Friday, December 17, 2010

What does Red in Chinese Mean?

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This is in the category of "kids say the darndest things"

We were out shopping for Christmas presents for Shy's bio-brothers tonight. We are getting all the kids together tomorrow for our monthly "play date" and we are bringing presents for them. We went to Sam's club, and then to Best Buy. It was them over to the mall to see what we could find there.

After the mall, we ate dinner at the Ruby Tuesday's and then went to A.C. Moore for Shy's oldest brother. He loves drawing so we got him a real nive sketch pad and some drawing pencils.

Anyway, after that it was time to head home. We were about half ay home when I was stopped at a red light. It didn't take long before the light changed green, but unfortunately, the car at the front of the line was in no rush to go. Since I was.....I said in a rather loud voice (not loud anough for any other car to hear me but only people in my car) "HEY!!! THIS IS AMERICA, WE GO ON GREEN HERE!!!"

Eventually the car decided to go and we went on our way. A short time later, Shy says to me: "What does red and chinese mean?"

I said, well red is a color and chinese is what you call people from China. We also have Chinese Food on New Year's Eve (a family tradition). In any event, I thought I had answered the question and it was a fairly easy one, so I was happy.

Shy was not happy. Apparently I had not answered her question. What she wanted to know was "What does a red light mean if you are in China? Since green meant to go in America, it was an obvious question for her. Not so much for me.

My answer....well I really don't know. I assume that a red light meaning stop and a green light meaning go is the same in every country.....but then if that is the case, why would I say "This is America, we go on green here"

Heavy Sigh.........I have to be more careful with what I say, because Shy will catch me on any discrepancies........I love being her dad though. She really is fun and keeps me on my toes!!!!!!

By the way, does anyone know if that green/go and red/stop thing is universal? I have only driven in a few other countries and I didn't get in any accidents, so I guess I have been ok, but what if I find myself in Uzbekistan?
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Foster Care

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So.....

currently we are not fostering any children. It is not something DW and I have really talked about either. We don't have another bed right now, but have talked about getting a bunk bed for Shy. I guess if we did that, we could foster a girl. (they don't allow for mixed sex room mates over the age of 5.

We do have another room with a little "pack and play" in it that I suppose we could keep a baby in, but with DW working a lot of hours right now, it wouldn't be practical to have a baby in the house. So I guess we will have to wait and see how things go.

We have not told DHHS that we are not interested in fostering, but we have only got one call in like the last 2 1/2 years and we turned that one down. My guess is that we are not at the top of their list right now anyway.

If we do foster again, I know it would be short term, so I guess for right now, I will just say we are on hiatus from fostering and we are just moving along with our new forever daughter who we love and cherish. At this point, we can't imagine life without her.

For the time being this blog will concentrate on issues that come up around adoption. Adoption was never in our minds when I started this blog. It is amazing how life can take turns we never would have anticipated. Anyway, adoption, and of course stories about Shy and our life together will be our focus. That is until we get another foster placement.
When that will be is anybodys guess!
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Social Security Part 2

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So I did not get asked back for the sequel.

I went to the Federal Building the next day with what I thought was all the information I needed, but there was a different guard at the door. This guard wouldn't let me through the metal detector unless I took off my belt.

I wasn't taking off my belt........

He wouldn't let me in......

Now, I understand the need for security in Federal Buildings. I understand the need to have a metal detector.

I understand that if I set off the metal detector I am subject to closer scrutiny.

I have no problem with any of that. But let me go through the metal detector first. If I set is off, then maybe you can start asking me to remove clothing. In any event, I thought about going back the next day. Here was my plan:

I was going to go to the toy store and get me one of those little kids cowboy belts with the cap gun six shooters. When the man asked me to take off my belt, I was going to take that off and put it on his little counter....

When DW heard my plan, she decided that it was time for someone else to go to the Social Security office.....Her.

I can't argue, it was probably a smart move. So today, she went to the office.

What we wanted to do was not only get Shy a new Social Security Card, but a new number with her new name. We can't trust her bio-parents and since they had her old number, we couldnt just change the name. So in order to do what we wanted to do, what is needed when you go is the following:

New Birth Certificate (original with seal)
Adoption Certificate (origianl with seal)
Government document showing her old name (We were told to bring her medicaid
information we had from Foster Care for that)
Social Security Card request form (got that at the office)
The person filling out the request also needed a government ID (DW used her drivers license)

The woman behind the counter told DW how to fill out the form. She checked all the paperwork and told DW that we would have a new card and number in the mail in 7 to 10 work days.

There was also other good news. While DW was in the office, no one had their cell phone go off, so the guard did not have to jump into action to ensure the safety of navigation within the building. DW did leave her phone on, but she had it on vibrate so even if it did go off, the guard would not have heard it.

So there you have it......

One last thing....I have a call into the senator's office to find out why I have to remove clothing prior to the metal detector.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Social Security

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Shy's Birth Certificate arrived yesterday in the mail. We were really excited to see it, and of course we told Shy about it and showed it to her.

She wanted to know what store she could spend it at.........(hey its a certificate!! She really is a special child)

Anyway, we had been awaiting that so we could go to the Social Security Office and get her a new Social Security number with her new name. We were advised to get a different number by the case worker at DHHS so that her parents would not know her number. They also told us we needed to have the birth certificate to do that.

What they didn't tell us was that we also needed to have the adoption certificate with the seal. (we have it, but I didn't bring it). I also had to have an ID with me (I always do, so that was good). We needed to have a certain form filled out (they gave it to me, so I guess I will be filling it out later). and I need to have a Medicaid Card with her old name on it. Well, we only have little printed papers, as they don't issue cards to foster children. She will get a card issued soon, but that will have her new name on it. I hope we are able to find the old one with her old name. Otherwise, I am not sure what will happen.

I am hopeful that whatever I have will be suffcient. So tomorrow I will be going back to the Social Security Office to talk with the nice lady behind the window and hopefully I will have everything I need and the form filled out correctly.

The above is for all of you who are going through the process and want the information about how it works. The following is for everyone else who may just be looking for something to read.

In order to get into the Federal Building where the Social Security Office is located you have to go through a metal detector and there were three (3) guards there for the building to make sure you didn't set off any alarms. I was asked if I had a belt on. When I said I did, the guard told me I might have to take it off. I told him there was no way I was taking off my belt and then asked him if he worked for TSA because he was obviously at the wrong location. The airport is about 5 miles from the Federal Building. He assured me they were friendlier than TSA. That scared me.

I didn't care how friendly he was, I wasn't taking off my belt. Thankfully, the metal detector didn't go off and I was able to continue on to the Social Security Office to tend to my business with my pants still securely fastened around my waist.

Apparently however, those guards are not good enough for the Social Security Office. They have to have their own guard. Thank Goodness!!! You can't be too safe these days. All those retirees around that office are liable to start a riot at any moment. I was ahppy because I knew if one of the octogenerians were to attempt to cut in line in front of me, I was sure he would handle it.

So, when you walk into that office there is the Social Security guard sitting there. There is also a machine that asks you what you want, you push a button, and it prints out a number for you (just like at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, but not quite as high-tech), but in case you can't read it or figure out how to use it, the guard tells you exactly what to do. (I guess since someone else already ran us through a scanner, he doesnt have to worry about checking us out or actually guarding the office. (I wonder how many credits he gets toward social security for that job?).

Anyway, after a few minutes I found out the real reason that there is a guard there. There are signs all over the room that say "Turn off cell phones". It really was like flying!! Metal Detectors, no cell phones. I wonder if other electronic devices would have created a problem for the people in the office. Maybe it was just for the guard. He is rather old, and maybe he has trouble navigating the hallways of the building if there are too many cell phones in use.

Unfortunately, There was one lady who didn't turn off her cell phone.

That is when the guard sprang into action!!!!!!!!!!!

"Excuse me Ma'am, you need to turn off that cell phone."

Whew, that was a close one. He handled it so well, the woman turned off her cell phone. Thankfully, there was no need for a taser or handcuffs. (I kept my phone on vibrate the whole time I was there, but don't tell anyone)

Needless to say, I can't begin to tell you how excited I am I have to go back there tomorrow. I will be sure to report back.
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ramblings

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Well the bio-parents received the notification that Shyanne was adopted. So far, there hasn't been any fall out from it and the more time that progrsses without any fallout, the better I will feel. I still don't trust bio-dad though. I think he is a dangerous man, and that worries me.

Of course, I don't think he is that interested in Shyanne, but I do think it will be a matter of principal with him and his never ending fight against whatever he feels like fighting. Whether it be his wife or the state or something else, who knows.

