Thursday, December 30, 2010

IT'S OFFICIAL! HAPPY ADOPTION DAY!

There was a time when I wasn't sure if we were going to ever be able to finalize Jenay's adoption.  It has been a long and weathered road, and I'm sure our journey has only just begun, but we can now travel that road as an official FOREVER FAMILY!  I could not be more thankful for all the help and support we have received from Lutheran Social Services, Walling, Berg & Debele, P.A., Gift of Adoption, Hennepin County Juvenile Court, and of course, all our family and friends!  We are forever grateful to have Jenay's birthmom in our lives and hope that our relationship continues to grow and grow and grow.  We love her so! 





Thursday, December 16, 2010

Adoption unknown. . .

The thing with open adoption is just when you think you have it all figured out--something else throws you for a loop.  I can sit and analyze, worry, speculate, assume, guess, ask, wonder, pray, pursue, succeed AND fail, and still not know the answers that I am looking for.  I still don't know the role I am meant to take.  I guess all I can do is to offer myself and make it clear--and I mean clear--that I will always be here, no matter what, no matter when, no matter how she wants to be in our life.  Maybe she already knows this.  Maybe she already feels this.  Maybe she already knows how much we love her--for real.  Maybe, for once in her life, she feels free and just needs to be who she was always meant to be.  I wish I knew, though. . . I still wish I knew. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 Holiday Photo Contest: Christmas Wishes - Adoption Photos - Adoptive Families


I never enter contests. . . but I fell in love with this photo (hubby's toe included) and really love the Adoptive Families magazine and really hope to win a year's subscription since it just expired and we didn't renew due to our massive budget cut when Nay Nay came home to our family much quicker than we could have ever expected. AND, since we have had this AWESOME snow storm here in MN, it was a great time to do some things I don't normally have time to do! Hopefully, I can get some more photos of that up here for you!!! We've been having fun making our "outdoor" playground of tunnels and trails!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sweet music to my ears. . . .

I remember the day that we got the call about Jenay's birthmom wanting to meet us like it was just yesterday.  Of course, we didn't even know Jenay was a girl yet.  Everything happened so fast. . . she was born the next day after the call and they had to change our match meeting place.  So the next day we went to the hospital to meet T.  We still didn't even know if she had a girl or boy yet.  T is very quiet and not much was said so we had no clue what to think.  We even got to meet baby Jenay before we left.  The next day we had a phone conversation with T and about an hour later her social worker called us and asked us when we could come pick the baby up.  There was just a little bit of chaos and we were still unsure if we were being chosen, or if we were kind of just being placed so baby wouldn't have to go to foster care.  Due to the complexity of the situation, we knew that it would be some time before we would be out of legal risk and the longer Jenay was with us, the harder it became to face the reality that as long as we were in legal risk, her first momma could choose to parent her--meaning we would lose her.  It's difficult to grieve that thought when you know that a birth parent is actually experiencing that grief.  A birth parent that you love and deeply care for.  A first parent that you want to hold tight to and make all their problems disappear with the blink of an eye.  But yet, you don't want to lose that child that you already love so deeply, who is already a part of your heart. 

Our agency has a "glimpse" of waiting parent's profiles online.  You can't see the entire profile, but most of us on there have links to blogs or adoption sites with more information.  We were on the up and up of openness and actually linked ours to my blog.  When a family is matched--the agency will put that by their names.  When they are out of legal risk, they will say, "Congrats on the arrival of a _________!"  (Girl or Boy, obviously).  I remember seeing "Matched" by our names after about a week and bursting into tears because the reality of being in legal risk for a long time finally hit me in the face.   We breathed, sighed, slept, ate, tried not to think about it, prayed God would have His will be done--sooner than later--kept on living, breathing, sleeping, eating, taking care of babies and a gazillion other things on top of that.  We have certainly been on a journey that is far from over, but has already brought us more than we could have ever imagined.  On Wednesday, November 3, at 4:31pm, we were officially out of legal risk. We can now petition the court to officially adopt her.   A new beginning for all of us. 

But something was still missing. . . .

