Monday, April 26, 2010

I think I'd rather clean toilets

Fall/Winter clothing for next school year!

I spent two whole days of my spring break swapping out Grace and Sarah's winter clothes for spring/summer clothes. I then had to take another weekend to finish up with Analiese's!

It sounds so easy....pack away the winter clothes and bring out the spring clothes. Well, it isn't that simple! First Dave pulls out ALL the clothes I packed away last fall. I do label everything so that part is pretty simple. But that's where the simple ends.

Why is it so difficult? I have to decide: what clothes MIGHT this child be able to wear next season, what clothes get put away for the next child and what clothes should just be donated or thrown away.

Once I've done that I now must take out the current seasons' clothing and make sure that not only it fits but it is something that the girls will wear. Then I box up, label, hang up and put clothes in drawers.

Oh, but it doesn't end there! With Analiese there are so many more layers. She has to try on the majority of the clothes. She is so darn petite and slow growing that clothes that I THOUGHT she would wear may not fit. Right now she is in 3 different sizes...5 for pants, a 4T/5T for shorts, and a 6 for shirts (sometimes a 5).

As there are no other children to hand her clothes down to I now have MORE decisions to make---what clothes will I sell at the consignment store, what clothes will I give to friends, which ones will I donate to charity and which ones should just go in the trash!

Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful that we have enough clothing, either hand-me-down or bought, that I have to go through this every season! But to be honest...I'd rather scrub bathrooms then do this chore!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Adoption gone wrong

I really was not going to comment on the latest international adoption drama unfolding. However, having gone through a disruption in our adoption less than a year ago, I feel that I have more insight than others who just seem to want to cast stones.

I am in no way defending the actions of this mother. I don't believe that any child, no matter what their issues are, deserve to be caste aside without a thought for their welfare.

However, I do understand the desperation that mother must have been feeling. I understand how a child can create havoc, stress and feelings of helplessness. I've lost sleep, felt pushed beyond my limits and felt so alone in my journey.

I can truthfully tell you, based on my own experience and the experiences of people that DID help me through my journey, that receiving help is NOT as easy as it has been presented.

Let me explain what happens if DFACS is called. They won't automatically take the child out of the home unless their evaluation determines that the child is a danger to themselves or others. And if they do take the child, they will very likely take any other children out of your home (because they now believe you are unfit to parent) or they may charge you with neglect. There will certainly be a huge investigation and sometimes, many times, the child is RETURNED to the home!

Now what about the placing adoption agency? In my experience (and others) they are not willing to help at all. My agency representative very rarely answered any of my correspondence and when she did it was to tell me how sorry she was and how she hoped things worked out! My agency was out of state so they really had washed their hands of any responsibility. The agency that did our homestudy also wanted no part of helping us. Fortunately for us, the social worker who did our homestudy for all 3 adoptions took it upon herself, NOT as a representative of the agency, to ask around to families that she knew. That is how we found the family that eventually adopted our son.

Our friends were very emphathetic but could not offer much in the way of guidance. They listened and tried to be supportive. On the other hand, there were many people who just sat in judgement of us, very much like what is happening to this woman.

There are many parallels in our adoption disruption to the current situation unfolding. Our son was also 7 years old. We also received nothing but positive information regarding his behavior. However, immediately in China it became apparent that he had some serious behavioral issues. He was violent, oppositional defiant and very inappropriate with our daughters.

I remember calling our agency from China saying that we did not want to bring him home. For many reasons, lots steeped in guilt, we did bring him home. On 20/20 hindsight that was a huge mistake.

For months we dealt with his anger and tantrums when he did not get his way. School was a nightmare as he was extremely defiant and violent. He struck not only other children, but also his teacher and the school principal. The only reason he was kept at school was because I worked there. That was another issue. I never got a break from the stress as I dealt with it at home and then I dealt with at work.

This is another issue this woman is being investigated for; not having the child enrolled in school. Having made the decision to enroll our son immediately in school and everyone suffering the consequences of that choice, I would recommend to anyone who asked, that the better choice is keep the child out of school for at least 6 months. I so understand why that woman may have tried to homeschool the child.

Our decision to disrupt our adoption was not made lightly nor was it made because we were not committed to our son. It was made because we realized that our entire family was suffering and our girls were constantly in danger. Yes, in danger. I won't go into the specifics but we were on constant watch and could never, ever let our guard down. The toll that hyper-vigalence had on us was horrible.

