Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We started Homeschooling

our munchkin Monday. I was excited, yet anxious. She is very intelligent but quite the emotional child. She can get upset if she doesn't know the answer sometimes. I prayed it would go smoothly and jumped in holding my breath. She did WONDERFUL! I can't tell you how excited I am. And the best part is she loves it. Today was our 3rd day and so far she counts to 30, spells her name, recognizes numbers 1-4, recognizes all of her letters and can tell me their sounds except C, E, J, L, P, U, V, and Y, knows all of her colors, knows all of her shapes but sometimes forgets rectangle, can write her name, recognizes when words rhyme, and knows the first three days of Creation. 8))) She is working on her memory verse for this week which is, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. " Genesis 1:1. She is having so much fun and I LOVE watching her learn more everyday. When we are done she wants to keep going. Next week we are going to start adding in science experiments and more educational art. Tonight (yeah, we did school after supper and her bath tonight) when she counted to 30 I praised her for doing such a good job. She pointed to the number chart and wanted to do it. I asked her what she wanted to do. Her reply? "I want to count the total." She then proceeded to count all of the numbers from top to bottom in order. I am a proud Mama to say the least.
Moving on, I decided that we would add in Science next week and do lots of science experiments/observations as our "curriculum".  We have an outdoor toy box that does not have a lid...soooo it filled up with water from this monsoon season we have been having. With the rain came little tadpoles...tons of our toy box. First science experiment? The life cycle of a frog. I researched on the computer and asked on Facebook and learned from both sources that in captivity a tadpole can survive on boiled lettuce (becomes it has the same texture as algae to them) and/or fish feed. We are going to catch a tadpole and bring him in the house...feed him goldfish feed and watch him grow into a frog. Madison is so excited. Uncle Wes drew us a picture of the frog in each stage of it's life to make a poster so we can identify each stage as it occurs. Anyone want to take a guess as to what we named our tadpole??!! Kermit!
We do puzzles, read TONS of books, count everything we see, watch educational movies like Leap Frog movies, etc. for extra learning. I will post the videos she loves tomorrow. Madison's aunt is a teacher so her gifts for Christmas and her birthday are usually fun but educational as well. These videos are one of those gifts. Thanks Aunt Jennifer!
I would also like to add that one of the many reasons we love homeschool so far is that there is no need to freak out when we are doing school at 6:30 and one of us is in our pajamas. As long as it gets done, when doesn't matter. I love that. We prefer to do our art and science experiments in the day and our "bookwork" at night. So far. 8)
Thanks for listening to me ramble on about how proud I am of my daughter's progress! I am hoping to start blogging about our homeschool days (experiments, cooking projects, crafts, etc.). Have a good night and be blessed!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Time Standing Still

Dear Princess,

It’s been 6 days!!!!!! I miss you and it’s killing me. I want you back. I want you home. I can’t stand this!!!!!! Are you sad? Are you okay? Are you getting hugged and kissed and cuddled? Are you scared? It feels like an eternity since I held you and I HATE this!! I want my baby back. I hate seeing your empty bed every morning and realizing you really are gone. I was in Walmart and heard you call my name. I swear it! I turned around and didn't see you...the kid calling her mom sounded just like you. I run to the phone everytime it rings in case it's your bio mom or DHS or anything pertaining to you. I pray all day for you. Madison said today that she “really misses ‘the Princess’ and so does the ‘baby’!” She is so LONELY and looks so sad sometimes. I talked about her birthday party with her for next year…she picked a luau and said, “Maybe ‘the Princess’ can come to it Mama?” I didn’t even know what to say to her. I just miss you. I love you Princess.



