Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Have I Mentioned


how proud I am of my son Barry. I know this blog started out as mainly about Foster Care and Adoption, but it has turned into something more than that, so please excuse me while I digress.

My son grew up in Maine, and when he went off to college, he probably wasn't quite ready for it. (much like his father at that age). He struggled for a while trying to figure out what to do with his life and he ended up working at a television station in Bangor, Maine. He did well there and became a director of news shows and did some sports stuff as well.

When he got laid off from that job due to new equipment coming in, he very easily could have fallen back into some bad habits, but he went in search of employment and was lucky enough to get a job in Birmingham, AL. It was about 6 months before Shyanne came into our life that we travelled down to Alabama with him. This was to be his first real time away from home, and he was a long way from home. We worried about him constantly, although not quite as much as time as worn on.

He has managed quite well there for the last 4 1/2 years. He has done a lot of news and a considerably larger amount of sports then he did in Bangor and he has decided that it is time to move on to a bigger market. Television is apparently the way he has chosen to go, and I think it is a perfect choice for him.

He has found himself a new job in a bigger market. A top 25 market. Portland, Oregon. So, in a couple of weeks, he will begin his trek to the great Northwest. He won't be travelling along the Oregon Trail as that is a bit too far north for this time of year. The plan is to go I-40 to Bakersfield, CA and then I-5 up to Portland. Now we will worry quite a bit during that trek, and of course when he first gets there, but as we have found out, the worrying never stops. Your children are always your children no matter their age, profession or standing in the community. You have to worry. You just don't have a choice in the matter if you are at all human.

He will be taking this trip on his own. This will take him more than 3,000 miles away from us, and over 3,300 miles away from where he grew up. I don't think I could have done that alone. I don't think I would have done that alone. I don't know. I have always had DW with me. (We were high school sweethearts and married at 20 and 19.)

I know all will go well for him in Oregon, and I am hopeful it leads to bigger and better things "back east" at some point in the future. But only if that is what he wants. He has done well, and I just wanted to take time out from Shyanne, foster care, and adoption for a few minutes to let everyone know how proud I am of him.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Foster Care and Adoption

November is National Adoption Month and you have all probably seen the news stories and heard a lot about that. You may even marvel at some of the people who actually adopt children with disabilities, or get involved in foster care and adopt children out of that program, or the people who spend a lot of money to go to foreign countries to adopt a child

That is all good. I hope that some of that has worn off on a few people and as a result, there are more children adopted out of foster care and into loving homes over the next year. I am certainly here to tell you that it doesn't matter how old you are. We were 55 when we adopted Shyanne out of foster care.

It doesn't matter whether or not you are single, married, divorced, living with someone. I have seen children adopted by all of those types of people. GLBT families are also adopting children, so that is no excuse either.

I have seen both single men and single women adopt children. It doesn't matter. So throw out all the excuses you can think of as to why you can't adopt a child. The only thing you have to be able to provide is a lot of love to a child in need. It isn't a lot to ask, and the rewards are endless.

I could never begin to tell you in one post all of the rewards we have received from having Shyanne in our life. But if you take the time to read all of the entries in this blog, you will certainly see a little piece of how much more enriched our life has become because of her.

Yes, you will see some heartaches along the way. The process wasn't easy, and at times it seemed like it would never happen. At other times we questioned whether it should happen. But in the end.......BEST DECISION WE EVER MADE. And it could be a great decision for you as well.

Take a little time to look into it. It doesn't cost anything to look, and the potential rewards are enormous.

That's all


Tuesday, November 22, 2011



I certainly have a lot to be thankful for this year. I don't even know where to begin. During the past year, I have started a new job, moved to Cape Cod, sold a house, bought a new house. I have been able to enjoy new pople and new places. My oldest daughter has a new home in Maine. My son will be starting a new job in Portland, Oregon next month, and all is going well for Shy.

What more could a person ask for. Our Thanksgiving was at my daughter's new house. She did it all herself and it was wonderful. The turkey was delicious, as was the stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, and green bean casserole. she did a great job in a house they just moved into last month.

We got to stay there with them as well. It was a house that was bank owned and had been empty for quite a while. When they bought it last month it obviously needed a lot of TLC. Well, they have worked wonders on the house nad it looks great.

One of the best parts is that it lies right in front of some Conservation Land and over the weekend we were able to hike. We actually went over a rive and through the woods. We walked down by the river and strolled by a pond. It was a great hike and at the end Shy was quite tired.

Yesterday was the trip home to the Cape. It was a good trip too. While there were a lot of cars on the road, we didn't get slowed down at all, so it was an easy trip. There was of course a couple of things that came up from Shy that I have to tell you all about. She wanted to play a game where I would tell her what states I saw license plates from and she would write them down. You have probably heard that she is becoming a pretty good writer, and this was almost proven.

She read back her spelling of Massachusetts to me so I could tell her if she was right. She had M-A-S-S-A-C-H-U-S-U-Y. I told that it was excellent except that after last S it should be S-E-T-T-S.