In the meantime.......

Shy is doing great. She had been wanting the doors closed to all the "dark" rooms when she went to bed becasuse she was afraid someone would come and take her. Since the adoption, she has been less likely to ask for that.

She likes to play school. At her school they have now started using our last name when they call her and she has been testing the sound of that when she thinks no one is listening. I think it is great. She is certainly feeling more like a member of our family, and of course we have felt that way abotu her for a long time.

Her first report card will come home from school tomorrow. I know it will be good. After all, does nyone in kindergarden get a bad report card? Anyway, her teacher has told us she is doing well, so that is good enough.

Funny Story....

The school had a book fair and family night was on Tuesday. We all went to look at the books. WE got a couple of books for Shyanne's classroom and a bunch for her. While DW was looking at the books, shyanne noticed a boy from her class. She told me she wanted to go over and say hello so I told her to go ahead. She insisted I go with her.

She grabbed my finger and dragged me over to where the boy was. When we got there she tapped him on the shoulder and said hello. He said hello back and then they just stood there looking at each other. After about 30 seconds his mother said "come on its time to go"

Shyanne and I had ot follow him all the way to the door. she then said goodbye and that was that. So cute!!!

Anyway, enough rambling for tonight.

Happy Hanukkah to all
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S

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What Happens Next?

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We are done with the State as far as Shyanne is concerned. Her parents are not. They will receive a notification sometime in the next week or so advising them that "permanency has been achieved" for their daughter Shyanne.

These are not real intelligient people, but it would seem to me they are intelligent enough to know that since it has happened with Shyanne rather quickly that she is probably with us. We are the only family she has been with, and they met us many times through the failed reunification process. They even had our phone number so they could call and talk to Shyanne on the phone. (although she would never talk to them....or anyone else on the phone for that matter) My concern is that the bio-father will be unable to control himself when they recieve this news and will become violent.

That is the way he has been in the past. That is what got the family into the situation they are in. I have no reason to believe that he has changed his ways. While he is not a particularly well, or strong man, I am no spring chicken myself. My number one job right now is to protect Shyanne. The problem is I am not sure how to go about doing that.

We went shopping yesterday for the holidays to Target, Sams Club, the mall etc and I find myself spending more time looking at people then at merchandise. I keep scanning the corriders and aisles before we go up them. the last thing I want is for Shyanne to see her bio-parents, or for them to see her. It would not be good for her at this point.

I think I need to work a little more dilligiently about getting a job somewhere else. I am sure there are some available and if I leave the state, it will certainly make things a little easier, and I won't be quite so paranoid....?

Anyone have any ideas?
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

THANKSGIVING

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I expect to be busy with family tomorrow so I am doing my Thanksgiving post early. I hope you don't mind.

Last Thanksgiving we were looking for a decision from a judge that would finally terminate the parental rights of Shyanne's mother and father. It didn't come in time for Holiday, but it did eventually come.


We had 19 for thanksgiving last year. This year there are only going to be 10 of us. Amy, her husband and our two bonus grandchildren. Kari will be coming with her husband and our new grandson. Then it will be DW, myself, and Shyanne.


I can't tell you how thankful we will all be this year. In the last year Amy was married to a wonderful man who brought along those two bonus grandchildren who we truly adore. Kari and her husband gave us a wonderful new grandson. He is 3 months old now and is doing great. And of course, just last week Shyanne became a "forever" part of our family.


In our house we have always believed that Thanksgiving was all about family and being thankful. How much more perfect could this holiday be for us at this time. I feel truly blessed. I grew up in a wonderful home where I was always taught that family came first and am still lucky enough to have both my father and mother as well as my only sibling (an older sister) still with us. I married my high school sweetheart. We were blessed with three wonderful biological children who make us proud every day of their life. They have blessed us with three wonderful grandhildren, and as if we weren't blessed enough......


Shyanne has joined our family.


I don't know what I did to deserve to be blessed this way, but I wish I knew so I could pass it along. It is truly a wonderful feeling. More improtantly,


I love and cherish every one of them..........Life is Good!
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Adoption Party

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Yes, we had a horse come to the party so all the children would have a chance to ride. Shyanne was a little hesitant at first, but after a while, she agreed to get on and Ithink she really loved it. We also rented a big bounce house with a slide attached. The kids loved that too.

We finished the party off with a Pinata and of course cake. It was a really good time for almost all of the kids.

Unfortunately, there was one there that didn't seem to have such a good time. It was one of Shyanne's biological brothers. Apparently he was feeling a little bit down because he has been at three different places since coming into state custody. the place he is at now is where he is going to be adopted, but the place he was at the last time was supposed to be his forever home as well. I think he just wants to be settled and know that he is at a forever home like his little sister.

The family that has him now is a truly wonderful family. I know he will thrive there and his time will come. He has been with them almost 6 months and once that time comes (the week after next) they can start their paperwork. I am hopeful they move things along quickly for him. He is a good kid and the changes he has been through have not been his fault at all.

Anyway, today was a great day. I know it is a day that Shyanne will remember for years to come, and that was the whole idea. by the way, we hemmed and hawed over what to write on the cake. We haven't been secretive about adoption, but Happy Adoption Day just didn't seem to say the whole thing. We settled for this.

It really says it all
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Adoption Day!!!!!!!!!!

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INTRODUCING SHYANNE



This is the day after (S) arrived (12/12/2007). She was a little girl who was thin and frail and hadn't really thrived in her short life...but she sure was cute and she was able to smile in spite of everything she had been through.

We truly loved her and she quickly became a part of our family She loves making cupcakes and eating them so much that we call her "Princess Cupcake"She also likes pretending she is at the beach, but even more then pretending is being there........ This is the 4th of July 2008 at Sand Beach on Mount Desert Island at Acadia National Park I insisted she be brought up right and of course that meanes routing for the best team in baseball, The Boston Red Sox!! The first birthday she celebrated with us was her third. We thought it was going to be the only birthday she celebrated with us. She had an absolutely wonderful time. She had started unsupervised visits with her family and was within a couple of months of reunification. As we now know, that never happened This is Christmas 2008. She had been with us just over a year, and was due to return to her family in just a few weeks. We didn't know how we would handle it, but we figured whatever happened was for the best. In March of 2009 they had determined that reunification was not going to work. We took a road trip across much of the eastern 1/3 of the country. This is the bat in front of the Louisville Slugger factory in Louisville, Kentucky. We didn't know at this point what was going to happen with her. We also visited Dallas where there is a place called "Sprinkles" that makes cupcakes even Princess Cupcake couldn't believe!!She is lucky enough to have two older sisters who wanted her to be their flower girl. This is her on (K)s wedding day. Is she the most beautiful flower girl you have ever seen?Halloween 2009. By this time, Parental Rights had been terminated once, but there was a second hearing. Soon Parental rights would be terminated again and we would be awaiting the appeal to the state Supreme Court. At this point, we had decided that she belonged with us and we would adopt her when the time came..........It just took ages to get there Then came Christmas 2009. The final TPR had come and now there was an appeal before the State Supreme Court. We were awaiting that decision. It wouldn't come until July. The decision had been made to adopt and we were just awaiting the State Supreme Court to reach a decision. It was definitely time for a trip to Disney World. This is after we visited the Bippity Boppity Boutique where Shyanne was transformed into a Princess. This was followed by dinner in cinderellas Castle. What a great time she had! We did too!As we said, she was the most beautiful flower girl. Here she is at (A)'s wedding this past September. The first day of Kindergarden was truly a great day. She was so excited about going to school and the best part is that she still loves going to school. She loves learning, and best of all, she is doing very well
Then came today!!!! Adoption Day!!! Here are a few pictures from today. No, we weren't in court. They had a special "National Adoption Day" (a few days early) at the local Children's Museum. It was great!!!





What a wonderful day. One of the best of my life!!
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WOOOHOOOOOO YAHOOOOOOO YAAAAAAYYYYYY WHOOOPPEEEEE

and anything else you can think of.

In our county they will be celebrating National Adoption Day this coming Monday. There is a Children's Museum where the festivities will take place. There will be a few adoptions that will take place and then the children will be able to play in the museum.

How many adoptions?........I don't know

So why do I mention it?.........(S) WILL BE ONE OF THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's right!!!!!!!!!! Monday.....this coming Monday.....November 15, 2010!!!!!

That will be our Adoption Day!!!

We got the call this afternoon. They finally got everything they needed at the court. They wanted to know if it was ok if they included us in the National Adoption Day ceremonies.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!! Of Course we will be there.