Thursday, July 26, 2012

I Will Carry You

Dear Princess,

Just those words makes me cry my eyes out. I feel like my heart has been ripped apart…I miss you so much. How is it possible that it’s been 3 days without you when it feels like weeks already? I MISS YOU!!!! I miss everything you brought to our lives. I miss your laugh and the way it shows off your adorable dimple, I miss you coming to my bed and saying, “Good morning Mama! The sun came up! It’s time to get up! Come on!!” You have such a zest for life..I hope that never changes. I miss telling you “I love you big!” and hearing you respond, “I love you yittle, Mama!” It always made me laugh. You always made me laugh. I miss the huge smile on your face when I told you what a Princess you are…you believed it. And why shouldn’t you? You truly are. I miss holding you when you wake up in the morning because you are NOT a morning person…and neither am I. I miss laying in your bed with you and you whispering “secrets” in my ear. I miss tucking you in at night “snug as a bug in a rug”. You ALWAYS said, “Snug as a bug, Mama?”. 8] I miss your kisses…you were so free with hugs and kisses. A picture person you are not but you obliged me millions of times…even though sometimes it took a bribe with chocolate. I miss hearing you say, “Awww, Daddy!” like a 15 year old when he would tease you. I miss seeing you run screaming and giggling when Daddy chased you and Maddie all over the house being a monster. I miss walking in your room and seeing you and Maddie on her bed reading books to each other. I miss seeing you twirl each other all over the living room. I miss hearing you say, “Do you need a yittle help, Mama?” when I was doing something and you really wanted to help. I miss hearing you scream, “I’m coming baby!!!” when the baby would cry as you ran in the room to make her laugh again…anytime she cried you would tell me, “Mama, the baby needs you.” You are such a great big sister!! I miss baking with you. I miss holding your hand. I miss how incredibly FUNNY you are!! If you were here, there would be laughter again. Ironic that you brought laughter back in to our home when you came to us that night in January and then you left and took it with you again. Madison is lost without her big sister…she won’t admit it but she is. She just walks around her room and the house looking around like she can’t figure out what to do. She misses you. I miss singing. “You are My Sunshine” to you. I miss laughing hysterically when your diva sister, Madison, sings song after song after song and you have had enough and say, “That’s enough singing, Madison!!”. I miss when I would tease and tell you Daddy was so bad because he was picking on one of you and you would always say, “Daddy NOT bad, he GOOD!” You are the most loyal…brutally loyal…person I have ever met…at 5!!! The hardest thing I have ever done in my life was tell you goodbye and walk away. There was so much I wanted to tell you…but there wasn’t the time or the words. I wonder how you are doing. Are you mad at me and Daddy? Do you think we left you? Do you understand that I would have ran to Antarctica with you if I knew I would have gotten away with it?? Do you know that I can’t even think about you without losing it? I have
no idea how I am ever going to get through this. Life without you isn’t the same, baby. I know that you love us, but I hope that are not having this hard of a time as I am. I hope your days are filled with laughter, hugs, sunshine, hope, love and everything that makes you giggle. I pray for you all day, every day. I pray that you understand what is happening. I hope that you remember all of the things that you learned about Jesus. The night before you left Granda asked you what Jesus said and you replied, “He never leave us.” She asked you where He wrote your name and you said, “On my hand!" and opened your hand to her. She wrote your name on your hand and Madison’s on hers. You were upset about taking a bath before bed because you didn’t want it to come off. I had to promise you both that I would write it back on after your bath. People think you aren’t listening most of the time but they don’t know you like I do. I know you absorb every single thing around you and that you are the extremely detailed. You don’t miss anything. I wish we could rewind time back to Monday when we laid in your bed and watched movies together. Everytime you got up you would say, “Don’t move Mama! I be right back!!”. I pray that your first day of Kindergarten will be wonderful and that your teacher will be an amazing Christian woman who sees you like I do and what an amazing, smart, sweet, funny, curious, silly, wonderful little girl you are. I hope she nurtures you, looks out for you, shows you compassion, hugs you, and goes the extra mile to be kind to you. I hope you make a lot of new friends. I wish I could be there to see your first day of “big school” baby. You are so excited!! I worry that you won’t have a lunch packed…you won’t eat anything they serve in the cafeteria unless it is spaghetti. 8[ I know the things you will eat and what you won’t. I know that you don’t have a behavior problem…that you try so hard to express your feelings and get so frustrated when you can’t. I hope they see that at school. I know that you have trust issues, anxiety issues…and what terrifies you. Will they humiliate you for these things? Belittle you and not comfort you? These thoughts terrify me!! I know how to make you feel safe and know that you are okay with me. I have no idea if you are okay, happy, scared, anxious. And if you are, I can’t get to you to fix it for you!! I’m so worried about you. I know I that God is watching over you and that He loves you more than I do (which is hard for me to comprehend) and that as a child, you have your own angel watching over you. Still, I worry. You sat up in your bed the morning of court screaming. I ran to your room and picked you up and asked you what was wrong. You said, “I’m scared Mama.” I held you but I was terrified to. I know you wanted to stay with us. I meant it when I told you that you will ALWAYS be my daughter and my princess and that you can ALWAYS come back home to us. This will ALWAYS be your home. I was packing a few of your things that night and I asked Daddy about one of the items…if I should pack it or not. He said, “No, she will need that when she comes home.” And then I realized…we are all still thinking this time will be like last time. That you will come back eventually. But still it’s terrible. How will it be when we have to come to terms with the fact that we will never see you again? I can’t even wrap my mind around that…I can’t convince myself that this is it. I don’t want to. It has to end differently than this. You are my daughter. And you aren’t home. When kids are kidnapped you do everything in your power to find them. When your kid gets taken from you…you fight to get them back. When your kid runs away you go to every place you can think of to bring them back home. My daughter is gone and there is NOTHING I can do about it. Nothing. How is that possible? I fought for you. I fought for you with everything in me, but it just wasn’t good enough. I hope you know that I never gave up on you. I am still not giving up!! Not yet. Everyone things I am strong and brave. But I'm not. YOU are the brave one. You have had to be since you were a toddler. It shouldn't be that way. I miss you so much sweet girl…my heart is broken and I just wish I could hold you. I wish I could fix this for you. I love you BIG and you will always be MY little girl. I have listened to this song over and over since you left…it’s exactly how I feel…