Until I visited the LSS Waiting Family site today and saw those sweet beautiful words written by our names, "Congratulations on the arrival of a girl!"  Even though she has already been with us for eight months those words rang loud and clear that she is here to stay and that her and her beautiful birth mommy will always be a part of our lives!  Thanks be to God! 

Friday, October 29, 2010

I have to be honest. . . I've been totally avoiding my blog because I haven't wanted to update anything.  I guess we were not quite prepared for the undertaking that came along with this third process of adoption.  It has been long and emotional and unpredictable and amazing and wonderful and beautiful and undeniably the right situation for our family, but so long and emotional and unpredictable.  It has been difficult to know where our boundaries are and what our responsibilities should be.  But, the simple truth is that in my heart, I know we are going to have to advocate for Jenay's birthmom.  I know things have not been easy for her to get in touch with us.  I know she has been extremely busy.  I'm sure if this process has been emotional for us, that it has been 1000 times more emotional for her.  We are supposed to have a visit this month and I'm not sure it's going to happen.  We haven't heard from her--directly.  I'm sure it's a combination of a bunch of things--but it still makes me sad.  I'm sure we will be able to schedule something next month instead.  I just want her to know that we will always be here for her.  That we WANT to see her.  That we do LOVE her! 


I hope to see my three mommas soon!  I have a ton to say. . .but I'm keeping it all inside for now.  So, until I spill the beans. . . .here are some fun photos!

Did I forget to mention that I turned 40?  OOPS!  Here we are in DULUTH celebrating!  Craig surprised me with my mom and dad!  It was and awesome time despite Craig getting sick on the second day.  We weren't able to do all the things we planned, but the weather was spectacular and we were able to be outside without our parkas! 



I hope you all have a very happy Halloween!  Here are some of our pre Halloween photos.  I'm so behind on my blog that I have a million photos to choose from!  I guess you will have to find me on facebook if you want to see more! :0)



Friday, September 10, 2010

GIFT OF ADOPTION FUND

We all know that there is a financial aspect to adoption.  Most of us try not to talk about it.  It's something that may be difficult for our children to understand at a young age.  Even if I didn't adopt, I wouldn't want my children to feel they are a financial burden in any way.  I have heard people say that if you can't afford it, then you shouldn't be adopting.  I do have to agree. .. to a certain extent.  We plan, we budget, we cut from our budget, we go without things people feel are necessities (like cell phones, dates, babysitters, eating at restaurants--although we do take our kids to McDonald's every now and then--movies).  We shop at garage sales or sales, rarely paying full price for anything.  We research and wait for the best deals.  We are THOSE people who ask sales associates for a discount and almost ALWAYS get one.  We use cloth diapers--kind of a big investment up front, but we are on our third child now. . . saving big (and not to mention, saving some space in the land fill!).  We always attempt our own repairs before calling a service person.  We fixed our dishwasher (lucky), unclogged our bathtub (FINALLY), and we our sink is kind of draining, S L O W L Y.  Hubby does our oil changes and I attempt hair cuts. . . ummmmmm. . . .not always with success.  There are a million more cost cutters that we use. . . .

If you know us, or have read my blog--you know that we are in the process of completing our third adoption.  We have funded all three without taking out loans.  Well almost.  Sometimes all the right things happen way before you have planned!  We did not plan on getting chosen a mere six weeks after being in the book.  Seriously.  We thought it would be at least a year, probably closer to two.  And then this special situation came to us and felt so right.  Unfortunately, we didn't have that "year" to save up the rest of the money we needed so we cashed out a retirement fund to help, started selling things on craigslist, picked up extra shifts/hours at work, and took on more cleaning jobs.  I am a firm believer that if you really want something, you can make it work.  You just have to do the work to achieve your dreams.  We are ordinary people, with dreams of having our family, just like anyone else.  Sad part--we actually have $13000 in rollover of that awesome federal adoption tax credit--that we may never see.  We really don't make a whole lot of money--remember we are ordinary people--and we only have 5 years to collect it.  2 years are gone and now we have 3 dependents.  Slim to none that we will get even $5000 of it.  Sad because it is ordinary families like ours that could really use it to help with life! 

