Friday, August 31, 2007

An Hour of Blogs and Blogging

Well, I've been up for an hour and I had to catch up on everyones life. So I read a great post by Kari about school and kids with FASD. Then I read all about Bart's trip and his feelings about that that he hadn't even shared with me yet. Then I had to update everyone and let them know about how I almost enjoyed my workout this morning at the YMCA. And, the scripture passage I listened to at the Y on my Iphone was so awesome and appropriate for me that I had to blog about that too

So, an hour later and I'm still in the blogosphere. Need to get back to real life.

Haircuts and some shopping are in line for today. This is the best time of the year to buy summer clothes -- I usually get quite a bit and store them until next year. Did that last winter too, and we'll get those out soon. And this year the kids are taking their lunches, so I need to shop for that stuff. School finally starts for the high schoolers Tuesday and everyone else on Thursday.

ANd I have many projects for work that will be done one hour at a time from now throughout the weekend.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

"That Doesn't Make Any Sense"

Mike called here a few minutes ago wanting to know if he could come over. I told him that he could not. That we had tried that and it didn't work.

"That doesn't make any sense" he said.

I tried to begin to explain why all of the things he had done over the past month were what didn't make any sense, but I stopped myself and told him it was best if I didn't keep talking. He said, "I'll just call Dad."

Last week he was here with a buddy picking up his stuff, confident and happy and obviously sure whatever place he was going to next was going to be great. He felt so good he thought he could be rude and disrespectful to me.

But today it makes no sense that he can't come home.

But I wonder what does make sense for him?

It's So Much Easier to Text the Word No

and I have found out that if I argue via text messaging she gives up sooner than I do as I can text/type much faster.

Finally she moves on to something else and I don't have to be an eye witness to the hissy fit that occurs when I say no.

And by the time she's home she's over it.

Gotta love that Iphone.

My Lunch Date

I needed to run some more errands... I got clothes sizes for our two new boys and I wanted to hit the clearance racks and see what I could find. I invited Ricardo to join me and for the first time he said yes. Just me, and him, and the store, and lunch.

Did we hit the jackpot! Nikes, Reebox, and Adidas shorts for $4.00 each. Shirts for $3.60. I couldnt' even pay shipping on them for that if I bought them on ebay for a penney. I was tempted to by the entire rack and send them to people I know....but I only bought a fourth of the rack. Ricardo was pretty glad he came with me because he ended up finding a whole bunch of stuff he liked.

We then had some lunch...a HUGE burrito from Chipotle, something he and I both enjoy. He didn't say a lot but it was fun to be with him.

We ran another errand and now he and I are the only ones home. It is so quiet here....

Late but Good Start to the Day

Salinda actually stayed home last night (well, at least I think she did, never a guarantee) so I was able to sleep from 10 until 7. It was great. Got up around 7:20 and then went to the YMCA and then came home to shower. Tony never did his dishes last night so I assigned his PCA the task of making him do them and I ran away to the coffee shop to work so I wouldn't have to listen to the oppositional tirade.

When I got here an unpleasant conversation with Salinda (I was trying to offer to take her shopping and out to lunch but she was so not interested in spending time with me that it was annoying) and an email about John attempted to remove my good move, but I'm standing firm.

If you've read the blog you know that the only place that John has ever been successful is the ranch where he is, and now they are planning to move him in a few months back into foster care and to our hometown. I was invited to give my input, which, if you were reading last year, you know did very little good last time. I still gave it, but it is unlikely that it will matter.

For me, integrity and honesty are core values that are pretty important and I get annoyed when people hide behind other things. It is pretty obvious to me that the county made a decision that they were not going to spend any more from the Child Protection budget on John after he is 18, even though he won't be graduated or ready to live on his own. So the plan has to change for him. I know the system, I get that.

But it would have been nice if the worker could have stated that instead of some story about how John isn't being challenged enough. We all know it isn't really about John and whether or not he's being challenged. It's about how much the program he is in is costing and how long they are willing to pay.

So, say that already, give me the facts, and let me help you develop and plan. And then, when we have a plan we can agree on, tell John.

Don't get the news that you have to move him because of $, meet with him and tell him the plan, and then ask his parents for their input.

I should call John Stossel. GIVE ME A BREAK.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I Could Blog Many Things

TOnight, before heading to bed, I could choose to blog about many things. I could blog about High School 9th Grade Orientation and the heated words my daughter spoke when i expressed frustration that she wanted to ride there with a friend instead of me. I could talk about her being shocked that I wouldn't loan her money (when she owes me some from two days ago) or I could talk about how quickly she recovered from all that.

I could talk about a "confirmed Mike sighting" back in Mankato tonight -- in fact, friends saw him at the same building I was in, attending a meeting.

I could talk about Bart's trip with Jimmy and Sadie and Dominyk to visit John in South Dakota but he already has.

Or I could talk about how I hate going to bed before all the kids are home, or how quiet it is here tonight, or how I miss my husband and how weird it is to sleep alone.

Or I could blog further frustrations with the system I am working in.

Or, i could just forget about all of it and all and go to bed.

I think I'm selecting the last option....

The Chaotic Nature of The Not Yet Developed Teen Brain or "Where Should We Do Nothing Today?

I like to plan. I like to know what is happening from day to day, hour to hour, and preferably minute to minute. That's my nature. It's one of my personality characteristics that I can't simply erradicate by willing it away.

I also do not want any of my children to feel as though they don't get to do what they want to do because of our family size, so I always try to accommodate each child as much as possible. I know there are other families who do things differently and limit the activities of each child and just not doing a lot of extra running. So far, in our family with the way things are, it is manageable and I have been able to give everyone what they have asked for.

My biggest challenge though, is the lack of planning that anyone between the ages of 12 and 18 seems to be able to do. Not only my children, but their friends as well, don't seem to have a clue what they are doing in a half hour, much less a few days from now. Maybe it's my kids and their special needs, or maybe it is the kind of friends they choose to hang out with, but there are never plans.

We have a rule that no friends can be here unless there is an adult present. So, Salinda has a friend here and I have the need (not the desire) to go to an even greater clearance event at JCPenney. But do you think they can decide what they are doing any time soon? No, it's such a difficult life dilemma. Do they stay here and do nothing? Or do they go to her house and do nothing? Or maybe they could ride around with a friend and do nothing? Or they could go to another friends house and do nothing. But deciding where they will do nothing is SO stressful.

OK, so I'm complaining. But I know, it could be worse. It could be last week when we were calling the cops. At least she's doing nothing instead of doing something illegal...

P.S. I love Kari. She just said Tony can hang out with her son at their house this afternoon. MMMMMWaaaah!

A Little Anxiety

For some reason I'm feeling a little anxious now. It's amazing, but before we adopted older kids I never even knew what anxiety felt like. But these ten years I experience my moments. They are not alarming, I don't medication, it's not like I'm having anxiety attacks or anything, but sometimes it all seems to land on me at once and I feel anxious. And it isn't even like it's always on days when I should be feeling it.

