Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Bit of Background

I first met Frankie when she was 14. She was an attractive tomboy that didn't need anyone. She was tall and thin and had been in foster care since she was 9. Her Mother had been an alcoholic and had lost all 4 of her children after many abusive relationships with men. She eventually passed away before she could regain custody and a great aunt took Frankie in. Being traumatized by the horrible events she had witnessed in her short life, this placement couldn't maintain and I got her. Her SW told me she was impossible to deal with and whatever I did just don't try to hug her.

I love a challenge and being only 21 myself I thought I could fix her with love. After a while she began to trust me a bit and we were able to work through some of her issues. We had a wonderful therapist and she included me in everything. I had no idea at the time she was helping us forge a bond. She ran every time things got too close and I would chase her down and bring her home. As a real adult I don't know if I would handle things the same way but it worked her at the time, she felt I cared enough to find her and that's what she needed to know.

At some point her older sister stepped in and claimed she wanted her. I had reservations about her ability to handle her but it was not up to me. I would have adopted her and kept her but she wanted to go to her sisters so badly. Once she moved we maintained close contact for years, I went to her graduation and she was the only person in our wedding. It has faded out at times when she was using badly and was ashamed. She has worked for my DH over the years to make money and calls us her family.

When she gave birth to her first child, she struggled to bond with her physically disfigured daughter and we kept her for weeks at a time. She realized pretty early on she couldn't be stable enough for her and couldn't bond to her so the baby's paternal grandparents have now adopted her. When her son was born she felt a connection to him quickly but began using Meth and lost custody to her ex husband. Her third child is a girl and she managed to keep custody of her until recently. Her FIL OD'd last year and within six months they had to get a roommate and she OD'd 2 days after moving in. The officer that came out knew of the previous situation and called DFCS. She failed the drug test and they took her dd. She got another sister to take her and they just worked out that she would take guardianship of her until Frankie could get it together. Now the sister is backing out b/c it is too much work. She asked yesterday if I would do it and keep both Frankie and her dd here.

I am nervous she will not keep it together this time. She has a history of walking away from her kids but she seems to really want to do right by them. She loves her dd and wants to be with her. She has pressed felony charges against her dh for what he did last week an he will be gone for many years. She is saying the right things and is actively looking for work but I worry. I love her and don't know if she could handle losing another child, I don't know if she can handle raising her. She has made it clear I will be in charge of helping her be a better parent, she will go by my house rules, she will work, and she fully understands I have no control over if she gets her back that is up to the court to decide when the time comes. On the other hand, how wonderful to have the opportunity to help one of my girls regain control over their seemingly doomed life? We will do it, please don't let this bite me in the ass.

Her daughter has never been around other kids and has changed schools 4 times so far this year, her Kindergarten year. How sad is that? She will e coming to stay with us for the next 2 weekends to see if she can handle it. I am sure we will be overwhelming to her, at first.

More drama to come........

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I am really enjoying having Frankie here. She tells the kids crazy stories about when she was little and I never let her have ice cream or sweets. She told my son I forced her to eat tofu, when he asked what it was she explained it was like eggs b/c they grew underground. LOL What? She is very funny and is healing quickly.

She told me today that Ella tried to trick her but she didn't fall for it. Ella has to touch you, period. She must get you to feel sorry for her b/c of her CP and since Frankie's oldest is disabled she doesn't fall for this or treat her differently. Ella has been trying to figure out a way to get to her and asked her to help her off the trampoline. She claimed she couldn't get off, this is not true. Frankie told Ava to help her and all of the sudden Ella was able to do it herself. She is such a faker.

My nieces are here for the weekend and the kids are having a blast. Cyr wanted them to stay in her room last night and ended up wishing me to die or that she would kill herself. Since I really didn't take it seriuosly I just had her sit with me until she started to dose and then we had a long talk about her favorite subject, feelings. SHe hates me and this is all my fault according to her. I suggested she really hated herself and I was just a safe person to take it out on. She actually sadi, "I told you I wouldn't touch anyone again, why don't you believe me?" Ah, Hello? You looked inmy face for 18 months and lied to me and this I am to believe? I hope I handled it correctly, I assured her her behavior is serious and explained just how. I compared her behavior to her abusers, I asked her if she would be ok if I had him babysit again if he promised to stop. It was obvious she was taking it all in but she refused to speak. I went on to explain she will never be able to babysit, she will always be watched and she screamed, "Not when I grow up and leave here!" I calmly told her that no matter how much I loved her I will always be concerned it will happen again even when she is grown and has children of her own. Today she was cuddly and talkative. She understands a bit better and did not push any limits about this subject. I am sure it will come again, though.

