Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cracking Parent

When I created this blog, my intention, particularly in naming the blog, was to talk about our efforts to adopt a child from foster care, to talk about being a parent, and trying to make this blog as light-hearted as possible in the process. I never guessed that Cracked Parenthood would actually wind up recording my ever rising stress levels and that the cracked part would actually be an accurate reflection of the state of my sanity.

We discovered earlier this week that Moon Unit was staying at a homeless shelter. Brad wanted to bring her home, partly for her safety but mostly out of desperation. Kismet has been having melt-downs every single day this week and Brad has been unable to get any work done. He was hoping that in bringing home Moon Unit, she would be able to help him out with Kismet, who has been unable to get through a single day at school.

Because of Brad's desperation, I sent out an email to Moon Unit to let her know she was welcome to come back home if she was willing to follow the rules and expectations laid out for her. She was very rude once again and told me she had no interest in a relationship with me. So I figured after everything I've been through with her over 20 years that I no longer had to worry about the stress she was causing in the house. But then Brad asked her to come back, without running it by me, and so she did.

Today, Kismet had the longest stress-out day. She had a huge melt-down, yelling and kicking a hole in the wall and banging on my bedroom door. We wound up having to restrain her right there in the hallway. Moon Unit came out of her bedroom, stood there for a moment until Kismet told her to go away, then she says, and I'm quoting here, "I came out to see if you guys would shut the fuck up." Yes, really! So I told her to shut the fuck up, that if she didn't like it, she could leave. So then she started asking how I'd like it if she called and reported us for child abuse. We were physically restraining a violently out of control child. I laughed at her, told her the state already knew all about Kismet and that we were not abusing her. I again told her to leave.

Both Brad and I were dumbfounded and appalled at the gall it took for this girl, who'd been living in a shelter for probably close to a week and who was allowed to come home, to come out while we're dealing with an emotionally disturbed child and tells us to shut the fuck up. Later Brad admitted that his decision to let her come home was a huge mistake. She is currently staying at Brad's brother's house for the night. I told Brad she doesn't get to come back home after what she did and he agrees.

For hours and hours, we dealt with Kismet's mood. All day long, she was stressy and for several hours, she was in major melt-down mode. And we never thought she'd settle down long enough to go to sleep. She wouldn't have, either, in spite of being given a sedative, if we hadn't finally convinced her to take her regular medication, which included sleeping pills. And she finally went to sleep.

And me? I'm starting to think this decision to bring her into our home was the biggest mistake I've ever made in my life, and that, my friends, is really saying something. I am not equipped to deal with the levels of stress she is creating in this house. We have not been given the sort of assistance that we were told and expected to get and that we probably would have received if we were just fostering rather than trying to adopt. In fact, over the last month, other than receiving a new therapist who specializes in treating RAD children, we have felt pretty close to abandoned by the group who was supposed to be helping us. I knew Kismet would be a lot of work but we were totally unprepared for what we're getting. There's no way we could have been prepared for this. And I'm trying desperately to find a way to not lose it myself. Maybe I should be taking her sedative during her melt-downs instead of her.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Moon Unit, the Wonderslug and Other Adventurous Stories

Last time on Cracked Parenthood, Moon Unit was getting sniffy about having to help out with Kismet, about being expected to reimburse insurance costs, about life in general, and had stormed out of the house and stormed back in again a few hours later.

The next night, she left again, this time with a plan to stay with a friend for a few days. I'd like to say it seemed different without her there but honestly, since she spends most of her time hiding in her bedroom, it really wasn't all that different, other than not being present during dinner and her bedroom door not being open in the evenings.

Meanwhile, Kismet had a full and complete melt-down at home the day after that, her first since moving in with us, requiring me and Brad to physically restrain her, which really should not be a good time for all and yet oddly enough, Kismet seemed to enjoy it to a certain extent, giggling several times during her restraint. She had become rather wound up during the day, wanting to go out to play in the newly fallen snow but not having proper snow clothing and having no one to play with. Being a Sunday and being Utah, her friends were unable to play with her. As the day wore on, she wound up more and more until she had her explosion that evening.

The odd thing that I don't understand about her is that when she gets wound up and starts being resistant, and particularly in melt-down mode, she doesn't even seem to be the same person. When calmed down later, she doesn't understand why she did what she did and as it happens, she seems to have little control over what she's doing. It's just one of those things that hasn't really been explained to us.

Back on the ranch, Moon Unit emailed to say she was coming back home the next day. When told we would need to discuss her plans for the future and talk about her expectations, she had an explosion herself and ranted at us in email about everything from how Brad is handling Kismet to me asking for assistance with the costs of her insurance coverage to having to help out with Kismet, claiming that Kismet was not her responsibility. So then I followed that up with "You're almost 20, you're no longer my responsibility, either." I told her she could live at home but she needed to live by the rules and do what was expected of her. She got even more mad, called us assholes and that she didn't want to be a part of our family. So I told her good luck with what she's doing and that she was welcome to come back when she wanted to follow the rules.

Honestly, as terrible as it sounds, I am incredibly relieved that she is not coming back yet. The idea of her coming back cranky was stressful. I've spent 20 stressful years with her and now that she's out, I'm not eager for her to come back. Much as I'd like to believe she'll be able to stay out there on her own, I don't think she's going to be able to. At some point, she's probably going to have to eat some humble pie and come home.

Kismet has been doing mostly okay this week but she did start to get agitated a couple times and requried a dose of medication meant specifically for when she's getting worked up. It's more or less a sedative. It's not what we really want to be doing with her but it is the best option we have right now for helping her stay in control of her emotions.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Kismet started school this week in our school district, at a regular school. She made it through 2 days before having problems again. She got upset during class on Thursday and Friday and had to leave early. I had taken those days off work to just try to unwind, because my job is pretty high stress, but it was impossible with her getting all stressed out at school and coming home.

She was given some consequences and was left in the charge of Moon Unit. Brad took off to work and I took off to get out of the house for a bit. I came back a while later to find that Kismet refused to do anything she was asked to do. I sent her off to do the things she was asked to do. Moon Unit called her a brat and I told her that it was unnecessary to name call. Moon Unit then decided to inform me that I'd been really rude to everyone lately.

Let me explain what rude means to Moon Unit. I have been asking her for 3 years (she is almost 20 years old) to get a job. She dropped out of high school her junior year and has been essentially a useless slug since then. She has always been resistant to being helpful in any way, like it's a serious infringement on her valuable time. And we have battled and battled for years because she is mouthy, snarly, and refuses to be helpful most of the time.

She's been off her father's insurance since April of this year so I said that once I had open-enrollment, I would put her on my insurance but that I was going to expect her to get a job and help reimburse the cost. I've been pushing that more and more lately. So now, I'm rude because she supposedly never asked to be put on my insurance (which, while technically true, was pretty implicitly implied she wanted to be on it) and I'm expecting her to pay for that and because we were asking her to help out with Kismet, which she doesn't really want to do.

So... I snapped. I told her if she didn't like it, she could leave. And she said okay, packed a few things in her backpack and grabbed her laptop and left. Mind you, this is ON TOP of Kismet's tantrumy day. I was pretty stressed out by this episode and honestly, not sure what I was feeling about her taking off like that. Part stressed, part relieved, part sad that it happened that way. I didn't expect her to be gone long but I also didn't expect her to return 3 hours later, blasting through our front door, storming down the hall to her bedroom, and slamming the door behind her. She's stayed there since yesterday evening.

Today we were out with Kismet at Walmart. We bumped into one of her grandmothers, who happens to work at the Walmart. We don't live in a big town and we knew she had some family members living in the area, but this was unexpected. The woman was very respectful and polite and even hugged us because we were taking care of Kismet. But it was horribly uncomfortable and it stressed out Kismet. Then, only 2 hours later, she's at McDonald's with a friend for a birthday party and calls Brad to inform him that she bumped into her bio-hazard-mom's friend at McDonald's. Lovely. Just lovely. We got her back to the house, hopefully safely and without anyone knowing where we live but now we are worried in case bio-hazard finds out who we are and where we live. We didn't give Grandma our names and Kismet had the presence of mind not to tell the friend where she lives but this does not bode well for us. So far, Kismet is handling it all fairly well, although it did stress her out for a bit and she was worrying. I think it's more us than her that's worrying.

And this is ALL on top of some serious financial troubles we are facing, between tax problems and Brad not getting in enough work hours due to Kismet's school melt-downs.

I'm just sure there's a throbbing vein in my brain that's just gonna pop one of these days.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why I'm Prematurely Losing My Hair

A lot has gone on in the last little while since I last posted. (Yes, I know I shouldn't use two "last"s right after the other that way but I'm going to claim emotional exhaustion as my excuse for doing it.) We have had some interesting times with Kismet. Interesting being probably the kindest word I can think of right now. We were all psyched up by the people who brought us Kismet, thinking that we would be dealing with random rages at home: flying furniture, holes in the wall, broken doors, screaming banshee fits, and horse heads found on our pillows when we go to bed at night (I may have made that last part up). And while it sounded a bit extreme, I thought we could handle it. After all, I had dealt with many a screaming hissy fit and broken items and bird heads on my pillow when I went to bed at night (I may have made that up, too) with Moon Unit. And yes, we have indeed had a few relatively minor tantrums here at home. I say relatively minor because compared with what I know she is capable of doing, it's relatively minor.

Instead of the huge melt-downs at home we've anticipated, we have been dealing with a resolute obstinance about returning home from various places. Twice, she was at school and had a melt-down there and refused to come home when Brad went to pick her up. Her refusals turned into stays at a short term kids' psych ward, which is exactly where she wanted to be the first time. She got to play and have group therapy and fun stuff like that. But then the next day, she wanted to come home. She stayed another a day longer than she wanted but came home pretty quickly.