You'd think these morning trips to the YMCA would be decreasing it but so far that isn't happening.

I just returned from a stressful meeting and now I have several stressful situations to deal with... and I will deal with them, one at a time until I'm done with the list and another list starts to form.

Or Maybe It's Not That

I was just thinking about my last post.

Maybe it isn't that we aren't about protecting children. Maybe it's that protecting children becomes so important that everything else is too far down the list. For example (and this is purely hypothetical) maybe there is a family who is committed to adopting a child and they just aren't great housekeepers. Their home is safe, and not dangerously dirty, but there is definitely clutter.

A social worker goes into the home and says, "Oh my goodness. This house is cluttered." And, using "Child Protection" ideas, they determine that they should look for a family that has a neater home. So, they remove the child and look for a cleaner, tidier home.

Problem is, then there is a disruption written in the file, a broken attachment for the child, and the chances of success in the next placement are greatly reduced. ANd the chance that

I could list so many reasons why families are not chosen or placements are disrupted under the guise of "the best interest of the child" or "child protection issues" when the families are committed to adopting.

I'm not saying that every single committed family should be allowed to adopt, but I wish there was a study done that would track back every kid that ages out of foster care who was legally free. I wonder how many homestudies were rejected or how many adoptive placements were disrupted when the parents were still committed. It would be interesting to see how many times aging out could have been prevented if everyone would have had permanency as their #1 goal.

Finally, kids are often allowed by their social workers to disrupt their own placement. The goal of almost every older kid placed is to get out of there and to make it fast. Attachment, commitment, etc. feels too weird, so they fight against it. If everyone is not committed to making the placement happen, the kid can disrupt it with ease. (And there are kids still attempting to disrupt adoptions that have long been finalized and they will manipulate every professional able to be manipulated).

I realize I'm wrambling. But maybe we are all about child protection -- but not about adult protection. Sure we can do our very best to keep kids safe as teens, but how safe will they be as adults if they have no safety net that a family can best provide?

I Can't Post Details

... but sometimes working in the "child Protection System" feels like I'm participating in a something that does everything but protect children.

I firmly believe that I approach my positions as a person who has the child's best interestst at heart. Sure, I care a lot about the families I work with, but my passion is to find committed people who will go the distance with very tough kids. And I find them.

The problem is that there are so many people in the system who do not truly have absolute permanence as their goal for a child. There are so many players that just having a committed family isn't enough for them. And even after a family is selected or even placed, one of the players can swoop in and ruin things for the child by having them move away from a parent or parents who are truly committed to them for life.

Then, as Cindy has had happen to her recently, once we have adopted, sometimes CPS investigates us -- after hearing false allegations from children who are in a mental hospital or detention. I don't even want to go on about how odd that seems to me. "Hello, you are mentally ill. I am gonig to write down everything you say and investigate it as if it were fact." (OK, I know, I know, mandated reporting, must check it out, yes, yes, yes, I get it. It's not the investigating that bothers me, it's the manner in which it is done. We have been "investigated" by two counties and the difference in their approach has been phenomenally different. One of them the assumption was that it was our parenting. The other it was the assumption that it was the child's issues stemming from years of early abuse and neglect that were the problem. The way it was approached made all the difference to us.

But I digress.

The point is that sometimes it is very discouraging for me to put forth so much effort to find families who commit to kids only to have them get burned at many stages in the process. It's as if in order for things to be in the "best interest of the child" there is a need to make sure families suffer.

There is a way to treat everyone right -- but all the professionals in the business have to be on the same page. They have to want children in permanent homes. And there are way too much evidence that I've seen in the past few years for me to belive that everyone really wants this.

I may not change the system, but I will change children's lives by helping them get out of the system if I can. One life at a time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Just When You Think You Can Breathe for a Moment.

So, Mike apparently is living in another town. Salinda is saying she's done with her rebellious streak -- at least for now. So I feel like maybe I can breathe a bit and have a few down days.

But tonight John calls to let me know that he got a call from his worker saying that they are planning to move him out of the only place he's done well in his life back into foster care or an independent living program by January. I need to call and find out what is really happening -- as sometimes John gets confused -- but it looks to me like the county has decided to close his case the day he turns 18 and not keep him until he finishes high school.

I'm sure the plan will be to move him back to our town, which I'm not sure would be a good plan.

So now I have something new to worry about.

And this is the way it goes...

Another Purpose for the IPhone

Communication via text messaging without the hindrance of voice inflection or facial expression is ideal for me and my teenage daughter. She and I text each other when in the same house -- and our conversations are always better than when in person.

She tells me today she's done with all the sneaking around and breaking rules. I hope so, as it is exhausting when she's on a rampage. Since we had the big blow up last week she has pretty much done what she's supposed to do, so that is encouraging.

As predicted, I'm feeling pretty tired tonight. I am not minding my early morning exercize, but by evening I'm quite tired.

Not much energy to blog anything too profound...

I can't think of a creative title

Already up and been to the YMCA. Came home at 7:40 to find that Rand had not gotten up and he had an 8:00 class. I feel bad for the people sitting next to him because his 2 minutes shower on a body that big (He's 6'5" and weighs 350+) probably didn't cover it.

Poor thing. The professors didn't follow his class schedule yesterday and he's confused. His books weigh a ton and last night he lost the piece of paper that he had written his assignments on. I gave him some suggestions, but for the most part all he wanted to do was tell me why all this stuff had to happen and he could do nothing about it.

I'm heading out for the whole morning. Have a home visit.

Heard about a disturbing work situation yesterday -- actually two of them, so I am going to need to deal with that. We also need haircuts -- at least 5 of us, so that may be the project for this evening.

Better head out. At least i'll be able to check my email on my Iphone. (First 8 minutes of my workout this morning was reading my email from the exercize bike -- then I listened to a podcast of the Bible in a year.... made it go by fairly fast. See, I told you I NEEDED an Iphone).

Monday, August 27, 2007

Where's Mike?

You know "Where's Waldo?" Well, tonight I played "Where's Mike" spinning around My Space for a half hour, looking at interesting, and not so interesting, vulgar, and not so vulgar profiles of teens who are either really lost and disgusting or pretending to be.

But I digress.

Apparently Mike is not in Mankato anymore, but I couldn't discern where he is. Apparently he let some people know where he was, but their profiles are set to private so I couldn't read them -- his however, is not so I could read their responses.

I'm glad I don't have to worry about him showing up at the house, but I am pretty sure he isn't going to show up for his court hearings. And that makes me nervous.

So, my son, if you're out there reading this, please don't forget you have court coming up. . . it's not going to be a good thing if you don't show.

Six Pizzas, Four People

Something weird happened tonight.

There's a local pizza place that was having a Monday night special on Medium pizzas. We did it about 3 weeks ago and it was great. So, Bart told me tonight we were going to do the same thing and asked me to order them. He said to get the same thing I did last time.

