My Family

My Family

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Shannon!

Guess who is turning 39?  Not me, I get to stay 25 for the rest of my life.  A friend and I long ago decided that once we hit this magic age, we were done.  I don't know if she held on to her end of the bargain, but I did. 

I married my best friend almost 8 years ago.  We have been together for about 10 years.  It was an interesting first date.  We met on-line and had a tops thirty minute first date at Chik-Fil-A.  The restaurant was having a family day and we couldn't hear each other.  I was a nanny at the time and my boss was violently ill.  Her kids were a bit "spirited" and she was a single mom so I felt awful about leaving her in a lurch.  Even though it was my day off.  Go figure.  So I rushed home after the date hoping that the house was still standing (it was, barely).  I thought I would never see Shannon again.  Luckily, he called a day later and asked if I wanted a do-over.  I thought, sure might as well scare you away properly.  I said yes. 

So we went to a nice quiet restaurant and had a real conversation.  We had lots in common.  I was at a point where I had travelled and done all sorts of different things.  I was ready to settle down.  So was he.  I only had one really big issue.  The guy who married me needed to be O.K. with adopting kids.  Shannon, bless him, never batted an eye when I raised the issue.  He said, no problem.  That was it for me. 

I would love to say that we got married and it was all bliss with little birds tweeting and helping me with domestic duties.  That we never fight and stare adoringly into each other's eyes all day long.  But this is reality.  We are both very strong willed.  I have my head in the clouds and he has his on the ground.  I have this desperate need to be on time for everything and he is always late.  There are many things that we are so polar opposite on we both sometimes wonder where the person we were dating has disappeared to?

Even though we may never agree on where to put the butter in the fridge ( and many other stupid things) we are both in it for the long haul.  Shannon was my rock while we were going through the adoption process the first time.  This time around I have been the rock.  He loves our son and was willing to adopt him despite the social worker trying to scare us to death about him.  He has fought daycares, churches, and family so our child can get the help and support he needs.  He is not shy about advocating for Marvin and is not slow in sharing it.  

So happy birthday to my best friend, companion, and co-fighter in the daily battles of adoption and child rearing!  I love you Shannon!!! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The best gift ever!!!

Merry Christmas everyone!!! 

I hope you are all doing well.  I just got the best Christmas gift a mommy could ever receive.  No, it didn't come in a Tiffany's bag.  (Although that would have been nice too.)  My son who blessed our hearts and homes several Christmases ago.  Here are some of his first pics: 

Gotta love the baby pudge.  I so miss it!  Our little one came to us with more labels than belongings.  Failure to thrive, Meth addicted, Shaken Baby Syndrome, Mild to Moderate Attachment and Bonding Disorder, Possible ADHD (although how you can tell on an 18 month old is beyond me, they all have ADHD at that age!), Lagging gross motor, fine motor, and language delays, Sight issues that may complicate into blindness, Reduced life span possibly turning into SIDS or early childhood death.  These are just a few of the labels that haunted me for years. 

Now flash forward to this Christmas.  Here is a pic.  Sorry it is not the best, my camera needed a good cleaning: 

So here we are now at four and a half.  My gift came a few days early!  We got to loose some labels!!!  Yeah!!  I must admit I cried.  A lot.  My child has NO attachment issues, no major developmental delays, will probably not go blind, and as was pointed out as Marvin was jumping off the exam table saying "Look at me I am Batman!", I will probably die of fright before Marvin bumps off.  He has also been cleared to go to Kindergarten in the fall.  He is growing and THRIVING.  Now, I had co-workers and family telling me that he was doing great all along, but it is so nice to have him medically verified.  They still want to keep the ADHD on the back burner, but it was agreed all around that it is way to early to diagnose that.  I also argued that he was a strong kinesthetic learner.  They were impressed with my big word of the day (thank you Lisa Murphy for all your way cool info on this, I owe you!) . 

So now I am off to a very busy and exciting two days of family, friends, church, and food.  I hope your Christmas is as wonderful as mine is turning out to be!! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Trigger Blues

So we are quickly moving into the hectic holiday season.  It is a crazy time of year for anyone.  But if you have a children with special needs who are used to the rhythms and routines of everyday living, it can be even more stressful.  Not everything can be glitzed over with tinsel. 

Marvin came to us on December 12th four years ago this year.  It was a day before my birthday and I was so excited I spent the days before almost throwing up.  It also helped take my mind off my birthday, but that is another post on another day.  I was thrilled and very very very very stupid.  I had visions of Santa, candy canes, presents, celebrations with family and friends all in my head.  WRONG!!!!  The one thing that everyone stressed to me was that this is a very traumatic event in a child's life.  Great for us but sucky for him.  Keep low key.  No big hooplah.  Quiet holidays.  One maybe two presents tops.  Say what??? 

So in comes Marvin and with joy everything falls into place and they were all wrong.  Nope, not quite.  They took Marvin from daycare, he fell asleep in the car and woke up in a strange place with his social worker telling him that this was mommy and daddy now.  Just the look on my new son's face, that moment when he realized that his life was falling apart and there was no foster family anymore just about killed me.  He shrank from us.  He clung to Ms. T.  He sobbed like he was dying.  And in reality a part of him was dying.  The part of his life that he would never have back again.  But we muddled through it.  It was a quiet Christmas.  It was also the most magical one I have ever had. 

Flash forward to the next December.  Around holiday time Marvin was inconsolable.  He liked doing the "traditional stuff" but sometime I felt like he was doing it just to please us.  We still kept it low key, but he had a lot of trigger episodes.  Last December was better and I was bright enough to catch on to the patterns.  I kept Marvin away from things I knew would cause problems the best I could.  He was more expressive and was able to tell me he hated Christmas.  Until he got presents and changed his mind on that one.  He may have issues, but he is still a typical kid in most ways! 

So here we are once again.  I am hanging on with all I've got this year!  Marvin is able to handle more stimulation, but I still try to keep things as quiet and smooth here at Casa de la Fields as possible.  As an active four he has decided that he likes Christmas, especially the train that Paw Paw gave him for under the tree.  We have had a very big increase in trigger related events, but now that I am aware, I know I can ride it out.  Little things like going to the doctor to have our ears checked has produced mind blowing moments that probably leave the people in the parking lot to think I am beating my child within an inch of his life.  Marvin usually takes stuff in stride, but sometimes he just can't.  That stresses him, which in turn, stresses me. 

Today was another great example.  We went to a school play instead of school.  Marvin fretted about not being in school, worried about the classroom animals, and the materials.  Most of the time he loves having a day off.  Not today.  Then the play was going smashing until we got to a part about a giant glowing scary frog.  Lovely.  Just what I needed.  So here is my kid who has had nightmares about being ripped away from his family for the past two weeks being presented with another great opportunity to freak out.  Which he did on the car ride home.  For a whole hour.  The fun never stops. 