The following week, EXACTLY ONE WEEK from her last stay, she had another melt-down at school and again, refused to come home. This time, she decided she wanted to go to the state hospital instead. Which she was told she couldn't do without a referral. She and Brad spent the entire day sitting around in the waiting room of an emergency room. Finally, she was taken to the kids' psych ward again. Only when she got there and got everything done for her stay, she wanted to come home. But she didn't get to. The second time, she stayed for a week. And she wasn't allowed to have fun, which resulted in melt-downs there. She had her medication adjusted and finally was released.

Today, she was supposed to start school but she wasn't able to because she needed all her shots updated and she was missing one shot. So she spent the morning with Brad and had therapy in the afternoon. When they were leaving, she once again refused to come home. Fortunately for Brad, unfortunately for Kismet, her therapy appointment was in the business office of the people who are supporting us through this mess and so they got involved. She told Brad that she wanted him to take her to the emergency room because she thought he would stay there with her all day. But she didn't get her way.

What it appears to be coming down to here is one of two things: a) she's trying to control and manipulate Brad because he's very easy on her or b) she is trying to get his undivided attention 24/7. Or both. Likely both. I have been trying to get him to realize that he's got to be tougher with her and issue consequences for poor behavior but he's been refusing. And she realizes the kinds of things she can get away with because of it. It's become a pattern of behavior now for her which needs to be halted right away. The only way that this is going to happen is for Brad to remove himself from the situation whenever possible.

While we were prepared for rampages and ultra deluxe super fantastic exciting super absorbent tantrums with wings, we weren't prepared for this sullen obstinance and refusal to come home. And this is wearing us both out. Mostly Brad because he's the one who's been with her while these things happen (because I'm at work) but also me because I know how frustrating it is for him and I also know that he isn't getting any work done when this is happening. Which means that he could lose his clients, it means he could lose money (he has, actually, been losing money), it could mean we lose our home and everything.

We will be having family therapy again this Wednesday with the therapist Kismet sees and we also have a guy who is a specialist in Reactive Attachment Disorder (which Kismet has been diagnosed with) who is supposed to come to our house once a week to work with us. Hopefully, between these therapy sessions, we can start to turn some of this behavior around before we lose our home. Wish us luck.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Staying Alive

I've been informed by Brad that one of the items of paperwork we're still expected to turn in for our 500,000 page packet of information that covers our whole entire lives (which at times has seemed so relentless in digging up information, I've half expected them to ask how many pets we had growing up, what our grades were in high school, and how many sex partners we've had) that we've been working on since the Dawn of Time® for having Kismet in our house is a home-fire-emergency-escape plan... thingie. And because poor Bradley has been up to his purty blue eyeballs in .... stuff, he volunteered me to create this home-emergency-fire-escape plan. Thingie.

"Why, sure!" says I. "I'd be more than happy to help out with the paperwork by creating this home-escape-fire-emergency plan.... thingie." Feeling a desire to be completely helpful to my poor, overworked husband, I plop myself down on the sofa to draw up this plan-thingie, thinking that since I have absolutely no clue what this should look like, I'm going to pull up Google on my laptop and find a wonderful plan-thingie for emergency-type situations. And promptly get distracted by Farmville. I'm kidding! I didn't get distracted by Farmville. It was Frontierville. Kidding again! It was Cafe World. Don't judge me!

I found an incredibly useful site, whose name I stole for the title of this blog post. And I looked it over and said, "Hey! This is an incredibly useful site! I'm going to steal their name for my next blog post!" And then I looked over it for a bit and promptly got distracted again by Cafe World. I'm kidding! It was Frontierville. Wait. Hold on, I gotta go build my school house. BRB!

Where was I? Oh yeah, fire-home-plan-emergency-escape... thingie. So I look over the site and the idea seems simple enough. So I break out Photoshop, coz I figure if I'm gonna do this baby, I'm gonna do it right! All professional and stuff, right? So I create a new image and I start drawing away to create a floorplan of our house. And as I start to do it, I realize that I'm really crappy when it comes to drawing on Photoshop. I start drawing with the pencil tool and go, "Hmm, the dimensions on this look a bit off. I'm pretty sure our foyer isn't that big."

So I decide to backtrack and try again. I try a little harder with the dimensions and wind up with some strange spaces and a hallway that ends abruptly into the bathroom with no means of egress to the bedrooms but it's slightly more recognizable as our home. Ish. And I add all the windows and doors and start to feel pretty good about our chances of getting out of our home in one piece during a fire-emergency-type-thingie.

According to the incredibly useful website that I linked to earlier, I am supposed to then add black arrows for normal exits through the house and red arrows through the emergency exits. So I add the arrows, giving us all possible options of escape, depending on the location of the fire-emergency thingie. Although honestly? If you're trapped in the bathroom or the living room, you might very well be screwed because there are no windows in the bathroom and we have totally useless windows in the living room. By the time I'm done, though, it looks like something was knifed and crawled across my floorplan, bleeding profusely.

And I compare it to the one on the incredibly useful website, which looks like this:

Uh... yeah. So I start to rethink this idea of using Photoshop to draw the emergency-fire-escape-plan thingie, coz it was completely unrecognizable after the arrows. So I print out the good plan from the incredibly useful site, stick a piece of paper over the top and then trace it to make our escape-emergency-fire-plan thingie. I am sooo professional and we are so getting out alive!

*Addendum* At family therapy tonight, our "consultant" with the organization that we got Kismet from hands me a form that I need to sign. Underneath that was an emergency escape plan for our house that she and Kismet drew together in like 5 minutes. And it was very professional looking. Thanks for wasting my time, consultant!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Three Weeks and Counting....

Now that I took the time to vent in my last post, I'm on to how Kismet has been doing up to this point in time with us. We are going on 4 weeks with her living with us this Friday. And so far, things have been going... well... not bad. From my perspective, anyway. I think from Brad's perspective, things have been kinda tough.

See, it's like this. Kismet responds much better to me than she does Brad. As she says to me, she's "more used to" me than she is Brad. While she spends far more time with Brad during the day than with me, she's not used to having a dad. She says. It's not that I doubt the veracity of this statement. I know her bio dad was not present much in her life but at the same time, she lived in a group home and a foster home and both had fathers in the house that she had to take instruction from. It feels like an excuse, honestly.

Since I'm not the one who deals with her all day long like Brad is (who is in the stay-at-home parent role and I think we all know that the stay-at-home parent gets much less respect from the kids) PLUS she's not used to having a dad, it's hard to really know what lies behind her actions, if there is any sort of sense to be had from it at all. I guess there's just so much about Reactive Attachment Disorder that we don't know or understand.

She's back in school full time this week with minimal problems. She had a few melt-downs at school her first week but after Brad spoke with the school about some of the stuff that was going on, they started handling her better in school. She put in a week of half days and has started back full time this week and so far, so good.

She's still obstinate, still has a temper that flares up on no notice at all, and still a bit sassy. But then a lot of kids are like that. So far, we've seen little of the demon child we've been warned would show her face as she started settling in and feeling safe. If anything, she has actually been a sweeter and more helpful child now that she's settling in. The only thing that seems to trigger a bad reaction in her is an unannounced change in her schedule, or, more accurately, an unannounced change in her expectations for her schedule. She does fine when she knows what to expect but does not do well when things change. We can accomodate some of that but we will need to learn how to handle the unexpected changes when they happen.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'm Not Always Passive

I was going to write a blog post about how Kismet has been doing to date in our house and at school but there's just been something else that's been burning in my mind for the last few days that I want to get out of my system. And that is how much I want to kick the ass of Kismet's bio mom.

I can sorta deal with the fact that this woman chose drugs over her daughter. I mean, I've never used drugs, never been addicted, but I get the fact that the road to recovery is extremely difficult, particularly if you don't have a good support system in place. I get how hard it can be for some people to make the right choice, to get the help they need to clean up. But when you choose to walk out of rehab rather than stay and get clean when it's your last chance to get your child back, I can't deal with what that does to your child. You have just told your child that they don't mean that much to you. There's probably little more you could have done to destroy their self-esteem and you leave it up to someone else, a total stranger, to try to help your child pick up the pieces of their life.

But that's not all. Kismet put pictures of her bio mom up on the walls of her bedroom. I know that she still loves her mom. I also know that she still has a lot of anger towards her mom as well. She told me that her mom used to hit her and, while she hasn't said as much, we suspect her mom used to call her stupid, because she's very sensitive to that word. And her mom lied to her about some stuff that totally hurt Kismet's feelings. And totally flaked out on her when she was supposed to visit her.

Then, because Brad is like uber-virtual-stalker and wants to know where Kismet's family are and what they are doing, he discovered the bio mom's Facebook page. On it, bio mom has posted pictures of Kismet. And she says stuff under the pictures like, "Me and Kismet forever." Umm... no, you stupid cow, you gave up the right to have her forever when you walked out of rehab and went back to drugs. And she has Kismet's name tattooed on her leg. She lost her parental rights two years ago. It's a new tattoo. And she posts a picture of Kismet and says, "Kismet's happy face. I love her smile, she's so pretty." Okay, I get that maybe she misses her daughter. And maybe she's sober enough to realize that she fucked up badly in her child's life. Maybe. Or maybe she just wants her friends to think that her daughter is still an important part of her life. I don't know.

