Thursday, August 31, 2006

Too Bad

Well, I do have some filters and do exercise a bit of propriety. And it’s too bad. Because something very funny happened to night that is unbloggable for a preacher’s wife.

And I also have the worst back ache ever. I guess I’ve been working too hard or at least sitting too long or something, but I’m in a great deal of pain.

So I’m going to try to see if I can get people to go to bed tonight at a reasonable hour so that I can go as well. (A constant theme in our home).

And Court is Over Once Again

Very routine, but it still makes me nervous to have our son in the same room with us refusing to speak to us. It makes me nervous to have a group of people in a room behind closed doors discussing us without allowing our input. Makes me nervous that they are going to read over the huge long file of all the ways we were blamed for John's behavior over the last 2 years. (We even have a letter blaming us for inappropriately accusing them of blaming us.)

But it is over, and Bart has given me the gift of letting me come over to his quiet church office for a few minutes to take care of a detail I've been needing to do for a while for church (importing addresses into his powerbook). It is nice and cool and very quiet in here. However, my TTB is already asking me to empty it and the bathroom is more steps than I want to take. So I may not stay as long as planned. (just had to mention it. I love theme humor.

Heading Off to Court yet Again

We have to go to court for John again. I’m not even sure what is supposed to happen today. I just know we need to show up. I have PTSD (a mild, form, I realize) about court and I do not look forward to this one either. I’ve been working hard not to think about it at all.

Bart dared to suggest today that perhaps the reason that his blog has increased readership and mine is slightly decreasing might have something to do with writing style.

He quoted the phrase “pee at will” as an example. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?

The Upside of a TTB

I can pee at will. Because my bladder is so small, I can go whenever I need to. Unlike Sadie, who because she has had various systems for a while, I took to the dr. today and could not, for over 20 minutes, pee in the cup. So that made us late for the appointment. The whole endeavor took two hours and the result was that there is nothing at all wrong with her.

I’m glad there is nothing at all wrong with her, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve been telling her there isn’t for weeks now...

For Dustin

Made Me Cry

Bart's Post this morning made me cry. It’s powerful and can offer a ray of hope to anyone wondering if there is any.

Making Myself Crazy

I’ve been trying to get this “perfect” for 20 minutes and I could obsess for another few hours on it, but it’s going to have to be done. Hope it shows you just how cute the kids were we met last night.


I can’t wait to see what appears in my google ads now that I’m going to blog about this, but oh well. It will give you interesting reading as you click your way to finding out about the nasal membrane irritating flaming hot cheetos. But more on that in a minute.

When I was in college one of my best friends was a pre-med student. Now he and his wife are both doctors. In fact, we saw them last summer and you can see their kids in this post. I used to ask him questions that I’d be too embarrassed to as a regular doctor back in the day. Once I asked him about why I had to urinate (OK, pee) so often. He said, well, you might have TTB. That didn’t sound good. He let me worry for a few minutes and then told me that TTB stands for Teeny Tiny Bladder.

Well, I am very annoyed with my TTB this morning. Last night at Kari’s I had to have a lot of pop because I had too much salty but very tasty pizza. And so last night I had to get up at 12:30, at 2, at 3:30, at 5:30, and again at 6:20. When I woke up at 6:20 Bart was already up ironing his clothes (yes, ladies (and gentlemen who want to be shamed) he does laundry and irons AND cooks). I talked to him a while and felt pretty good. But then I went back to sleep and at 7:30 I went to sleep and my TTB re-awakened me in a funky part of my sleep cycle. Now I have a headache, feel groggy, and can’t even make myself want to do a thing. If I had a BHB (Big Huge Bladder) I would probably either still be asleep, or have slept until I woke up at a better phase of REM. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

Now, on to the clicking. I’ve decided to set a goal for you. If you can click enough to hit $15 in one day (you were up to $10.49 yesterday) I’ll tell you the flaming hot cheeto nasal invasion story. I’m sure this isn’t quite what Google had in mind for this, but whatever it takes. Hope I’m not violating that user agreement thing that I clicked and said I read that I really didn’t read. Anyway, I digress. For those of you being dedicated to clicking away, you should know that you need to click only a time or two a day -- because multiple clicking from the same sight stops working after a while.

Now, one final thing. If you google from my blog and then click on what you see there, that works too. So now, everyone start googling from my page alone and you’ll hit that $15.00 today and as soon as you do, I will do my best to provide you with an excellent mental picture of what has now been come to know as “the cheeto episode.”

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What Kind of Person Wakes up to My Life on Purpose and Likes it?

Here’s a picture of a new friend of ours who came to visit Kari today. I crashed the party and we found out that she starts her day reading our blogs. How sick is that? We had a great time though, as this picture shows, and I took lots of pictures of her adorable kids that I’m going to do cool things with soon.

We shared ideas and resources, but mostly just had some fun. HIghlights of the night included a visit from the hedgehog, taking pictures of the kids “hineys” (as they call them -- they moved here from the south, basketball, play dough, and lots of photo opportunities. Bart even joined us for supper. After they left I came back with more kids for round two of pizza and pop and s’mores.

We look forward to seeing this unnamed yet pictured friend again soon, and to spending more time with her great kids.

The night ended with Dominyk hiding in a closet at Kari’s so he wouldn’t have to come home. He was trying to convince me to trade him for Adam so that Ben and he could be together all the time and Adam and Tony could as well. Then he said he’d settle for just having Kari adopt him. I don’t know that she’s interested.

The Stuck on Stupid Chair

I learned the phrase, “stuck on stupid” from Cindy. I’m sure it isn’t politically correct, well, maybe in rural Georgia it is, but I use it anyway.

I use it when my kids get stuck where they can’t make themselves move in the right direction. They know they are heading for consequences, but whatever I am asking them to do they can’t make themselves do it. Whether it is answering a question, telling the truth, apologizing, or moving on to obey a directive, it’s like they are frozen in time.

This is the chair in my office where many of my children get “stuck on stupid.” Today, Sadie was there, having told me three lies in a row about something she didn’t need to lie about at all. When I tried to get her to answer my question as to the motive for the lie, she froze.

Then, as I went to take a picture of her “stuck on stupid” as I have been known to do in the past, she dove under the desk to hide, making an even more blogable story.

I finally got her heading in the write direction by making her bedtime earlier in five minute increments. Maybe next time she has to choose, the truth will come out. Or maybe not. But at least i know I’m doing my part in heading my kids in the right direction.

Radio Broadcast This Week

You Gotta Believe! Is hosting a weekly live call in parent support group broadcast.  The adopting teens and tweens radio show can be heard this Sunday from 8:00PM until 9:00PM ( Eastern time).  People who live in Nassau County, most of Queens, Western Suffolk & Parts of Brooklyn can tune into WGBB 1240 on your am dial.  If you reside outside of these areas you may listen on line to a live stream by logging onto
This week You Gotta Believe is hosting a great Show.  If you missed the June broadcast of Beats and Blessings you can tune in Sunday September 3,2006 to this weeks radio broadcast. We will air this fantastic program featuring Craig and Teddy.  Craig is in the process of adopting Teddy and they share their very unique story on the radio show.
Beats and Blessings is a Hip Hop gospel program that encourages youth to rap and sing about positive messages.  Our listening audience will have an opportunity to listen to music performed by adolescents who are making positive choices in their lives. 
This is a Show that you Won't want to Miss.

Now THAT'S what I'm Talking About

Since I posted my philosophy on blog advertising, I've done much better.

Keep clicking and I might even tell you how I got flaming hot cheeto crumbs in my nasal passages.

Last NIght's Fun Times

Kari, feeling sorry for me because Bart the cook was gone, had those of us who were here over for supper. Barbequed Chicken, corn on the cob, triple berry crisp and ice cream. Of course it was awesome! And the kids had a great time. Not only that, but BONUS TIME -- Adam invited Tony to spend the night. Great idea, Adam!

Bart and the kids returned home safely and Bart had an awesome conversation with Mike. When Bart is hopeful, that’s a good sign, because I’m usually the “susie sunshine” if we have one in our house. We’re waiting to decide what the county is going to recommend as far as his future.

Lots on the docket for today, including lots of matching activity, which no matter how much of it I do, I still enjoy. Also have a meeting and get to go back to Kari’s to meet a new friend who reads our blogs!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My Philosophy on Blog Advertising

Some of my friends think that it cheapens the blog to have advertising on it. And I respect their decisions. I guess I look at it as a way to justify the amount of time I spend making blogs that are interesting to people, that are updated regularly and that are helpful.