We are still in the process of completing our third adoption.  We are still unsure of what the final costs will be.  Our social worker told us about GIFT OF ADOPTION and felt that our family and our special situation met the criteria to be eligible for a grant.  WHAT?!?  You mean ask for money when we have always done things for ourselves?  So we applied.  It was not an easy process.  Kind of like a homestudy with lots of questions.  :0)  Trust me, they are not just handing out money! haha!  Enough said. . .

Gift of Adoption awarded us a grant to help complete our adoption!  It was truly another blessing in our lives that we were not expecting!  Sometimes all the right things happen at the right time! :0)  I encourage anyone thinking about making a charitable donation to check out the GIFT OF ADOPTION FUND.  Donations to the Gift of Adoption Fund help ordinary families like us get across that finish line with a little less financial burden, with a little more hope and a little less worry about being able to provide for these children that we love so very much.  They gave us back some of our time to spend with our family.  They gave us back some of our sanity.  They gave us back some time to just breath.  They gave to us without taking away our dignity.  We hope to repay them someday, by giving back to another family, just like us, in a little need to get over that hump.  We hope you will think about it too.

Join the Gift of Adoption cause on Facebook!
Add Gift of Adoption as your Facebook Friend!
Get the word out!  The more money that is donated, the more grants they can award!  Think of all the lives you can have such a great and wonderful impact on!  :0)  Here are some recent pictures of our beautiful family celebrating at the wedding of Jakob's birthmother's sister's wedding.  Confused?  We'll just call her aunt Megan. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

God's Grace

Sometimes I wish I was that brilliant writer, you know, the one who could bring tears to your eyes--or the one who could convince you to give money for the causes I believe in or the people I meet whom are truly in need.  I wish I could put my exact feelings down on paper (or in my blog) sharing all the amazing things that have happened to me and my family.  I wish I could shout out to the world that all their judgments and insecurities are not valid in my world and that love is possible--no matter what.   I want to tell the world how God has had a divine influence upon my heart and how his grace has brought great reflection in my life.  On the outside it is probably pretty obvious.  Just look at my family.  

Straight from my husband's anniversary card--which seems to sum things up pretty well:

12 WONDERFUL YEARS
3 BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN

We are a trans-racial family created through open adoption.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I would have such beautiful children, children that looked so different than me.  People on the outside look in and always say what a wonderful thing we are doing.  They don't get it.  (And I truly hate it when they say it.)  I wish I could convey even the slightest truth of how my children's first mothers uplift me.  How they have taught me to love big.  How they have taught me to trust.  How they have taught me patience.  How they make me feel every time we get together.  How they have challenged me like I have never been challenged before.  How I cry every time they leave.  How they have taught me that my life wouldn't be complete without them.  How they have proven God's grace.  

We finished up our cooperative agreement with Jenay's birthmom.  AND--I have permission to post photos of her in my blog.  So, here are two of my angels--(We will continue to respect Jada's birthmom and keep her photos private.)  Oh how I love them all so. . . . 






Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Jada!

Tomorrow we will be reaching another milestone in our family.  Jada turns 2!  Yes--she is ONLY turning 2!  She is sassy, always on the go, always hungry, a Nuk addict, so funny, loving, and concerned about everyone else.  She will light your path to a new way of thinking.  She will do things you never thought a 2 year old could do.  She will say things that will amaze you.  She will hold on tight and never let you go until you peel her off--or tell her that dinner is ready and she is at the table in a split second.  I could not imagine my life without her.  I'm no Duff--but I love to make my birthday cakes.  Jada would have probably loved to have a Dora cake, but I managed to make a watermelon cake with homemade totally fattening frosting.  I have sampled some and it is very yummy.  I just hope it doesn't end up on that other website of cakes gone wrong! haha!  Jada has already been in the frosting. . . but has not seen the finished product.  I will finish up the fine details tonight after she is in bed. 


All three kids are napping, not by some miracle, Jakob is actually sick (hence my ability to finally post something).  I wouldn't expect anything less for a weekend packed with plans.  The life with kids--you have to be flexible--that's for sure!  Things are always changing! :0)  Jada is just excited to open her presents--and didn't know about anything else--so if we can't go anywhere, nobody will know the difference.  She's been carrying around the box her grandma and grandpa sent her for two days now!  I should really be wrapping presents, but I guess I'll do that tonight after everyone goes to sleep. 