One small detail. I had to tell my boss I wouldn't be in New Hampshire as expected on Monday. He is a great boss and is of course ok with that.

I will be working this weekend to get together some pictures. I can't tell you how excited we all are, but Jimmy Buffet was right, and to my beautiful little (S), I say.......

Come Monday it'll be all right
Come Monday, Ill be holding you tight

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Away For the Week

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This week I am in Oklahoma City. I just got to town today, and will be leaving first thing Friday morning. I know that (S) is missing me, and I am certainly missing her. We will both be fine though. She did talk to me on the phone a few times today so that is nice.

She really isnt a big phone talker so that she talked to me is really a plus. I am hoping she will continue to talk to me while I am here. I wonder when she will become a big phone talker....or is it just a big texter these days?

I remember when my older children were teenagers. The girls were always on the phone. It was one day when I was at work and couldnt get through to the house that I insisted we had to get call-waiting. At that time, it was something new and there was an extra charge for it. They also didn't have caller id. When that first came out, I didn't want that either. I saw absolutely no use in it.

Eventually I gave into that too. When I think back, there were a lot of technological advances I really didn't see a need for at the time they came out, but I wouldn't be without them now.

things like cell phones.....texting.....a phone that takes pictures......an FM radio in the car (am was enough). electric windows in the car.......HD television.....GPS......email.....DVD player (heck, a VHS tape player)....laptop computer.......wireless access.....I still dont have a smart phone.....I am sure there are more I can't think of right now.

Well, I certainly went off on a tangent there. Anyway, I know (S) can't read this yet, but if DW is reading, please tell (S) I miss her....oh, I miss you too!

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Some Prints are In

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I called the Probate Court this week just to check and see exactly where the process goes from here.

My Federal prints are already back. I am not really surprised by that as my work requires some federal background checking anyway, so they have all the info they need on me anyway. Tehre is still the state results that need to come back for me, and borh have to come back for DW.

We know that DWs are going to take a little extra time as she really doesnt have very well defined prints and they are unable to submit them to the automatic system and instead have to have them done by hand.

In any event, once the Probate Court gets them back, they will call us to set up a date. It is not looking like we will make National Adoption Day ceremonies here in Maine, although we are not totally ruling that out. If DHHS had just moved a little quicker to begin with we might be done already. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about that now.

I have been looking at pictures trying to pick out what I am going to post here when the adoption is final. There are so many pictures we have from the last 3 years, that picking out a few to show everyone is proving to be difficult. I will get through it though, I am sure......

So thats about it. I have to go to Oklahoma, so I won't be around next week, but you can be sure I will be checking with the Probate Court when I get back. I will check in here from Oklahoma as well.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Glasses

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(S) got glasses today.

We had noticed that she was having some trouble seeing so we took her to the eye doctor, and sure enough she is far-sighted and needed to have glasses so we got them today.

She insists they make her look ugly and that couldn't be further from the truth. She actually looks quite cute in them.

We made a deal with her though.

She has to keep them with her at all times. She doesn't have to wear them, but they have to be with her. For most of thetime tonight she realized it was easier to wear them then to try and remember where they were every time she got up. Of course we didn't make it easy either as we constantly asked her where they were and reminded her that she wouldnt have this problem if she wore them.

We also were able to show her some writing that she couldn't pick out the letters unless she had her glasses on. After seeing that, she seemed a little more likely to want to put them on. Especially when she was looking at books.

I know it will take her time to get used to them, but I know she will also do better in school with them.

And she really does look cute in them..........AND IT WON'T BELONG BEFORE YOU CAN ALL SEE PICTURES OF HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are hoping that we will hear from the Probate Court in the next couple of weeks and have a date for her adoption hearing.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

More Progress

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We got a call Wednesday morning at 9:00am from the CW who advised that she had the paperwork back from the State Capitol and we could now go to the Probate Court, fill out some paperwork and get on with the next step in adoption.

We needed to meet her at the courthouse and she wanted to know when we could do that. Now I was at work, and I thought DW was at home, but I wasn't sure. I told her we could be there whenever she could do it. What worked for her? She said she could meet us there in an hour if we could make it.

I told her we would be there. Then I called DW and told her. After all this time, we weren't going to do anything to delay things any longer. So by 10:00am we were at the courthouse. We filled out paperwok, signed papers, took an oath or two to get some of our signatures notarized and we received a fingerprint card from the clerk.

We immediately went to see our friend who works at the local city PD.

For those of you who haven't been around for a while, DW does not have very good fingerprints. It took us an extra long time to get our fostering license because of it. Every time we sent in finger prints we got a notice back that they weren't good enough. We finally had to get a letter from our friend who is a detective saying that was the best there was. Thsi meant that they had to go through a different, and longer, process to do the background check on DW. The fongerprints are so bad that our detective friend says DW could have had a very lucrative career in crime.

Anyway, we went to see him right away. He took the best prints he could and included a letter advising that was the best that was available. We are hoping to avoid the multiple trips to get fingerprints taken so that they will go right to the other process for the background check.

The call came at 9:00am and the fingerprints were in the mail at the Post Office by 12:00 noon.

So........we are another step closer. It is now in the hands of the State Police, maybe the Federal authorities, and the Probate Court. We are not real hopeful that the fingerprints will go quick enough to make for an extra thankful Thanksgiving, but maybe, and if not, we are least confident that we are moving forward.

While we already know it, the State will finally acknowledge that (S) is part of our family.......
FOREVER!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Table 5

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So DW and I went to a PTA meeting last night at the school. The PTA provides babysitting service for those meetings, so we brought (S) along and she stayed and played with the other kids that were in the babysitting room.

When the meeting was all over, we picked her up and went to the car to start the short ride (3 miles) home. In spite of it being such a short ride, we did learn a lot.

1. There are 5 tables in her classroom. (kids sit at all 5)

2. There is a boy in her class that is obviously the class clown, and he
makes her laugh with his antics

3. The boy in question sits at Table 2.

4. (S) used to sit at Table 2

5. Apparently (S) did a lot of talking and laughing at Table 2 and wasn't
getting her work done

6. (S) now sits at Table 5 with some different children

(S) assures us that at Table 5 she doesn't do any talking and she is able to get all her work done. She also assures us that the little boy at Table 2 still makes her laugh. I can't wait to hear more at teacher conferences next month. It should be very interesting
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Good News / Bad News

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So a lot has been happening, but I have been sick and not really in a mood to write. So let me try to get you all caught up.....There is good news and bad news. The good news first.

Good News.....We are expecting to get our signed papers back from the State Comissioner of Health and Human Services some time next week. At that point we can take our paperwork to the courthouse and get the fingerprint stuff as well as get a court date set up. We are getting more and more excited about that. We should be done with our adoption process sometime in november. Adoptions are done every Wednesday so we are keeping our fingers crossed that our Wednesday will be soon.

Good News.....Wednesday was (S)'s 5th birthday. (would have been nice if it was her adoption day huh?) She has been with us for close to 3 years now and this was another great milestone for her. She so much likes being the center of attention and thinks she is just "all that" whenever there is something special happening for her. This Sunday when we have her friends over for a kids party I am sure she will be the same way. We will be playing "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" and we have pumpkins for all the kids to decorate. Cake and ice Cream too of course.

Not So Good News.....DW got a call from the CW. She wanted to inform us that (S)s bio-dad was on the "hunt" again. There was a time this summer he and bio-mom were supposedly trying to grab the two older boys, but they weren't around so nothing happened. The police couldn't arrest them because they were nowhere near the boys, even though bio-mom said that was what they were doing there. So now we have to keep our eyes open and stay more alert again.

DW went to school to make sure they were aware of the situaiton that was brewing and to give them a picture of bio-mom and dad. The school has been fairly helpful in the past and they assured her that only DW or I will be allowed anywhere near her. That is good.

On the other hand, since that day, (S) has been impossible to get to bed at night. she has been saying she is scared of the dark and wanting any doors to any dark rooms closed. She has been insisting to sleep with the light on and wanting either me or DW to sleep next to her in bed. We make sure that we don't have the conversations about her bio-parents or what is happening around her, but she must have this instinct or some sense that these things are happening.

Last night when she wouldn't go to bed I got her on my lap and asked her exactly what was bothering her. She said she was scared of the dark and I asked her why. She said she was afraid that something bad would happen, and I asked her like what. She then said she was afraid that someone was going to take her away. I assured her that mommy and daddy would never let that happen.