So, I was thinking that we spent $30 and that the pizzas were $5 each, so I must have ordered 6. So, I called in the order for six pizzas.

But then Salinda wasn't going to be here...and Dominyk helped himself to 4 leftover hamburgers when I was gone getting the pizza... and then the pizza wasn't going to be ready until an hour later than planned, so Bart and Tony had to leave before it was ready...

So four of us sat down to six pizzas.

And then, when I got them home and looked at the receipt, it turns out that the pizzas were six dollars each, not five, so when we spent $30 last time and had just enough for everyone, I had ordered five pizzas not six. And this time, not everyone is eating and we have six pizzas.

We could have invited another family over for dinner and had leftovers.

I'm not feeling quite up to speed at the moment, and neither is Bart and sometimes "not so great plus not so great equals something really stupid."

I Worked Today

I know I'm supposed to work every day, and I do. But usually during the summer it's a chaotic mess that may or may not be called "work" by most who define work.

BUt today I had a couple hours where almost everyone was busy doing somethign and I didn't get interrupted. And it was very nice to get things done.

But my early morning exercise released endorphin rush faded around 4 p.m. and now i'm just feeling tired and wondering why I got up so early.

Tonight I have a meeting as well. But Bart is doing Jr. High Orientation, so I have to love him for that. I prefer to stay as far away from Jr. High kids that do not belong to me as I can get.

large numbers of 13 year olds scare me.

and rightly so.

Oh Yeah!

I was reminded this morning by seeing that Bart had blogged that my first entry was supposed to be about Rand this morning. But NO! Bart beat me to it, writing almost exactly what I woud have..

It's amazing really the difference between Mike and Rand and today I can't help think about it. Rand and MIke both have FASD though Mike has been diagnosed. Mike's IQ is higher, but his FASD is probably more severe. And Mike's attachment issues are much more catastrophic.

But they've had the same parents -- Mike since he was almost 9, Rand since he was 11. They have been to most of the same schools, the same church, had access to the same people to be friends with.

But each person has to make good choices. Rand has, Mike hasn't. Whether or not Mike could help the choices he made, I don't know.

Feeling pretty good at the moment...

I am feeling quite good this morning because I actually exercised, which I will tell you about here if you care to read it. I also posted a little surprise weight loss there as well.

I debated waking the kids up early to get them in the habit for school to start, but I would rather have the free hour to get things done. I know I'll pay next week, but why pay now when you can pay later?

Better get busy getting things done while I'm motivated...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Fairly Decent Day

All of us except Salinda (even Kyle) had dinner with friends and then spent time at the lake. The kids had a great time tubing and we stayed much longer than planned. We were there over 6 hours but had a great time. You can see by the pictures that it was really windy... and I didn't get pictures of everyone, but it was fun nonetheless

Tonight Salinda is spending the night with a friend and I'm getting ready to go take her out there. The others are busying themselves quietly around the house.

Just one more week before school starts....

Get me to the Church On Time

Every Sunday morning we play this game -- attempting to get everyone to church on time.

This week it's going ok. We have five minutes to go and it looks like everyone will be ready.

Today we've been invited to go out to the lake with fsome friends who live on the lake. Apparently there is a boat and there will be tubing and skiing and plenty of picnic food.

Last night's adoption picnic was great fun for me. There were 47 people there and of the people there there were 24 adopted children. Of the 24 children, i was responsible for bringing 21 of those kids into their families. Pretty rewarding to see them all together meeting one another and playing together.

The road isn't easy for an adoption worker, and certainly more difficult for parents, but last night everyone there did very well. In fact, Salinda even came along and was appropriate, helpful, friendly, positive, kind....

I know, I know. Enough to make the head spin.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Lessons from Evan Almighty

Seldom to I come out of a movie feeling like I've learned something AND feeling good. Sometiems I leave feeling like I've been entertained -- more often that not I feel like I've left having wasted my money. But not today. Today I left feeling good --empowered, positive, strong AND I learned some things.

Here are some observations from Evan Almighty, which, obviously, were lessons from the biblical story of Noah's ark.

1) Sometimes God asks us to do things we don't want to do. Sometimes they are hard things and cost us other things that we think are more important.

2) Sometimes the hardest people to share God-given plans with are those we are closest to. We are afraid of the way they will affect those closest to us or we most fear the rejection of those closest to us. So telling our spouse or our parents or our children that we believe God is calling us to do something is harder than telling others.

3) Sometimes people who are watching us do what God calls us to do are unkind, critical, and downright mean. They laugh at us, mock us, belittle us or at the very least question our sanity.

4) A quote from the movie, "God wouldn't do anything that he does if it wasn't because he loves us. And sometimes we may wish he would stop loving us." We don't always understand the whys and sometimes we wish God didn't quite love us so much.

5) Sometimes we can run from God's call, but it follows us and gets stronger and stronger until we have to act on it. I don't know if you remember the story of our decision to adopt Jimmy internationally but I had several indications from God that this is something that God wanted -- even though we had many people who thought we were nuts. The more we hesitated, the more God pushed.

6) Sometimes God answers our prayers in ways we don't imagine. Another quote from the movie that Kari mentioned after she saw it:

When we ask God for patience, does He give us patience, or opportunities for our patience to grow? When we ask God for courage, does He give us courage, or the opportunity to be courageous?

7) When we have spouse and God calls us to do something, it is God's responsibility to convince our spouse of the plan, not ours. We obey, pray and wait, and God will reveal to all involved what needs to happen.

8) There is a reason for us to do everything God asks of us. We may not know it at the time, but there is a reason.

9) God gives us everything we need to accomplish the task at hand. Noah was provided with what was needed as was Evan (even an "Ark Building for Dummies" book). The materials were delivered to his front yard. When God asks us to do something he's not going to fail to equip us to do it. God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called.

10) If we tell God we want to change the world, we better be willing to do it in the way that God calls us to, regardless of the cost.

11) If the world is going to be changed, we each have to do our part.

12) The world is changed by "Acts of Random Kindness." In fact, the Evan Almighty website has a place where people can record their own Random Acts of Kindness.

and finally;

13) It doesn't hurt to do a the happy dance once and a while in celebration of small victories.

Bedtime Routine

Our bedroom routine is not one that is planned nor preferred, but for some reasont his summer it has become the routine. Anywhere between 3 and 6 kids find it necessary each night to avoid bed by hanging out in our bedroom until we finally kick them out because WE want to go to bed.

Bart has an evening routine now of checking his blood pressure and his blood sugar.

Last night 5 kids all wanted theirs checked as well. So we had a medical clinic in the bedroom.

LIke sands throught the hour glass, these are the days of our lives.


I don't know for sure that I can adequately explain my feelings this morning, but I will try. The following may be misunderstood and most probably disagreed with, but I always attempt to accurately describe my own thoughts in this journey and the words below explain my emotions this morning. I own them. They are mine.