My son required my full attention (restraint) 2 times today. It seems people around him miraculously get hurt and he has nothing to do with it. Frankie was shocked to say the least, she wondered if this happened often. If she only knew. I warned her he would be sweet the rest of the day and he was.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I promised

I know I have stepped out but for a really good reason, I have had to spend 3 days in bed with what feels like pneumonia. I should go to the doctor but I am starting to feel better so I am trying to hold out.

I promised a detailed account of the day we finalized and here we go......

The kids' birth aunt and uncle came the night before and were in awe of the house and kids. They were so kind and supportive of the adoption that I can't imagine the day without them involved. They knew their places and never crossed any lines. We woke them up much earlier than they are used to and they were real troopers.

We headed off to the courthouse and met my MIL, Mother, and our beloved OT. Our snippy attorney had warned me to be early the night before and she was 20 minutes late, hahahaha. The Judge could not have been any kinder. He understood this was a bittersweet moment for our family and they had a fear of him. He came out to see us in the waiting area in the hall in plain clothes. He joked with them and then introduced himself. They were all shocked, I guess they expected a monster. We followed him into his chambers once the attorney showed up. He insisted the children needed a giant cookie to eat during the ceremony and you can see if you look real hard that most have some left in their hands when we took our pictures. He told the kids how and why he became a judge and adoptions were the best part of his job. He helped them understand it must have been hard for the other judge to make decisions about their family, too. He usually just glances over things but his office was so impressed with us she insisted he take more time with this one. He took it home and read every word. We are the largest family he has been a part of building and he made sure the kids knew he felt we were all special. It was wonderful.

Patches refused to be a part of the pictures and had to be forced and tricked to look up at the right time. After we headed to get birth certificates done and discovered it wasn't possible to be done as the attorney had promised. Ruthie broke down and was a real mess in the hall of the courthouse. Her uncle had been sitting with her and seemed shocked when she doubled over with grief. Every one took their turn throughout the day with repeating this episode in their own way and for their own reason.

In our excitement that morning I forgot to make the quiche among other things for our brunch. I realized this only after we were at the courthouse. We ended up eating at Steak and Shake and then heading to Fernbank Museum for the day. The kids were fantastic and they loved the time with their aunt and uncle. At the end of the day, as we were saying our goodbyes I noticed the aunt and uncle were trying desperately to hold back their emotions. Once the kids were in the van I spoke with them privately. They were so happy for the kids, they had never seen them so normal and well groomed. They were worried about how to deal with the rest of their family and I volunteered to take that burden from them and be the bad guy. I figure short of buying them a house and letting them have their kids, they are going to hate me so if I can make our relationship with the kids' aunt and uncle easier I would do it.

That was all Thursday, we called the kids' maternal Grandparents on Friday night and went to see them on Saturday. I made my points clear on the phone and insisted if they tell the parents where we were or helped them reach us in person at any time, we would close the adoption completely and permanently. At the end of the visit I spoke with the Grandparents and found out tons of new information. They have a lot of anger towards the kids' parents, they rarely speak to them, and upon learning of the sexual abuse that we know they inflicted on the kids they were thrilled to keep them apart. The Gpa even used some dirty words which was quote a shock considering this is not something he does. I really like him, his grandkids are very important to him and he is pleased they have been "saved" and he still gets to be Gpa. Both Gparents are relieved to have a relationship with us w/o the pressure of blackmail like with their daughter, she would let them see the kids for money when they needed it. He is honest to a fault, it caused DFCS not to place the kids with him in the past. He refused to sign a paper saying he wouldn't spank them b/c he believes in spanking and he would do it if he felt it was necessary. You gotta admire him for sticking to his guns whether you think he was right or wrong, he refused to lie.

The other big thing that has happened is one of my original girls has had to move back home with us. I became a group home mother at 21 and Frankie was one of my girls. We have had an on again off again relationship, never bad just faded away. She most certainly had RAD and is still suffering from lack of attachment as an adult. She has lost all 3 of her children at different times, has struggled with drugs, and now is getting out of a severely abusive relationship. Her husband was caught cheating on her and he tried to kill her by bashing in her head (he broke the bones in her cheek and around her eye) and cutting her throat. As she escaped to call the police her MIL chased her down and beat her again. She just got out of the hospital and had called all the shelters, she was told it was a bad time of the year and every one was full. I was her last resort, she knew I would never say no. She is already looking for a job but she looks like she was beaten so there is really nothing she can do for now.