I let her fall asleep in my lap and then when I put her into bed I stayed there with her for a few minutes to make sure she stayed asleep. Unfortunately she keeps getting up during the night. I know that the "ritual" that will take place in court is going to make things better for her. She knows that will make us her "forever" family, and she needs that now more than ever.

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Home Days

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DW had to work today, but it was a "home day" for (S) and I. (S) refers to days when there isn't work as "home days". WE used to call them the weekend, but we like the sound of home day much better so in our family, that is what they are called.

(S) and I put tatoos on our arms. I got Pluto and (S) got Daisy Duck. Unfortunately I have a little too much hair for this type of tatoo and mine is just about gone. (S) still has hers though. I think next time I will have to put it on the bottom of my arm where there isn't as much hair.

Then we got a visit from (A). She was out running errands and had to stop by to pick up the last of her items from the wedding. She had some jars here and a bridesmaids bouquet that my bonus granddaughter (T) carried during the ceremony.

After that we played Candyland a couple of times. (S) was happy when she won, but gets very upset when she loses. That is something we have to work on. She is at the age where she needs to learn how to lose. I think she will get better as time goes on. And I learn how to play Candyland better. I really am not very good at it.

After that, we had some popcorn together. We watched some TV and relaxed for a while and then it was time to go to the store to get a veggie for dinner. (S) chose green beans. She lvoes them. We also stopped at the donut shop and each of us got a donut.

When we got home it was about time to start making dinner so it would be ready when DW got home from work.

That was our day. WE enjoyed our time together even though I am not feeling well. (I have a cold).
So that was our day. Not much real exciting to report. Just a normal relaxing Saturday at home together. It was nice. Days like that are always noce. Tomorrow DW does not have to work so it will be a home day for everyone. Monday will be too. That means two home days in a row with the three of us togethee.

We love home days. DW (S) and I all enjoy them. Not sure what we will do, but we will enjoy it. I guarantee it!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

We Signed Papers Today

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So today we went to the Mystery Mansion and met with the CW. She had received the first package back and it was now time to complete package 2. And what did package 2 include????

The signing of the adoption agreement!

Woohoo!!!

So we are that much closer. Now that adoption agreement has to be signed by the State Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services. Once that happens, we can go to the Probate Court where we get fingerprinted (AGAIN!!!) and get a court date.

So one thing I didn't know is that even though we were a foster parenting "adoptive resource" , and had been the planned adoptive parents of (S) for over a year, we were still only considered to be foster parents. Now we are an official "adoptive placement" for (S).

I didn't know that there was a distinction, but it really doesn't matter at this point. we are what we are, and we are yet another step closer to adoption and that is all that matters.

So.....on Tuesday of next week, I am going to call the woman at the State Capitol that got everything moving this quickly from last Friday and see if she can't help us. I am kind of doubtful as to whether she can actually move the Commissioner along, but I will ask nicely anyway. I certainly need to thank her for the help she provided this last week. After all, in less than a week, she accomplished what the people in the local Mystery Mansion couldn't accomplish in 2 months!

Are we happy?

You Bet!!!!!!!!

I'm thinking lobsters for the adoption party. I think we will need to have a bounce house too. And maybe a Ferris Wheel!!! (I don't think we actaully have room in our yard for a ferris wheel, but you have to admit it would be cool) How about a clown? Probably not, they can be kind of creepy. Any other ideas out there? We are getting closer. We need good suggestions.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It Even Seems to be Working

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So.....

After I spoke with the woman wwho said she would help, I got a call Friday morning from our CWs supervisor. She seemed to be more concerned with protecting herself, her case worker, and the job they were doing then with helping move things along. She even told me that Packet 1 was ready to go back to the state capitol and it had been fixed. I told her that packet one had been originally sent to the capitol and was all set almost two months ago yet she insisted that things were moving along and I just had to be patient with the process.


I have done that for the last two months.

So, I called the woman back on Monday (yesterday) and told her that it was nive that the CWs supervisor called me, but what I was really looking for was for someone to help move the process along, not someone to defend how slow the process is moving. She said she would see what she could do to help.

Yesterday afternoon I got a call AND an email from someone i the office at the capitol that packet one had all been approved and signed off and was headed back to the CW.



IMAGINE THAT!!!!



Even though I was told 2 months ago that there was no way to move the process along, one email, and two phone calls later, we have accomplished in 2 days what wasn't done in 2 months!!!

I am going to call the CW to make sure she knows that I know the packet was signed off and sent back to her, so she can go onto the next step.

As always, I will keep you all informed as the process continues. Hey, I will probably invite everyone to an adoption party soon too!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Its All in Who You Know

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and it pains me to say that.

It shouldn't be that way. People should be treated the same no matter who they know, but unfortunately, sometimes not knowing anyone gets you shuffled to the back of the line, or the bottom of the stack, or placed on hold and given the run-around because someone just can't be bothered with doing their job properly.

There are "hundreds of kids who need forever homes",. I used to think that meant a home they could live in and a family they could be with forever. It is seeming more like they call it that because when they get one it seems like it takes forever to process. So one reader suggested I write a letter and send it certified mail. I thought that idea might have merit so I went to the home page on the web of the Mystery Mansion to look for names and addresses.

Lo and behold, right there in the head honcho's office is a name of a woman I first met over 25 years ago. I didn't know if she would remember me, but I figured what the heck, I might as well give it a shot. I sent her an email.

She remembered me and within hours I got a call from the child services director's office. The woman there says she is going to help out. I am excited that maybe we will move forward. I would appreciate a baby step at this point since we have gone nowhere in over two months, but it still shouldn't be that way.

These offices suffer from bad press all the time. They need to create their own advocates from the general public. Who better to advocate for them then a foster parent like myself who is involved in the process. Instead of treating me (and I am sure many others) in a way that would help their cause and create a positive advocate for them, they just do things to make it worse.

It shouldn't be who you know that gets things done, but for this moment, I am glad it may have turned out that way......At least for (S).

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Wedding is Over......The Mystery Mansion is Silent

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The wedding was beautiful. (A) looked absolutely gorgeous. OK, I am a little bias, but she really was gorgeous. Everything went off without a hitch.

We had Chinese Food on Thursday, a Bar-B-Q on Friday, and the wedding on Saturday. A few people for dinner on Sunday night, and the last person left was my son (B) who went back to Alabama this morning.

My father made it up here, got to see his great grandson and was able to stand up a couple of times and dance at his grandaughter's wedding. How special is that. This was no easy feat. He is not a well man and the trip alone was an arduous trek for him. He made it here and back and I can't begin to tell you how happy that made all of us.

So that was all well and good....now onto the business at hand...the adoption ......

If you are keeping track, we found out on July 22nd that the TPR appeal had been denied by the State Supreme Court and that (S) was available for adoption....Since then, we have filled out some paperwork, but nothing has changed. Over 2 months and we are nowhere!!!

I have gotten tired of talking to the CW and her boss. I called her the boss' boss today and left a message for her to call me. I didn't hear back, btu I will give her another day or two. Then, I don't know what happens next. I guess I will have to call the head of the Department of Health and Human Services.

You would think a state office that comes under that much fire and scrutiny would be looking for advocates. Who better to advocate for them then the foster parents and social workers that are on their side. Unfortunately, the way they oeprate, no one wants to be associated with that organization.

And they wonder why they are viewed so poorly.........

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Visitors

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Some people like visitors, some don't........I LOVE THEM!!!!

(B) came home on Tuesday.

My mom and dad, and my big sister and brother-in-law will be arrriving today

DWs little brother and sister-in-law along with our niece and nephew will arrive today.

Tomorrow:

Father-in-Law and his girlfriend arrive

DWs other two brothers arrive. One brings a wife along with our niece and nephew.

DWs Uncle and Aunt arrive

(A)s new -in-laws will be arriving

Everyone else lives locally....the plans...

Tonight.....Chinese Food for the visitors (only about 15 people)

Tomorrow night....Bar-B-Q for visitors (about 35 people)

Saturday night....Wedding (about 100 people)

Sunday noon....Small Brunch for a few remaining guests (I have no idea how many)

Monday...Stragglers leave and "Life goes On and On and On"

I know there will be plenty to blog about, but I don't know when I will have time, but I can assure you I will be having fun!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Adding to the Family

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We had a visit last week from the cw and we are not getting any closer to adding (S) legally to our family, but that hasn't stopped the clan from growing.

