Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday Visit

Today the foster parents of all of (S) siblings and us met with the children at the local Mickey Ds. This was the second visit since visits with bio mom and dad came to an abrupt end. The kids had a great time together in the playland and you could tell they really enjoy each others company. Thankfully though there are no tears when the visits are over. The rest of the group will be meeting again while we are away on our trip, but there will be another visit the Saturday after we return. It also happens to be the Saturday before the court hearing on the TPR.

All the boys look good and seem to be happy in their situations. The middle child (F) is with a single dad who has 3 other boys and he just loves it there. The two older boys have some problems, but they have a good place to be as does the youngest boy. We also found out that a daughter of the foster parents of the two older boys would be interested in adopting (S) if the time comes. Apparently she has two boys and is unable to have any more children. I don't know how old her 2 boys are, but it sounds like it might be a reasonable situation for (S).

We went sledding after the visit. I figured that since we are going away Thursday and won't be back until the end of March, it is unlikely that there will be enough snow in the front yard to do any sledding. That meant today and tomorrow are all the days that are left. She loves sledding. I love sledding with her. It really is a lot of fun. Even for a 50 something guy like myself.

Latre on in the day when we were home from out of the blue (S) said that Santa had delivered presents to her moms house. Then she said he also delivered presents to "our" house. DW and I just kind of looked at each other. She considers everything of ours to be hers as well. That is fine with us as we have always told our children what is ours is theirs. We never said that to (S), but we certainly act that way.

So now it is just another day wondering what (S) will think after a TPR and an adoption by someone other than us.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Physics of Foster Care.

There are certain "truths" in the universe that can not be changed. If you throw a coin off of a building, it will fall to the ground. If you push a stroller, it will go in the direction you push it. If you fill a container with water, the water will stay level no matter what slope the container is on. All of these truths are physics. I am coming to the realization that foster care has certain physics associated with it as well.

Almost as sure as the sun is going to rise tomorrow, there will be children put into foster care today. Some of the kids will be born to drug addicted parents who only want to take care of getting themselves drugs. Some of the kids will be abused sexually, physically, or emotionally. Some of the kids will unfortunately have parents pass away or become too sick to care for them. And lastly, some of the kids will just have parents who are complete and total IDIOTS! (S) falls in that category. Nothing can change any of that, it is physics.

There are foster parents who truly care about the children they are fostering and many hope to adopt the children some day. Unfortunately there is a small minority of foster parents who really don't care about the children and treat them horribly. Some are just in it to take the money from the state for themselves and provide nothing for the children. It has been this way for years, and apparently nothing will ever change that either. It is physics.

There are social workers at the county/state offices that are overworked, underpaid, and while when they first took their job they felt good about what they were doing to help the children and many still do, a number of them have become very cynical and no longer really care about the children. They just want to get through the day as easy as possible because there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything that is expected of them. I don't think any of these things will change either. It is physics

I like to think that eventually everything will change. That there will be fewer parents who are unable to care for their children. That all foster parents will be fostering just to help out the children, and that social workers will not be overworked and underpaid, but given a fair days pay for doing a good job helping out the children that need their help. Unfortunately, none of that will ever happen. Its physics, and you can't change physics.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

An Epiphany?

Epiphany is defined by Webster as "a sudden manifestation of the meaning of something". Thats a little highbrow for me. I just call it an "Oh Yeah" moment. You know when you are sitting there not even thinking about a particular item and all of a sudden something pops into your head and you go "Oh Yeah". Like I should have known that all along, or why was I so stupid to have never thought of that before. Anyway, I didn't have a profound one today, but none the less it did make me take time to stop and think.

I was sitting in the office minding my own business looking at a new program on the computer that we are going to start running. I was playing with all the different options and menus just to see what all it could do when it came to me. (S)'s mother had her, but (S) never really had her mother and now more than likely never will.

I can't even begin to imagine what life is like without a mother. I am lucky. My mother is 82 and I talk to her almost every night. How lucky are those of us who had a mother who cared about and for us. There comes a time when everyone passes on to the next world, and we are programmed to bury our parents, not our children. What is (S) life going to be like when she comes to the realization that her mom didn't die, but was just unable to take care of her. Will she think her mom didn't love her. I really think her mom loves her, she is just clueless about how to be a mom.