What I do know is that she did fuck up badly in her daughter's life. So badly that Kismet had to spend a year in the mental hospital in the kids wing. Yeah, that bad! And the mom was still "involved" at that point in Kismet's life. But did she straighten herself out, get sober, once she realized that her actions put her daughter in the mental hospital? NO! SHE DID NOT! And that, my friends, is what burns my butt more than anything else. Kismet has pictures of her and her mother on the wall taken at the hospital. And it makes me furious. Not that Kismet has the pictures of her mom on the wall. Much as it bugs me because I'm the one putting Kismet to bed at night, tucking her in, giving her kisses and staying in her room until she falls asleep because she's scared and Brad is the one who gets up with her in the middle of the night when she has nightmares, and she has a lot of them, and he gets her ready to go to school in the morning and picks her up from school when she's had a bad day. In spite of all that, I do understand why she has the pictures up.

No, I'm furious that this woman just DID NOT CARE about her own child. I know it happens, it's why a lot of kids are in foster care and why a lot of kids are up for adoption. But the fact that this woman is still posting pictures on Facebook and acting as if she loves her daughter so when she had a chance to make it all right just makes me want to punch her in the face. And so help me god, if I ever see her, I'm gonna do it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Eight is way more than enough, thank you!

So this past weekend, I had eight, count 'em, 8 freakin' people in my house! I'm still not sure what drugs I was on when I decided this was a good idea. Actually, I don't know that I ever thought it was a "good" idea but it didn't occur to me for some strangely bizarre reason that it might overwhelm me.

Now, if you knew anything about me, right about now, you'd be smacking me upside the head. See, I don't do large groups of people. And to me? Eight is a large group. When I'm in a group of more than 3 or 4 people, I tend to go into overload mode. I get this huge mental block and I'm completely incapable of processing what's going on around me. I just kinda sit there while information passes around me like flies in the air and it's a small miracle that I'm not drooling the entire time.

If I spend too much time in a large group, I started to get agitated and antsy, I totally go into fight-or-flight, and as it's really inappropriate to punch family members or neighbors when you, or they, are not drunk, I usually fly. Not that I would punch family members, mind you. Well.... there's one I'd like to punch... but I'm kinda getting off the topic.

So. You're asking, what the hell was I thinking having 8 people in my house? And I'll tell you what I was thinking. My dad, who is 80, lives in Delaware, and hasn't come out this way in ages, was coming out for a visit. He didn't know exactly when he would be here. Moon Unit, Dweezil, and Frank haven't seen him in years. I think Frank, who is now 11, last saw my dad when he was maybe 1 or 2? So yeah, a long time. And of course, the kids all needed to see their grandpa coz honestly? Who knows when or if they'll see him again.

I knew the chances were good that my dad would show up the same weekend Kismet was moving in. And there was this part of me, a totally psychotic part of me that should have its mouth sewn shut and its hands duct taped to its feet and dunked into a vat of quick-drying cement so as never to have any sort of influence on my thoughts and decisions ever again, that thought it would actually be a good idea, since I have limited time off to use in a year and it would be good to get it all done at one time.

Umm... yeah. So Brad picks up Kismet and brings here home. Then my dad and step-mom show up. And then we go pick up the boys. And Dweezil had fallen off a friend's skate board and injured his wrist. So right after I pick them up and drop Frank off at the house, I run off with Dweezil to the urgent care to get his wrist x-rayed. And we get back and everyone's kinda running around and things seem a bit hectic but I think, "It'll be okay."

And it wasn't. Because I totally went into brain lock the next day. And I couldn't think of a single thing to do with 8 people. I blame Utah for being such a boring state and I'm totally not going to take that back, but it was probably partly me, too. But mostly Utah. And I just. Couldn't. Think. And so? We didn't really do anything.

And then Sunday rolled around and there was more of the same. No thoughts in my head of what to do. And so again, we did nothing. And the whole while, I'm feeling totally stressed out by it. I'm a terrible host. Why can't I think of anything to do with my family? Why can't I take my folks out and show them around? I mean they've been here before and they've seen most of it but still. There's just nothing. I can't think of anything. And I feel like the scum of the earth coz we're just hanging out at the house.

My dad then tells me that they are intending to head out early in the morning so that they can get a jump on things and do some sight-seeing along the way. And there's this horrible other part of me that's breathing a sigh of relief. And also thinking that he's probably bored out of his mind at my house and I'm a lousy host. Because I am.

Monday morning rolls around, Kismet goes off to school in the kind of God-forsaken, early morning hours that only farmers and graveyard shifters getting off work should see. And my folks go at the same time. And me? I sleep through it all while Brad sees off Kismet and my folks. And I kinda feel guilty. But when I get up? I feel sooo much better that the house is empty.

I am never having a houseful again. And if you hear me saying I'm going to do that? Feel free to whack me upside the head with the nearest blunt object you can find.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


So... I know I should have been updating what's been going on with training. It just seems like there's been so much that's happened lately and it's left my head spinning. Here is my effort to nutshell the last 3 weeks as much as possible.

1. We had another weekend with Kismet and the boys together. This time, Kismet spent more time with Dweezil and they seemed to do very well together. It's good to see that these kids are getting along well, although I think Kismet's energy level was too high even for Frank. It'll take time for them to get used to each other.

2. We got through most of the training, although there was a little bit that we missed. Overall, I like the way the program works. The kids are on a point system and they earn positive points for good behavior and negative points for poor behavior. They "earn" the negative points so that it puts their behavior back on them. However for each time they earn negative points, they have an opportunity to earn back half of the points they lost by doing a role-play of how they should have acted instead. So even when there's a negative consequence for their actions, it's still turned into a positive thing. Their points are used for privileges, as they have a certain point level for basic privileges and then can earn more privileges based on the number of points they've earned. It's a pretty nice little system that works for the majority of the kids they use it on.

3. Kismet is NOT one of the kids this works on. We are meeting with our consultant tonight to go over a different treatment program for what we hope will work for Kismet.

4. We discovered that it did not work well for Kismet last week when we went to take her back to the group home after a visit with us and she refused to go, thereby causing us to miss one of our training sessions. It was very frustrating for us because we felt like our hands were tied when it came to things we could do to get her to agree to leave with us. She yelled, slammed a few doors and tore up a padded envelope but overall, was much more respectful of our belongings than she's been in the group home. We finally convinced her to go back to the home after we tapped into her emotions but it's not something I want to be doing regularly.

5. Two days later, she got into trouble at school, was taken to detention where she hit a few people, and was told she could stay in detention or go back to the group home. She chose to stay in detention so that's where she spent the weekend. We picked her up on Monday evening (the team wanted us to pick her up so we could experience one of her melt-downs first hand) and we believe she was all geared up for dealing with someone else and finding us there waiting for her threw her off-guard. She paced back and forth for a bit, we think she was trying to process the change, told us that she liked being in detention and she chose to be there because she wanted to see what it was like, then decided she was ready to leave, all without incident. We think that what she told us was something she'd rehearsed saying to someone else and since she was thrown off-guard, she said it anyway. When we got her back to the group home, she told her roommate that detention was horrible.

6. Also on Monday, we'd had a team meeting that included the head of the group homes. To put it simply, he was an offensive asshat who told us we were woefully unprepared for Kismet, that we were likely to be like other parents who promised to do certain things with kids they'd taken then didn't and bailed on the kids, and that Kismet needed to go back to hospital. I think everyone was stunned by his words and he pissed me of that he said those things to us. That's just not the kind of things you say to people, even if you think it. Certainly better ways he could have phrased things. We're moving on in spite of his concerns (like he'd be able to stop us) and I look forward to the opportunity to prove him wrong. I don't expect things will be simple with Kismet but we are committed to making this work and I hope for an opportunity in the future to gloat over it to his face.

Kismet moves in tomorrow. I haven't fully absorbed this yet. I'm pretty sure she hasn't, either. Sorry, not much of a nutshell. More later.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ice Cream for Breakfast

Sometimes I forget what kids men can be. I know, I know. You're thinking, "But Diana! How can you forget that? You're married! You have sons! You have man friends! Where is your head?" Honestly? It's easy to forget sometimes. Sometimes men are really good at hiding the fact that they are kids at heart. Then again, Brad takes great pleasure in using words that appeal to 4 year olds as his passwords, so, you know, forgetting seems kinda inexcusable.

Last night, I had climbed into bed, really ready to go to sleep. I take a sleeping pill to help me sleep because I have cyclical insomnia and have a hard time sleeping sometimes. And also because Brad fidgets in his sleep and snores like mad, which just makes it harder for me to sleep. So I had popped my pill and was groggy but waited for Brad to come to bed. He has a nightly ritual of wandering the house, locking up, getting treats for the dog, getting the coffee maker ready for the morning, and countless other things that seem, in my incredibly sleepy brain, to take him for-freaking-ever to accomplish. See? He's showing responsible, adult-like behavior. Although I do wish he'd start earlier so he wouldn't take so long.

Anyway, after waiting for what felt like an eternity for him to come to bed, with him taking longer than usual, he climbs into bed next to me, cuddles up with me and starts talking. I notice an unusual smell on his breath. I say, "Your breath smells like.... graham crackers?" He goes, "Graham crackers AND milk." I go, "Dude! I'm lying in bed forever, trying to stay awake, waiting for you to come to bed, and you're in the kitchen eating graham crackers and milk?!? Seriously?!? What the hell?!?" And he's all, "I was eating it as I was doing my rounds! It's not like I was just standing around." And I slap my forehead and sigh dramatically and he goes, "Sorry."

But don't think that's the worst of his child-like behavior. Oh no! That's nothing compared to what I stumbled on this morning. Normally on a work day, I get up and shower and do all my work-day preparations in our bedroom, only coming out after I'm all ready for work. This morning, however, I wanted to send a text message to Dweezil while I still remembered, so I walked out into the kitchen and Brad is standing there, scooping ice cream out of a container into a bowl. At 7:30 in the morning! I go, "Are you having ice cream for breakfast?" And he says, "Cake and ice cream." And I just stand there and look at it him and he's all, "What?" And I'm like, "I'm glad to see you start your day with such nutritious food."