A few weeks ago jada's birthmother Carmen came to visit.  As always--it was an amazing and wonderful time.  It is easy to see where Jada gets her energy from.  All of our kids adore her (they adore all of the angel mommies in our family).  As tradition follows, me and Carmen stayed up into the wee hours of the night (well, around 1:30am) just hanging out and talking.  I cannot even explain how awesome it is to feel that connection.  I'm happy that it isn't just about Jada and that our relationship is equally important to each other.  (In case you were wondering. . . Craig does participate, but due to the fact that he gets up at 5am for work--he usually has to bow out of our late night chats and go to bed.)  Girl time rocks anyway.  I have had some of my best hours just hanging with my children's first moms.  We talk about everything.  The nitty gritty, the ups, the downs, the boyfriends, the jobs, the kids, pretty much anything.  I think that is so cool.  So today, I am thinking especially about Carmen and how she is feeling.  Wondering if she is happy or sad or both or something completely different.  I just want her to know how much we all love her--and I hope she believes it.

Here is Jada after coming inside. . . at least she is just dirty and not soaking wet this time.  She is a true diva with her sassy voice, "No, pictures please."

Rest up dear Jada--tomorrow is a big big day! 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Jesus loves us.

Sometimes I think I'm doing it all wrong. . . until a little conversation like this happens. . . . . 

Jakob: "Mom, when you die, (me thinking, oh no, here we go) you will go to be with Jesus."  (Me thinks okay, this isn't so bad.) 
Me:  "That's right Jakob, when did you get so smart?"
Jakob: "When I die, I will go to be with Jesus."
Me: "Yes Jakob."
Jakob:  "When Jada dies, she will go to be with Jesus."
Me: "Yes Jakob."
Jakob: "And when Dada dies, he will go to be with Jesus."
Me:  "Yes, Jakob."
Jakob:  "And when Jenay dies she will go to be with Jesus too."
Me:  "Yes, Jakob.  When we die, we will all leave the Earth and go to Heaven and we will all be with Jesus together."
Jakob:  "That will be so cool."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Time flies. . . We have been so busy.  What have we been doing?  Bike rides, gardening, parks, family visits, visits with birth families, doctor appointments, paperwork, daily chores, backed up sewer, broken dishwasher, fridge on the fritz, crashed computer (good thing we have a spare one), lost photos, swinging, swimming, driving, cooking for others, finished preschool, new photos, grant application, meetings, sleeping through most nights, teething (Jada, not Jenay), potty training?, cleaning, bible study and much much more.  I could not be more in love with my life right now--even with the given complexities.  I am more sensitive to the world around me and more aware of the things happening.  I can't always speak up--literally, because I can't.  Strangely, I feel at peace.  Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.  1 Peter 5:7  My anxieties have been cast and I trust in God with all my heart.  How can I not with all the gracious blessings He has already brought to me?



Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mother and Child

This is something that I have to see.  In fact, it will the first date night for hubby and me since, well, um, maybe since Craig's work Christmas party. . . but I don't think that counts as a date.  That's kind of something you have to do.  It will be the first time out where we are the only two and have only ourselves to converse with.  haha!  I'm sure I will just be crying during the movie anyway, AND, we seriously wouldn't be offended if any of our Minnesota adoption friends showed up too. 

Here's the trailer page on facebook.


Hopefully it will be coming soon to your neck of the woods!  Here's the showtime scheduleHere's the facebook page. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Quick hello!

Jakob and Jada feeding "salad" aka hosta leaves to the bugs

Nap time. . . I have yet to find time for a nap!


Diva Girl!  I look at Jada and see Carmen (her birthmother) and I am reminded how awesome it is that all three of our birthmoms are in our lives!

My little turkey boy.  Jakob is the smallest kid in his preschool class.  His birthmom Kaiti isn't exactly very tall herself and neither is anyone in her family for that matter! :0)

Restoring order to our meal times with the Keekaroo chair that I spotted over on Mike and Katie's blog.  Thanks guys!  We are waiting for our second one to arrive!  Purchased at Baby on Grand in Hopkins.  Yes, they have a store on Grand Ave. too in St. Paul--but I live closer to Hopkins! 