Blogs are supposed to be free, and that is why I would never put a tip jar on or ask for donations. I am doing this as a labor of love. But if I can put a few ads on and people can click on them once and a while and I can make 20 or 30 a month, why not? It’s not like it’s costing anyone anything to click.

In fact, when I am going to a blog now that has advertising, I’m clicking once and a while. Just because I want to say thanks to the person who is putting the blog together. Not because I’m even necessarily interested in the product, but because I know that the blog writer will benefit.

Well, when I asked people to click, they clicked and I was making $3.00 or $4.00 a day for less than 20 clicks. And now nobody is remembering to click, which is OK, except those accidentally who are interested in something they see advertised, and I’m making 25 cents a day.

I will have my blog out there, as I have for a year, and I will update it regularly and I will keep it as relevant and interesting and colorful and helpful as possible. I will also attempt to build the other blogs that I have created like the Adoption Think Tank and Adoption Blog Central. And if I can make $20 a month through ads, that will be great, and if not, that’s OK too. I really don’t think I’m going to get rich doing this with the limited amount of time I have to invest in it.

I don’t know if anyone cares about any of this, but I’m looking at blog advertising differently now and thought I’d share it. For me, a click is a thank you, and I“m trying to do more of it. But please don’t feel like you have to click. You can visit and never click forever and I’ll not hold it personally.

Of course, I’ll never know who clicks and who doesn’t, so I couldn’t really feel bad or good about you based on your clicking anyway, could I?

Feeling Like it Might be Worth It

I just returned from an adoption finalization that was very empowering. Two children who were placed in February and REALLY hard. The family has done awesome with them. It was pure joy to see these very cute kids get a forever home.

I haven’t heard yet how the visit with Mike went, but today is one of those days when I feel like what we (as in us adoptive parents) are doing is well worth the effort. Giving kids permanency, at the risk of our own sanity, is what they HAVE to have. We need to continue to live knowing that it isn’t about us.

Watching kids heal, slowly, is both a painful process and a very gratifying one. And there’s still nothing that beats the feeling of knowing that I was a part of making a forever family a reality for a child.

Last night

Last night Salinda had her fall sports meeting. So we went to the Auditorium at the new high school to be surrounded by other 7th and 8th grade boys and girls who were less than thrilled to be seen sitting with their parents. Salinda was probably least thrilled of all.

However, once it was over, she was feeling much better about things and actually joined me for a nice quick supper at Taco Bell, just the two of us. Then Tony asked if I would watch a movie with them, so I took my laptop into the family room and worked/watched Peter Pan. He was being the “host” and did a great job of serving everyone snacks. He was in a fine mood.

Of course, by bedtime Salinda, who has been skirting around most of the expectations of our home, decided she could have ice cream without asking, which I told her she could not have. So, after I had made sure that she put it away, she refused to be civil to me. I told her I was not surprised that regardless of how things went during the day, and how much she was able to get from me, that if one thing happened at night, she couldn’t say goodnight. I told her I loved her and went to bed.

Pretty uneventful night. Not quite as eventful as Bart's night in his hometown.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Aw, Mom, Five HOURS

On Saturday the picnic I keep referring to was located on the property of some wonderful people who have refurbished a barn into the "Timothy Center" -- a place for ministry for groups of people. Indoors there is a play area for children, an indoor pool, a seating area for adults, foosball, ping pong, a kitchenette and bathrooms! It's awesome.

As I mentioned before, my kids had a blast. Dominyk waited for most of the day until the indoor pool was mostly cleared out and then he tried on the scuba gear. Right before we had to leave I said, "Five minutes, Dominyk" to which he responded, "Aw Mom, five HOURS."

Think he was having fun?

Lots of Littles

The picnic we went to on Saturday had several families with lots of "littles." If you are a large adoptive family, you know that you tend to divide your family into "big kids" and "little kids" even when the little kids get big. Sometimes, if you're a VERY large adoptive family, you might even have "biggers" "middles" and "littles" or some variation of the above.

This is a picture of some of the littles at our picnic of 6 families that brought along 42 kids. (And most of us left at least a kid or two at home).

Ever Filling In Box & Other Ramblings

For a change I’ve been able to work almost the whole day. Bart took three kids up to his mother’s to spend the night and see his family and then they are going up to see Mike. That leaves me here with 4 kids. Rand is being the taxi today and people are busy. Since I’ve been up since 5:30 I may take a nap this afternoon.

My inbox just won’t get under control. I have been working steady since 6:15 on my email, and there are still 43 messages in the box. Every time I respond to one or two another couple pop in there... I’m sure people get sick of me posting the number of messages in my in box, and it is pretty pathetic that that is such a huge part of my life, but it sure is!

Note to Self

When eating Flaming Hot Cheetos, do not lick fingers and put them on keyboard. Pink juice forms on keys, making sticky mess.

Dissonance and Yet...

I couldn’t resist -- I entered the Weekly Challenge for the Faithwriters website. The topic of the week was “Melody” and here is what I came up with.

Dissonance and Yet…

Ten kids. All adopted. Most with special needs. Behaviors, outbursts, temper tantrums, fights, arguments, music blaring, parents correcting, balls bouncing, TVs on too loud, doors opening and shutting. Washing machine, dryer, two showers, dishwasher all running at once. Playstation and computer game noises sifting through the air. A scream, a cry, and even the noises of an occasional kiss or kind word all blending into what most would perceive as nothing more than cacophony of meaningless noise. Just as dissonance in music, to the untrained ear, is annoying and worthless, a visitor in my home might find our symphony unbearable.

But a music critic will tell you that just as a well-written story has struggles that must be resolved, a truly great peace of music must include smooth harmonies that are stirred up by minor keys or a jarring combination of notes that will eventually be resolved again into a pleasing melody. In fact, dissonance is something that music lovers look for in classical music – it is a sign of the work of a genius.

Our current work in progress is not one that most would attempt and there are obviously musical endeavors easier to execute. But what makes our performance possible is not the music we see in front of us, but our confidence in the Composer and Conductor Himself. For though He only allows us to see one page at a time, we are convinced that the resolution of the dissonance will occur and that the result will be a work of beauty.

What we do not always hear because we are distracted by those instruments blaring closest to our ears is the subtle soft melody of the Master. If we listen closely, amidst the mayhem, we can hear it … the song that never stops playing, the backdrop for all the rest.. It plays clearly, it plays softly, but anyone who enters our lives, if they will take the time to listen, can hear it and join us in celebrating this musical masterpiece of God.

Whatever You Do ...

do not get flaming hot cheeto crumbs up your nasal passage. I just did it. It was not fun.

A First

I think this is one of the first times since we started blogging that I have posted earlier in the morning than Cindy. I woke up at 5:15 this morning and could not go back to sleep. After lying there for an extra 45 minutes, I finally decided sleep was not going to happen, so I got up instead.

The thoughts that were filling my mind were of the decision we made last night. We talked with the other kids last night about how we had a chance to decide if we were willing to let Mike come back home. We don’t know even, that if we are willing, they will still send him here, but we had to make that decision. We explained to them that if he were to return home, they HAD to help him do the right thing, instead of following him on the wrong path. I think most of them got it and they have all pledged to at least try to help him make good decisions and to not follow his lead.

So we are going to tell the county this morning that if everyone is in agreement, he’d be welcome to come home. So I was spending my not-sleeping-but-in-bed-anyway hours trying to figure out the best approach to take if they allow him to return home.

To respond to an earlier comment, a slow transition from where Mike is would be pretty difficult as he is 7 or 8 hours from here. This is his senior year and he wants to go into graphic arts -- he has a ton of talent. The charter school where Rand and Tony are planing to go would be a perfect fit academically for Mike -- it has an art and technology focus and he is very into both of those. The challenge is that he would immediately meet up with every kid in town who could take him down the worst possible road if he’ll let them.

So, my mind is churning with how we can best set Mike up to succeed. And I’m not sure I have the answers. But the bottom line is that if we let him come home now he will have the best chance. If he stays in the foster care system, he will walk away the day he turns 18, not graduate, go everywhere he can, living where he can, until he hits bottom and then he will come home. I guess you could say we’re trying to be pro-active.

I guess we’ll see how it all turns out. And, as you know by now, you’ll get to be right here, reading “the rest of the story” as it unfolds.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

An Afternoon of Work

I just redid our website. The picture on it was a whole year old and everyone’s grades and ages were done. IT took me over two hours (I always think it is going to be an easy job, but it never is).