And I know, I know, that he's only scooping this out at 7:30 in the morning because he didn't expect me to come up the hall and into the kitchen and catch him eating cake and ice cream for breakfast right then. Dudes, he was trying to hide it from me!

And you're probably thinking, especially if you're a guy, "What's the big deal? He's an adult, if he wants cake and ice cream for breakfast, he can." And of course you would be right, he is, technically, an adult and he does have the right to eat cake and ice cream for breakfast if he wants. Although he really shouldn't coz it's not the mature, responsible, or healthy thing to do. But the really big deal about it? He can eat like that and he stays freakin' skinny! And that is so unfair!

Sometimes I hate my husband.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Boys Meet Kismet

Last weekend, we decided it was time for the boys to meet Kismet. Brad and I had been disagreeing on how that should happen. He was all ready for an all-day adventure with Kismet, as he'd had her over an entire Saturday while I was out of town. But I didn't feel that the boys' first exposure to her should be an all-day adventure, since I wasn't sure how things would go. Not to mention that Brad has had more opportunities to spend quality time with her so he knows her better (and is also madly in love with her) and is ready to have her move in right now while the rest of us are still trying to get to know her.

We finally decided to have her spend a few hours with us in an informal fashion. We picked the boys up and then picked her up and took them off to Hollywood Connection to play. We got some food and played miniature golf and let the kids run around and get on some rides for a bit. Kismet connected with Frank very fast. Frank is adorable and charming (no matter what his siblings say) and interactive and girls just love him to bits, so he's used to a lot of attention from girls. Obviously, he loves the attention, too, and it goes to his head a bit.

Kismet kept hugging him and at one point, when she wasn't close by, he said to me, "I think she likes me." Of course, he meant LIKE like but I tried to downplay that a bit and just said, "Of course she likes you. She doesn't have any brothers or sisters and has always wanted them. She's excited about the fact that you're close to her age and will do the things she likes to do."

We then headed over to a mall for a little bit because Kismet loves to go. I was highly amused by the fact that she hauled Frank off to Claire's to look at girly stuff. He put up with it for a few minutes then decided he'd had enough and wanted to go look for hats. Surprisingly, she was game and the two of them went racing off through the mall to find a Zumiez so Frank could look at skater stuff, as he's a skater wannabe. As we were leaving, she made us stop at a bridal store so she could look at the prom dresses and Frank looked at me and said, "I'm not used to having a sister who's into girly things," to which I replied, "I know! I'm not used to having a daughter who's into girly things." (This because Moon Unit hasn't been into girly things since Frank was a baby.)

We eventually took her back home and she wanted to play tag with Frank, who would have been all for it, I think, but we had to end our day. After dropping her off, Dweezil made a comment about how Kismet seemed all over Frank and had more or less ignored him. I wasn't sure how that affected him, if it bothered him or made him jealous at all but he passed it off by saying, "I'd rather be underloved by someone I don't know than overloved by someone I don't know." Dweezil and Kismet will surely connect in time as they both have a deep-seated love of music. They'll probably be sharing their tunes and talking music.

In the meantime, I think I can safely say that their meeting was a success. As long as Kismet and Frank continue to get along so well, I think there's a good possibility of them being good friends. Frank has longed for a sibling as active as he is and who would do things with him and I believe that Kismet will be willing to do the things that Frank wants to do. She is every bit as active, if not more so, as he is and this could be a match made in heaven.

Foster parent training starts tomorrow. We are less than 3 weeks away from bringing her home.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Dealing with Disappointment

Yesterday, we spent some time with Kismet again. She was pretty obsessed with Brad's iPhone, to the point of not interacting much with us, at least during dinner. We then tried to find something interesting to do in the short period of time we were able to keep her but a good number of stores in the valley close at 6 p.m. on Sundays and since she didn't get out of church until 4:30 and we had dinner first, we were pretty limited in our options.

We did, however, get to take her into Best Buy. Oddly enough, she really wanted to go in there and she bounced around from item to item, going about 500 miles an hour. It's funny, Moon Unit also had ADHD as a young child but she is now 19 and has outgrown most of it. I'd forgotten how exhausting these kids can be. Even just watching them is tiring.

We took her back home and the other girls who are in care in the group home were there. Kismet gave a quick round of hugs and then just turned her back on us. So we left and it took a little while pondering on the situation to realize she was probably playing it cool and non-chalant in front of the other girls.

Later in the evening, Brad tried to give her a call to say goodnight but discovered that, just like the last time we took her out, she had another melt-down after dropping her off. After talking with her foster father for a bit, we discovered that the reason Kismet keeps having these melt-downs is because over the years, so many people have failed her. Her mother used to tell her she'd get clean and take her home but she never did. Or she was supposed to come visit but then wouldn't. And her group home parents would come and go, so it was hard to attach to anyone because it seemed, to her, like they always left her. So in her mind, when we took her back home after visiting with her, we would not be back. That makes her melt-downs perfectly understandable.

How sad is it that at such a tender young age, a child can already come to understand that adults are not always true to their word? How sad is it that this poor child has had so much disappointment with the people in her life that she wanted to be close to and wanted to love her that she has a hard time trusting us and believing we will be back?

I don't know if there's any way for us to be able to reassure her now that we will be back but Brad did tell her last night when she was allowed to call us back that we would always be there for her. I don't know if she believes it. We will see her again hopefully on Wednesday and then I'm out of town for 5 days. I worry that she will think I won't be back but Brad will be out to see her while I'm gone.

I guess this will work itself out in time, that eventually she will come to realize that we are always going to be there for her. Hopefully, she will start to understand that we will not abandon her, and some day, she will get over the disappointment she has experienced with those who she felt failed her in her life. Hopefully, she will learn to trust again.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Meeting Our Destiny

So we met Kismet last night. It was pretty darned cool. We met at Red Robin, which is one of her favorite places to eat. She came with her caseworker and her CASA (court appointed special advocate, which is a volunteer who is appointed by court to, well, advocate for abused and neglected children in the foster care system, see more). Her CASA had a big binder full of pictures of Kismet from their different activities and adventures together, which we had a chance to browse through rather quickly while waiting for Kismet and her caseworker. It was fun to see the different pictures and things she likes to do.

Kismet walked in and looked at us and looked all serious for a moment. Then she instantly started to dig into her bag to get some stuff out for us but we were lead off to our table. She wanted to sit between me and Brad. She then handed us some pictures that she colored for us and she gave us some bracelets that she made for us, with our names spelled out in beads. She hands Brad's to him and says, "I know your name has an R in it but I didn't have one [me instantly thinking the bracelet she made said "Bad"] so I put a green bead in there instead." So cute!

She was very chatty and a bit giddy and Brad and I were both so charmed by her and I have little recollection of most of the dinner experience, just sitting and absorbing her. She did ask us almost immediately if it was okay to call us mom and dad, which of course we said it was, and so she did. When her CASA was leaving, she decided to walk out with her, having conversed with her caseworker in whispers first, then as she was walking past me, she leaned over and whispered, "I'm going out because I'm gassy." That made me chuckle.

She was enthralled by the fact that Brad has an iPhone and wanted us to give her a ride back to her house after dinner. She asked to ride in the passenger seat and so she played with Brad's phone all the way back to her house. Brad asked her what her favorite color was and she said blue. Then he asked her, "Paper or plastic?" She looked at him and said, "That's a dumb question." And we laughed some more. Then she asked us if we swore, to which we replied that yes, sometimes we swear but not at other people. She had seen something on Brad's phone with the "S-word" on it and he told her that she would have to keep him in line with his swearing, to which she replied, "Yes, I can see that." As I'm laughing, I'm thinking, "This kid is a good match for our family!"

We get to her house and we go inside with her while she drops stuff off and then she comes back out and says, "I don't want you guys to leave," and throws herself at Brad, giving him the longest hug ever. I was a little worried with how long the hug was that she might be getting ready to have a melt-down but she didn't. Then she finally let go of him and hugged me for a little bit then went back to hug Brad again. She's really taken to Brad, although I console myself with this by saying that it's only coz he had an iPhone. I'm not jealous that she likes Brad better. (Okay, maybe I am a little bit.)

She also asked us if she could spend the weekend with us and we had to tell her not yet but that we would see her again this weekend. Brad called over to her house today and was told by the foster parents that she had a bit of a melt-down today because she wanted to be with us. I guess nothing says, "I like you guys and want to be with you," by having a melt-down at school. :-) But I think everyone rather expected something like that to happen.

We will see her again this weekend and we are looking forward to it. We have another month-plus before she gets to come home with us. Seems like a long time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Moving Right Along

Last I wrote about Kismet, we were still waiting to hear something, anything, about training for her needs. The following week, we heard back from the caseworker, who said that the current group home parents where Kismet was living would be leaving in October. Since Kismet doesn't do well with changes, the caseworker was thinking that instead of her having to adjust to new foster parents and then turning around and moving in with us and having to adjust again a short time later that maybe it was a good idea for Kismet to move in with us in October. Well, of course we were all over that idea! Two months earlier than we'd expected? Hell yeah!

We finally got to meet with Kismet's caseworker this past Monday, along with her foster father, her therapist, a woman who I think was supposed to be the head of the group homes and also a former foster mother to Kismet, and a court-appointed volunteer who spends time with kids. We talked a bit about some of the things Kismet is currently going through, how she's struggling with the idea of the current foster parents leaving (they are having a baby in October, which is why they are leaving), some of the things we might expect from her and how we might deal with some of the behavioral issues that might come up. Then we were told we were looking at a two-week training period and some "shadowing" at the group home. I'm not sure what the shadowing would entail but I guess it's just seeing how things work in the group home.

