Saturday, January 31, 2009

This is Ground Control to Major Tom

(S) and I went to the Post Office and then shopping at the market this morning. When we got back we went into the front yard to do some sledding. That didn't go very well. When (S) tried to walk through the snow she went in up to her waste. She couldn't move and it was really quite funny. So I picked her up and then I proceeded to fall down with her in my arms and we were both laughing. It was really quite funny. But not as funny as.................

This afternoon I am sitting and doing some stuff on the computer and I look up and coming into the room is (S). She has a container that usually contains blocks. It is clear plastic about 5 inches wide by 8 inches long and about 14 inches deep. Where does she have it you ask?
Over her head. I start laughing at which point she looks at me and says.

"This is my space helmet. I am going into space....2...3...4...5....blastoff!!"

Friday, January 30, 2009

Dora Wasn't Doing Well Tonight

(K) told (S) that if she stayed in her bed all night then she would get her some big girl panties. ( I am not sure what one thing had to do with the other but that is our (K)), Tonight (K) came over to bring her the big girl panties she had earned. (S) was so excited because they were Dora panties. She had to put them on right away. So off came the pull-ups, she went to the potty and then she put on her Dora panties.

We ate dinner and then made (S) go to the potty. Then we did some other things and made her go to the potty again. It wasn't too long after that we smelled that familiar aroma we were hoping we wouldn't smell. DW asked (S) how Dora was doing. "Not too well" was the response. When asked why she pooped she said "I don't know". That has been the problem from the star of trying to toilet train. She will make the number 1 in the toilet, but not number 2.

One day we know it will come together for her, but until then it is very frustrating. Not only for us, but I think it is for her as well. We had a problem with our son (B), but our daughters were very quick to toilet train. As a matter of fact, (K) we didn't even get started on. One day she just started using the toilet. Hopefully that one day will come for (S) real soon.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Extra Security? Adoption?

(S)s caseworker was here today. It was her monthly visit and she filled us in on what is coming. There were two things in particular she talked to us about.

1. Since I was going to court on Monday she wanted me to know that they had asked for extra security at the court because they don't know what bio-dad may be capable of. She also said for the first time in many years she is concerned for her own well-being.

2. She wants us to give serious consideration and have plenty of family discussion about and around us adopting (S) as she believes that TPR will eventually come and they try to start working on that as soon as possible when they know it is a possibility. We have plenty of time so we should get started on our thoughts

As far as the security is concerned, I am glad there will be extra security there but I think bio-dad is a blowhard and as my DW says, a bully. He is not going to do anything to anyone who stands up to him. He just likes to beat people who are weaker than him. I will be there and I will talk with the judge if necessary so that (S) can come on our long road trip in March.

As far as adoption is concerned, that is not what we got into this for. We originally were just going to help out and do respite care for people and take care of kids on occasion. Well as things turned out, (S) came into our life and home in December 2007. We were new to the process and figured she would be with us for a short time and then there might be another child come to live with us a few months later.

I guess we were pretty naive. Now we have this lovely little 3 year old who we absoltely adore and if we don't adopt her, someone will. A 3 year old child is certainly easy to adopt out. Especially a child without any issues. It is looking like she will be up for adoption by herself. She will have less contact with her brothers and then if she is gone from us....the only house she knows living in.......she may develop issues. She is so smart and so cute and we only want the best for her. I don't necessarilly think we are best for her. We had our children who are all grown and out of the house. Our youngest is 26 years old. If we were to adopt (S) we would be 70 when she graduated high school. I don't know if we could keep up with her as a teenager. We were also talking about retirement in a few years. Do we really want to have that responsibility?

There is so much to consider and I am sure I don't even know the half of it. For those of you who have adopted, what is the half we don't know?

You Have Got to be Kidding Me.

This really makes me sick. No wonder Foster Parents get a bad rap. These are the types of articles that appear in newspapers across the country on what seems like a regular basis. I can't believe this woman did not go to jail for some time. Some of the comments I have to agree with. It seems as though the life of this foster child was not considered very important to the judge or the prosecutor. If someone did that with a bio child I am confident they would end up in jail.....where they would belong.....

How a judge can send this message is beyond my comprehension. The woman gave her foster child an adult dose of a strong medication that killed her. She knowingly did this......the girl is dead.......she is getting 5 years probation.....absolutely amazing...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Trip is Looking Good......but not yet definite


(S)'s caseworker did not show up today due to the snow storm. She did call however. The bad news is that the supervisor still won't change her mind. The good news is that me, the caseworker, and the GAL are all going to get to talk to the judge on Monday and they both are going to ask the judge to approve it. The caseworker is going to stop by tomorrow. She has to come and visit once a month and has not been here yet for January, so she is kind of under the gun with only 2 days left. I won't be here, but DW will and of course (S) will be here. We could still be shovelling outthough. we are supposed to get up to 18 inches of snow overnight. (S) is excited for an even bigger hill.........anyway....

Apparently bio-dad was picketting the Mystery Mansion last week. His sign was specifically addressed to the caseworker. She doesn't even know if the judge is going to be allowing any visits at all. I suspect Bio-mom and dad will be there with their lawyers. I am not sure what I should say to them if they talk to me. They have to know that I have a good idea of what has been going on. I don't know what they or their lawyers can possibly say that would convince the judge to do anything but continue along with the TPR process. Between the jail event and the two hospital events for dad and the general health of bio-mom, these people are in no position to be parenting 5 children. They can't even take care of themselves. I have never run across people like them before. Since (S) is our first foster child I don't know if this is normal or not. I mean for foster children, not your run of the mill child who has a loving family.

