Monday, October 31, 2011

It's a Boy...and a Girl....and a Boy!!

We were the chosen family on Friday at the best interest staffing and we were approved by SRS today (five days earlier than we thought!).  On Thursday we will take a three hour drive (each way) to sit for four hours and read the file.  After that we will wait for a subsidy/APA meeting to be set up by SRS, hopefully that will happen fast too!  Our children will move in soon after that meeting :)

I cried with happiness and relief when I got off the phone with our worker and then immediately started freaking out a bit about all that needs to be done in a short amount of time.  I know we can do it though so the freak out didn't last long.  I called Mike, messaged Brooke (who told her entire seminar class when she got my message) and told Lexy when I went to her fall party at school (she said "this is THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE".)

Our life, family and home are about to change big time and we couldn't be happier! :)

Informal 2011

The theme for Informal this year was Famous Couples.

On Saturday Brooke spent the day getting ready with a great group of girls before her and Taryn's dates met them at Taryn's house for pictures.  Brooke and Sheldon (her good friend) went as Barbie & Ken and Taryn and Andy went as Allie & Noah from The Notebook.  Of course Brooke had to drive them all to the dance in her pink car since she was Barbie :)

Brooke came home saying that this was one of the best nights ever!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

More questions

Even after two messages left, we did not hear back from our worker on Friday to reassure us that the staffing did indeed happen and that nothing new, crazy or devestating to us happened.  Ugh...while our worker continues to tell us that for her "no news is good news", I have never been able to live like that.  I need reassurance...perferably on a daily basis that all is still going well.

So Lexy could NOT stop talking about the kids this weekend.  Every two seconds she was bringing them up!  She is just REALLY excited and believes that they are meant to be a part of our family.  We sat down on my bed this evening and spent a couple of hours talking about the kids, how we would do the room (and how we would do it even if the kids don't come), their new names etc. and then Lexy started asking some hard questions.  Questions about foster care and adoption and how they work together and why some kids are adopted and some go back to birth parents.  She asked questions about why she was adopted instead of going back to her birthmom...and that's a hard truth to tell but we talked about it.  She had lots of questions and I answered each one.  Lexy had a hard time going to sleep again this evening :(

I knew that us adopting again would bring up some questions, thoughts and emotions for Lexy.  I'm just glad that I'm here to answer the questions, listen to her thoughts and reassure her that she has always belonged in our family and that she is SO very loved!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Foster Memories Friday - Beth

The next foster placement we took was a little different than the rest.  We heard through family that our niece (whom we don't know well) had her daughter placed into foster care.  We contacted the child's worker and asked to be considered for placement of Beth.  We ended up having to pull the "we know what we're doing and we are relatives" card when the worker resisted moving her to us.

Beth was 10 months old when she moved to us.  We tried to settle her into our family but Beth turned out to be one of the hardest kiddos that we fostered.  She would scream at the top of her lungs constantly, never willing to settle or be comforted.  On top of (or because of ) this...I'm not really sure which...I was never able to form a bond with Beth.  I loved her and treated her the same as my girls but I just never got to the point that she was "mine".  The case was complicated and we found that us being "family" made it even harder.  The birthparents felt that we would give special treatment and not go by the rules for them and we weren't willing to do that which caused tension.

Birthmom had another baby about 6 months into us having Beth.  Birthmom got to take that baby home from the hospital with her.  It was looking more and more like Beth would be going home (we had started unsupervised visits) when birthmom started failing drug tests again.

After about seven months of Beth being with us we made the decision to have her moved to another foster home.  It was a very hard decision for our family but it really was the best for everyone involved. 

After Beth left us we heard that the new baby was also taken and placed into the same foster home.  Then they were both moved to a grandma before eventually returning home to mom and dad.  Beth now has 4 or 5 siblings.  Beth is now 5 1/2 years old.  I saw her in a store recently and she is beautiful.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


We've never really had set chores for the girls but lately I have found that they are getting lazier about cleaning up after themselves.  This is especially true for Brooke who really needs to be learning how to keep a home running and clean before she's out on her own and living in filth :).

This is what I came up with...

1.  Another area that needs improvement is how we act and speak to one another.  Our family will be working on being respectful, cheerful, thankful and helpful towards one another.

2.  These are our weekly chores.  As a family we have always had our cleaning day on Sunday.  Until now the girls have only been responsible for straightening up their rooms and Brooke does her own laundry but now they will be responsible for cleaning one other area of the house.