We were then told that since she would be moving in with us in October, which previously had been presented to us as an option but is now an actuality, we could meet her this week. This week! OMG! After all this waiting and waiting and thinking that we wouldn't get her until December and wouldn't even meet her for months, everything has been ramped up and we will get to meet her this week!

The caseworker then told Kismet the next day that she was going to be adopted. We had made a little light-hearted booklet for Kismet as a way of introducing the family so that she would know some things about us. She was given this booklet and was apparently so excited, she was giggling and squealing and had to go run around the yard to burn off some of that excitement. We were thrilled that she was so excited. Who would have guessed anyone could be that excited about living with us?

So we are on for meeting Kismet tomorrow night. I think the plans are to see her again some time in the next week. Then I will be leaving for Orlando for 5 days and when I get back, we will start our training.

This is so exciting, I almost feel like squealing and giggling myself!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Forest Green Turtleneck Society

I have often seen members of the Red Hat Society out and about and have been amused by their red hats and purple outfits. I love the absurdity of it: a group of women who are unconcerned about their looks, about how society may view the way they dress, and are just out enjoying themselves. I've always said that some day, when I'm old enough, I'm going to join the Red Hats.

As I was looking at their website one day, I saw that I might possibly be old enough. While most Red Hatters are over 50, there are some who are younger. And I went, "Uh... wow. I'm maybe old enough to join." And then I started to go through a crisis. Yes, I want to be able to join the Red Hats some day. But... I'm only 42! And that seems too young to join the Red Hats. I was thinking that I would be ready to join when I turned 50 but I could maybe join now. It would give me an opportunity to meet and make friends with other like-minded women and I have missed having friends to hang out with. On the other hand, I have in my mind this perception that Red Hatters were much older than me and the fact that they're not, well, that kinda freaks me out.

So I was looking online to see if I could find a local chapter but the Red Hats keep chapter information very quiet. As I was looking, I stumbled across a group called The Blue Thong Society. Um... okay? The Blue Thong Society is kind of the antithesis of Red Hat, trying to stay young and hip and trendy as they age. Their motto? "Fight Frump!" Well. I don't want to be frumpy but I see the Red Hat group as being silly in their frumpiness, not that they were throwing in the towel and succumbing to a life of elastic-waisted polyester supreme pants and sweatshirts with little kitties on them or going about in hair curlers and mumuus because they can't be bothered to dress better. I'm sure that the members of the Blue Thong Group are probably nicer than that but first impression? Not such a good one.

Lying in bed with Brad last night, I mentioned both groups to him and said, "I feel like I fall smack dab in the middle of the two groups. I'm not sure Blue Thong is right for me but I'm not quite ready for Red Hatters, either. What would be the middle between blue thongs and red hats? Is it yellow jumpers? Forest green turtlenecks? Orange stars? Pink hearts?"

I've been racking my brain for a long time, trying to figure out how to meet and make friends with others. Alas, I have no crafty sorts of abilities so hanging out with crafters is not an option and I'm not going to join a book club because I'm very fussy about the books I read. Where does a 42-year old woman go these days to make friends?

If you have any ideas, let me know. Otherwise, I think I'll be down the street at the local watering hole, eyeing other women and working on pick-up lines: "Hey little lady, wanna come back to my place and play Scrabble and look at pictures of my kids?"

Friday, August 20, 2010

Who Needs Paper Towel?

The boys are up this weekend and we were sitting around the dinner table this evening, cracking jokes and eating (home-grilled) hamburgers. (I rock!) I discovered that we had no paper towels in the house to wipe our hands off on. Home-grilled hamburgers with condiments can be a bit messy. Add to that the fact that we were also eating chips and the discovery of no paper towels was a rather unfortunate turn of events.

So I started wiping my hands together, as if that's somehow going to rid me of the mess on my hands. Then I reached out towards Brad and Frank, who were sitting on either side of me, and wiped my hands off on their shirts. (I also let out an unexpected belch that set the wine glasses to tinkling in their rack and the whole family falling out of their chairs with laughter but that's another story all together.) Then I stuck my sticky fingers under the table to let our dog Sunny lick them off but that didn't help much either.

Brad, being the totally chivalrous dude that he is, leans his shoulder towards me and says: Here, go ahead and wipe your hands off. That's what shirts are for.

Me: Give me your pant leg.

Brad gives me a look.

Me: Oh yeah, it's not your pant leg, it's your socks.

Me, to the kids: Brad will wipe his fingers off on his socks when he's wearing them if he doesn't have a napkin.

Me, to Brad: So what do you do when you're not wearing any socks? Do you wipe them off on your ankles? I guess that's why men have hairy legs, to wipe off their dirty fingers.

Dweezil: I don't even want to know.

Me: No, it's good because then he has this stuff in the hair on his legs and then the dogs go up and lick his legs and the circle of life begins all over again.

Moral of the story: Make sure to always have paper towel on hand in case of emergency so that your wife doesn't share your dirty little secrets with the kids and her 9 blog followers.

Addendum: Now that I think about it, I think we might actually have some napkins in one of the storage cabinets in the kitchen, making the wiping off of my hands on other people's shirts totally unnecessary. I'm sure we all learned a very valuable lesson from this.

Monday, August 16, 2010

So Far Away

My parents divorced when I was very young. I'm not sure exactly how old I was, I guess I never bothered to ask. But based on photos taken from when I was a toddler, with my mother's second husband, I would venture a guess that I was somewhere between 1-2 years old.

For almost all of my life, my father has lived too far away to see him much. I spent some time living with him at various times in my childhood in Alabama and California but not more than about a year or two. I saw him a few times in my teen years but not much as an adult. He was (is) living in Delaware and every time I looked at plane tickets, it was upwards of $400 to visit and I just never had that money. I'd see him when he'd make a trip out to see me and my siblings, every 2-3 years. Often when he did come to visit, I'd be busy working and unable to take time off so I rarely got to spend much time with him when he was in town.

He's now 80 years old. Last year I finally pulled the money together to fly out to see him since it'd been more years than I could remember since I had seen him last. My children don't really remember him, it's been that long. I spent a nice 5 days visiting with him and I recall him saying how much he has regretted not being closer over the years so that he could have been a part of our lives while we were growing up. He is coming out next month to visit for a few days and it's going to be the first time Dweezil and Frank will have seen him since they were very little.

I live in Utah and I have never really liked it. I have lived here longer than I've lived any other place yet it's never felt like home to me. It's always felt like a way station, a place I've stopped on my way to some place else. In my adulthood, I've viewed it as a temporary stop and yet it's been an 18 year temporary stop so far. I itch deep down in my core to move away. My heart yearns for another home, some place not land-locked, close to the ocean. It's been a struggle for me to stay here. I have tried to convince Brad that we need to move but he wants to stay, for no real reason he can put his finger on.

Then I think about my boys who live with their father. Dweezil is 14, Frank is almost 11. And I think about how little I saw of my father over the years and I realize I can't move yet. Sure, I survived without my father but I always missed him, always wished he lived closer. My boys could probably survive just fine without me but I don't think I can survive just fine without them. I suppose it's the sort of thing one can get used to after a while but it's not something I want to get used to. Not yet. Seeing them every other weekend is not enough for me, seeing them less is not an option. Right now, I live about a 2-hour round trip drive from them so I don't get to go to their sporting events, although I try to make sure I get to Dweezil's choir concerts whenever I can. I hate to tell them that their event is too early for me to get to after I get off work or too early on a Saturday morning for me to see them. I don't want to move so far away that I can't see them for important events in their lives as they become teenagers. So only seeing them once or twice a year right now is not an option.

And that means my 18 year temporary stop in Utah is going to become at least a 25 year temporary stop. Maybe longer. Who knows? As long as I live here, I'll always be yearning deep down in my heart to be somewhere else. But being a parent means putting aside some of your most selfish desires for the good of your children. It means being there for your children as much as possible. Some day, they'll be old enough to move on with their lives. Maybe they'll go to school somewhere else, maybe they'll go to school out of state. Maybe they'll marry and move out of Utah for employment. And until they are adults, I will be here, making sure I'm as constant a presence in their lives as I can be; I will be here when they need me. I don't ever want them to look at their childhood and wish that I'd been more of a part of it. I don't want anyone, not me, not them, to have that sort of regret.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

"You Don't Suck"

So on Friday, Brad and I had picked up the boys to bring home for the weekend. And our normal silliness ensued. I don't recall exactly what the conversation was at that moment but I said something about how I was so awesome. Conversation went something like this:

Me: I'm so awesome!

Dweezil (14): No you're not.

Me: Yes I am! Ask Brad!

Dweezil: He's your husband, he's supposed to say you're awesome.

Me: No really, he doesn't have to.

Brad: I think you're awesome.

Me: See? I am awesome! Why don't you just admit that you love me coz I'm awesome?

Dweezil: I love you coz you don't suck.

Me: Aww, come on!

Dweezil: All my friends at school say they hate their moms and I say, "I love my mom."

Brad: Why do your friends hate their moms?

Dweezil: I don't know. But they're always saying they hate their moms and I say, "I love my mom, she's awesome."

Me: HAH! You DO think I'm awesome! You just admitted it!

Everyone, even Frank, who had been sulking about something or other up to this point, started laughing.

I'm on Cloud 9. That's high praise from a 14 year old! AAAND, he admits to his friends that he loves me. :-)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

An Open Letter to the Religious

First, let me start off by saying that I know this blog isn't about religion. It's about being a parent, a human being, living life, and not taking yourself too seriously. But lately, I have become highly annoyed by people who, left and right, are continuously quoting scripture every chance they get. Most of the time, they are doing this in situations where it is highly inappropriate. So let me say, if you’re religious but not one who loves to quote scripture all the time, feel free to ignore this. If you aren’t a scripture-quoter but you know someone who is, feel free to share this with them.

