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

Friday, August 31, 2012

This Week...

was crazy!

Monday: Go to specialist appointment with May at 7:30am; drop her off at school; go to work; swing by home to pick May up for Meet the Teacher night at her Junior High until 9pm.

Tuesday: Vote; drop Rx off at pharmacy for May; go to court for externship; meet May and Buddy at Children's Chorus and attend a mandatory parents' meeting; return home about 8:30pm.

Wednesday: Go to work; leave early to take Precious to well-check doctor's appointment (Buddy tagged along); make follow-up calls for kids' appointments; swing by home and talk briefly to kids at dinnertime; pick up Rx; Buddy went to Cub Scouts; go to hair appointment, getting home late again.

Thursday: Go to work; leave early to go to my doctor's appointment; make multiple phone calls to verify Sweets made it to her Children's Chorus on her side of town; go to May's school for special education orientation; my parents visited us for dinner after their extended summer vacation.

Friday: Go to court for externship; leave early to go to diagnostic test appointment across town; drive about an hour home in rush hour traffic; pick up kids and meet friend for dinner; drop May off to spend night at a friend's; sort little girl clothes to give to another foster home; collapse!

And, this doesn't list all of the routine stuff like laundry, meals, dishes, school paperwork, paying bills, grocery store, bedtime, etc.  Praise the Lord that Miss M is back from her vacation and always extremely helpful!

I'm so glad it's a three day weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Seven Months

Precious is now seven months old, but today was her six month check up at the pediatrician.  She 19 pounds!  Baby food really agrees with her and she is growing like gangbusters!  She is starting to outgrow her 6-9 month clothes.

She can now sit up on her own pretty well.  She has also started rolling across the floor.  She likes to stand when held up.  She has four chompers in her mouth with more on the way.  She can hold a toy in one hand.  Occasionally she will use two hands to keep a toy in her mouth.  She will hold her bottle when reclined or laying down.  She will babble and laugh with glee!  She sleeps great!

Precious is such a sweet little big baby!  I am so glad she joined our family!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bath Time

Both of these kiddos LOVE their baths!

BB is giving Precious a kiss.
Maybe he's got a secret to share as well!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Typical Sunday Night

Last night I drove Sweets home back to her dad's.  (She makes sure to let everyone know her home is with mom, not dad!)  We were a little later than usual, but I was fortunate and had a friend volunteer to stay with the other kids so they could get to bed.

It is about 40 miles to Sweets' house from mine, and it takes 40-45 minutes to get there.  About 8:15pm, I called her dad to let him know we were almost there.  He didn't answer.  At 8:29pm, I called again.  This time he answered and I told him I was in front of his house.

He said he was in the neighborhood and would be there in 10 minutes.  I asked him if he could please come any faster.  He said 5 minutes, and we hung up.  At 8:47pm, he finally pulls in.  Sad part is, it probably would have been even later if I hadn't asked him to come faster!

He gets out of his car by himself.  No Lil Sis!  At least he was in a good mood!  Bad news is that he had to go "pick up" Lil Sis still.  I'm not sure where she was (probably at a friend's or cousin's), but why wasn't she at home at almost 9pm on a school night?  Sweets is in 5th grade, but Lil Sis is only in 1st grade.  It's no wonder they are both tired at school!

If this were an isolated incident, it would not be a big deal, but this is almost a weekly occurrence.  That's a perfect case of parenting to minimally adequate standards, all the law requires to return a child to a parent!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Caught Red Handed

BB was caught red handed (and red faced)

after getting into big sister's lipstick this morning.
Thank goodness he didn't have his shirt
on for church yet!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Missed By That Much

Severance complete - check.

No appeal - check.

Case transferred to adoptions - check.

Adoption case manager home visit - check.

Adoption attorney contacted - check.

Subsidy paperwork - in progress.

Doctor's appointment - next week.

Adoption certification - EXPIRED last Friday!

Adoption home study - filed by agency today.

I must be certified to adopt in order to have my attorney file the petition to adopt with the court.  Precious' case is eligible for an adoption hearing 90 days after the adoption petition is filed.  Unfortunately, now I need to wait until I am recertified to adopt before the petition can be filed.
The adoption case manager indicated that it can take up to three months for the certification to be approved.  My attorney said it is only taking about three weeks from the time the request is filed with the court for the judge who approves my residence region.  I really hope it doesn't take 2+ months from the time my licensing agency files with the state agency to go to the court.  Bottom line, it will likely be one to three months before being able to file the adoption petition.
The worst of this is that the adoption attorney told me today that had she known my certification was about to expire, we could have filed during the last month.  I didn't NEED to wait until the case transferred to adoptions!  Live and learn.  Last time, I was told to call back after the adoption case manager got the case, but then I had a brand new certification and was in no hurry because I wanted to complete developmental testing for BB first.