Well if nothing else court should be very interesting on Monday.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Just some disjointed ramblings tonight.....

(S) went to daycare for the first time in over a week today. She has been feeling better and was very happy to see her friends there. Tomorrow her caseworker comes for the monthly visit. We are hoping to get more information about what is going on with mom and dad, and our proposed trip.

We are supposed to get 12-18 inches of snow tomorrow. I hope it comes late enough that the caseworker still shows up. (S) will love it. The pile in the frost yard is already about 10 feet tall and perfect for a 3 year old to go sledding on. With another good storm, it can only get better.

I gave (S) a bath tonight. She loves that. What she doesn't like is sleeping in her bed. She comes into our room every night. She says her room is scary and that her mother comes there and yells. It wasn't always this way, it just started in September. It is driving us crazy. Last night I tried everything to get her into her own bed and after I was done doing that, the next thing Iknew DW came in and told me my alarm had gone off and I was in (S) bed alone. She was back in our room.

The plan now is to let her stay in our room if she wants, but we are not going to let her climb into our bed and we are not going to make her a bed on the floor. If she wants to saty in our room she will have to take care of herself.We are hoping that she will find herself uncomfortable enough to return to her own bedroom. We have also been trying some herb that the pediatrician and case worker suggested we try. It is called Melatonin. I don't know if it will do any good but we are at the point where we would try just about anything.

Well it is time for American Idol so I will see you all tomorrow and fill you in on what happened.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Enough of This Llama Drama


So today was supposed to be a visit. They have gone back to being supervised and only twice a week for two hours each visit. We were within an hour of going to the visit when the call came. No visit today. The call came from the visit supervisor, not the case worker. She just said that there was a little problem today.

Later I got a call from the case worker. She said that now all visits and telephone calls were going to cease until after the next court date. That is next Monday. I asked the case worker what had happened and she said that Dad had done something he shouldn't have done and was in the hospital. She also said that both Mom and Dad were not very stable right now and they didn't think they should be having any contact with the children until they go before the judge and he makes a determination. (I'm not sure what kind of a determination)

Remember.....we are still in reunification though and we can't take her away for three weeks.

But I digress. Thankfully we hadn't said anything to (S) about a visit today so she didn't know she was missing anything. It has been a while since she really asked for her mom and at the last supervised visit last week the case worker says that she paid no attention to dad, little attention to mom and spent most of the time playing with her brothers.

Oh by the way......The case worker also told us that we should keep our eyes open and if mom or dad should show up on the street or at the house, we should dial 911. The only problem is she didn't tell us what to tell them......Hey, I didn't bargain for this when I got involved in foster care. I guess I figured in most cases there was not a problem with parents. I don't know if that is the reality, but certainly in this case it isn't. These parents really don't have a clue. At every turn something new comes up.

Wednesday is the day our case worker comes to visit and see how (S) is doing. I am sure we will get more information then. I also hope we will hear something from the GAL and that it is positive. My son has been doing some research about what is available in Birmingham that (S) would like. We are all excited about the potential of the trip but we don't want to get our hopes up too high knowing that the drama is...........

to be continued

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Today Was No Fun


(S) was miserable today. We went to run errands at the market and other stores, had lunch out, and even went to the fish store to buy some items for the aquarium. (S) was miserable all day. She has been feeling a little under the weather, but today she didn't seem sick at all, just real cranky.

She was causing scenes wherever we went. Sitting on the floor and not moving....screaming when we picked her up to get moving......crying and hitting herself in the face when she didn't get what she wanted.

What is with the hitting herself in the face? She had done it on a rare occasion, but in the last week or two it seems to occur much more frequently. It is whenever she doesn't get her way, or when we scold her for doing something she knows she shouldn't have done to begin with. I certainly hope it is just a phase and has no real meaning. I hate when I read something into her behavior that isn't there, but I just don't know.

She doesn't hurt herself or leave any marks or even make her face red, but it is still a little disconcerting to say the least. Between that, the not sleeping, and the crankiness, today has been pretty msierable. We did run into some old friends at the market who had not met (S) yet. They were great. I used to be involved with the local Little League and also with softball when my bio-girls were young, and he said he missed me on the field and was hoping that now that I had (S) I would be getting back involved with softball.......well, I guess if she is still with us when she gets to that age, and is interested in playing, I will be back involved again.

Not like the last time though. I spent my last 4 years involved as President of the Little League. I could tell you all sorts of stories about that but they all boil down to just two things.

1. The kids are wonderful and you have a blast with them and there are hundreds of great the kid who gets his first hit or scores a run, or makes one of those miraculous catches in the outfield with his/her eyes closed.

2. The parents are a pain in the butt and they think their kids are the best and they act obnoxious, and there are hundreds of absolutely appaling stories....Like the time a mother brought her boy friend to a game that her ex husband was coaching. It was a farm league game. 7-9 year olds. The boy friend and the coach got into fistacuffs on the pitching mound and the police had to be called. What a wonderful role model for the kids.....

I just hope (S) is still around and has a good time playing if she wants to.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What a Picture

I just wish I knew how to get a picture from my phone to the computer and I could put it up on this blog, but since I can't put it on the blog anyway, I guess it is just as well. So what is the picture of?