3.  These are the daily chores.  The girls pick two per week that they will be responsible for.

4.  This is our discipline chart.  The girls must move their clothespin down when a discipline issue arises.  This starts over each day (except if they get down to grounded).

Each Sunday at dinner we discuss our words and give examples of something done right and something that still needs work for each family member.  The girls also pick a new weekly and two new daily chores for the week, they must be different than the week before.

To help the girls know what needs to be done in each room I made up these cards.  Brooke must do most of the things listed on her weekly chore card while Lexy has to pick two or three (to make it manageable).  The sticks with initials are used to decide who gets to pick their chores first but would also be good for any time that both girls want/don't want to do something to make a fair decision (like when they argue about what to watch on TV!).

When we get more kiddos, it will be easy to add them to this system.  I'm already thinking about adding chores like light helper (turn off all lights in house), line leader (on the way to/from the van), bath helper (hang towels, put dirty laundry in hamper) etc.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Adoption Update

I talked to our adoption worker yesterday.  I was wondering what the timeline would look like if we do indeed get the kids.  She said this is what it normally looks like...

Best interest staffing - Ours is Friday and we are the only family involved so we will be chosen.

Paperwork sent to SRS - They must approve the chosen family.  Worker said this usually takes about a week. 

File Read - we will travel to adoption agency office to read over the kids' file and say "yes" to the adoption.  We will do this as soon as one day after SRS approval.

Paperwork sent back to SRS - SRS will schedule a subsidy meeting.  We will travel back to the county the kids are in for the meeting and we will sign the APA (Adoption Placement Agreement).  Worker said this could take a couple of weeks to get set up.

Transition - Usually there is a 1 to 2 month transition plan made where we viisit the kids and then they visit us before moving in.

In our case everyone at our adoption agency will be working hard to get everything done as quickly as humanly possible but they don't have any control over the SRS portions of it.  Also there will be very little to no transition in our case, these kiddos will need to move to us immediately.  Worst case scenario we're thinking the week of Thanksgiving but hopefully it's sooner!

I hope the SRS approval comes quickly after we are chosen.  That is when we will be able to begin buying things and setting up the rooms.  Plus I'm tired of saying "IF we get the kids".   Lexy is so excited and obsessed with talking about the kids right now so I have to say those words many many times a day to remind her that this is not a sure thing. :(

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Patch 2011

Lexy has been begging to go to the Pumpkin Patch so we set time aside over the weekend to visit a new one that Papa & Grammy found!  It was a beautiful day and Lexy loved everything they had to offer but she did tell me "this would be even more fun if I had little brothers and sisters to play with". :)  Hopefully soon!!  (Brooke had a cross country commitment so she wasn't with us, sadly this is happening more and more)

This one's for you Dad! hehe

Lexy decorated her pumpkins as a bat and a black cat!

Monday, October 24, 2011


On Friday Brooke's cheer squad performed a dance to "Thriller" at halftime. I think it was one of my favorites...possibly because it reminded me of my middle school days doing that dance at the skating rink with all my friends! :-)

Brooke doesn't care to have her hair messed up or to look not put together so we weren't sure how far she would go with the whole "look like a zombie" thing but we were pleasantly surprised that she really got into it!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Adoption Scoop

Ok so I haven't given an update on the best interest staffing for the 4 pack of kiddos that took place on 9/27 because we still haven't heard the outcome.  We did talk with our adoption worker after the staffing and she filled us in on the additional needs and challenges that the kids have that were brought up in the staffing.  These kids will take a HUGE commitment and I'm really not sure that one family could take all of it on and be successful.


This past May we were set to be in a staffing for three kids.  We were the only family and were preparing for these kids to be a part of our family.  Two days before the staffing we were told that the foster parent was now (again) interested in adopting the kids and the team had decided to do the staffing with only the foster parent.

Several weeks ago, in passing, our worker mentioned that something weird was happening with that case.

A couple of weeks ago I had a dream that our worker showed up at our door with these three children saying "we had to move them, can you take them?" and pushing them in the door.

On Monday night:
We got a call from our adoption worker asking if we were still interested in adopting these three kids.  Of course we are!  She couldn't share why but she said that the children were being removed very soon from their foster home and the team's hope was that these kids could be moved directly to us for adoption versus going to another foster home.  She told us that there had to be a two week notice for a best interest staffing but that they would send out the notice the next day if we wanted the kids.  She also said that we needed to go ahead and pick out beds, bedding, etc. and have those things ready to buy because if it happened it would be a quick transition.  So you can bet we went "shopping" online that night and picked out everything we would need!

