen and understand and learn. And in the years before them I spent all kinds of hours talking kids through therapy (remember the 2x week therapy with the Fab Four?). But I just couldn't take another session about the importance of telling Mom and Dad the truth or answering a question when asked. And its not their fault, and its not mine.

None of us asked for the trauma. And its okay to say, I need a break.

I've been practicing a lot of self-care. Even simple things like having a cup of tea. Crafting. I gave into the migraine I had and laid down. (Not easily done with 5 kids.)

And this has been enough to help me get my wits about me and get back to quality therapeutic parenting. And it must be working because we ma…

Oh Man

Sometimes I feel guilty because the kids have healed so much. I listen and read about others who are really struggling with big, giant, behaviors and issues and I feel like an outsider because we don't deal with it on a constant basis. I'm relieved that we aren't living in that level of chaos daily and guilt ridden by the relief.

And then we have an episode like the one a few Fridays ago that rolled into Saturday and I feel silly for letting myself believe we were in such a great place.  We can't be. The trauma will require life-long adjustments and healing. We always have to be prepared to deal with the triggers and the false sense of stability sometimes knocks me on my ass. When it was daily I felt like I was always at the ready. But when the rage and tantrums come out of nowhere, I feel like I'm totally unprepared. And for whatever reason, those really great trauma parenting skills I've learned are hard to tap into at those moments.

Sarah is struggling righ…

Welcome!

Hi there! I think my post about Sarah's birthday story got shared on Facebook (thank you!) and we have some new visitors. So if you are stopping by, I first want to thank you for taking the time and say welcome.

A quick run down: We are a family that adopted 4 children from foster care this past June. Additionally, we have my kids' 1 year old sister living with us as a foster placement with a goal of return home which is likely to happen by the end of the year.  Topics I've been writing about lately have been: the adoption process, biological family relationships, foster care, and the behaviors of my children who have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety, and past depression.  I also write a lot about my feelings on infertility and saying goodbye to kids who have lived in our home.
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My hope is that the honesty I share makes you feel like you aren't alone in your own feelings on your journey. I also hope that our story s…

She Never Cried

Sheila called to wish Sarah Happy Birthday and she shared a story with her that as a baby she never cried. Not when she was hungry, not when she was tired, never. She never cried.
A little later Sarah said to me:
"Mom, my Mom said I never cried. I don't really believe that. That can't be true can it? Don't all babies cry sometimes?"
Oh my sweet girl. The red flag went up for her too. As I listened to Sheila share this story fondly, I felt sad. That was a sign of her RAD. That was because she couldn't count on adults. That was because she cried and no one came so she learned not to cry.
"It doesn't sound right to you, does it?"
"No."
"I know your Mom shared that story because she thinks it's cute you never cried. It made me sad. You are right babies cry so adults take care of them. You know how you had a lot of different adults that were supposed to take care of you as a baby?"
"Yeah, like 10 foster parents."
"Well …

I am ok.

I really am ok. I kind of purge all the feelings and then move on to the next task. It's how I've dealt with grief all my life. I have a much better vantage point of what return home and the possible outcomes related to Solana look like, than I ever did with the Fab Four. And that makes me feel prepared even if I know it will be hard.

I'm less naive this time. And dare I say, a little wiser? While I may have been blind to the possibility that she would go home, I know that keeping her from her birth dad isn't the right thing. (Not that I have that option.) I see with clarity that the right thing is for us to continue building a positive open relationship so that the kids don't lose out. That's what's required of me as their Mom. I dream that one day Solana will sit on my lap and say "Tell me about when I was a baby." A gift I can give to her that I'm unable to give to my other children. (Although, if I could give one piece of advice to people…