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?
People say that I am brave but I’m not
Truth is I’m barely hanging on
But there’s a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this
So I will carry you

While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen me
To carry you
Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says….
I’ve shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I Will Carry You~Selah

Until you come home,

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dear Princess,

I am not thrilled with how fast the days are flying by when you are home, yet dragging when you are gone. If I knew how to pause time I would. It’s hard keeping a smile on my face all day when I can’t stop thinking about how little time I have left with you. I wish I could run with you…hide out and come back when you were 18. I am terrified of what you are going to think about us when you go home. I know your mom is angry at us and may tell you that the reason you don’t see us anymore is because we didn’t want to, or because we tried to keep you from her. That’s the thought that haunts me all day long, every day. I can’t get over it. I will never forget your face the day the judge ruled you be returned to your bio mom in March of 2011 you were crushed. I put you in your bio mom’s car and kissed you bye and told you I loved you…I was so worried I would be hurt because you would be excited to go. Instead you pushed my face away and stared straight ahead. You wouldn’t say a word. You were so angry with us and hurt. I knew you thought we were giving you away. When the judge ruled you were to start staying with your mom 3 days a week in May of this year to transition you back home, you were again upset. When I explained to you what was going on you cried and held on to me. When your bio mom tried to pick you up, you held our your arms to me and cried and said, “I have to go with her. Please. I have to go with her.” I cried all of the way home. The look in your eyes…being helpless to fix it for you. I can’t bear it. And here it is, 10 days away from doing it again. Yet, this time it’s the last time. The last time I will ever comfort you, try to relieve your fears. The last time I will hold you and tell you I love you. I don’t know HOW to let you go. How do you learn to let your daughter go and tell her goodbye forever? To the world, I am nuts because we don’t share DNA…therefore you aren’t mine and I should just move on. DNA doesn’t make a family…you are my DAUGHTER and I can’t wrap my head around telling you bye. You think Canada is a safe place for us to hide???? 10 days is flying by and NOT ENOUGH…there are a MILLION things I will miss. But, the 10 things I have been thinking most about are

1) Your first day of Kindergarten…I wanted to meet your teacher, take you to your room the first day, pick you up and hear all about your first day. I am praying you get a teacher who loves Jesus too and will look out for my sweet girl…who will be kind to you and try to understand you instead of just writing you off as a discipline problem or a silly girl. You are a gorgeous, sweet, intelligent, curious, incredible little girl and I pray she sees that just as I do. I have no doubt you will be an incredible doctor just as you plan.

2) The holidays!!!!! Trick or treating, doing crafts, bonfires, parties, Christmas morning…it won’t be the same without you baby. I hope your holidays are magical and that our Christmas gifts manage to get to you.

3) Hearing you read your first book when you learn to read. I was looking forward to letting you climb in my lap and read books to me and see the proud look on your face.

4) Your first crush on a boy…your first school dance…prom night…being there to guide you and answer your questions and teach you about purity and integrity.

5) Your high school graduation…seeing you walk across the stage with your cap and gown to get the diploma and make everyone eat their words!! You can do anything you want to do and don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise! Should I get an invitation…I would be the loudest one there and so proud of you!

6) Your first day of college…even though saying goodbye would be terrifying for me, I would be so proud and honored to watch you pursue your dreams and achieve them.

7) Watching you graduate college and get your first job in whatever career you choose. Right now you want to be a will probably change 20 times by then…I don’t care as long as I it’s what you want to do and honorable.

8) When you meet the boy you want to marry and watching the most beautiful bride walk down the aisle and make some man the luckiest man in the world. Marry a man who loves the Lord and treats you as wonderful as you deserve. Marry a man who when you are older and the “romance” isn’t what it used to be what you have is your best friend sitting beside you growing old with you.

9) Holding your babies and watching you be the incredible mother that I know you will be. Know that you don’t have to follow in the footsteps of your bio mother…your childhood and the example of a mother that you had does NOT define the woman/mother you will be.

10) Watching you grow into a beautiful preteen/teenager/woman who serves the Lord, loves Him and seeks to honor Him in everything she does.