The more time I spend thinking about (S) and about other children in foster care, the more I believe in what DW and I are doing. I don't know if when (S) leaves us if she will remember us, but if she does, I just want her to leave us with the knowledge that we really did care for and about her. I still dread the day she leaves, but as the saying goes:

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Where have all the animals gone?

Have you ever been lying on the couch maybe dozing off a little here and there and you get the feeling that someone or something is watching you?

Well I had that feeling while I was fast asleep in bed this morning. It was 4:15am. I woke up and had this strange feeling. I turned over to face the side of the bed I would get out of and there was (S). She was just staring at me and she scared me half to death. I was so scared that my heart was beating so hard I couldn't get back to sleep at all. Luckily I get up at 5:10 am so it wasn't that much earlier then normal.

It seems that (S) wanted a glass of milk. Now we have a small refrigerator in a closet upstairs and we leave cups of milk and juice in there every night. (S) can get to the refrigerator and get out milk or juice whenever she wants.....So why doesn't she? Becasue it is more fun to scare me out of my wits.

Why just go get a glass of milk out of the refrigerator when you can have some first class entertainmnent. And scaring good old foster dad is about as entertaining as it can get for a 3 year old. Isn't it amazing what entertains a three year old. I mean come on, have you seen "Yo Gabba Gabba"? That is a downright scary show. I am not sure what the entities are that make up the show and why it is so good for a three year old, but it scares me. And What on earth is a Wubzy? And what makes it a Wow Wow? Who in the world would want to wake up to a wubzy? There is at least one good thing about a Wubzy. He/she/it doesn't live in a pineapple under the sea.!

Whatever happened to Felix the Cat, Underdog and Tutor Turtle. How about Bullwinkle Moose, or the two squirels, Rocky and Secret. There was Mighty Mouse, Mickey Mouse Minnie Mouse and Atom Ant. Quick Draw McGraw was a great horse. There was Huckleberry Hound and there was Yogi and Boo Boo, the two funniest bears in the world. Do you get the picture. They were all animals. They were friendly animals. They were animals you could have fun with. What was wrong with that? Were they so bad? We did ok and made it to adulthood, Why did the animals have to leave us and the aliens take over?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Brief Rant

I know I am going to rant and ramble, but I can't help myself. I am getting fed up.

I drive by the Mystery Mansion every day on my way to and from work. I am constantly amazed with the number of people that are coming and going from that establishment.

What does it say about our society that so many people are requiring services from our Health and Human Services offices. The office in my community is certainly not any different then others across the state or the country.

I asked DW tonight. What do these people ((S)s parents and others) do? They have no job. They now have no children at home. They are not getting any social services from DHHS. All they do is collect whatever funds they can get from the state and spend those funds as they see fit. Certainly not a bad gig if you can get it, but why don't these people have any ambition?

Bio mom and dad have not even called DHHS to check and see how there children are. It seems to me that the kids are just a tool to get them more money. We need to stop paying these idiots to have babies. The more they have, the more money the state decides to give them in welfare, food stamps etc. What these people need is a serious stimulus right in the backside.

We keep bailing them out of their problems as well. they end up in jail and we give them more services to try to help them to become part of and act like the mainstream society, not like a bunch of Wall Street CEOs and Bankers. I am getting sick and tired of the whole thing. It certainly won't keep me from being a foster parent. I am enjoying that too much. But something is going to break at some point and it may be a big part of what we are seeing in this economy.

When I was a kid there was no such thing as "welfare". People were on "assistance" and it meant just that. Assistance until they were able to take care of themselves. Now we have created a whole generation/group of people who think the American Dream is getting free healthcare, food stamps and some spending money as well as housing assistance and they just sit around breeding.


Monday, February 23, 2009


We got about 18 inches of snow last night. We have a guy who comes to the house to plow the driveway and he showed up about 6:00am. That allowed me to get out and go to work. When I got home I needed to take out the snowblower and clean up the yard from what was left and get the walks as well as the mailbox.

(S) wanted to come out with me while I cleaned up the driveway. She got her little shovel and "helped" for a few minutes and then was off doing her own thing. I didn't pay much attention to her. She couldn't get anywhere without going past me so I just continued to blow snow.