I know that most of it is due to lack of sleep.  I also think he has another ear infection.  With our weather changing from 70 to 40 in a blink I am feeling a bit run down too.  I know things will get better, but I just wish that I could have a normal holiday experience.  Is it really too much to ask?  But I can't have normal, so I am learning to take what I have and enjoy the good moments.  There are good moments.  I hope there will be many more of them and less bad ones for the Christmases of the future.  Marvin has made many strides and I am confident that he will continue to make many more.  Christmas is a season of hope and rebirth.  I have hope that with Marvin's rebirth into our family that he will continue to make strides in his healing process and have peace of mind in the security of a loving family.  Only time will tell.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Home Study Visit Round Three


Last Thursday we had our last "official" home study visit.  It went really well.  Our teen social worker found her way out to the boonies with no problem.  I had the house all decked out for Christmas so it looks all festive and lighty-ish.   I had Penelope all cleaned up and she was super cute and fluffy. 

The visit pretty much went the same as all the other visits.  She asked the same questions.  We are pretty sick of them.  I told Shannon she didn't appreciate my sense of humor, but if you were asked, "What kind of child are you willing to parent?" 500,000 times, see if you wouldn't be a little feisty too. (I told her a live one, dead ones aren't my style.  Yes I did say that.  No I am not sorry I said that.)   In spite of that, Marvin was super charming and drug Laura all over the house.  He proudly showed her his prowess in operating the washing machine.  He showed her his tractors, trains, snacks, and sock drawer.  Yes, the sock drawer.  Sigh. 

So the house was approved.  Our punishment is more paperwork.  If that gets in and we get the ball rolling we should be approved in January.  Yay!!!!   I am excited that we are moving forward.  I am hoping for intensive searches and if all goes well a placement over the summer.  I plan on being rather aggressive this time around.  We waited three years for Marvin.  I am not sure I want to wait three more years. 

We were told that we would make a really great family for children with special needs.  Laura told us that families would take behavior problems over learning delays.  That is a shame.  I would rather work on ABCs and 123s.  Special needs is not a bad thing.  Marvin has them and there is no same in it.  He didn't asked to be nearly killed by bio mom and to have his brain chemically altered through deprivation of needs.  He's not normal, whatever that is.  I am coming to terms with triggers, learning needs, emotional needs, and other things that make my son different.  I grieve over it on a regular basis, but Marvin doesn't complain about it.  He just tries harder.  So I am trying harder too.  Trying to redefine what normal is for us and adjusting to it.  So far we are doing the best we can and that is what life is all about.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I'm still here!

It has been a while since my last post, but I am still here!!  Things get really crazy around the holiday season at work and at home. 
I work with 24 little people and you never know what is going to happen next.  We had an awesome Thanksgiving potluck and the children sang a couple of generic thankful songs.  We met in a new place having outgrown our previous location.  It went well.  There were many compliments on the singing for which I refuse to take credit for.  I can't sing to save my life.  My boss despairs and laments over my lack of rhythm, timing, tune, pitch, you name it.  I can't say that I blame her.  I have many talents.  Singing just isn't one of them.  But the children don't care and I lip sync at events.  After a horrible bout with vocal polyps and the fear that I was going to loose my voice permanently I don't really give two figs over whether I can sing or not!

On the home front I am in my full element.  Baking season is here!!!  Well, it is always baking season around here.  Just more so over the holidays.  I have become obsessed with pumpkin.  I have made pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin sauce for pasta, pumpkin soup, and my newest addition is pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  To be honest, they didn't turn out cookie like.  They are more like a muffin or bar, but Marvin just polished off his third one so I think they taste fine.  I bring a lot of my goodies into work as I have a very picky eater for a husband and Marvin doesn't need tons of junk food.  So far it gets eaten pretty quickly.  The cookies/bars/muffins/I don't even have a clue what to classify them as go into work next week and home with some dear friends this evening. 

Some things have been happening on the adoption realm.  The first is that our last home study is either this Thursday or next Tuesday.  Yay!!!!  Our teen worker comes to our home, looks around, checks our pantry (I'm not kidding they will do that) and looks at where we will stash a kiddo or two.  Yes, two.   They are pushing for sibling groups and seem to think that they will be able to cram a couple kids in here.  I told them good luck.  If they try that I may have to move out!  Then we complete legal paperwork, I muster up the courage to go get a physical where they will check me out like I am some sort of farm yard animal (also not kidding, you should see the list), and then they put it all together and we find out if we are approved or not.  I am guessing we will be, but people are funny. 

Another thing that has happened is that I have been trying to faithfully post children who need homes.  One of the children's social workers remembered me from when we were adopting the first go around.  She has been in touch with me and has a couple of kids that she thinks we will love and may be a good fit.  That's the good news.  The challenge is that they are teens.  I am not opposed to taking a teen in, but it will have its challenges.  Shannon and I would like something a bit younger.  But you know the old saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."  So what God wants for us and what I want may be two different things. 

We have also been contacted about a little boy with autism.  Again, not impossible, but it can have its challenges.  I enjoy working with special needs and find true satisfaction in my calling to do so.  But I worry that a child may not be fully accepted and loved by some of our family members.  I would understand.  After all, many family members freaked out the first time we did this.  Then we got Marvin.  And peace and joy was restored to the kingdom.  But for all Marvin's needs he is so normal.  Only glasses and a few slight developmental delays mark the tragic start he had.  Any child would be loved and nurtured in our home, but I can't keep them sealed in a bubble forever.  They would have to interact with family eventually.  And if they are treated badly because of something that isn't even their fault, that would be so super hard for me.  I would be beyond angry and hurt.  Shannon says he no longer cares about what the family thinks, but I am super sensitive. 

So only time will tell.  For now I am going to relax and enjoy the rest of my holiday before I start going berserk over the last visit.  I am thankful for my son and the traditions we are creating during this special time of the year! 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Speak Up, Stand Up, Show Up

Today was a special day for us.  We journeyed to Petersburg, VA to attend an adoption reunion.  This is the first adoption celebration I had been to in such a long time!  There was great food, good friends, and most of all people who get you. 

Most everyone knows some family who has adopted.  Or are going to adopt.  But unless you walk a mile in my shoes you don't know.  I know it sounds cliche and silly, but you don't understand it fully unless you live it.  Add to the fact that I am an adopted child and have adopted a child and I am adopting again, it gets complicated.  But these people knew all about it.  We swapped social worker stories over lunch.  We laughed.  We cried.  We left feeling uplifted and supported.  Really supported. 

We had an amazing speaker.  He talked about the importance of showing up wherever your child was.  He showed up at his children's schools randomly.  He knew where they were.  He cared enough to take time out of his work and do this.  He stood up for his children.  He was their champion and advocate.  He also spoke for them.  He spoke out against his daughter's first grade teacher when he walked into her classroom and saw her lifting up a child BY THE EAR and dragging them around the class.  He also warned of the danger in raising a child as a friend and not your child. 

Speaking as a teacher myself, I worry about parents who don't do these things.  If you don't speak up, stand up, or show up, who is your child going to feel protected by?  There were some other alarming statistics, but most of it was positive.  Knowledge is power was the theme today.  I learned more today than I have learned in a long time.  I recommitted myself to speaking up and standing up for my child.  Sometimes I don't do such a hot job of it.  I let myself be influenced when I know in my heart of hearts that it isn't right.  My husband and I are a good team and together we can make the best choices for Marvin. 