I may not be there for the journey and these milestones but I am praying for you each step of the way. Remember that nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent and your circumstances, past and mistakes along the way do not define you as a person. Never give up on what you want. And please know that your home is always here with us and you can come back any time you want. We will always love you and we will always take you…no matter if you are 6, 15, 25 or 80. I love you to the moon and back sweet girl. Goodnight…sweet dreams. Tomorrow maybe we will see what property is going for in Canada.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dear Princess,

Today you came back from your three day stay with your bio mom. Daddy, Madison and I couldn’t wait to go pick you up. I looked in your bag to see if the “olive branch” I sent out came back with a good report. No such luck. That means that you have 11 days left with us before you leave us forever. You were so loving and sweet tonight. You sat at the kitchen table and told Daddy, “Daddy, I love you. I really missed you.“ You have no idea what that did to our hearts. Madison laughed at you for being silly during dinner and she told you that you were so silly and you laughed and said, “I know.“ I love my silly girl…you brought laughter back in to my life just by walking through my front door that night almost two years ago. I gave you a bath and when I was getting you in the tub you said, “Mama, Madison had a dream about Daddy last night. I had a dream too.“ I asked what you dreamed about and you said, “You!!!“ and hugged me tight. You have no idea how much my heart is breaking..I guess I’m glad you don’t. You have had such sadness in your life..I don’t want to be someone who adds more. There is a lot of things that I want to say to you that I wish you were old enough to understand. Maybe you understand more than I know. If you can’t grasp anything else please take hold of two things: Jesus loves you more than anyone ever will…He will be with you even when Mama and Daddy can’t be…He loves you and will never leave you or forget you…remember, He has engraved your name on the palm of His hand. The second thing is this: Mama and Daddy love you with ever bit of our heart…and a piece of our liver too. You are our daughter forever, even if you don’t live with us. You will always be my Sunshine, my baby, my Pepper, Little Bit, my Princess and my sweet girl for as long as I live. I may not be able to see you ever again but I will never go one day without thinking of you a million times and praying for you with every thing I am. Mama loves you baby….you changed my life. You walked in to my front door with your big brown eyes and curls and smiled your beautiful smile and it was love at first sight. I will never forget one second of that night. We played with baby dolls and painted each other’s nails. You sat in my lap for a few hours watching Lady and The Tramp and I was nervous if you would sleep or cry all night. I put you down in your bed and you smiled at me and went to sleep. The next day you called me “Mama” and melted my heart. I know your life is fixing to get so confusing, sad, scary and uncertain and I want you to know you will have Jesus and all of his angels surrounding you every second of it. Never doubt that. I hope you never think for a second that we gave you away, gave up on you or didn’t want you. That would break my heart even more. Please keep laughing, smiling and being the sweet girl that you are. The girl that I love more than life itself. 11 days isn’t enough time…but I am grateful for even that. I love you and a MILLION things about you…but here are 11 of those things:

1) I love the way you take my face with both of your tiny hands and give me kisses. It melts my heart every time.

2) I love when you ask me to please sleep in the room with you at night.

3) I love that laugh that is contagious and makes everyone laugh with you…and your dimples when you smile. You make me laugh all day long at the silly things you say and do.

4) I love the way you tuck Madison in every night at bedtime and tell her goodnight and kiss her forehead. Sometimes she acts annoyed by it, but she adores it.

5) I love how fiercely loyal you are to those you love even at 5! You are so protective of your sisters. I feel the same way about you.

6) I love the way you come alive when you are anywhere near the water and could stay all day until dark if we let you…and then ask for an hour long bubble bath. Our little Mermaid.

7.) I love the way you are never in a hurry…you have to stop and smell flowers, look at birds, scope out an ant bed. The world is one big playground to you and you always have time to enjoy it.

8.) I love when you beg me to let you bake with me in the kitchen. I love sharing this time with you. I swear you are going to be a chef one day, even though you insist you are going to be a doctor. Either way, I will be so proud of you.

9.) I love how attentive you are to the baby and what an AMAZING big sister you are. Every time the baby cries, you run into the room screaming, “I’m coming baby!!” and go make her laugh again. You are going to be such a good Mommy one day.

10.) I selfishly love the way that I am the one person that can always make you feel at ease and safe instantly.

11.) I love the funny way you say things because you don’t yet have the words to say them correctly. I secretly hate when you figure them out and correct yourself.


11 of the million things I love about you…goodnight baby!



