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Thursday, April 28, 2016

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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

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 guess what was found today? 

Yes. A dirty pull up, in the closet.

Very calmly I said you need to go get paper. And the sobbing began. 

I asked why she didn't just throw it out.

"I didn't want to."

Hmm. Not I don't know. Not I forgot. 

I didn't want to.

I set the timer. 2 minutes to get the sobbing out of the system. She was still going and now inturrupting the rest of the family.

Please go to your room to calm down.

Well of course that resulted in screaming. Thrashing. Hitting herself.

And it was right around then that it clicked as to what was really going on.

The ADOPTION is actually happening. Not someday. Not after court. Not in the next six months. 

In three weeks. Mom wrote it on the calendar, so it must be real. 

So I went into the room and sat across from her. I tried to engage her "rules". 

I don't want anything! 

And as I talked her through the "big feelings" I got enough nods and shoulder shrugs to get to the core of the problem. She didn't trust this was actually happening. And was worried if she was still wetting the bed we wouldn't adopt her. Or rather, she was proving to herself she wasn't worthy of love forever and her pull up was going to prove it. And probably doing something to make sure I noticed her because I might leave her behind. So many people promised to take care of her and then walked away from that responsibility. I'd have a hard time feeling secure in what was happening too.

It's been a long time since Sarah has had that strong of a tantrum. I forget at times that she's capable of them. Or that they were daily at one point. And I should have anticipated this reaction based on what happened when the goal change to adoption was delayed last year. 

But we did a good job 1) recognizing the trigger 2) talking through the feelings 3) regulating and staying calm and 4) reviewing the better approach to discussing these scary feelings.

I reiterated that adoption is hard and complicated and often filled with a lot of emotions, sometimes conflicting ones. I told her that it was okay to feel sad about the adoption and worried about what that means for Sheila and her place/role in her life. I shared that, I too, feel sad that Sheila misses out on the everyday stuff but that doesn't mean I can't be happy that they are my kids.

We moved on and got through the rest of the night.

But YAY for adoption day (finalized 4-5 weeks after our day in court)! Such a long time coming!


Monday, April 4, 2016

Someone Check the Calendar.

When the letter for Solana's ACR came I noticed it fell during one of her visits.  So I waited a few weeks. No one called to reschedule.  So last week I called Caseworker #4 and asked if 1) anyone noticed 2) if the visit would be re-scheduled.

I'm going to jump up on my soap box for a minute here.  I think visits should get re-scheduled for case related events like ACR and court, but only if the Bio calls in advance to do so.  If you are going to be parenting children, you have to be able to look at a calendar and figure out where there might be conflicts.  Now we all forget some times, but I don't think it should be given that a visit, if missed for court or an ACR, should not count as missed simply because it is case related. I think it does the bios a disservice by allowing for any instances where they aren't required to be aware and plan ahead. Jumping off now...

He told me he would call the transport service and the parent with the visit. But no, no one but me had noticed the conflict.

Today rolled around.  Noon rolled around. Nothing.  So I called the transport company.

Nope they hadn't heard if the visit was cancelled.  They called the parent.  Parent said they were going to have it on a different day per Caseworker #4. Parent never called transport to cancel or verify.  Caseworker #4 never called transport. So of course said other day wasn't available. Transport called me to say yes visit was cancelled but that Caseworker #4 must be doing the visit since they relayed the new day.

OH.MY.WORD.

I said I sincerely doubted that Caseworker #4 was supervising and transporting for the visit.  But all I cared about was that I knew were my kiddo needed to be tomorrow.  Let me know when the make up visit was scheduled for.

What would they have done if I had not called? Why is it up to me? It shouldn't be. I don't want to hear how busy the workers at The Department are.  I work full time. I go to grad school.  I have 5 kids and I still managed to follow up.  Instead 4 calls (to me) later. 

So annoyed.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

I have a confession

I am not the Pinterest Mom I wish I had time to be. I've not puréed baby food. I've not warmed a bottle that wasn't in the refrigerator first. We didn't dye Easter eggs. Our Valentines were store bought. And tonight as I was feeding the baby her prepackaged peach purée, I decided that was totally okay. 

As the Mom I always hoped to be, I'm a total failure. I'm notoriously late with the tooth fairy payments and this past week I told the one kiddo that maybe the tooth fairy didn't come because she knew she was going to have 4 cavities. Fun snacks of ant on a log- ha! Go get some carrots and put them in a ziplock because I have no idea where the lid is to the reusable container.

And while my kids do tolerate the dressing alike (for now), none of those outfits were hand made. And while I've thrown together some decent felt costumes, none of my children have the memory quilts I planned to make them (in my head). 

And you know what? Also totally okay. Because I'm doing the best I can, with what I've got, on any given day. 

Sometimes by the hour. Sometimes by the minute.

I took a women's studies course in college. One of the papers I wrote was on the "Evolution of the Kitchen" and how the advent of modern day appliances pushed women out of the kitchen into the work force rewarding them with new found independence and double the work as they continued to be responsible for housework and child rearing. 

And as women, as moms, we judge the others and ourselves against some ideal that may not even be important to us if we stopped long enough to ponder it.

Do I really want to make my children's clothes? No. I miss being crafty but the trade off is I'm getting my Masters Degree. 

Are my kids harmed by having to get their own snack? Nope. In fact, it's probably a life skill. 

The best I can, with what I've got, at any given moment.  

The great thing about this mantra? It can change! You can repair! You can forgive yourself for whatever transgression (real or perceived) and move on. It's applicable to others too! 

Who else is struggling with guilt about not feeling like you are doing enough or the "right way"? Leave it in the comments and walk away from it!