Now then, for those of you who are scripture-quoters, I’m going to say this: for the love of all that you consider holy, knock off with the scripture quoting. There is, hands-down, little that is more annoying than someone who loves to quote scripture for everything of social/cultural significance that they happen to disagree with. This is some of the worst self-aggrandizement there is, quoting scripture to everyone. Let me explain to you why there is no point.

1. Those you are quoting scripture to? Probably don’t actually give a flying Fig Newton what the scripture says that you are quoting to them. Your scripture quoting will serve no purpose other than to annoy the person you are quoting to. You will not get your point across and will, in fact, manage to further alienate that person.

2. For almost every scripture you want to quote that prohibits a certain behavior, there is a 99% probability that there is another scripture that refutes it. We could go ‘round and ‘round, quoting all kinds of scripture to each other to make our points but in the end, will either side be swayed? Almost certainly not. It’s a waste of time and energy and again, will result in nothing but frustration.

3. Out of curiosity, are you familiar with the social norms and mores of the Middle East thousands of years ago? Are you aware of the significance and implications of Biblical verses in regards to those ancient norms and mores? If not, what makes you certain that they have any pertinence at all to the norms and mores of now? I mean, I think you’ve already come to the conclusion that stoning your neighbor for infractions is probably not in anyone’s best interest. Why is that? Why choose to adhere to certain parts of the Bible but not others? Is it because stoning your neighbor is not socially acceptable today? Then why would other parts be acceptable? If you are going to be strict to adhering to the parts of the Bible you agree with, you should be strict to adhering to the parts of the Bible you don’t agree with. If you get to pick and choose which parts of the Bible you are going to adhere to, why can’t someone else do the same thing?

4. Are you one of those people who believes God never changes? If so, explain why God is wrathful, vengeful, and often seems to be very angry in the Old Testament but is a kind and loving God in the New Testament. If God never changes, why did He allow Jesus to toss out most of the rules of the Old Testament? If God tosses out Old Testament rules, what makes you think that God isn’t tossing out the rules of the New Testament? If God changed enough to make much of the Old Testament moot, why not the New Testament? You believe that He speaks through prophets, pastors, priests, bishops, etc. That is how you know that he isn’t tossing out the rules of the New Testament, because you hear it from the pulpit every Sunday. But every religion have a different slant on things. And if every religion has a different slant on things, what's to say any of it is what God wants you to follow? Every religion thinks they are the right one so either they are all right or they are all wrong.

5. When was the last time humans received new scripture from God? Okay, if you are a Mormon, you believe that the Book of Mormon is new scripture but even that has events that take place more than a thousand years ago. Mormons also have other scripture so perhaps they have the most up-to-date scripture. Let’s say, though, that you aren’t Mormon and that you don't believe the Mormons have new scripture. If mankind has not received any new scripture lately, what’s to say that the New Testament isn’t wildly outdated in its philosophies?

6. Let me take this one step further and say, there are many variations on the Bible. There are many translations. Each translation says something slightly different than other translations. If God is sending His holy spirit to influence these translations, why are they different? Shouldn’t they all be the same? If they vary, what does that tell us? It tells us that man is the one translating the Bible. Man is fallible. And yes, man is, in fact, putting his own spin on the Bible, to make it better suit his ideals, without any concern for what the scripture actually means. At that point, what makes the Bible so valuable to you for quoting? Your Bible and my Bible might say different things. Whose is right? Doesn’t that make scripture quoting futile at that point?

If you believe in the Bible, there are only 10 Commandments in the Old Testament. Most of your scripture quoting does not fall within these 10 Commandments. If you are a follower of Christ, He says the two greatest commandments are to love God with all your might and the second is similar: love your neighbor as yourself. And then there’s the Golden Rule. The idea of ethical reciprocity has been around since the days of ancient Babylon. It essentially states that you treat others as you would like to be treated and do not treat others in ways that you would not like to be treated. It is essentially the best argument for human rights out there. And it makes my whole point for me.

I understand you are who you are. I understand that my communication to you is likely to have no impact on what you say or what you do because you feel justified. If you actually read my entire post, please understand, your opinions are yours. There are likely many people out there whose opinions are similar to yours. But in those situations where you quote scripture to try to justify inequities, which I think is the kindest word I can use, you are having no impact on anyone who disagrees with you. You are most likely alienating those you are attempting to reach. Let bygones be bygones. You are not seeking retribution to hurts, you are only attempting to justify your beliefs and actions. And in the end, you should just use scripture to guide your own life rather than trying to guide someone else’s.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Anticipation is Keeping Me Waiting

Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin' me late
Is keepin' me waitin'.

I have that Carly Simon song stuck in my head. Is it stuck in yours now, too? Oh good. I'm just that kind of generous.

So we're still playing the waiting game on training so we can bring K, now to be known as Kismet, since it seems the most appropriate, home eventually. They told us we'd start training in August because we would be training with the group home foster parents that she lives with (I think that's who is training us, anyway) and everyone was on vacation in July. Okay, well, today is July 30th. The second-to-last day of the month. And has anyone scheduled training for us yet? With August being just 2 days away? No, of course not! Surely, since it's the second-to-last day of the month, people are home from their vacations now, right? Or is it that since it's a Friday, maybe no one's home from their vacations until Sunday. How selfish!

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway...

I mean, really. Is it so much to ask to be scheduled for training? Am I being unreasonably impatient? We've only been at this whole process since January. And since the whole training process might take us several months to complete, thereby making it quite possibly near December before we can even meet Kismet for the first time, let alone bring her home, am I being unreasonably impatient? I'm ready to get this ball rolling, already. Let's git 'er done!

I'm not exactly famous for being patient. Oh, I know. You read my posts and you think, "Gosh, you've got to be the most patient person on the planet! Look at the people you live with!" And of course, you would be right to think that. But I have been bashed for not being patient. By people who don't know the meaning of the word! But the old saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder? Not always true. Sometimes absence makes the heart wander. Not that I'm saying I'm not anxious to bring Kismet home by any stretch of the imagination. No no no! I'm just, ya know, having a hard time maintaining that same level of enthusiasm. Like knowing you're going to take a long vacation in Europe in a year. It's hard to be excited now, even though it's a great thing to look forward to. But you got a lot of preparations to make in the meantime and can only get excited as you get closer. That's like what this wait is doing to me.

And tomorrow we might not be together
I'm no prophet, I don't know natures way
So I'll try to see into your eyes right now...

I want to meet her. I want to get to know her. I want to bring her home and have her be a part of our family. When we're all joking together and laughing our fool heads off about something or other, I think of her and I think, "She's going to love this family." Coz we're cool that way. No, we're not cool like hipsters or gangsters or trendy rich people. We're nerd-cool. We're dork-cool. Maybe you don't think that's cool but I do. Probably coz I am a dork. But that's okay, coz we're still damn fun. And I want to share that fun with Kismet. She's had such a rough life, she deserves to have fun with a family who will love her. She deserves happiness, joy, laughter, and good times. I want to give that to her.

Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin' me late
Is keepin' me waitin'.

So yeah, I may be impatient but I think it's for a very good reason. I want her to be able to be with us and think:

..these are the good old days.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stupidity: Chemical Poisoning or Contagion?

Over the last almost two weeks, I have continued to struggle to have any sort of thought in my head. Normally, this is a situation that I would enjoy, not having any particular thoughts entertaining, worrying, distressing, or otherwise affecting my daily mood. Existing without any thoughts can actually be a bit peaceful. Picture a tree by a stream. The tree's leaves are falling into the stream and being slowly carried away. That's how my mind has been lately. Except at night when the peaceful little stream turns into a raging river with many whirlpools and eddies and my thoughts turn into a violent vortex of randomness, lightly sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, spinning crazily out of control. They keep me awake for what seems like an endless amount of time, possibly due to Brad's fidgetiness that helps keep me awake and incapable of corraling my thoughts. My thoughts be like wild sugar-coated ponies, yo!

Anyway.... I was talking to Brad last night about my inability to string enough thoughts together to write something in my blog. I was all, "What should I write about?", and he was all, "How about you write about Buster (the foster puppy we just had)", and I was all, "But we just returned him. How am I supposed to write about a puppy we just returned?", and he was all, "Well, that's what you should write about", and I just stared at him and during that time he completely forgot I'd been talking to him and, I'm not even kidding, two minutes later, he's totally engrossed in his work again, not helping, and I'm all, "Dude! What should I write about? You're not even helping at all!", and he's all, "Sorry, I forgot. I don't know what you should write about." That's why I'm the one blogging and not him.

So this morning, while I was showering (which seems to be the only time I can string a few thoughts together), I was thinking about how not only am I couch okra brain but Brad has been more unfocused during work lately and he's taking meds to help his focus! And I wondered if there was something in the air that's making us both major space cadets. Well, Brad is always a space cadet but I mean more so than usual. The other night, Brad, Moon Unit, and I all had trouble sleeping. Was it something in the air, I asked myself? And if so, is there something in the air that's currently making us stupid?

Then I started thinking about how sometimes people seem to be in the same sort of mood all at once, even when they're scattered across the country or even in other countries. And I wondered how that happens. People's moods rubbing of on each other? Phases of the moon? Or.... a military cover-up with chemical poisons polluting our air and making us all sleepless or moody or stupid all at the same time?