I'm hoping we can file in September.  I would really like to have this adoption done by the end of the year!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Next Phase

This afternoon I had a doctor's appointment, but I had forgotten something at home that I needed to take.  So I left work a little early in order to run home on the way.  While at home, the phone rang.  I'm compulsive about not missing a phone call, so I answered it...

It was the CPS Adoption Unit. 

They had received Precious' case, and the new adoption case manager was calling to set up a home visit!  Unbelievably, she came out this evening and brought the adoption paperwork packet.  We are one step closer!

Unfortunately, due to some arbitrary assignment protocol and CPS dividing all case managers and all cases into two categories, the adoption case manager that has handled my three previous adoptions cannot handle this case since it is in the opposite arbitrary category.  Ugh!  I'm so disappointed.  It is obvious that both my former adoption case manager and the new one are not happy either, since the reverse has occurred with the new adoption case manager and some of her former families.  Classic case of policy getting in the way of common sense!  Oh well, the new case manager seems nice and is a cube mate of my former adoption case manager.

There must have been a Master plan today, because had I not answered that call, it would have been at least another week before I could have scheduled tonight's home visit!  We are on the move!

Friday, August 17, 2012

So Far So Good

The first week of school for May and Buddy is going well.  They both enjoy seeing their friends again.  Neither has had much homework, but May is willingly stepping up without having to be nagged by mom.  Sweets is still liking school and her teacher.  We are all trying to stay organized.

This weekend is choir camp for Children's Chorus for the oldest three.  I'm going as well and serving on the uniform committee like the last four years.  May made the touring choir this year.  She is really excited.  Buddy and Sweets return to the prep choir.  I'll need to get them all early from school this afternoon.  A super babysitter is staying with BB and Precious.  I know they will be spoiled!

Precious was evaluated for developmental delays three weeks ago at the same place BB goes for OT and speech therapy.  She was diagnosed with delays in both gross and fine motor skills, low muscle tone, and poor trunk control (layman's terms).  They got the report written up, sent to the doctor, and approved by insurance in two weeks.  Can I just say that is amazing?  Precious started OT this week.  She will receive therapy twice a week, the same days as BB.  It's unfortunate that she needs this as a result of her exposure in utero, but I'm so glad she is getting services so early.  Hopefully, she will meet all her goals and be considered "mainstream" before she starts kindergarten like Buddy did. 

On another note,  I received a call from the case manager's supervisor saying Precious' case had been transferred to the adoption unit on Tuesday.  Wasn't that supposed to happen mid-July?!  Anyway, I called the adoptions worker and she hasn't located the case yet.  Hopefully next week we can start the adoption paperwork.

My licensing specialist came out for my annual renewal visit for my foster care license.  It's so nice to have been with the same agency and same licensing specialist for so long.  I remember when this was a stressful time.  Now it is routine and reasonably quick.  I still need to do the online reapplication and budget (yuck!), but otherwise, everything is turned in (two months early!).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Another Year Starts

May started school today. I think she had a good first day back.  It's so hard for me to believe she is in eighth grade.  Next year will be high school.  How fast time flies!

Buddy starts on Wednesday.  Tonight was Meet the Teacher for him.  His fourth grade teacher was also his first grade teacher, and Buddy loves him! 

Both kids are virtually required to have a computer with internet to do their homework.  So far, I have not allowed internet access unless they are monitored, and then only from my computer.  The others in the house can't access the internet.  Guess it's time to move into this century...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Not So Productive

Today was not a very productive day.  That's okay, after a busy and stressful week.

This week I completed the hours for my externship with the juvenile court judge.  She is wonderful, passionate, and amazing.  She is changing the court system for foster children under three, having success (while working herself like crazy), and proving many people wrong.  Baby Court is now over a year old and word is spreading.  Permanency planning occurs at four months; get your act together.  Parents better be progressing and CPS better be doing their job!  For those parents who can't or won't step up, the kids are moving to adoption.  I have seen several cases where babies are legally free in six to nine months.  I have also seen cases where babies are moving back with their parents (albeit still monitored) in less than a year.  We know both options are necessary in our world today.  The good news is that the decision is now on baby time, not adult time.