I seldom feel shame. But there are a few situations where I do. The situation with Mike, that blog tells all about here causes me some shame.

I feel shame because a wonderful person had 18 horrible days because we asked her to do us a favor. We tried, at the onset, to explain Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and to warn her that there were no guarantees. I told her that I had no idea exactly how long it would last or what stunts he would pull, but I asked her to give him a chance. And she began a very frustrating journey with a person who not only violated his lease daily for 14 of the 18 days, but also engaged in illegal activity multiple times in her apartment, disturbed her other tennants, and caused a ruccus in the neighborhood. She has the hassle, without receiving any money, of owning an apartment that he managed to trash in 18 days that she is stuck cleaning (we have offered to help her). She has been lied to by Mike and his friends, verbally abused and accused by Mike, and had to listen to angry tennants and neighbors.

Why am I ashamed? Am I ashamed because of Mike's behavior? No. I am ashamed of myself for getting someone else involved in our mess. The hours this past week that Mike has spent in our home just stopping by for five minutes at a time have been so disruptive that I can't even articulate them. So he cannot live here. But in the past we have born the brunt of it as a family and not asked someone else to help.

We heard several people tell us that it was not fair for us to allow Mike to be homeless without doing something. We agreed -- we are his parents after all. So we found someone to rent for him in exchange for work (which he never, as I'm sure you know, did). We bought him several things for his apartment. We loaned him a mattress, sheets, pillow, blankets. We did his laundry for him here. We let him come here three times a day to eat. I got him a job which he didn't even have to apply for, and he refused to go to it.

He managed to let it all fall apart in 18 days.

I'm not ashamed of my son. Who knows how much of it he can control. But I am ashamed for involving someone else. Because I knew better. Call my cynical, call me jaded, tell me that people will rise to the level of your expectations, make it sounds as if I am controlling his behavior by my pessimism, but it really isn't that.

Mike has a disability. It makes him impulsive. It makes him lose track of time. It makes him have trouble connecting his actions with consequence.

But at this point in time it is more than just a disability. He does not want to work. He does not want to accept direction or instruction from anyone. He is disrespectful and rude not only to us but to his former landlord and to law enforcement. He does not want to be law abiding.

Right now it is FASD, but it is more than FASD. And you cannot reach someone who does not want to be reached. And for me to attempt to ask people to step in and rescue someone who does not want to be helped is unfair only to the person helping. I should have known better. I'm ashamed of myself.

Friday, August 24, 2007

And of course Sadie needs to jump in....

Salinda's friend gave her the shirt. Pretty hilarious, huh?

Back to being 14

So, it's time for another poll. Apparently Salinda is being jolted back into the world of silly 14 year olds by her best friend from last year and I'm actually happy to say that she is....

They came bounding down the stairs and said, "we cut our hair? Which of us looks best? I told them I'd let you decide. Thus the new poll.

Not a Lot of Good Things to Report

Well, Rand did fill out the app as evidenced by this photo I took on my IPhone (have I mentioned taht I love it?) But now instead of "we need to fill this position yesterday" we heard "the HR person is out until after labor day and we've had a ton of applications for this position."

And Jimmy failed the permit test today.

And apparently, it's Sadie's turn to be defiant and rude and refuse to do anything we say.

Too bad, because it was a really calm day....

Things Appear to be Changing

As far as I can tell, Salinda was in her room all night and up at 7:15 asking if she could go jogging. Much better than her usual sleep until 11:30 or 12 unless I wake her up (which I do if I'm home). She is happy to have her cell phone and asked for a friend to spend the night tonight. I agreed but reminded her that she was grounded and they would have to stay here. She only argued for 3 minutes instead of 30.

We haven't seen MIke. I did dream that he called me from a cell phone while I was driving and I realized that he was in a stolen van directly behind me. I was debating calling the cops.

Also dreamed that I dropped my Iphone and it almost got hit by a car. Dreamed that some of my friends I've known for 15 years were at the same conference I was and that one of them had shrunk until she only came up to my waste and everyone was trying to make me believe she had always been that short.

Hopefully by the end of today I will be able to report that Rand finally has a job and Jimmy finally has his permit. He's going to take his test for the 4th time today.

I am quite far behind on several work and home related things, but I'm continuing to plug away. Hopefully with Bart home today I'll get a little more done than when he is at work.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Writing to Report NOTHING

That's what I've been able to accomplish all day. Now that I have a new phone, one of our lines is up for grabs. Salinda had her first attempt at a cell phone last year and it didn't go well.

Today she is finally ready to try again. There are many reasons why I want her to have a cell phone. One of them, though this may sound sinister, is that I want one more thing to be able to take away if she isn't obeying the rules. In addition, I can reach her at any time.

So, today I have been researching new plans (our company merged) and writing a contract for her to sign.

And I'm here to report that Alltel uses false advertising. Turns out that My Circle is really not My Circle at all.

Each ACCOUNT gets to pick 10 numbers that you call for free. Not each PERSON.

I spent a good three minutes explaining repetitively to the guy on the phone that it should be OUR CIRCLE not MY CIRCLE. He acknolwedged my point, but nothing will change.

My Circle. Right.

A Sampling of the ProBlogger Better Blog Tips

I hope you enjoy these tips posted by readers of ProBlogger.

Two Tips to Better Blogging

In the spirit of the ProBloggers 31 Days to Building a Better Blog contest, I am writing a couple of my initial responses. I haven't read every single tip -- there are over 400 as of now -- so what I am writing may be a duplicate.

My first tip is to get everyone you know to blog too. When I started blogging, I was the only adoptive parent who had adopted out of foster care that I knew was blogging. Pretty soon Cindy, Kari, Mary, and Paula had joined me and since then so have others. We have a network and we pretty much read each others blogs every day. We link to each other often. We have never formally discussed promoting our blogs or sharing the link love or anything -- it's just been a natural outflowing of being involved in each others lives.

And my second tip is don't think too much. While there are many others who might tell you the opposite, the success of my blog has been that I just let stuff flow. I don't try too hard to determine what my audience wants or to plan my posts. When something needs blogging, I intuitively know it. There are days when I blog things that are embarrassing to me if I think too much. But at least for this blog, I think that our family experience, as honest as it can be, is what others are wanting to read.

My blogging may be unique among some of those who are reading ProBlogger in that any income generated is last in line after providing a service to other adoptive families, giving myself an outlet for my stress and an opportunity to understand myself as I process my experience, and the support group we've created among other bloggers. But I know that if it were not for my ability to stop thinking sometimes when I post and the group of other bloggers that I know, that I would have earned much less than the few hundred I've earned in the last year.

So again, don't think too much and get all your friends blogging too. It will increase your readership, but it will also make the whole process much more fun.

Too Much of a Good Thing

As Bart Mentioned in his blog entry this morning we are experiencing the piece after our most recent storm.