We also saw Marvin's old social worker.  She said Marvin looks just like me.  Scary.  I told her he acts like me too.  I wish he was a little more mellow, like daddy.  Shannon said he wished that too.  We had a good laugh over that one.  She also is up to something.  She was asking a lot of questions about how soon we were going to be certified, how old so we want the next one to be, that sort of thing.  I am getting more excited about a new little person.  So is Marvin.  He is driving me crazy, but this journey is teaching us patience. 

I am glad we went.  I am glad I learned so much.  I am glad I was able to offer support and be supportive.  Knowledge is power. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Home Study Visit Number Two

Well, we survived the second home visit.  It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either.  Our teenage social worker got to fly solo this time.  She had her pens and stacks of questions.  It took me about 45 minutes, but it felt much longer! 

There were no off limit topics.  My past was dredged around and it was decided that I had a pretty normal, slightly boring upbringing.  I also was declared a pretty decent human being=).  There were harder questions too.  They asked if I would take a handicapped child.  How handicapped would I be willing to take?  Blind, wheelchair, trachea tube, autistic?  How about a child of a different racial origin?  Could we raise a sibling group?  Teen?  Then we went into my present and future plans.  Work?  Schooling?  Care? Montessori or traditional?  French Fries with that? 

Yes, I am willing to take an older child, sibling group, handicapped, and a different race.  Hopefully, not all these items at once. Shannon and I are very open to possibilities.  It will require changes in our lives, but these are changes we are willing to make.  I am starting to feel that we might survive this process and end up having another awesome blessing in our lives.  We have lots left to do.  Tons of paperwork and then lining up our profiles with AREVA. 

Meanwhile we hope, plan, and dream.  I dream of the day when we welcome the next Fields' family member home.  When I can burn my home study and declare our family complete.  But for now I am off to tackle paperwork!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Trick or Treat

So far I would say tricked.  Let me back up my train of thought on that one.  I am listed on Adopt Us Kids.  It is a pretty decent website.  I would encourage anyone looking into adoption to go on, create a profile, and look at what is available.  In our house we call it "kid shopping".  Or browsing really.  Right now the market is slimmer thanks in part to adoptive parents becoming more proactive, laws changing to get kids out of the system, and some social workers whom I am sure will have very special places in heaven for what they do. 

So I have a profile and not only can I contact others about children, social workers can scope me out.  When they do I tell them one of a few things.  If it is a child I am really interested in following up with I will let them know that I am in the process of the home study and tell them where I am at.  Most social workers are very nice and want their kids to have good homes so they say great, just send in a study when you are done.  We are actively searching and don't want to miss out on a good home for "Billy" or "Jenny", but if they are still available when you are done (and chances are they will be) let us know!  Some are super super nice and just even check in to see how I am holding up through the process and hear about our little man.  Marvin is my adoption testimony=).  I could talk about him for hours. 

So recently, another social worker contacted us about a little girl named Mackenzie.  She is two, has mild Cerebral Palsy, a trachea tube, and is fed by G-tube but is learning to eat.  So I send out my gentle but pat response.  Here is what she wrote back: "You do not have a home study.  You will NOT be considered as a suitable family for Mackenzie.  Your family will not be considered.  You are NOT a match."  Hello????  Was that rude or am I being a bit sensitive here?  Maybe both.  Anyway after I got over the bee sting response I got mad.  I mean really really really unchristainly mad.  This kid is going to rot in the system mad.  The another child looses a possible home mad.  You know someone has to be a voice for these kids.  So I did something I wouldn't have done during Marvin's adoption process.  I wrote back!  Here in a nutshell is what I said: "I am sorry you do not believe we are a match.  As it stated I am in the process.  I can only go as fast as our new agency will allow.  Believe me if I could wave a wand you would have a home study now.  It is a broken system, but it is all we have.  As for this little child that has been made some sort of pawn in your game I feel tragically sorry for her.  I feel that you are being judgemental and unfair and that she is being cheated of all possibilities of a good match.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that same two year old will be on this site until she is 18 and ages out if you are unwilling to look at all possibilities.  You will not find many families like ours.  I can tell you sitting in on my classes that NO ONE WANTED A HANDICAPPED KID!!!!!  They all wanted a nice kid with few or little health problems.  This poor little girl already has so many strikes against her.  Yet you would limit her chances even further is unreal.  In then end we will all reap what we have sown.  Beware of what you sow now. "  

So how did I do?  Within an hour I had gotten an apologetic response of sorts from her.  But I don't feel very victorious.  Mackenzie is still without a home.  So are many others.  It is just not fair.  We are a good family who are up to date on all our shots.  So why does it have to be so hard???? 

Next week we go in for our second interview.  I am pretty prepared.  We also are going to have a celebration.  We will be going to Prince George county to celebrate with families who have been blessed (and cursed) by adoption.  There we will share food, laugh with others, weep with others, and share the greatest gift of all.  Hope.  Hope that in spite of a broken system that there are families out there who won't give in and maybe someday a little one like Mackenzie can look into a woman's eyes and call her mama. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Cheat Sheet

Right now we are in the process of setting up interview number two.  This is a busy week for me coming up but I am hoping that the week after is when the "big" interview happens.  I say big because I was able to get the scoop on some of the questions that will be asked.  I am forever thankful to the "little birdie" who let me in on some of the mysterious process. 

I was told that this is the big interview and critical in the process.  More important than them coming into your home.  No pressure, right?  The questions are pretty intense and as the female there are more demands.  They will delve into my past, present, and future plans.  I am glad I know some of the questions because that will give me time to reflect before I say something stupid.  Let's face it, when caught off guard we don't always give the best responses.  Some people remain cool under pressure, but I tend to not do that hot. 

Unlike Marvin's adoption process I plan to hold the reins a bit more firmly this time around.  It seems like Shannon and I are being put through torture just to add to our family.  This time I plan to be more vocal, more assertive, more true to who I am.  Not what people want me to be.  I refuse to compromise on things that are important to our family.  Period.  Take it or leave it. 

I will keep you all posted on how interview two shapes up.  I've got my boxing gloves out and am ready to get in the ring and duke it out! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A bug under a microscope

The title just about sums it up.  We made it through our first social worker visit.  I wouldn't say we passed with flying colors, but we definitely didn't bomb out either. 

We met our (teenage) intern.  We are her first family.  She is very nice and has obviously had social worker 101 classes where you learn to nod, smile, and talk about the weather and other very neutral topics.  She even has the mmm-hmm down in all the right parts.  Luckily, she is paired with an experienced worker. 

We met at their office and proceeded to be drilled with many questions such as, "What would you change about your spouse?"  "What do you like about your spouse?"  "Why did you marry your spouse?" and my personal favorite "Would you ever divorce your spouse for any reason?" 

So after an hour plus of very uncomfortable questions all with the reassurance of we just want to find out what kind of child to place with you finally wrapped up I had no idea of what they thought of us.  I am feeling a little discouraged.  Why couldn't they have asked more about children and less about why I might suddenly wake up and dump Shannon. 

