Tuesday, February 28, 2006

An oil change, new tires, and a bath. The guy who is selling me the Suburban had all that done this week for me for no additional charge. Wow! Nice guy.

My husband is having a serious disagreement with his boss right now. Three of the guys my husband supervises have complained he talks on the phone to me all day. Two of these people are the guy's daughter and her boyfriend. They rarely show up even within hours of being on time if they work at all that day. All three are his helpers and could not do the job without his expertise. They do not like being "gophers" and refuse to cooperate. Another screamed he was going to quit today.

We do talk throughout the day. My husband has worked as a subcontractor for this guy on and off for 15 years. He is currently an employee, but b/c of the attitudes of these 3 people he and his boss have been talking about subcontracting again. My husband had 2 traumatic brain injuries in 2 years (1997 and 1999). Both stopped him from working for months at a time and he has suffered short term memory loss due to this. Everyone knows he has to use me for this purpose. It has never been a problem before and now it is.

So, I pulled our phone records for our house phone (courtesy of Vonage)and he has only talked on the clock 16 minutes in the last 7 days. Many of those minutes could be me leaving a voice mail to remind him of something, going between job sites, or traveling to get materials. Every other call to and from each other is during lunch and his morning break. I do not feel he is "over talking" to me. I think these people do not want to work. Oh did I mention the guy pays all the bills for his kid and her BF whether they earn it or not. I am waiting for him to come home now. Hope he has a job.
No word from Nichole or my worker. UUUGGGHH!!!

I am happy that my income check arrived as I was on the phone with IRS wondering where it was. Now we can purchase the vehicle we will need to haul our troop around in. I have not had car payment in years and was a little, ok freaking out about affording one now. My sweet husband found something that is going to ease my mind and now that the money has arrived, I will get the SUV this weekend.

We are getting an old Suburban, 1987 to be exact. It has a rebuilt engine and new transmission. It was only used over the years by the father of a friend who used it for vacations and boy scout meetings. He is very mechanical and treated it well over the years. It is white and has a good paint job on it and no damage to the body. While it is not beautiful and new, I will be able to calm down b/c we have a care to tote all of us and NO MONTHLY PAYMENT.

I worked hard cleaning the bunk beds yesterday and WOW, they were gross. I am going to need 2 new twin mattresses. I am hopeful my husband gets better soon so we can put them up. He has been getting something for awhile, he refuses to stay home and rest.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Still no additional word from Nichole. I have gathered a ton of info for her when she does call (local women's shelter, numbers to call for free counseling for battered women, and a few other things). I have decided I am going to support her any way I can but her drama needs to be away from us until she leaves him and I can not jump and go "save" her again. I am so worried and am scared she will not leave him.

On a better note, I am motivated to work on the house today. We have all the bunk beds for the kids and I am washing them on the back porch. I have prepped the kids TV/Video game/computer room and will finish painting tomorrow and move the rest of the furniture in there. I am pretty excited to have a room close to being done.

The bedrooms are another story. We can't paint until we know the color the kids want. We can at least get the bunk beds put up. My Mom called today (asked about the kids for the first time in a long time) and said the quilt she has been working on for 2 years is about done and will be ready for the youngest girls room. I plan on doing the room in pink and purple and the quilt has daisy flowers (pink and purple).

I hope to focus my husband on building a new kitchen table so we can continue to use the dining room as a play room. I would love a custom picnic table t for the eat in kitchen area. It is long but narrow and our current table is too wide and will be difficult with the kids.

Back to work for now. Emma is going to have a real surprise wwhen she gets home, her Dad let her distroy the house this weekend when he was watching her and her cousin. Every toy and book is scattered and she is going to clean it up herself.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A bit about Nichole. She is a drama queen. She is prone to stretching the truth ALOT. I have so many great things to say about her but this weekend all I have witness is her bad choices and how they are having an impact on me and my family.

She is in an abusive relationship and has on several occasions lately expressed a want to leave and not having a way out. She has stayed with us several times over the years and the offer stands until we get our new children.

I have spent money I did not have to drive an hour and a half to get her to bang on the door for 30 minutes b/c she left right before I got there. It was pouring down rain, and I was in the nastiest trailer park I could have imagined and was alone. She asked me to come get her, why did she leave? I truly believe she needs the drama for attention. After many calls to her mother and the police, the manager of the park came up and opened the door. She was not being held hostage, she had actually left. I am so disappointed in her right now I can't even think straight.