We will be adding 3 new members to our family on Saturday. (A), my oldest bio daughter is getting married on Saturday. Family is coming from all across the country (well, Georgia, Florida, Massachusetts, Alabama, and Texas anyway) to witness the event. The good news is we don't only get a new son-in-law and uncle for (S), but she is also gaining a niece and a nephew!

That is because (A)'s fiance comes with 2 BONUS grandchildren for us!! (T) and (H). (T) is 14 and (H) is 11.

I am so excited but alas there is so much to do, I am not sure there will be much blogging going on. On the other hand, there will be plenty of things to blog about, so I will either find time, or get behind and have to catch you all up on everything that has happened after the fact.

It is all good news though. It has always been about family with us, and what better celebration of family is there than a wedding? Well, maybe an adoption is just as good, but we will have one of those at some point this year too!!!

Well, I have to go bake brownies for company and then do some more cleaning and I am sure DW will be coming up with plenty more for me to do.

By the way, my son (B) is the one who comes from Alabama and he got here today. It is so good to see him. Since he lives so far away we don't get to see him often enough....glad your home son! Tomorrow we play golf together.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Loving Child

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(S) is really a very loving child. There are times we will just be sitting there and she will look up at me and say "I love you daddy". Of course, I always tell her I love her too.

She always has a hug and a kiss for me. I really can't wait for the adoption to be final, but at the rate it is mocing, I have to wonder. We had our monthly visit from the CW this past week and she informed us that package one had a problem with it. Apparently she identified PTSD as an emotional problem and it was supposed to be identified as a mental problem.

She doesn't care......We don't care......(S) doesn't care.......some bureaucrat apparently does care. Either that or is looking to justify their job. In any event, the CW is off next week, so we are atill no further along in the process then we were the day the court finally made its final decision.

While it bothers me more than you can imagine and makes this whole process so frustrating, I can at least know that as far as she is concerned, DW and I are her mommy and daddy, and it doesn't matter what a judge says. We love her so much, and she is such a loving child. We are very lucky people to have her in our hearts.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Too Much to Do

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Once upon a time we had three children. They were all within 4 1/2 years of each other. Needless to say they kept us busy. There were always school socials, baseball games, soccer games, PTA meetings, gymnastics etc etc etc.

We made it through those years with three children with little or no problem. Yes, there were a lot of take out food nights, and a lot of running around with me going one way and DW going another way, but we made out fine. At the end of the day we would relax and all was well and we were ready to go at it again the next day.

So what happened?

Now, we have one child, (S) is going to dance and she is starting Sunday School this Sunday. There has been one PTA meeting and one curriculum night at school. This weekend is all filled up. We will be attending a party for (S) and two of her bio brothers we have set up at a local children's museum. It should be a fun time.

Unlike the "once upon a time" time, we are tired. I am yearning for a home day when we can relax and do nothing......It isn't going to happen any time soon....There is just Too much to Do.
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Boy on the Bus

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Yesterday DW had to work early, so I had to come home from work to see (S) off on the bus to school. She is so excited to go to school every day that it is a fairly easy task. The most difficult part is that she wants to go wait for the bus about a half hour before it comes.

So, after putting off the inevitable as long as possible, we go to the end of the driveway to wait for the bus. As soon as she gets on the bus, I will be into my car and go back to work. So we are talking about school and she just keeps asking when the bus is coming. I keep saying I hear it and it is getting closer, but until she actually sees it rounding the bend down the street, she can talk about nothing e;se. She is obsessed with its impending arrival. At this point I am thinking her obsession is because she likes going to school so much.



So the bus stops, I get a big hug and a kiss goodbye (certainly makes the trip home to wait for the bus with her worth it. She is such a loving child, but thats a different post.) and she gets onto the bus.

I turn around to get into my car so I can get going to work and for some reason, I decided to turn around and make sure she is seated on the bus before the bus starts down the street. I have had a few issues with schools in the past, and I just want to make sure that (S) is safe the whole way.

So I turn around and there are only about 15 - 18 kids on the bus. This is a failry large bus so there are plenty of empty seats. There is one little boy about 1/2 way down the bus who is standing up and kind of jumping around. I wonder why he doesn't stay seated, but then (S) sees him and sits down next to him. Now I am hoping her obsession with the bus is because she likes going to school.

I asked her about theboy after school. His name is Joshua and it seems she sits with him every day going to school and coming home from school. It really is cute. (S) told me that he makes her laugh.

Just in case her obsession with the bus is not becasue she likes going to school, I am waiting to find out his last name so I can google him. I have to make sure you know. :)

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Adoption Party

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When we took our required class prior to starting foster care we met about 10 other people who were in the class with us. Some were getting ready to do kinship care and foster the children of relatives. Some were looking into getting seriously involved in foster care and welcome many needy children into their home. There was one couple who particularly were looking to foster pregnant teenagers who no longer had a place to live.

There were even a few who, like us, just wanted to do respite care and help out here and there on occasion. (I wonder if any others are adopting?! :)) Anyway, there was another woman who was going to foster and was hoping to adopt. Well she has now got a little girl who has been with her since a few days after being born who is 2 years old and she is about to finalize her adoption.

She had a wonderful adoption party a couple of weeks ago. She had a photogrpahers there to take pictures, she had a tbale set up where kids could decorate cupcakes. She had another table with loads of "treasure boxes" that the kids could decorate, and then they could fill them with all the goodies that came out pf the pinata she had.

I wish I had been able to stay for the whole thing, but I had another engagement. DW got the opportunity to stay and enjoy the lobster that was served and see all the kids who were having a blast.

I can't wait until we have our own adoption party. It certainly won't be quite that extravagant, but I do hope it is a day that people will remember for a long time to come. Expecially (S).

So, does anyone have some suggestions for an adoption party? We have those ideas which are certainly nice, but we would certainly like to do something different so please comment with your suggestions. The best part is that once we have the party, not only will I be able to tell you about it, but I will be able to show some pictures too!!! I can't wait for people to be able to see how adorable (S) is.
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

I had Never Been in a Talent Show and Thought this was my Big Chance!

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So we are driving in the car the other day...(S), DW, and I and on our way to the store to get new tap shoes and ballet slippers for (S). Dance starts next week and last year's shoes are a little too small.

(S) is in the back seat and she is always making up games to play. This time, she decided we were going to have a talent show and first we would have the tryouts. Each of us had to make up our own song and sing it. I knew this was going to be my chance. I have never sung in a talent show before, but this was make believe. I knew I would make this one.

DW made up her song and sang it. DW dosen't sing all that well, but apparently (S) liked it and said that was very good. Then it was my turn.

I started singing and making up the words as I went along and actually was going pretty well. I was about 12 or 16 measures into the song when (S) says...

"That song is no good. It is off the list"

I was astonished. I asked her what she meant and she went further to say that I couldn't be in the talent show as my song was not good.

I'm so sad. I thought this was my chance to finally make a talent show. I guess my talents are better served elsewhere.

I never had any belief that I could sing that well, but I figured I could at least get into a make-believe talent show.

I guess not
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Getting Closer

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I got a call on my cell phone today and it was from (S)' GAL. We haven't heard from him unless we called him in over a year. When I picked up the phone the call was lost. I was quite concerned because we don't usually have conversation with him, so I called him right back.

He was calling because the court is having their 6 month check-in. In our state, every 6 months a child is in the custody of the sate, the state has to report on the health and welfare of the child. The GAL said that since this was most likely the last time he would be reporting on (S), he wanted to stop by and see her and say hello himself. (once she is ours, there are no more reports)

Since we were not at home, he said he would meet us wherever was convenient. We ended up meeting at the Border's book store in town. The best part of the visit was that he confirmed we were getting close to the day of adoption. He knows the person who sets the court dates for adoptions and he says they have them every Wednesday. All we have to do is call him when we are ready, and he will do everything he can to make it happen the very next Wednesday.

I don't think it is going to be any time in the next couple of weeks, but we are certainly within a month or two. Then we will become adoptive parents. I am not sure it is going to feel any different though. We consider (S) to be our daughter already. It really doesn't matter what a judge says....I don't think. It will be interesting to see if we feel any different.

I know we will be relieved that the whole process is finally over, but I don't expect any more than that. We will see. I am sure there will be a blog entry for that day!

I can't wait

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Friday, September 10, 2010

I Know They Have Gerbils, but are They Really Throwing Ducks

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So (S) comes home from school. She gets off the bus with a big smile on her face. She has definitely enjoyed school and thinks that she is "all that" getting to ride on the bus. She runs up to me and gives me a big hug. We are lucky in that the busses drop the students off right at their house so I am just at the end of the drive.