Once again, this post is not meant to justify what this woman did. However, it is meant to give a little insight into the reality of the lack of options that parents have when an adoption goes wrong. There are many adoptive families who will say that they went through stress and transitional issues with their adoptive child. But, with patience and love their child eventually adjusted. I would respectfully explain to them that their comparison is likened to comparing apples to oranges! We, too, went through the transitional issues with our first two adoptions! The issues we dealt with our son were very different. They were not transitional issues but were issues more associated with an emotional disability. There is a huge difference in the two.

Before our disruption I could not have imagined how anyone could re-home their adopted child. But now? I realize that our intentions of giving a home to an orphan did not have to turn into a life sentence for our family.

My heart goes out to this poor woman. I don't believe she is crazy nor do I believe she is unfeeling. From what I read she is a nurse, by nature she is a helper of people. I choose to believe that she found herself in a situation that she could see no end to. If given the opportunity, I would wrap my arms around this woman and hug her. It is not my place to judge her, that is left up to our God.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Easter and Spring Break

Oh Boy, once again time has just flown by! Easter seemed to descend upon us with no warning and then spring break just flew by. We had great weather and enjoyed all of our time together.

Easter day we attended a new church. What an experience that was! Dave and I are dyed in the wool Catholics but have been "lost lambs" due to the current situation the church is embroiled in. With Sarah attending a Christian school she has been after us to go back to attending church on a regular basis and NOT the Catholic Church.

So Dave and I agreed to try a different church. On Easter morning we got dressed in our Easter best and off to church we went. David, more than the rest of us, was over dressed in his suit and tie. The service was like nothing we had ever experienced--lots of current music with a live band and a very laid back pastor who came out wearing khakis and flip flops! There was no ceremony, no communion and no traditional mass.

Dave and I were out of our element but agreed to try again this past weekend. Analiese wanted to attend the children's service (which she absolutely adored!)and the rest of us went to the main service. It was very similar to the Easter service. The kids all can't wait to go back and Grace has said she wants to attend the children's services next week.

The entire time we took the kids to the Catholic Church they NEVER have shown any excitement or desire to attend the service. So, that alone has helped Dave and I to put aside our perceptions of what "church" should be and take the plunge and continue to attend this church!

On the other hand, spring break was FANTASTIC! The weather was awesome, most of the week. Up until Thursday we had sun, sun and more sun. It rained on Thursday but it didn't last all day.

Grace had 3 days of training so Wednesday afternoon we headed off to Chattanooga. We were able to walk around and enjoy the city. We walked over the glass bridge, enjoyed the water in the memorial to the walk of tears and had some fantastic ice-cream.

We stayed at a local hotel and the girls got to swim and we enjoyed the benefits of "VIP" services in the concierge level. The girls felt so special being able to enjoy the complimentary drinks and treats! It really is the small things that make them the happiest!

On Thursday we spent the day inside at the aquarium. It was so fun. The girls got some hands-on experiences. First they fed the river otters--my favorite creatures! They fed some fish, held some butterflies and the best part? Feeding the sting-rays!

We all had a great time and didn't have to drive too far! I'm so glad that Grace had a few days off from training and Dave was also able to get away from work. I think we'll have to do more of these "close to home" trips as Grace won't have any full weeks off this summer.

We are so fortunate that we have lots of places close-by that we can enjoy. To make it more special all it takes is stay at a hotel with a pool. The kids will get to travel all over Georgia this summer!

Monday, April 5, 2010

FIVE Gold Medals

Sarah had a fantastic dance competition. In each dance she performed in she won a gold medal! One of their dances, the lyrical, one first place! The girls did their best, had a lot of fun and it showed!

Sarah did a great job performing, not only in the dance mechanics but in the "drama" of the dance! She has made tremendous progress this past year! We are so proud of her.

The weekend did not start out well, nor did it finish so well. When we got to our hotel (at about 2:30) we were told that our room was not yet cleaned but would be ready in about 30 minutes. Instead of waiting, we put our luggage in the managers office and went out to explore Chattanooga.

At about 5:30 we decided to return and check in. It was not meant to be. Our room had been given away!! We were moved to another hotel and were not charged for the room. The hotel was comparable but without the indoor pool that we wanted. Fortunately the other families were at a hotel with an indoor pool so the girls were able to enjoy some swimming.

On Sunday morning I awoke feeling ill. As the day wore on I felt worse. By Monday morning I knew I had to get to the doctor. Sure enough, on Tuesday I was diagnosed with pneumonia. With the Zpack I began to feel so much better in a short 24 hours.

I promise to post some Easter highlights and of course some spring break fun!