Tears

It's a primal scream. Terror. Fear. She clings to me, claws at my shirt to grab enough material to hold on. Her face is red and sweaty. Big, fat tears are rolling down her cheek.
The teacher says "I know Mommy is best but we will have a good day too" as I try to extricate myself from the vice grip she now has on my shirt. In my head I'm screaming But I'm not her Mom. I'm her temporary Mom. And in a few months people who have never met her will thank me for the job I've done and order her to go live with her Biological Father and no Mom. And I imagine her at his house screaming for me in the same way. And my heart cracks just a bit more.
I sit in my car in the office parking lot trying to calm myself enough to be able to go in the building without being asked what's wrong. Tears rolling down my cheeks, much the same as they were rolling down hers.
****** I've been on hold for 40 minutes listening to a loop "Studies show that women who breastfeed l…

Bedtime

Solana, the happiest baby on Earth has decided that the terrible twos will actually start at the age of 1. She is stubborn, independent, and loud. Really loud. 
She's always had this fake scream that sounds alarming unless you knew it was fake which she uses often when she is displeased. However, her latest thing is to throw full on tantrums. Screaming, crying, hitting. She's quite the frustrated drama queen. When she is really mad she will bite you and then scream "De-De-de-de-de!". Clearly telling you to go take a flying leap. Bedtime has become challenging. My sweet little baby who would go down without so much as a peep, threw a full on tantrum on the stairs when I told everyone to say goodnight to her. An hour and a half ago.
During this rough night I had her rocking in my arms, quieted down but still whimpering from being upset. She was clutching my shirt, my bra, for dear life. As I kissed her tears, mine started to fall.
I whispered to her "I'm not your…

Foster Care Adoption in the Media

I was really excited to learn that one of the gymnasts on the USA Woman's Gymnastics Team was adopted from foster care.  So often, we only hear of the negative outcomes for kids in foster care. Being able to give my kids an example of a young girl as an Olympian who had a similar experience to them, makes my heart happy. It was disappointing to come across this story: nbc-announcer-apologizes-for-comments-about-simone-biles-parents

You've probably already heard about this but Simone Biles was adopted from foster care by her maternal grandfather and his wife.  I guess these details are important (to some) because she is biologically related to her (adoptive) father and as written, one is (I guess) supposed to gather, not biologically related to her (adoptive) mother.

I suppose any story about an adoptee will give the details behind the adoption as they do make up the adoption story. And for some adoptees, these may be important details. To others, maybe not so much.

Apparently …

Thunder

We've had some pretty bad storms here in Chicagoland. Sarah's PTSD kicks in during thunderstorms and tonight she knocked on my door and said she couldn't fall asleep and didn't know what to do.
This was huge! Huge. Bedtime was already going to be tricky as the town next to us had fireworks tonight and they were so close to us, the finale shook the house. She was already triggered heading to bed.
In the past, she's shared memories of being with her biological family and being made to walk outside during evening storms to another building to use the bathroom. We have no idea if this was once or frequent but we do know that she was under the age of 5. This coupled with her witnessing of domestic violence means that loud noises and darkness are triggers to her PTSD.
Most kids are afraid of thunderstorms. But as I Kaye's in her bed with her, I could feel her entire body shake. But we reached a point where she could trust me enough to 1) tell me there was a problem 2)to…

She is His Daughter

Solana started in-home visits with her Bio Dad this month.  She'll be in the car longer than she is actually at the visit.  Bio Dad is going to ride with the driver both ways so that she isn't alone in the back seat and he can get more time with her.

This is all very hard to wrap my brain around.  We said no to her placement with us because it seemed too much to handle.  We changed our minds to keep her safe and because we thought the possibility of her eventually leaving us was pretty slim. We didn't really factor in a Bio Dad.  None of the others ever showed up to work their case plan. I'm glad that she does have someone showing up for her. She deserves that. All kids deserve that.  And that's why these conflicting feelings knock me on my ass.