On Wednesday:
We got an e-mail from our worker saying that the notice was sent on Tuesday and the staffing was scheduled for 10/28!!  Now we wait for word that we need to go ahead and buy the beds, bedding, etc.!

As we know, anything can happen when it comes to "the system" so this by no means is a sure thing.  There are so many variables and this could all fall apart and lead our family to more heartbreak.  Our worker suggested we not share with our girls until we were sure of the outcome (b/c of past heartbreaks)...and that lasted all of five minutes and then I had to tell them.  So for now in our home about every other sentence includes the words "IF we get the kids..." :)

OH BTW...the children include a 4 yr. old boy, a 3 (later this month) year old girl and a 1 1/2 year old boy! :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Toby's 2!

On Sunday CJ & Jess brought Johnny home from the hospital and bravely invited family over to celebrate Toby's birthday.

Brooke AKA the baby hog wore herself out :)

Lexy spent her time hanging around with cousins!

Introducing Johnny

On Friday a new little cousin/nephew joined our family.  CJ and Jess welcomed Johnny Lee into the world.  We went up on Sat. morning to meet and hold him.  He is such a cute little...or I mean BIG thing :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Another great parenting a teenager moment...

150 sentences and all was well again :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


On Friday Brooke's school had Homecoming.  Papa & Grammy and Mammaw & Grandpa Tom joined us to watch Brooke (and the rest of the Dazzlers) do a dance.  And watch the football game (that we lost) and the crowning festivities...

Papa & Grammy brought the girls a snack.  It's a faux root beer float (because Brooke can't have real root beer), it has root beer jelly beans, a cupcake and icing (for foam), a root beer candy stick and an empty root beer can.  How cute!

More Questions

More hard adoption questions asked and answered before bed last night.  I think looking at pictures earlier during the day spurred on last nights questions.

Earlier in the day...

(looking at baby pictures of Lexy)
L - "Can I see a picture of when I was a first born baby?"
Me - "I'm sorry I don't have any, remember you came to us when you were 4 months old so we don't have any pictures of when you were a newborn."
L - "Oh ok."

Later last night (Lexy couldn't get to sleep and for the first time in months was really worked up and told me "I'm mad or upset about something but I don't know what") she was sitting on my lap and asked...

L - "Do you know my birthmom?"
Me - "Yes I know who she is"
L - "What is her name?"
Me - "____ is her name"
L - "Oh (with a smile), do you know where she lives?"
Me - "I don't know where she's living right now but I think she lives somewhere in our state"
L - "Do you know her phone number?"
Me - "No I'm sorry I don't"
L - "Did my birthmom give me a different name?"
Me - "Yes she gave you the name ____ and we changed it when you were adopted"
L - "Did I have a different last name?"
Me - "Yes it was _____"
L - "ok"

The conversation ended and Lexy asked me to lay in bed with her and rub her back until she got to sleep.  Afterwards I went into the bathroom and had a good cry.  Not in sadness for myself but in sadness for my wonderful daughter that has to deal with these hard emotions and have these questions.  At one time Lexy told me that she wished she could have just been in my tummy...

I wish that too.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Lexy's soccer season ended this week.  Her coach was new to coaching and forgot to order trophies so the team all met one more time to get trophies and eat cupcakes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Foster Memories Friday - Kreisa

After Isaiah left us for the second time we felt we had our hands full with Lexy's case and there just wasn't too many calls for foster/respite kiddos coming in during that time., we ended up taking quite a long time off.   Then we got a call for Kreisa.  She was 3 years old and needed a respite home for a week while her foster parents vacationed.

We had a great time with Kreisa and did lots of fun family things while she was with us.  We were all sad to see her go at the end of her stay.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


This week is Spirit Week for Brooke.  I can't believe today was the first day I thought to take a picture! 

This time they had:
  • Ugly sweater/sweatshirt day - Brooke wore a sweatshirt from our rival team.
  • Favorite Country Day - Brooke wore a red, white and blue outfit
  • Favorite Celebrity Day - Brooke dressed like Taylor Swift (she has a teacher that tells her all the time that she looks like her)
  • Today - I'm not sure what they're calling it but the freshmen are dressing as babies, sophomores as toddlers, juniors as adults and seniors as senior citizens. Here's Brooke as a toddler, she looked so cute!...