Not much time to blog anything else.  I am planning to visit with T (Jenay's birthmom) sometime this weekend or early next week.  Looking forward to some quiet time with her and Jenay! :0) I love all my kids dearly--but there is no such thing as a "quality" visit when they are all present!  Have a fantastic weekend! 

I better go. . . we are expecting a new adoptive mom here soon to visit with her sweet baby girl!  Can't wait!  Love meeting new families in the adoption community!  Yeah! 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Today we found out that the FAR check (Minnesota Father's Adoption Registry) was clear.  It feels nice to have one more step in our process completed. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tomorrow will already be four weeks since Jenay was born! I simply cannot believe that it has been that long already! Last Thursday we met T's (Jenay's birthmother) mother, her sister and her sister's two month old baby. We had a wonderful time getting to know each other and just hanging out taking care of all the kids--Jakob and Jada came along too! It felt like we had known each other forever. I could just squeeze them all tight with huge hugs of love. I have the most cherished photo ever of all of us, but again, can't post it for the respect of their privacy. It makes me smile every time I look at it. I hope they know just how much we really do love them.

We had our first post-placement home visit on Tuesday. Nothing out of the ordinary. I think people often wonder why adoption has such large fees--take a look at all the running around, extra hours for meetings, births and discharges, report writing, phone calls, court prep, etc. that these social workers are doing! I can only tell you that our workers in this case are definitely going the extra mile helping with rides, counseling, offering support, and just plain putting in a lot of hours--and that is just our case. WE are so thankful that we found Lutheran Social Services!!!!

Our biggest transition yet is moving Jakob and Jada into the same bedroom for now. There have been a lot of late night giggles and early morning awakenings--making for two crabby kids. But, they have been going to bed at the same time and it is getting quiet much quicker now! haha! It is easier to keep a bedtime routine.


Jenay seems to like to be held--all day and all night. There is no way I would have ever had Jakob sleep in our bed with us when he was this little. It is funny how your own rules change with each child. She is sweeter than sweet! It is like she has always been here in our family. She will be just as spoiled as our other children--imagine that.

I have always thought about what our children would be like if they were raised in their original birth order. All of our children were our birthparents' first born. Jakob is the sensitive one--and very cautious for being the "first born" and a boy at that too. Jada--well, she is totally wild and crazy! She is definitely the perfect personality for a strong willed middle child--nothing will ever stop her. And little Jenay. . . it only seems appropriate that she is the baby of the family. She is totally adored by all of us. I am so very blessed beyond words. I look forward to what the future brings. I look forward to an even louder and more chaotic household filled with lots of laughter. I'm sure there will be a lot of yelling too--we are always trying to talk over all the noise! :0) And don't forget the fighting. . . you know that's going to happen. haha! Off to care for my baby. Life is good!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Smiles!

Gotta just love it when baby smiles at Momma! Maybe she just really loves her new "G" diapers. So far I'm diggin' them. . . I'm sick of buying newborn disposables so we got a few of the G's until Jenay grows into our Bum Genius ones. It helps that our infant soakers from our Bum Genius fit into these diapers--it saves us a ton! I am really liking these, though. . .

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ahhhhhhh. . . things are so content here.  Well, besides baby Jada running a fever and sounding like a seal and barely being able to breath.  Jenay is doing pretty well with her sleeping.  She sporadically has some nights where she seems to be experiencing acid reflux--and up most of the night--mostly on the nights where Jada is up on and off with her sickness.   We are praying the baby doesn't catch anything.  I'm content with her sleeping during the day for now since she isn't around Jada as much.  We are venturing back to the doctor on Friday for a recheck on her weight (unless Jada seems worse tomorrow, warranting an earlier visit.)  Jakob is holding his own. . . and has been active with dad outside.  He is coughing too.  I blame it on preschool.  He is on spring break now, so hopefully we can kick it all before we return (only to get sick again when school starts up again! haha!)