And yes, I put Google Ads all over everything. I figure the more clicks the better. Someday when I have time I’ll blog about my philosophy on that.

So visit all the pictures and click away....

Family Website

Bart's Been a Bloggin

A heartwarming description of Dominyk and his new love life was blogged this afternoon and he told about his trip to take Kyle back to college last night. I love it when he blogs as he definitely warms my heart with the way he words things.

Sunday morning, round 500 something

Wow. That’s a lot of Sundays to get kids ready for church. But we started parenting almost 10 years ago (we are a little over a month short of our tenth anniversary from when Tony moved into our house as a 19 month old). You can read about that day in chapter three of the book if you’re interested.

Anyway, ten times 52 is 520, and we’ve probably not missed more than 10, so I guess we’ve probably passed the ten year mark of getting kids ready for church. Today they have to wear red to sing for the VBS program so we’re scrambling to find red things to wear...

This morning has gone better than most so far. But I’m not knocking on wood in this house. It just makes things worse every time. :-)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Fun Times but No Time to Blog About It

Six Families totalling 9 adults and 42 children on one farm with a cool barn turned youth center -- a grill, lots of food to share, ice cream, swimming. And I even took some good pictures which hopefully I can put together to share tomorrow. But I haven’t even had time to talk to Bart about his day adn I promised the kids I’d watch a movie with them, so the full report will have to come tomorrow.

Again, Bart Explains it Better

The situation about Mike is much better articulated by my husband in this post he wrote this morning.

One More Picture from Last Night

I don't usually get excited about my photography, but I thought the picture of Anna looking out the window, framed by trees in the background, was so serene. I loved it.

But everything changes so quickly with children....

Facing another hard decision

If you’ve been a follower of the blog long, you know that we let Mike come home from residential treatment on Christmas Day. And then right after his birthday in March the decision was made that he would not be living with us. If you really want to understand why, go back and read the blog end of February and March. Very stressful time for us.

In the beginning of June, the reports to court indicated that no efforts should be made to reunify our family because Mike “deserves to spend the rest of his childhood in a family that cares.” The social worker explained to us that Mike had indicated that he wanted our parental rights terminated and asked the social worker to refer to us no longer as Mom and Dad but “Bart and Claudia.” From that point on the probation officer and guardian ad litem requested no further contact with us.

I asked the guardian ad litem and social worker if they could give me one good reason why the parental rights of a 17 year old should be terminated if he had parents who were not abusive nor neglectful and who were committed to him for life. She said, “I have had the rights of a child that age terminated before so that his foster parents could adopt him.” I pointed out that at this time he didn’t have anyone wanting to adopt him. (Though I sometimes wonder if she didn’t think that she could find some who would).

Well, it didn’t quite go the way she had planned, if that indeed was her plan. His foster home placement lasted less than 2 weeks. He then went to shelter care where he ran continuously. He wrote on his bed there, so the county encouraged the shelter facility to press charges for vandalism to property. He was arrested and drug tested, where he tested positive for marijuana -- ended up in the detention center, which is why he ended up up north at a wilderness detention camp.

And now, he’s 3 weeks from graduation. And guess what? Everyone thinks he should come home. They want to know what we think.

We’ve talked about it at length. What do you think we should think?

Dominyk and Ben

These guys are like two peas in a pod. The first day they were together when they would say the same phrases at the same time I knew we were in trouble. They have spent a lot of sweaty hours together doing boy things this summer and 90% of the time get along great. The other times, well.... let’s not ruin a good blog entry with reference to those times.

But they always seem to forgive each other and move on.

Last night Ben dressed up in Tony’s football gear for a picture -- and of course, Ben couldn’t resist the bunny ears attempt when they posed together for this shot.

Kyle and Anna

As you can read about in Kari's blog Kyle has been working with Ben this summer as his PCA. In the process of doing so he has developed a unique relationship with Anna. I have really enjoyed watching Kyle with her as I can see that he really enjoys her. And she idolizes him. When I see him with her I see a whole different side of his personality and realize just what a great teacher he is going to be (he’s studying elementary ed).

Today Kyle will go back to college. Last year, I blogged about this. This summer, because of our move, Kyle has been her almost ALL the time. He had no other friends, so unless he was with Ben’s family working, he was here with his siblings. It’s going to be weird around here without him.

I’ll miss him, but I so remember what it was like to be him -- so excited to go back to college and see his friends. I counted the minutes every time I went home until I could go back again. So while I’m sad to see him go, I’m happy that he has a place to go that he loves and that he is excited to be doing exactly what he is supposed to be doing -- getting decent grades at a Christian university that we pray will help to mold him into the person we know he can become.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Many Faces of Anna

They did come and we had a great meal and a great time. Three kids bled, a window and the picnic table got broken, and the "small project" we had for Mike to finish took almost 3 hours, but it was a great time. I took lots of pictures, which I'll blog more of tomorrow, but I couldn't resist putting this composition I am titling "The Many Faces of Anna" together tonight for your viewing pleasure.

Are They Here Yet?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder makes for an interesting life, especially when it is in a mild form. Now I am not saying that it is an easy life for anyone nor would I want to have it in any extreme form, but Dominyk’s can sometimes be amusing for me. I don’t know why I find it amusing as opposed to it driving me completely insane ... maybe it’s because we’ve had him since he was a baby (9 months), but when he gets stuck on something I can pretty much respond appropriately and be cheerful.

I do not exaggerate when I say that within a 5 minute time frame he asked 20 times “Are they here yet?” We are waiting for Kari and her family to arrive (yup, you guessed it, we need the shower in the upstairs bathroom fixed). Sometimes we get a good deal -- Mike comes over and does a huge project for take out pizza. But tonight I think they’re getting the deal... it should be a simple project and Bart has spent the day in the kitchen -- sauce made from tomatoes from the garden of a parishioner with his own blend of spices added to a homemade lasagna. Fresh loaves of homemade Italian bread (and not from a machine) and two kinds of dessert -- frosted buttermilk brownies AND chocolate chip bars.

Anyway, I digress. Dominyk sat and said “Are they here yet” 20 times, “Can you look outside and see if they are here yet?” ten times and several other variations of the request. “When are they going to get here?” “Why aren’t they here yet?” “Why didn’t you tell them to come earlier?”

So I just listened, answered when I could, and shot this picture...he looks pretty irritated with me, huh?

Anybody Else having Trouble with Blogger?

It's driving me nuts.

The Clippers

Salinda cut Tony's hair today.

The rest of the mohawk will be coming off, but it was cute for a day.

Google Ads

I’m cracking up. Apparently google ads searches through the text on the page to find key words and puts them together to select what things to offer you.

Since I mentioned that I was completely alone, except for the dog, in one post, and in another post stated that I preferred farting boy testosterone to estrogen, the two choices for you to click on at this moment are:

“Walter the Farting Dog” and “Don’t Fret Dog Flatulence.” Apparently you you can train your dog and stop his flatulence.

Let me tell you, I don’t fret a lot, but in this house, we have bigger issues to fret than dog flatulence.

Morning's Half Over, Not Much Accomplished

Well, Tony and Adam have decided to join Rand at the Charter School so I took Tony there today for his consultation. It’s a great program, but it is going to require a lot of work on our part as parents. I think Tony will really like it, but his organizational skills are not the best and he’s going to have to log in over 450 hours of out of the classroom work. Ugh.

Kari's Post and the quote there are incredibly appropriate for her work, and she is quite passionate about what she does. She and her family are coming over for dinner tonight -- it’s probably been three or four weeks since they’ve had a meal with us.

Kyle is going back to college tomorrow. Bart made him the breakfast of his choice today -- sausage gravy and biscuits, homemade hash browns, eggs and bacon. It was really good.

My desks (I have two now) are covered, my in box is at 158, and my list of things to do is endless. Very little time... so much to do... and yet I’m fortunate enough to love what I do. And that makes a huge difference.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pretty Cool

If you go to the You Gotta Believe website and look down at the bottom of the column on the right, you’ll see links to a couple of blogs.

Pretty cool, huh?