Friday, June 29, 2012

3 Weeks...

That’s what we have left. It’s looming over my head and driving me insane. It can make me not want to get out of bed and darken every single day until the dreaded day if I let it. But not only do I have two other sweet girls, but I have to make the most of her days left with us. But when the house is quiet and I have time to think…I drive myself crazy with questions, worries and fear. I prayed that if she had to leave us that she would want to live with her mom and be okay with it. It seemed as if she was getting there after weeks of hating even the idea of going again the next week for her visit. She was coming home glad to be back, but also seemed like she had a good time. Once, she asked me all day long when it was time for her to go to her Mama C’s house. As much as it hurt, it was still a relief. Things were okay if she wanted to go there, right? I told myself this anyway. She would still say that she wanted to live with us….until one day a few weeks ago she changed her mind…said she didn’t want to live with Mama C. The past few weeks she has been coming home with bruises that I had to report to most importantly protect her but also to protect my husband, myself and our family. This sent her mom into a hellacious fit and she will no longer let the Princess call us every night that she is at our house. We even tried letting the Princess continue calling her mom while she was with us and she wouldn’t answer the phone. We tried. I didn’t want to try but this little girl will be home soon and wondering why we don’t call, visit…I don’t want it to be because of anything we did. I knew in the back of my mind that her mom would eventually change her mind about us continuing our relationship with the Princess. I even told her this after the last court hearing we had. She assured me this wouldn’t happen. I knew better. But, I tried to give her the benefit of doubt. Even though I knew this would happen….I tried so hard to convince myself this wasn’t the end. Now here we are…and her mom isn’t communicating. In her mind, we once again tried to destroy her daughter from going home and to disrupt her family and accuse her of false things. In her mind, she was working so hard to make this dysfunctional family we have work. What we can’t make her see is that this child is still in our care and will be protected by us and that we have a family to protect to. Bruises and claims of abuse can not come back on us. She doesn’t see it this way. We have been praying like never before…trying to keep our focus on God’s will and trying so hard to not think ill of her mom and assume the worst. Let me just tell you, this is hard when the child is coming home with bruises on her and stories about what happened. Yes, these things have been documented with DHS and I have taken pictures that are dated to protect my family. Has anything been done? I think you know the answer to this. So many people who heard her story and were outraged by how little was being done for her and made promises, empty promises, to help her and go to bat for her. I’m glad she doesn’t know how little was done for her by the ones whose job it is to protect her. They are supposed to look into everything and be there for us to be able to report things that we think aren’t right. The parents who lost the kids are supposed to be proving themselves…that they have changed and are able to care for them now. Instead, we the foster parents, have been treated as though we are the ones who need to prove ourselves…as though we are the ones who have made mistakes. The mom is taken at her word on anything she says. And then there is DHS who lets the child fall through the cracks because they would rather take the mom at her word and be done with this case then continue it and do their job making sure this kid is safe and provided for. Several of them have said it’s the most difficult case they have ever seen and can’t wait to be done with it. But at what price?? A child’s future isn’t something to be taken lightly and be so careless with. This child…all children…but for me it’s this child deserves the world. She deserves for people to fight for her and to make sure that she will be safe, provided for, cherished. She deserves to not be in fear constantly. She deserves everything in this life that is good. She deserves more than that even. I would go to hell and back for this little girl. Sometimes it feels like that’s what we have done. There are all different types of loved all wrapped up in that one word…love. My love for this little girl is fierce. I have seen the look on her face when she is terrified and anxious. I have seen the look on her face when she was confused about what was happening in her life. I have been there. I have been there when she woke up screaming in the middle of the night…when she was so scared of being away from me that I couldn’t even go to the next aisle in the grocery store without her…when she screamed at the sight of a playpen and wouldn’t go near the person she loved because they were standing next to it…when she was so upset and anxious because she knew what she wanted to say but couldn’t express herself in words. I have been there. I have seen the damage and the hell that she has been through. And it has been my joy to be there as she smiled and was able to say, “I’m angry” or “I’m sad”. It has been my joy to be there when she could sit in time out and cry rather than spit and throw mattresses across the room from not being able to communicate. It has been my joy to be there as she sings softly “Jesus loves me, this I know”. It has been my joy to be there as she says, “I’m happy Mama. I’m happy here.” It has been my joy to be there as she was able to be more self sufficient and glow with pride. It has been my joy to be there as she says, “Jesus will never forget me…he wrote my name on his hand.” It has been my joy to be there for every single tight hug, kiss with both hands on my face, sweet smile, and tons of laughter. It has been a joy to fight for her with every thing I have. It has been a joy to be her Mama. And she will always be my daughter. My Pepper. My Princess. My Laughter. My Sunshine. My Baby. Always…that goes beyond 3 weeks.

Friday, June 22, 2012

We are still here....

and a lot has happened since my last post. I regret that it has taken me this long to update my blog. Sometimes I start typing an update but then stop because I have already had to talk about it so much…over and over and over…until I just do not feel like talking about it yet again. Sorry for the lack of posting for those who keep up with our journey and support us in prayer and encouragement. I am going to really try my hardest to start being more regular with my posts, not only to update everyone but also as a journal for myself. The girls do the funniest, sweetest things and although I put it on Facebook a lot, I don’t want to forget it. (And thanks to the new timeline format..I can’t go back and retrieve older status updates to write them down.) It will take a long time to update on everything since my last post so I will do it in the next few posts. Here are a few of the things that have happened:

*We finalized Madison’s adoption!!!!

* The Princess turned 5!

* We went to court for the Princess yet again.

* The tooth fairy visited our house for the very first time!

* We had a baby boy stay with us for a little over 24 hours.

*We had our first Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas together as a family.