Jenay's birthmom came over to visit yesterday.  It was so nice to see her outside of the hospital!  She is a very quiet person (and being that this is really only the second time we have seen her), not much was said.  She just held Jenay and I took lots of great photos!  I know you want to see photos. . .but we will respect her privacy.  Jenay looks just like her, so, really, you know what she looks like! :0)  I just adore her and look so forward to building a relationship with her and watching her grow in her life--heck--I hope to be a part of that process!  Jakob wanted her to stay and Jada could say her name perfectly.  They sure like to show off when we have people over.  I hope she didn't think our family is too wild! :0)  I hope she knows that she is so loved by our entire family.  I didn't want to be all creepy mushy to her on her first visit to our house.  We talked with Jakob about who she is and that she is Jenay's birthmom.  I asked him who his birthmom was and he said, "Kaiti", then I asked him who Jada's birthmom was and he said, "Carmen."  So, he's getting it.  It made me feel like I'm doing something right with explaining this whole adoption thing with my kids.  I really couldn't ask for better!  We are so blessed, so very blessed! 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Open Adoption Bloggers Interview Project

Here it is!  In the last couple of weeks, besides having two sick children and an infant placed in our home with very short notice, I've had the distinct pleasure of participating in the Open Adoption Bloggers Interview Project!  I was matched with Babs over at From Foster Child to Social Worker and have been amazed by her story and her passion to help others.  Be sure to go check her blog out. . . she has an incredible life story--and you will understand more why I asked the questions that I did.  Babs has endured more in her childhood than most of us could ever even imagine enduring in our whole entire lifetime.  As you read from her blog title. . . she is now a social worker, most likely an AMAZING social worker, because she can truly relate to these children who need help, love, encouragement, consistency, relationships that are not abusive, neglectful, and damaging to the soul.  So don't forget to support Babs with lots of encouragement as she continues to tell us her story.  ALSO--that's where her questions for me will be posted. :0)  I seriously could have written a book, but I was lacking in the time (and sleep) to get "in the zone" and focus--so please feel free to ask any more questions that may come about!   

I do have to say that Babs came into my life at a very special time for a very special reason.  I do believe it is God's work.  She has already become a very special person to me and I look forward to getting to know her even better and using her INCREDIBLE knowledge whenever I feel I need it!  Thanks Babs!  :0)

And because this is such a cool project, visit Production Not Reproduction for the entire list and links to all the bloggers that have participated in this project!  Happy reading!  I know it is going to take me awhile to get through all of them! :0)

Here are my interview questions for Babs:

I used to work at a juvenile crisis center and it seemed that no matter how "awful" the parents may have been to their children, they always wanted their acceptance and a relationship with them--mostly that fantasy relationship that was never going to happen.  I think I can come to the conclusion that your mother was abusive.  How important was her relationship and acceptance to you?  Would you still be seeking that relationship if she were still alive?

My relationship with my mother meant everything to me, even as an adult.(I still grieve for what could never be) I never stopped seeking her approval or acceptance until several years after she died. I know that is she were still alive I would still be engaged in trying to please her and make her proud to be my mother, even at the cost of my own mental health. Because of this knowledge, I don't think open adoptions are always in the best interest of the child. On the other hand, if the children I work with are older (teen years), I believe that open adoptions are often best because when that child turns 18, they are most likely going to seek their biological family out again. That being the case, it would be better to allow that contact to continue so that the child can be assisted in learning to cope 1. with the dysfunctional/toxic relationship that exists among the biological family members. (If they aren't taught those skills then they are less likely to have developed an ability to separate their own self-esteem, role in the family, and individual thinking patterns. And 2. I think it's important for the child to be in therapy learning to understand that their disappointment in a failed or dysfunctional relationship is not their fault or a reflection of them as a person. If they aren't allowed to continue that relationship (if they are older children), the fantasy of how things will be with their birth family at adulthood reunification will be doomed because they don't have realistic expectations.

Do you find this to be the same with the children that you work with now?  (desiring that unconditional love/relationship with their parents)  

Yes, without a doubt. It doesn't matter what the children experienced or how bad it was. There seems to be something inherently basic (like breathing) that without fail causes children to yearn for the love and acceptance of their parents. 