So by 10:30 last night I was asleep. I woke up at 6 and thought "wow, this feels good, I'm going to sleep some more" and again and seven and thought "Wow, that felt even better, I think I'll sleep some more." I had to be somewhere at 8:40 so I turned the alarm on and fell back asleep.

I then had one of my famous dreams...

I woke up and walked downstairs to find a room full of people for an adoption training. Bart was covering for me but I could tell he was frustrated so I gave him a glance that said" let me grab a shower" and he nodded with a glance that said, "But you BETTER hurry." The room was full of families and their children were present -- even a two parent Cambodian family with two small children.

For some reason I had to walk outside to the shower that was at a campground or outdoor YMCA program or something. I realized halfway up this huge hill that I had forgotten to bring a towel, soap, shampoo or something to change into. But I decided I would figure something out. When I got there, I saw a path leading to the shower with our family towels thrown along the path -- must have been a place where our kids frequented often. So I grabbed the dryest one and went along my way tot he shower.

I get in the shower as I frantically search for small pieces of soap. I recognize our Suave Strawberry shampoo bottle in the shower that one of the children had obviously left there, so I use that. When I get out, to put my dirty clothes back on, I realize that it is already 10:00 a.m. and Bart will be furious for having to cover for me for an extra hour.

A that moment my alarm went off and I realized that it was 8:20. I had thought I had set it for 8:10. I needed to be out of the house in 15 minutes. I scurried to find everything, went and took ANOTHER SHOWER, and rushed out the door.

And as I breathlessly landed in the front seat of our van I reminded myself of how much better my morning had been had I gotten up at 7. Because even with sleep, sometimes you can get too much of a good thing.

NOTE: This post has been edited. If you were lucky enough to have read it in the last hour or two you got the uncensored version. The stuff I censored made it much more interesting, but apparently it was inappropriate.

As Dominyk has said, "Sometimes I HATE being a preacher's children." (or wife, in this case).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Why You Can't Take Teenage Girls Too Seriously

Hard to Keep Up

Hard to keep you posted when so many things going on.

Firs tof all, Salinda had her doctors appointment and then we went to therapy together. I offered to compromise some things and I really think I came out ahead. I agreed to some of the things that she asked me for. She agreed to some of the things I asked her for.

We'll see where it goes, but for now she is at least being somewhat cooperative and respectful.

At 4:50 (locks to be changed at 5) Mike showed up to dump his stuff here because he has nowhere to put it. He has one more load that he left to go get at 4:57. He's happy go lucky and carefree as always -- even though I'm not sure he knows where he is sleeping tonight.

We're defintely around the sharp curve, or heading up the mountain. Life is calmer. Hopefully it will be for at least a few days.

An Unexpected IPhone Moment

After the doctor left the exam room while I was waiting for a copy of the form. I was checking my email on my Iphone and listening to the built in IPod. The song that was playing was Seasons of Love from Rent.

An email popped up on the screen from our church Annual Conference Office. When a clergy person or spouse dies, condolences are sent to the listserv which I am on. A dear friend of ours from our former town had passed away and this was the first we had heard of it.

I had blogged the words to this song a year ago celebrating the life of a man from our congregation. Ironically, this man was the grandfather of a friend of ours. The woman who died last week was his grandmother on the other side of the family.

I had so many incredible conversations with Bessmary. A great sense of humor, bright, articulate, fun. You can see in her picture the sparkle in her eye. We talked about many many things. When she was still living in her home but lacking in energy to do any real cooking, I would escape our post-dinner mayhem by taking a serving to her and sitting and watching her eat. I made scrapbook pages with her. And then when she was too ill to be in church, we emailed each other jokes. She read this blog and would send me email comments.

The obituary left one piece out that is quite important to me-- she was a foster parent years and years ago. She and I had many long talks about the joys and heartaches of her experience. I don't think she would mind if I quoted an email I received from her in 2005 after she had read a blog entry about something we were going through with Mike that reminded her of a former foster son.

Dear Claudia,
I feel so bad for you and there is nothing I can do. I know you did what you could with Mike and I am so sorry it turned out the way it did. I feel bad for Mike too, who can not see where he was given help, even when he was very unlovable. He may never look back and say, Hey, they were really trying to help me, so don't hold your breath waiting for him to say he is sorry.

Things didn't end well with P and I've always felt bad about it. He does not contact me either......and I really loved him too.

oh no. Now I am bawling now over Mike and P and you. Blessings to you. Bess

Her support was consistent, even when she could seldom leave her home, and she felt what I was feeling. And sometimes that meant more than anything anyone else ever did.

This isn't a great tribute -- not all that articulate or well written as i've been interrupted at least 14 times since I started, but I'll never forget this "IPhone Moment" -- when I sat alone in the exam room, Seasons of Love playing in the background while I wept with sorrow and with joy, celebrating a person whose life was measured in love.

So Much for That Plan

Well, the plan to not call the cops kind of got put aside when Salinda was outside our window at 11:00 last night throwing large rocks at the window. I had reminder her that she was grounded and that if she left we would have to call the police... that led the rock throwing and then we did call the police.

The officer was here three times. She kept running off and then reappearing a few minutes after the officer left to taunt us and tell us we were dumb liars.

After we had given up she arrived and I just told her we were goign to settle it in the morning. But the officer was smart enough to park at the end of the lot with lights off so she came back as soon as I notified 911 that she had returned. She had to physically sit Salinda down she was so rude.

She got a talking to and finally went to bed and stayed there. The officer explained to her that she was giving us no reason to let up or compromise when she was being so rude and disrespectful.

To prove to her that I was willing to take a step towards compromise I did a couple things for her this morning. I had to wake her up late this morning, but she woke up cooperative. Maybe last night was a turning point, or at least a start up the next hill since she's hit bottom.

It's a painful thing being so young that you have to have parents to survive when you know so much more than they do. But the bottom line she's hearing from everyone is that you have to follow your parents rules, whatever they are. Period.

Bart shares his view of the night here and contrasts her desires with those of Mike here.

I'm not sure it's a good thing when stuff like this becomes routine, but we're a lot less stressed this go around. I had a brief physical this morning and my blood pressure is excellent and I have no signs of anxiety or depression. Guess God know what God was doing when I was created with such a strong and unphasable personality.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Things My Husband Says to Me

this picture was taken while we were eating out tonight with my new Iphone. Quality is not great -- low pixels, but it is great to be able to sync it.

So, the other day he says, "Wow, you're tense. You're like a cow that needs to be milked."

"I'm so going to blog that."

"Well, you know why I don't blog things like that, right?"


"Because you never say anything that witty."

Then tonight.

Me: I"ve got 501 page views so far. People must like my style.

Him: I can't believe they keep coming back for the drivel. I'm not going to stoop that low, even if it does bring more visitors.