(S) in her flower girl dress. Her hands on her hips and showing quite a bit of attitude. It is an absolutely wonderful picture.

We went to David's Bridal today to look at and try on Flower Girl dresses for (S). The dress that (K) picked out has a shoulder strap on each side, it has a high waist and the bottom of the dress "poofs" (if that is a word) out so that when (S) spins around it looks so big and beautiful just like a Priness Dress. Unfortunately, she didn't know when to stop spinning and she got herself a little dizzy. The dress she tried on was green, but the one that was ordered was lilac to match the bridesmaids gowns. She will wear silver shoes with it and have a flowered tiara and a basket to throw flowers at the wedding.

(S) was thrilled and can't wait to get the dress. The trick will be keeping her out of it until the wedding in June.

When (S) came to us the Drs considered her a failure to thrive baby so we knew she was small. She is now almost 3 1/2 years old and we got her a size 2T. It is a little big, but we are hoping she will grow into it by June. It won't matter though because she looks adorable anyway. I just hope she doesn't steal the show from the bride. After all, it will be (K)s day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sometimes I Have a Great Idea

The supervisor at the Mystery Mansion called me back today. She says that since they are in the middle of reunification 3 weeks is too long to take (S) out of town. HUH?........... They stopped reunification and filed paperwork to begin TPR proceedings.

Oh, but the supervisor says that until there is actually a TPR order they are officially still in the process of reunification. That reunification has been court ordered and they really don't have a choice.'............. OK so then if I get the judge to say it is ok, then we will be fine?........ She says no. The judge doesn't tell us what to do. HUH?....... Is this supervisor a moron?........ The name Mystery Mansion is sounding more and more appropriate.

Well, there is nothing she can do. Her hands are tied and she is not going to allow us to take (S) out of state for 3 weeks while the reunification process is still underway........... At this point it was obvious she was going to remain obstinate and continuing the conversation was just going to cause me more grief and agravation.

So here was my great idea. I called the GAL (Guardian Ad Litem). Now he came to see (S) the day after she came to our house over 13 months ago. We have had virtually no contact with him and we haven't really needed anything from him. However, I thought that he may be able to help.

When I told him what was going on he couldn't believe that they wouldn't let (S) go. He said that he is the advocate for the children and since the caseworker is on our side and it is the supervisor that says no, he will talk with the supervisor. He said if neccesary he could also talk to the judge. I told him that the supervisor said the judge couldn't tell them what to do........he laughed.........He did not make any promises, but he did sound optimistic that he would be able to help.

We aren't making any reservations yet, but we are feeling a little better.

One item of note: During the conversation he said there was no way if he had anything to say about it that he was going to allow those kids to go back with their parents. It is still astounding to me when they were so close to getting their kids back. I don't think this whole process will ever cease to amaze me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why Call It the "Mystery Mansion"?

The DHHS building must have at least 50 rooms. It has to have quite a few bathrooms. There are about 5 different play rooms and there is a grand entrance that you have to wait just inside the door until such time as you are called/announced. There are janitors to clean up and maintanence people to fix anything that might break. ..............If that doesn't describe a mansion, I don't know what does.

There are some areas that you need to have a special badge to get into as they are always locked. You also have to have your ID on. The building must be closed up by 5:00pm, but there is a special door out back where domestic agents and other spies are allowed special access. They make their decisions and refuse to give reasons for their decisions other than vague references that make no sense at all. .....................That all seems a bit mysterious to me.

Hence the name "Mystery Mansion"

Today we were told by our case worker that her supervisor said we can't take (S) out of state for 3 weeks, we can take her for 1 week. Well, I don't know if she is aware of how long a drive it is from New England to Oklahoma but how we are going to go there, visit the cities we want to visit and retun in one week is certainly a mystery to me. The only explanation she gave is it wouldn't be good to be gone that long considering "where we are in the case" where are we? We don't have that answer. It is another mystery. The supervisor wouldn't even give us the courtesy of telling us herself. She had our case worker tell us. I have a call into her but needless to say, she has not returned my call yet.

The people in the "Mystery Mansion" are always begging, pleading, and otherwise conniving to get foster parents and then they pull these kind of stunts. Well, we aren't going to hurt (S) at this point, but we are going to fight this decision. There is a court hearing the week after next (February 2nd) . It is my intent, if the supervisor leaves me unsatisfied, to ask to address the judge and personally ask him and explain why it would be best for (S) if we took this trip with her as opposed to without her. Can you do that? I don't know, but I will check if needed.

In the meantime, (S) is still sick and has been miserable. She has been on antibiotic for 2 days now but still not feeling well. We will probably take her back to the doctor tomorrow.

She had a short visit with mom, dad, and her brothers at the Mystery Mansion today. It was very closely supervised, and all future visits will be very closely supervised but at a different location. It would appear they are staring from scratch again, but I don't think they are going to get very far.

If I sound upset it is because I am. We were planning on taking (S) to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To an indoor water park. To see the St, Louis Arch. To see the cowboy Hall of Fame and Museum. To see the Vulcan Statue in Birmingham. Visit the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and of course the Graceland in Memphis. She loves ribs, so we would be stopping and having ribs somewhere along or near Beale St. The Trolley Museum in Fort Smith and a zoo, either Oklahoma City, or Erie. Now some of those places (S) probably doesn't care much about, but she was really looking forward to seeing a "Cowboyzeum" and going to a zoo as she has never been to a zoo before. I think she would love going for the ride up in the St. Louis Arch, and she loves our son (B) who lives in birmingham and was looking forward to getting to see him before the wedding. (He always has gifts for her). She can't get enough time at the beach and since we haven't been since September, the water park would have been wonderful.