Last night I picked up both Sweets and Lil Sis.  Their dad offered last weekend to allow Lil Sis to go see the maternal family she had been placed with while in foster care.  This is the first time he has let her see them since Christmas.  She has asked me almost every time she saw me this summer when I would take her too.  I'm glad he followed through after he brought it up last weekend. 

Unfortunately, I couldn't get to their place until about 7:30pm to pick them up.  We really needed to eat dinner, so I opted to go out before driving the 40 miles home.  May went to a friend's house for an overnight birthday party, so five kids under ten and I went to Ol:ve G@rden for dinner.  It was a sight (about made the hostess fall over), but the kids were really pretty good.  Everyone had been warned and was on their best behavior, plus they were hungry!  We had a great waiter and left for home after 9pm. 

It was a late night.  Lil Sis needed some reassuring at bedtime, but she slept well.  BB was up early this morning, so today was another long day.  I dropped Sweets and Lil Sis off before 9am; they are staying until I pick them up for church tomorrow morning. 

Buddy, BB, Precious and I spent some time chilling at a friend's house this morning.  It is another foster family, so we always feel welcome and I don't worry about what the kids might do.  When it was time to leave, the van's battery was dead.  We jumped it and made it home, a fairly lengthy drive.  Due to the long drive to allow it to charge and the fact that I have a charger/starter at home, I didn't worry.

Unfortunately, when it was time to pick up May, dead battery shows off again.  It was REALLY dead.  It wouldn't charge at all, nor did the starter have enough juice.  Luckily, my car that I drive to work did jump it. 

We picked up May (leaving the car running) and then went to the store where I bought the battery.  When they pulled the battery out, the sides were bulging!  So thankful we didn't have a worse problem than not starting!  Over an hour later the replacement (upgrade) was finally finished (apparently ours got delayed out of order - not fun with two cranky little kids). 

It's been a long day and I really didn't accomplish anything I planned, but it was nice to relax this morning.  It was also nice to not get stranded in no man's land with a battery about to explode.

Tomorrow is another day.  After church, we'll see how much I can get done with six kids before the two girls have to go home....  Did I mention school starts this week?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Urgent Care supervisor called back today as he said he would

We have a satisfactory resolution...
  • he admitted he was wrong about a "law" requiring adoption papers to be carried
  • he agreed that questioning should cease when the answer is "Yes" to "Are you mom?"
  • he declared their policy would change soon with appropriate training to follow
  • he indicated the staff member who saw me Monday has been identified and will be "retrained"
Apparently, there were discussions with higher ups today that acknowledged a need to change.  He stated that when a person declares themself to be a parent, "it is not our business to investigate further."

Bottom line - he is going to revise their policy!  I told him I would follow up in a few weeks to understand their new policy!

This supervisor was extremely respectful and courteous and even encouraged me to bring my daughter back for a complementary physical. Since school final registration is tomorrow, I took him up on the offer tonight.  It was a very pleasant experience. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Legally Required - NOT

Today I did receive a call from the Urgent Care supervisor after last night's incident.  He was very apologetic about how things were handled and wanted to be sure to understand my side of the story.  I walked him through line by line.

At first he was upset about the way the questions were asked, not necessarily about the fact that they were asked.  I focused him back on my original question: Is it your policy to ask ALL parents if their child is adopted?  If not, asking purely based on appearance is unacceptable.

The supervisor stated that they needed to make sure that an adult has the right to seek treatment for a given child; that is why they request the adoption paperwork.  I told him I understood that they needed to confirm that, and if there was a statement or a document that caused question, I could understand them asking for proof.  I said what I don't agree with is asking for proof based solely on looks.  I stated I was fairly sure that if my daughter looked like me, the questioning would have stopped with "Are you mom?" 

I told him that I am also a foster parent and am fully aware that I need to care proof that I can seek medical treatment for my foster children, because I am NOT mom.  I stated that I didn't feel the need to carry proof for my daughter who was adopted over nine years ago.

He then said I should be carrying proof, that it was state law.  I asked him to reference the law.  He indicated my adoption paperwork should have indicated that I needed to carry it with me.  I told him my adoption paperwork says that this child is now legally my child with all the rights and responsibilities as if she had been born to me.*  He said he would have to get back to me, but that he would call me tomorrow.

He told me he was going to provide additional training to the employee involved and that he would be revisiting their policy on this issue.  I suggested that, barring warranted suspicion, after the answer is "Yes" to "Are you mom?", no more questions should be asked, regardless of how the family looks. Perhaps to cover themselves, they should have all parents sign a check-in document that states they are legally allowed to seek treatment for this child.  I told him I have signed such a document at another nighttime pediatric urgent care that I have used on several occasions.  He liked that idea and thanked me for the suggestion. 