The Difference Between Then and Now

We have had days like today before. Many of them. Days of multiple stressors. In fact, the Mike story is not over yet for tonight. The landlord got home and had a call from the police that someone had just been seen leaving with something under a coat from Mike's apartment (that he will be evicted from tomorrow). He was less than cooperative until I intervened. Salinda was rude and nasty and mean to this person who has struggled to help Mike -- she must few her as the enemy because Mike views her as such.

I told Mike as he was trying to convince me how bad this person was and how he was out to get her, "There are three things that make this landlord different than others: 1) She let you move in without a deposit; 2) She was willing to rent to you in exchange for work; 3) She evicted you two weeks later than most would.

He, of course, isn't really getting it. He is blaming her and will find ways to blame him. After the ruccus he caused last night and tonight, we've had to ask him not to come to the house for a while as well. You should have seen the scene between him and Salinda.... sigh.

But the difference between then and now is that we already know what the road ahead looks like. We know that even when things get to the point where we don't think they can get any worse, that we get through it. We know that there is no way to force a child bent on destruction to shape up -- you have to ride the ride, guiding it some, but riding it where it goes.

And so we are less committed to being completely stressed out, but we fume, we fuss, we experience our stress. Apparently, Cindy is feeling the same way as she said on her blog

I am trying to contain and work through my shock and resentment at the way I perceive I’ve been treated lately by people that I went to for help

Watch What About Bob sometime and watch Dr. Leo Marvin and how he goes from a perfectly sane person to a lunatic. There is one part in the movie when he takes Bob, the "crazy person" to the psych hospital and Bob charms everyone. The psych hospital discharges Bob and suggests that maybe the psychiatrist might like to check himself in to get a grip.

This is what happens to us periodically, and apparently Cindy as well. It is so insulting to take a child in for help and to be told that we really must be the problem.

I'm very pleased that Salinda's therapist today made sure that she told me that she thinks Bart and I are doing all the right things. That is always a much better response than the "it must be the parenting" that we've heard so often.

So, even though I don't like the place we're in, we've had worse days. And we will have worse ones in the future. And when it is all said and done, God's grace will be sufficient. And that's all I need to know.

And I am in love with my IPhone. I am thinking about sleeping with it stuck inside my pajama bottoms just so I'll be sure that nobody touches it during the night.

Another Heavy Sigh

If you haven't already read it on Bart's blog I will be the first to inform you that Mike stopped by tonight telling us that his landlord was out in the driveway again. "I don't get why she's so pissed at me."

I just responded to him, "Mike, you signed a lease. You are an adult. When an adult signs a lease they are supposed to live by what they sign. You said that you would have no visitors and you have visitors all the time."

He has until tomorrow at 5. She has no choice but to evict him -- he has 13 and 14 year old boys and girls there without their parents permission. Her reputation is at stake. He won't abide by the rules.

He won't get a job. He won't even accept a job I get for him. He spends his days and nights skateboarding from house to house. He comes here to eat every 24-48 hours and eats like a starving animal -- even though we're only a mile away and he can eat here three times a day.

I have mixed feelings. We felt some pressure from others saying we needed to do something for Mike, and we were in agreement. We felt bad that he was homeless and living right in our town. He was desperate. He asked us for help. We found someone willing to rent to him for FREE. And it lasted 18 days... and only because she was patient. He had violated his lease within 4.

Does he get it? Maybe, maybe not. Can he live here? No, in fact, he is starting to respect our guidelines less and less each day. (Last night he came at 10:15 and I told him to eat quickly and leave immediately. I found him on the couch watching TV at 11:00...

Having his chaos here when Salinda is in her defiance mode is not good. He keeps the other kids in a state of disequilibrium all the time.

I am sad that we put our friend in this position. She was giving, gracious and very fair. She has lost sleep and poured lots of time, energy and emotion into making this work for Mike, and the result is that he blew it... People who do not understand FASD simply DO NOT GET IT. And explaining it to them just doesn't work She feels lied too, manipulated, used, cheated... and she can't get her mind around the idea that maybe a lot of this really isn't intentional.

So, we ask ourselves again, "Is there something more we should do? If so, what is that?" I didn't get my hopes up that this would work this time. Writing was on the wall from day one. But how many more people can we ask to go out on a limb for someone who seems bent on chopping down the whole tree?


I wanted to clarify something from my post about the church and adoption. Basically I wanted to clarify this:

I am not saying that all Christians should adopt. What I am saying is that we look like hypocrites when we, being Christians, say that there are groups who should not be allowed when we ourselves are not adopting.

It's the talking about who shouldn't be able to adopt that irks me more than anything. And again, if you'll read my post, I give you freedom, once you have adopted an older child or sibling group, to make any statement you would like to about adoption and what kind of families should be adopting.

I'm not sure where I read it, but somewhere lately I read that there are many who really are "pro-birth" or "right to be born" advocates as opposed to "pro-life" or "right-to-live" advocates. Because if we are unwilling to step up to the plate and adopt children who are born and give them quality of life, then really what we are doing is being advocates for the right to be born, not for the right to have quality life.

I began my experiment by sending links to every pastor and staff member at two of our largest chruches in my town explaining how I wanted to see the church step up to the plate. I sent out about 20 emails, as each church has about 10 people listed as staff members on each website.

I am ashamed. I have not received even one response to my plea. But I'm not going to give up.

What about you? If you go to church, can you talk to your pastor about mentioning adoption in a service between now and November 30th? I'll add that piece of news to my church and adoption blog.

blogging from the van

how cool is this?

And I checked my email from the toilet

And there are Times When You Just Gotta Scream

Salinda left and I threatened to go to the police station with the names of her friends if she wasn't home in 30 minutes. I told the guy who was driving as well. She came home, threatened to hit me, grabbed my laptop and tried to yank it out of the display. Threw several things off my desk and then turned off teh power in the house.

I had Bart come home so I could get away to make phone calls. I must add here, that in the midst of all this, Rand had a flat tire on our old van and I had to go deal with that. So stress was mounting by the minute.

But once I got away and started to think about this I was able to weigh our options. I had several conversations with Bart and also talked to Mike and John's P.O., a law enforcement official, a county adolescent worker, and the therapist. And here are our choices.

1) We can try calling the cops, but our law enforcement here basicaly admitted that unless she crosses certain lines there is nothing they can do -- apparently threatening to damage our property or to slap me aren't enough.

2) We can go down the CHIPS route again. We can voluntary place her into the county's custody, but they will put her in the "least restrictive envinronment" which is foster care. Unfortunately, there are many foster homes for teens in our county that have a reputation of having no rules -- kids love living there.

3) We can try to have her admitted into a psych hospital, but she would be able to act perfectly fine.

4) We can downplay what she does, bide our time, and wait for her to bury herself. We can respond lovingly but firmly, continue to consequence, and make her make the decision.

There is one last thing that we may do if we have to, which would involve 30 days of her life in an assessment program, but for now we're going to hold on to that until things get worse.

We have selected option 4 for one main reason -- we've been down roads 1, 2, and 3 already and we don't like any of them.