Hopefully either the supervisor, her supervisor or the judge will find it in their heart to actually do what is best for (S) and approve our trip.

The "Mystery Mansion"


That is my new name for DHHS. They told DW no.......more to follow later when I get a chance to digest this and speak to them myself. (not that it will do any good)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Two Ear Infections and Dad is Leaving Town

It has been another one of those days......(S) was up most of last night. At one point she was so hot you could feel the heat coming off of her. We debated taking her to the emergency room but figured we were better off just waiting a couple of hours and taking her to the Dr's office. She has two ear infections and is now taking an antibiotic. We are hopeful she will feel better soon. She wasn't hungry tonight and didn't eat any dinner and now she fell asleep on the chair in the den. She looks so peacful sleeping in the chair.

So, that is the two ear onto Dad.

Tonight was phone call night to mom and dad, although the last two times dad was not available. First he was in jail and second he was in the psychiatric hospital........Mom didn't answer the phone but then called back. She said that Dad was leaving the state because she "weren't gonna lose her kids cause of him".

There are 5 siblings 4 are boys and then (S). They range in age from 12 to 3. This woman is not well. She has had multiple medical conditions and is constantly at the hospital or on some medication the keeps her from driving....In other words, we dont see any way she will be able to care for the 5 kids herself.

At firrst blush we think that the dad leaving is just a ploy so maybe she can get the kids back and then she will leave the state and join him and our state will have nothing to say about them anymore. I think the case worker and others at the DHHS are just as capable of seeing that but it will really become up to a judge to make that determination and you never know what they are going to say.

We again feel like everything is up in the air. That hasn't stopped us from making plans now though for (S) to be flower girl at the wedding......Oh I don't think I mentioned that here before.

(K) is getting married in June. We originally thought that (S) wouldn't be here, but now that we think she will be here (K) wants her to be her flower girl. As a result, we are headed to a David's Bridal this weekend to get her a "bootful" dress to wear.

We spoke to the case worker today and she told us we would have an answer about the trip on Thursday. I just wish we knew better how dad leaving town will affect everything, if at all. We were under the impression that initially the problem was with both of them not just the dad and of course, we get so little information about what happened to begin with. I guess we really don't have a "need" to know, but you would think they would be a little more transparent with how they operate instead of making themselves out to be some underground fraternity with secret handshakes and special code words.

I would be remiss if I made no mention of today's historic events. During his inaugural speech President Obama talked about the spirit of service. Foster parenting is one of the choices I make to serve and many of you reading this blog have also chosen that way to serve our nation and since no one says it enough, I say to all of you....Thank you for what you do.

Monday, January 19, 2009

When do you Feel Like You Belong?

Tonight DW and I went to a meeting at DHHS. It was open to foster parents and was billed as part support group and part training. Since we need to keep up with training and this was free and convenient we decided to attend. (K) agreed to look after (S) for us so we went out to dinner alone before hand. (we don't get too do that very often!)

There were about fifteen people there. It seemed like most of them had been involved in the system for a long time. They knew all sorts of acronyms I never heard of and talked about all kinds of programs I never knew existed. I didn't want to look stupid so I just sat there listened and kept my mouth shut. (You know that famous quote "It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.")

So anyway as I sat there and they all talked and asked questions My mind started to wander a little bit. It may have been that adult ADD but in any event that is when I asked myself the above question.

Now, we have been involved with the system for a little over a year and a half. First going through the process of training and getting licensed and now being a foster parent to (S) for a little over 13 months. Why do I feel like I am in the second grade and all these other people have their doctorate. It is not like I don't care and haven't tried to learn as much as possible. I do.

There is another one of these next month and there may be more. I don't know if I want to go back though. While the training is good and may become relevant at some time in the future I hate feeling like an outsider in a system I am so involved with. Does anyone else feel that way? If not, when did you start to feel a part of the system?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Trip Plans

We were planning our trip figuring that (S) would be back home with Bio-Mom. Now we are planning our trip with (S) and just hoping that her case worker will allow us to take her all over the place for 3 weeks.

I have to go to Oklahoma for 10 days. We figured to drive and make a road trip out of it. Thought that would be fun. First thing we will have to do is get a Portable DVD player for (S) and maybe a GPS for us.

Our plan is to try and visit places either on the way there or the way back. They are all cities that we have never been to together and that is how we picked them out. It will certainly make the trip a little longer but that is the fun of a road trip. Here they are:

Buffalo, Syracuse, Erie, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Birmingham, Memphis, Little Rock, St. Louis, Kansas City, and maybe Chicago although that seems out of the way no matter what we do.

We have taken (S) out of state before with permission, but this is a long trip and we are going a lot further. The case worker was not sure since the case is in the middle of beginning the TPR. She was going to ask her supervisor. We would really like to take this trip and we think (S) would have a ball!!

If anyone has any ideas about particular sites to see or things to do in any of those cities that would be good for a 3 1/2 year old we would appreciate it. In the meantime, we will be keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that the case worker allows the trip.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It Was a Good Day


Today we slept in. (S) and I made pancakes and ate them at the table in the bedroom. Considering the potential for a disaster, there really wasn't much of a mess when we got done. (My DW may disagree with that. )There was a set of small sticky hands from the maple syrup, but luckily it didn't get all over the place After that it was out to run errands. (S) and I dropped DW off at the library and we went to the market to get some things we needed.