It is good for the kids to see they can always come home. They also see someone that flinches when someone touches her, she hates to be touched and always has. This is a great opportunity to learn better boundaries, they are staying away from her physically. It is like she is in a bubble and they are doing wonderful.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Presenting The DeBruces

I am so exhausted from such a fantastic day. We had some really tense moments but made it through with excellent behavior. I will tell you all the details tomorrow, I promise. I am the happiest woman alive tonight.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I'm a %^&*ing Liar

Last night we went to OT and decided since we will have extra passengers in our van Thursday we need to clean it out. I will confess, I haven't washed the outside of the van in 6+ months. My defense and excuse to the kids is the drought. I really hate when they wash it b/c it is a bigger mess than an exploding feather pillow. We sucked it up and went to the car wash where the kids hollered at me that we were going to jail b/c of hte drought restrictions. I never said we would go to jail but I have told them about the severe fines that we would incur if they continued to use he dang hose in the backyard, it is $1000 if you are caught and they shut off your water! They took my strong emotions as possible jail time, LOL. They were freaking out until I pointed out that with so many others there we could probably get away cause they can only catch one car at a time. I was kidding but they took me seriously and were on the lookout the entire time. Way too funny. I hope I haven't scarred them for life.

When we get back to the office 2 of the kids were slow to get out. Like everyone was in the building and they weren't out of their belts yet slow. I tried to hussle them along and heard Ruthie making fun of me saying, "Na na na na na na na!" in a snotty voice every mother has heard at least once and the one we have all used when referring to our mothers at least once. I called her on it and reminded her it was rude. She went off, "You are a liar. I was talking to myself." SHe did her normal shut down thing and I requested my normal, "That's fine sweety, just suffer silently." She was quiet until the OT came out and commented on her, I told her she was mad at me. She went off again about me being a liar and we left to deal with others that had already left the building. We get in the van and Ruthie went off. She began kicking the seat and banging her head on the window. My favorite was when she started screaming on the top of her lungs that I am a %^&*ing liar over and over. You go girl, let it out. She made sure I understood she is not my chicken little (one of the many pet names I call the kids), she was T and N's chicken little. I told her she can be both and left it at that. She pulled it together the second she saw my DH and happily did extra chores after dinner.

Tomorrow is the day! Their birth Aunt Michelle and birth Uncle Floyd will be spending the night tonight to show their support of their adoption. They are so great and I think this will help the kids understand that they are still loved by their family. My MIL, Mother, and our beloved OT will also be joining us. It should be a quick ceremony and we are heading back here to eat brunch.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Love Fest

I was reading another blogger's comments and saw something that hit home for me. They were commenting that a foster blogger had not said one nice thing about a particular child in their care. They only focused on the negative about the child the county they work with. To me, any foster parent saying or complaining about the system or a child's behavior is venting. This life is tough, we need to vent. It had not occurred to me that they may not have any nice things to say. Just to be sure you all see the good side of my family I wanted to be sure to say a few things in their favor.

Cyr is smart and very helpful. She is a good student and needs little help motivating herself. She is open to bettering herself. She wants to be liked and feel normal. She is pretty and doesn't know it. She is always helping without being asked. She is quick with a shower and to clean up her room. She loves to journal. She will accept hugs from me when we watch scary movies. The girl loves to sing and dance around the room.

Patches is gorgeous and has no idea why the little boys in her class want to be her boyfriend. She is truthful to a fault, LOL. She loves school and learning things. She is very funny and is proud to be the laziest child in the world. She would much rather watch you do her chore and take the consequence than actually do the chore herself. Now while that doesn't sound like a compliment, in her eyes it is. She does this with a smile. She is very loving as long as you come to her (that laziness again). She is a big time tom boy and loves to be knee deep in dirt and bugs.

Ruthie has struggled so hard in school until coming to us and is terribly proud to have started reading this year. She is always smiling and goofy. She will do anything you ask of her. She is more than willing to clean the house to be near me. She is convinced she is funny and that makes her funny. She is a very dainty, attractive girl. She could spend her day talking about nothing with me.