The one saving grace was Marvin.  I brought him with me from work and right away he charmed both of the social workers.  He played with them, did all sorts of cutsie things, and I am pretty sure he will be allowed to adopt.  At least he made us look like half-way decent people. 

Shannon says I worry too much and that they were just questions.  I suppose I do worry.  But I really want to do this and not look like a total idiot to people.  The next meeting will be one on one with the social workers.  No Shannon allowed at my meeting and no me at Shannon's meeting.  I suppose they will ask even harder questions.  At least I have an idea about what I am up against and I can be ready for what ever they throw at me.  Getting a kid isn't for wimps and it is a process that can make you or break you.  I refuse to be broken. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Moving Forward!

I think I posted too soon the other day.  After I posted my husband came home and asked if I had gotten the e-mail from the social worker.  I said what e-mail?  Then I checked the inbox and behold it was there!  The e-mail.  Asking for a meeting time.  So now it begins.   

The best way I can explain about what happens is to compare it to something.  Dating.  The first visit or "date" is when we sit down and get to know each other. We describe likes, interests, size each other up.  The second visit is when we decide to become a mutually exclusive couple.  We like each other enough to commit to a long term relationship and are willing to become partners in what happens.  We invite them into our home and let them size up our lives and in turn we ask them for support, assistance in resources, and someone to listen to us.  The third visit is the engagement.  We both agree that we are willing to make a lifelong go of it and become partners in a unique relationship where we both work towards agreed goals and life plans. 

It this relationship there is no "divorce".  Once you go through with the third visit you are in for a long term partner.  Marvin's social worker and our old agency still provide us with resources, tips, support, and some annoyances.  We were told that if you don't like people outside of your family actively involved in your life, don't adopt.  They are not kidding. 

But on the upside, these are some of the people that once you have them in your life you know that they have your back.  Ms. T has been an amazing support to me.  She has cheered me on, encouraged me to think outside of the box, and gave me the most precious gift. Our son.  Lauren let me call her off hours and held me while I cried when we had an adoption fall through.  Katie followed after me and made sure my paperwork was flawless.  They made me feel like I was there only client when I knew how overworked and overburdened they were.  They helped me in dark times and rejoiced with me when Marvin came home. 

It is a relationship that will challenge you, make you sweat, worry, and most importantly grow.  So as I get ready for a new relationship and I brace myself for the first "date"  I find that I am ready for this new relationship and chapter in my life.  I hope they are too.  Bring it on. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Still here


Just a quick note to let everyone know I am still around.  It has been really nuts around here.  School is back in full swing and I have about 25 blessings that I have the privilege to teach daily!   Mom and dad are visiting from Colorado and we have had all sorts of fun with them here.  Marvin has enjoyed his daily interactions with granma and granpa. 

As for the adoption, true to form, all things have come to a screeching halt.  I have been badgering the agency, but they keep saying that "we will be contacted soon".  Which is agency speak for "go away you are making us crazy."  I still have one more class to take, a make-up from summer.  It is about bonding.  So once I take it we should magically hear from the agency.  I am taking it next Saturday. 

On another note, Marvin's old social worker contacted us.  She is excited that we are getting back into the game.  She told us to keep her posted.  Now, knowing her as I do, something is up.  Really.  She is as transparent as a window on a sunny day.  So I am hoping that we get this homestudy on the road before my children have to push me around in a wheelchair! 

We are still up in the air about the age bracket.  Marvin deserves a good match.  He loves big children and adores babies.  As for me I wouldn't mind another little one.  Shannon would take any age.  If Marvin's social worker gets involved it will be a little one.  She thinks Marvin should be the big brother. 

That is it for now.  Endless waiting and waiting.  But the end results are always worth the wait! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Road to Forgiveness

Forgiveness is never easy.  It often takes time for the pain and sting of the event to die down before I am willing to forgive.  Even when I think I have forgiven and let it go sometimes anger over the event gets the best of me and I realize that I only thought I had forgiven and gotten past the event. 

Recently Marvin has been having flashbacks.  A lot of children who are adopted with a history of abuse are diagnosed with PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder.  This is brought on by a chain of abuse and neglect which basically make it really hard on them and those who love them. 

To this day I don't understand why Marvin's bio mom exposed him to drugs in utero.  I don't understand why she shook him so hard that he nearly died.  I don't understand why she didn't seek medical help when he went unconscious.  I probably never will. 

All I know is that it took me a very long time not to out and out hate her.  It became easier over time and now I just feel sorry for her.  I am sorry that she won't get to see Marvin grow up.  I am sorry that she won't get to see what a neat person he is becoming.  I am sorry that she had a horrible childhood and had to live in foster care.  I am sorry that she didn't know what to do. 

With the slow demise of my anger came the realization that I could forgive her.  Not only that but the bigger surprise that I could actually hope and pray for her to get well.  I hope that she gets her life back on track for the sake of her children.  For the family that she has left. 

One day Marvin will know his history and the circumstances that led him to be part of our family.  I hope that he will be able to forgive also.  It takes a special kind of strength to do so, but it is so worth doing.  It is how we heal and move on in this crazy ride we call life.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

250 Words

It has been a quiet stretch for the last few days here.  We have unpacked, washed clothes, and gotten back in step with our routines.  We are adjusting to the losses of great-grandma and Mr. P.  Most of the time we find ourselves smiling about memories of chewed up carpets and eaten scrapbook supplies (from the rabbit, not great-grandma).  Penelope has adjusted to her role as a "widow" and has become more snuggly and playful with us. 

As life marches on we turn our attention to our unending paperwork.  Shannon has finally finished reading our required books.  They were pretty good.  Mostly on adopting hurt children (a nice way of saying so badly abused by their bio family that you wish you could find them and string them up with thumbtacks). 

So now we answer very exciting questions.  How would you answer some of these doozies?  At this time what type of child do you feel that you can parent?  I wanted to say a live one, but Shannon won't let me.  At this time, what will be your expectations of your adoptive child?  Will you take a child whose parents are mentally ill?  Will you take a child who light fires and hurts animals?  Will you take a child who is diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, ODD, and all the other alphabet soup labels that we can attach to this child?  (By the way the child is two).  My favorite so far is, "Describe in 250 word or less the type of child that you would be willing to parent." 

How do you answer that?  Would anyone look at the children they have now and say, "So sorry, you are not what I was willing to parent, time to pack up darling."  I really think that it is a rather unfair question.  We are not always thrilled with our children.  There are days when Marvin drives me up the wall and back down again many many many times.  But I love being his mom.  The funny thing was, Marvin was not what Shannon and I originally wanted.  We had specifically wanted to adopt an older child.  I didn't want diaper duty or potty training.  I wanted a nice little elementary child.  A girl as a matter of fact.  We had a plan.  But after several false hopes and many failures Marvin came into our lives.  From the moment I met him I was hooked and couldn't wait to be his mama. 