* We went on our first family vacation.

* We have a 3rd little girl in our home now whom we refer to as Little Miss Sunshine.

* We have court for the Princess looming over our heads…again.

* We lost a wonderful, godly, compassionate man in our lives. My Grandfather (PawPaw to the girls) went to be with the Lord.

* We have severe anxiety issues…seperation anxiety.


I will elaborate on every one of these during the next SEVERAL posts. I promise. I can’t share pictures of the girls that are still foster kiddos. But I can share sweet photos of my Maddie and cute photos of chunky baby legs. Thanks for always supporting us…we can never tell you how much it means to us. This journey has been the hardest…best thing that has ever happened to us. Beautiful Chaos.


(* I will refer to the three girls most often by their nicknames: The Princess is our first placement we ever had and have had her for 17 months. She just turned 5. Priss Pot is our Madison who is now adopted and will be 4 next month. Little Miss Sunshine is the new baby we have had for a month tomorrow. She is 6 months old.*)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

From Bad to Worse...

That’s where this case is going. We went to court for the Princess on March 20th . DHS and counseling were asking for the judge to agree to start transitioning the Princess back into the home through unsupervised visits. My husband and I wrote up every one of our concerns, (financial, mental, judgment, etc.) and gave it to the Princess guardian ad litem (her lawyer). Her lawyer told us that if we would sign it that he would submit it to the court. Of course we signed it. As court progressed I could tell the way things were headed…DHS was painting the judge yet another perfect picture of bio mom…mom of the year. Didn’t you know that’s why you get your kids taken away? The DA began to question the Princess’ caseworker at which point she was caught in so many lies it was unreal! The DA asked the caseworker, “Have you discussed the plan of transitioning the child home with the foster parents?” She replied, “Yes.”. True. The DA then asked her, “Do the foster parents have any reservations or concerns about this plan for the child to transition back into the home?” Sit down and prepare yourself….”NO, they have no reservations or concerns.” For a few seconds I just sat there in shock…ANGER…and disbelief. The Princess’ lawyer turned around and looked at us and laughed and responded, “The foster parents have no concerns or reservations?” This was her chance to possibly redeem herself with the truth. “NO, they don’t.” The Princess lawyer responded with, “I have a two page letter of concerns signed by the foster parents in my hand.” I would like to say this was one of several lies she told under oath….she has also not talked to us since. No in home visits (she sent someone in her place), no phone calls for updates (we never get these anyway), no calls to check and see how things are going (these are few and far between as well). The Princess’ lawyer continued to question the court about our concerns and then came and sat by us. He told us that he had the same concerns as us about the visits being unsupervised, but he was pretty sure the judge was going to approve it. He said that if anything bad happened…she had a hard time with it…or anything came up to call him and he was pretty sure he could end them. It’s nice to hear…but we have little faith in anyone in the legal system at this point. Empty promises is all they give you. But we are desperate and so we cling to any glimmer of hope shown to us. Court wrapped up and the judge said that the bio mom had made significant progress (my definition of progress and his are apparently very different…she has a place to live and works a few hours a week) and that she “deserved the chance to prove that she could parent her child”. I’m sorry, but I thought she had that at birth…I though she had that again after her child was sent home last March and then returned in 8 days. Nope. She deserves another chance. The judge approved DHS’ recommendation. What does this mean for the Princess and us? On Tuesday mornings we leave our house at 8:15 to drop her off. She is then with her mom all day unsupervised and her mom brings her to speech and then she comes home at 5:30. Wednesday evening at 3:00 DHS arrives at our house to take the Princess to the DHS office where her mom comes to pick her up and the Princess stays the night with her. Thursday morning they wake up and go to speech again and counseling and hang out until she comes back to us at 5:30. Basically, she is gone for 3 days and when she comes home she is asleep and exhausted!! The day visits and overnight visits are supposed to prove whether or not she can provide for her child. Did you know if you can bring your child to town for two meetings it proves you can properly care for your child? I thought caring for a child meant keeping them safe, loving them,