As we walk up the drive I ask the question that all parents ask, and all parents wonder if they will ever get a real answer.

"What did you do at school today?"

The response: "I don't remember"

Well I figure I am smarter than her and I can get the answer......Yeah right.....anyway, I knew she had phys ed that day so I figured that was a good place to start.

"Did you have gym today?"

"Yes"

"What did you do in Gym?"

"We threw ducks?"

I obviously was not sure I heard her properly so I said "you threw what?"

"Ducks!"

"What kind of ducks?" I asked

"Duck Ducks!!!"

"You threw them?"

She then turned her head towards me and with a look of disdain and responded with "Yes daddy, we threw ducks!"

So now you know as much as I do about how (S) spent her day that day at school. We have since had opportunity to talk with her classroom teacher and I asked if she knew what they did in gym class and she said she really didnt know particulars. She asked why. I told her that (S) said they were throwing ducks.

She laughed...........
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

The School Bus Man

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Day 1 of kindergarden (September 1) and (S) is more excited than I have ever seen her. She can't wait to get on the bus. At 7:30am she is ready to go to the end of the driveway to wait for the bus. Great! Except the bus isn't coming until 8:30....we wait and wait and then can wait no longer. At 8:15 we are at the end of the driveway looking down the street for the bus.

8:25....waiting

8:30...waiting

8:35...waiting

8:40....still waiting

8:45...still waiting

8:50....time to get in the car. School starts in 10 minutes

9:00 we arrive at the school. The bus man is standing at the door along with a woman I don't know. The woman proceeds to tell me I can't park my car where I did as the busses park there. I was not happy and I let her know that since there weren't any busses it wouldn't be a problem and whenever the bus didn't show up I would park my car there to make sure my daughter got into the school.

The School Bus man didn't seem to know where the busses were. .....so, DW had already brought (S) into the classroom and I followed to check things out. I wanted to see the new larger classroom and it was very nice. As is should have been to start with. (S) didn't want to leave us and held on tight to my leg. We tried puching her away but wre not being very successful. Finally her teacher came over and invited her in with a soft hand on her back. (S) walked into the classroom and DW and I took that as our cue to leave.

On the way out, I asked the bus man what time we could expect the bus to come tomorrow. He looked at me and said (I swear this is the truth) "the right time".....

I went to the superintendants office. I had a very nice chat with her and she was appalled when she heard what the bus man said. She assured me she would make sure all was taken care of. Since she had been so effective in taking care of the classroom, I let her handle it.

So far, the bus runs fine since then. More importantly, (S) gets on the bus with a smile every day, and gets off the bus with a smile every day. She really enjoys school and is having a great time.

As far as the adoption process goes.....we are hopeful we will be able to sign the actual adoption agreement next week. We do go to court for a 6 month review next week as well, and hopefully have our monthly visit from the CW next week. Things are still keeping us busy and life is good...what more can I say.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Am I Behind or What?

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What!!

I have been so busy lately. I am going to try to get caught up on happenings here. I don't want to bore everyone with one long post, so I will try to go little by little and get caught up.....

Last I wrote it was in reference to the size of the classroom for (S)' kindergarden class. Well, my conversation with the school superintendant worked out well. I had called her on Friday morning August 27th. She called me back on Monday August 30th which was just 2 days before school started. She said she was unaware that they were using that room for a classroom and she was not happy about it.

I was comfortable that she would do something about it, so I refused her offer to move (S) into a different class with a different teacher. (S) seemed to like that teacher and if the class was going to change all would be good.

The superintendant explained to me that she couldn't guarantee anything would happen in the next week or two, but she sounded sincere.

Sure enough, about 3 hours later on that same day I got a call from the school that the classroom had been changed for that teacher's class. I had never expected it that quick, or to happen before school started, but it did. I am happy about that. The classroom is a standard size with plenty of room for the 16 kindergardeners that are assigned to it. I am sure they will all have a great year.

So far (S) is enjoying school. There is more to tell, but I will try to get caught up a little at a time. In the meantime....
Packet one is still at the state capitol and we can't go forward with packet two until that comes back......We hope that is soon!!

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

News to Report

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Well, the first package went into the State Capitol last Wednesday. Now we have to wait for it to be processed and returned so that we can move onto the Probate Court and package number 2. I know things are going slow and it is very frustrating, but we will persevere.

Second, we went to "sneak peak" day at Kindergarden......All did not go well.......While (S) seemed very happy with her teacher (DW and I were happy with her too) and (S) seemed happy with the other children that were in her room although she was a little shy (that makes me laugh....get it Mel?) DW and I were happy too. (S) seemed happy with her classroom too......unfortunately, DW and I are not. Apparently the school had more classes then they had planned and there weren't enough classrooms for all of the classes. (S) has been palced in a classroom that must be half the size of all the other classrooms and there is absolutely no room to move. Imagine what it is going to be like with 16 students and a teacher!!!

There is no place for children to hang up their coats. There is no place for snow pants or boots, and in the little area the teacher has set aside for story reading she will be lucky to fit 4 children. I can't imagine what she will be doing with the rest of the 5 year olds. I also can't imagine what it will be like on a rainy day with 16 children crammed into this small space. They must be crazy!!!

So I called the superintendant's office and of course since school isn't in session (I guess she takes all Fridays off) she wasn't in her office. I left a message on her machine telling her that the classroom space was unacceptable and that I expect a call from her on Monday morning to find out how she is going to remedy this problem. While I really only care about (S), I hope her solution isn't to just move (S) into another classroom. That won't do any good for all the other children assigned to the closet.

If they need another calssroom, then they need to rent a portable classroom so that children can have the adequate space they need. While I am thinking this is going to be one of many encounters with an apparently incompetant school system.....I am hoping that it will be the last....we shall see, and I will be sure to let you all know.

(By the way, I did check with the state and while they have some regulations regarding class size in terms of teacher/student ratios, there are no regulations regarding square footage....just guidelines.....The guidelines now are 800 sq feet for a classroom....This room is lucky to have 1/2 that.....it is really a shame)

Anyway, today is a "home day" so I am off to play with (S) and have a good time for her last weekend before the "big girl" starts Kindergarden!!!

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kindergarden

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Next week (S) will be starting kindergarden. She gets to visit her classroom and meet her teacher on Thursday. She has been very nervous about this next step in her life. She has wet her bed two nights this week. She also had an accident at the "Y" camp she has been going to.

She knows she is nervous about starting kindergarden and I am hopeful once she gets to see her classroom and meet her teacher she will be feeling a little better about starting next week.

As for me....well I remember when (A) started school and how exciting a time that was for DW and I. I remember when (B) started school and I thought that was pretty cool too. It was different when (K) started school. She was our youngest (at the time) and it seemed like we were now entering a new time of our life. No more children in the house 24 hours a day. While it was exciting and we anticipated a different kind of life, it was also kind of sad. We were saying goodbye to that way of life and really didn't know what the future held.

Now we know what the future held for us. All has turned out well. (A), (B), and (K) all continue to grow and are doing well. They continually make us proud (and are making us grandparents) and I often wonder how we got so lucky.

I know that (S) will make us proud as well. She is such a wonderful and loving little girl. I can't wait to see what the future holds for her. ........ And that is exciting!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Light for her Weight!?!?!?

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On Tuesday morning we got the full disclosure from DHHS on all issues related to (S), and also filled out Packet Number 2. While there were some surprises, they was nothing major. One of the medical reports made me laugh. It said she was "light for her weight". Nowhere did it mention she was short for her height, so I guess she has that going for her. :)

There were many inconsistencies in the different reports as to what her first 2 years of life were like, however the general indication was that things were pretty messed up..........but we already knew that and it was no surprise.

When I asked about the first package, I was told it had not been sent in yet because they were still waiting for something from the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). Wonderful! How long will we be waiting now. Anyway, after the meeting I left the GAL a voice message asking him to please take care of what he needed to take care of. I told him that DW, I and (S) would all appreciate it.

The CW also asked us to be fill out the paperwork we had received for the Probate Court. Naturally we filled that out in the evening, and I had it to DHHS first thing on Wednesday morning. First thing yesterday (Thursday) morning, I left a voicemail for the CW asking if she had received my packet, if it was correct, and whether or not they had received what they needed from the GAL to get Packet number 1 moving along.

I haven't heard anything back yet, but it is only 7:30am local time and The Mystery Mansion hasn't opened up yet.