Our children have their own personalities that make them unique.  They also change on a regular basis.  The 18 month old Marvin who came into our home was afraid of people.  He was scared of women and didn't like attention.  The 4 year old Marvin loves people, demands to be the center of attention, and loves to flirt with every female.  I often joke that he was replaced by a pod person. 

So now I have to answer that question and all the others.  Maybe I should just say I want to parent a child who is willing to have a mom, dad, and brother.  Because sometimes you have to be open to possibilities.  The best things seem to happen when you are.  Like being Marvin's mama.  I wouldn't trade in one minute of it for all the elementary girls in the world. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Another Bump in the Road

We made it home yesterday.  It was a great trip and I will post more on it later.  For us it was a sad homecoming. 

The pet sitter had called us to let us know that Mr. P was sick.  Really sick.  His temp and heart rate had dropped and he was laying on his side. Not good if you are a bunny.  So he rushed him to the vet and gave him an IV.  They told him that now it was just a matter of time.  We were called and alerted, but it was too far from home to get there.  I spent most of the day crying, pretty sure that he would be gone before we made it home. 

He survived until we got there.  The sitter was amazed and said that he may just make it.  I took one look at him and was pretty sure that it would require a miracle.  I held him and we rushed to the vet.  We didn't make the vet.  Mr. P left us just as Frosty did a few months back.  Peacefully sleeping in my arms. 

I know for a lot of people that he was just a pet and a rabbit at that, but for me he was more.  I adopted P around the time that I found out I couldn't have kids.  He was comic relief and joy during dark days after a miscarriage.  I loved having him around and he had a zest for life and furniture.  He will be missed. 

Marvin was upset.  He was very close to P and loved him.  When Shannon went to dig the grave Marvin took his shovel and helped daddy.  He helped me place P in and kissed him.  Then we filled in the hole and went in.  Marvin told me his heart was hurting.  I told him mine was too, but it was O.K. to be sad. 

Part of loving is losing.  It has not been a fun past few months around here with that.  But time moves forward and we move on.  I will remember all the good times we had with him and his love for life.  The funny moments and the sad ones.  He was a joy to have and I am proud to have been a part of his life. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Where in the world?????

Have you ever played that Where's Waldo game growing up??  I sort of feel like Waldo right now. It has been a crazy past two days.  But let me back up a bit... 

You may have remembered from a previous post that we were getting ready to go to John Deere land in Molene.  We had packed, tickets were purchased, and Marvin was informed and about lost his mind with joy.  It was the kind of moment that every parent pats themselves on the back for.  But then a problem arose.  Her name is Irene. 

Yesterday at work I found out that our plane was cancelled.  Shannon was scrambling to get a plan B together.  I came home quickly with Marvin to find a very agitated husband.  For once I was the cool one.  I had already informed family that I was pretty sure we were just going to drive out there.  After all, I had to suffer, I mean experience the joys of 10 plus hour drives growing up, I was sure that we could do this. 

Shannon and I debated on cancelling all together.  But we were both exhausted.  Aftershocks had me on edge and having lived in Florida we both were not fond of hurricanes.  Sitting around the house with no power and a four year old has little appeal.  So we put everything into the trusty Kia and got out of Sundance. 

So we drove and drove and drove.  About 2 hours into the trip we had gone back in forth about how to get to Molene and home in a short span.  We had to make a choice.  We decided not to go.  It was hard.  I felt so guilty.  After all, I had really wanted to do this for Marvin.  Hadn't he had enough disappointments in his short life?  I felt like crap.  I could tell Shannon did too.  I wanted to go home, but then I remembered Irene and decided that we would make the best out of a bad situation.  This would be a good lesson in resiliency for all of us.  So we stopped in West Va last night.  Shannon found us a really nice suite and I felt somewhat better when I saw this in the room. 

A very nice jacuzzi bathtub.  With working jets.  Hmmm.  I start to cautiously feel better.  The next morning after we eat the biggest breakfast at the hotel and I drink tons of coffee, Shannon, looks up attractions and finds several of interest.  So we pack up and head to our new destination, Joe Huber's family farm in Indiana.  Yup, a farm folks. 

Marvin catches on to the fact that we are no longer talking about John Deere.  He asks when are we getting there?  We cautiously explain to him what happened.  Marvin was upset and cried.  Once again I felt like crap.  He wants to go home.  We told him that we couldn't for a few days and that we were going to a farm.  Marvin sniffs and asks rather tearily if there will be a tractor there for him.  I put on my best chipper preschool teacher voice and say that we will see lots of exciting things, what do you think will be at the farm?  This kept him well occupied most of the way.  He was so excited by the time we got there that I was praying that this would be somewhat decent.

It was!  The place exceeded my expectations.  We had an amazing time.  There was so much to do. 

Let's start with the 40 foot barn slide.  Shannon and Marvin had a blast playing on this.  We fed animals, rode tractors, horses, and went fishing!!
Guess who caught herself a nice big catfish?  Marvin helped a bit, but kind of freaked out a bit when the fish was still flapping.  It was a big one!  I am not telling a fish tale when I say I was the only one to land a fish that day.  The lady up front told me. 

We finished off our farm day at the restaurant at the farm.  These goodies showed up at the table just in time. 
Fried biscuits with fresh apple butter and dusted with powdered sugar.  Yum.  Dinner was awesome and Marvin had an amazing time.   

So we are just staying in the Kentucky/Indiana area these next few days.  We will go to the zoo, see museums, and have some quality family time.  True it is not the vacation we imagined, but sometimes life takes you on unexpected journeys and you have to be the one to decide whether you go with the flow or sulk and pout because you didn't get what you wanted.  I choose to go with it.  I am getting family time and that was the purpose of this vacation.  Sometimes you just focus on the journey and not the destination and enjoy the surprises life has to offer.  Like fried biscuits, 40 foot slides, and the realization that my son is learning to become adaptable and enjoy the journey that we call life. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Moving on

First off I wanted to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support last week.  It has been a very difficult week and we have had many ups and downs as the week progressed. 

The viewing for great-grandma was full of many people.  It was an open casket so Marvin was a little confused.  People kept going up to see her and Marvin kept shushing them because he thought great-grandma was sleeping in her special bed and getting better.  It was funny and heartbreaking at the same time.  I did try to keep telling him that her soul was in heaven, but he didn't like my explanation to much.  Later when we got home he sat in my lap and cried.  I cried too. 

The funeral was hard for him.  I had wanted to take him to school so he could have a bit of a routine but my husband had the day off and after a few "intense" discussions I caved and let him stay home.  The service was right in the middle of nap time so I knew that may be a bit challenging.  It was.  But we made it through.  We also found bits of humor here and there.  Marvin had some cereal to keep him quiet during the service but of course he had to eat it as loudly as humanly possible.  Which cracked up many on our pew (and probably annoyed equally as many).  We also heard a rooster crowing during the graveside service and I was asked if I was having post traumatic chicken disorder (I was attacked by a rooster about a week ago and my family has been making jokes about it ever since.  I can laugh at it now=) ). 