John and Mike Update

We have had a phone call from the RTC where John is residing. He is not doing well. He is under the assumption, we believe, that if he is bad enough he can get kicked out. Since this worked for him at a shelter care facility in October of 2004, and a foster home in November of 2004, and in shelter care again in March of 2005, the psych hospital in May of 2005 and even a detention facility that same month, he has learned behavior. Except that this time it is costing him his right to play football at the new facility/school and is simply extending his stay. They say they aren’t going to kick him out, no matter how many chairs he throws at them or how many times he cusses them out or how many times they have to restrain him (apparently, they have to notify us when he is restrained, so we’re getting some phone calls.

We also have had a couple conversations with Mike. Apparently he is going to be completing his program in his detention center on September 15th. There is a staffing tomorrow, which we were not asked to attend, to discuss his future. It will be interesting to see what they recommend. Mike thinks he wants to come home, but we just aren’t sure we’re open for another ride around the same downhill spiral again. Time will tell.

Increasing Blog Traffic

Somehow over the past week I have gotten stuck on learning as much as I can about blogs and how they work, why people read them, what a good blog consists of, how to get more people to read the blog, etc....

Many people suggest that if you want to get more traffic you can add words to your blog just so people will visit, like pornography (to go to the filthy extreme) or impeach (to go to the political extreme) or Mario Vasquez (OK, I didn’t know who he was either, but apparently he quit American Idol back in 2005 and it was hot news.

Well, I’m not sure I’m willing to go so far as to try to find out how to get people here, because the focus of the blog is not to get people here just to flatter my ego or to gain sympathy. I really am on a mission to support adoptive parents and help prepare pre-adoptive parents for the lives that lie ahead.

Maybe I should use some key phrases “child available for adoption” (although maybe some people might think that the kids on my blog are available... would that be a bad thing??? of course it would ... sorry, I digress) or “let us help you find your child” or “let me point you to some waiting children.”

I think my best bet though, is in not trying to increase my blog traffic, but just making sure that you who are here have a reason to keep coming back.

Getting Excited

OK, I’ve dedicated a few hours I don’t have to get the new websites up and running today.

I’m excited because Adoption Blog Central already has 6 blogs on it and the Adoption Think Tank has 11 professionals on the professionals panel and 4 parents on the parent panel.

Check them out! I think it’s exciting.

Separating Thoughts

In attempting to get a couple other blogs off the ground, I’m having a hard time deciding what goes there and what belongs here, but since this is my “brain dump” page, I will put everything here and then repeat myself on the other blogs I guess.

if you are a friend of mine and are assuming that I will add your blog to Adoption Blog Central. I’m not going to unless you email me and tell me to, so that’s why it isn’t there if you thought it was going to be automatically placed there (I’ve found that assumptions make people kinda crazy).

If you are a professional or parent who wants to serve on the “Panel of Experts” for the adoption think tank, you can email me and you can check out more details here. However, be aware that I am redoing the websites in regular blogger right now because blogger beta has driven me nearly over the edge the past two days.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Little Dissappointed

Beta Blogger is letting me down. I have been working on improving the look on the two new blogs tonight and it let me do what I wanted to do and then it wouldn’t and I’m frustrated.

I’m going to have to take a break from it all as I’m getting too stressed by it. And I’m tired. But that’s OK... bedtime isn’t far away.

Estrogen vs. Testosterone

I have jokingly said, being in the process of raising 5 teenage boys at once, that I am living in a testosterone fog...

However, I am quickly learning that a testosterone fog is NOTHING compared to the mist of estrogen that lingers in the air.

Today I had to take our oldest daughter to an orthodontist appointment 2 hours from here and I ended up having to take a few other kids with us because there was no one to care for them -- and a couple of them were kids she didn’t want along. Following her lead, our other daughter got an attitude.

It was seriously hard to breathe in the van because of the estrogen mist. They were glaring, they were huffing, they were staring, they were sighing. Their displeasure was palpable.

But it dissipated, just like the mist, after a half hour or so and the rest of the day went pretty well.

But give me anger filled, farting, burping, loud, obnoxious, butt slapping, stupid joking, smelly socked testosterone any day.

That Twinkle in his Eye

You can't really tell with this picture, but in the morning before he is medicated, Dominyk is full of way too much life. He came in to my office this morning with no intention to follow directions and every plan to try to annoy me.

Bart had a conversation with him last night where he reported, "I am in love with a girl, but I'm just not strong enough to tell her. I just wish I had the courage to let her know."

Bart kindly explained to him that his behavior in Bible School last night (cussing like a sailor and threatening to kill people) wasn't exactly attractive to 10 year old girls...

Nice to Get Away

Last night I drove up to Roseville (about 2 hours from here) for a meeting. It was a good meeting with a coworker. And on my way I exhausted myself.

Often when I drive my mind really goes crazy with ideas of things I want to do. Last night was no exception and this time I was really buzzing. I came up with an idea for two new blogs and I’m really excited to get them started. I know that I don’t have time for them, but I’ve decided to try going with one less hour of sleep a night (It’s not that big of a deal, I have been getting 8.5 or 9 and I’m wondering if I just try getting 7 or 7.5 how that might work ... and if I find myself getting crabbier, I’ll change my plan, so all you “mothering types” out there don’t need to lecture me about taking care of myself).

Anyway, the two blogs I have in mind are as follows:

1) The first is “Adoption Blog Central.” I want this to be a place where people can find links to many different adoption blogs. I also want it to be a place where people who have read good blog entries can email me so that I can tell other people about them. I would like it to be a collection, so to speak, of some of the best written blog entries about adoption as well as a place to link to many other great adoption blogs. So, if you have ideas, or want your blog included, email me or comment here. Right now it is plain and ugly, but as time goes on you’ll see improvements.

2) The second I am really excited about as well. The Adoption and Foster Care Think Tank. It is my goal to connect therapists, child protection workers, foster and adoptive parents, homestudy workers, speakers, specialists, etc. to discuss pertinent ideas and issues. I hope to gather enough people who are willing to respond to questions to include an “ask a professional” link and an “ask a parent link.” I would love to see all of the people I have met in this field from every arena getting together and connecting to discuss issues on how we can make things better for kids -- by changing the way we parent, by changing the system a little better, by changing the way we practice social work, etc.

I realize that this will be a work in progress and that it will probably take months to coordinate, but I’m excited to get both of them started.

And you are a big piece of this. If you want to be a part of my parent “Panel” that answers questions on the think tank, or if you want to be part of Adoption Blog Central, please let me know. I’ll be gone from 9:30 to 5 today doing a home visit and taking Salinda to the orthodontist, but I hope to work on these tonight when I return.

I’m very excited, can you tell. . . so excited that I’m wearing myself out.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pass the Torch

Apparently today is Pass the Torch Tuesday ... Check out the originator here.

I think it’s a great idea to share something good that kids are doing.

I wanted a recent story, though you can check out Rand's excellent choice that I posted a few days ago too.

Last night Dominyk came home from visiting his birth grandmother. He and Tony have been siblings longer than anyone else in our family. Tony moved in with us nearly 10 years ago when he was 19 months old and Dominyk moved in 3 months later. People would ask us if they were twins and we’d reply, “Well, they’re 14 months apart and have completely different birth parents, so I don’t think so.”

But it was fun having two babies... back then it was just the four of us. Nobody could tell we were adoptive parents, we weren’t viewed as weird. It was a much different life than the one we have right now. Not better, but just different.

Anyway, last night Dominyk came home with new toys, gifts from his birth grandma. When they all got home from Bible School, Tony joined Dominyk on the living room floor and they played nicely together. Even Sadie commented, as she saw me watching them play, “It’s just like when they were little, huh, Mom?”

And it was. It was fun to see these little boys in bigger bodies, crawling around on the floor with matchbox cars and for a few minutes I just sat in wonderment at the gift we’d been given so many years ago.

And now it’s your turn to Pass on the Torch.

RTCs and Group Homes and Some Feedback from Pat O'Brien

Lately I have been struggling over the RTC/Group Home cycle of many kids in care. I know that it is out of necessity, but this is the way that it usually goes.

A child gets to the point where he/she can’t live at home. Either they won’t stay home, the rest of the family isn’t safe, they won’t comply with medications, or whatever the case may be. So they enter the facility and the carrot at the end is that if you complete the program you can go back home -- assuming of course, that coming back home somehow means that the treatment center has “fixed them” and they will then be OK.

So, the child complies (or sometimes doesn’t comply) with the program and does VERY WELL in a structured environment. They have nursing staff who are willing to give them medication in a small room where there is no where to go to spit it out or hide it. They have big burly guys who can restrain them if they get too angry to control themselves. They don’t have access to many of the things that tempt them when they are on the outside. They have a structured school setting. And if they are lucky they still get contact with their family members.