On a lighter note, we got (S) new school shoes and sneakers for her first day of kindergarden (September 1). Luckilly her feet aren't too short for their length, so shoes were easy to find.
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Frst Package

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Last Monday we filled out the first package of paperwork required for the adoption. That package along with some paperwork from the District Attorney's office needs to be sent to the state capitol. When that returns, a second package needs to be filled out and sent to the state capitol.

We have an appointment to fill out that second package on Tuesday am. That will also be the monthly visit with the CW for (S).

The first package didn't take all that long to fill out, so why we couldn't fill out both at the same time is beyond me. Of course, there is no help coming from the DHHS people. They are really incompetant. One would think they really cared about the children, but the reality is that they care about themselves. They like complaining about the work they have to do, and they don't wnat anyone puching them. I tried to get answers to questions and then got told by the CWs boss that some pepole don't like when people are pushy.

You can draw whatever conclusion you want from that. I'll draw my own and move forward. I did call the GAL and ask him for whatever help he could provide to move the process along, but whether or not that will happen remains to be seen.

So for right now, the process moves at the Mystery Mansion's pace. At least there are no major hurdles to overcome....except of course those of the beaurocracy......

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Off Topic?????

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Maybe, but I think not.....

After all, while this may be a blog about foster care and the journey DW and I have been on since December, 2007, it is really about more than that.......It is about family.......

So, our lovely daughter (K) and her husband have made DW and I grandparents for the first time. That's right!!! We are now grandparents.......Papa, and Grandma to be exact. We are both very excited. as I have mentioned often in the past, we are building our family exponentially, and this is the first step in that process. The baby is a boy. (L) as he will be referred to here.

He was born yesterday afternoon at 4:58pm. He was 6 lbs 10 oz and 20 inches long. He looks like his father, but with a little luck he has plenty of time to grow out of it. He is adorable, and being a papa is absolutely wonderful. I have asked (K) many times in the last 18 hours whether or not he has asked for me, but the answer has always been no. Maybe soon.

Anyway, (S) has informed DW that it is far more exciting and surprising to become an Aunt then it is to become a Grandma or Papa. If you don't mind, I will silently disagree with her. I have been an Uncle many times over. This Papa deal is far better!

That's enough about this. Trust me when I say we are all very happy and excited......... We had our first meeting with the caseworker to sign adoption papers and I will make that the next blog entry, but right now, I am off to be Papa.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Can You Spell Frustration?

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yeah, I know.....F - R - U - S - T - R - A - T - I - O - N.................................or maybe D - H - H - S

Two weeks ago when we first got word that the Supreme Court had ruled and we could move forward with the adoption process I called DHHS. I wanted an appointment as soon as possible so we could move forward with our process.

When I spoke with the the caseworker she was unable to meet with me that week or last week and the earliest she could meet this week was Thursday. She has been so unreliable I made 2 appointments. One for today and one for Monday. It is a shame that I had to do that because of how unreliable she is, but I did.

Unfortunately, I'm glad I did. She didn't make today's appointment. She left a message to call her to make an appointment but when I called, she had left for the day and since tomorrow is a furlough day she won't be back until Monday.....

I left her a message on both her office and cell phone voice mail reminding her that we had another appointment for Monday and we would expect to see her at our house then. If she was not going to be able to make that to call. I also told her I thought it was horrible that I had to make those two appointments because of her lack of reliability.

Oh, and another thing. when she left the message that she wouldn't be here she said she needed to get more informaiton from us too. She has had 2 weeks to fill out her paperwork and now she tells us she needs more information. By the way,......she didn't tell us what it was she needed. I don't know how she expects to get it.

THIS CASE WORKER IS INCOMPETANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I also left a message with her supervisor, but she apparently isn't too concerned because she hasn't called me back and I am sure I won't hear from her before Monday either. Unfortunately, there is no where else for me to go. I do plan on asking the caseworkers supervisor who her supervisor is. I am that frustrated with this process. (S) has been in state custody for almost 3 years and they are no closer to getting her permanency then they were the day they took her into custody. You know, the day they took her into custody and we brought her home I didn't really care about how long she stayed in custody. We were only a short term stop until the state got things straightened out for her and her brothers and found them something more permanent

That was fine then. I didn't know (S) and I didn't know much about the process.

That is not fine now. Now we love (S) and to answer Tina Turner's question.......That's what love's got to do with it!!!!!!

We will get this process over with as soon as we possibly can, given our DHHS handicap and it will not matter where you are, you will hear us partying!!

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Imaginary Conversations

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I spend time these days having imaginary conversations with (S) answering the questions I think I know she will ask when she gets older. I don't know exactly when these questions will come. I don't even know if they will come. It is more the questions I think I would ask. I will probably be all prepared to answer these questions and she will ask something I am totally unprepared for. So anyway....

(S)..........Why didn't my bio-parents love me?

Me........Oh, they did love you (S). They loved you very much.

I don't ever want (S) to think that she was unloved or undeserving of love.

(S)........Why didn't they try to keep me then instead of letting the state take me away

Me......Well, they did try to keep you. They tried very hard. They even went to the Supreme Court of the State to try to keep you.

This is what we have been waiting for so long. They never had a chance but at least they tried. (S) doesn't need to know how bad their case was.

(S)......So why didn't they keep me?

Me......Well, they were not able to keep you safe. It is very important that children be safe and so they worked with the state to find us so that we could keep you safe and love you.

I am told that children understand being safe...I hope so

(S).......So how come my biological parents didn't love me the way you and mommy love me?

Me........Well sweetie, There is the quote I heard a long time ago that goes like this:

"Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with everything they've got."

I do believe that her biological parents love their children with everything thay have. They just didn't have what it takes to safely raise a family.

So now the question for me is: At what age will these questions be asked, and at what age are these answers the appropriate ones? I remember back when "A" "B" and "K" were liittle and wondering similar things. When the time came, I think I did the right thing and gave the right answers. Even if I didn't they turned out pretty good. All three of my children make me proud almost daily.

When all is said and done, I am sure (S) will too.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hokey Pokey

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The family is about to grow rapidly. (K) will be having her baby real soon. If not on her own by August 24th, then by C-Section. Our first grandchild! A boy named (L) for now

On September 25th (A) will be getting married and since her finace has 2 children, we are going to claim them as well. Grandchildren numbers 2 and 3. 2 is a girl (T) and 3 is a boy (H).

Then sometime in the near future (S) will be child number 4 for us. In reality she already is, but legally, we will have to wait. I spoke with the caseworker and the National Adoption Day I wrote about the end of last month is looking more and more like the day that we will be all a legal family. I can't wait until whatever day that is. You can expect at that point to see a famiy photo on this blog that includes all of the above mentioned individuals along with (B), DW and of course moi. Oh and I can't forget (K);s husband. I would use his initial too, but it is already taken.

I was on facebook the other day and a long time friend of mine mentioned the "Hokey Pokey". I left a comment saying "what if the Hokey Pokey really is what its all about?" His response was that in his family every time there was a special occasion like a Wedding or a Bar Mitzvah the Hokey Pokey was always played at the party, so that was what it was all about....family.........how true.

So to put it simply, we will be doing the Hokey Pokey a lot in the coming months. I hope you will all be able to join us!

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Monday, July 26, 2010

This Milk is Bland

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DW has been away in Atlanta for the last few days and I have been left to the duties of single dad. This morning I was getting (S) ready for camp and I got her the breakfast she asked for which included a glass of milk.

As we were walking down the stairs, she turned to me and said:

"This milk is bland"

I was stunned. It was early in the morning and this was not on my list of potential expected conversations. I replied with:

"What?!!!???!!!

At this point (S) looked at me like I was an idiot and explained what she meant:

"Its bland, that means it has very little taste!"

I felt like saying something along the lines of

"I know what bland means", but I figured I didn't have to explain myslef to a four year old...or did I? Besides, I am not used to getting pop quizes at 6:45am. She is 4 1/2 years old and I still can't believe she felt she had to explain the meaning of bland to me.

I can tell I am going to learn a lot from her over the coming years. I just hope more of it is stuff I don't yet know.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

WOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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This has been one of the best days of my life. I took DW to the airport as she is going to visit her brother in Atlanta for a few days. It is an opportunity for (S) and I to have some great quality time together.

After I left the airport, I checked out the court web page. YAHOOOOOOOOOO. I couldnt believe when I saw that the court had finally finished the case and made a decision. THE BIGGEST HURDLE IS OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have been waiting for this day since December and it has finally come. The feeling is unbelievable.

But I didn't have (DW) to share it with. Of course I shared it with everyone else whose cell number I had by sending a group text. (actually a few group texts because I can only send a text to 10 people at a time).