There were also sweet moments where we remembered a life well lived.  I found out things about Eunice that I had never known.  She was an amazing woman born into the roaring twenties.  She married and lived through the great depression.  Her wedding meal was a BLT sandwich and her husband had to buy her shoes.  Eunice had a special talent for cooking and could make a meal out of just about anything.  She served actively in her church for over eighty years and was married for seventy-two years.  Not many people can claim that. 

I find as the week goes on that instead of trying to keep busy so I can forget and escape the pain of loss that I now am pausing and trying to remember.  I remember how she welcomed me without hesitation when Shannon and I were dating.  How she was so sweet and kind.  She took time to listen to me and got to know me.  She told me her stories of marriage and growing up.  I loved listening to her stories. 

So even though Eunice is gone she still lives.  Her features and temperament live in my mother-in-law and my husband.  Her cooking talents live in them also.  She lives in my nephew and even in my son.  A part of her lives in me too.  Her stories live in me.  It is a legacy that I will pass on to my son and he will pass on to his children someday.  For when we are remembered, we are never truly gone. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I really wasn't planning on posting for a few days.  I have lots to do.  School is kicking off soon, parent orientation, trips, all sorts of stuff happening.  But I wanted to take a minute and talk about loss. 

Loss is something that we all go through.  We loose things.  Keys, socks in the dryer (did anyone ever figure out where they get to?), and people.  When you are adopted you have already lost two of the most important people in your life.  Your bio mom and dad.  No mater how you try to play it down it is always there.  You learn to live through it and around it but it is still there.  So you hold on all the harder to the people around you and can be even more affected by loss.  It is very painful. 

Last night I said good-bye to a woman who I cared for and admired greatly.  Shannon's grandmother died. True, Alzheimer's had already robbed her of so much.  She had long ago forgotten me and pretty much everyone in the family.  But she was still here.  A tangible presence in our life.  It was a quiet passing.  She had been going downhill for quite some time.  She had forgotten how to swallow and just closed her eyes and slipped away from us.  Shannon and I are devastated.  I find myself weeping for the woman who openly welcomed me into her home and spent time with me.  We are hurting very badly now. 

Marvin is confused.  Great-grandma was well into Alzheimer's when he came onto the scene.  Yet she always knew who he was right up to the end.  He brought her joy.  He doesn't get why we can't see her and isn't thrilled about her being in heaven.  He and I both are feeling the sting of another loss in our lives.  Last night he did a beautiful thing though.  He has always been a bit nervous around great-grandaddy.  He has a cane and talks loud due to hearing loss.  Marvin kind of avoided him.  But last night after we told great-grandaddy he walked over, crawled into his lap and hugged him.  They sat there like that for a very long time.  Marvin with his head on Freeman's shoulder just loving him.  It was a beautiful moment.  And a good life lesson about putting aside your grief and helping others through theirs.  My prayer is that I am able to do just that and in doing so give strength and comfort to those in need.  God willing, let it be so. 


Friday, August 12, 2011

It's all about John Deere

Growing up I dreamed of the little girl I would have one day.  We would go shopping, do crafts, get our hair done, make-up, barbies, and all the other joys that I loved doing. 

Flash forward to today.  I have a little boy.  Even though he does love to go shopping (mostly just for food) there is no hair, barbie, make-up, or much crafting unless we are making tractors.  I suppose not liking barbies and make-up is a good thing, but I still sigh and imagine what life would be like with a girl. 

A good friend told me to give up on that fantasy.  Girls are hair and drama.  Looking back I would have to agree.  Shopping with mom was a nightmare.  She would go out of her way to buy "practical" ( cheap) clothing.  My sister would pitch fits and throw massive temper tantrums in the stores.  I would walk away and mutter something about being glad I was adopted because a "real" mom would buy her child designer clothing.  Then there was the sisterly times that Kari and I would get into bar brawls that made Jerry Springer's guests look like Barney cast members.  Over bathroom time, boys, clothes, phone time, just about anything.  We finally got along once I moved away to college.  Now we enjoy each other and get along.  She adores Marvin and I adore my perfect nephew and niece. 

The truth is that I may just end up with a house full of boys.  Don't get me wrong, I would love a girl.  My mom would love a girl.  My mother-in-law would love a girl.  Just about everyone I meet asks me if the next one will be a girl.  But there are a few problems with that. 

The sad truth is that mostly boys are available for adoption.  For every one girl there is about seven or so boys.  They say that boys are harder and everyone wants a girl.  Because they are so much easier supposedly.  That also is a mistruth.  Girls can be much harder with their behaviors.  

Plus, I have gotten used to being the queen bee around here.  True the burping and scratching can get a little gross, but I have learned to deal with it.  I find myself enjoying things I never thought I would like.  Such as tractors.  Marvin discovered them a while ago and is obsessed with John Deere.  He has them everywhere.  We have clothes, toy tractors, tractor movies (yes they make them) and tractor books.  In a few weeks we will make a pilgrimage to the John Deere mecca.  Molene, Illinois.  We plan on going to the tractor museum, factories, whatever else we can find.  We are also making a side trip to a zoo, but I am sure that Marvin won't be very impressed with that. 

Shannon and I decided to take the trip now while Marvin is still obsessed with tractors.  We also though it would probably be the last trip he took as an only child so we wanted to make it special for him.  As the time approaches I am even getting excited about it.  Not so much the tractor part as the time we will spend as a family.  The look in his eyes.  Especially the look in his eyes. 

We haven't told Marvin yet as he would drive us crazy until we left.  I am about busting.  I am a lousy at keeping such a good surprise.  So far he hasn't caught on. 

When we get there I plan on taking oodles of pictures. I may even pick up a little pink John Deere shirt and put it aside for now.  Maybe someday I will have a little someone to wear it.  Even if I don't it would make a cute gift.  I still can hold on to a dream until a better reality finds me. 


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Adoption Update

So there have been many questions about where we are in the process.  And about the process itself.  Here is a look at what happens. 

1.  You take classes on how to be a parent to a special needs child.  (Every child over infant age is considered special needs no matter what.)
2.  You wait and fill out paper work.
3.  You wait and have a home study.
4.  You wait and pass/fail your home study.
5.  If you pass your home study you wait some more.  (Are you catching on to a theme here?)
6.  You wait and meet some children.
7.-10. You wait
11.  You find a match and it is "the one".
12.  You begin visits and move towards permanency. 
13.  Congrats!!!  You are a family!!!! 

Now there are deviations in this.  Failed adoptions, evil social workers, etc.  But if all goes "normally" these are the steps that take place.  We are on step 2 right now.  If all goes well by the end of August we will have the paperwork turned in and be on the road to more waiting.  Not what I wanted.  I dreamed of finding my second child over the summer so we had bonding time and time to decided on education, care, and all that good stuff.  At the rate we are moving it will probably be a closer to Christmas sort of thing.  Some one once told me that it is a broken system, but it is the only system we have.  It makes me sad that it takes so long and the children get the short end of the stick.  They wait and dream of a family that may never come for them.  All because of the stupid red tape. 