I ran into some people who I have known for a long time, but who I don't see on a regular basis. The first was a woman who lived across the street from us where we used to live. We had both moved onto that street around the same time almost 30 years ago. We were not real friends but certainly knew each other well. She asked me if (S) was a grandchild. She knows I have kids that age and that was a normal question to ask.

Then came the debate in my head. Do I tell the truth or do I make something up. I decided that since she has known me so long, I should tell the truth. When I said "No she is our foster daughter" she responded with "Oh, isn't that a nice thing to do." I was pleasantly surprised. I then complained that my own children weren't doing anything about providing grandchildren so there weren't any of those yet. (I am a bit jealous as she has like 3 or 4). She remarked how cute (S) is and that was the end of it. I really wish I could put a picture of her up here so you could all see how adorable she is.

Then I ran into a couple I have known for almost 20 years. Again, these are not real friends, but living in this town and having kids around the same age, we had crossed paths for different things many times. Again the normal question: "Is this a grandchild" I was feeling pretty confident after the previous encounter so again I gave the answer "No, she is our foster daughter." There was a slight delay and then the response. "Oh how nice. That is great. When did you start doing that?" I told them that (S) had been with us for a little over a year. There was then the same short conversation about grandchilren. (Yes I am jealous of them as well). and we moved on.

I felt real good about the responses I got today. These people have known me for a long time and maybe that helped, but this was the first time I got those responses and it made me feel a little better about the whole situation. I guess this goes back to the post a couple of weeks ago about acting more like an advocate not only for the children but for foster parents as well. After today I will feel more comfortable knkowing that not everyone will give me that negative response and the people that know me are really the only ones I care about. If someone who doesn't know me gives me that look and response we have all seen I feel now like I can just chalk it up to the fact that they don't know me.

It was then back to the library to pick up DW and then one more stop before going home for lunch.

All in all, I have to say it was a good day!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Besides being one of my favorite movies, this seems to apply for today
The Good
Ohio Couple Adopts Eight Siblings Separated in Foster Care. And they already had 7 kids!! You can read the article here:,2933,479811,00.html
The Bad
Foster parent charged with murder in death of Manitoba infant If you want, you can read the article here:

The Ugly

This is where I put in my two cents worth. Quite frankly there is so much ugliness in the Foster Care Sytem that I don't know where to begin.

  • There is increased drug use that brings more children into the system
  • There are never enough homes to house all the foster children
  • Group homes are often more like detention halls than homes
  • Children age out of the sytem without any support (real or emotional) at 18
  • It takes way too long for courts to determine the fate of a foster child
  • Child protective workers are overworked and underpaid.
  • Foster Parents receive too little support and too many scowls
  • States are continually cutting back on services

So why do I bother? That is easy.

(S) Came to us a year ago. She had just turned 2 and was very small. She was behind in her shots and she wasn't very well nourished. The story we got was only bits and pieces about domestic violence, living in the woods and an older brother who the satet had already done a TPR on. Basically, we had to start from scratch. She was not at all verbal and the first day she was with us I took her to the supermarket hoping she would point to those foods that she liked. It was the only thing I could think of because it was obvious she needed to eat. We bought brownies and doughnuts that day. :)

Fast Forward to 13months later (today). (S) is an intelligent little 3 year old. She has filled out a little but could still stand to eat more. She also keeps us going. She loves going places and I can't tell you how many times she has made us laugh. I had forgotten how funny little kids can be without even realizing it. Like when she came into the den the other night wearing a Mexican Hat and yelled "I'm a cowboy, YEEHAW". I don't know where she got that from but it was hysterical. Then there was the time I was having trouble buckling her into her car seat. When I finally got it to buckle she said "There ya go!" Last week we were in A.C. Moore buying some scrapbooking materials and on the way out a man walked into the store who was extremely rotund. (S) looked at him then looked at me and said "That's a big guy!" (I had forgotten they can be embarrasing too.

There were many trips to the beach in the summer both fresh water and the ocean. Last year she didn't like to get wet. We go sledding in the front yard this time of year. Last year she was afraid of the sled. We make only one thing for dinner which she eats (most of the time). Last year it was pizza and chocolate. She tries to read Dr. Suess books to herself. Last year she didn't touch the books. This last year has been nothing but joy when we are with (S) and she is a never-ending beehive of activity all by herself. I would not trade this last 13 months for anything and that, my friends, is why I bother!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Today is a Sad Day

First to get you caught up. (S) and her brothers were within a couple of weeks of starting to move back home. Thursday the social worker calls and says all unsupervised visits are stopping. She really didn't give us much of a story, but it was clear she wan't happy with bio mom and dad.

Tuesday was phone call night to mom and dad. I placed the call and when mom picked up I asked her what was going on. (I wasn't sure I would get the truth and don't know if it is all the truth but I know some is. She told me that dad was put in jail Friday night because of a probation violation. (she said he only had a couple of beers and the social worker had arranged for him to be caught) Dad was still in jail. She insisted that they hadn't done anything wrong and her lawyer was going to get it all straightened out.

This morning I spoke to the social worker. She said that the decision to stop the unsupervised visits was made before and without any knowledge of the jail situation. She also said that dad was arrested for a probation violation, was totally intoxicated and fought with the police so was also arrested on a resisting arrrest charge. He won't get to go before the judge for at least five more days........but that is not the sad news.