At one point I turned around and there was (S). She had gotten out her beach chair and was sitting in the entrance to the garage. On one side of her was a cooler and on the other side she had made a table out of a gardening box. She had her arms crossed in front of her chest, and was watching me work while she relaxed at the beach. It was really adorable. DW got some pictures but I haven't seen them yet. If possible, I will try to put some up tomorrow.

The important thing is this isn't something that happens every once in a while. Almost every day we get a good laugh or have some other light moment because of (S). This is what makes being a foster parent so much fun. I can't remember what life was like before (S) came to us in December of 2007 and I can't imagine what life will be like after she leaves. Although I know it will be a lot duller.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spoiled? I don't think so.


(S) has not been feeling very well today. We think she may be teething. She hasn't eaten much today and has just been miserable. Right now she is lying down and watching Noggin. I feel so bad when she gets sick or when she is unhappy. What I don't know is if I treat her the way I should.

You see I really feel bad for her for the situation she finds herself in. What with her bio mom and dad in the process of having their parental rights terminated and not getting to see her brothers very often I feel like I have to be a little more "understanding"

Then I wonder if I am just going to end up spoiling her........what kind of a term is that? We all say it, but really......spoiled?........What a horrible thing to say about a child................

Anyway, I want to treat her just like I treated my own children when they were growing up but I don't. I know the reason I don't is because she has a different life experience then my kids had, or that either I or DW have had. We go out of our way to treat her extra special. I know it really doesn't matter what anyone says as we will continue to treat her special. The only people that really seem to get upset are our 3 bio children who can't believe some of the things we let her do.

"You never let us do that!" is a common phrase heard from all of them lately. So, while I hope we aren't doing anything we shouldn't do, anyone would be hard pressed to convince us to do otherwise. She just needs some extra loving and we are here to give it to her.
Just heard we are going to get up to 18 inches of snow tonight......I am getting tired of winter.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Flower Girl


Today we went to pick up (S) flower girl dress for (K)s wedding in June. (S) loves her "bootifl" dress. We had a good trip today. It was 2 hours to the bridal shop. (S) didn't want to use the DVD player we got for the trip at first, but we put it on when she fell asleep and when she woke up and saw it, she loved it. All in all, it was a good day!

She has a Princess throne and it seemed appropriate that a picture include that.

I wish I could put an unblocked picture of her up, but you will have to trust me when I say she is absolutely adorable!


Thursday, February 19, 2009



Today (S) referred to DW by her first name as she always has, but added "mommy" to the end of it. She has never said anything like that before. She calls everyone by their first name. She is so confused. The more things that occur, the more angry I get with her parents. The ones who apparently just don't care any more. I think each child is just another 400 or 500 dollars a month in assistance. Sicne they had 5 of them, thats close to $30,000 per year TAX FREE!!

My daughter is a teacher and doesn't make that much money and what she does make, she has to pay taxes on.

We make it too easy for people to get assistance. Illegal aliens get better health care than many hard working people and parents like (S)'s get all sorts of services from the state and do absolutely nothing. Oh, won't believe this one. I don't know if I should tell you here as you might think I am making this up, but I assure you this is the truth...........The state has been paying for bio-dad to go to school and get an education. In and of itself, not a bad thing until you find out what he is studying.........................He wants to be a social worker.......No kidding....its the truth.....I swear on a stack of bibles.....How stupid can the state be?

Well, I got off the subject. Anyway, as I said, (S) referred to DW using "mommy". I don't know what that means other than she is confused, but why now? She has been here for 15 months and never once used that term and tonight it comes from out of the blue. I wish she could tell us what is going on in her head, but I guess it isn't really important. We will continue to treat her like she was our own child and hope that in the end everything works out for the best. Whether for the best or not however, we have no control over that. That is up to a higher power than us.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Case Worker Visit

Today was the monthly visit from the CW. We were amazed to hear that she hasn't heard a word from Bio mom and dad since the last court date. Bio-dad does have a new lawyer so everything should be all set for the TPR hearing tot ake place the week of April 6th. We will have to be in court for that. They expect the hearing to last 3-4 days so that week will probably be shot and emotional for all involved. The CW anticipates that there will be a decision to terminate about 3 weeks after that.