So instead of loosing my mind I plan on keeping very busy while this goes on.  The problem when I was waiting for our first child was that I kept on getting undone at every little corner that didn't go as planned.  I became cranky and irritable and frustrated.  I kept hounding our agency and I am sure they got tired of me even though they said they didn't.  I cried and cried. 

On that road to discovery that I need to have more faith and patience and not harass the agency I decided to combat the waiting and worrying by being productive.  Here is my to do list: 

1.  Focus on what I have.  I have a husband, son, and insane rabbits who need my attention.  I also need to prepare Marvin for the fact that he is no longer going to be the only child in the family.  He is excited about a sibling, but he also has to learn many things, like sharing mom and dad.
2.  I am starting my second year at an awesome school!  I love it.  My first year went well, but there is room for improvement.  I am my hardest critic and know many areas that I can better myself in. 
3.  I am going back to school.  Yep, I am a glutton for punishment.  Plus I have put it off long enough.  My goal is a Masters Degree in Special Education with emphasis on the preschool age group.  I have a long way to go, but I am confident that it can be done.  One of my good friends got hers and it took her 11 years.  I am aiming for a little less that that. 

I am also taking action and stalking adoption websites.  In doing this I make contact with social workers early on in the game.  I let them know where I am in the process and most are willing to talk with you and let you know if there is a chance the child will be available when you are done.  I am also looking at "unadoptables".  That is a class of children who are autistic, have cerebral palsy, metal retardation, you know children who people look at and say "Well we really would consider that, but still have unrealistic fantasies about this perfect child who will pop into our lives, so no dice."  Now mind you, not all people say that, but most do.  What I have come to realize is that those are just labels.  They do NOT define who a child is or what they can become with a family who will love and support you no matter what.  I have seen so many of these children blossom once they are home for good. 

So for now I will be content and busy while I wait.  I will keep people posted and enjoy what I have and look forward to the day we add to our family!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Other Fields' Family Members

After a very stressful previous week involving some sort of inner infection and vertigo for yours truly, Shannon having another hereditary syncope spell (a fancy name for passing out at any God given moment thus freaking out his wife and reducing her life span by 5 years every time) and Marvin managing to contract a double ear infection we are in bad need of a quiet weekend. 

Everyone is on the mend and I plan on doing some serious scrapbooking and reading.  Marvin plans on playing with tractors and being read to.  Shannon wants sleep=).  We also have two other family members with some needs also.  Such as shampooing, nail clipping, playtime, and obedience training.  Sound like kids?  Close.  Let me introduce you to our last two members of the Fields' clan

These are our house rabbits.  Yep, we have rabbits and I keep them inside my home.  They are sweet, fluffy, destructive, lovable, destructive, fun, did I mention destructive. 

Now most people get dogs, or cats, or a fish.  When I was growing up we had fish.  My parents hated animals.  My dad grew up on a farm thus sprung his dislike of animals.  Mom just didn't like them.  We had no real pets.  I'm sorry if I offend fish people, but they are nice to look at there is just no interaction or bonding.  When I got married we moved to Florida and as I patiently waited for the baby that would never come I decided that I must lavish all this maternal instinct on something.  We lived in an apartment so a dog was not the best choice.  Shannon is a cat person but with my mom and his dad being allergic that was out.  Then we walked by the pet store and I saw BUNNIES!!!!  Being the wise husband Shannon told me to do research and present dollar amounts.  I did and found a rabbit rescue overflowing with dumped and abandoned rabbits.  After meeting the person who ran the Jacksonville branch, Jason, he introduced me to my first bunny.  Mr. Peabody.

Mr. P as we call him most of the time was dumped twice.  Once by his original owner and the second time by a family who adopted and returned him for being boring.  After hearing that I vowed I would take him home with me.  I have had him for 5 years now.  He was middle aged when I got him and is now in the twilight of his life.  After adopting him I joined the rescue.  We broke off from our parent branch and started our own rescue.  It is still in full swing and I help out as I can.  After we got P I decided he needed a companion.  Rabbits are herd animals and do better in groups.  So I bonded him with Princess Bridgette.  A long name for a tiny grey bunny.  She had cancer and they told me she was going to die while I fostered her.  After about a month I decided that no one gave her the memo and she wasn't going anywhere so we kept her.  She lived for two years.  After she died P was depressed.  Yes, rabbits do grieve and get depressed.  So we had another rabbit named Frosty.  She
was a Katrina rescue and we had adopted her out, but her family decided that their dog was allergic to her and sent her back to us.  She was Shannon's special bunny.  So we bonded them.  Frosty lived with us about 3 years and then became very ill.  She died in my arms a few months back.  We were devastated.  Crushed.  I had never seen Shannon so upset before.  We will never know why she died.  After we were picking up the pieces and moving on a friend jokingly suggested we get Mr. P a "trophy wife" since he had outlived two.  I pushed the idea aside as I was so upset.  Then a few weeks later I got an e-mail from someone who knew a woman who was dumping a cute bunny.  So about a month ago I caved and we now have a 6 month old female named Penelope living with us.

So Mr. P did get a trophy wife after all.  Age wise it is like a 70 year old shacking up with a 16 year old.  But it is good that they are both happy.  And that I have a really great husband who keeps letting me get rabbits.  He is still healing from his loss but Penelope is trying to win him over.  So far she adores Shannon and Marvin.  Me she tolerates.  Go figure.  For those of you who are dying to get a rabbit here is a word of wisdom.  Don't.  Seriously, I love my pets but unless you are prepared for destructive forces beyond your control (for those of you who have kids you know what I mean) don't get a rabbit.  Here are two powerful arguments.  This was once carpet.

This was once a nice piece of furniture.

I have become very good at repairs and hiding bunny no-nos.  I also believe that my home is someplace to live in and not a glorified show piece.  I still like nice things, but I have a kid and pets so it is not always a realistic expectation.  I keep it clean and do my best.  And use duct tape. 

But for those of you are not scared off from bunnies they are rewarding pets.  I plan on enjoying mine very much this weekend!  And repairing my carpet with a glue gun. 


Monday, August 1, 2011

Nature verses nurture

A while back my mom, sister, grandma, and myself sat around grandma's table drinking coffee and complaining about politicians and laughing about failed cooking adventures.  Shannon told me that day that "you are just like your mother".  Even though I am adopted and come from an entirely different gene pool I realize that I am pretty much like the woman who raised me and loved me. 

I have found that since Marvin has been with us he to has transformed.  When we first got him he was quiet, didn't like tons of attention, sort of a loner.  He didn't smile or laugh much.  Life was very serious business for the little guy.  He didn't play much and would just sit by himself and look around.  I realize that he was probably a little stressed out, but I worried about him.  Shannon and I spent time playing with him, laughing, and loving him. 

Flash forward to today as he was in a store with me.  Marvin had a basket in his hand and was happily humming and "helping" me get items.  All of a sudden he spilled his basket.  He put his hands on his hips and did a very loud moan.  I had to laugh, he was just like me.  