proper hygiene, feeding them, etc. My mistake. So are we. The first Thursday was uneventful. I asked bio mom Monday evening if I should send snacks and she said that would probably be a good idea. Just say you don’t have food! I didn’t make that mistake again and do NOT send food anymore. The next Tuesday we found out something very big that I can’t share on here…don’t worry DHS said it wasn’t a big deal at all…even though it was something she was required to have and doesn’t…no big deal they say. Wednesday rolls around and the Princess’ caseworker still hasn’t called to tell us what time she will be at our house. I knew what time she was coming only because bio mom told me. They told her but not us. I think it would be the people with whom she resides you should inform what time you will be picking her up. It’s 40 minutes past the time they were supposed to be there to get her to her mom on the scheduled time and nobody has called. I text bio mom and she is walking in DHS office and asked about it. They tell her someone is on their way and is running late. Would have been courteous to have called us to let us know. Whatever. They show up almost an hour late and I was ticked. I was ticked I had to send her to her mom’s…ticked that we have a lazy, apathetic, unprofessional caseworker and I took it out on the caseworker who showed up. It wasn’t OUR caseworker..she sent someone in her place. No shock there. The caseworker walks in and I wasted no time…I told her that a call the day before or even the morning of to tell us what time they would be there would be the professional thing to do and would have been appreciated. I told her that we do have other things to do in our life besides wait for DHS to call us and tell us the next thing they need us to do and that the next time they decide to just show up at their convenience we may not be here! I calmed down a smidge to finally tell her it wasn’t her fault..that it was our caseworker’s and asked her to pass on the message. Was I out of line or does anyone else see this as unprofessional?? I am so tired of the bio mom knowing what’s going on but we are left in the dark. She knows what time court is but we are there hours early because nobody told us it was changed. SO SICK of being used and called a “resource”. Yes, we knew we were going to have to see kids get sent home and yes we knew we were a “resource” but I had no idea we would just be babysitters to be used at their whim. I had no idea when they told us in classes that we would be the children’s advocates and had to fight for them how empty those words were. How do you fight for kids against them?? The very ones who are supposed to be working on the kids’ behalf but instead work to give the parents countless chances to prove what we already know…they can’t change. Yet, they deem them fit. They tell you to fight but tie your hands behind your back…if you go against what they say they resent you and won’t work with you or listen to you…if you hire a lawyer they take the kids from you. They tell you “document everything”. For what??? I document and turn it into the caseworker, the guardian ad litem, the judge…and FOR WHAT??? For them to say that we have gotten so attached to the child that we want to sabotage her chances to get her back. They make you feel really good about being a foster parent in the classes…the kids need you and you are going to love them and let them know what it is to be loved unconditionally, safe and protected, cherished and that they are worth so much and that this isn’t their fault and LET THEM BE A KID! You get your license and you are so ready to be a part of changing a kid’s life…just to be slapped in the face and told you are too attached to the child and biased towards the mom. I distinctly remember a gentleman asking the leader of the class about attachment and how attached we should let ourselves become and what do we do if they WANT to call us mom and dad ( you aren’t allowed to require this of the child). They responded with, “Treat them as if they were your own and it will break your heart but you just have to do it. You have to get attached and fall in love with them because they need that bond. If they choose to call you mom and dad, let them. Don’t correct.” Yet, the child is getting in trouble because she chose to call us mom and dad from the second day she was with us…we are getting treated poorly because we fell in love with the child. The horror stories they told us about if a child throws your T.V. down the stairs and smashes it you shouldn’t get on to them…those things caused an uproar in the class and made us scared. How will these kids behave? Will that really happen? Will the kids really behave this way and be so our of control and angry? We have YET to get a child who was anything BUT sweet, courteous, well mannered, beautiful, intelligent, loving…In a system built to protect kids and take them from harmful situations and place them in loving family while their family gets their life together..and if they don’t the child is placed with an adoptive family…we have NOT seen this. We have seen a system that wants the child back home regardless of the situation and will overlook anything to get this done…even the most obvious of things. I will say this, it’s not like this in EVERY county. We have worked with three counties…one was pretty good, one is EXCELLENT, and one is TERRIBLY INCOMPETENT. The princess is in the latter one unfortunately. I cannot give you details but if you knew all of the things that have been turned in, all of the things mom has admitted, all of the things that are so OBVIOUS that DHS is overlooking in order to get this child sent home you would be appalled. I digress……