She does expect an appeal, but at that point she will begin getting to work on having some sort of permanency. In other words, time to make a decision. It was interesting though (K) was here during the visit and she said she would adopt (S) if we didn't. Now as you know, she is getting married in June so I am not sure it would be the right thing to get involved in, but I am not going to tell them what to do. I simply told her that if she wanted to, her and her fiance needed to get started taking the classes and getting the paperwork done.

The CW said our trip would be a good opportunity for us to really see whether or not we wanted to adopt. We really have no intention of doing that at this point, so I don't think that will happen, but I guess you never know. She says she has had lots of people our age adopt foster children. I think we probably would have no problem if (S) was about 10 years older and everything else remained the same, but at age 3, it would mean a commitment to an age well above the normal.

I'm surprised I said that. If anyone knows what normal is, please let me know. I have never figured that one out. Just as soon as I think someone is normal, they do something I can't believe, I even dare to think I am normal on occasion, but then DW sets me straight.

The visit ended and the CW will be back in just 2 weeks so she can get in her March visit before we go away. We are so looking forward to this trip. It should make for some good posts here as we proceed by car through 15 different states. The details are just about worked out and the reservations are made. I can't wait!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


The economy and the recession are hurting everyone and unfortunately foster children are not immune. Unfortunately, a great program they have in the state of Washington looks like it will no longer be funded. It is their "Foster to 21" program that is designed to help kids who age out of the foster care system to have some additional assistance until they reach the age of 21. We all know aging out of the system is almost like getting the kiss of death. While there are many good stories out there, there are too many kids who are ending up in jail or homeless. The story about the program and its lack of funding can be found here:

So what can we do? It is the same in every state across the nation. Budgets are getting cut more and more every day. the more they cut, the more people that are out of work the less taxes they take in and the more they have to cut. I guess we all have to hope that the stimulus plan will work and work quickly and that President Obama can get things on track.

But that is not the only problem that we have as a result of the economy. The more problems with the economy, the more stress that is created in homes that are already on the edge. More people are turning to crime or drugs, or just can't handle the stress and become abusive to the ones they love. As a result, more kids end up in foster care that the states don't have money to care for.

Is there any end to this?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Star Light Star Bright

This evening DW and I went to a class at the Mystery Mansion. It was an interesting class about Neonatal Abstinance Syndrome. What most of us call drug withdrawal for a newborn. We haven't been involved with a baby in that situaiton, you never really know and the class counts for a couple of hours of our required training so we figured why not.

(S) stayed with (K) while DW and I went to dinner first and then the class. When the class was over we picked up (S) and were driving home when she saw a star. DW went through the little diddy with her

Star Light
Star Bright
First Star I see Tonight
Wish I may
Wish I might
Have the wish
I wish tonight.

So when you say it, what do you wish for? Winning the lottery? getting a promotion or a raise? Some more religious people tend to wish for more profound things. So what about (S)?

She picked up on it and was able to repeat it with very little practice. She said it a number of times. I asked her what her wish was and she said "I wish to stay with my mommy"............I had no response to that.

When was the last time you wished for something like that? As we all know, the chances of that occurring at this time are slim and none and Slim is on his way out of town. She hasn't seen mom since January 7 and there is no visitation at this time, nor will there be prior to the next court date the beginning of April.

This is certainly not an outrageous wish. It is one that SHOULD come true, yet most likely it won't. How sad is that? We can't even explain it to her. At 3 years old, she can't possibly understand what is going on? Sometimes this whole thing just really sucks.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Two Dads

So my son said he talked to my father the other day and he said his breathing was so labored he couldn't talk very long. My daughter called him today and he told her he was too tired to talk. I spoke to him last week and he told me my mother was bowling. I asked him why he wasn't going bowling with her and he told me he hasn't been able to pick up the ball for a few months.

My father has had two bypass surgeries. One 27 years ago and one about 12 years ago. He is 84 years old. He apparently isn't long for this world. At 53 I feel blessed that I have both of my parents at this point, but I know that won't last for long.