I had to share this with DW though and she was on a plane. I quickly called the local check-in desk of the airline and explained that I had to get this message to my wife. She said she would do what she could. The first stop in her flight was Detroit and she wasn't going to be there for 3 hours. I had to wait that long to see if she got the message. Indeed she did!!!

The pilot got the message and wrote it on some kind of a paper checklist and gave it to the flight attendant who found DW and read it to her.

"The case is over, we can now move forward....Jump for Joy."

Of course she is saving that message for the scrapbook. I spoke to her in Detroit and we are both happier than you can imagine........work to be done.....

I called the case worker and left a message that I wanted to set up an appointment for our disclosure meeting and to take care of the other paperwork that needs to be done before we can file at the probate court.

She called back and when I spoke to her she asked me how I found out because she had to call the GAL to confirm what I had seen. I told her it was on the web-site and she said she couldn't find it. Wonderful.....Anyway, I told her I wanted to set up an appointment for next week. She is busy next week.........Another delay. I made her make two appointments with me in case one isnt going to work. The first one is for August 5th. Two weeks from today.

So how does the process work now....Well for those of you who don't know how this process works at all, I will take you from the start as to how things have gone in our state (Maine) with (S):

  • December, 2007 there is a court order determining that (S) is in jeopardy and needs to be removed from her family along with her 4 siblings.
  • We get a call asking if we can take a 26 month old little girl for a couple of months. We say yes. It is December 11, 2007 (2 weeks before Christmas)
  • There is a plan developed to reunite the family and the biological parents agree to the plan working towards reunification.
  • In September 2008 visits in their home are started and there are some that are unsupervised.
  • December 2008 reunification is about to begin there are many unsupervised visits and we are starting to mourn the loss of (S) in our home, but happy that she will be where she belongs, with her family. I start this blog
  • January, 2009 reunification abruptly comes to an end. bio-dad has gone off the deep end and the home is not safe. The state begins TPR proceedings.
  • June, 2009 the court hearings are over. It is appearing that there will be a TPR granted and we are asked if we are going to consider adopting (S). We had no intention of ever adopting (S) so the answer is no.......we keep thinking about it though and seek our own counselling to determine if it is the thing for us to do.
  • August, 2009 we decide that if the opportunity presents itself, we will adopt (S). During the same month, the judge decides that the dad should be out of the picture but that there may be hope for mom. She has certain things to do.
  • December, 2009 it is determined that mom is not doing what she should and there is a TPR granted by the judge. The bio-parents lawyers file an appeal which goes to the Maine Supreme Court.
  • Today......The Supreme Court affirms the decision and there is no longer a route of appeal for mom and dad. The TPR is final and (S) and her siblings are now available for adoption.

What happnes next in the process....

  • There is a "disclosure" meeting with DHHS. This is where they tell us everything they know about (S) to make sure we still want to adopt her and there are no secrets. (key here is we know more about (S) then they do)
  • There is also paperwork that needs to be filled out to continue the process.
  • All the paperwork gets taken to the probate court where additional paperwork is received that DW and I need to fill out so that the adoption can continue and move forward.
  • Fingerprints of DW and I are taken yet again for yet another background check.
  • A court hearing is scheduled so that the adoption can be formalized
  • We go to court and FINALLY (S) is an official member of our family
  • We get a new Birth Certificate showing DW and I as (S)s parents

We are done!!!! I don't know how long this last part will take, but I know it will be shorter than the last 8 months.

I hope you find this post has useful informaiton about the process, but I really just want to thank everyone who has had us in their thoughts and prayers that this day would come soon. It is here, and I still can't believe it.

July 22 is a day that I will always remember. It will be a happy day for our family. I just wish DW was here with me to celebrate, but she will be home Monday and we will have plenty of time to celebrate then. I am truly overcome with joy tonight as I sit hear typing. Life is good!!

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Family

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Well we had the session with the therapist and we have talked with (S) about why she remembers another family. We have explained to her that some parents are not able to keep their children safe so there are people that help them to find parents that can keep them safe.
Her case worker is the one that helped her parents to find us and that is why she comes to check on her every month to make sure she is still safe. We also explained how there would be a time soon when a we would go to a court and a judge would make it official that she was our daughter forever and she was a part of our family and we were her forever family.

We also talked with the GAL this week and he is confident that the courts will finish their busness pretty soon and then the adoption process will move very quickly. We are really hoping that he is correct. It would be so nice to have our WHOLE NEW FAMILY together for A's wedding in September.

By that time K would have given brith to our first grandchild. We will have one very large family then. 4 children and three grandchildren and 2 sons-in-law. It is amazing how fast this family is growing.

In the meantime DW had to work today so (S) and I went for a ride in the country. We came across a deer ranch with a huge family of deer



Then we went to our initial destiantion which was one of the many covered bridges in the northeastern US. This one is just a few miles from our house, but (S) had never been there before. As a matter of fact, I had never been there before either. I knew it was there, just never went to it.


We had a great time together. It was fun. Next weekend DW will be gone for 4 days and (S) and I will have the whole house to ourselves. We are planning on going to the "restaurant where you pick out your own food" (buffet) the first night that DW is gone. We are also planning a trip to the beach and of course we will go to the playground on more than one occasion. The only thing we really need now is to have good weather.

Speaking of the beach, we are going there tomorrow with DW, (S), and I. Maybe K and her husband will come.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Are You Still My Daddy?

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(S) is really becoming more and more aware of, and questioning her past and her bio-parents. We still have not had the chnace to have the real conversation we need to have when we are with her therapist but I am hopeful that will come at our next appointment,

She is 4 1/2 years old and we are told this is to be expected at this age. I guess there are a couple of other ages at which these same types of things will come up again but for right now we are dealing with the knowledge that she once lived with another family and that there were times when her bio father got mad and he would fight with her bio-mom and now she doesnt live with them any more. As a result, when I tell her she has done something wrong, she has started with a new response.....

Are you still my daddy? She just doesn't understand that I am here and not like her bio-daddy, but I don't want to talk poorly about her bio-dad. That is not good either.

It doesn't matter how many times I tell her that I will be her daddy no matter what happens, the question keeps coming up. I get the impression she does things she knows she shouldn't do just so I will tell her not to do that and then she can ask if I will still be her daddy. I think she needs this reassurance from me. Unfortunately, she needs it pretty regularly...

I am hopeful she will no longer feel uneasy about the situation when we finally get things worked out and finalized and can go to court and have a party and officially tell her this special ceremony and party is to celebrate that we are with her forever.

She knows her bio mom and dad used to fight a lot and she says they were broken and had to go to the hospital. She says they broke into a mikllion pieces. I don't know why that is the story she tells, but I am sure it is what helps her get by.

I think she is definitely trying to cope with the idea that parents are not forever. Why should she think otherwise? She had parents once and they are no longer her parents. Of course she thinks that we can no longer be her parents at some point.

We need to address this as quickly as possible. I hope we will be able to set up another appointment quickly. the one we had for today was postponed and we don't have a date for another yet.

(S) really needs to be comfortable that we are here for her forever. Of course the courts would help me feel better about this being forever, but as we know, they don't move at anyone's pace but their own. 'nuff said about that...

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Friday, July 2, 2010

This is Not Good

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(S)' guardian ad litem called today. It seems that bio-mom and bio-dad attempted to either contact or snatch the two older boys. He said that bio-mom told the police that they were going to try and snatch them, but they weren't arrested, so I don't know what the real story is.

I do know it is scary. We have been always keeping an eye out for them, but now we will have to be extra vigilant. They only know the whereabouts of three of the children. The two they tried to get to today who live in the same family, and (S).

(S) of course is oblivious to what is going on, and we never let her far from us anyway except when she is in pre-school. They also know what is going on and have had a picture of bio-mom and dad for the whole time (S) has been there. I never thought that we would have to worry about this kind of thing when we first got involved in child care. I guess I don't know what I was thinking.

Right now, I just can't figure out why they aren't in jail. This is just further pressure for us to move away the first chance we get. I don't want to spend the rest of our time raising (S) looking out for them. There will come a time when we will have to let (S) ride her bike and go off to her friends house etc. We can't do that living here.

The only good thing to come out of this is we now know for sure where they are and we know they still have the same vehicle that they had when we had last seen them. Luckily they are living about 1 1/2 hours away from us so we shouldn't see them by chance. Of course if we do see them, it will be because they are up to no good. This gets more and more frustrating every day and of course another week without hearing anything from the courts......keep your fingers crossed!!!

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