A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child. --Forest E. Witcraft

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Same Ole Stuff

Talked with Sweets tonight.  So glad her first week of school is going well.  I asked her about picking her up tomorrow, and she told me her dad said she couldn't go with me or he wouldn't get her a puppy.  Really, again?  These games are getting so old.

I asked Sweets what happened every other time her dad got her a dog (at least four times so far).  Her reply, "he takes it away."  I told her it was her choice.  Arghh!  Why does a nine year old have to be in the middle of this?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Best Ever

Sweets started school yesterday.  She was apprehensive, because she wasn't sure who would be her teacher.  Tonight I finally had a chance to talk with her.  When I asked how she liked 5th grade, she told me it was the BEST EVER!  She likes her teacher and said she has had two great days.  She also told me she gets to be in band.  She thinks she will get to play flute!  I'm excited and happy for her!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Six Months

Six months ago today, Precious joined our family.  She is just that, PRECIOUS! 

I really thought BB would be the last permanent addition, but God had other plans.  Although their birth mother did show some interest with Precious, she couldn't follow through.  I'm sad for her; she doesn't know what she is missing.  I do think she knows that her little ones are being well cared for. 

It is amazing that Precious was legally free for adoption before she was six months old.  That is practically a record in the child welfare system.  I'm so happy that some of the changes in our court system ("baby court") are working to achieve permanency sooner for these little ones. 

I have been an extern at the court this summer for law school in a division of this new "baby court".  Precious' case is no longer an exception.  TPR is happening quickly more and more often when parents either give up or simply don't follow through.  In my state, parents of children under three only have six months to demonstrate they can safely parent their children.  After that, a motion for TPR can be filed based on six months time-in-care (15 months is grounds for children three and older).  More time is often allowed if the parents are actively participating in services, but those who "play games" and pick and choose what they do will soon be done. 

Fortunately, the flip side is also happening for families where the parents work hard to get their children returned.  In some cases, those children are going home in less than a year, another timeframe that used to almost never occur.  CPS is held accountable to provide the services and do their job.  It is up to the parents to make their choice.  If they do what is asked, they will likely succeed.  If they decide not to follow the rules and complete the services offered to them, the court will make an alternate permanency decision for these young children at the six month point, and the case will move to adoption.

Finally, the best interests of the child is driving the case, at least in the area of timelines.  Less and less are parents able to do "just enough" to drag the case out and leave their children in limbo.  Isn't this what should have been happening all along?  If you want your kids back, WORK FOR IT.  Having someone else take care of them so you can visit them twice a week and party the rest of the time is not parenting.  I'm glad to say that the judges in our "baby court" now have this philosophy as well.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

She Did It

Precious can sit up by herself.

I put her in the bathtub,

and she was mesmerized by the toys.

She sat for several seconds looking at them,

holding herself up with her arms.

After I got her dressed for bed,

I set her down on the floor with toys.

She did it again!

Way to go, Precious!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

All Together Again

Buddy is back from camp.  When I met the bus this afternoon, he sauntered up to me and smiled.  I gave him a hug and he hugged me back.  He said he liked camp a whole lot and that he had a whole bunch of fun.  Then he asked if he could go again next year!

Later, as we were waiting to claim his sleeping bag, he told me that while he was at camp, he "forgot" about us because they were so busy!  For Buddy, this is huge.  He is always worried about who is where doing what.  I think he truly had a fabulous time!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Peeking Through

Precious has her first tooth!

It is peeking through on her bottom gum.

So exciting!

Insert finger at own risk.

This little tyke has quite a bite!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fashion Statement

BB is sporting a new look.

His left eyelid has always been droopy.
We have been watching it and checking his eyes since birth.
His vision appears to be fine.
The concern is that his eyelid could start to interfere with his vision.

When BB is really tired, the eyelid is more pronounced.
The doctor suggested patching his right eye to force the use of his left.
If we start seeing him tilt his head up to see,
we can assume that the eyelid is getting in the way.

His next appointment is with the surgeon who will eventually tuck the eyelid up.
Until then we continue to monitor.
After the patch is put on, he forgets it is even there (until time to take it off)!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

He's Off

Buddy was so ready to go to camp!  He kept asking all morning, "How much longer?"  Even in the check-in line, you could tell he was ready to get on that bus.  He did take time to tell everyone good-bye, but he didn't look back.  I waved at him and blew him a kiss after he found his seat on the bus (don't know if he appreciated that second part).  He's proud of himself, going off for a week without anyone he knows.  I'm proud of him for being so adventurous (he's getting so grown up!).  I am sure he will have a wonderful week!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Good and The Bad

The Good

May and Sweets both had a fabulous time at camp.  The first thing each one told me when I picked them up was "I have to come back next year!"  May said she had lots of fun, met lots of friends, and learned lots.  She didn't complain about the work, the heat, the exercise, the lack of sleep - none of it - not even when the horse stepped on her foot!  I was so glad to hear that all she focused on was the good!  Sweets really enjoyed herself, made a lot of friends, loved the horses, and even got to pester her big sister (which May accepted much more graciously than at home).