So, they do great and their reward is another “try” at home. They come back home and can hold it together for a while, but then, in our experience, they just can’t do it. For whatever reason, the old patterns return and we are right back where we started. And then we feel like failures and so do they.

But there is always the promise “do good here and you’ll get out.” But what if they can’t do good somewhere else? What if that kind of structure is the only place they can function?

I am arriving at a conclusion that I never thought I would. Maybe some kids just can’t live in a family setting. Now, please realize that I did not say that maybe some kids don’t need families. But sometimes the kind of family they need is the one that will call them, visit them when they earn the privilege and possibly have them home on holidays and weekends.

I casually mentioned in an email to Pat O’Brien, director of You Gotta Believe, that I wanted to pick his brain someday about this cycle and about RTCs and group homes in general. I have his permission to quote his response. I was going to edit it, but there’s a lot of interesting stuff there so I’ll leave it as is:

Pat says:

“I don't have a lot of sophisticated stuff to say about residential treatment centers or group homes. I consider them and hospitals and juvenile "correctional" facilities long term respite for kids whose behavior is out of control. I believe there are two primary formula's for keeping families of alphabet kids (FAS/RAD/ODD/ADD/PHD/ETC) going --- the family's commitment and time. Kids need time to grow up. If they can spent two or three years in treatment while their parents are very involved from the outside looking in, time takes care of the rest. You see, right now, you have no grown kids. They are all still babies in gigantic bodies. So don't think of either the RTC or detention center as the programs that are going to teach your boys how to live with you in your family and in your household while they are still kids. Look at them as facilities that will lead to perhaps the next facility that will allow the time your boys need to grow up, have their brains develop some more, and hit their early 20's where they will then actually be able to appreciate the significant role you play in their lives, whether or not they ever come home to live with you full time or not.

You have the double whammy of taking in all your kids at latency age and younger. They have a load of anger toward their abandoning mothers and fathers, and foster mothers and fathers, but they take it out on the current parents. All your kids are currently angry, or will be angry, and it will be taken out on you --- the person who is actually loving them. And they will very much appreciate this someday in the not-so-distance future, but you still have to wait until they grow up. This means when they get out of hand as children, you have to get the behavior treated. Hopefully, you won't need any out-of-home care. But out-of-home care is focused on treating the kids' issues with the family's help --- or so they should be. But even when they are not, you got respite from that kid where he or she is not being allowed to manipulated another family. You are the family, if they can't live with you, they have to learn that they must, and a treatment program in this context is far better than another family because you are role modeling what families do.

The work you are doing now with your two boys and other kids right now will give them a real chance to go out on their own, start their own family, and these very kids will rely on you to advise them on how to raise their own children. They will also talk to you about issues with their spouses. You are not parenting for joy in this round of parenting but for the next generation. You and Bart will be the guru to your kids once they start having their own kids and relationship problems with their significant others. Group care in the now just helps you buy time so that the years pass so they can grow up already.

So don't get so pre-occupied with "failure". There is no such thing as "failure." Every experience your kids have now is better than them having those experiences later. It is the kids who gets no attention from their parents who are "failing" well into their 30's and 40's. Your kids have a great chance to success at much younger ages (think 22,23, 24) because you are paying attention to their problems now while they are still children or near children. You can't fail and neither can your kid. You must walk them through life without judging anything they do as a "failure." And remember my favorite definition of a family (which you can pull down from our website): Family: Is often a place, but always a safety net with at least one parent, that provides a youth and/or young adult with the opportunity to NOT succeed (or perhaps even fail) until he or she can succeed."

Parenting really sucks. But the world would be a far more miserable place if it didn't have folks like you and Bart willing to do it.“

Thanks to Pat for the advice and permission to blog it. For those of you who have had kids in this setting, I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Charter Schools

I took Rand to register for classes today and I LIKE the methodology of his new charter school. It is project based and today we came up with an idea for his senior project, which is going to require 300 hours of work. My Parents work at Sun Valley Indian School and the plan is for Rand to go down there and join the staff when he graduates. So today we came up with a senior project that involves studying Native American culture, music, art, geography, history, etc. He’s excited about it and I am too. I’d love to actually do the project myself it sounds so fun.

The school has a reputation of being the place where all the “bad kids” go -- but we’re hoping to make connections with some of them because our philosophy is like theirs -- there is no such thing as a “bad kid” just kids who make bad choices.

If I only had more hours in the day I would volunteer there.... I think it sounds like a great place and I’m glad Rand made the decision to be risky and try a charter school. In some ways it will require more work for me as a parent in helping him to organize his projects and time, but I think in the long run we’re going to be glad we invested the time.

OCD Tendencies

I think I have a few obsessive-compulsive tendencies. If you’ve seen my work area or the house, it has nothing to do with cleanliness, so don’t picture me hurredly running through the house making sure it’s spotless.

But when it comes to other things, I definitely have some of those tendencies. For example, since I signed up for Top Blog I hvae had to check it at least every hour to find that I am stuck at number four without a lot of hope of going higher... and then I had to go help Cindy join and she’ll probably pass me up by the end of today. Why would someone as competitive as I HELP her upload her stuff and get her sight somewhere to compete with me? I am still trying to figure that one out.

And Then I signed up for these blog advertising things and so I have to check multiple times a day to see how much money I’m making. Grand total now of $5.37. Keep clicking folks. (I mean really, how much time does it take you to click a time or two every time you visit the blog?)

And, on Sunday, in the midst of attempting to find a quick way to remedy our financial situation I went to one of those surveys where you can win a gift card or something. Now going there was stupid, but staying there proves that not only do I have OCD tendencies but I’m lacking intellect as well. I couldn’t make myself quit. I was determined to find out how long they were going to make me keep selecting no. I’m not sure if I really did get the gift card, but I finished the stupid thing.

So today I need to begin some compulsion management in regards to checking those silly websites. I’m sure that if I wait hours, I’ll still not be much over $6.00 and I’ll either be at #4 or #5 on the top blogs (depending on whether or not Cindy catches up to me).

Monday, August 21, 2006


I am completely totally (well, except for the dog) alone for over an hour. I will work a little, but I may just not do anything much but sit here.

It happens so seldom that I’m actually alone, that I’m not sure what to do.

Sunday's Radio Program

The You Gotta Believe! Adopting teens and tweens radio broadcast will air this Sunday from 8:00pm to 9:00pm( Eastern time) People residing in Nassau County, most of Queens, Western Suffolk & parts of Brooklyn you can tune into Wgbb 1240 on your am dial.  People residing outside of the listed areas may listen to a live stream on line by logging onto
This weeks radio broadcast will be hosted by Angela Egers and Co Hosted by Chester Jackson.  The show will interview youth in care and they will explain the challenges associated with not having a permanent family.  The youth will explore the differences of living in a family versus life in a group home or Residential Treatment Center. 

Upcoming Cable TV

Brenda McCreight will be presenting a five-part series on Pat O’Brien’s cable access television program that starts this Thursday August 24th, 2006 at noon and again at 8pm (Eastern Time) and runs five consecutive Thursdays through September 21st 2006.

There are two ways you can watch:

1) If you live in Brooklyn and have cable television you can watch the series on your TV:  Cablevision Channel 68 and Time Warner Channel 35. 
2) All others can watch a live-stream of the show as it is airing on Brooklyn Community Access Television (BCAT) by logging on to   Click on Television #2 under the words "Watch BCAT Live" and enjoy the program.
    Brenda has many profound things to say about why youth do the things that they do and she offers many concrete and helpful suggestions about how to deal with some of these behaviors and offers helpful insights as to why these behaviors occur to begin with. 
    Brenda McCreight is the author of "Parenting Your Adopted Older Child: How To Overcome the Unique Challenges and Raise a Happy and Healthy Child".  Ms. McCreight is also a therapist, an adoption counselor, and a mother of 14, 12 of whom were adopted.  Brenda resides in British Columbia and to learn more about her feel free to check out her website at   

How Exciting is That (And a Little Perspective)

Tony and Adam (of Kari's blog fame) got very lucky. They ended up in the same class at the same school. I thought for sure they wouldn’t put two kids in the same classroom with the same last name. Now people are going to think they are twins -- Adam and Anthony.