Normally, stupidity seems contagious. Get a couple of stupid people together and they seem to attract more stupid people. This is particularly prevalent when it comes to politics. (I cite the Tea Party as a perfect example.) However, due to the severe lack of thought processing going on in my head these days, not to mention Brad's inability to focus while being medicated for focusing, I am starting to feel like perhaps the military cover-up is the best explanation for all things unfathomable. If you can't fathom it, it's a military cover-up.

So, what should we all do about these chemical pollutants affecting our daily lives that the military is covering up? Should we write our senators? Sure, if you want your senators to know that you're on to them, since military cover-ups are condoned by our government! Then they'll come into your house at night while you're sleeping, drug you, poke and prod you, and plant false alien abduction memories in your head so that no one will ever believe anything you say ever again coz you're a total crack-pot, dude!

You shouldn't do anything. Please don't be stupid. I'm trying to get over my stupid, I don't want yours, too.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Couch Potato Brain

I have been struggling since my last post to come up with something worth talking about. I just haven't had much on my mind lately, I guess. Well, that's not actually true. I actually have a lot on my mind but just because you have something on your mind doesn't mean you need to blog about it.

I started to write a post earlier in the week about all the things I had on my mind but as I struggled to gather my thoughts into something coherent, well, quite frankly, nothing happened. This is a rarity for me. I rarely have a hard time expressing myself, which I'm sure many people wish would happen more often than it does. My brain has gone on a bit of a vacation, it appears. If my brain were a person rather than a brain, I would say it's become a couch potato.

Have you ever wondered why a potato is used in this context? Why is a person who is slumming it called a couch potato? Oh, sure Wikipedia has a definition of couch potato but it's boring and uninstructional (that's probably not a real word but I don't care). This link here gives you what it claims is the origin of this idiom. And just for the fun of it, you can go to Will's Word Origins, which, while not actually giving the origin of couch potato (and therefore seems a bit useless), does give the origin of several words in a couch potato's vocabulary. And this site claims that a person can also be a mouse potato, which is essentially the same thing as a couch potato but the person is settled in front of a computer all the time instead of a tv. According to that definition, I would say Moon Unit is a mouse potato. But none of this explains why the potato is denigrated in such a fashion. If I were going to use a vegetable in such a negative way, I would choose something less appetizing, like maybe okra or eggplant or brussel sprout.

How many other vegetables out there are as versatile as the potato? And before you tell me something inane like a potato is actually a tuber, don't. Okay? Save us the trouble.

I think that I shall never see a veggie as lovely as a potato. I know it doesn't rhyme, so sue me.

Besides all the incredibly delicious ways you can cook a potato (fried, boiled, baked, roasted, scalloped, au gratin, mashed, stuffed, in stews and soups, potato salad, hash browns, tater tots, potato chips, pancakes, and some scary ways that I find incredibly insulting to the poor potato), the potato has many other uses as well. Oh yes, it does!

This here website lists 12 ways to use a potato, such as medicine for burns and headaches, removing glue on hands, as a shoe polish (!), and a few other odd ways that I would never in a million years have thought of. And this glorious website lists 60, count them, 60!, ways to use a potato. Some of it is a bit redunant with the first website, but it also lists foods and even beverages (!!) that can be made with potatoes, lists home and garden usage, crafts, games and school projects, as well as some unusual uses for the humble potato, such as an aphrodisiac, a battery (!!!) and, AAAAND, using a potato to make a fire!!!! (It doesn't actually list instructions for starting a fire with a potato although, since Google is your friend, instructions were really easy to find.)

Well. Seems to me, this has to be the most versatile veggie in the world. In our solar system. I would even dare to say, it is the most versatile veggie in the whole universe! Oh yes, I went there! And when you think about what this hard-working but humble veggie can do, I ask you again, why is a lazy person a couch potato? That is an insult to potatoes everywhere! I vote to change this idiom from couch potato to couch okra. Who's with me?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Second adoption committee met yesterday and approved us to adopt K. Training for her needs starts in August. All I can say is....


Sunday, July 11, 2010

That's How Much I Love You

(Scene: Bedroom, 11:30 p.m., lights off, Brad lying on his back in bed, me snuggled up against his side with my arm flung over his chest, chatting. Then all goes quiet for a moment before...)

Me, singing: You are so beautiful to me...

Brad: For realz?

Me: For realz. (singing again) You are so beautiful to me. Can't you see? You're everything I hoped for, you're everything I need....

Brad: You're supposed to flail your arms about like Joe Cocker.

Me: (flails arm for a sec, then puts it back down on Brad's chest) You are so beautiful.... to meeeeee!

Brad: Awww.

Me: Awww.

(Pulls back arm to wipe a hair out of my face, smacking Brad in the nose)

Me: I love you so much, I smacked you in the nose.

(Romantic moment dies a painful death)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fluffy Butts

I have two kitties. Ralph is an approximately 10 year old grey tabby. Binky is a 6 year old white kitty with a grey saddle. I adopted Ralph when he was 4 years old and I got Binky some time later, as a kitten. Ralph has carried a bit of a grudge against him since the beginning. He kinda reminds me of the way an older sibling will act towards a younger sibling.

Sometimes they will cuddle next to each other while napping and will stand as a united front against the dogs (with Ralph even coming to Binky's rescue if he sounds upset by one of the dogs). Other times, Ralph likes to kick Binky's ass, sometimes just for the pure pleasure of it, it seems.

Ralph will act like the big brother, licking Binky's face and ears, Binky totally enjoying this. Then he stops, stares at Binky intensely for a minute or two, and attacks him. After a few years, Binky finally learned to expect this and generally will jump away from Ralph or bop him before getting attacked. Of course, bopping Ralph generally gets him into trouble.

I was getting ready for work this morning and I was watching them in the bathroom mirror; Binky lying on the floor, Ralph standing over the top of him. He leans over and starts to lick Binky's head. Binky was having none of this and bops him. Ralph stands there, staring down at Binky and I can see he's getting ready to pounce. So I intervene and Ralph stands in the same spot, staring at me for a couple minutes, all innocent-like: "I wasn't going to do anything. I'm just standing here, minding my own business." I turn back to the mirror and watch them, intervening two more times. After the 3rd time, Ralph turns and starts to walk away, "Fine, fine. I'll go over here." But right after I turn my back on them, Ralph whips around and pounces on Binky. The brat was just biding his time, waiting for an opportunity to beat up on Binky when he thought he could get away with it!

You gotta admire the wickedess of this little punk. I don't know of any other animals capable of waiting for an opporunity to strike after being diverted 3 times!

... and the Pleasures

Brad really did a lot to get me off on the right foot this morning. It was such a simple little act and yet it really brightened my morning. I used to tease him about the fact that he hasn't a single romantic bone in his body. Not that I'm overly romantic, mind you. But he'd never given me flowers for no reason at all, never bought me a little gift "just because", that kind of thing. It kinda bugged me for a while but when I would stop to think about all the other things Brad does for me, I really couldn't complain at all.

A few weeks back, I woke up early one Saturday morning. I had been having a dream that Brad had left me and I woke up crying. I'd go back to sleep, the dream would continue, and I'd wake up. After that happened several times, I finally decided I was not going back to sleep, that I was getting up and out of bed for the day. I walked out to the living room where Brad was already and stretched out my arms to him. He got up off the sofa and walked over and gave me a hug. I told him about my dreams and he was all, "Awww! Honey! You know that will never happen. I'm never going to leave you, you're not getting rid of me that easy." After he comforted me, he said my getting up early had ruined his surprise. He'd intended to go to the store and pick up some pastries for breakfast before I got up. So he ran off to the store and came back with not only pastries but a bouquet of flowers for me! :-o I don't think he'd ever done that before, it's usually always been flowers for special occasions. I was floored. What a wonderful, sweet thing.

This morning, I was heading back to work after 5 glorious days away. I had spent probably 3 of the 5 days daydreaming about what it would be like to have every day off. It was a beautiful dream. :-) Brad walked me out to my car like he does every morning and when I opened the car door to my little black Beetle, I saw a rose he'd picked off the bush and put in the flower holder-thingy by the steering wheel. My sweetie was trying to perk up my morning. Once again, he surprised me by showing me that he does, actually, think about me.

I smiled all the way in to work today. What a great start to the day!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Pains...

(Previously posted as The Difficulties and the Pleasures; edited because it was so darn long!)

Yesterday, Brad, Moon Unit, and I were sitting at the dinner table, discussing an email we got from K's caseworker. We were going over her questions regarding how we would handle different difficult situations that may arise. They both brought up that they didn't feel like Dweezil and Frank were properly disciplined. So I asked them about this and what they thought needed to be done that wasn't being done already.

The thing that seemed to come out of this was that it's not so much what I'm not doing right as much as it is trying to overcome the influence (or lack thereof) of being in their father's home, where discipline seems to be severely lacking. They get yelled at a lot but not really disciplined. It seems to just roll off Dweezil's back. Add to that the fact that they are usually only up every other weekend and it's maybe 4-6 days a month that they are with us vs being at home with their dad. Discipline is such a difficult proposition when this is the case. I can't have much impact on their behavior. There have been some improvements but more needs to be made.

I never wanted to put them in a position of uprooting them from their home, disrupting their lives, when they were more or less happy. I think I've made the assumption that they are happy. But when I think of how things are at their house - the frozen dinners instead of home cooked, how messy their house looks sometimes, the way their dad yells at them but never really disciplines them - it really bothers me because I really think they would be better off here. Okay, so my house isn't always perfectly clean (who's house is and are they normal?) and I don't always spend as much quality time with them as I should. But still, I sometimes think maybe I've done the wrong thing by letting them stay where they are. And I really hate second guessing myself like that.