One minute I'm fine. Readily working to co-parent. Gathering pictures for him and sending update emails. And the next thing I know I'm making her bottle and the tears just start to fall across my cheeks. Its like …

Mr. Mohawk's Birthday Party

We spent the evening at Mr. Mohawk's birthday party. It was so great to see the Fab Four and Maria. The house they moved into  has a huge backyard and a garden. So much space! 
It was pretty clear that LM and Gabby were avoiding us. I specifically asked Gabby to sit and visit because I knew she couldn't help herself. She let on that LM is angry with us. She feels we have overstepped our bounds at times and feels replaced by our adopted kids. For these reasons she doesn't want us around.
We invited them to spend the 4th with us and spend the night. It seemed that it was up to LM and that she wouldn't want to come over. Maria said she would let us know but my gut tells me we won't see them.
I am so, so, grateful that three years later we are still included in any event. But I miss them and wish we could see them more often. I wish I could fix the awkwardness with LM and have a conversation about her feelings. I understand her reaction and imagine that's how a lot of…

Are You Sure?

Love all the comments! So interesting to see how everyone handles the name change aspect. True Story, Sarah asked me how to spell her new last name tonight. And her first.....(Face Palm)
One of the questions I got was why we didn't need to be at the final court hearing.
Each county in Illinois does their adoptions differently. In theory we could have filed the adoption in any county in Illinois. From what I can tell each requires two hearings. In some counties the family goes in person to the 1st, in others you go in person to the last. Some counties only do adoptions two times a month, others four days a week.
The county their case was out of was almost 2 hours away and very small county. Our attorney wasn't familiar with their procedures but offered to file in that county if we wanted to. We liked the idea of the same judge handling the adoption but by the time we got the point we could actually petition for the adoption we decided it wasn't worth the hassle.
The county we l…

Reader Question: Did You change their names?

Yes we did. We actually started using their new names shortly after their good bye visit with Sheila last August. So the only name that really changed this week was their last name (kind of, one of them actually had our last name). We had started using them so we wouldn't have to try to do a name change mid-school year. Plus the kids had only been in the school the last 1/2 of the year so they didn't know everyone yet. The school was great about going with the new first names.
At some point Simon spontaneously asked his teacher if he could change his name tag on his desk to our last name. He was tired of waiting on the legal stuff. He started to write Simon Almost Last Name on his papers. So we asked all the kids and they asked for the same update. Their report cards and benchmarks still had their legal names. 
The name change was a bit cumbersome at first. We sounded like owls because someone would ask for a person by their birth name and we would all answer "Who?". W…

That Time My Kids Were Adopted And No One Bothered To Tell Me

So after the whole "we need to continue the adoption finalization date because we forgot to put one of your kids' names on some important paperwork" thing, the judge didn't care and entered in the final order of adoption on the date originally scheduled.
Except no one called to tell me until the next morning. So while I was having my 2am Pop-Tart meltdown, my kids were actually mine.
But that's foster care. Critical information (Hey your names changed! And you are now financially responsible for day care.) but no one bothers to give it to you.
Our attorney called at a really frantic moment as I was trying to get myself and the 5 kids out the door to drop off at two different daycares and I was totally caught off guard when she told me it was final.
Let me tell you, I couldn't really enjoy it because I was so frustrated by the chaos they all created just days before in messing with my schedule. I had no sleep, was late, and totally overwhelmed by the idea that it …

Can't Sleep

We talked about famous adoptees in family therapy tonight. I can't sleep so I went from looking for lists of famous adoptees to searching on the Adopt Us Kids website. Did you know JC Chasez (From 'NSync was adopted from foster care? By his birth mother's former foster family.

I need to start running again to help manage some of this stress/emotion. And probably get back into therapy for myself. The one therapist I had started seeing last summer didn't have kids and practiced Mindfulness. That's not what I need. What I need, is a safe place to cry for an hour a week. Someone who has walked this same path who will just let me talk and cry. Otherwise I am sitting in the dark eating a pop-tart at 2:15Am while typing on my iPad and wiping away tears with a paper towel.