The sad news is that the social worker also told us she had filed to start TRP proceedings, they had been approved to start the process by a judge, and the father had been served in jail but the mother wasn't served yet.

Now (S) was so close to going home. She was starting to develop a relationship with bio-mom and while she doesn't know it, her life will be in limbo for at least another year and then if the TRP ultimately goes through it will be longer until her and her 4 brothers find a "forever" family. I also feel real bad for bio-mom. I know she loves this little girl and when she gets this word she will certainly be heartbroken. Before this occurred I thought I would have mixed emotions as (S) has certainly become a part of our family over the last 13 months. I am surprised to find my emotions are not mixed. I can't remember the last time I felt this bad about something. I feel bad for (S). I feel bad for her brothers. I even feel bad for bio mom and dad. Maybe if we continue to foster for an extended period and have multiple children and this happens a lot, I will get used to it.

This being the first time facing this I find it hard to believe I could ever get used to it. Jeez, does anybody ever get used to it?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Deleware Senate Bill 108

There is a bill in the senate in Deleware that has been sitting around for a couple of years and going nowhere.....unfortunately. This bill is designed to help the kids who age out of the foster care system. Right now in most states at the age of 18 and after high school graduation, you are no longer eligible for the foster care system. Last year 102 children in Deleware alone aged out of the foster care sytem. Nationally the number is far more staggering.

According to an article in by Jennifer Price of the news journal and available at, 10 percent of the youth that aged out of the Deleware system just last year were in prison and 7 percent were homeless.

This has to be unacceptable to us as a society. The most appaling thing about all this is that the reason Senate Bill 108 hasn't been going anywhere is because of the cost. The highest estimate is 2.1 million dollars. How much do these people think the prisoners are costing them?

There has to be some way to help the foster children that age out of the system. Do you remember what it was like when you went out on your own for the first time? Now imagine doing that without a family to call upon for support when your car breaks down, or you get laid off, or you just need a couple of bucks to pay the electric bill. Maybe your car was about to be repossesed and it would have been if it wasn't for that rich uncle who would always take care of you.

These children don't have that kind of support in most cases. If you live in Deleware call your state representative and urge passage of this law. If you live in one of the other states where there are a lot of children aging out of the system at age 18 without any support, it is time we all get to work trying to get some special assistance for these kids........

Now a quick update on (S). I spoke with mom tonight. Dad is in jail for a probation violation. Mom is home alone and is heartsick and doesn't know why she can't see her little girl or her sons. She says that there will be a court hearing and she is hopeful that everything is worked out quickly. More about this tomorrow. American Idol is on and I am hooked.

Monday, January 12, 2009

She Thinks Her Life is Normal


"We are going to go to trial"

Those were the words of the case worker today, but she never explained to us what for. She wanted to confim again that we were in this for the long haul. (we have been with (S) for 13 months already) They are trying to set up "supervised" visits but we don't know when or how that is going to work.

We are not stopping phone calls to mom and dad twice a week but according to the case worker we can just hang up if we don't like what is said. I don't hang up on people, so I am not sure why I would now. Mom and Dad have always been civil to us. I am not sure I would be as civil as they have been.

We remian in the dark about what caused the sudden change and today we found out the family meeting for Friday is off and of course we don't know why. I am going to see if I can find out from Mom tomorrow when we make one of the phone calls, but I won't really know if what I am being told is the truth or not, so I guess asking would be kind of stupid.

Our biggest problem now is that we have a child here who wants to see mommy and doesn't know why she can't. What can we possibly tell a 3 year old that she will understand. Obviously nothing.

When we took our classes to become foster parents, we were taught a lot about how to work within the system and we were told a lot about different problems that kids will have and the reasons that kids ended up in custody. We also got some instruction and did a little role play about dealing with the parents.....we got absolutely no training about what to tell or how to deal with the children. The only reason we are in this is for the kids. I didn't think much about it at the time we were being trained. I thought they were teaching what I needed to know and after all, I had raised three children of my own so I knew how to deal with children.........NOT.......My children never had to face the uncertainty that these kids face every day. Not knowing where they may live tomorrow, and not knowing when they may see their parents or their siblings again.

This would have been good trianing, but maybe I wouldn't have appreciated it at the time because of the fact that I had raised three children and until you are exposed to these kids and what they go through you can't possibly know how to handle it. Obviously you want to keep things age appropriate, but we don't even know what should or shouldn't be told so we don't know what we are keeping age appropriate.

There is no doubt in my mind that the case worker wants to do what is best for (S), but so do we, and I think so do mom and dad. It is just that we all have different ideas about what is best.

(S) is now getting up every night and is up and down throughout the night. She is grasping onto both of us I think because of a fear of losing us as she did her parents. She is a cute girl. She is a very engaging and a blast ot be with. She is always helful. She is always polite. She is a smart girl and in spite of that.......

She thinks her life is normal!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Today we caught snowflakes on our tongue!

(S) still keeps asking about when she is going to mommy's house. I think she knows that something is wrong and is not very happy about it. We tried to keep her mind off of it by doing other things with her. I read her "Green Eggs and Ham" for the first time. She liked that.

We also made believe we were making blueberry cake with her kitchen toys. We watched a little TV, but every time she asks for something and we say no, she runs out of the room crying. On a couple of occasions she has started hitting herself.

We hate to see that but we don't want her to think that behavior will result in getting what she wants. We know this is not unusual behavior for a child in her situation but none the less it is very disheartening.