Wednesday night the Princess stays with her bio mom and spends all day Thursday with her. Thursday we go to her counseling session (we are allowed to go anytime we want) and I am on one hand unbelievably excited because I will get to see the Princess and it’s been 1 ½ days since I have seen her. On the other hand I am anxious to see how she did. We get there and sit in the lobby where my husband reads our daughter books and I worry until I hear her voice and she races into the building. She runs up to me and screams, “Heeeeeyyyyyy Mommmmyyy!!!!” and gives me a huge bear hug. I hug her back and then in a split second she is off. She is racing from one person to the next, from one part of the room to the next like a person on speed. I look her over and see that she is wearing the outfit I packed, the sandals I packed with socks as well (why I have NO idea) and one is inside out…her hair is all over her head and has a rubber band holding a few strings in an attempt at a pony tail. Her mom looks exhausted and begins to tell us that the Princess got mad at her that morning and slapped her in the face. Okay. We have never seen behavior like this before from her but just ask why. Apparently, she was on the computer and didn’t want to get off of it to come to counseling. No comment. The Princess is still going 90 to nothing and wired!! I am watching her like a hawk and then the counselor comes in the lobby and takes my husband, daughter and I back first to talk about how things are going and our concerns (because we all know this just really gets things done). After we talk she brings in the Princess and her bio mom. This is when everything falls apart and I want to SCREAM!!!!!! I listen to her mom aimlessly list the things they did that night and describe how perfectly things were going but am watching the Princess the whole time and I see that look in her eyes that I have seen once before….lost, confused, hurt. WILD. She is everywhere…can’t contain her energy and then she begins to run
towards me to show me a toy she is playing with. I immediately began to see red…she is running with her legs swinging outwards like and so awkward, almost as if her hips hurt her. She is clumsy and runs into things and keeps tripping. While she runs she sticks her bottom out like a duck and from the waist up she is hunched over and runs clumsily and strange and stomps each foot as it comes down. It’s so hard to explain but it was so crazy that the session comes to a halt and the counselor asks, “Why is running so weird?” I of course pipe in and want to know the same! Mom doesn’t know…she didn’t notice anything…maybe it’s the sandals. I inform them that she wears those sandals all of the time and never has a problem. Maybe it’s because she is wearing socks with them…does she ever wear socks with sandals? I say no…and wonder what kind of question is that…who puts socks on with sandals on their child??? Mom says she insisted on wearing socks with them and wouldn’t let her take them off. Let. This is how their relationship is…the Princess runs the show. She has never once insisted on wearing socks with sandals..she hates socks period. I can’t keep them on her…even in winter when I tell her that she has to wear them I constantly turn around to see she has them in the hamper and have to put them back on. She won’t wear slippers either. Mom says one…that’s right ONE…of the sandals looks too small. No, they aren’t too small. The more questions that come up and the more the Princess runs awkwardly the more nervous mom seems to get. I try to ask the Princess if her legs hurt…joke with her about her running like a duck to see if she will tell me. She says, “Mommy, What’s wrong with you?” and I respond, “Me? You are the one running like a duck!” hoping she will let it out. No. The subject is dropped and they move on. They want to talk to mom and the Princess alone and so we take our daughter to the zoo to play in the splash pad while they finish counseling and head to speech. She had a blast on the splash pad for a while but it started getting windy and she was cold so we went to the DHS office to wait for the next 30 minutes until the Princess is there to go home with us…because let’s face it…gas to just ride around isn’t cheap. We talk for a bit and then hear the Princess again…she is still running awkward and WILD. Mom brings her in the office and looks like she may pass out from exhaustion at any minute. She looks aggravated and says that the Princess had a bad time and slapped the speech therapist in the face. I already had plans to call the speech therapist on our way home to see how it went and when she said that I was ready to leave to go call. Mom leaves and the Princess is more wild if that’s even possible. She gets a pencil and paper and begins stabbing the paper with her pencil and scribbling really hard. She seems very angry. She tries to stab my daughter on the arm with a pencil for what reason I don’t know. This isn’t the little girl I know. We leave and I try to control myself but at this point I have a million emotions. Most of it being ANGER!!!!! I call speech and it’s one minute before they close and I pray someone answers. I get the therapist and tell her what the judge decided and that she just spent the night with her mom for the first time the night before and all day that day and that mom said the Princess slapped her in the face. I apologize for her behavior but tell her I need to know what happened. She tells me that the Princess did swing at her but didn’t make contact and definitely didn’t slap her in the face. She said that the little girl in that room today was a different little girl…that she was so angry and wouldn’t do anything for her…just ran around the room angry. She just sat in the chair and watched because after several attempts…nothing worked and she refused to cooperate. I could hear the shock and concern in her voice and asked her if she noticed her running different. She said definitely and described it to me exactly as I described it to you. I asked her if she would be willing to write this down and maybe call the Princess’ caseworker and supervisor to tell them what she had just told me. She wasn’t sure she could do that legally but told me to find out if she could talk to someone and she would be more than happy to because it was the worse she had ever seen her and was worried. She said she documented everything to be turned in and assured me she would do whatever she could to help us. It’s a small ray of hope that I know won’t do any good but I cling to it anyway and breath a sigh of relief. Maybe it just felt nice for someone to finally see what we see!!! How this child responds to her mom’s care. I again try to calm myself and then call the Princess’ lawyer on his cell phone and leave him a message to call me back ASAP. The next morning his secretary returns my call and says he isn’t in and won’t hush until I tell her what the concern is. She says she will have him call me and I hear in her voice what I am so used to hearing lately….indifference. Once again, we are concerned for nothing…it’s all in our heads..we are trying to sabotage mom’s chance of getting her child back. I hang up feeling even more defeated and somehow manage to pray that he will call me back Monday morning and be the lawyer for her that she NEEDS him to be. That someone will FIGHT FOR HER!! Until that phone call the feelings of defeat, helplessness, anxiety, hurt, anger and desperation are overwhelming!! And I have no hope that he will do anything to change that. The only hope we have is that God will intervene and do a miracle. I know He CAN…I just pray He WILL!!!!