To which she responded: "It's good enough. I know what I mean anyway. And considering the state and that she is in 1st grade. I think it was good enough too!!!

I hope everyone had as happy a Thanksgiving as we had.

Friday, November 18, 2011

One Thing We Learned at "Forever Families Weekend"


Shy has 4 full biological brothers. She is the youngest of the five. Shy has seen the two younger brothers a few times each in the last year, but the two oldest ones she has not seen since the beginning of December of last year. We have tried to get them together, but last we knew those two did not have final adoptions by the foster parents, and the foster parents just never seem interested in getting those two together with the three younger kids. We are going up to Maine for Thanksgiving and we are going to give it another try. We are in hopes that we can get all 5 of them together.

But there is a 6th.

We had never heard Shy really talk about him before. He is a half-brother to the other 5. He has the same mother. He was the first one taken from the home and was taken a full year ahead of the other 5. That means that Shy was only one year old when he left the home. When the Termination of Parental Rights occurred with the half-brother, there was one final "good-bye" visit ordered by the judge for all the siblings. Shy attended that visit. She was around 28 months old at that time.

I can't remember hearing anything about this half-brother at all since that time, and she hasn't seen him but that one time in the last 5 years. She is only 6 years old, so we wouldn't expect to hear anything about him.

Yet the other day, when Shy and I were alone in the car she started asking about her Brothers. I talked about her one adopted brother Barry, and her 4 b iological brothers. Then she asked; "Wasn't there another brother?"

I asked her what she meant and she said she thought there was another brother from her old mommy. I simply said that there was, but she hadn't seen him in a long time, and he had a different father. Needless to say, I was quite astonished by her question, but looking back on it, I probably should not have been.

This past June we went to a "Forever Families" camp in Pennsylvania. It was a great time and all three of us, as well as everyone else there enjoyed it immensely. Tehre was plenty of fun to be had, but there was also plenty of learning to be had. One of the things I learned was that you never know what is going to happen next. Sometimes kids are very open about their adoption. Some times kids are very closed about their adoption. Sometimes they want to talk about their biological family, and sometimes they don't. Sometimes they will ask about things that take you by surprise, and sometimes they will ask you the same questions over and over just to see if they get the same answer.

It is for reasons like that, that parenting an adopted child is different from parenting a biological child. Not better, not worse. Not more fulfilling, not less. Not more loving, not less. Just different. And the differences never cease to amaze me.

I can't wait for Forever Families weekend in 2012. I look forward to learning more, and seeing the friends we met there last year. I know Shy can't wait to go back either.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Proud Day

This is not to say that I am not proud every day, but today I am feeling particularly proud of Shyanne.

I went to her school last night for the annual fall parent/teacher conference. Shy had swimming so DW took her there, and I went to the conference.

One of our worries has been Shy's age. In Maine, she had just barely made the cut-off age to start Kindergarden last year. We decided to go ahead with the Kindergarden because the Pre-K program was only a half-day and since she had been in day care for a full day already we wanted to go with the full day program. And she made the cut-off so why not.

The cut-off here in Mass is a month and a half earlier. Even though Shy did not make the cut-off to start 1st grade, since she had Kindergarden in Maine, she was eligible to start 1st grade. So, that is where she is, and that is why we worry about her age in school. Added to that was the instability that we had created in her life yet again by moving to Massachusetts and the upheaval of being away from her older sisters and friends in Maine.

I am happy to report that the teacher said that if anyone came in the room and she asked them to pick out the youngest child, they would definitely NOT pick out Shy. She fits right in with all the other chilldren, she is always a part of what is going on and she has made the transition to Massachusetts wonderfully and she is a pleasure to have in her class. (She added in a quieter tone...."She is soooooo cute"). She said she also communicates well with all her classmates.

I asked if that meant she talked to much in class, and her teacher said to me: "They are 6 and 7 years old. They all talk too much"

So she is reading so well that she is going to be moved up in her reading group. Her writing is excellent. Not only is what she writes understandable but it is also very creative. She seems to enjoy writing and always wants to do it. When we go away in February, she will be writing a journal during our trip to share with the class when she returns. It should be interesting to see what she writes. As a side note, the last 1st grader we took on a trip who kept a journal had an entry related to throwing up in a friends car. We are hopeful an entry like that does not make it into this journal. (Sorry Amy, it ws a classic!!)

So anyway, that is the reason for my pride today. I could write about reasons to be proud of Shy every day, but then this blog would get even more boring than it already is, so for now, you just have to believe me that she is a wonderful child who brings us pride on every day, but on this day, I felt the need to mention my pride in her.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Special Day

So I was away on business last week and was unable to write anything. I hate going away for many reasons. I don't sleep well while I am in a hotel room alone. I probably eat more than I should. I get behind on my real work at my office. I hate having to act nicely to all the people at the meeting when I don't particularly care for one or two of them.