I had a little perspective walking through the halls of the elementary school. Sixth grade boys are a lot alike. They walk on the back of their shoes. They spit on the grass. They argue with their mothers. Now Adam didn’t do these things, so don’t be criticizing Kari’s parenting, but I saw a couple other kids while I was there and it was oddly comforting to know that sixth grade boys will be sixth grade boys. And that Tony will certainly fit in.


I spent a little time over the past few days trying to increase visibility of my blog and making a few improvements. Now that I know that there are potentially going to be new readers, I’m feeling compelled to be more witty or at least more interesting. However, at this moment I’m not feeling witty or interesting.

Maybe now that we’ve been through this stressful summer and are coming through the other side and the digital video camera (that can also take stills) should be in working order soon, I can start blogging things like Dominyk's mutating skin or Jimmy's Upper Lip or Comparing Ricardo to Pedro -- VOTE FOR PEDRO the way I used to...

Already Going Strong

Somehow my inbox grew to 150 by this morning -- I haven’t been taking care of email for a while.

Today is the day we find out who the kids teachers are, but we still have over 2 weeks of until school starts. This week is vacation bible school at the church so that will keep our evenings full.

Once again I am feeling like I might be able to get back on the top of my game, so to speak. I feel like there are so many things I want to do, so little time to do that, and that I love all of them -- which most people can’t say.

The kids are starting to act more stable and secure, which is a good thing.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Excited Over Weird Things

I got out the church directory and counted family units. There are 229 family units on our church membership list. Thirty nine of them have come to our house for the “Meet and Greets” for the past eight weeks.

And I’m excited that there are still 190 to go. I love hearing everyone’s stories. I just think it is so incredibly cool when someone who has been married for 58 years tells about how they met their spouse, or hearing about the great tragedies people have overcome, or the great joys they have found. I think it is magical when an old man who is pushing 85 talks about what a great wife he has and how awesome his life with her has been. And I think it’s awesome to hear of younger people too and where they see their lives are heading.

I’ve always been fascinated by people and their stories and our Sunday night meet and greets have given me a chance to make those connections. And I love it.

So I’m really glad there are still 190 family units we haven’t had over yet. I hope that by the time they’ve all come over that we’ve had enough new people join that we can keep going.

But I’m not sure how my INFP husband feels about doing this for several more years...

aAs you Can See

I have added a few things to the blog this weekend. Since my blog is one of the few hobbies I have, once and a while I take time to mess with it.

I added Google Ads at the top as well as the Google search box. When people click on these things or use the search on my page, I get a small cut. It’s only a few pennies per click, but it can still add up and free money is free money.

It doesn’t cost you anything to click and I’m certainly not asking you to give me money. But if you want to click a few times a week on the ads at the top of the blog, please do... As you know, if you’ve read the blog much, we’ve had quite the expensive summer, so every penny helps.


Copying is a form of flattery, so i copied one of the members of our church and joined faith writers this week. I’m excited about getting back into doing some writing, though I have very little time for it. I look forward to sharing more with others using this medium.

They Grow Up

Jimmy and I stopped by and visited the adoption agency who helped us with our first 7 children. There were several pictures of us on their wall, now surrounded by many others. There was a picture of our finalization of Kyle and Mike -- they were SO small. Then there was a picture of the day that John and the girls moved in. Then a picture of us at court with them. Then a picture of Rand’s placement at the RTC where he was living, and a picture of us at court with him.

I was telling the social worker about John and thanking him, jokingly, for giving us a kid who was threatening to kill us. He quoted me as saying, when they were placed with us, that we had “won the lottery.” And we did. I still feel that way even after everything we’ve been through.

If I were to send this picture out to all of the people who are wanting to adopt right now and waiting to be matched, I would have ALL of them wanting these kids. They were young, cute, few issues. But what I have to keep reminding people is that the kids grow up and there are no guarantees.

I cracked up when I saw this picture of Rand’s finalization. I have no idea how Dominyk got that dirty that fast -- we finalized right in town, only had to drive a mile to the courthouse....

Top Blogs

I’m excited because in the parenting section, by blog is currently rated number four in the parenting section of Top Blogs. Of course, now that I’ve told you all about it, some of you are going to join, too and then you’ll beat me. But I don’t care ... I think it would be fun to have all of the blogs I read competing every day. I love competition.

Good service this morning, happy kids pretty much all around today. Most of us went to Wendy’s for lunch and actually had a pretty good time. The youth are at an activity this afternoon so we only have 4 kids at home, which is just plain weird.

Sunday Morning with a Different Twist

Sunday mornings aren’t quite the same without Dominyk. But Tony is working hard to make up for both of them.

Parenting many teens means getting woken up a LOT. Last night the boys were out so I was awakened 3 times because they need to tell us when they come in. I don’t want it any other way, but restless nights become common when they get busy -- and it’s not going to be better once everyone starts to meet people.

This morning I’m heading off for church early with Tony and Kyle will be bringing the others (Bart is already gone with Jimmy). I worked on the Powerpoint this week so I want to go early enough to make sure it works.

This week I did not monitor the house like an army colonel because I was so busy with everything else, so we have major cleaning to do today.

But at least I feel a little more rested and able to do things than I did last night. I was shot!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Blog Surfing

With absolutely no energy left tonight, I am actually sort of watching a movie on TV in my bedroom and doing some blog surfing.

Check out this compelling Photo and Commentary

For Your Listening Pleasure

I have loaded Loud Fusion with the song “Color Everywhere ” for your listening pleasure. I hope it will work for you.

I think it is one of the most awesome adoption songs that wasn’t intended to be an adoption song ever...

Dominyk at 18 months

Even at 18 months, he had a sense of humor.

Here he is "making his food fall."

Just experimenting with adding video to my blog...

Worn Out

On my way home I was trying to decide some creative way to spend my free hours tonight. There are only 4 children home -- three oldest boys who currently live here are at a Twins game and Dominyk is at his birth grandmother’s for the weekend. I had several ideas of ways I could spend some free hours.

But after a hectic and chaotic day on the road (picture us in McDonalds -- birth family, adoptive family, and me and some of my kids equalled six adults and 8 children, 5 of them under 5) me trying to translate, parent, direct and order food for everyone. They were late because of a poop explosion, I had to leave early for a meeting. That and driving for almost five hours plus the eight hours I spent in the car yesterday and I’m shot.

Maybe I'll come up with some energy at some point, but for now I am having trouble staying awake.

Not Enough Time to Blog Well

Today is a full day of work for me. I have to translate for a visit between a Guatemalan birthmom and her son who just turned a year old and then I have a meeting with a family that I am writing their home study.

Should be home by around 4:30 when the teenagers are going with the youth to a twins game....

Things are good here. Everyone went to bed at peace, Rand seems genuinely glad to be home, Tony is the Center on his first ever football team and thrilled. I slept long and well.

God is good...all the time.

Friday, August 18, 2006

So Proud

I’m exhausted -- but so VERY proud of Rand that I had to take a minute to blog.

When I dropped Rand off for his two months of working as a counselor at Camp Friendship, I didn’t mention church. I knew he was there without a vehicle, that it wasn’t a Christian camp, and that it would be very difficult for him to try to find a ride on the only day off that the counselors had.

When I picked him up today Jimmy was with me and mentioned how Rand would be coming to our new church for the first time this Sunday. He said to me, “Oh, Mom, I actually went to church this summer.”

After further investigation, I learned that there was a tiny Lutheran church (at least that’s what Rand THINKS it was) across the road from the camp. There were only about 20 people who went there, but Rand visited all on his own. Not only did he visit, but he went every Sunday except for one when his alarm clock was broken and he accidentally slept in. Nobody went with him, he just walked over, on his own, without us asking him to or even expecting him to.

I’m so proud I could burst. He turned 18 yesterday and his taking the initiative to make sure he was in worship all summer is sure proof he’s becoming a man.

More Involvement

Cindy has been on a rampage about parents stepping up to the plate and being parents. I am finding this especially challenging with teenage girls. Today I explained to mine that if she wanted her cell phone back then she and I were going to look through it every night. I was going to ask her questions about who she had added to her list of contacts. I was going to find who she had talked to that day and who had called her. I was going to be involved in her life.

I told her it would give me a chance to learn a little more about her life and explained to her that most of the GOOD things she wanted in life she could probably get if she learned to be honest with me and work with me instead of consistently working against me. I told her that I was not going to be her friend and that I was going to be her mother. I’m not going to go the route of the permissive parent. I want my kids to grow up and be independent adults someday who are doing the right thing.