Marvin has slowly morphed into a mini-version of us.  Although he retains his own unique qualities and talents there is so much of us in him.  He has become curious, loves to play, enjoys laughing and making others laugh, has his mom's temper and his dad's stubbornness, loves people, has a dramatic flair, and mimics all of mom's expressions.  He even has glasses like us.
Every time I hear the nature verses nurture debate I have to smile.  And think about mom, grandma, my sister, and I around grandma's table.  Then I think about Marvin who is just like me. 


Friday, July 29, 2011

Triggers are not just on guns

Triggers are described as moments that can bring back pleasant or unpleasant memories.  For example, every time I smell fresh ripe peaches I am transported back to when I was a little girl and we made home made peach ice cream on hot summer days.  Yum. 

But for others trigger moments can be scary.  They can make you forget where you are and totally loose it.  I guess when we got Marvin I thought that because he was so young that this would not be such a big deal.  I think I mentioned in a previous post my uncanny ability to be so wrong. 

The first trigger was when I had to change Marvin's diaper.  We were at a gas station and I went in to use the changing table.  Good mommy that I was I wiped it down and then spread a clean blanket over it.  Marvin was calmly watching me and then I put him on the table.  Now most kids aren't that crazy about them but they deal.  Marvin let out a scream like I was beating him.  He then lost all focus and went stiff.  He continued to emit high pitched screams that you could hear out in the grocery area while trying to yank his hair out.  My wonderful mother-in-law, bless her many times over came running in and helped me get Marvin out.  Once we had left the bathroom area and I headed out to the car we were able to calm and comfort him.  Even though it never said in his file Shannon and I believe that he was dropped from a high spot.  We will never know.  All I know is that we changed Marvin on the ground. 

We have had many other triggers.  Once I was driving to Marvin's daycare and we saw a helicopter.  It was on the ground by the hospital.  Marvin went stiff and cried in terror.  I had to pull over the car and hold him for about 20 minutes.  That one I got.  After he was shaken and unresponsive he had to be medi lifted in a helicopter to a hospital.  I think I would hate them to at that point. 

Over the years I have come to recognize the signs of a trigger moment coming on.  As Marvin gets older he is learning to say "That scares me".  He and I do a lot of deep breaths together.  Today we were outside in the miserable heat playing in Marvin's pool and a car much like his social worker's car drove by.  Now mind you we haven't see her in over a year but for most little kids social workers equal "I am coming to take you away".  Marvin started going stiff and quivering while pointing at the car while saying his social worker's name.  I took Marvin's hands and made him look at me and calmly told him that his social worker was not here.  He was safe with me.  We took some deep breaths and it was over.  This time. 

As time passes these events become fewer.  Marvin now climbs everything.  He is excited about helicopters and wants to fly one to the moon.  He realizes that I will come back for him.  I hope and dream of the day that the only triggers he has will be the good kind.  Like peach ice cream on a hot summer day. 


Monday, July 25, 2011

Life Book Woes

Yesterday I was able to spend some time on Marvin's Life Book.  For those of you unfamiliar with what that is a Life Book is a scrapbook you put together of your adoptive child's journey and life story.  Since most kids are shuffled from pillar to post it is hard to keep your memories together.  So pictures, special items, and other stuff can get lost.  So you are supposed to put it in a book for the child. 

Marvin has a lot of different pictures from his foster family.  I was one of the lucky ones.  He has art from his first daycare experience.  He has more photos than most foster kids get.  Here is the really sad part for me though, no baby pictures.  No pictures of a tiny newborn, no pictures of baby bottle feeds, discovering toes, rolling over.  It is almost like Marvin did not exist until he was about 10 months old.  All of his first year of life a a little change since we didn't get him until he was 18 months old is saved in a measly three scrapbook pages.  Three scrapbook pages.  I get so darned depressed and upset about it at times. 

But I move on.  I realize that we have taken tons of pictures since we have gotten him.  More than most kids may ever have taken of them.  Of little things like eating pasta or playing a matching game with grandma.  Of big things like parties and trips. At the rate I am going I can probably fill about five Life Books.   I will continue to take pictures and make new memories for our family.  I can't change the past, but I can make a better future. 


Saturday, July 23, 2011

About our family

Hello!  Someone told me if I was doing this I should tell a bit about my family in case I ever get "followers".  So here is a bit about us. 

This is my husband Shannon.  We have been married for seven years now and have know each other
for almost 10 years.  We met on-line, had a 15 minute first date and I thought I would probably never see him again.  Luckily, he was persistent and we ended up married. 

After we were married we thought about kids.  Actually, I mostly thought about kids.  I wanted a really big family and had visions of the Brady Bunch in my head.  It turns out I couldn't have kids.  Back when we were dating I had told Shannon that I wanted to adopt at some point.  I am adopted as is my sister and it was really important to me.  He said sure.  So after talking to Shannon we decided to go through with adoption. 

We decided to do domestic adoption.  I had seen so many kids in foster care that I had mistakenly assumed that agencies would just shower us with children.  WRONG!!!!  We took classes in Florida, got approved.  Then we moved back to Virginia for my husband's job and had to take classes all over again because the classes in Florida didn't count in Virginia.  So after a year and a half of classes and home studies we were approved and once again I mistakenly assumed that now we just got a kid.  Strike two!   We met many children.  We had an adoption worker change their mind about placing a sibling group with us.  We talked with social workers who refused to give up the children in their care to any adoptive family.  By then my confidence had faded and I cried about six times a day.  I was ready to quit and just be happy with other things.  Then we got a call from a social worker.  She had a very special little boy who needed a family.  He was little and had many disabilities.  Could we talk?  I told her I couldn't take it anymore.  I probably yelled a bit and cried.  I said I just couldn't have one more child dangled in front of me to be taken away.  She was quiet for a bit.  Then she said, "The reason you weren't able to adopt those other children is because you were meant to be Marvin's mama."  Then I was quiet.  I took a breath and I believed. 

As a result we have a beautiful boy.  Now the road to getting it all down and official was a pain.  We often disagreed with the social worker as she had some different opinions and reality perceptions.  But we ended up being her favorite family.  Marvin also was born Meth addicted and his biological mother abused him badly.  He has Shaken Baby Syndrome.  He has mild delays and attachment/bonding issues.  But we have learned to take one day at a time and enjoy the blessing of being Marvin's forever family. 

So ideally that is where the story should end and I should just spend time blogging about chicken pies or whatever people blog about.  But it is not the end, just a very slow beginning.  Shannon and I have talked and after thinking about it we have decided to adopt again.  Why is the first question most people ask?  Especially after your very bad experiences.  I think for us it is knowing that there are still many many children out there who need a family.  I have talked to children who have aged out of the system.  They are broken.  Most don't go to college, get put in jail, and often have their own children taken away from them.  We have a lot of love to give and Marvin wants a "brudder" or a "scissor".  It is a good time in our lives.  The system is broken, but it is the only system we have.  This time I feel more prepared and ready to meet the challenges.  I am a seasoned warrior going back to battle.  I am ready for all the obstacles and ready for the journey. 


Friday, July 22, 2011


Welcome!  I am a wife, mother, and teacher.  I have a lot to say and just want my own little space to say it in.  Be patient with me as I am new to this and working out the kinks.  So sit back and enjoy the ride!