I then went one further and told him that if there was a legitimate reason to ask for proof, they should be asking for a birth certificate, not adoption paperwork.  The birth certificate has my name and my daughter's name and could be asked for when it was not an adoptive parent as well.  I said I did not feel the need to bring out my daughter's adoption paperwork (and references to her birth name and parents in front of her) to prove I am her parent.  Yes, she knows she is adopted, but all those details don't need to be shared just to get a physical.

The supervisor said he understood my perspective and it was time to update their policy.  I thanked him and said that was my goal when I called last night.  Times have changed.  I told him I looked forward to his next call with the answer to the "law" he referenced.

Perhaps all that happened was for a good reason.  Now, if I can just get her a physical before school registration on Thursday!

*Upon further investigation, my adoption order simply says this adult and minor child "shall and do bear toward each other the relationship of parent and child."  However, I specifically remember the judge using the language above during the adoption hearing.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Selective Enforcement

May needs a physical for school final registration on Thursday.  Yes, that is in three days and I haven't done anything about it yet.  Even if I could get her an appointment with her pediatrician, then we would be in a bind next year because insurancce will only pay for one physical per year.  Since she has had a couple non-well-check appointments recently, I just haven't worried about the physical.

So, I decided to take her to an advertised walk-in Urgent Care that offers fast, cheap school/sports/camp physicals. We walked in and there was only one other family in the waiting room and one person in line - good start.

We got up to the counter, and the girl there asked who needed to be seen. I pointed to May beside me and said she needs a school physical and showed the form from school.

Girl: Photo ID and Insurance, please.

Me: Do you want my photo ID? She doesn't have one. Insurance won't cover it. You advertised $25.

Girl: I don't need the insurance card. Your ID is fine. Are you Mom?

Me: Yes.

G: Is she adopted?

M: Yes.

G: Do you have the court order?

M: Yes, at home.

G: We need a copy.

M: I didn't bring it.

G: We can't see her without it. It's our policy.

M: Would you ask me that question if she were Caucasian?

G: Don't pull the race card on me. (rather hostile)

M: Would you ask me that question if she looked like me?

G: Don't you have the paperwork?

M: Yes, but I'm not driving 10 miles home to get it.

G: Then we can't see her.

M: I have her immunization record and her insurance card. 

G: We need the court paperwork.  It's our policy.

I was really steaming by this point.  WE LEFT! 

From the car, I called their main phone number, and when the lady asked how she could help me, I said I have only one question: Is it your policy to ask ALL parents if their child is adopted?


I told her I just made a special trip to their Urgent Care for a student physical and was refused service because my daughter is a different race than I am and I didn't bring court paperwork with me.  She apologized and said it was their policy to require court paperwork when a child is adopted.  I pointedly said, that was not my question.  My question is DO YOU ASK ALL PARENTS IF THEIR CHILD IS ADOPTED?

She asked if I wanted to leave a message for the supervisor.  I told her I did and left a pointed voice mail message about their policy requesting a callback tomorrow. Unless you ask ALL parents if their child is adopted, don't ask me to prove she is my child.

I'm tempted to go to another one of their clinics tomorrow with her official birth certificate, although I shouldn't have to have that either.  If she looked like me, I am virtually certain the questioning would have stopped with "Are you mom?"  Next time, I'll be half tempted to answer "No" to "Is she adopted?" to see what they do then! 

I just wish I would have turned to the single race family in the waiting room and asked them loudly, "Did they ask you if your child was adopted?"

We'll see what the supervisor has to say tomorrow.  If he indicates they ask all parents (which I'm sure they don't), I'm tempted to take BB in and see if they ask me if he is adopted!  Probably not worth the effort!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Rough Weekend

Sweets was a handful this weekend.  She wasn't able to come last weekend, so she had been at her dad's with virtually no rules and minimal sleep for almost two weeks, compounded with the first two weeks of school.  I was able to pick her up earlier than expected on Friday afternoon, but her aunt told me she had been misbehaving with some of the other kids earlier in the week.  Her aunt didn't tell her dad, because she knows Sweets listens more to me and her dad just gets mad.  Unfortunately, her dad overheard and got mad anyway.  She was still allowed to come with me, since I was already there.