DW got a call tonight that her dad was on his way to the emergency room. DWs mother passed away in 2002. Her dad is no spring chicken either. She is convinced there is something drastically wrong with him. She is always pessimistic and I am always optimistic. She is more worried than I am. I worry more about her than I do about her father. Maybe I should worry more about her father. I hope not. As I look over to (S) and see her sleeping peacefully on the chair, I can't help but be thankful for what I have had, DW has had, and she may never know. She doesn't even ask for her mom and dad much anymore. She hasn't seen or spoken to them in about 6 weeks now and won't for at least another 6 weeks. More likely never again unless there is a goodbye visit at DHHS.

Each time I talk to my dad now I am acutely aware that it may be the last time. I think DW feels the same way about her dad.

But we got over 50 years. (S) didn't even get 2 good ones. Maybe we need to rethink our position.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The New Math

A little girl who we refer to as our surrogate granddaughter came for the weekend. She is a couple of years older than (S) but they play well together most of the time. Last night it was Denny's for dinner. I had them all excited about breakfast this morning as I told them we would make home made donut holes.

I was awakened a little before 7 and told it was time to make the donuts. I thought I could talk them into a little more sleep for me. I explained that the donut holes could not be made that early in the morning because it required using hot oil and that was too dangerous before 8 o'clock. It worked for a little while. About 7:40 I gave in and got up. We started by rolling the dough into little balls. I then dropped them in the fryer and when they came out we rolled 1/2 of them in confectioners sugar and half of them in a cinamon/sugar mixture.

Then it was upstairs to wake up DW and give her some flowers and a box of chocolates. (I got a really nice shirt from L.L.Bean) We all ate the donut holes. (S) loves chocolate so DW gave her a little bar that came in the box. Later on in the day she came in with chocolate all over her mouth asking if she could have another piece of chocolate. The answer was no, but that is where the new math comes into play.


Now I agree I should have known better but I really wasn't thinking much about that. The donuts didn't reall have THAT much sugar on them. And the much sugar could that have? The two of them became something I can't even describe. They couldn't play with a toy for more than 30 seconds and then it was on to something else. Of course they didn't put away the first toy and it wasn't long before we couldn't walk in the upstairs of the house without stepping on something. It wasn't just the playing with toys either. They were able to provide a lot of entertainment themselves. There were somersaults, dancing, singing, jumping on the beds and general havoc.

They are still a little wild. I only hope that they have exhausted themselves to the point where they sleep well tonight. Tomorrow morning we make pancakes and I am hoping it won't be until well after 8. We need a morning to sleep in.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I Digress

Pitchers and catchers reported to Red Sox Spring training. I love it.

First, it is the first real sign that spring is just about here. (sorry to all you robin lovers out there)

Second, it signals another season of hope. I don't want to imply that I am old, but the first time I remember watching the Red Sox, Ted Williams was in left field. In other words I have been a Red Sox fan for a long time. I grew up outside of Boston and everyone liked the Sox.

There were many years of disappointment for us Red Sox fans. 1967, 1972, 1975, 1978, 1986, 1999 etc etc etc and finally in 2004 the series was won. Then again in 2007. What more could you ask for?

I think baseball is the greatest game ever invented and I truly do enjoy it more than any other pastime. I am lucky in that if I want to I could watch all 162 games each year. I only get to see about 140 though. Oh, so now you want to know why I think it is the best game? I'll tell you

1. What other game has no clock? They play until everyone has the same number of outs and one team is ahead. Some games last 2 hours and some can last 5 or 6. Your team can never "run out of time"

2. Every field is a little bit different. No set dimensions, and places like Fenway have nooks and crannys all over the outfield that add to the interest of the game.

3. Baseball is also the only sport where the defense controls the ball. In all other sports it is the offense.

I know a lot of people don't feel the same way I do, and that is ok. I remember back a few years ago I was in Florida at the start of Spring training. We were on the east coast so we weren't near the Sox, but we were fairly close to Ft. Lauderdale where the Orioles have their Spring training facility. I took my son (B) to see them open up their camp. They had one refreshment stand open so we each got a coke and I got him a baseball. We went in and took a seat behind the duguot.

After about 20 minutes in the stands watching some batting practice I turned to my son and I said. "You know (B) it doesn't get any better than this. Sitting in the sun, warm weather, a cold drink and the crack of the bat. This is the life."