She has told me previously that she is going to choose who she wants to be. I have explained to her that I realize that she can choose to do the wrong thing any time she wants to, but that I am not going to make it easy for her to do the wrong thing. I’m not going to have her grow up with me regretting not doing more to guide her in the right direction.

But she’s my sixth teenager, so I know by now that she can and will choose her own path. I spent my summer making sure John was headed in the right direction, but he grabbed that bat and went his own way.

I can and do pray that all my children will make those good choices, but I know that I can’t control them. I can guide, remind, direct, consequence and discipline, but I can’t force morality or compliance.

I’m off to take Dominyk to visit his birth grandmother and to pick up Rand to come home from his summer working at Camp Friendship. I’ll be on the road for many hours, so if I’m not blogging don’t panic. :-)

One More Thought and Then I'll Let it Go

I did a little research and the commenter on my blog is the same person that caused me several months ago to moderate all comments and to not allow anonymous comments. Now that person has gotten a blogger ID, but still remains anonymous and I can’t communicate directly with them.

Apparently my personality and writing style really rubs this person the wrong way. So why would they continue to read my blog?

Comments and How they Can Throw Me Off

Reading this comment today sidetracked me and made me rethink everything.

Apparently I hit a nerve with my Carousel/Roller Coaster analogy and I can see why I did. It wasn’t my intention to slight anyone and I have been debating deleting that post. And as I write this I’m debating not even posting this.

The commenter explained that she felt that I was presenting myself as a victim or even a martyr in my blog. That has never been my intention. Gut level honestly in my blog during good times and bad is my way of saying that this is a tough thing -- don’t do it if you don’t want to experience the feelings I have, because they will come.

Comments like these always make me rethink blogging in general, and certainly blogging like mine which is a total brain dump. I don’t have an agenda that includes making people feel sorry for me because I don’t feel sorry for me. I am content with my life, I actually am very satisfied with my lot, and I am really disappointed that I have presented myself in such a fashion.

Maybe I should censor myself. Maybe I should present things differently than they are. Maybe I should pretend to be more cheerful when I’m not, or at least take time to remember to blog when things are going well, instead of just venting when things are going poorly. Or maybe I should just apologize, realize the risks I take by having a public journal, and move on.

I’m sorry to anyone who felt I was not giving your journey the respect it is due. it was not my intention nor plan to do so.

Part of the challenge with blogging is that “people are strange when you’re a stranger.” I believe that if the commenter and I knew one another personally we would realize that we agree about many things and that each of is different than the other perceives.

Definition of Family

In response to this comment I would like to share my definition of family.

I believe that family consists of anyone who you are committed to OR who are committed to you for life. In some situations this commitment isn’t necessarily intentional (do you remember when you first realized that parenting was FOREVER?) When people are related by blood, it isn’t always a volitional commitment made.

But this kind of commitment can be a voluntary one -- where parents choose to legally adopt a child or even to provide permanency in other ways. it can be a friend and not even a family member who makes this commitment.

I have a huge family -- wonderful parents by birth, ten children through adoption, a husband through marriage vows that I meant and will keep, and many friends over the years. These friends are people that I am committed to for life and they are to me. Some of them I haven’t seen in 10 years, but I know if I were to show up on their doorstep dirt poor, sick, or even mentally ill, they would take me in and provide me with a home. And I would do the same for them.

So I think that family is not a feeling, though there certainly are feelings involved. I think there are “families” created by birth that don’t have that commitment and thus aren’t would not fit into my definition of family.

And one more thought -- I think that it is great if the commitment works both ways -- where both parties are committed to each other. But this doesn’t always happen, as we well know. A couple examples come to mind:

1) Us parenting our RAD kids. We are very committed to them, but they do not return the commitment, but that still doesn’t mean that in OUR eyes, they are not our family.

2) The other interesting twist is that while our children’s birthparents were not, or could not be, committed to them, some of our kids are still committed to their birth parents and thus they still view them as “family.” This leads to many adopted kids moving in with their birth families, regardless of what conditions they are living in, when they turn 18.

Parenting is Like Amusement Park Rides

I think that parenting is like an amusement park ride.  Some people choose the Carousel.  They have 1.7 children by birth and begin their ride through life slowly going around in circles.  The horses go up and down sometimes, but overall, it's pretty calm and predictable.  Other times people think they are getting on a ride that is more calm than it turns out to be, but it's still not too terrifying.

Adopting a child who is a victim of abuse or neglect is like getting on the roller coaster.  You experience really high hills that are very fun and some calmer times that are very pleasant, and you also experience rapid downhill surges that make your knuckles white and cause you to grit your teeth.  There are many times on the ride where you say to yourself, "What in the WORLD was I thinking?  This is scary.  I don't like this.  This is insane."  But never once do you jump out of the car because you know that the best alternative is staying in your seat and riding it out.

And from what I hear, once the ride is over, you look back and say, "That was great!  What a Ride!  A much better choice than the Carousel."

New People and Places

Before adopting traumatized children, I had never been to lots of different places: I hadn’t been into a courtroom, for example, nor into a “Child Protection Workers” Office. I hadn’t met a probation officer nor been to a detention center. I hadn’t been to the office where you apply for welfare. I’d never been to a boys ranch nor a level five day treatment program. I’d never had an attorney and other than Bart, who used to be one, I hadn’t met a guardian ad litem. I hadn’t been to the sheriff’s office nor to the police department.

Today I got to visit the Community Corrections department in our new county. So far we’ve been here a little over two months and I’ve been to most of the places mentioned above in our brief stay here. Today I had to drop off John’s belongings -- they were very specific about what he could have -- to his Probation Officer so she could deliver them to him.

I am a firm believer that each person we meet in our lives enriches us in a unique way. Just think of all of the people I would never have met had I chosen the carousel (by the way, that post never made it to my blog a few days ago, so I just uploaded it).

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Overheard in Our Home Today

By Kyle (our NINETEEN year old): If you want four pancakes instead of one you quadruple the recipe, right? (asked AFTER he quadrupled the recipe).

By Dominyk (our ten year old): I don’t know WHY I over-reacted (spoken by one who over-reacts 90% of the time).

Tony (one of our eleven year olds): Girls can too play football. Are you RACIST?

Ultimate Frustration

I’m not sure that my email is working right and that is my ultimate frustration. I am trying to do a few things and excited about them, but not getting to do them makes me oh so frustrated.

I am sure that I have mentioned this before on my blog, but I love technology. I love everything that it can do, the way it can be used to connect people. And I have the technical skills and software to do just about anything I want to do. I just don’t have time or artistic ability.

For example, I saw this website this morning and thought it was so awesome. It makes me want to go to church there. I long for the time to do something like that for our church ... and yet today I can’t even manage to get a group set up because my email isn’t working right.

If I could have one wish, it wouldn’t be for more money. It would be for more time in a day. Or for the ability to be more than one person at a time. There is so much out there to be done, so little energy out there by most people to do it, and here I sit with all the energy, most of the skills, but absolutely no time.

And to think that this year 250 billion hours will be spent by the American people watching TV.

Record Breaking Week

I would first like to report that for the first time in months I went to bed without anxiety. All of the troubling thoughts that usually come flooding into my mind were gone. There really weren’t any. John was in a safe place where I knew we would all get a break from him and a place that I hope will keep him accountable and help him. I have talked to Mike this week and he was pleasant and not blaming us. Even the girls went to bed peacefully. I slept a long time, slept well, and felt pretty rested when I woke up.

In fact, I even went to bed excited instead of stressed. I’m starting to do just a couple of things to get involved in our new church, and I’m really pumped up them -- an email group, helping with the Powerpoint slide show, and teaching adult Sunday School (preparing now to start in the fall).

Also, this week I broke the 250 mark with my page views for the first time ever!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


This is how Tony looks most of the time, becuase most of the time he isn't getting his way and decides to attempt to negotiate, whine, cajole, manipulate, and force us to give him his way. It doesn't go so well for him, but he always gives it his best.

Court Results and Angriness

Court is over and we survived it once again. They are placing John in a facility about an hour from here that I have heard nothing but good things about. He is going there today. The workers here have a different plan than previous workers -- they would like us to not have any contact except by mail. They think these are natural consequences for his assaultive behavior and they believe that he really needs to understand that he can’t treat people that way.

In a way this is hard but it will give us time to heal. They are only talking about starting with 30 days there to “see how it goes.” The trial for the assault charges has been postponed.