Tomorrow we are hoping we will get some good news for her and she will get to visit with mom. I know she wants to see her, and I know mom wants to see her little girl. There is no doubt in our mind that they love each other and mom and dad are certainly trying. Mom left a mesage on our voice mail saying "they ain't done nothin wrong". I certainly hope that is correct. They are not the most intelligent people in the owrld, but that does not mean they are not capable of being good and loving parents.

In any event......we caught snowflakes on our tongue today and that was special.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


That was the question from (S) today. She was supposed to go yesterday and again today. I know she knows that something is up, but she has no idea what. She has been absolutely miserable today. Every time you tell her "no" she runs out of the room crying. As a result we have tried not to say that too much but to offer alternatives that she might like.

So, I went sledding in the front yard again today. I had to shovel out steps so that she could climb up the hill that the plow made. I think I dragged that sled up that hill about 100 times today. Then it was time to make snow angels again.

sidenote: When you are a kid making snow angels you have a snow suit on. When you are an adult and try it with your jeans on they just get wet and make you miserable.

After that we had some lunch..... She loves "sketti"..... which we usually don't have for lunch, but I thought she would like it. She ate it up. Then we played with her new shopping cart. Unfortunately, with everything we did, it didn't help much. She is still not feeling well. She said she doesn't feel well, but she doesn't know what hurts, or why she doesn't feel well.

I hope that whatever the issue is it gets worked out early in the week so that (S) can spend some time with her mom. She has been so clingy tonight as well. She is grabbing either me or my dear wife and just holding on. It would appear that she is afraid of losing us too. I hope there is no longterm affect from all of this, but I am not too optimistic.

She is such a cute and delightful and smart kid. I wish I could make it all better, but unfortunately I can not. At least not today.

Friday, January 9, 2009


So we had an appointment that (S) was supposed to go to with her mother today. I had called and left a message for the case worker as I didn't know if this had also been cancelled. She left us a message back that she didn't think it was a good idea to have this therapy appointment.

This morning she calls to make sure we got the message and gives us no more information other than we are not bringing (S) to her weekly regular visit tomorrow. Right after that Bio-mom calls. She sounds devestated that she is not going to be able to see her little girl today. She says that they "aint done nothing wrong" and that Bio-Dads attorney is going to file contempt charges against the case worker.

Then there is the return call to the therapist that was supposed to see (S) and her mom today to make sure she knew we wouldn't be there. We told her what we knew, but she wasn't happy. She felt that just because there may have been some setback, that was no reason to discontinue or delay therapy and that if anything there should be more therapy if needed.

So all in all what did we find out today?..............................Nothing
What are we supposed to do now?.......................................Nothing
What are they telling us?......................................................Nothing

I am really looking forward to a family meeting next Friday. If things aren't settled by then I would hope there are at least some answers then. (S) was looking forward to seeing mom today and I know she was disappointed that it didn't happen. When she gets disappointed, so do we. We really want her to be happy and sometimes it seems like everything is working against her. On the bright side, she is watching Wow Wow Wubzy and loves it! :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009


(S) visited with her mom last Saturday, Monday and yesterday. Things seemed to be going well. Then this morning her case worker calls and says "PLEASE Tell me (S) is with you?!

Well she was at day care, but that was ok. We were then told that all visits were now on hold. That (S) would not be going to visit tomorrow or Saturday as previously scheduled. Tomorrow there was also a special session with both (S) and her mom and a therapist and that is to be cancelled.

Her case worker said we may have to testify in court, although I am not sure what for. She also asked if we were prepared to be in this for "the long haul" Since she has already been here for 13 months, and we were going to miss her terribly, that was a no brainer.

Now, am I a bad person for having some good feelings about this. Ultimately what is best is for the family to be together. For some reason the case worker has concerns about the safety of the children. We certainly want (S) to be safe. ........but safe with us would suit us better. I feel a little guilty about that. This is not supposed to be about me, it is supposed to be about (S). Am I being narcissistic? I hope not.

Our trip may not occur, or we may bring (S) with us. I was prepared (I thought) when we started doing foster care for it would be an up when we got a foster child and most likely a down when they left. This is far from a set of stairs though. This is more like being on Kingda Ka at Six Flags in New Jersey, and I hate roller coasters.

There is a family meeting next week, and I am sure we will learn more there if not earlier. Right now we are a little in the dark. Not sure what caused the call we got today. I will keep you all updated on what happens as we move forward.

By the way, (S) and I made snow angels today in the front yard. I hadn't done that in years. It is still a great time, and I think we both had a blast!


Jaeda Vanderwall found

Last seen at 4:00 p.m. on Monday January 5th, Jaeda Vanderwall has now been located.
RCMP East St. Paul would like to thank the public and members of the media, Jaeda Vanderwall aka Beaulieu has returned home last night safe and sound.

Contact:Sgt. Davy LeeRCMP
East St. Paul Det.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


RCMP want your help to find an 11-year-old girl who went missing from her foster home in East St. Paul yesterday.
Police say Jaeda Beaulieu, who also goes by the name Jaeda Vanderwall was last seen in the 200 block of Osborne Street at 4 p.m.
Jaeda is described as aboriginal, 5'2" tall, 145 pounds and has long brown straight hair and brown eyes.
She was last seen wearing a black and white plaid coat with a fur collar trim and light blue jeans.
She has friends and family in Winnipeg and is familiar with the North End.
Anyone with information about Jaeda is asked to call the East St. Paul RCMP at 204-668-8322.
Read the actual article here:

Monday, January 5, 2009

What is a Persons Real Impact?