How important do you think ongoing contact is even in very difficult situations (such as abuse, neglect, etc.) once children are removed from the home and possibly adopted.

I think it depends of the nature and cause of the abuse/neglect as well as the ability of the parents to make positive changes that don't continue to further cause detrimental situations and/or feelings regarding the child. Additionally, from a professional standpoint, it's important the children are protected from broken promises, manipulation, triangulation of the parents and the adoptive parents etc. Age is also a consideration. There are so many variables that I think each situation needs to be evaluated by a team of concerned parties (the adoptive parents wishes, the therapist, the child (depending on age) , the social worker etc). Some children may need to completely break ties to recover, while others need at least some communication (even if it's just  yearly Christmas letters or something)

Open contact hasn't been all that difficult for us in our adoption situations partly because they are "easy" situations (as in no abuse, drugs, alcohol, etc.), partly because we are just open people and partly because our birthparents are also open and not afraid to ask us if they need/want anything.  But, I do know that not everybody and every situation is like ours.  Is there something you can express and reiterate why (or why not) openness and honesty is important no matter how difficult or easy the situation might be.

I think that if it's a workable situation, that honesty and openness are a very big part of having a healthy self identity. I have found that children who either find out they were adopted later, or that their parents lived across town and they never were able to just check in and know a.) what kind of person their parents were/are and if they are "okay" and b). that they were loved by all parties involved (or not which they need to be allowed to deal with) often develop trust issues, identity issues, emotional and reactive issues that could have been avoided or minimized.

Please note that by me using the word "easy", I am not saying that adoption is easy.  I am using the term to generalize situations that don't have an excessive amount of complications involved.  (Like things such as physical/sexual/verbal abuse, substance abuse, rape, incest, etc.)  2.  How can an ordinary person (like me vs. a professional) help a child recover from traumatic happenings.  I know every human is different--but from your own personal and professional experience what can people who really care do to make a difference?  I know "recovery" just doesn't happen per say, as it is always ongoing. . . . and kind of a lifestyle.  

A couple of things come to mind.  

Be able to listen and read between the lines.  

Educate yourselves and educate them... through self help books, support groups, therapy, etc. 
Don't beat a dead horse. There comes a time when it's time to be normal. At the same time, recovery cycles and even the most normal of children have triggers that they may not even recognize. Why did the smell of sweet potato casserole just make me cry? Why do I suddenly feel disconnected from everyone? etc 
 
The most single important thing though, is that a child's recovery and reactions are not personal. They need tools, they need to understand themselves and they need space to grow. Children push others away because they don't want to be hurt. They are curious about their birth families because it's natural, not because they don't love you. They may always struggle with people pleasing or pushing others away to some degree. They need to learn to recognize, develope a postive self-esteem, and still have boundaries. Don't let things slide because you feel sorry for them. Parents aren't doing their children any favors by "reactive parenting". Set the boundaries they need, but be prepared to have a lot of discussions about why they are important for their lives and the health of the family as a whole.  

And finally, never give up. If one method doesnt work, try something else. Please remember that even if you think your child isn't listening, they are. They store that information. Someday it will be something they can use. Maybe not on OUR timeline, but it's not a wasted effort.  

How has your childhood helped you to become a better person today?
 
Someone told me that everything in life I had gone through was to prepare me for my purpose. So I definately try to take lemons and make lemon-aide LoL. But it was a long journey and I still hope that I'm learning and growing every single day. I know that I have been facing some feelings I've ignored that shape decisions I make every day. I have to reflect, get feedback, be honest with myself etc. 
  
Has it given you traits that you wish you didn't have? 

Yes, I constantly need to check myself. Am I distancing myself from important relationships in my life because I don't trust as easily as others. Am I people pleasing because my self-esteem is low. Am I engaging in reactive parenting with my own children out of fear that they won't have a "good mother". There's a fine line between moving on and living a normal life and ignoring the things you need to deal with. I have to find that balance and am lucky enough to be able to recognize that. Recognition is key... then we can do the work.
  
Do you feel you can love and be loved?  