Sainda told her therapist that she wants to go to detention. Well, she has a few more things she'll have to to do get there, but if she is determined, that is where she will end up. We just aren't going to make it easy for her.

We will calmly play this out. Tomorrow she has a doctor appointment to rule out thyroid issues or drug use that might be making her so sleepy all the time. Then we are supposed to meet with her thrapist together, but she already told the therapist there was nothing she was going to do to try to make things work.

So tonight Bart and I had dinner out. We agreed on option four -- with the doctors appointment tomorrow and then the therapist. Then if there is nothing on the tests, we'll get on the waiting list to see the psychiatrist. If she refuses to take medication, we'll document that too.

So, I brought home half my supper. Walked in the door and said, "I brought these home for you -- Potato Canoes. They are really good. By the way, you have a doctors appointment tomorrow at 2 to get a physical and then we'll go to see H (the therapist) together. Either you can talk or I can just visit with her alone."

I truly believe that 90% of what she does is for show. She's had this horrible "violent" episode where she was going to destroy our property while we were home and she doesn't have phone privileges, but when she was alone in the house she didn't touch anything or use the phone.

She's a pretty confused young thing and I think with her maybe we can calmly ride the waves and get through this. It's nice to have already been through it twice... makes it a little easier to know what not to do.

There are Times When you Just Gotta Rejoice

In the midst of stress there are times set aside for pure joy.

Some of my purest joy times are the opening of a new Apple Product. I know that sounds shallow, but I love Apple.

And today my new IPhone arrived. It was activated within 3 minutes. DIdn't have to go to any cell phone store or anything.

Now I am syncing everything that I had ready -- music, photos, phone numbers -- I spent Friday geting them all ready to transfer.

I"m a geek when it comes to Apple Products, I admit it. They have changed my life and given me power to do things I never thought I'd ever be able to do.

AAAAhhhhh --

Monday, August 20, 2007

Almost Finally...

Our son Mike thinks that Tony looks like a Who from Whoville now that he had the girls die his eyes and eyebrows.

I tend to agree with him, though it's not quite as evident in this picture.

But ocassionally I find myself singing,

"Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!

Welcome Christmas, come this way!"

And Finally...

One last picture

and the news that Bart blogged twice while I was gone.

an update on Mike.


his theory about Salinda.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I forced my children to go with me along a trip down memory lane. Everyone but Tony was mildly interested ... Tony was clearly not. But I told him we had time to kill and I was driving so he was stuck.

We drove into town and drove by the Burger King where I first fell in love (no, not with Bart). We drove around the building where I was a hall director, parked in my old parking spot, and I described my apartment from outside. We drove around buildings where I had my classes, the building where the then man of my dreams had his office, the place where he lived, and places where I ate my meals. I showed them where I played racquetball and where I did my internship. I showed them places where I worked during summer internships, and pointed out bulidings where some of the people they knew had gone to classes over the past few years. We drove by my church and I showed them how small it used to be and how big it has grown.

I was 21 when I moved there and knew so much about everything. I learned much more while I was there than I anticipated about many facets of life. And, as I just blogged, made lifelong friends.

Sometimes my kids, becuase they were adopted as older kids, really have no vision of who I was before I was a mom, and for me it is fun to reminisce along with them. I've taken them on this tour three or four times in their lives already and the ones who had been on it where sighing and moaning "we've already seen this, Mom." But I figure if I don't tire of it, neither should they.

I'm a lot older now -- twice as old as I was then -- but those were formational years for me and I wouldn't trade them for anything. They were filled with my some of my highest highs and some of my lowest lows. And when I look back, I realize that I survived.

In church yesterday, there was special music. And as I sat there listening to the song, not knowing where Salinda was, I was filled with a deep sense of peace.

This is the song:

If You Want Me To Lyrics

Artist(Band):Ginny Owens

The pathway is broken
And The signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

Cause I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone

So When the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley
If You want me to

Again on my way home, thinking about my experiences of 20 years ago, I was filled again with confidence -- because I walked those valleys, and I was OK. And the valleys I walk through now are no tougher, just different, and, once again, I will be OK.

LIke a Calgon Bath for the Soul

Do you have people in your lives who are a calming presence? People who you have known so long that they are embedded in your soul and that just being with them reminds you of who you are and who you should be and who you wish to become?

Twenty-two years ago I met a couple like this. He, in the computer department at the University where I was a hall director, she a stay at home mom of two kids, one by birth, the other by adoption, then about 9 and 12. The family attended the church I was becoming a part of and the first night I met them the Dad offered to pay for me to head to a movie with the college and career group when I attended my first church event - the annual church picnic. I declined, but from that moment on I knew these were incredible people.

We began our 22 year (so far) journey together on that day and it went on to include our paths crossing multiple times. For three years I coached their son in Bible Bowl. I had multiple Sunday dinners at their home. I did a lot of dishes in their kitchen. My friends and I hung out there and played cards. And then I moved away.

But I couldn't stay away -- and each time that I returned to Brookings, SD I would spend time at their house, inviting many of my old friends to join me there. I spent several weeks there as I was out speaking and raising money for my missions stint in Mexico.

After Bart and I were married and had 2 foster kids, Bart officiated at the wedding of their daughter. He baptised their first grandchild. When we moved about 75 miles from them, we tried to see them often, but didn't get together as much as we should have.

And last night five of my children spent the night at their home. I am now older than they were when I first met them. But we still were invited to hang out at their house, spend the night, and have an incredible breakfast. Mutual friends came over for an hour and we visited as if we had never been apart.

Last night, sleeping in their home in a bed I have slept in many times in the last 22 years, in various stages of my life -- young, naive, single..... a newleywed .... a new mother .... and now a mother of teens -- I thought of their presence in my life being like my insides being bathed in warm oil.

it reminded me of the metaphor used by the psalmist in Psalm 133:

Psalm 133

A song of ascents. Of David.

1 How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron's beard,
down upon the collar of his robes.

3 It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.

Their presence in my life, their servants hearts, their welcoming spirits, their gift of hospitality, their love for us and our children, their ministry to us.... like warm oil.... like a calgon bath for my soul.

There are foundational people in my life ... people who have made me who I am and who continue to remind me of all I can be. And no matter how long it's been since we've seen each other, it's like we've never been apart.

SO coming back home to face what I have to face, I did so strengthened by the fact that I allowed my soul to be "taken away" with the calgon bath of old friends.

Apparently a Night Spent in her Bed

Thanks to you who have given advice and ideas about Salinda. Not sure what we're going to do long term, but apparently she did spend last night in her bed. I came home to a report that she has been pretty sedate, quiet and here since her arrival yesterday.

I'm just trying to stay calm and take it one day at a time. Apparently when she is grounded she stays here -- but once she gets out, she cannot tell her friends no and make herself get back home.