Michael is the tiniest 7 yr old boy, he is extremely charming, not to mention too cute to be real. He is funny and quick witted. He likes to play tricks on me. He loves to sneak up and spank me on the rump and run away before I can catch him. While this is not particular fun for me, he lives to "get" me. He can be the biggest defender of his sisters and takes his role as a gentleman very serious. He will actually yell at anyone that tries to hold the door for the rest of us, not very gentlemanly but the thought is what counts here.

Emma is as beautiful as her Mother is and has every feature in miniature. She will be quite the beauty as she continues to mature. She is smart and helpful. She is flexible on everything but a rule. She does tend to be a bit OCD about the weather but if that is her only negative she will be easy to raise. She is a social butterfly and loves to take care of people. She is the best sister and adores her siblings regardless of their issues. She was built to help her new siblings adjust to a real family. Her insight has been mature beyond her years. I have no doubt she will grow up and adopt a large family or help in foster care in some way, she is called to it.

Ella is beautiful and resembles Patches a great deal. She can talk herself out of any chore. She knows how to bat an eye at her Dad and get what she wants. She is the cutest just as she falls asleep and cries when I move her from the living room floor to her bed claiming she is not sleeping. She is a trickster with a future in S&M. The child begs to be beat, this is a fun game and the harder the better. She will hobble (due to her CP) away as fast as she can screaming I can't catch her. She makes up jokes and thinks she is a magician when she throws the penny over her shoulder and asks me where it went.

Ava has come so far. She is the smartest kid and loves to learn. She is shy and playful. She is content with just hanging out with me. She likes to clean and if you give her a rag she will go at it for hours. She loves to socialize and wants to befriend anyone that will slow down. She is kind and gentle. She is the youngest now but longs to be an older sister, I will have to keep a close eye on her with a little one b/c her desire to help may backfire. She is strong willed and stubborn when she wants to be.

I am the luckiest woman alive. I will never get such cool kids again. They have come so far and are dedicated to going all the way. Their minor setbacks are just that. They are going to be amazing adults. I love every one of them more each day. I look forward to them waking me up before dawn every morning for the rest of their childhood. I even look forward to the many interruptions in the middle of the night when they are caught sneaking out.

Thursday they are mine forever to vent about or to brag about. They are adored and I will spend the rest of my days making sure they know it.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A fit and a friend

First things first, Cyr had a huge fit before bed last night. She rarely does this so it is even more irritating than from a regular rager, not fair I know but true. She has to have control over everything, she will adjust any request from me just enough to allow me to not get onto her. If I ask her to empty the dishwasher she will empty everything and leave the forls on the counter like she forgot. Silly but when it is EVERY LITTLE THING you can find yourself getting frustrated and rightly so. Her chore is to take the dog out and feed him. She waits so long that he poops or pees on himself every day. Then she has to clean out his cage. Her problem, right? Now she is complaining that she is afraid of the dark after taking him out every night after dark and fighting with her sisters to shut off the light every night instead of allowing them to have a small night light. I didn't buy it and told her to hurry up. She stood in front of the door with her coat on for 15 minutes. I calmly told her to go to bed and she would hear her consequence tomorrow. She started screaming that she had made a deal with Patches to do it and she forgot to do it. She was so scared of the dark and couldn't go out there. She forced herself to sob for another 15 minutes and them turned on the sisters in her room screaming they were to blame.

I got her up at 5:30AM (2 full hours early) to wash the dog and cage, feed him, and walk him in the dark. She never complained about the dark this morning, why not? I thought she was terrified to the point of freaking out, not. She just had to have control.

Waiting patiently? OK, here it goes. Now keep in mind nothing is for sure and it could change anytime from now to a month from now. Eve called and asked if we would keep her daughter, Mia, and her son for a month. She can not get a job b/c she doesn't have a babysitter and can't afford one. She wants us to keep her son permanently but I suggested she use the time to think about it. Mia has a father that lives in Japan (Army) and so it can't be permanent b/c he would take her from her and while he pays child support he views Mia as property not a person. She said she does not feel a bond to her son and is trying to fake it like I suggested but she is feeling negative towards him and is afraid it will not come.

I am excited to see them both and take care of them for a bit. I am pretty sure it will be longer than a month and she will decide to place him with us. It is hard not to run out an buy everything in baby sizes but I am going to wait until I pick him up. My DH was surprisingly supportive. I thought for sure he would object to me driving to New Orleans to pick them up.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Just a Teaser.....