So he turned to me and in a way only a teenage son can say, (B) responds with "Your wierd dad".

I just love the game. James Earl Jones says it best in "Field of Dreams"

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again. Ohhhhhhhh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come."


Mystery Mansions go International!!


Whisper campaign' warned of dysfunctional foster care office

Another article not to be believed


Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Just a Fluke"

You have got to be kidding me! It looks like Tennessee has its own Mystery Mansion. They actually took the the wrong child!!! And then said it was "just a fluke". I hope they find a new contractor and/or case manager.

"............After an hour drive to Nashville, the DCS subcontractor arrived at the home of the foster child's grandmother. The grandma recognized only one of the two children.........."

Read the entire article here:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Valley of the Dolls

Last night (S) found her way to the floor in our room and slept there. But this post has to do with a couple of nights ago when she slept the whole night in her room alone......indirectly

DW took her out to get her a toy and bought a doll. Not your ordinary doll. This doll comes with food and a bottle. You mix the food with water and it turns into a paste so that you can feed it to the doll. Yes, you do have to put a diaper on the doll because the food does indeed come out the other end. You then give the doll water until the other end runs clear. I guess they haven't figured out how to make the whole thing biologically realistic and we wouldn't want to have dirty food inside the doll. What would that smell like after a few days!?

Whatever happened to Chatty Cathy? She had a string you pulled and she said something. There weren't that many different things, but it was original and it didn't cause any smells or messes. Same with Thumbelina. She never pooped in her diaper. So tonight the question to DW was....
"What were you thinking?" (she didn't have an answer)

And while I am on the topic of dolls, why is it little girls feel the need to remove the clothing from a doll the moment it comes out of the package. This is not just (S), but both of my daughters (A) and (K) also did that. Is there some need to see what is underneath? They are all the same. What do they expect? I can't tell you how many naked dolls we have had lying around the house. If it wasn't such a common practice I would be concerned about what the neighbors would think with that collection lying around the house.

Another thing, how do the toy companies make money by selling Barbie clothes? I think I know the answer to that one. All the parents are hoping that those dolls won't be naked when the preacher shows up at the house so they buy clothes in hopes that their daughter will dress the doll. Unfortunately, most of them can't get the clothes on the doll only off.

I have to admit though the naked dolls don't scare me as much as the headless dolls. Why is that the heads come off so easily? Have you ever gone to pick up toys and you see something under the bed and reach under to pick it up and you come out with a head......and sometimes with the hair cut off. You never know how that adorable little child got a hold of scissors. you keep them put away so that they can't be reached, yet somehow the hair on the doll is shorter than when you bought it. Is there a scissors fairy? I think as a society we need to rethink this whole doll thing.

And if you think the boys are immune, they aren't, I will address their little quirks and idiosynchrosies at another time. Right now I have a stuffed Barney being held up to my ear singing......I Love You , you love me...............etc..........etc..........etc

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


(S) loves to help make dinner with me. (yes, I cook dinner 99% of the time) I love cooking and apparently (S) likes watching. She has learned a lot and is actually becoming helfpul. If I need something and she can reach it, she will get it for me. She has learned so much from watching me that sometimes she gets something before I need it. Like the time I said I couldn't cut the meat until it had time to rest and she went to the drawer where the aluminum foil was so that I could cover the meat while it rested. Tonight she got out an onion and started to peel it. She only goes a little way with that as she learned about onions and tears rather early in our relationship.

She loves salad almost as much as she likes Wow Wow Wubbzy and she will start eating lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers etc while I am cutting them. I think it is the chance to eat that brings her downstairs to help. But hey, she is learning a lot.

Speaking of Wow Wow Wubbzy, is that Noggin network great or what? It is absolutely perfect for a kid (S) age. There is Wow Wow Wubbzy, Diego, Dora the Explorer, Yo Gabba Gabba (that one is scary) The Backyardigans etc. She loves watching it and we don't mind letting her as it is so educational. If you have it and a toddler you need to check it out.