Buddy is just about packed and ready to leave for camp tomorrow after church.  He is so excited and thrilled he gets to ride the bus both ways!  He has talked a lot about it being the first time he has been away from everyone in the family for a whole week, but he doesn't seem apprehensive.  I really believe this will be a good experience for him and help him blossom as an individual.

The Bad

Sweets is miserable.  Her throat hurts very badly and she has hardly had anything to drink or eat all day.  Gargling with salt water does make it feel better, but she only swallows a couple sips before she says it hurts too much.  I keep taking her a drink for "just one sip" on a regular basis, but she can't always get it down.  Tonight she did finally eat a whole popsicle.  After a shower, she claimed she felt much better.  I hope we've crossed over the mountain at this point.

I'm exhausted - there - I said it.  Every time I think I am just about caught up, something else happens to create more chaos.  I am hoping I can get a good night of sleep tonight and that tomorrow will look much better!

Friday, July 13, 2012


Sweets is here with me tonight after being at her dad's since last Sunday.  She has been sick since Tuesday.  On Wednesday night, she called and said her throat hurt really badly but her dad wasn't there.  She and her sister were staying with a friend who had no medicine.  Her dad was not answering his phone. 

After an hour of trying to get him, I called Sweets' aunt (dad's sister).  Unfortunately, she does not speak English and I don't speak Spanish.  I finally got the point across that Sweets was sick and needed medicine but we couldn't find her dad.  Within minutes, he called me (I guess he knows better than to ignore his sister's calls).  He picked Sweets up and took her to get medicine from her aunt.

Fast forward two days.  This afternoon, Sweets tells me she is still sick, getting worse.  Her aunt gave her cough and cold medicine once, but dad hasn't done anything.  I had already coordinated with her dad to pick her up tonight.  When I got there after dinner, he gave me her insurance card and willingly wrote a paper giving me permission to seek medical treatment for her.  I took her straight to urgent care.  Bless Miss M for happening to call and then come take care of the other kids.

Sweets has a nasty viral infection.  It especially affects the throat and mouth and makes her not want to eat or drink.  Staying hydrated is the big push to recovery.  The virus is also contagious through contact.  Somehow I need to keep the little ones from getting it.  I sure hope her sister at her dad's doesn't get it, or they will probably just continue to pass it back and forth. 

I feel awful that Sweets has been miserable for several days with no one really helping her.  I don't think it is dad's fault she got sick, but I do think he could have done something to make her more comfortable.  Yes, the virus must run its course, but Sweets doesn't have to be totally miserable in the process.  I'm glad she is here with me for the next week.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Green Light

Today was the hearing that terminated the parental rights of the alleged father(s) of Precious.  Mom's rights were terminated in April.  Precious is legally free for adoption and she is not yet six months old.*  This is AMAZING!

After the hearing was over, Buddy asked me if this means we get to adopt her for sure.  I told him yes, and he is so excited.  He told everyone he saw for the rest of the day!

*Assumes no appeal is filed, but that won't happen, because no father has ever been involved in the case.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Camp x 2

Sweets left on the bus for camp yesterday.  She was excited, but more nervous than I have ever seen her.  Before church, she told me her stomach felt funny.  I asked her if it felt like butterflies, and she said yes.  She and Buddy were the acolytes at church (lighting the candles for the service).  Then they went to Sunday School, and we left immediately to go catch the camp bus. 

Once at the drop off point (after a run through McD's for lunch), Sweets seemed fine and ready to go.  We got her checked in and her stuff loaded on the bus and then said our good-byes.  She seemed fine as she got on the bus.  Then I made the major mistake of coming back to wave good-bye one more time, since the bus hadn't yet left after a twenty minute trip to the bathroom with Buddy and the two little ones.  Sweets mouthed that she wanted to get off the bus and go home with us.  I did my best pantomime act to tell her she would have fun and feel better once the bus left.  I told her to say hi to May and think about riding the horses.  She didn't look convinced, but she didn't make a run for it, either.  I'm sure once the bus started moving, her focus probably changed and she started looking forward instead of back. 

I haven't heard from/about either of them.  In this case, no news is good news.  I'm praying that both May and Sweets have a wonderful experience with lots of stories to tell.  We pick them up on Saturday morning.  Buddy is looking forward to his turn in two weeks.