My Family

My Family

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!