I definately can. I think the difference with me (and I'm not speaking for others) is that I love completely or not at all. I allow you in or not at all. Beginning this blog was important for me to do because of that and is one of the reasons I've started doing it. I need to see that I can be accepted for who and where I am, history, flaws, spiritual crisis and all. I personally need to stop being embarrased about my past and my feelings. I need other people to understand that what a person has experienced shapes them.  Many times people make quick assumptions or see things in black and white. (e.g you're not a Christian, so you must be a bad person or you were promiscuous as a teen, therefore you are an immoral person). I easily accepted love from my grandmother and my children. Those were easy. Other relationships have been more work. My sibling relationship, my relationship with my husband, friendships, have all seen days that I withdrew, threw up walls, etc. Luckily, they know that and wait for me. Talk to me. They give me space if I need it and are there when I'm ready. THAT is true love. So yes, I feel that I can give and receive that, but I have to work harder at it.  

Do you plan to blog more about your story?  

Yes, I have been stalling because I'm entering an age in my life story where I really do some bad things and I guess I'm a little scared. I promised myself I'd be as honest as I could be (although somethings will never be told, not even to my family). I might need a little prodding now and then. I'm not telling this story for sympathy because I don't need sympathy. No foster child wants sympathy fyi :)  I need to know that it's helping someone else understand their children.  I personally have a billion "easy" (easily answered on paper but probably not in the heart) questions that would be answered if you do! :0) 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Welcome baby Jenay!

If your in our heart. . . your in our family! No matter how long or short you may be with us. . . you will always be a part of our family! We love you baby Jenay!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Open Adoption Bloggers Interview Project


PRODUCTION NOT REPRODUCTION will be hosting THE GREAT INTERVIEW EXPERIMENT. Sign up on Heather's blog to be part of the fun.

The details:

1. Sign up no later than March 5.

2. By March 7, I will send you an email letting you know your interview partner's info.

3. Read through that person's blog. You don't need to read their entire archives. But read enough to get to know them a little, especially their posts on adoption.

4. Send your partner 5-10 creative questions by email. They don't all need to be about adoption.

5. Answer the questions your partner sends to you.

6. On March 22, post the interview on your own blog, introducing your readers to another fabulous open adoption blogger.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sick Days of Winter!

We've been trying to make the best of our days while we are rotating some lovely form of sickness through our house.  Not much exciting to tell. . . . but if you know us. . . you know that this is not Jada's normal state.



You have to view the above picture very carefully. . . .Jada is sleeping while standing up!
And then, pretty much all they will eat is Popsicles!  Remember those days?  Jakob's mouth was blue for a whole day--I had one too--they were yummy!  We do keep them stocked in our house since it is pretty much the only way I can get Jada to sit still long enough to comb through her hair.  




Jada decided to empty out the silverware drawer. . . so when I actually saw how dirty it was in there with all the silverware out, we decided to make it a family activity.  Who would have thought the kids would have so much fun cleaning silverware?





Then Jada got herself dressed up with her beads, went shopping and collected all the potatoes in her bag--she is a strong one!


Then, she fed one of her babies.  She is going to be such an adoring big sister!


And then there is Jakob, always making funny faces and trying to show off the food in his mouth--total boy.  This time it was a banana.  At least my kids like fruit!  Today, we caught him helping Jada undress to go potty on the potty chair.  It was in his room since our bathroom is so small and we moved the stool back in there so the kids could wash their hands by themselves since we've all been sick.  He was trying to get Jada's diaper back on and she was cooperating more for him than she does for us.  It was so very cute.  I wish I had a photo!


Things seem to be getting better.  We have cancelled all of our outings just so we can all get some much needed rest and just get back to being 100% healthy.  It is interesting that this round of sickness started after the kids finally got their 2nd H1N1 vaccinations.  They were finally well enough to get it and BINGO--they are sick again.  There is no preschool on Tuesday. . . so that should help.  Craig and I have been running errands solo--it's weird to be in a store without the kids.  They usually go EVERYWHERE with me.  I sure do dink around more when I'm by myself!  haha!  I have found some fantabulous deals at Target this weekend because I have been able to dig through the clearance without any outside disturbances!  :0)   I hope to get out for a walk tomorrow.  Being cooped up has also meant I've been eating way too much junk!  I hope you are all staying well!!!!