The call with my Mom yesterday was really triggering for me. It brought me back to just before the Fab Four went home. I feel like we barely survived that. There is so much more complexity to our curren…

Permanency

My nerves are fried today. Mostly because I'm just tired of living in foster care land. I fully recognize that we have had a better experience than a lot of people, but I'm just ready to be done. 
I had over an hour in the car alone with my thoughts on the way to Solana's permanency hearing this morning. That's a long time to be alone with your thoughts. Especially with very little sleep because a certain 10 month old decided she was going to scream the house down from 12:30 until 1:30 when I decided she and I both needed to be in my bed asleep. 
Today was her 1st permanency hearing even though next month marks a year she will have been in foster care (her whole life). Neither bio parent showed up.  Which doesn't reflect well on them except all the reports were positive and showing progress being made towards the case plan. This of course meant the judge only had Caseworker #4 and myself to talk to. (Neither attorney had heard from their client.) So when he asked me i…

Open Adoption- Visit

I had reached out to Sheila to let her know the adoption would soon be final and to set up a visit so she wouldn't have to ask us. We were a few months away from the year mark of last seeing her and I thought it would be better if she could see all that we are trying to do to keep our children connected to their birth family. She of course put the ball in our court to plan the visit, so we did. 
We picked a garden in her town that the kids enjoying going to. It's the type of place you can only spend a few hours at so there would be a natural break in leaving. It's about an hour away so we also planned on getting lunch at a habachi resturant we really like.
Overall, I think the visit went well. We had prepped the kids at family therapy about things we wouldn't want to discuss (like Solana's permanency) but things that we were sure she'd want to hear about. School, camp, swimming. The kids were really nervous but afterwards they told us it was easier than they expe…

Damn Disney Decals

So back during one of trips to Disney with the Fab Four we bought those stick figure decals for the minivan. I never put them on the car for fear Maria would see and take offense. When the kids went home I sent their stick figures with them and hung on to mine, Hubby's and the dog. 
On a subsequent trip, we bought new stick figures for the final four. They've been sitting in a drawer for at least year. Well when Simon puked in my car two weeks ago I had justification to spend the money on a detail service. (I'm a little spoiled because they actually come to our office parking lot each Thursday.) And since the car was freshly washed I though it would be a good time to apply the stick figure forever family to the window.
Wrong move. The kids were like "what about Solana? Where is her's? Is there room for one? Can we get her one?
With their permanency seems to come a harder time remembering that their sister is still in foster care. Or maybe they just have more bandwidt…

Game On

Ooff. I feel like I said "Sign me up. I'm ready to be a Forever Mom." And the Universe said, "Game on."
Same week as Adoption Day: Lice- Check Bonus Points for all 3 older girls- Check Stomach Flu- Check Bonus Points- Stomach Flu in the back of the minivan- Check Infant Fever- Check Infant Teething- Check Hubby- "death by illness"- Check Mom- Fever and stomach flu- Check Mom- Lice- Check.
Now it's 1:39 AM and Hubby is sleeping beside me and I just got the baby back to sleep after 15 minutes of her "calling" to us and crying. 
What the Hell Dude? You literally just said "Aww how and I supposed to sleep when my baby is calling out for me 'Da da da'?"
I'm totally going to mess with his bed settings when he starts snoring. I'd rub my hair on his head if it didn't mean more literal nit picking for me later....

A Letter to my Children on the Eve of Court

My Dearest Stella, Sarah, Simon, and Smiley,

Tomorrow we go before a judge and our family and promise to be your parents forever.  It's a big deal and all of us are excited.  And while tomorrow is not the "final, final" day it is the day we will forever call "Adoption Day".  We have come a long way.  Each of us as individuals but also as a family.  We have inside jokes. We have "remember when" stories.  We know each other's favorite colors and who is likely to have the stinky feet.  We sat around a table tonight with one of our dearest family friends and you impressed her with your polite manners, quick wit, and loving words. We were our crazy selves and it was the best example of who we are as a family.  Our family. A Forever Family.