My daughter was so disappointed again that her mother didn't show up that I have made a promise to myself to never tell her again of a pending visit. I had to explain that she was not in a position to come as we thought and maybe soon she would come.

I went to Nichole's mom's house this AM to pick up bunk beds for my house and we had a long talk about her. We tried to trick Nichole and trailer trash boyfriend (not all people in a trailer park are trash, just this one) to come to her parent's house for money but they wouldn't.

I have to take a step back and protect our daughter from her right now and hope she pulls it together soon for her and her children's sake. I am sooo sad and will miss her terribly. I know it is best. I left a message that I love her no matter what, but until she leaves him she can not come around our daughter. I can't continue to deal with her drama.

I will talk later about her wonderful qualities, there are so many things I love about her.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I am having a rough time with the fact we will be the foster parents and not the adoptive parents. I know it is stupid. I want to be Mom! It is such an important role and name I have never allowed our kids to call us anything but Mr. and Mrs. D. Mom and Dad were to be reserved for their parents. We have had one child that aged out of the system and refused to call us that and to her we are her Mom and Dad and the Grandparents to her children. I WANT TO BE MOM. We will also have visits with their families which is fine , but do we drive 100 miles every week? The state will now be involved for 12 to 18 months after placement. There is the slight risk they could go back to their families. OMG! I am so stressed out. I have been depressed all day.

The good thing is we will have more time to get our home together, but I have no desire right now. I want to cry. Our agency won't even allow us to proceed until we are sure the relatives are denied. So now I have to wait some more. I wish they would just move ahead and if it falls through, ok, on to the next group. We are not in love with them, just committed. We have been through this before, if it isn't the group then just find the one that is.

I hate waiting for our worker to call me back. She has gotten so much better since I explained I am waiting by the phone for an update. I was supposed to hear from her yesterday and did not. I want the other worker to know how important open adoption is to us. That may have an impact on the extended family members trying to get the kids. They do not have room for them. They probably feel guilty and do not want to loose their family and so they will try. If open adoption was an option, maybe the parents and family could relax. Our agency won't let our worker discuss it. This would be completely up to us after finalization.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My worker called, the parents appealed. Not a huge let down, it just means the kids will be placed with us as foster to adopt instead of straight adoption. There are not many cases when a judge has overturned a TPR in GA and they had almost 6 years to work their plan. I am confident, so is their SW, that all will be ok on that issue. It means a few things will be different such as what they call us. We are uncomfortable with Mom and Dad if they are not in an adoptive placement.

Their SW is really worried we would back out b/c we will now have visits with the family until the appeal is denied. I don't know how it will work, so we take them there? Are we reimbursed for gas? How often will we have to go? On and on.

She moved up their relatives evaluation to this weekend so we can at least have closure on that. The Gparents will be denied (the SW is 100% sure about that). The maternal uncle can't take more than 3 children and the state is obligated to keep the kids together if at all possible. I guess that is where we come in. She said if they can't or won't do all 6 kids, we would be the priority. Still has me a wreck.

The SW wants to proceed with the Child Presentation and Staffing for the kids b/c she is so sure this is going to work out. Our agency refused to do so until the relatives are denied. They said it will take at least 2 visits for the presentation b/c there is so much info and so many kids. OMG this is going to drag on and on.

I feel like I am going to explode. My family is useless and refuses to hear about these ups and downs, so I really do not feel comfortable telling my friends either b/c if my family is tired of it everyone must be. My DH is ok with whatever, he is so laid back. He wants them to move in and get it going but he is not concerned with the details. He would rather I work out all the details and show him the kids he needs to fall in love with and he will. He is great in that way. My head is going round and round with questions and issues, it would be great to have someone to bounce it off of. Like a best friend....

I have had one since I was 16, Dana. She is pretty self centered in most ways but she would have let me talk about this for hours on end if I needed to. It was not a healthy relationship for the most part. She did help me through the last adoption and always listened to me freak out. For another day....