It started on the way home as she complained about being hungry, but then didn't like any of the options for dinner.  I think she just needed to vent.  Her legs were covered in bug bites and she had scratched one place almost raw.  I told her she needed to take a shower as soon as we got home so I could put medicine on her legs and hopefully they would stop itching.  She fussed about the shower.  She fussed about every topic that came up.  I should have seen the signs and just put her to bed quickly Friday night, but I didn't. 

Saturday came and it started again while we were getting portraits of Precious.  Sweets did well until Buddy wanted attention too.  Then the two of them escalated, couldn't keep their hands to themselves, gave dirty looks, and said mean things.  Sweets also gave BB anything and everything he wanted, just to make him happy.  This included candy at breakfast time, snacks without asking, and Buddy's DS player.  So now all three of them were upset as things got corrected.  Thankfully, May was helpful, but she was frustrated too.

Later in the day, as I took the kids to meet friends to go bowling, Sweets decided she didn't want to participate.  Then she did; then she didn't.  I finally lashed out at her and her comeback (not that it hadn't been said earlier) was that she wished she didn't come with me and she never wanted to come back.  Ugh!  How that rips your heart out when you know it isn't true but you can feel her hurt. 

She improved a little during dinner, mostly thanks to May.  But she was on the edge the rest of the evening.  By then she was just pushing my buttons left and right.  I was able to get her in bed by 9pm and she slept over ten hours straight.  She needed that so much!

Today was a better day.  It wasn't great, but it was definitely better.  Church went well and both Sweets and Buddy enjoyed Sunday School.  The sermon was about service and how that was what Jesus asked of us.  It was mentioned that the jr/sr high youth group is focusing on various service projects this fall.  It is a shift in focus after hiring an associate pastor to lead the youth.  Several other church youth groups are investing in multimedia and other high tech draws to build their youth groups.  It is refreshing to me that ours is not focused on that.  It is even better that May agrees!

Lunch was spaghetti with homemade sauce, Sweets' favorite.  That helped too.  I did make everyone rest for a while during BB's nap.  Sweets and Buddy managed to get along for a while after that. 

This evening we had a nice time swimming at the house of the friend Buddy made during our Alaska cruise.  It is still unbelievable to me that Buddy and this friend hit it off on the cruise (with only seven kids age 8-12 on the whole ship) and the friend's family lives about four miles from Sweets!  This family is great with very similar values to ours.  In addition to Buddy's friend, they have a four year old daughter that played well with BB.  It was nice to relax.

Sweets went home well after that.  She was in a much better mood and was looking forward to coming back next Friday.  I think we will go to bed early that night!  Her dad was in a good mood when I dropped her off and even asked if I might take Lil Sis to go see her aunt and uncle next weekend.  This is a very positive development.  Of course, I'm realistic that this could change at any time, but let's hope for a good weekend next week!

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Today we went to have portraits taken of Precious. 

The good news: they turned out fantastic!  I bought a package which included the CD and the rights to reproduce.  I use Sea*rs with a very specific photographer.  We even got this blog-friendly pose accidentally!  I love all the different choices. 

The bad news: Precious is over six months old and these are her first formal portraits.  I have never waited that long to have pictures taken for any foster child.  Worse yet, I knew from early on that she was likely staying, so I should have had many taken by now.  Bad mom; bad, bad mom.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

There are Two

Two tiny little white teeth peeking out of Precious' bottom gum!

She is getting so big!

Tonight she sat in a high chair at a restaurant for the first time.
She managed to sit up through all of dinner.

Precious is also getting better sitting on her own without support.

She has graduated from the kitchen sink
to the larger laundry room sink for bathtime as well.

We have also done a few baths in the regular bathtub
where she likes to lie down.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Last week May attended a sewing class sponsored by a local Quilters An*nymous group.  The girls went M-F afternoons for three hours.  May and her friend were able to participate together and made some fabulous projects.

May first made a pillowcase which she now uses every night.  The detailed edging is a hint of the quilting group!

Her second project was this fancy potholder which she proudly displays whenever we need to put something hot on the table.

May then made this clutch purse which she has started carrying.  It is strips of fabric sewn together and has a self-snapping top made from an old metal tape measure. How clever!

Here May is displaying her fourth project, her own apron, which she wore while cooking fried zucchini the other day with Miss M.  They did receive a fifth project which was a shoulder bag, but they didn't have time to finish it.  Hopefully we can get to it soon.

She had a great time (and a very productive one as well)!  May is quite talented and interested when it comes to old school homemaking skills.  She loves to cook, sew, knit, and ???  Wonder what will be next?