But most of all, I hate being away from my family. I really don't enjoy any part of being away and going out to eat and seeing other people and being in a different location. I don't like any of that. I would much rather be at home with DW and Shy and enjoying our life together.

A life together that has special meaning today. It was one year ago today that our adoption of Shyanne was finalized. It was one year ago today that our family was changed forever....for the good....

I can no longer remember life without Shyanne. She has been with us now almost 4 years (that will be another anniversary of December 11th). DW says it was the longest pregnancy she had. almost 3 years from her coming into our home until adoption.

I can tell you that there is no one in our family that would trade her in for anything. She is truly a wonderful child. She brightens up our day each and every day. Yes, she does have a few minor issues that come from her previous life. She is able to offset that with the most wonderful giggle and the most adorable smile in the world. I tell her she is the most beautiful girl and the world, and she totally believes it. (so do I actualy).

In honor of the day we told her we would go out to eat wherever she wanted to go. Her choice....the 99 restaurant in Mashpee. It is a local New England area chain that was born in Boston. They have good steaks and Shy loves steak. That is what she wants, so that is where we will go.

November 15th of 2010 was a special day in the life of our family and it is one we will celebrate every year as it is truly special.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Loving Child

Shy has been very loving the last two days. I am not sure what has gotten into her or why, but she is frequently coming up to DW and myself and wanting a hug or a kiss or just saying "I Love You". She has always been a loving child, but lately it seems a bit more than usual. I don't know if it is a phase or not.

This morning DW thought it might have to do with the time change. I am not sure why a time change would make her more loving than in the past, but it has been quite a lot the last two days.

Don't get me wrong here. I am certianly not complaining. I love when she comes up to me and asks for a hug and says "I love you daddy". I won't ever get too much of that. I am just wondering what has caused it to occur so much in the last couple of days.

On the one hand it may be something that happened or that she saw that is causing it and it will go away all to soon for me. I certainly hope that it is a phase she is going through and that it lasts forever!!! I love when she does it!!


Friday, November 4, 2011

Family Cruise

If you read the comments to the blog, you probably noticed that there was a question asking when I was going to send my three older children on a cruise. If you guessed that the Amy that made that comment is the same Amy that I call my oldest daughter, you would be 100% correct.

I actually have an answer to that question. The answer is not "never" it is not "maybe" with some unknown attached to it. It is actually an answer with a precise month and year attached to it. They only need hope I live long enough to make the dream of DW come true. If it does come true, then the whole family, children, grandchildren and spouses will have a wonderful cruise together to the Caribbean in February.

The year?

Well, I am leaving that to be the surprise, and since I know at least one of them regularly reads this blog, I am not ready to give that out. I can assure you though that both DW and I look forward to that day with great anticipation, and I hope the three older children do as well!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Getting Better

Yesterday DW purchased our airline tickets for our February trip. We are going to Florida for a few days to visit with my mother and DW's father and to have the unveiling for my father's grave (a ceremony that dedicates the grave monument and gives an opportunity to again remember the deceased).

That will be the somewhat sad part of the trip. After the unveilng however, we are planning on boarding a cruise ship and setting sail for 8 days in the Caribbean. Now, I know our three odler children are a bit jealous about this as they have never been on a cruise. Shy on the other hand is quite excited about going on a big ship. She has no idea what to expect, but we have been tlaking it up and she is certainly excited.

When we told her yesterday that DW had purchased the airline tickets her first question was whether or not she was going to miss school. That wasn't the quesiton I expected, although I am not sure what I did expect. When I told her that she would miss 4 days of school for the whole trip, again, I got the unexpected. She was concerned about missing school!

That is good I suppose. She really does like school and she likes being with her friends. She seems to have made the adjustment to living here now. She does still need to see someone, and we are in the process of finding someone locally, although to no avail so far. All in all though, she is doing well and we are all adjusting to life on Cape Cod.

It really is a wonderful place with some really nice people, and in the words of Lennon/McCartney, I've got to admit it's getting better, a little better all the time"

It'll be really good on that cruise ship!!!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Successful Quest

Well, the neighborhood in general is Halloween friendly. Whlie there were a few houses without lights on, for the most part, all the houses had lights on and some sort of decorations. There were a lot of kids and parents out and about in the two different neighborhoods we walked through, and everyone seemed to be having fun.

There was one house that had gone overboard with decorations. It reminded me of Maple St. in Bangor, Maine where the whole street is like one big party. Unfortunately, it was just one house.

At one point Shy was evaluating garbage cans. At one house "boy that garbage can is small"

At another house. "that garbage can is nasty"

All the while, she continued on her quest. When we were about 3/4 of the way through my planned route, she advised me she was cold. I asked if she wanted to go home, and she said no. She wanted to finish up our street.

So finish up our street we did. At the end, she had more candy then she can eat, and all in all had a good time. In spite of eating some candy, she still fell asleep rather quickly. I am sure she was dreaming about being the Princess she pretended to be. (Cinderella to be exact).

All in all, a successful quest.