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Well, their worker still hasn't sent the Child Presentation. She blamed it on the Clerical Dept., my worker and I had a good laugh about that b/c all the worker had to do is copy the file and mail it. There is no Clerical Dept. I understand she is very busy but come on already! I am anxious to find out more and offically accept the children. I can't even decorate until we have the Staffing and find out what they like from their Foster Parents.

Their worker also said the parents will not be filing an appeal, but 2 relatives have come forward and requested the children be placed with them. WOW! WHAT? She has assured us it is her legal responsibility to check them out even though they were denied before. I started getting worried! How long will htis take? Months like us or what? Are we expected to wait her until they figure this out? Should we continue to look for another group? My worker sent an email with all my questions Friday and I am sure it will be days until she hears back from her. Our worker said it is not uncommon for it to take a littel while to get the Presentation but the relatives popping up she has no real idea b/c their worker doesn't give any details. SHe NEVER answers her phone or returns calls, only emails.

So, now what? Wait, some more? I guess that is our only choice. We are committe dto a group we know little about and are not getting our questions answered in a timely manner.

We have been told they have very few issues, but I am wondering how they could if they have been in and out of care for 6 years. The children are all under 10, that is most of their lives. The boy has temper tantrums, is a sign of attachment issues or is it normal behavior? I am concerned. I am scared. I know love can not fix their problems but stability can help. I do not think I am living in a cloud and can fix everything for these kids, I know my life will be hell for a year or so and I hope it will get better. I believe this is what I was meant to do, parent children lost to the system and keep them together. I know I will love them, I hope I like them. I hope they come to love us and like it here. I hope my daughter will not be treated like an outsider by them. I hope she does not feel left out by us. She is awesoem and very excited about new siblings. We talk about how things will change constantly. I can't truely prepare her.

I an concerned my family will struggle with them. My Mother is not the warm freindly Grandma type. She does not seem to like many children. She spends little time with my child, but seems to remember her when shopping. She does not come to birthday parties, but sends a gift of clothes. Strange old bird is turing 60 next week and my eldest sister is throwing a party for her at a bar. Whole other story with her. SHe is alot like my Mom about kids. Barely tolerates them. Does not like her step children and IMHO was a distant mother to her only daughter. I am no longer updating them about my adoption b/c they are so negative and rude. I can't wait to surprise them once they have moved in. Both of them think I can not keep a secret and are not really interested in my life. They think I am crazy and unrealistic in what I can handle. This process takes such a long time to finsih and at the thought of making plans for the last few holidays we have had to consider we may have tons of kids and may not be able to attend certain things if they are here. My Mother and sister, Julie, have actually have said to me "I'll believe it when I see it." WHAT? It is our reality they will be here, we don't know when. We can't make huge plans for our future right now b/c we need to be flexible.

My 2 younger sisters are much better. Kiki is my best friend. I adore her. SHe is in the middle of a divorce and is finding herself. I miss her. She rarely has real time for me anymore. She is excited and will be directly effected by our adoption b/c I watch her 20 month old daughter while she works. She will have to enroll her in a daycare and she will have to pay for it. I fell awful about it, but I need to focus on my new kids. I ahve a hard time putting myself first and have always taken care of my nieces when asked. She has no one else. My kids come first, she understands. Kiki will try to get to now my kids but I don't think she will spend much time with us now that she is dating and getting used to being alone. She really isn't there for me right now and that's ok, I understand her hands are full with 3 girls (12,6,and 20 months).

Ethyl is the youngest sister. She bartends and has a 12 year old daughter. She divorced when her daughter was a toddler and has a marginal relationship with her ex. She is alot like my Mom and oldest sister, distant. If she wants something, she is nice but otherwise you do not hear from her. SHe is loud and pushy and that can be alot of fun when you are out with her.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

We had met Rachael several times and was shocked in May of 2005 when she contacted us through Nichole. They asked us if we would consider adopting her unborn child. She did not want to stay at her Mother's house and was in a very bad live in relationship. We told her she and her 2 yr old daughter could move in with us and as long as she was honest about her intentions. If they changed please be honest and we would still help her, if she got back with the boyfriend she would be responsible for a small fee for room and board until she chose to leave. She reassured us constantly that she was committed to adoption and encouraged us to set up the nursery. About six weeks into it she got back with the abusive boyfriend and began a scam on us. He finally told us they were together and they were keeping the baby, she did not want to tell us so we would pay for everything and maybe give her the stuff when she left. Come to find out, she and her had a serious Meth habit and she did it until the day she came to our house. She rarely showered and neglected her child severely. We were almost relieved when she confessed. She moved out within a week or so.