So I got a GPS for our trip next month as well as a DVD player for (S) to watch in the back seat. We will be spending a lot of time on the road. Our first place to visit will be Hershey. The park isn't open, but Cholate World is and that will be perfect for (S). Then we are going to go to Cleveland to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (thats for us). Then we go to Indianapolis to a hotel with an indoor water park. After that it is on to Nashville. Neither of us have been there before. then we will go to Birmingham to visit with (B). I think he is more excited about seeing (S) then us. He called today to tell me there is a Chuck E. Cheese right near his house. He also has plans to go to take her to the Children's Hands on Musem in Tuscaloosa. There is a nice zoo there too and since we will be there for a few days we should have time to do a lot. (B) also wants us to take him shopping. Anyway, then it is on to Memphis to visit Graceland, a night in Little Rock and finally to Oklahoma City where I will be for about 10 days. We have plans to see all the sights while we are in OKC. Then we return home through St. Louis, MO. Columbus, OH. and Albany NY. We hope to stop at the Gateway Arch and Niagara Falls on our way back. We think (S) will like the falls.

So now that you all have the itinerary, any suggestions on restaurants we might want to check out, or some of those places to visit that only locals know about, please do pass them along. We still have time to plan as we don't leave for another 23 days.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The $64,000 Question

My DW asked me today and I don't have an answer.

Before I get to that.......(S) and I went sledding in the front yard today. It was a lot of fun. For a kid who wouldn't go near the snow last year, she is really enjoying it now. We went down together and on our own. She went down sitting and prone and seemed to love it best when the sled tipped over and she got covered with snow. She had snow pants on. I didn't. I got wet. Go figure...

Anyway, the question.....Assuming we don't adopt (S) and she leaves to go to another home, is she going to think we don't love her and don't want her or don't care about her?

She has no recollection of living with anyone other than us. While she doesn't call us mom and dad, she knows no other home. When she was with her parents, they lived in the woods for a while and with different relatives on and off. She was only 2 when she was remoevd from the home.

We want her to have youthful parents who she can spend a full life with but we don't want her to think we don't love her, want her, or care about her. That brings us to the second part of the question: Does the answer to the first question matter enough to make us change our mind? I don't think so.

We certainly didn't bargain for this. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens. I am sure it will work out the way it is supposed to. I just don't want to do anything to hurt (S).

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sibling Visit

(S) brothers foster parents and I brought all the kids to a McDonalds this morning so that they could visit with each other. I know they were excited to see each other. There is no doubt in my mind that all the children love each other. They played well together in the playplace and (S) ran around for at least an hour straight.

It seems at though one of the boys foster parents is leaning towards adopting him. None of the other parents are interested in adoption. One of them told about their first foster child and what it was like when he left. I guess everyone has to go through that first one once and apparently we will be no different. I will consider we have made our final decision when we actually tell (S) case worker what we are going to do. Using that definition, we still haven't made a decision. I would say the chances that we do adopt (S) are less than 10% at this point.

I did find out a little about what happened when the visits came to a stop. One of the foster parents said that mom called him that day and wanted to know how her son was. She told him she was hiding at a friends house. She didn't say what she was hiding from or why she was hiding. He said she sounded like she had lost it. Apparently there was more to the story than that but he didn't know any more. It did however seem to indicate the instability of the family.

When we left the McDonalds (S) fell asleep briefly in the car. It was brief because we had to go into the store and I woke her up. While we were in the store I got a call from (K). She had some friends who live across the street from (S) mom and dad. They told her that last night the house was crawling with police officers. They didn't know why. It just speaks to more instability and more likelihodd that the TPR will occur sooner rather than later.

One of (S) brothers who was old enough to know what was going on told his foster parent that he missed his parents, but that not living with them was no big deal as they really hadn't lovfed with them all that much anyway. Bewtween the last 14 months in foster care and time spend with their grandparents and uncle (an uncle not unlike Uncle Ernie in Tommy) they hadn't really lived with their parents all that much anyway. He also said he would rather live with his current foster parent. Luckily, he is the one that is most likely to adopt.

All in all it was an interesting day for me, but a good day for (S). She does so love playing with her brothers. She is the yougest and they treat her like a princess.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thinking About Doing Foster Care?

If you are giving thought to doing foster care but aren't sure there is really a need, think again. Unfortunately there are never enough foster parents and as a result a lot of kids end up in group homes or other institutions where they don't get the love and uncerstanding they need.

Do they have some problems? Sire a lot of them do. That is why they need you.