You have waited a long, long time for this Adoption Day.  And it makes my heart happy to learn that you are excited and happy about your adoption.  I want to remind you that its okay if there are times you don'…

Twinsters

We watched the documentary Twinsters tonight. It was shown on Freeform this week but it's also on Netflix. The documentary is about two women who look identical that find eachother on the Internet. They also happen to share the same birthday and are both adopted from Korea. 
It was a really interesting story. Beyond the whole "how small is the world" aspect, the documentary does a good job highlighting how people experience adoption differently. One of the women, Sam, feels really positive about her adoption. The other woman, Anais, is very angry about it. 
It's worth the watch.
**Spoiler Alert** **** **** I shared with Sarah and Stella that I had watched the movie. As we head to finalization, I want them to understand more fully that others may experience adoption differently, or even they themselves, may have different reactions over time. With four kids each of them are bound to have different thoughts on adoption being a positive or negative life experience.
My first re…

Happy Mother's Day

**This post did not upload so I'm re-loading. Pretend you read this earlier in the week*
I know this past weekend is hard for many of you. It's incredibly hard for me. It's never quite the greeting card commercial I conjure up in my head. For many of the past years it was a weekend filled with rages and tantrums and overall nutty behavior. There was a Mother's Day after the Fab Four left where I was a Mother without children. And that totally sucked.
Last year and this year I literally ran away. I spent last Mother's Day running a 1/2 marathon through  Disneyland and the city of Anaheim. This year I did it again and brought Hubby with me. 
The past few months have been sleep deprived, school and work filled and so I had zero training for this race. It's my 4th 1/2 marathon so I knew I could walk it and probably be ok. My only goal was to finish. And if I didn't, that was okay too. (I did finish.) 
We got a break together. We got sleep, like 9 hours straight. We…

The Mountain

Today I went to a reunion of sorts. It was a Boy Scout function my Dad was in charge of, a training for a backpacking trip to Philmont. Philmont is a high adventure camp in Cimmaron, New Mexico. Within the camp is a major mountain ridge that belongs to the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range and has a famous landmark called the Tooth of Time that the settlers used on the Santa Fe Trail. In fact, you can still see the ruts from the wagon wheels in the valley there.
Tooth of Time, Philmont Scout Ranch
In 2005, my Dad convinced me to go on a trek with him. We did a 7 day, 75 mile, backpacking trek through the camp.  In fact, I hiked the entire length of the ridge line pictured above. We went with a crew of 12 and all made it back, mostly in one piece. It was one of the most defining weeks of my life but the time leading up to the trip was critical. We trained. We practiced. We did group outings to shake out the group dynamics and for 7 days we relied entirely on our map, a compass, and each ot…

Mom Will It Take This Long To Adopt Solana?

That was the question Stella posed to me tonight. It broke my heart to have to remind her the goal is return home.
I reiterated we are keeping Solana safe, for as long as she needs. 
"But you would adopt her right?"
Yes, of course. That's what we hope because she is your sister and part of this family but that is just as true no matter where she lives.
I was honest with the kids that both Sheila and Bio Dad are complying with the case plan (although Dad missed a visit this week). And I promised we would keep building relationships so that if she does go home we can still see her. 
Such a a hard thing for my kiddos. And a sad thing that they understand adoption takes years.
Trying to take my own advice and not worry about the future. Whatever will be, will be.

Oh Holy Tantrum

Here we have been cruising along, no major issues. We've had some hiding of pull ups and skid mark underwear but that's pretty standard for the age range 7-9 (I feel). The pull up I found of Sarah's on Saturday, stuffed in the bin in the closet, prompted a repeat of the family therapy discussion we had about embarrassing stuff (bed wetting) being more embarrassing when we hid the evidence and Mom finds it anyway (because she always does).
I very calmly said that she needed to find any others that were in the room and throw them out. That any found after that day would be treated as new and the consequences would be going back to sheets (meaning she needs to strip the bed and put them in the washer) and writing sentences and no TV. (We've been escalating the consequences over the past few weeks.)
Monday night we shared the news that we have an adoption court date with the kids. The kids cheered! Everyone seemed excited.
You know where this is going, right? Anyone want to g…