To top that off, part of the email we got from K's caseworker asked why the boys live with their father. We've been split up for 8 years and I have always waited for that question. I guess for the most part, the general population is polite enough not to ask. But the caseworker is not part of the general population. She has to make sure that we are going to be a good family for K so she had to ask. So I answered her question, trying to be as completely thorough as possible while at the same time trying not to be defensive. Because this is a horribly sore point for me. I have never regretted anything like I have regretted not having the boys live with me. And it's just so very difficult to talk about because of the second guessing. But I guess there's very little that's sacred when you're trying to adopt a kid who's been through the foster care system.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


From time to time, I look at Brad and see that he has some minor injury that he doesn't seem to notice or be aware of. Whenever I ask him what happened, the majority of the time his answer is, "I don't know." He even seems surprised to find the injury there, as if it was some sort of spontaneous occurrence. Like we're living in the Twilight Zone, where injuries magically appear on your body, having no connection to any event in your life.

Today, he was sitting next to me on the sofa, wearing a pair of shorts. I noticed a huge yellow bruise on his thigh. I said, "Holy cow! That's a big bruise! What did you do?" I should have expected the answer. By now, I should know that his answer is always going to be the same, yet I guess I hold out hope for the time that he will have a logical explanation for his injury. "I don't know."

I said, "How do you not notice these things? You could be spouting blood and your answer would be, 'I don't know what happened'. Your arm could be broken and you probably wouldn't notice. You could probably cut off a finger and be like 'Hey, why is my hand blood-soaked? Oh, I cut off my finger. How did that happen?' "

He said, "When I die, you'll probably say at my funeral, 'Brad is so oblivious, he probably doesn't even know he's dead.' "

And yet somehow, despite being completely oblivious to his surroundings, he manages to get through each and every day without dying. I don't know how he does it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Being a Family

It's been 8 years since my ex and I split up. Life has gotten better over time and now that I'm with Brad, I have discovered real happiness. Probably the first time in my life, I'm happy because Brad and I have a solid relationship. But if I have any regrets at all, it's the decision I made to leave the boys with my ex.

My life with my husband, the life I thought I wanted and had worked so hard to have, was unraveling. I was in a pretty deep depression when we split up. I thought about what I should do about the kids but I felt incapable of properly caring for my children emotionally. I know that leaving the kids with their dad was the right decision at that time in my life. It was only a year or so after I left before Moon Unit was living with me again, but that doesn't mean that I don't regret that decision every single day of my life.

They were at our house most of last week and while they were doing a lot of bickering and fussing and hitting each other, there's something about having them here longer than a weekend that makes me feel like a parent again. By that, I don't mean that I haven't felt like a parent to Moon Unit, although she hasn't responded well over the years to being parented. But having us all together, the boys, Moon Unit, Brad, and me, I feel like we're a family. I feel like we're more of a family when we're all together. To me, this is what I think a family should feel like.

We played some board games a few nights in a row. We even got Moon Unit involved, and it's a lot more fun when she is involved because she is clever and has a wicked sense of humor. Brad is too cool for board games, though, so he wasn't playing. We play Wacky Words and Imaginiff, which are hilarious games. Some of the stuff we come up with for Wacky Words has us laughing for days, and even weeks, on end. We also painted the hallway, went out for pizza for Dweezil's birthday, and went to see Toy Story 3 together.

I started to wonder last night what kind of parent I was when I let Moon Unit play Grand Theft Auto, but she is 19 and if you know anything at all about that game, there's a heck of a lot of humor in it. Moon Unit is particularly funny when playing games like this because she deliberately goes overboard with some of the violence in such a way that you can't help but laugh at what's going on. For instance, she kept choosing to have her character steal a scooter because she would run it into something and he would go flying into the road. I suppose if you're going to be overly serious about the game, it might not be that funny to you, but we find the humor in most things and we were all laughing our heads off. She gets a bit giddy with these things and it's just fun to watch her and laugh. Then of course, Dweezil picks up the game and is having fun with it, too. And I go, "Hmm, should I be letting him do this?" But to me, the best part of being a family is not about being a hard-ass about everything, getting down on your kids, telling them all the things they can't do. Sometimes you have to do that, of course. Sometimes you have to tell them how things are and discipline when rules are broken. But the best part is creating a loving, happy environment for them, being there for them whenever you can, and creating happy memories.

I love sitting around the dinner table with them and cracking jokes and having burping contests with Frank. I love being able to make them laugh with stuff that's just off the wall. I like the fact that when they come to our house, even if they still haven't figured out that being with us is better than being at home with their dad who yells at them all the time, they can still have a good time with us and feel loved and accepted for who they are and not get judged or yelled at, that maybe they can be inappropriate some times with the things they say or do something that maybe somewhat inappropriate for them to be doing and not get in trouble for it. Maybe I'm a little too liberal with them but their happiness is of the utmost importance to me. I want them to feel like our home is a happy home, a place where they can go and know they are loved and the world is an okay place.

Should I have been letting them play GTA? Technically, probably not. But I look at our interactions with each other and I like, for the most part, how we are with each other. I sit at the table or the sofa and watch our interactions with each other, when we're laughing and laughing and everyone is feeling good, and I think, "This is going to be so good for K. She's really going to enjoy this family." Because I enjoy this family and I wish for all the world that we were together all the time.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Waiting and Wishing

It has taken a few days since meeting with K's caseworker to absorb and process the info we received. Plus, my boys, who live with their dad full time, have been up visiting this week and I've been trying to spend quality time with them in the evenings after work. So posting the update was put on hold for a bit.

It turns out it was a good thing my boys were up when the caseworker showed up because she got an opportunity to talk to them a bit about K, her needs, and their feelings about it. Dweezil, at this point in time, seems to be indifferent. I guess it's hard to know how to feel about it when you don't know the person who is going to move into your parents' home, co-op their time, and become your adopted sibling. Adopted step-sibling? Is there such a thing? I guess so and I guess it would be weird. Moon Unit and Frank seem to be a bit more enthusiastic. Moon Unit has wanted a younger sister and I think she likes the idea of K because I think she hopes to be able to make a good connection with her. Moon Unit doesn't really have any friends, offline, anyway, which is understandable since she's a recluse. And K is going to need a lot of attention. I just hope that Moon Unit is able to maintain enthusiasm over time because we expect there to be some hard times with K to start with.

Frank is a really active little guy (okay, so he's not so little, he is almost 11) and he likes to be busy, going outside to play, swim, etc. Unfortunately for him, he can't get Dweezil or Moon Unit outside with him very often, and they haven't made any effort to make friends in our neighborhood so he gets really bored. I shouldn't complain too much about them not making friends. It can't be easy when they don't go to school or church in our neighborhood. I guess it's the sort of thing that's easier for very young children than older children. Anyway, I think he likes the possibility of having a playmate in K, particularly since they are close in age. She also is pretty active and likes to be outside. We are really hoping that K and Frank get along well. There is great potential for them to have a good relationship.

So, I'm a bit unclear still on the next steps for us. Seems we have to go to another committee to get our petition approved. Then I think there must be some sort of legal thing that takes place. I'm not sure what that would be, maybe transfer of guardianship? I don't know, they said they would contact a lawyer, but we are a few months out still from bringing K home so I'm not sure about that. I asked the caseworker if there was anything that would cause us to not be approved and all she said was that we would have to meet again to go over safety plans.

The biggest concern is that her bio family lives in the same general area we live in. Although they are in a neighboring town, there is still the possibility of running into them at the store or movies, etc, because it's a rather small county we live in and there are not a lot of shopping choices. K is particularly afraid of her uncle. She had lived with him for a little while and he severely abused her, the bastard! So our biggest task is going to be to provide K with a strong sense of safety. Which means that for any activites that we want to indulge in outside of our neighborhood, we'll have to take her to another town, which will be farther away. But she needs to know that we'll take care of her, that we do care about her and her fears, and that we won't let anything bad happen to her. She also needs to know that no matter what, we'll always be there for her.

To me, that's the biggest factor in helping her feel feel good about us. We have to make the decision, not just in our heads but in our hearts, that we are her permanent family, no matter what comes. Because if we have made that decision deep in our hearts, we can convince her that we will always be there for her. She's had no stability in her life, she's bounced around between relatives, between foster homes, all her attachments have been broken. She was neglected and abused and no one seemed to be able to handle her for long until she moved into foster care. Even then, she bounced around between group homes and the hospital. She just needs to know that someone out there cares about her, wants her to be a part of their lives. She needs a real family. That's what we need to provide for her.

Anyway, we need to get licensed as foster care providers to have her placed in our home until the adoption becomes finalized. This surprised us. We had checked around and had been operating under the belief that we did not need to be licensed. But it seems that because of K's specific needs, we need to be. Kinda wish I'd known that a while ago, we could have been licensed by now. We've had the last 6 months we've been waiting to be chosen for a child that we could have taken care of that already. But apparently not all children being adopted need to be placed in licensed foster care. After that, we will get training specific to K's needs. Then after the licensing and other training is done, we'll finally get to meet K. When I asked about the timeline, we were told maybe by Christmas. Christmas??? Seriously?!? Ugh! That's so far away! Here we are, all enthusiastic to bring K home and now it might take us another 5 months til we can bring her home. I totally understand the need to make sure we are as prepared as possible for her but that is so long.

Brad wants to try to see if we can expedite this process in some way. He says that since we are her chosen family at this point that we should be busting our butts trying to bring her home. I agree with that but also realize that our training is going to have to take place on others' schedules. We might be ready to do 8 hours of training a week but that doesn't mean we're going to be able to do that. We might not be able to do more than 1 class a month. That's my impression at this point, anyway. We won't know until we meet with the caseworker again.

In the meantime, I have put the only picture I have of K as the background on my cell phone. I need to have a daily reminder of what we're going to be working so hard for over the coming months. It's going to be a long wait. Wish it wasn't.