Is it a lot of work? Of course it is, but it is well worth it. Just read the blogs I have listed on the left and you will read about families who are very happy with their decision to foster and adopt children who have noone.

So why this post tonight. I came across an article on MSNBC. Some idiot keeps his cocaine heroin and marijuana around the house and his two year old son eats some of the cocaine. He is then seen foaming at the mouth and shaking. The drug problem in this country is getting worse and worse and is negatively affecting our future generations.

That is why we need more foster parents in this country. Someone has to take care of these kids. Thanks to those of you who do. If you would like to read about the idiot, you can find the story here:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What can she possibly be thinking?

I often wonder what (S) is thinking. She calls our house her house. She calls the bedroom she sleeps in her room. She calls her mom and dad and brothers her friends. She hasn't seen her parents in a month and she hasn't really said much lately about when she will see her parents again. She doesn't call them her parents but she does call them mom and dad.

Does she think that her life is normal. Of course she does. She doesn't know any better. She can't possibly remember her life any other way. We want her to feel like this is her house. We want her to feel like the room she sleeps in is her room. We want her to feel like this is her home. When we went to classes before we became foster parents they said it was important that you treat a foster child just like your own. We have taken that to heart and that is what we do.

So now, while she doesn't know the names or the institutions, this is her home. This is where she lives. So what will happen when she leaves here? What will she be thinking then? So many questions. I know both DW and I love her and we don't want to do anything to hurt her. But it will have to hurt her when she leaves here. She will have to wonder what is happening and why we aren't there any more. she will wonder why she no longer lives at HER house or sleeps in HER room.

I guess it is two questions. What is she thinking? and What will she be thinking? and More importantly what impact will it have on her life?

I am rambling again. my apologies

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I Think I'm Peeing

is a perfectly normal thing for a little girl who is trying to get toilet trained to say while she sits on her potty chair. After all she can't be expected to know for sure what is happening when she is first learning. On the other hand, if she happens to be sitting in my chair at the kitchen table well..........

I got the mop.

So much for her Dora big girl panties. We need to go back to pull-ups for a while I guess.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Trip is On....No parental Visits for at Least 3 Months.

The trip is on......we are really excited and so is (S). Don't ask me why but she really wants to go to the "cowboyzeum" (Cowboy Hall of Fame and Museum). She is also excited about the water park and going to Alabama to see (B). We are also going to spend a weekend in Dallas visiting my sister. She has not yet met (S) and is looking forward to it.

So....... I get to court and there are a lot of people there. There are also a lot of Sheriffs there. Dad was sitting in the parking lot in an Escalade. (I think it belonged to his church President) When he finally came into the courthouse it looked like he bought a new pair of jeans for the occasion. Mom was not with dad and she looked really depressed and alone. I spoke to her briefly. She said that dad is not living with her and the house is very quiet. She is not a well woman and she doesn't work, so I can't imagine what this is like for her. I know she misses (S) tremendously. She asked how (S) was doing and I wasn't sure what to I just reverted to the most sensible thing...I told her the truth........that (S) was fine.

Dad's lawyer asked to be removed from the case. Dad apparently had filed a complaint about him with the bar association. When the judge asked if it was ok if that lawyer was removed from the case dad didn't want him removed. That's right. He filed a complaint, but still wanted him on the case. The judge let the lawyer go and now a new one has to be named. The TPR trial is now set for April 6th, but it won't actually start that day. They will just decide if they are ready. They are estimating 3 days for this trial. There are no visits until at least after that. After that there is the potential that there could be just one visit to say goodbye. I can't imagine what that would be like. It saddens me just to say that.

Now we have been asked about adoption. We are very mixed on this one. On the one hand, we didn't get into this for that purpose, but if we are not going to adopt then it would make sense that they find a foster to adopt family to put (S) with until everything is decided. That means that (S) would be leaving sooner rather than later. We were all ready for her to go home to her parents when they were so close to reunification, but we really aren't ready for her to go with some strangers. I never thought we would be in this position, but we think we are probably too old to adopt a three year old girl. We would be close to 70 by the time she graduated High school.

Enough for today. My mind is turning to mush. Tomorrow I will tell you all the preliminary plans for our trip so you can all offer any suggestions about something we should do.