We knew then we were ready to adopt again. I called a private adoption agency the next day. We had our classes the next three Saturdays and home visits the next month. By the end October we thought we were approved, turns out our file sat forever on the supervisor's desk and after a few more months we were approved and registered with the state of Georgia. As of January 23, 2006 we are approved to adopt up to 6 children ages 0 - 18 and of any heritage.

I guess what most people wonder is.....Why so many kids? We were parents in a group home and had six teen girls. It is the right number for us. It is our dream to have a house full of kids. We are gluttons for punishment.

When our worker called to tell us she said the state had sent out our homestudy automatically to a worker about a group of 6 and she was following up on a set of 4 and 5 here within the state. She went on vacation and left me a wreck waiting for new news. When she returned last Monday she called first thing and said the worker for the sibling group of six had called and spoken to my case worker's supervisor about us. After several conversations the worker decided they wanted to select us officially for the children. WOW!! Of course I answered without speaking for my husband. YES! Ok, I had spent months looking online at waiting children dreaming about which ones would be ours and ours were never listed. What a waste, oh well , moving on....

The girls are B 9, P 8, D 7, and twins A and K 4. The only boy is A 5. The only significant issues besides being ripped from their loving parent's arms are emotional, some moderate educational delays, and K has braces on her legs from Cerebral Palsy. We had hoped and requested some family or connection for the children we accepted to continue. In our wildest dreams we couldn't have thought of this connection being the parents. It seems that these children were not abused in any way. The parents were not able to care for them b/c they are illiterate and have low IQs. The state has tried to work with them and even sent the kids back at one point. The last time the kids were removed was b/c the Mom accidentally over dosed on of the girls on codeine and her lungs collapsed. Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) has been granted and the parents have 30 days to file and appeal. Their worker was confident they would not do so b/c they had stated as much.

So now we wait. Again. The worker is supposed to send a Presentation of the kids to our worker this week and then they will schedule a Staffing with the foster parents, all workers, therapists, and us.

I will talk about my unsupportive family next time. Oh goody, something to look forward to.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The baby was very sick the first few months and cried constantly from undiagnosed acid reflux. Within a day or two we noticed blood in her diaper, she tested positive for salmonella and boy that was fun. She was so sick when we got her, no wonder she was crying. I kept her in a carrier on my body for months to comfort her. She did not like the touch at first b/c she had spent her first three weeks without being held and sat in an infant car seat. Once she got used to being held and she loved it.

Visits with Emma's other mother were strained at first, we wanted her to be with us but on the other hand we were in love and terrified she wanted the baby back. We talked about it with her and she said she knew that she didn't want the baby full time. Later we realized she was so afraid what people thought of her for placing 2 children through adoption that she spread horrible stories about us. It was hard to be nice some days. The things she was saying was coming back to us from all directions. Our foster daughter, Nichole's family (Mom, aunt, and cousin) were all telling us basically the same story, we had stolen her baby and wouldn't give her back.

I was able to confront her and comfort her about the fact we understood why she was making all these claims even if she did not understand. She screamed, as she would many times since, that she didn't want anything to do with us and it hurt too bad. It would have been so easy to say "Ok" but instead told her, she had a responsibility to her child even if she did not live with her and we loved her and would talk to her whenever she felt she wanted to. No time ever We continued to invite her over and she eventually apologized for her behavior and the things she said.

She claims that our relationship is the first time she has ever known unconditional love. We have done everything we promised and more, despite her family telling us we should cut off contact with her. She has grown into a wonderful young lady and while she has spent most of her teen years and now adulthood struggling with drug addiction she is now clean.

Over the last few years she has stayed with us for a few weeks at a time. We all love those weeks together. Our daughter knows who she is and loves her. She has overheard my husband and I calling Nichole her Other Mother and it has turned into a nickname, Udder Mudder. It has nothing to do with utters, cows, or anything disrespectful. My daughter has a hard time speaking clearly and it is so cute, her Mother loved it and it has stuck.