So, until Sunday she will not have permission to leave again. Don't know if she'll do it, but again, one day at a time.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Home for a Moment -- who knows what else

Salinda came home long enough to call me and tell me that she is not grounded......

I dont' know if she stayed home or not.

I'm at a Culver's having supper with the kids. Then on to Sioux Falls.

Hopefully she's not going to push me....

Not a Word

We have not heard a word from Salinda or from MIke. Not from Mike since Friday, not from Salinda since midnight.

I'm leaving on a trip she wanted to go on without her.

I'm going to try to maintain a sense of humor as Tudo recommended in her comment. The Unruly Child Charges may be the route we have to go.

This crap is exhausting by the way.

And Beginning the Next Day

Last night Salinda made it home by her curfew. Said goodnight, I love you mom. I was so proud of her. You would think that I could get a good night's sleep.

But no, the weather had other ideas. Lots of thunder and lightning and then the power was out for 3 hours from 1:15 to 4:15. Bart couldn't sleep (needs a C-Pap for Sleep Apnea) the fan was off, so it was deathly quiet. Both little boys were frightened by the thunder, and were in and out of our room. I was not ready to get up this morning, even though I did sleep more than Bart.

And apparently I slept a lot more than Salinda. When i went to wake her up this morning, her bed was empty. Apparently she had said "good night, I love you" and snuck back out. I'm not sure if she planned to sneak back in before morning and wherever she was staying the alarm clock got shut off because of electricity, or if she never planned to come back home.

I guess she's pushing it to the point where I"m going to have to talk to the police and see if there is anything I can do. She's technically not breaking curfew because she has these stupid guys who will drive her everywhere.

And she no longer cares about anything. She's been pining away for a cell phone and I basically told her last night that if she did it one more time she was going to lose that possibility. All the sudden she doesn't care about a cell phone. She will not have school clothes money. She doesn't care. I told her she wouldn't be able to go with me to see her brother who she claims is the most important part of her world, but she doesn't care about that either.

Once a teenager chooses all out rebellion, I'm not sure what anyone can do. Sure, I can pack up all her things, but the kind of stress that would cause in the family system when she arrived home and found it gone would be tremendous. I am afraid of the way she would treat Sadie especially.

One choice, of course, is to go the route we did with Mike and John where we prove she needs residential care to keep her safe. But I hate to do that when she is successful everywhere but home. Mike and John were never successful anywhere... failing grades, inappropriate in the community, behavior trouble at school, no social connections that were positive.

The problem with residential care is that troubled kids become the peer group and the norm -- and provide a network for life of troubled kids all over the state. John and MIke both had a serious change in their view of life by listening to those who were "locked up" with them. They also learned a lot about how to break the law.

I'm not sure now if I can go on the trip. Bart isn't going to want me to leave when Salinda is unaccounted for. But to deprive John of his only time off ranch this month seems pretty sad.

Yes, she's beautiful. And I wish I could lock her up. But I can't. And she's spiralling downward and getting worse and worse in regards to her rebellion.

But if we've survived Mike and John we'll survive Salinda. And if anyone has any ideas we haven't tried, I'm open to listening to them. Probably going to have to ground her again on top of taking away the financial support. She seems to only be able to be not grounded for a day or two before she's grounded again.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ending the Day

Having a hard time getting folks to settle down and go to bed. Both Tony and Dom slept a little this afternoon so they are not tired. Salinda, even though she realizes she's taking a huge risk by leaving again, is waiting for a ride and as been for over an hour. (She has to go six days without money, without rides from us except to sports, school and church, and most importantly, without the ability to earn money from us, which is important to us. If she doesn't come in on time tonight, I"ll add more days. She's hoping to get a cell phone when I switch plans to get my Iphone, but she may not get paid enough from a watering job she has right now to pay her debt from the last time she had a cell phone.) I know there are those of you who think she should be grounded, but grounding isn't going to teach her the fundamental skill she needs right now -- to be able to do the right thing when she has freedom).

Rand and Jimmy just got into a shouting match over who turned the channel on the TV and their deep 19 and almost 16 year old voices are quite annoying when they argue about things toddlers choose to squabble about.

I'm not regretting having a short nap today as I'm not at my wits end right now, which I would be if I had not.

Tomorrow some of us are going to see John and spend the night with some good friends. I'm looking forward to seeing them and to spending time with John as well.

Feeling Better

Enjoying me bopping in every couple hours with a report?

My nap has made me feel a bit better, like I can make it through the day. Bart gave an update on Salinda as well.

Back and Silent

Salinda returned at 2:45 -- about 3 and a half hours after I told her she needed to come straight home. I am done talking. Now I'm just not spending. I slept very little last night and now it is my intention to take a nap.....

Adding to the Everything Adoption Series

Added my thoughts on Ingratitude here.

Alive and Safe but Still Not Home

I made a couple of well placed phone calls to some of Salinda's friends. Within a few minutes she called saying she was not going to tell me where she had spent the night but that she needed to find Bs phone before she could come. I told her she needed to come home now and I would help her get the phone. She is not interested in that plan.

I reminded her that the longer it took her to get home, the longer it would take for her to be available to have me spend my money on her or take per places. She told me I was not fair. I reminder her that it was not fair that she lied last night, that it was not fair that she spent the night somewhere different, that it was not fair that she had not let me know she was OK, that it was not fair that she wouldn't let me know where she was. Those things, I told her, were not fair.

If she comes home in a reasonable amout of time I will offer her some hope that with a good attitude she may not go too long without the privileges of family -- but that if her attitude is horrible, I'll go longer. I've had it with her, and have given in way too many times.

Meanwhile, while I'm stressing, Bart has been waxing eloquent in his blog postnig this morning.

10:50 and still unaccouunted for

Apparently B's mother gave Salinda permission to go walk to the ice cream store with A. at 8 p.m. last night and hasn't seen her since. She went to bed early and assumed that she was coming back to watch the end of the movie. According to B's mom, neither showed up. The story is that A's friend dropped her off at a gas station to meet some guys. Nobody has seen her since. They think she is with some kid named C. She supposedly has B's cell, phone, according to A, and spent hte night at C's who is a boy.

Of course, she won't answer the phone.

SOmetimes being someone else might be more fun.

Spoke Too Soon

Well, at 2:15 a.m. I got a phone call. Salinda and her friend A were staying at another friend (B's) house. But, at 2 a.m. the mom of A called to tell me that her husband had just gotten home with their daughter after a call from the police but that my daughter was not with her daughter, nor were either of them with B, whose house they were supposedly spending the night in.

So, I lie awake for over 2 hours rehearsing in my head how I was going to effectively communicate the consequences that she had. Then I fell sleep and had a dream that I was talking about it with her and she responded appropriately. I woke up, went to the bathroom, and then fell asleep again and dreamed that I talked to her about it and she was furious.

So I've already been through it hundreds of times in my head, twice in my dreams, and I still have it to look forward to.

Lucky, Lucky, Me.