"........A person's real impact on this world is not measured by gross income or collegiate degrees. It is instead revealed by the courage of their moral conviction and human lives they touch. I choose to be the latter."

I wish I could take credit for writing those words, but I can't. Those words come from a 17 year old boy in foster care by the name of Alex. His story is really a remarkable one and it is always nice to see good stories about foster care and foster parents and foster children. All too often the news is not good.

I flew to Florida today and had to go through Detroit. I came across the article by Jeff Seidel about this boy and managed to find it on the web. Instead of trying to rewrite a good story, you can and should read the story by Mr Seidel at this link:

So yesterday I was sledding with (S) in the front yard, and today I am in Florida wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I just wish I could enjoy it. I am only here for two days on business. It sure is nice though.

Getting back to the original question. What is a persons real impact? What has been my impact? What has been your impact? That, I think is only a question each of us can answer for ourselves. I am going to make that something I will spend more time thinking about. Maybe by focusing on it, I will make a positive impact and leave this world a little better off. Maybe you?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Mother's Love

What a weekend this has been. On Friday I spoke with (S) case worker and she said nothing to me about a visitation for (S) with her parents. (S) and I went out and ran some errands and went to "Donalfries" (McDonalds) for lunch. We got home around around 2:30 and there is a message from the caseworker asking if (S) can visit with her family from 1-4. There were also 2 messages from (S) mom wanting to know why she wasn't there.

I called her mom and told her what had happened, and she said that (S) was supposed to be there next week on Monday Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 3pm. Still no word from the caseworker. So Saturday is a normal visitation so we were hopeful that the reunification worker would be there so we could talk with her. Unfortunately she wasn't. My lovely wife called her later in the day to find out what was going on. She confirmed that if it can be worked out that those are correct times for a visit for just (S) with none of her siblings. She is the youngest and probably has no memory of living with mom and dad so they want her to spend a lot of time alone with mom before she goes back to live with them.

My head wants to be as helpful as possible, but I think my heart is saying "if they want something let them take care of it. It is not your responsibility." The bottom line is my heart doesn't want her to leave even though I know it is best for her. I have no doubt that we can provide more materially for (S), but at the end of the day, there is no love like a mother's love and (S) needs to have that if at all possible. I just can't get away from the thought of her not being here. We are trying to plan a long road trip for after she is gone to kind of keep our mind off things, but I don't know if that will work.

Today I took (S) sledding in the front yard. We both had a blast, but we couldn't do it very long because the wind chills were below zero. I have to be in Florida from Monday through Wednesday so I promised her when I got back we would sled some more.

I just can't get my mind off her leaving. What do all of you good people out there recommend for a "tourist" in Ohio, Indianna, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Illinois. That is where we are planning to go on our "planning" roadtrip. We hope it becomes a reality, and we hope it can be fun and get our minds off (S) but I know it won't work for long periods, but maybe a little at a time. We have to have something to do.

We plan on giving the case worker our cell phone number in case things don't work out and (S) needs to come back. I hate to have those thoughts, but I just can't help it. Like I said before, my head wants this to work for (S) and my heart wants to be selfish and keep her for ourselves.

Well, I am going to go play with (S) before she goes to bed. Everyone have a nice day.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year

Yes, I know, usually these posts are done either New Years Eve or New Years
Day. Well I got sidetracked on New Years Eve by an article I read, and yesterday was sheer MADNESS!!! (S) was absolutely wild. We were asked to take her to the airport to say goodbye to a relative that was going away and that went ok, but afterwards she was wild. A little girl from up the street came to play with her and that helped, but then we had two of them being wild (in other words acting like little girls.)

As I start the New Year, I can't help but look back over last year and smile. (S) had only been with us 2 weeks on New Years last year and we had no idea what was going to happen. Since she was our first and we didn't even have our license yet, it was all very overwhelming. Over the year though we have learned a lot and so has (S). Considering she was only 2 and spoke very few words and now you can't get her to be quiet, she has certainly come a long way.

We would like to take some credit for it, but quite frankly, she is really smart. She watches every move we make and listens to everything we say and remembers as well as understands everything. That is good, but it is also bad.

I am in hopes we learn as much over the next year. We know that (S) is on track to be leaving us soon to go back to live with mom and dad, and we will learn how we will deal with that. We have certainly grown to love her as we love our own children and when she leaves, we will certainly worry about her. We live in a rather small community and are hopeful her family stays in the area so we might see her once in a while, but who knows.

We have taken some classes over the last year and they have been helpful, but it seems that no matter what the topic is, it is always a little different than what we are dealing with. Over this next year we need to learn more to make sure whatever child finds their way to our house next, we kn0w even more to help them.

I have certainly found all the blogs listed on the side of the page helpful. I knew there were a lot of great people out there doing foster care, but I didn't know how to use that resource. Now that I do, I expect to learn a lot that way. And I thank all of you who have offered your advice and opinions.

The New Year wil certainly bring on some challenges but my lovely wife and I have rang in 37 New Years together and every year is a little differnet and an education. 2008 may have been the most educational and I see 2009 as surpassing it. Foster parenting has certianly opened our eyes. We know they will open even wider this year.......and we can't wait!

We wish all of you a Happy Healthy and Blessed New Year