I may or may not have a fun announcement this evening. I got a call this afternoon from a friend and she is asking a favor of us. We agreed to do it but she needs to think this through before I tell you it's happening. Curious?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Lazy Day

I only have 6 appointments, 2 OT and 4 Speech. Then I have to pick up meds, make 2 appointments for Cyr, write a journal page for Flat Stanley and send him back, a phone conference with Michael's teacher, email the psychiatrist about testing for ADD and ADHD on Ava and Ruthie and possible anxiety meds for Ava b/c she is still eating her clothes, hands, chairs, and just about anything she can put in her mouth, find out if and when Ella can get her hamstrings extended surgically and Botox injections in her legs to reduce the tightness due to her CP, grocery shop, rearrange the storage room to include all the new Halloween crap I bought the day after, entertain Emma all day b/c she is too sick for school but not sick enough to sleep all day, cook dinner, and do my usual 4-5 loads of laundry. I hope to slip in an hour nap since it is a slow day!

8 days and counting down to the Big Day. Oh I just remembered I need to find an activity to do that day after the adoption. A museum maybe? Ice skating? No movies or playgrounds for sure. I am open to ideas people!

On a gross note, we figured out by complete accident (Ruthie didn't knock on the bathroom door before entering) that Ava is our resident feces smearer. It makes sense now, of course, and she admitted when she gets mad she smears it on the wall for me to clean. Not anymore kiddo, it is your job. Hahahahahaha I am gonna have to spend more time with her, not sure how but I think she needs alot more one on one. Our agency suggested sleeping in a small tent in our home since she has also started to wet herself at night. She is slipping fast.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Introducing The Adoptive Parents of the Year

We had a great time at the luncheon today. My MIL showed up on time to watch the kids b/c at the last minute we learned they were not invited and the photographer will be coming to our home at a later date for photos. They said such nice things and there were so many people there. The food was beautiful and way too much of it. My husband went back for seconds on the dessert and convinced another mother she needed some too so he wouldn't look like a pig. We were all laughing so hard when she agreed.

We got hockey tickets in Channel 46's fancy suite for next Saturday night and we will be attending a great event next Saturday morning at Stone Mountain. At both we will be given the royal treatment.

Tomorrow I take Cyr to the sexual abuse institute for her psycho-sexual evaluation. I am nervous for her but trying to keep my cool so she doesn't know. Alot is riding on this, not that it will make us decide to move her but her treatment plan will be based on it.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Don't Make My Kids Mad

Yesterday, when talking to the new AT about Cyr's therapy plan he asked me about her friends and peer relationships. I told him how she has struggled to have normal friendships b/c she tends to become the friend t the point of losing herself. She takes over their likes and dislikes to an extreme. She has had 2 neighborhood friends that have disappeared lately and even avoid her at the bus stop with no explanation from her. One of these friends complained awhile back that she was mean to little kids at school, she is very bossy. The AT was concerned b/c this has Borderline Personalty written all over it. He explained that an extreme case was the movie Single White Female. How scary is that? He has a case now that a 10 yr old girl wants her adoptive parents new baby to go away. She hasn't mentioned harming the baby but she wants to be the baby so badly they are concerned for it's safety.

Ruthie just got mad at me for something silly and decided to put a nasty dog chew under my pillow. She knows I am freaked out by gross things and anything near my pillow like feet or butts. This would be right on up there with poop under my pillow. I sent her to her room to think of a way to make this up to me. I am thinking she needs to wash all my sheets. EEWWW!!!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Good News and Bad News

Let's go with the bad first, I am no longer pregnant. The good news is, it was in the right spot. Not much good if it is paired with the bad news, huh? I am fine but more than a little sad.

We started with the new AT an I love him. He is working with Ella and Michael and is way better than the last 2 ladies, even though technically we still have the last one and she is working with Cyr and Ruthie starting tomorrow. He pointed out the eye contact with Ella was only when I talked about how I planned to keep her safe. The rest of the time I was telling her nice things about her and she watched my mouth and nose. I know it sounds silly but it is very important. Michael squirmed the minute we talked about his feelings, good or bad, about Cyr. He got agitated and claimed he was uncomfortable in my lap. He was full of it. Once we lightened the conversation he was fine again.

Halloween was great fun. The kids are learning about traditions b/c this is the 2nd Halloween and they are asking lots of questions about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Are we going to make presents again? Are we making Pumpkin Gingerbread Truffle? Can we have hot chocolate while we do the tree? How many presents do we get? It is the firs time they have been anywhere 2 years in a row and they are very excited about it.