I know he will do well there, but that is the catch 22 of the whole thing. Put a kid in a VERY structured setting. He does excellent in that setting. So then, as a reward, he gets to leave that setting and then he can’t hold it together. Maybe some kids have to have that kind of setting.

But I’m going to stop wondering about what will happen in a few months and just focus on getting to September 7 when I can send kids to SCHOOL!

While we were playing racquetball today after court, Jimmy kept saying, “oooh mom, ANGRINESS, when I hit the ball hard.” I guess he coined a new word.

And, by the way, I told the girls about John and they took it very matter-of-factly. The evil mood seems to have broken and we’re back to something more level. Cindy better tell Vanessa that there is a young lady here trying to steel her Viper Girl title.

Hold on to Eleven because Thirteen's a comin'

I’ve decided to consciously spend as much time with Sadie as I can right now when she still likes me. She’s almost 12 but she will still willingly hug me in the morning and before she goes to bed. She lets me kiss her without making a face. When we walk through the mall she’ll hold my hand. I don’t humiliate her completely by my mere existence...YET.

But 13 is coming all too soon and then we’ll get the eye rolling, the rebellion, the sneakiness, the dirty looks, yada yada.

I’ve got about an hour before I have to head to court. I’m not looking forward to it. Right now Sadie is the only one home and I am trying to work super hard to keep my mind occupied with blogging, working, etc. so that I don’t obsess about the hearing and what will happen.

This Coming Sunday's Radio Program

Wow, I really wish I could hear this, but we have our Meet and Greets at this time. Maybe some of you can listen and tell me about it.

August 20,2006

The You Gotta Believe! Adopting teens and tween radio broadcast will air this Sunday from 8:00pm to 9:00pm( Eastern time) People residing in Nassau County, most of Queens, Western Suffolk & parts of Brooklyn you can tune into Wgbb 1240 on your am dial. People residing outside of the listed areas may listen to a live stream on line by logging onto

Our topic for this week's Parent Support Group discussion is Parenting Children from Treatment Facilities. Our studio guest will share their experiences as they have remained committed to parenting their children through various challenges. They will discuss what steps a parent should take when their child requires additional help that the home may not be able to provide. They will outline strategies to help parents navigate their way through this process.

All are encouraged to listen. If you need support, or have a suggestion pleases call us at (631) 888-8811

Ooh, He Did It Again

Once again my husband was able to address another adoption issue in a way so much more sophisticated, articulate, and intelligent than mine that it blows me away.

Not Looking Forward to My Day

I wish I could say I feel emotionally prepared for my day, but I don’t. The tension with Sadie broke last night, but her unnamed sister is still targetting me as the reason for all the evils in this world. At least, to her credit, she isn’t in my face all the time -- she will spend hours hiding from me when she is angry and I can choose when I want to begin the next round of the battle of words.

The “Cable Guy” is coming back this morning and I have to clean my bedroom before he gets here. I laughed outloud at Kari's post about her bedroom because mine has clean laundry everywhere as well. I hate it when it gets like that, but I just haven’t had time to get it taken care of for a while. Now I have a deadline, so it will get done.

We have court at 2:30 and even though it appears we will be treated with more dignity and respect, It is not something I look forward to or will enjoy. I think that the PTSD that I referred to last night has really done a number on my psychy. We have had so many bad experiences in court that like Pavlov’s dogs, we are expecting certain things to happen. As the website indicates, “Pavlov's experiment proved that all animals could be trained or conditioned to expect a consequence on the results of previous experience”

Though I am not an animal, I have been trained to expect a consequence on the results of previous experience. So when the idea of going to court presents itself, I am not filled with warm fuzzy feelings.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

As I was coming home from my home visit today I found myself quite nervous again. I had that impending feeling that something bad was going to happen. I hate it. I hate feeling like things are going to come tumbling down at any minute.

I wish I had Paula's personality where she is not fazed at all by the conflicts she has with her children as the catch phrase for her personality is “So sorry you have to DIE!”

This teenage girl stuff is really something. These girls are SO angry right now. They are angry at John and they are angry at their birth parents, but they are NOT taking it out on them because they are not here. They are taking it out on me. And it is NOT pretty.

So I come home waiting for the stress to come and it certainly does. Turns out that the girls have been spending time talking to a kid who is either 16 or 18 and when I suggested that might not be the best plan, boy did I get it. I was proud of how well I managed the whole thing.

And then I called Mike for the first time in months it was a good conversation. He was very polite and respectful and seemed genuinely glad to talk to me. I kept it real low key and told him very little about how things were here. I told him it had been a bad night and that I really didn’t want to talk about negative stuff from here.

He is frustrated that he doesn’t know where he is headed from there, and that nobody will tell him and I explained that they couldn’t tell him because they didn’t know.

He asked if we might be able to come visit him, and I told him I didn’t know. I said, “I just got permission to call you today, so I’m not sure that visits are going to be happening any time soon.”

But that conversation is over. We can call him 2 times a week. Now I just need to get court over with and maybe things will settle down.

This Crazy Blog World

I don’t know what is up with people’s computers, browsers, or blogger, but apparently my posts have been showing up on my computer but not other peoples.

So I’m getting messages. Phone calls. Are you OK? Why ain’t ya bloggin? (from those crazy southerners). Makes me laugh.

Last night I actually realized that we had all gone to bed fairly easily and fairly quietly. I wasn’t even that anxious and fell asleep pretty quickly. This is a sign that things are settling back to normal.

Today I have more errands to run, a home visit to make and a visit here from some friends I haven’t seen in a long time.

I also am making progress on getting a camera working.

Last night I downloaded some pictures off a camera that I hadn’t had a way to get pictures off of for a long time, obviously since November since some of them were of Sadie’s birthday.

This picture of John with Sadie makes me pretty sad. It’s too bad he can’t get his act together so that he doesn’t keep damaging the people that he loves the most.

And I had to post this picture of Dominyk and Ricardo. They bring me a lot of joy.

Take a Guess

If you have just happened on to this blog and you don’t know us, this question might be tricky. If you do know us or have been reading a while, it’s a no brainer.

Here’s the situation. 2 Parents. One Male, One Female. Married. One parent standing in long line to pick up football equipment -- mouth guard, shoulder pads, pants, leg pads, helmet. Other parent home making fettuccini with alfredo sauce made from scratch.

Who is who? Of course, I’m the one in the long football line, and Bart was here making some very tasty fettuccini with ham and mushrooms, toasted garlic bread from Panera, a nice looking salad, fresh melon...

There is no way this family would work if it were the other way around. There is a lot of comfort in homemade food, made from scratch. In fact there was a study done that indicated six needs related to meals:

Physical: Providing nutrition to fuel and enhance daily health and performance.

Mental: A transistion between day parts, a key signpost throughout the day.
Spiritual: A time to renew one’s own spirit and familial bonds.
Cultural: An opportunity to share values, cultural beliefs and ethnic heritage.
Entertainment: A time of joy and fun. A chance to spend time with family and friends.
Reward: The opportunity to indulge one’s self or one’s family and enjoy life.
(Quoted from this FMI Special Report)

If I were the cook, it would be difficult for us to receive so much from chicken nuggets, fish sticks, heated up fries, and frozen pizza.

Thanks, Bart for giving your family this gift...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Meeting Over

The PO and the county worker did both show up at 11:00. We told them the whole history. They will be meeting John tomorrow.

I don’t know how to summarize the whole situation without going into endless details, but the bottom line is that they appear very supportive, they are not trying to convince us to let him remain here, and they are listening to what we have to say. You can tell I’m not all that trusting at this point, but I am a little hopeful.

One of the things that I thought was interesting is that the social worker said that maybe this time John needed less involvement from us and some time to think about his future and get his act together without a whole lot of expectations for us. He seems to think that John needs to understand the consequences of his actions and to begin to plan for adulthood without us to use and manipulate. I’m not sure how I feel, but I do agree with Cindy and I quote her from today with her experience with Fabian:

I told him ... I doubt I'll visit at YDC. It's not fair to leave the many good kids who've remained at home to visit the one who physically threw me across the room and threatened worse violence. He understood, it's the kind of message I have always sent to my children.

I had been feeling a little bad for John that he wasn’t getting visited, but we spent a whole year working our schedules around he and Mikes visitation schedule, making the other kids in the house like their visits were more important than other stuff in their lives. And as Cindy says, it’s really not fair.

Ah the joys of this life we’ve chosen. Hopefully court on Wednesday will not be demeaning and finger-pointing and we can just move on to get John the help he needs.